Starling Marte didn’t play in Monday night’s 5-0 win over San Diego, but Buck Showalter was hopeful the outfielder wouldn’t miss much time after leaving Sunday’s game with a neck strain suffered on a dive into third base.
“The concussion part, I think we’re in pretty good shape, but his neck is a little sore,’’ Showalter said prior to Monday’s series opener at Citi Field. “He took a pretty good pop there and got a little whiplash.”
It’s the second time since the start of spring training that Marte has been tested for a concussion.
Asked if that was a concern, Showalter said, “The concern would be if he tested positive either time.”
Showalter was also relieved Marte was removed from Sunday’s game after some initial hesitation.
“With the neck and head, you err [on the side of caution],’’ Showalter said. “He took a pretty good lick there.”
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The Mets’ third-base situation still bears watching, with Eduardo Escobar off to another slow start, although he delivered his first two extra-base hits of the season over the weekend.
If he continues to struggle, all eyes will be on prospect Brett Baty at Triple-A Syracuse.
The 23-year-old relieved some concern when he returned to the lineup on Sunday after he was removed from last Tuesday’s game with a right thumb injury.
Imaging had revealed only inflammation — and no structural damage, which had been a worry, since he underwent surgery on the same thumb last season.
Showalter said Escobar and the team are aware of the situation he’s in, with Baty coming off a strong spring training during which he made a case for himself to be on the major league roster — especially with his bat.
“Everybody feels for [Escobar] a little bit,’’ Showalter said of Escobar, who had a sacrifice fly on Monday and made a pair of solid plays at third. “He’ll tell you, rightfully so, some of the [spotlight] might be more on him at this time. He welcomes that challenge.”
Showalter also spoke to Escobar recently about his early woes at the plate.
“I told him to keep in mind who he is and how he got here and the things he’s overcome,’’ Showalter said. “He’s gonna seek his level, whatever that is. I have confidence in him and he’s played really good defense for us [and made] tough plays.”
Another top prospect, Francisco Alvarez, was back on the bench on Monday after making his first major league appearance of the year on Sunday.
With San Diego scheduled to start lefties on both Tuesday and Wednesday, Alvarez wasn’t expected to start against the right-handed Yu Darvish.
Tomas Nido got the start instead and made an error when he threw behind Rougned Odor at first base on a pickoff attempt and the ball sailed into right field.
“He’ll probably catch [Tuesday], I’m not sure yet,’’ Showalter said of Alvarez, who had an RBI single but also struck out twice on Sunday.
Defensively, Alvarez had the Marlins go 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts, although Showalter said one of those could have been overturned if the Mets had more time to look at the replay and emphasized again some of the new rule changes — including the larger bases — make it more difficult for catchers to prevent stolen bases.