Mendoza says too early to gauge whether Mauricio can return in '24

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Carlos Mendoza thinks it is too soon to determine whether infield prospect Ronny Mauricio can return at some point next season from a torn ACL.

"That's hard to tell," Mendoza said Wednesday at the team's kids holiday party. "He's going through a lot of tests and we'll see what the doctors -- the reports that we get from the doctors and the medical department, and we'll see where we at."

The 22-year-old Mauricio, who made his major league debut Sept. 1, was hurt while playing for Tigres del Licey in the switch on Sunday night. Mauricio was on first base and started for second in what appeared to be a stolen base attempt, then stopped, fell and grabbed his right knee. He walked gingerly off the field.

New York said Tuesday that imaging revealed a torn ACL and added a timeline for his return will be determined after the operation. Many athletes return from torn ACLs in six to nine months.

"He didn't seem too concerned at first. But then once we got the news, obviously not ideal," Mendoza said. "Devastating."

Mauricio hit .248 with two homers, nine RBI, seven steals and a .643 OPS for the Mets in September after batting .292 with 23 homers, 71 RBI and 24 steals for Triple-A Syracuse. The switch-hitter was batting .433 (13 for 40) in seven games for Licey this offseason.

Mauricio was expected to compete in spring training for regular playing time at second base, third base or both. He made 21 starts at second for the Mets last season and five at third.

Fellow youngsters Brett Baty and Mark Vientos remain likely to compete for the third base job this spring. New York can play versatile Jeff McNeil at second, which would open room in the outfield. The team also signed veteran utility infielder Joey Wendle this offseason.

"We've been saying that we have a lot of depth, right? And he was part of that depth. Obviously, we took a hit, and we have to revisit," Mendoza said.

Vientos spent the better part of a week this offseason staying with Francisco Lindor and working out with the All-Star shortstop.

"I got so much out of it, going over there and training with him," Vientos said. "Just learning his mentality and the way he goes about his businesses is eye-opening."