port st. LUCY, Fla. — Mets pitcher Jose Quintana will undergo a bone graft to repair a stress fracture in his rib and not return to the Majors until at least July, general manager Billy Eppler said Tuesday.
Quintana, who returned to camp on Tuesday after undergoing a series of tests in New York, has suffered a fractured rib, prompting the Mets to send him to an oncologist in New York. A biopsy concluded that the lesion was benign, but its presence influenced Quintana’s decision to opt for surgery over fracture-preserving treatment.
The best-case scenario for Quintana, according to Eppler, would be a return to the Majors around July 1. But Quintana may miss extra time if it takes longer than expected to return to physical activity after surgery. He is scheduled to undergo the operation on Friday.
From 2013-19, Quintana was one of the most prolific starters in MLB, averaging 32 starts and 192 2/3 innings per season. He made three trips to IL over the next two years due to thumb, back and shoulder injuries, but bounced back last season to have a career year between the Pirates and Cardinals. That was enough for the Mets to sign him to a two-year, $26 million contract, making him their fourth starter.
As long as Quintana is sidelined, the Mets will rely on someone else to spin alongside Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Koday Singa and Carlos Carrasco. The two most obvious choices for the team are David Peterson and Tylor Megill, who combined to make 28 starts last season and both are off to solid starts this spring.
Peterson, who hits 19 of those, threw four scoreless innings Tuesday in a 5-0 loss against the Nationals, after missing one inning due to a running back who bruised his left foot. The left fielder hits eight scoreless innings this spring.
Meanwhile, Miguel threw four scoreless innings Monday in a 9-3 win over the Marlins to narrow his career in the grapefruit league to 1.08. Taking advice from Scherzer, Megill intentionally increased his fastball’s velocity back to the mid-90s so he could better conserve his energy in the middle innings of games.
“Take a break and stay healthy,” said Miguel, who missed three months last season with a right shoulder strain.
Other options for the Mets include Joey Lucchesi, Eliezer Hernandez and Jose Poto, all of whom have grown in importance now that Quintana has lost significant time.
“There’s a reason we go out and try to build as much depth as possible,” said Eppler. “I think there are eight, nine, ten starting pitchers on our depth chart that have been shown at the major league level. That’s why depth. You’re trying to navigate a 162-game season in 183 days? You want to be in a position to navigate through the course.” the whole.”
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