The Mets activated outfielder Juan Lagares from the disabled list before Saturday night’s contest against the Cubs, the team announced. Right-hander Seth Lugo was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Lagares, who went down on June 16 with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, will not be in the lineup against Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta, but adds depth off the bench as Curtis Grandson continues to nurse a right calf strain and Alejandro De Aza (.158/.223/.232) continues to struggle. Manager Terry Collins said on Friday that Lagares will start against left-hander Jon Lester on Sunday.
After playing through a partially torn UCL and struggling in the plate and in the field in 2015, Lagares has returned to form in 2016. He hit .289/.326/.433 through 96 plate appearances before his injury.
Lagares’s return could spell the end for De Aza’s time in New York. Lagares will likely replace De Aza (.158/.223/.232) as the Mets’ primary backup outfielder and when Jose Reyes joins the major league roster, De Aza could be the first to go. De Aza is nevertheless in tonight’s lineup, batting seventh.
Lugo returns to the minors after making his major league debut Friday night, finishing out the 10-2 blowout of the Cubs with two shutout innings. He owns a 6.55 ERA through 68.2 innings in the hitter-friendly PCL.