Mets’ Brandon Nimmo could return to lineup this weekend

Mets’ Brandon Nimmo could return to lineup this weekend

Brandon Nimmo could return to the Mets lineup as soon as this weekend against the Rays.

The center fielder, who went on the injured list last week with a left index finger bone bruise, spent Monday’s off day taking “a lot of swings,” according to manager Luis Rojas, and responded well. He is eligible to be activated Thursday, another off day, at the earliest.

“We’re gonna test some [at-bats off a velocity] machine and different things so we ramp it up to game speed,” Rojas said Tuesday before the Mets’ 3-2 win over the Orioles. “That’s when we’re going to make the final decision for him to potentially come off this weekend.”

J.D. Davis (left hand sprain) is eligible to come off the injured list Wednesday but is a few days behind Nimmo in his progression, Rojas said. The third baseman has still not hit off a live arm or a pitching machine, but could do so in the coming days to test the vibration and contact of the bat on his hand.

The Mets have still not decided whether Davis might need to go on a rehab assignment to test how his hand feels in live at-bats.

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The unveiling of the Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field has been pushed back to Opening Day of 2022, the Mets announced Tuesday. The club had originally set July 22 of this season as the date for the dedication ceremony.

“We are excited to unveil this one-of-a-kind tribute to Tom, but it has to be right,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said in a release. “Given delays related to the pandemic, the artist asked for additional time to complete his work. After conferring with the Seaver family, we made the decision to unveil the statue on Opening Day 2022.”

The Mets announced plans for a Seaver statue in 2019, when they renamed a street outside of Citi Field in his honor. The Hall of Fame pitcher died last August at the age of 75.

“We are excited to celebrate the unveiling with more fans at Citi Field in 2022 and know that Tom would be proud,” the Seaver Family said in a statement.

Dominic Smith was out of the lineup Tuesday as the Mets loaded up on right-handed hitters to face Orioles left-hander John Means.

The lefty-swinging Smith, who pinch-hit for Albert Almora Jr. and got an RBI single, took ground balls at first base before the game, a potential precursor to him playing there this weekend when the Mets will have a DH against the Rays.