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Cubs interested in Mets catcher Rene Rivera, source says

Mets catcher Rene Rivera returns to the dugout 

Mets catcher Rene Rivera returns to the dugout  against the Rockies at Citi Field on July 16, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

SAN DIEGO — In search of candidates to serve as a backup catcher, the Cubs have reached out to the Mets to express interest in trading for Rene Rivera, a source confirmed on Tuesday. The Cubs’ level of interest is unclear, as is whether the talks have gained any traction.

Rivera would be a fit for the Cubs, who could use a veteran behind starter Willson Contreras. The Post first reported the Cubs’ potential interest.

Rivera, 33, is hitting .245 with six homers and 20 RBIs. He’s known primarily for his defense, though for periods last season he supplanted Travis d’Arnaud as the starter.

Rivera is eligible for free agency after this season, making him the type of rental player that the Mets have expressed an interest in moving before Monday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

Familia moving closer

Closer Jeurys Familia began his throwing program during the All-Star break. He has progressed far enough with his long toss to soon clear another hurdle by throwing off a mound.

Manager Terry Collins said on Tuesday that the righthander is “getting close” to mound work, which would be a major step forward in his rehab from surgery to repair a blood clot in his right shoulder.

In sticking with team policy, Collins refused to estimate a return date for Familia, who has not pitched since May 10. Collins did say that the reliever could be back before season’s end.

“I think we’ll see him this season, yes,” Collins said. “But I don’t know when.”

Extra bases

Steven Matz takes the mound on Wednesday in hopes of halting what has been a downward spiral. He has a 13.06 ERA in his last three starts and has allowed nine hits in consecutive starts for the first time in his career. “His stuff’s fine,” Collins said. “He’s just got to command his fastball better. He’s just leaving it too much over the middle of the plate.” . . . Padres righthander Jhoulys Chacin had his start pushed back to Wednesday because of back tightness. Kyle Lloyd started in his place.

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