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Pete Alonso, the NL home run leader, makes speedy return to Mets after wrist injury

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets

Jun 18, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) stands during the National Anthem prior to the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- National League home run leader Pete Alonso returned to the New York Mets’ lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals after spending the minimum 10 days on the injured list with a left wrist bone bruise and sprain.

Alonso was expected to miss three to four weeks after he was hit by a 97 mph fastball thrown by the Atlanta Braves’ Charlie Morton in the first inning on June 7. But Alonso, whose 22 homers are one fewer than major league leader Shohei Ohtani, said he thought last week he’d beat the timeline by a considerable margin.

“Happy that it responded well to treatment,” Alonso said before the game. “I feel excellent and I’m at 100% everything. If I’m at 100%, why wait?”

The stint on the IL was the second in Alonso’s five seasons in the majors. He was sidelined with a sprained right wrist from May 21-31, 2021. The 28-year-old Alonso has missed just 28 games since reaching the majors in 2019.

“I kind of wanted to keep hitting those benchmarks as quickly as I could so I could get back as quick as I could,” Alonso said. “I take pride in being out there and playing as many games as possible. I love the game and I love playing and I love playing with the guys here in the locker room.”

Alonso started at first base and batted fourth for the Mets, who went 3-5 in the eight full games Alonso missed.

Francisco Lindor, who pinch-hit in a 5-3 loss hours after his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child, also returned to the lineup for the Mets. New York is 33-37 and five games back of the San Francisco Giants in the race for the final wild card.

“I think it’s a culture - these guys take a lot of pride in posting up and being there for their teammates,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.

To make room for Alonso, the Mets optioned rookie Mark Vientos to Triple-A Syracuse. Vientos hit .178 with one homer and five RBIs in 16 games over the last month.