Yet another Mets infielder succumbed to back pain on Wednesday, as Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from the lineup because of back spasms. The starting shortstop did not make a plate appearance in the top of the first, but he exited the game against the Nationals before the bottom of the inning. Matt Reynolds took his place and later recorded his first career hit.
While advanced metrics and eye tests appraise his defense differently, Cabrera has provided a steady offensive upgrade for the Mets at shortstop. The 30-year-old, signed to a two-year, $18.5 million deal last winter, is hitting .283/.335/.392 with three home runs and a 104 wRC+ identical to last year's clip.
The Mets can ill afford another injury to an already short-handed infield. They recently placed Lucas Duda on the disabled list with a back injury, and David Wright continues to manage his spinal stenosis. If Cabrera needs to miss any time, the team would need Wilmer Flores back more than ever. Flores began his rehab assignment with the Double-A Binghamton Mets last night and played first base. He is eligible to return from the disabled list on Friday.