Mets lose lefty reliever Tim Byrdak to knee surgery

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UPDATE: General manager Sandy Alderson expects Byrdak to be ready for game action in about six weeks, which could mean a late-April debut.

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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.