Mets outfielder Tim Locastro will have surgery on the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, with manager Buck Showalter relaying the news to reporters, including Tim Healey of Newsday.
Locastro, 30, joined the Mets on a minor league deal this winter and made the club’s Opening Day roster. He got into 11 games with the Mets in the early going, though only made 10 trips to the plate since he was largely serving as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. He then landed on the injured list April 17 due to back spasms, heading out on a rehab assignment about two weeks later. It appears that he injured his thumb during that rehab, with Showalter telling Healey that it occured when diving back into first base. It seems the issue is serious enough that he will now have to go under the knife.
The outfielder is already on the 60-day injured list, having been transferred there when Gary Sánchez was added to the roster last week. That makes Locastro officially ineligible to return until mid-June, 60 days from his initial IL placement. The Mets haven’t announced a timeline on his return but the surgery will undoubtedly keep him out of action well beyond the next few weeks. Gilberto Celestino of the Twins also underwent surgery on the UCL in his thumb this year, with that club announcing his timeline as six to eight weeks. It’s now been almost 12 weeks and he’s yet to begin a rehab assignment. Not all injuries are the same but it seems like Locastro won’t be an option for some significant period of time.
Locastro wasn’t going to be a core member of the club but the Mets likely gave him a roster position to take advantage of his baserunning abilities. His sprint speed was ranked in the 99th percentile last year and he has 43 career steals in 48 attempts. The club’s 31 steals on the year place them right in the middle of the league, tied with three other clubs in 14th place. Though Starling Marte, who has 12, is the only player on the roster with more than four. Locastro has a career batting line of .224/.325/.326 in 559 plate appearances.