Jeff McNeil
AP Photo

Jeff McNeil is eligible to return to the New York Mets on Aug. 24 and he’s set to play in a rehab assignment game on Thursday.

In the thick of the National League Wild Card race, the New York Mets have reinforcements on the way. Perhaps the biggest name on the 10-day injured list currently is Jeff McNeil.

“We want to see him ranging and running down balls, just to make sure he’s totally healthy,” manager Mickey Callaway told reporters prior to Thursday night’s game in Flushing.

McNeil is dealing with a mild hamstring strain, but the Mets plan to play him between five and seven innings to see how he responds.

It’s unclear whether or not the Mets plan to give McNeil more time at Triple-A. Thursday’s game is in Lehigh Valley after which the Syracuse Mets will return home for a three-game set against the Rochester Red Wings.

The dynamic utility man is currently leading the NL with a .332 batting average, putting him in a tie for the batting title with Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Although McNeil’s hitting is his bread-and-butter, his versatility in the field has given Callaway the freedom to tinker with his lineup on a daily basis. McNeil has played at least 11 games at four different positions this season (third base, second base, left field, and right field).

Even before the second-half rebirth, McNeil was having a remarkable season. Entering Friday, the Mets sit two games back in the loss column of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final spot in the NL Wild Card Game.

McNeil will provide an immense lift when he makes his return to the lineup.

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