That prudence seemed to work, allowing a healthy Torres to break camp with the Mets in time for Opening Day. But Torres re-strained his left calf in the seventh inning Thursday, and he will land on the disabled list before the Mets play their next game on Saturday.
"I feel terrible this thing happened," Torres said. "But at the same time, I have to be positive and try to get better."
Ranging back to cut off Tyler Pastornicky's hit in the seventh, Torres appeared to misplay it into a triple as the ball rolled past him. A moment later, he simply stopped chasing the ball, waiting for Lucas Duda to field it.
"Andres is kind of like the Energizer Bunny," left fielder Jason Bay said. "He's a high-energy guy. For him to let the ball go to the wall and just stand there is not him. I kind of figured something was wrong."
The diagnosis was a strained left calf, the same injury that forced Torres out for two weeks in Spring Training. Torres did not return to action until last Monday, spawning all sorts of contingency plans as the Mets prepared to break camp.
One of those alternatives, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, is the likely sub for Torres. The Mets recently held Nieuwenhuis back in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in case Torres was unable to go on Opening Day. Though he has never appeared in a Major League game, Nieuwenhuis is already on the 40-man roster, making him the heavy favorite to earn a callup.
The Mets could also call on veteran utility man Vinny Rottino or center-field prospect Matt den Dekker. But neither of those players are on the 40-man roster, making them unlikely subs unless the Mets plan to be without Torres for a significant time. To that end, both Torres and manager Terry Collins indicated that this injury is not as serious as the one that cost him two weeks in spring.
"We'll have to wait and see," Collins said. "But Andres passed every test he had to pass to be ready to play. I don't think this is as bad as the one he got in Florida. But still, when you rely on your legs, it's a serious injury."
Whoever gets the call will likely play behind Scott Hairston, the club's primary backup center fielder.
Injuries limited Torres to 112 games last year, a down season that saw him hit .221 with a .312 on-base percentage and four home runs. Torres plans to fly back to Port St. Lucie on Friday.