ATLANTA — Shake it up, baby.
In what might be the equivalent of giving the Titanic’s anchor a paint job, the Mets made two bullpen moves Tuesday and unveiled plans to rearrange the outfield after learning their Opening Day left fielder would be lost for at least another month.
In a nutshell:
— Jeurys Familia was placed on the injured list for the second time this season with a Bennett lesion in his right shoulder. In addition, struggling Drew Gagnon was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets recalled lefty Daniel Zamora and selected the contract of Stephen Nogosek from Syracuse.
— Brandon Nimmo will be shut down from baseball activities for at least another 30 days after consulting with Dr. Robert Watkins and receiving a second epidural for the bulging disk in his neck. Nimmo was playing rehab games at Syracuse last week before suffering a setback.
— With Nimmo removed from the equation long term, manager Mickey Callaway indicated he plans to rearrange his outfield in order to get Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto in the same lineup against right-handers. Conforto will likely shift to center field, with McNeil in right and Smith in left. Against lefties, J.D. Davis could play left.
The shake-up comes as the Mets are trying to salvage their season in the midst of a difficult 11-game road trip against playoff contenders. On Monday, the Mets were destroyed 12-3 by the Braves, with Familia and Gagnon among the culprits.
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Familia surrendered three runs over one-third of an inning and saw his ERA bloat to 7.81, continuing a scuffle that began in April. He opened May on the IL — diagnosed with a bone spur (Bennett lesion) on his right shoulder — but the results haven’t improved. Since May 29 he has pitched to a 16.50 ERA.
Gagnon had struggled in recent weeks, with his ERA surging to 7.65 following a performance in which he allowed two eighth-inning homers.
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Zamora has pitched to a 6.00 ERA in 11 appearances with the Mets this season. Nogosek, whom the Mets acquired from the Red Sox for Addison Reed at the trade deadline in 2017, was 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA in 19 games between Double-A Binghamton and Syracuse.
Callaway indicated Nimmo’s neck injury likely stems from crashing into the left-field fence earlier this season. Nimmo’s recent IL stint had led to increased playing time for Juan Lagares in center field, but now Callaway appears ready to give his best offensive lineup a try, with Smith and McNeil in the same outfield.
“There’s things you can do to get those bats in the lineup and I’m open to that,” said Conforto, who has previous experience in center. “I feel comfortable out there in center. I haven’t practiced out there in a bit, but I will get out there and practice and it’s like riding a bike.”
Nimmo joined Jed Lowrie (hamstring) among the position players facing a long-term absence. Lowrie still hasn’t played for the Mets since receiving a two-year contract worth $20 million. In addition, Yoenis Cespedes’ potential comeback this season was thwarted last month, when he sustained multiple ankle fractures in an accident on his ranch.
“You come into the season, you count on Nim, his on-base percentage is such a helpful way to score runs,” Callaway said. “But we covered ourselves with depth and we need that depth to step up and continue to play good baseball.”