New Met Jason Vargas will undergo surgery to remove the hook of his hamate bone on his right hand, per a team announcement. Fortunately for the lefty, that’s his glove hand, and he won’t be kept out of action for very long. The surgery will be on Tuesday, with Vargas resuming his throwing program on Sunday, barring any setbacks. Thus, Vargas is likely to miss the first start of the season but not much longer. Vargas suffered the injury when he was struck on the glove by a line drive in a minor-league outing on Friday.
The Mets signed Vargas to a two-year, $16 million contract exactly one month ago, with hopes that he’d stabilize the middle of their rotation behind co-aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, and he definitely still can, there’ll just be a slight delay. The soft-tossing left-hander was an All-Star in 2017 with the Royals, winning an MLB-leading 18 games while eating just shy of 180 innings. Even with a rough second half, Vargas pitched to a very respectable 4.16 ERA and 1.330 WHIP.
Vargas’s injury does serve to provide some fogginess to the Mets rotation to open the season. Syndergaard, deGrom and Matt Harvey are assured of spots, but there are now two open spots and three contenders in Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman may also be in the mix, but they have been brought along as relievers in camp thus far, and the team would have a hard time stretching them out at this point. The Mets' fifth man in the rotation will take his first turn on April 4th against the Phillies, in New York’s sixth game of the season.