Mets reliever Drew Smith, who seemed on track to be in the Opening Day bullpen, needs Tommy John surgery, manager Mickey Callaway said Monday.
Smith, who had been sent back to New York to be evaluated by team doctors, is out for the season.
The 25-year-old Smith had been solid so far in Spring Training, tossing 4.0 scoreless innings while walking three and striking out four.
With Smith down, it opens the door for one of the other bullpen competitors to make the team.
Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo are locks for the bullpen if healthy, and Luis Avilan (as a second left-hander to complement Wilson) has pitched exceptionally well this spring and is a near-lock.
That leaves one or two more spots in the bullpen, depending on whether the Mets carry seven or eight relievers on Opening Day. And with Smith out, it could open the door for a pitcher like Tyler Bashlor or Hector Santiago (or perhaps both) to make the team.
Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy could still have a shot as well, but he has struggled badly, allowing seven runs (six earned) in 4.1 innings.
The hard-throwing Bashlor, 25, has allowed one run on five hits in 6.0 innings, while walking four and striking out two.
The 31-year-old Santiago, who has allowed one run on four hits while walking one and striking out eight in 5.0 innings this spring, would give the Mets a third left-hander (assuming they carry Avilan).