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Mets facing uncertainty with Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker

PHILADELPHIA – Max Scherzer will start Monday. That is as much as the Mets know for sure about their rotation.

Taijuan Walker worked out at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, including participating in pitcher fielding practice, in which he came off the mound to field balls.

Buck Showalter said the Mets were trying to simulate what caused the back spasms that forced him from his start last Tuesday, after which an MRI exam found a bulging disk.

“Everything went real well today,” the manager said about Walker before the Mets finished a series with the Phillies.

Showalter has said Walker could rejoin the rotation as soon as Tuesday, which is the scheduled finale of the two-game set at Yankee Stadium. Jacob deGrom is the scheduled Tuesday starter, and while the co-ace threw before the game Sunday, the Mets could push him back to provide more than the usual four days rest.

Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom reacts after being pulled in the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Aug. 18, 2022 in Atlanta.
Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom reacts after being pulled in the seventh inning against the Braves.
Getty Images
Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker walks back to the dugout after ending the third inning.
Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker walks back to the dugout.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Showalter said they will wait to see how Walker feels Monday morning before reaching a decision.

If deGrom pitches Tuesday and on normal rest Sunday against the Rockies, he would miss next week’s series at Citi Field against the Dodgers. Entering play Sunday, the Mets were 6 ½ games behind the Dodgers for the best record in the National League.

Showalter said that is not a consideration.

“It’s about what’s best for Taijuan and Jake,” he said. “Where they fall, they fall.”

It was a busy day of injury updates.

Eduardo Escobar, who is dealing with an oblique strain, is “doing well” and almost pain free, Showalter said. The infielder is eligible to return from the injured list Friday, and Showalter said he should hit that target.

Tommy Hunter is “close” to being activated, Showalter said. The reliever has missed two and half weeks with lower-back tightness.

Tomas Nido is making progress “slowly,” Showalter said. Nido is on the COVID-19 list and last played Aug. 13. Showalter said the catcher may require a rehab assignment because “you don’t go from this illness to catching nine innings in the big leagues right away.”

The Mets placed righty Stephen Nogosek on the 15-day IL with a left oblique strain.

The Mets added a lefty reliever to their big league roster, optioned another and cut a third.

Nate Fisher was selected from Triple-A Syracuse. Rob Zastryzny, who pitched an inning in Saturday’s doubleheader, was sent back to Syracuse. Sam Clay, who also pitched Saturday, was designated for assignment.

Another lefty, Joey Lucchesi, was set to begin a rehab assignment with Low-A St. Lucie. Lucchesi underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2021.

Rain is in the forecast for The Bronx on Monday. If the game is postponed, possibilities would include a Tuesday doubleheader or pushing a game to Wednesday, which is a mutual off day.

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