The New York Mets got an injury scare early in Tuesday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mets right fielder Starling Marte exited the game after he was hit on the hand by a pitch from Mitch Keller in the first inning. Tyler Naquin took over in right field and will bat second for the rest of the game.
New York signed Marte ahead of the 2022 season in a move that has paid off for the first-place team.
He made the second All-Star Game of his career and is slashing .292/.345/.468 with 16 home runs, 63 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 117 games this season as an important source of power and speed.
The 33-year-old has played for the Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics and Mets throughout his career as a two-time Gold Glover with seven seasons of double-digit home runs on his resume.
The Mets don't have much room for error heading into the stretch run with a one-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East standings. However, a wild-card spot will surely be waiting for whichever team finishes in second place since Atlanta is 10.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres and 12.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.
While Naquin can't reasonably replicate the impact Marte has as a regular, he does bring positional versatility with the ability to play across the outfield.
The veteran, who has also played for the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland in his career, is slashing .217/.254/.467 in 27 games for the Mets this season. He may need to fill in if Marte is sidelined following this latest setback.