Also announced: Neil Walker to begin rehab assignment Friday. Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment
The New York Mets announced one return ahead of Thursday’s series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals. Josh Smoker has been activated after being on a rehab assignment. Neil Walker will also start a rehab assignment in AAA Las Vegas on Friday. Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment to make room for Smoker on the roster.
Smoker pitched a scoreless inning for Binghamton in what was a resumed game against Akron. He struck out two batters and threw 17 pitches (11 strikes). Smoker also allowed two hits. Earlier this month, he began his rehab assignment with St. Lucie and pitched to a 4.15 ERA. Smoker allowed two runs on six hits over 4.1 innings and struck out three with the Mets’ Class A advanced affiliate.
Ramirez sees an end that was evident for a while. After getting DFA’d twice in 2017, the Mets decided to bring him in to try to add something to an ailing bullpen. Things didn’t turn around for Ramirez who recorded a 6.43 ERA in 20 appearances with the Mets. He continued to struggle mightily with free passes, issuing 17 walks in 21 innings.
Walker has been on the shelf for a little over a month with a partially torn hamstring. The veteran second baseman started to show more power before landing on the disabled list. He homered three times in 11 June games after recording six homers over the first two months of the season. Walker also continued to raise his batting average after just a .195 clip in April.
The biggest question is what happens with the infield, specifically Asdrubal Cabrera once Walker returns from his rehab stint. Anthony DiComo is reporting that both Cabrera and Walker will begin taking ground balls at third. The infield makeup could change again with the trade deadline looming and Cabrera’s name linked in chatter.
Las Vegas will be far away from home when Walker joins them. The 51s will start an eight-game road trip with a four-game series in Memphis.