Javier Baez returns from injury, boosts struggling New York Mets' lineup after missing 11 games

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Monday, August 23, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Javier Baez returned to the New York Mets' lineup Sunday after missing 11 games with back spasms.

The two-time All-Star was reinstated from the injured list and started at shortstop in the finale of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He batted third and drove an RBI double off the wall in the first inning against David Price before scoring on J.D. Davis' single. Baez then added a two-out double in the seventh inning, scoring on a Davis home run as the Mets won 7-2.

"Even when I was out, I was trying to bring my energy and bring my happiness to the team, to the dugout," Baez said after his second multihit game since joining the Mets last month from the Chicago Cubs. "I know we're going through a struggle right now. We understand we're playing really good teams. I think we've got the talent to be up there, and I hope it comes back to us pretty soon."

Baez beat fellow infielder Francisco Lindor back to the Mets' lineup, but not by much. Lindor has been out for five weeks with a right oblique strain, but manager Luis Rojas said the former Cleveland star should be in the lineup within the next few days.

"Just to see a new face in the lineup that hasn't been there for 10 days or so who comes in and whacks that ball, that double, I think that's something the team can feed off of," Rojas said of Baez's return. "There are some good things you can transmit to the other players. I think that set the tone for us."

Baez has filled in at shortstop for Lindor when available, but he hadn't found his form at the plate since moving from the Cubs to the Mets at the July 30 trade deadline. He went 6-for-35 (.171) with two homers and 14 strikeouts in his first 10 games with New York before getting injured.

His first-inning RBI against the Dodgers was just the fourth run he has driven in for the Mets.

The Mets went 3-8 during Baez's absence. New York was in first place in the National League East on Aug. 5 but is now seven games back, in third place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.