Mets send Lagares back to New York for MRI

Mets send Lagares back to New York for MRI

PHILADELPHIA -- A day after calling the ribcage spasms that kept him from starting Saturday's game "nothing big," center fielder Juan Lagares returned to the lineup, but left after 10 innings with pain in the same area.

The Mets planned to send Lagares back to New York City for an MRI.

"I started to feel it the other day a little bit," Lagares said after Sunday's game. "Today, I felt it a little more. When I came here today, I felt like normal. I swung in the cage and didn't feel anything. During the game, in my last at-bat, I felt it a little more and I said, 'I have to stop. That's not normal.'"

Earlier on Sunday, the Mets optioned outfielder Matt den Dekker to Triple-A Las Vegas. But den Dekker never actually made it out of the Philadelphia area, and the Mets instructed him to skip his flight and return to the team in case Lagares must go on the disabled list.

Lagares first began feeling pain early on Saturday, and was a late scratch from that afternoon's 14-inning win over the Phillies. He appeared in the final inning as a pinch-hitter, laying down a successful sacrifice bunt. But manager Terry Collins said he could not have swung the bat, if needed.

After the game, Lagares downplayed the severity of his injury, contradicting Collins by saying he could have swung. By Sunday morning, Lagares was able to convince Mets management that he was healthy enough to play, but aggravated the injury running the bases.

Lagares, 25, entered Sunday with a .291 average and .766 OPS in 41 games. He missed time earlier this season with a hamstring strain, losing significant playing time to Eric Young upon his return. But Lagares had been back to playing every day even before Young went on the disabled list on May 26 with his own hamstring injury.

Lagares was 1-for-5 with a stolen base before leaving Sunday's 4-3 extra-innings win.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.