JUPITER, Fla. — Brandon Nimmo‘s return to Mets camp Wednesday came complete with a shot of good news. Doctors classified Nimmo’s pulled right hamstring as “way better than they were expecting,” in the outfielder’s words, making it “very feasible” he could be ready for Opening Day.
“It feels fine,” Nimmo said. “It’s really improved a lot over the past couple days, so I think the saving grace was when I felt it, I just kind of shut it down.”
Nimmo initially felt his hamstring tug chasing a hit in Team Italy’s World Baseball Classic loss to Puerto Rico on Sunday. He left the game almost immediately, departing Mexico shortly thereafter to return to Mets camp.
“There’s a bigger picture in mind,” Nimmo said.
For Nimmo, that bigger picture means competing for the Mets’ fifth outfielder’s job alongside Michael Conforto, Ty Kelly and others. Manager Terry Collins indicated Monday that if Nimmo cannot play in many Grapefruit League games prior to Opening Day, he will have a difficult time winning that job. But that was before Nimmo received Wednesday’s dose of good news.
Nearly as disappointing for Nimmo was having to depart Team Italy, which made a surprise run in World Baseball Classic pool play. Composed largely of Italian-Americans, the team advanced to a second round play-in game against Venezuela, a loss that did not include Nimmo. He finished 2-for-11 with a home run in Classic play.
“That was disappointing,” Nimmo said. “I really, really enjoyed that experience. The games there I think are as close to playoff baseball as you can get without actually being in it. Every pitch matters. That team gelled really, really quickly, too. Just a bunch of grinders. We really didn’t care what we did individually, we were just trying to help the team win. And so I was really, really disappointed I wasn’t able to contribute in that last game. But I was able to shut it down there quickly, and I think saved some time on the [recovery].”
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.