Francisco Lindor telling Mets to ‘keep fighting’ as he works way back

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PHILADELPHIA — Francisco Lindor regrets he can’t be on the field with his Mets teammates to help them weather this latest storm.

The shortstop, who is rehabbing from a right oblique strain, had watched his team fall to 9-13 since his injury and into second place in the NL East, a half-game behind the Phillies, as play began Saturday. Experience tells him not to fret.

“They will be fine,” Lindor said following a pregame workout at Citizens Bank Park. “The team will be fine. It sucks. I want to be there and I want to help them out. I want to do whatever it takes. I want to grind with them on a daily basis.

“They are working extremely hard, they are playing hard — I feel they are giving everything they have got. We’re not getting the results we want to get. I would love to be with them. I would love to struggle with them. But this situation I’m in, God put me in this situation right now, so I have to deal with it. I try to support them and let them know that I am there, as much as I can be there.”

Lindor sustained a Grade 2 strain of the oblique on a swing in Pittsburgh on July 16. He has progressed to taking swings off a tee and fielding grounders, but said he didn’t have a timetable for his potential return to the lineup. Acting general manager Zack Scott previously suggested that Lindor’s absence wouldn’t extend beyond five weeks, putting a potential August return in play.

Lindor said he prefers to be “discrete” about his progression.

“Let’s put it this way: If I come back soon, I will come back soon,” he said. “I don’t know when I’ll be back. I don’t have a week, I don’t have a timetable. I would love to sit here and say, ‘I’ll be back at home.’ Or I would love to say, ‘I’ll be playing rehab next week.’ I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”

With Lindor on the injured list, the Mets acquired Javier Baez from the Cubs at the trade deadline. Baez has settled in at shortstop and will shift to another infield position once Lindor returns. Baez helped the Mets win a game Wednesday in Miami with a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning.

“I love Javy,” Lindor said. “He’s my brother. I know he wants to win. That’s all he wants to do, so I’m very excited for the day I come back and turn a lot of double plays with him. I’m looking forward to it.”

Lindor remains a vocal clubhouse leader even with his absence from the lineup. He said he brings a positive message each day, regardless of the results.

“Keep fighting — that’s what I continue to say,” Lindor said. “Keep fighting and enjoy the ride. Enjoy life. As long as we have health, we have a great opportunity to do something special.

“I know the boys will be fine. I know a lot of people are pressuring, questioning what is happening. It’s this time of the year. It happens to every team. Every team goes through that stretch and we’re going through it right now. We’re going to get out of it. That’s how baseball goes.”

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