New York Mets won’t have Starling Marte for final three games, wild-card return a possibility, Buck Showalter says

NEW YORK — As the Mets’ offense falters after New York was defeated 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 struggling with an unpostponed fracture of his right middle finger, will not return for the final three games of the regular season. Showalter didn’t rule out Marte’s return on Friday as the team was able to begin hosting a wildcard round.

“We’re looking at ways to manage the discomfort and trying to see if there’s a way,” Showalter said.

The Mets placed Marte on the September 10 injury list. Before Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals, Marte attempted to swing a two-handed racquet 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 hit .292/.347/.468, with 16 homers, 18 stolen bases and a 3.7 bWAR before being put on the injured list. While the Mets finished fourth in baseball Monday in runs scored since Marte was injured, the team struggled to get through at the plate in key moments, including a win over 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 outplayed 14-7.

Showalter said the team is pressing right now after Atlanta’s sweep.

“I know how much they care, I know how much the fans care,” Showalter said. “You hate disappointing people, it hurts.”

The only scenario in which the Mets can end their season with a National League East title requires the Miami Marlins to sweep the Braves and the Mets to sweep the Nationals. But until the Mets are mathematically eliminated from the divisional crown, Showalter would not be discussing a possible wildcard matchup.

“We hope [the Braves] Lose three and we win three,” Showalter said. “I’m not giving up. I have a lot of confidence [Marlins manager] Don Mattingly.”