The New York Mets have lost a key bench piece for a significant period of time.
On Friday, it was revealed that outfielder Travis Jankowski underwent surgery to repair a fourth metacarpal fracture in his left hand. According to the Mets, the recovery time for this injury is typically six to eight weeks.
As manager Bucks Showalter said, Jankowski suffered the injury on Wednesday at Oracle Park while making a diving catch in the outfield during the Mets' 9-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Showalter says Jankowski got his finger caught and they put a screw in it, adding "he'll be back, It's a loss of a very useful player for us."
Jankowski was a valuable fourth outfielder/defensive replacement, whose speed made him a weapon as a pinch runner late in games. He was also the Mets' primary backup centerfielder as well. With Jankowski sidelined for the foreseeable future, it means Starling Marte and Mark Canha could see time in center to spell Brandon Nimmo when he needs a day off. Jeff McNeil has played left field on a semi-regular basis, as Luis Guillorme has found his way into the lineup more often at second base. With Jankowski on the shelf, McNeil is now the Mets' fourth outfielder.
The Mets' outfield depth is razor thin with the loss of Jankowski. New York has Nick Plummer and Daniel Palka in Triple A Syracuse, who are potential options to be called up to the big-league squad. In the meantime, the Mets recalled relief pitchers Yoan Lopez and Stephen Nogosek after placing Jankowski on the 10-day I.L. and optioning Thomas Szapucki to Triple A. Lopez will serve his reduced one-game suspension on Friday night.
Jankowski, 30, was signed to a minor league deal during spring training and made the Mets' Opening Day roster. The speedster was batting .209 (9-for-43) with no home runs, two RBI, 11 runs scored and three stolen bases across 33 games this season.