WASHINGTON -- A struggling Mets bullpen is now suffering through multiple injuries, just as the team's rotation is shifting shape.
The Mets placed right-hander Ramon Ramirez on the disabled list Tuesday and received some troubling news regarding fellow reliever Jon Rauch, who stayed back in New York to meet with doctors. Rauch is dealing with debris in his right elbow, which will sideline him until Friday's series opener against the Yankees. In the interim, the Mets will play with a short-handed 'pen.
That will place more pressure on New York's starting pitchers to last deep into games. To that end, the team selected right-hander Chris Young from Triple-A Buffalo to start Tuesday's game, and activated Miguel Batista from the disabled list to back him up in the bullpen. Young, who underwent surgery last May to repair a torn capsule in his right shoulder, will be on a limit of approximately 90 pitches. Batista is fully healthy after straining his lower back May 19 in Toronto.
The Mets will proceed with a six-man rotation for this week only, hoping Young can reclaim some of the form that saw him post a 1.88 ERA in four starts prior to his injury last season.
"We're going to have to get some innings out of our starters, for sure," manager Terry Collins said. "Certainly, we're going to have to be careful about how we use some of the guys in our bullpen."
To make room for Batista, the Mets designated right-hander Jack Egbert for assignment.
The injuries to Ramirez and Rauch come at a time when the Mets' starters are thriving but their relievers are struggling. Ramirez, who strained his right hamstring while running from the bullpen Friday to celebrate Johan Santana's no-hitter, has whiffed 25 batters in 26 1/3 innings but posted a 6.75 ERA over his last seven outings. Rauch has struggled even more since reeling off 11 consecutive scoreless outings to open the season, posting an 8.53 ERA in 15 games since that time.
Largely as a result of that, the Mets entered Tuesday's play with a league-worst 5.45 bullpen ERA, more than a full run worse than the 29th-ranked Blue Jays.
"I've tried to say a couple times that when they're used correctly, they've been very effective," Collins said. "For the most part, I think if we get the matchups that are correct, we should be more effective and pitch better."