Mets acquire left-hander Rich Hill from Rays

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — The pitching-thin New York Mets on Friday acquired left-hander Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays got right-hander Tommy Hunter and minor league catcher Matt Dyer in return.

The 41-year-old Hill is 6-4 with a 3.89 ERA in 19 starts for the contending Rays.

“I think a lot of people in the game know the name – guy that’s been around, pitching good baseball, pitching playoff baseball,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “It’s a great fit, great acquisition. Our front office is being diligent. One of the needs we’ve talked about is our starting pitching need and this is a guy that fits right in.”

New York started the day with a four-game division lead over Philadelphia and Atlanta despite a banged-up rotation. Ace Jacob deGrom and starter David Peterson are on the injured list. Starters Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco haven’t pitched this year while recovering from injuries.

Rojas said he didn’t know yet when Hill could slot into the Mets’ rotation. New York does not have scheduled starters yet for Sunday’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays nor Monday’s doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves.

Hill has pitched just 95 1/3 innings this year under limits imposed under the Rays’ pitching strategy. This will be his 11th big league team in a 17-season career.

The NL East leaders made the deal on the day Hill was supposed to start at Cleveland, and a week before the trade deadline. New York assumed $967,742 remaining in Hill’s $2.5 million salary.

This was the second trade by the Rays in two days. They acquired Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, taking on $5,102,151 left in the All-Star slugger’s $13 million salary.

Tampa Bay began the day one game behind Boston in the AL East.

Rays general manager Erik Neander said “there was a numbers element” to trading Hill, primarily to make room in the rotation for 21-year-old Luis Patino and the impending arrival of former All-Star Chris Archer.

Archer, who signed a $6.5 million, one-year contract on Feb. 9, is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham while recovering from right forearm tightness.

“There is a commitment to Chris, as long as he fulfills his side, to be here in August,” Neander said. “We think the world of Rich, but this gives us the chance to balance our lineup.”

The 35-year-old Hunter appeared in four games with one start for the Mets this year. He threw eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits, three walks and striking out six. He was placed on the 10-day injured list on May 21 and transferred to the 60-day IL on June 11 with lower back pain.

Dyer, 23, was selected by the Mets in the fourth round of the 2020 amateur draft out of the University of Arizona. He has appeared in 36 games for the Low-A St. Lucie Mets this season, hitting .194 with 20 runs, seven home runs and 20 RBIs.

Astros star Altuve has surgery on broken thumb, a WBC injury

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros star Jose Altuve had surgery Wednesday on his broken right thumb, an injury that occurred in the World Baseball Classic and will significantly delay the second baseman’s 2023 debut.

The Astros announced that the 32-year-old Altuve had the procedure done in Houston and will stay there to begin his rehabilitation, with only one week left in spring training. The Astros will fly there on Sunday following their final Grapefruit League game in Florida, before playing a pair of exhibitions against their Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, in Texas.

Altuve was hit by a pitch on Saturday while playing for Venezuela in the WBC. He might not be ready to return to the lineup until at least late May. The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP batted .300 with 103 runs, 28 homers and 18 steals for the World Series champion Astros last season. Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are the leading candidates to fill in for Altuve at second base.

Altuve isn’t the only Major League Baseball star who was hurt in WBC play, of course. Mets closer Edwin Díaz will miss the 2023 season because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee as the freak result of an on-field celebration following a WBC win by the Puerto Rico national team.


The Astros also scratched right-hander Hunter Brown from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Brown, who is ranked by MLB as the organization’s top prospect and competing for the last spot in the rotation, has discomfort in his lower back.


The New York Mets sent catcher Francisco Álvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the opening day roster.

Álvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League exhibition games. Ranked by MLB as the third-best prospect in baseball, Álvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.

The Mets have newcomer Omar Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher with Tomás Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.

Speaking of the Mets, Díaz turned 29 on Wednesday – a rather subdued milestone for the right-hander considering his situation. Diaz nonetheless posted in Spanish an upbeat message on his Twitter account, thanking God for another year of life and describing his health as good and his outlook as positive in this initial stage of the roughly eight-month rehabilitation process.