J.D. Martinez not ready to join Mets for series against rival Braves

CINCINNATI — The Mets will not have J.D. Martinez’s bat in Atlanta.

The late-spring signing officially was eligible to join the Mets for the first time on Sunday, and there was some hope he could slide into the lineup for a series against the rival Braves that begins Monday, but the designated hitter will need more time to get his body and bat into game shape.

Martinez, who had joined the Low-A St. Lucie on Friday, played two games at DH and went 1-for-8 with two walks and no strikeouts.

J.D. Martinez won't join the Mets for their series vs. the Braves.
J.D. Martinez won’t join the Mets for their series vs. the Braves. Getty Images

More importantly, Martinez is experiencing “overall body soreness,” manager Carlos Mendoza said, the kind “that every player goes through” early in spring training.

The Mets officially signed Martinez on March 23 after a prolonged free agency.

The past few weeks have been “a quick ramp-up,” Mendoza said, and the ramp will lengthen.

“It’s going to take him a little bit longer, and that’s what we’ve been saying,” Mendoza said before the Mets beat the Reds, 3-1, on Sunday at Great American Ball Park. “It’s been fluid. We’ll see where we’re at next week.”

The immediate plan was for Martinez to take a couple days off and then to get more at-bats Tuesday.

Mendoza was not sure whether Martinez would continue to get reps with the affiliate or whether he would swing on back fields at the Mets’ facility.

Asked whether the Mets would consider bringing Martinez into the fold and letting him ease into action at the big-league level, Mendoza said: “That’s the fine line that we’re dealing here with. The last thing you want is to try to rush him and then something bad happens.”

Without Martinez, the Mets have partially used the DH slot to get DJ Stewart at-bats and partially as a way to give some rest to regulars.

Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Alvarez and Starling Marte (who went 2-for-3 with a walk as DH on Sunday) have had essentially half-days off at the spot.

Martinez, a 36-year-old, six-time All-Star, posted an .893 OPS with 33 home runs in 113 games with the Dodgers last season.

The Mets, who are averaging 2.8 runs per game with a collective .193 average, could use that kind of production when he is ready.


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