CHICAGO — The roster crunch is coming soon for the Mets, maybe even as soon as this weekend, but the decision as to which catchers to keep on the 26-man roster is looming.
Tomas Nido, who has been on the 10-day injured list since May 10 with dry eye syndrome, has been on assignment with Low-A St. Lucie and is considered day-to-day with a “timeline to be determined.” He’s eligible to be reinstated. Manager Buck Showalter said he has been fighting some sort of illness in Port St. Lucie, though there was no indication as to whether or not that will affect a timeline for his return.
Omar Narvaez (left calf strain) is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment Thursday with High-A Brooklyn. He’ll catch Thursday and Saturday and then continue the assignment with Triple-A Syracuse. He’s eligible to be activated June 5, but the Mets are off that day so he wouldn’t be activated until June 6.
“We’ve tried to be as conservative as we can be with this,” Showalter said of Narvaez’s calf strain.
The Gary Sanchez experiment has had mixed results. Sanchez had a good game over the weekend in New York, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and receiving praise from Max Scherzer, who said he appreciated the former Yankee catcher’s “creativity” behind the plate.
But Tuesday in Chicago in a loss to the Cubs, Sanchez had a rough game. He was charged with a passed ball that scored a run, and he failed to glove a routine popup behind the plate.
Francisco Alvarez was back in the lineup Wednesday and Showalter said he plans to use him Thursday as well. Alvarez has gained very high praise from the pitching staff and from the coaching staff, who appreciate his eagerness to learn and willingness to work.
“His want-to is through the roof,” Showalter said. “Being able to slow it down a little bit, I think that comes from just settling in.”
Alvarez has shown improvements to his framing and footwork behind the plate, but Showalter also pointed to another defensive improvement that has stood out to him: Backing up the first baseman.
“It’s entertaining to watch,” Showalter said.
Alvarez came into Wednesday’s game hitting .238 with five home runs. The coaching staff has worked with him on shortening his swing and he’s been better able to recognize how he’s being pitched.
Alvarez has options but Sanchez and Nido don’t. The Mets aren’t going to rush Narvaez given the sensitivity of his injury and they seem content to take their time with Nido as well, but at some point, a decision has to be made.
MORE INJURY UPDATES
Outfielder Tim Locastro had surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb Tuesday.
Right-hander Sam Coonrod, who strained his lat during spring training, is going through a throwing progression and is throwing from 105 feet. The Mets are aiming for a July assignment for their winter acquisition.
Right-hander Elieser Hernandez threw live batting practice Wednesday and will throw another before the Mets evaluate his next step. Hernandez started the season on the injured list with a right shoulder strain.
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