UPDATE: General manager Sandy Alderson expects Byrdak to be ready for game action in about six weeks, which could mean a late-April debut.
Scott Hairston’s oblique injury means the Mets may look to a converted left-handed pitcher to serve as their backup center fielder and now Tim Byrdak’s knee injury means they’re in need of an actual left-handed pitcher for the bullpen.
Byrdak is scheduled to undergo knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, which at the very least will keep him sidelined beyond Opening Day.
Byrdak signed a one-year, $1 million extension with the Mets in September and was slated to be their left-handed specialist after throwing 38 innings with a 3.82 ERA and 47/19 K/BB ratio last season. At age 38 how well he’ll come back from knee surgery is unclear, but Byrdak has quietly posted a sub-4.00 ERA in each season since 2007 and held lefties to a .222 batting average in 2011.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.
Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.
The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.