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Mets’ bullpen problem gets worse as Drew Smith goes on IL

Even on an off day, the Mets’ bullpen problem got worse.

Drew Smith was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to Monday with a right lat strain, the team announced Thursday ahead of Friday’s series opener in Miami. The Mets did not announce a timetable for Smith’s return or a corresponding roster move.

Smith has not pitched since Sunday and was not used during a Subway Series in which Adam Ottavino recorded five outs Tuesday and David Peterson and Seth Lugo were leaned upon Wednesday.

Smith, whose 2021 season was cut short due to a right shoulder injury, was excellent early this season, when he did not allow a run in his first 13 ⅓ innings. But his effectiveness has waned as the season has gone on, and the righty has allowed nine runs in his past 9 ⅓ innings, raising his ERA to 3.51.

The timing – five days before the trade deadline – could be significant for a team that already was hunting for bullpen help and already had traded Colin Holderman for Daniel Vogelbach.

Mets pitcher Drew Smith was placed on the injured list.
Mets pitcher Drew Smith was placed on the injured list.
Robert Sabo

The Mets have not found a reliable arm behind Edwin Diaz and Ottavino. The more urgent issue has been a lefty reliever, especially after Chasen Shreve was designated for assignment, but it’s possible the Mets add a righty reliever, too.

Trevor May could return from the IL next week, but the Mets will have to decide what their bullpen needs by Tuesday’s deadline.

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