MLB: Putz returning to N.Y.; McLouth joins Braves
PITTSBURGH ó The depleted New York Mets got a double dose of bad news Thursday: injured shortstop Jose Reyes now has a tear in his right hamstring and reliever J.J. Putz is experiencing pain in his elbow.
The loss of Putz means East Rowan graduate Bobby Parnell could take over the eighth-inning role in the bullpen.
Reyes has been on the disabled list since May 21 with right calf tendinits.
“(An) MRI revealed a small tear in his right hamstring tendon, a new injury. Reyes will rest for two days and then resume treatment,” the Mets said in a statement.
Putz will leave the team and return to New York to be examined by team doctors today after experiencing “sharp pain” in his right elbow while pitching in a game against Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Putz, acquired to be a dominant eighth-inning presence, has given up eight runs and nine hits in a combined 11/3 innings during his past three outings, seeing his ERA climb to 5.22.
Manager Jerry Manuel demoted Putz to the seventh-inning role after Monday’s game, when he gave up four runs and didn’t retire a batter. The reliever is 1-4 with two blown saves.
Thursday, Putz allowed two singles and a triple during the seventh inning of an 11-6 loss to the Pirates. Averaging more than a strikeout per inning over the course of his career, Putz has only two strikeouts in his past seven appearances.
“Any time I try to get out of my two-seamer or my split, it’s a sharp pain,” Putz said. “And you can’t pitch like that.”
Putz had a cortisone injection May 14 to calm inflammation in that troublesome elbow. He said it flared up during a bullpen session Wednesday, when the game against the Pirates was rained out.
Putz was given medication but felt worse on the mound Thursday, saying he stayed away from his splitter because it was painful when he did throw it.
“(If) I try to aggressively throw that splitter, it hurts,” Putz said. “I can’t pitch without that pitch.”
ATLANTA ó Nate McLouth embraced his new opportunity with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday only after an emotional departure from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“Pittsburgh’s the only organization I had ever been with; they drafted me out of high school almost 10 years ago,” he said. “I got to know a lot of great people. That’s going to be the hard part, the relationships and the people.”
McLouth was in Thursday’s lineup as the No. 3 hitter and the starting center fielder, but the game was postponed.
He moved from a fifth-place team in the NL Central to a third-place team in the NL East.
McLouth said the opportunity to win “is what every player wants.”
“The people are going to be hard to leave, but I lost a lot of games there and that’s hard to do as an athlete,” he said. “When you talk about winning, the Atlanta Braves are one of the top organizations that come to mind. To be a part of it is something special.”
Chipper Jones has been a fixture as Atlanta’s No. 3 hitter but, after talking with manager Bobby Cox, he agreed to hit fourth to accommodate McLouth.
“I talked to Bobby about it and told him I was open to whatever is best for the club,” Jones said. “I don’t know if this is permanent. We’ll see. If I get more RBI opportunities out of it, I’ll be happy with it. I make no bones about it, I’d prefer to hit third, but I’ve always been willing to try to do what’s best for the club.”
Jones has hit .316 in 5,726 career at-bats as the No. 3 hitter and .297 in 1,643 at-bats hitting fourth.
Brian McCann moved down one spot to hit fifth.