Mets’ Darin Ruf’s wrist problems may be issue as season nears
PORT ST. LUCIE – The results aren’t in yet for Darrin Ruf, who doesn’t matter much in March. What could matter is his persistent wrist issues.
The Mets DH and first baseman, after a disappointing two months with the club last season, couldn’t quite shake the arthritis in his right wrist.
Roof received a cortisone shot in the wrist last month, which did not completely resolve the issue.
“It feels a little bit better than before,” Roof said Friday after the loss to the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. He added that he still feels wrist pain “sometimes”.
The 36-year-old has played two Grapefruit League games and managed the pain.
In a small sample size of six at-bats, Roof struck out four and had a hit.
He said he is unsure of the next steps for his wrist, although manager Buck Showalter recently hinted at a different treatment by the Mets.
“I don’t think he’s quite where he’s going to be,” Showalter said. “But he is fit to play.”
There may not be a Met who has used a few weeks of spring training more. Roof came over from the Giants at the trade deadline last season as a righty-hitting lefty-killer, but he hasn’t hit lefties or righties. In the 28 games since the trade, he went just 10-for-66 (.152) without a home run, and the Mets never found their DH complement to lefty Daniel Vogelbach.
Ruf is due $3 million this season and still has an intriguing bat that devastated opposing righties as recently as 2021, when he posted a 1.007 OPS in 140 plate appearances against lefties.
The Mets have considered him upside, but his fit in the 2023 club is unclear.
Last year, the slow-footed Roof played some left field, but the Mets chose righty-hitting Tommy Pham as the fourth outfielder.
Roof has been playing first base in camp, but outfielder Mark Canha has gotten more visibility as a potential backup to Pete Alonso, and Showalter has also mentioned Vogelbach and even Luis Guillorme as possible fill-in first basemen.
Roof may be relegated to a DH or pinch-hitting role against opposing lefties, but he will likely have to outplay Pham and Mark Vientos, a high-opposition prospect who pitched at Triple-A Syracuse last season. had knocked around the lefties with
For his part, Roof suggested that the very early Grapefruit League results are not a concern.
“There are camps I’ve done well, there’s camps I’ve done bad,” said Ruf, who played parts of eight seasons in the majors and spent time in the Korean Baseball Organization. “You can feel good and go out and not be good. You can feel bad, and something clicks early in the season.
“I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to how things go in the spring versus how they go on Day 1.”
With less than three weeks until Opening Day, Showalter isn’t panicking. Roof has a track record that the Mets are counting on.
“Had a lot of time off, had an injection,” Showalter said. “I expect him to get better as the spring goes on.”