NEW YORK -- When doctors first diagnosed reliever D.J. Carrasco with a sprained right ankle in mid-March, they gave Carrasco what he considered a "doom and gloom" timetable -- six to eight weeks for a full recovery. It turned out to be accurate. Roughly six weeks after first suffering the injury, Carrasco was available for the first time Sunday out of the Mets' bullpen.
"I'm excited to redeem myself and get back out here," Carrasco said. "There's some excitement when you're playing for something still."
The Mets plan to slot Carrasco back into the middle-innings mix, fighting for mound time with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Acosta. But if Carrasco pitches anything like he did during a nine-inning rehab assignment, he could quickly see his role increase. Splitting his rehab time between Triple-A Buffalo and Class A St. Lucie, Carrasco allowed one run and three hits, striking out five and walking one.
"They tell me he's throwing great," manager Terry Collins said. "They tell me the ball's really sinking."
Carrasco estimated his cut fastball velocity at around 88 mph during his rehab, with his sinker jumping as high as 92. Both figures are multiple ticks up from where Carrasco rested last season, when he posted a 6.02 ERA in 42 games.
Now, Carrasco is back for the second half of his two-year, $2.4 million deal, looking to carry his rehab success into the regular season.
"I'm very happy with my results in rehab," Carrasco said. "My biggest thing is to have my sinker and cutter combination going. Without that, last year obviously was a big-time struggle for me. I couldn't get outs."
Set for Minors stint, Young eyes rejoining Mets
NEW YORK -- Rehabbing starter Chris Young is scheduled to make his first Minor League appearance Sunday for Class A St. Lucie, and he could rejoin the Mets by the end of the month.
Young, 32, who underwent surgery last May to repair a torn right anterior shoulder capsule, has most recently been pitching simulated games in extended spring camp. He re-joined the organization on a Minor League deal in March, after thriving for them in four starts early last season.
Regardless of their own tenuous back end of the rotation, the Mets do not plan to activate Young until he has made at least three or four Minor League starts, building up his innings total to seven or eight per game. Because Young is on a Minor League deal and not an official rehab assignment, he can spend as much time in the Minors as necessary -- meaning late May is a target date, not a necessity.
"He's feeling great," Collins said. "It's about building up his arm strength."
Young is scheduled to throw between 75 and 80 pitches Thursday, in what Collins called "the start of the process." He posted a 1.88 ERA in four starts for the Mets last season, before re-tearing a shoulder capsule that he originally injured in 2010. Battling a myriad of shoulder issues, Young has not made more than 18 starts in any season since '07.
Mets host annual Autism Awareness Day
NEW YORK -- The Mets hosted their 10th annual Autism Awareness Day on Sunday at Citi Field, teaming up with Autism Speaks for a pregame party including art therapy, video games, soccer instruction and other family activities.
To add to the comfort of their guests, the Mets turned down Citi Field's sound system in certain areas and reduced the use of strobe lights on the right-field scoreboard. They also roped off a secluded area of Citi Field's Bullpen Plaza, where fans could go if they needed a break from the crowd.
The Mets have teamed up with autism organizations over the years to help raise more than $1 million for the New York autism community. They worked this year with more than 20 different groups from the tri-state area on Autism Awareness Day.
On the disabled list since mid-April with a fractured left rib, outfielder Jason Bay is still sore "when he laughs or coughs," according to manager Terry Collins. Bay, who has also been battling the flu this week, has been limited to mild cardiovascular activity.
Center fielder Andres Torres led off Sunday for the second consecutive game, which should continue to be the plan going forward. "That's a good spot for him," Collins said, "especially the way he's swinging."