Mets’ Carrasco strains hamstring, likely to miss opener

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — New Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco strained his right hamstring during conditioning after throwing one inning of batting practice Thursday and seems certain to miss the start of the season.

New York was waiting for an MRI for an indication on how long Carrasco will be sidelined.

“He was running sprints and he felt a pull,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas, who said he spoke with Carrasco while the pitcher was face down on a bed in the trainer’s room.

A right-hander who turns 34 on Sunday, Carrasco has has not appeared any any exhibition games this year.

New York opens April 1 at Washington. Carrasco had been projected to be part of the rotation with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker and David Peterson.

Rojas said left-hander Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto are candidates for fifth starter along with a trio of non-roster pitchers: Jerad Eickhoff, Corey Oswalt and left-hander Mike Montgomery.

“We have pretty good depth,” Rojas said. “We have a lot of guys that can come and be in that fifth spot.”

Carrasco is in remission from leukemia and got the coronavirus vaccine, causing him to start spring training workouts behind other players. He then stopped throwing for a stretch because of elbow soreness.

Carrasco was traded by Cleveland with All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor on Jan. 7 for young infielders Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario, and two minor league prospects: right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Green.

The Mets also are missing reliever Seth Lugo, who had surgery Feb. 16 to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. He is on track to resume throwing around opening day.

Carrasco missed three months of the 2019 season while fighting leukemia. He pitched through the pandemic last year, going 3-4 in 12 starts with a 2.91 ERA, his best since a career-best 2.55 ERA when he split 2014 between Cleveland’s rotation and bullpen. He has an 88-73 career record with a 3.73 ERA.

Carrasco is signed at $12 million for each of the next two seasons, part of a deal that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he pitches 170 innings in 2022 and is found to be healthy for the 2023 season.

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