WASHINGTON — Brandon Nimmo avoided the injured list to begin the season, but wasn’t deemed ready for starting duty as the Mets opened their season Thursday night.
The outfielder, who received a cortisone shot for a stiff neck earlier in the week, planned a pregame workout to evaluate his progress.
Mark Canha started in center field against the Nationals for Opening Night with Jeff McNeil in left. Hours before the scheduled first pitch, though Nimmo hoped he might still talk his way into the starting lineup, he admitted there was a need for caution.
“It means a lot to me, Opening Day does,” Nimmo said. “But you have to take the mindset of it’s one of 162. We obviously want guys to be available for the most games out of 162 possible. You have to keep that in mind, but there is something special about Opening Day and would love to be a part of it, but you do have to keep the long term in mind.”
If Nimmo was unavailable off the bench, the Mets had Travis Jankowski as a potential late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield.
Nimmo has said he believes his neck stiffness is related to a herniated disk that sidelined him during the 2019 season.
Taijuan Walker remains on track to start the game Monday at Philadelphia, according to manager Buck Showalter.
The right-hander departed his final Grapefruit League start with right knee discomfort, but Showalter said he hadn’t seen anything the past two days that would prevent Walker from starting on schedule. Walker underwent surgery to remove damaged cartilage in his knee in January.
The Mets’ 28-man roster didn’t include any real surprises: Sean Reid-Foley was added as an extra arm in the bullpen. David Peterson, who accompanied the team to Washington, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Joey Lucchesi was placed on the 60-day injured list and Jacob deGrom and Jake Reed went on the 10-day injured list.
The Mets were 39-21 in season openers heading into Thursday night. The .750 winning percentage was the best in MLB history. The Mets lost the first eight openers in franchise history, but were 39-13 since then.
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