J.D. Martinez makes Mets return with new cleats after bizarre injury

WASHINGTON — J.D. Martinez’s new cleats arrived Wednesday, bringing him a certain measure of relief. 

The veteran DH missed Tuesday’s game because of a sore left ankle that he suspects was caused by wearing a different pair of cleats the previous night because he hadn’t received his new order.

The cleats he used Monday had an extra spike in the middle, which he says placed additional pressure on the ankle. 

J.D. Martinez hit a double in his return to the lineup. AP

Martinez said he goes through a pair of cleats every three or four games.

He expects the just-received shipment of three pairs to get him to the All-Star break. 

Before missing Tuesday’s action, Martinez had started 28 straight games.

He was back in the lineup Wednesday, going 1-for-4 with a double as the Mets dropped a 7-5 decision to the Nationals. 

Harrison Bader was absent from the starting lineup a night after crashing into the outfield fence.

Bader was removed from Tuesday’s game with neck discomfort and underwent concussion testing that was negative, according to manager Carlos Mendoza.

Harrison Bader collides with the fence as he misses a ball hit by Jacob Young for a double during the third inning of the Mets’ win over the Nationals on Tuesday night. Bader was forced to exit after the collision. AP

Tyrone Taylor started in center field in Bader’s spot. 

Francisco Alvarez received a night off, with Luis Torrens behind the plate to catch rookie Christian Scott.

Mendoza said he alerted the duo of the plan on Tuesday so they could begin spending time together and formulating a plan.

Scott’s previous major league experience was pitching to Omar Narvaez and Tomas Nido in May while Alvarez was on the injured list. 

In a nod to the Fourth of July and the popularity of fireworks in the nation’s capital, Thursday’s series finale is slated to begin at 11:05 a.m.

It left the Mets and Nationals to face a quick turnaround following Wednesday’s 6:45 p.m. first pitch at Nationals Park. 

DJ Stewart’s opportunities to play have been scarce, especially following Ben Gamel’s arrival as a lefty bat in the outfield, but Mendoza still sees the lefty slugger as a fit.

DJ Stewart has seen his playing time dwindle. Getty Images

Stewart entering Wednesday had appeared in only one game in nine days. 

“The one thing is he’s such a professional,” Mendoza said. “He comes in with a mindset that he’s in the lineup and prepares the right way.”

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