NEW YORK -- With the Mets' offense reeling after New York was swept by the Atlanta Braves, the absence of outfielder Starling Marte is a gaping hole in the lineup.
However, Mets manager Buck Showalter said Monday that Marte, who is dealing with a nondisplaced fracture of his right middle finger, will not return for the final three games of the regular season. Showalter did not rule out Marte returning on Friday, when the team could begin hosting a wild-card round.
"We're looking at ways to manage the discomfort, trying to see if there's some way," Showalter said.
The Mets placed Marte on the injured list on Sept. 10. On Monday, Marte tried swinging a bat with two hands to test the finger. His attempt showed "little progress" and did not inspire confidence, Showalter said.
"We'll see what the next few days bring," Showalter said.
Marte was hitting .292/.347/.468, with 16 homers, 18 stolen bases and a 3.7 bWAR, before going on the injured list. While the Mets ranked fourth in baseball entering Monday in runs scored since Marte went on the injured list, the team has struggled to come through at the plate in key moments, including in a sweep by the Chicago Cubs in early September and a shutout last week against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Marte's absence was particularly noticeable in the Mets' three-game series against the Braves -- in which they were outscored 14-7.
Showalter said the team is pressing right now in the wake of the sweep by Atlanta.
"I know how much they care. I know how much the fans care," Showalter said. "You hate to disappoint people -- it hurts."
The one scenario in which the Mets can end their season with a National League East Division title requires the Miami Marlins to sweep the Braves and the Mets to sweep theWashington Nationals. The Marlins beat the Braves 4-0 on Monday night, while the Nationals-Mets opener was postponed because of rain and will be made up in a doubleheader Tuesday.
But until the Mets are mathematically eliminated from winning the division crown, Showalter would not engage in talk about a potential wild-card matchup.
"We're hoping [the Braves] lose three and we win three," Showalter said. "I ain't giving in. I've got a lot of confidence in [Marlins manager] Don Mattingly."