jay bruce new york mets
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce had been working his way back from a strained right hip, but his rehab has taken an unfortunate detour.

During the middle of the winter, it was easy for New York Mets fans to get excited about having both Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes anchoring the middle of the batting order. Let’s just say that things haven’t gone according to plan thus far in 2018, and a recent setback for Bruce will make it even harder for this to become a reality.

After beginning his road back to the active roster recently, manager Mickey Callaway talked about what the immediate future holds for his left-handed hitting outfielder, via Tim Healey of Newsday:

“He started baseball activity, started feeling some stuff in his hip, and [the medical staff] recommended that he get shut down for a 10-day period and kind of reassess him after that.”

This 10-day period began a few days ago, so the earliest Bruce could re-start his rehab process would be sometime next week — if the reassessment goes well.

For the 31-year-old, this is just another disappointing sequence of events during a frustrating season.

After setting a career-high in home runs (36) to go along with his second career 100-plus RBI performance (101) in 2017, he’s looked nothing like the hitter New York thought it signed last winter. Through 236 plate appearances, he’s slashing .212/.292/.321 with just three home runs and 17 RBI.

Among hitters with at least 230 plate appearances so far in 2018, Bruce’s 70 wRC+ is among the 20 worst. That’s not the kind of return on investment any team would want to see after committing three years and $39 million to a particular player.

With their season already going down the drain, the next few months will be important for the Mets to see exactly what they have on the roster moving forward. That’s mostly focused on the young guys, but it’ll also be a time to get the veterans that’d be really hard to trade away — like Bruce and Cespedes — back on track.

The first step toward accomplishing that will be getting them both back on the field, though.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.