Mets’ Carlos Carrasco optimism ruined by new injury

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PORT ST. LUCIE – Carlos Carrasco was on the right track to beginning the season in the Mets rotation, until he wasn’t.

Only hours after the right-hander threw 20 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and manager Luis Rojas expressed optimism Carrasco could be ready for his first start of the regular season, the Mets announced the veteran pitcher was undergoing an MRI exam for a strained right hamstring sustained during conditioning, following his throwing session. A source indicated Carrasco was running when he felt the hamstring discomfort.

The setback puts Carrasco’s first start of the season back in doubt, opening the door for two of the three among David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto to join the starting rotation.

Carrasco, who turns 34 this weekend, was behind schedule in his throwing after last week experiencing elbow discomfort. He started workouts late this spring to receive extra medical evaluation, as a leukemia survivor.

Rojas was apparently unaware of the hamstring injury when he spoke to reporters before the Mets faced the Nationals in an exhibition game at Clover Park. The manager had indicated he was looking toward Carrasco throwing 35-40 pitches in his next throwing session and still having enough time to prepare for his first start.

Lucchesi and Yamamoto, who arrived in offseason trades, have been the most impressive of the starting pitchers competing for a job. One vacancy exists because Noah Syndergaard’s rehab from Tommy John surgery won’t be complete before June. A sidelined Carrasco would leave a second opening, behind Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker.

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