Mets swap Colon, Syndergaard in rotation against Royals

NEW YORK (AP) Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon was hit on his pitching hand by a line drive Tuesday night and left his start against Kansas City in the first inning with a bruised thumb.

The 43-year-old Colon was knocked out of the game after four pitches when Royals leadoff batter Whit Merrifield hit a shot that barely glanced off the pitcher's glove and struck him hard on his right thumb. X-rays were negative, New York said.

The ball deflected to second baseman Neil Walker, who threw to first for an out. In the meantime, Colon yanked down his hand in obvious pain and bent over at the waist as manager Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez came rushing out of the dugout.

After a brief meeting near the mound, Colon walked off the field and into the dugout. Hansel Robles replaced Colon and was given all the time he needed to warm up.

Colon was bumped up a day in the rotation to start Tuesday night on regular rest in a World Series rematch with Kansas City. Noah Syndergaard was pushed back one day and will get the ball Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the two-game series.

On a busy afternoon at Citi Field, the Mets also activated catcher Travis d'Arnaud from the disabled list.

Hoping to boost a slumping lineup that ranked 28th out of 30 major league teams in runs, d'Arnaud batted eighth against the Royals. He had been sidelined since April 26 with a strained right rotator cuff.

''I'm so happy to be back,'' said d'Arnaud, who passed his first test by throwing out Alcides Escobar attempting to steal second base in the first inning. ''I feel great. I feel fantastic. I'm ready to go out there and get a win.''

To create roster space for d'Arnaud, catcher Kevin Plawecki was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. New York also put reliever Jim Henderson on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Sunday, with right biceps tendinitis and recalled left-hander Sean Gilmartin from its top farm club.

''I'm here to cheer everyone up, put smiles on people's faces and do whatever I can to get the team a win,'' d'Arnaud said.

The Mets announced the rotation switch about five hours before the game, saying they previously made the change but had not alerted the media.

The move means Syndergaard (7-2, 1.91 ERA) is now lined up to pitch next Monday in the opener of a three-game series at first-place Washington. If he had started Tuesday as originally scheduled, he would have missed the NL East leaders.

Syndergaard will take the mound Wednesday on six days of rest, two more than normal, after throwing 115 pitches in a career-high 8 1/3 innings last week against Pittsburgh - one pitch short of his most in the majors.

Collins said both those issues were factors in the decision to tweak the rotation.

Colon (6-3, 3.01) was coming off a win over the Pirates last Thursday, when he threw 99 pitches in 7 2/3 sharp innings. He had six days of rest before that outing.

''Bartolo comes back a little easier,'' Collins said.

In other news:

SETBACK FOR ZACK

General manager Sandy Alderson said right-hander Zack Wheeler, recovering from Tommy John surgery in March 2015, hasn't thrown in a couple of days after feeling a bit of elbow discomfort. He will be examined by a doctor Wednesday at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and won't pitch in a game this week in Florida.

FINGERS CROSSED

Alderson said the team is still hoping to avoid surgery for part-time center fielder Juan Lagares, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb.

DRAFT DAY

New York signed top draft pick Justin Dunn and third-round selection Blake Tiberi.

Dunn, a right-hander from Boston College who grew up a Yankees fan on Long Island not far from Citi Field, received a signing bonus of $2,378,800 - the assigned value for his slot at No. 19 overall.

Tiberi is a third baseman out of Louisville.

Both players will report to Class A Brooklyn in the short-season New York-Penn League. They were introduced during a news conference at Citi Field and donned Mets uniforms to work out with the big club during batting practice.

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