Mets OF Jay Bruce, who misplayed two balls in the outfield and charged another ball slowly (resulting in Ender Inciarte taking an extra base) during Wednesday's loss to the Braves, is dealing with a sore back, manager Mickey Callaway said after the game.
Bruce said after the game that the back issue was "upper butt, top of hip" soreness that comes and goes and has "been kind of barking a bit" recently.
Bruce, who is also dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, will likely not be in the starting lineup on Thursday when the Mets open a series against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, Callaway said.
The 31-year-old Bruce is hitting just .216/.297/.327 with three home runs this season. He hasn't hit a home run since May 7, and has just five extra-base hits since then.
Whether the plantar fasciitis is having a big impact on Bruce or not, his lack of power has been glaring.
Bruce's line drive percentage is a career-high 24.4 percent, so he has been hitting the ball hard. And his fly ball rate of 44.2 percent is around his career rate of 42.5. But when he does hit the ball in the air, it's usually not going far, which can be seen when looking at his home run to fly ball rate.
Bruce's career HR/FB rate is 16.4 percent. It was 19.4 percent in 2016 and 18.5 percent in 2017. This season, it's an almost impossibly low 4.3 percent.
Whatever is going on with Bruce -- whether it's a problem generating loft when he swings, the plantar fasciitis sapping his power, the back issue, or something else, the Mets badly need him to rediscover his power stroke.