ATLANTA -- Jeff McNeil spoke in a soft voice, disappointment plain to see on his face. Around him, the Mets’ clubhouse was uncharacteristically quiet, as players dressed and departed SunTrust Park in hushed tones.
Late Tuesday, the Mets did not yet know if McNeil’s left hamstring injury would require a

ATLANTA -- Jeff McNeil spoke in a soft voice, disappointment plain to see on his face. Around him, the Mets’ clubhouse was uncharacteristically quiet, as players dressed and departed SunTrust Park in hushed tones.

Late Tuesday, the Mets did not yet know if McNeil’s left hamstring injury would require a stint on the injured list, but members of the team appeared to be bracing for that sort of outcome. In their continued attempt to charge up the National League standings, the Mets understand they can ill afford to lose McNeil, who has led the NL in hitting for large swaths of this season.

“It sucks,” McNeil said. “The team’s playing well. I just want to contribute. Hopefully, this is something real short and I can get back on the field.”

Leading off the ninth inning of the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Braves, McNeil pulled up in pain just past first base as he attempted to beat out an infield grounder. He grabbed his left hamstring, then walked off the field gingerly alongside manager Mickey Callaway and trainer Joe Golia.

The Mets scheduled McNeil for an MRI, which should reveal more details about the severity of the injury, on Wednesday morning in Atlanta.

“It didn’t feel great,” McNeil said. “I don’t think it’s terrible. We have no timeline. I guess we’ll see how it feels in the morning.”

If McNeil lands on the injured list, the Mets have several options to replace a player who has spent most of his recent time at second base and in right field. The team recently acquired Joe Panik, a career second baseman who could start at that position. Luis Guillorme could also see increased playing time at second, given that the Mets kept him over Adeiny Hechavarria when they needed to clear roster space for Panik last week. In the Minors, hot-hitting veteran Ruben Tejada is a candidate for a callup.

McNeil’s injury could also result in more playing time in the outfield for Juan Lagares, who went 4-for-4 on Tuesday, and Aaron Altherr. Complicating matters is the fact that regular second baseman Robinson Canó is already on the IL due to his own hamstring tear, and not due back any time soon.

The Mets will sort out those possibilities this week. They know there is no true substitute for McNeil, who is batting a team-high .332 with 15 home runs and a .929 OPS. At the time of his injury, McNeil ranked fourth in the Majors in batting average behind DJ LeMahieu, Christian Yelich and Bryan Reynolds. Given his current rates of production, McNeil seemed destined for some down-ballot NL MVP Award votes.

“It’s tough,” Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler said. “He’s a huge part of this team. He brings the fire every day to the field. He’s a ballplayer, and you need those types of guys on the team. You need them in the lineup. It’s unfortunate that that happened. Hopefully, it’s not too serious and he can get back decently quick. We’ll need his bat, that’s for sure.”

Earlier this year, McNeil spent about two weeks on the IL with a strain of the same left hamstring. He said he could not determine whether this current injury, which he called “a snag” of the hamstring, is more or less severe.

“I didn’t feel a pop or anything with that one,” McNeil said. “Hopefully, it’s nothing worse than that.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

August 23, 2019
Steve King to defend controversial abortion comments

Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa and an outspoken abortion opponent, will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. ET to discuss "the importance of maintaining a no exceptions position on abortion in federal and state legislation." He'll be joined by a handful of anti-abortion rights activist leaders, including…

August 23, 2019
What Ruth Bader Ginsburg's lung surgery means

Ruth Bader Ginsburg recovering after surgery Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is said to be "resting comfortably" after surgery at a New York City hospital to remove two cancerous nodules from her lung. It was not her first time dealing cancer, and the news prompted many questions about the…

August 23, 2019
Source: Ruling on AB grievance likely next week

playRosenhaus: If appeal fails, Brown will still play (1:22)Antonio Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says if their appeal to wear his helmet is denied, he'll still continue his NFL career. (1:22)The hearing on Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown's latest helmet grievance has concluded, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter, and…

August 23, 2019
Federer eyes Open, shuts out Wimbledon defeat

1:51 PM ETPeter BodoESPN.com Staff Writer ClosePeter Bodo has been covering tennis for over 35 years, mostly recently for ESPN. He is a former WTA Writer of the Year and the author of numerous books, including the classic "The Courts of Babylon" and the New York Times bestseller (with Pete…