Mets 2B Neil Walker was not in the starting lineup Friday for the second consecutive game.
Walker missed this past Wednesday's game with what Terry Collins said was a stiff knee.
T.J. Rivera will play second base in place of Walker.
"He said he could play, but I told him he wasn't going to play with the day off," Terry Collins said about Walker earlier this week. "He'll be ready for the weekend."
According to Collins, Walker first reported pain in his knee after Tuesday's loss to the Rangers.
Walker, 31, is being paid $17.2 million this season after accepting a qualifying offer last fall.
The Mets and Walker briefly discussed the framework for a contract extension earlier this spring. However, a deal was not worked out, resulting in both sides agreeing to punt on discussing a new deal until the offseason, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal said on air in early June.
Walker is having a strange season in what is his first since having season-ending back surgery last year. He hasn't had a lot of big moments, and he's mostly been a .220 hitter, which has made him seem like a disappointment at first glance. However, the reality is that he's otherwise been one of the most productive second basemen in National League...
|NL 2B Ranked by FanGraphs.com WAR|
His stats are a bit out of context because he had a fantastic 16-game stretch in late May. The truth is that, despite hitting an overall .263, he was batting just .218 prior to that hot streak and he's hitting just .229 in the 35 at bats since. The thing is, during those most-recent nine games, he also has four extra base hits, four RBI and six runs scored. So, despite a weak average, mostly from hitting in to bad luck, he's still helping the team put runs on the board, while also continuing to be a nice, consistent, calming, lighthearted teammate that has emerged as a leader in the clubhouse.
It's for these reasons that I still like Walker on the Mets and why I hope they don't look to trade him this summer, in the event the team is so far out of the pennant race it considering trading away a few veterans for prospects.
As I've said before, the way I understood it, Walker was very interested in signing an extension with the Mets during multiple points after last season and early in spring training. Similarly, I believe the Mets still have interest in bringing him back, 1) because he's developed in to an important cog in the clubhouse culture, and 2) it's not easy to find a solid-producing everyday second basemen in the MLB these days, but also 3) it would be nice to have a consistent, veteran presence opposite rookie Amed Rosario when he's adjusting to the big leagues the next few seasons.
Walker (20) gets ready to take batting practice at Tradition Field during March, 2017 (USA Today Images)
In contract talks this past spring, the Mets almost certainly wanted Walker to take up to a 40 percent reduction in salary for this current season, essentially overriding the qualifying offer he accepted last November and building 2017's money in to the new contract. I believe Walker was OK with this, but the MLB Player's Union was not. And so talks ended.
My hunch is that all sides agreed to punt so that this year is not an issue, after which they'll essentially hold new talks about a new contract at the end of the year. Of course, if they trade him this summer for what would likely be just a low-level prospect with upside, it will make re-signing him a bit more complicated and less likely to happen...