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.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.
Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.
Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.