NEW YORK -- In the bottom of the seventh inning in their 12-7 extra-inning loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday night, the Mets' injury woes transformed from unfortunate to unreal.
After grounding out to second base leading off the inning, Luis Castillo slipped walking down the dugout steps and suffered a mild sprain of his left ankle.
As a result, Castillo was not in the lineup on Wednesday afternoon. Angel Berroa got the start at shortstop with Alex Cora moving over to Castillo's customary spots at second in the lineup and the field.
Castillo was in the ballpark receiving treatment before the game.
"We knew from last night that he'd be really sore today," manager Jerry Manuel said. "I kind of anticipate that it will be a day-to-day thing."
Manuel has used those words countless times in a season gone awry with injuries. The Mets' lineup has been without Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran for much of the year. But Castillo's injury topped them all in terms of absurdity, serving as a microcosm for the entire season.
The second baseman has quietly had a very solid year for the Mets, batting .297 with 57 runs scored. The injury-prone Castillo has also played in 93 games for the Mets one season after suiting up for only 87 games and hitting .245.
Castillo was coming off one of his best months in years in July, when he hit .368, scored 17 runs and had an on-base percentage of .478 -- the highest in the National League for anyone with more than 50 at-bats.
Castillo has emerged as one of the team's key table-setters in the absence of Reyes, who flew back to New York on Monday night to have his bothersome right hamstring examined by doctors. That process was still going on Wednesday morning.
There is a chance that Reyes could now miss the remainder of the season with an injury he expected to keep him out for just one day. Reyes has not played since pulling himself from a game in Los Angeles on May 20. In the intervening time, he has suffered numerous setbacks, including one last Friday that prevented him from running the bases in Port St. Lucie as planned.
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.