On a day in which the Mets debuted another piece of their future, a key component to the present was lost for the foreseeable future.
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Bobby Parnell was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 31 with a herniated disc in his neck, the Mets announced prior to Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the Rockies at Citi Field.
Parnell had been diagnosed with a stiff neck on Friday, and he has not pitched since July 30, when he earned a save against the Marlins in a 4-2 win. During his pregame press conference, manager Terry Collins suggested surgery could be an option down the line if the injury lingers.
After the game, Parnell said he received a cortisone shot and expects to have another in 7-10 days.
“I don’t think right now they’re considering surgery,” Collins said. “Obviously, it’s something that possibly you could have surgery with but right now they’re not talking about it. I know it’s a few more days before he could do anything. So you’re talking another week, I would guess at the earliest [before Parnell could return].”
An extended DL stint for Parnell could be crippling for a team whose stated goal is competitiveness despite having entered last night’s game with a 49-60 record. Parnell has 22 saves in 26 opportunities this season with a 2.16 ERA. Until he returns, Collins will implement a closer-by-committee system.
“We’re going to use some different guys. We’re going to mix-and-match a little bit. I’m not sure we have the one guy down there that’s ‘it.’ So we’re going to take a look at different people and put them in that spot, depending who’s coming up,” Collins said.
It was veteran LaTroy Hawkins who got the call Tuesday night without much advance notice.
The Mets and Rockies went to the bottom of the eighth tied at 2-2 and it appeared, with two outs and one on, that a closer would not be needed in Parnell's first game on the DL.
Instead, Eric Young Jr. turned an infield single into a game-winning run off his former team. Young led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a fly ball for the second out of the inning. Juan Lagares legged out a hit to second base and Young went all out, rounding third and scoring just before Todd Helton could throw him out at home.
Hawkins got two quick outs, but allowed two consecutive runners to reach on hard-luck singles. First baseman Ike Davis made a nice diving play, catching a liner in foul territory, to escape trouble and end the game.
But a potential closer was not the only player the Mets observed Tuesday night. Wilmer Flores made his major league debut on his 22nd birthday. He joined John Pacella, in 1977, as the only Mets players to debut on their birthday.
Flores, who said he learned of the promotion after playing for Triple-A Las Vegas Monday night, wore No. 4 and hit sixth in the lineup. He was at third, replacing David Wright, himself on the DL with a strained right hamstring.
“I didn’t want to disrupt the lineup by moving [second baseman Daniel Murphy] around too much, so my question [to the coaching staff in Las Vegas] was, ‘Can this guy play third base?’” Collins said. “They played him there a few games, said he did great. He’s played winter ball [at] third base. It’s time. It’s time for him to see [the major leagues]. Get him up here and give him a little taste of what it’s like to play at this level.
“We know he’s a good offensive player. Sky’s the limit, offensively, for him so we’re going to see if he can bring something to the table.”
Flores hit .321 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs in 107 games with the 51s this season. He went 0-for-4 and committed an error in the sixth on Troy Tulowitzki’s smash.
Scott Atchison threw a scoreless eighth to improve to 2-0 this season. Wilton Lopez (1-4) took the loss.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.