Francisco Alavarez #4 of the New York Mets hits from...

Francisco Alavarez #4 of the New York Mets hits from the cage before a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on Saturday, May 25, 2024 in the Queens borough of New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

As he settled into the cage Saturday morning for one of the most mundane acts in any player’s routine — a few bunts at the start of batting practice — Francisco Alvarez smiled wide.

The Mets’ injured catcher didn’t care how boring it looked or how silly it might seem, especially for him, a slugger. He was on the field with teammates and coaches, taking BP for the first time since having left thumb surgery about a month ago.

In this small way, he was back.

“I feel like a baseball player,” he said.

Was he letting it rip, taking full swings?

“I hit the ball 115 [mph],” Alvarez said. “You see?”

That’s a yes.

Still a few weeks away from returning, Alvarez reported that all has gone smoothly in his recovery. He has a couple of additional steps to take — swinging against a high-velocity pitching machine and catching a bullpen session — before embarking on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment, but he is getting close.

Part of his adjustment: wearing a splint on his left thumb during all baseball activity.

That was a strong recommendation from Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who had the same injury in 2022. Perez and Alvarez met during a recent offseason while working out in Miami. They also went to the same surgeon, Dr. Steven Chin.

“[Perez] told me what is coming for me,” Alvarez said. “He told me use the splint, be careful with your thumb when you’re hitting . . . but I can play with a splint and feel better with that.”

He separately said: “I feel very good with the splint. Everything is good. If the ball hits me here when I have my glove on, I feel the impact a little bit, but that helps me a lot.”  

Raley: Out

Lefthanded reliever Brooks Raley, set for season-ending elbow surgery in the coming days, no longer has a locker in the Mets’ clubhouse. That suggests the pending free agent won’t spend much if any time at Citi Field the rest of the year.

“I would like for him to be around the team, but yeah, we’ll see,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Even if he’s not here on a day-to-day [basis], maybe in and out once in a while. Because he’s a big part of this team. Obviously, we’re going to miss him.”

Raley is likely to do his rehabilitation at the facility operated by his surgeon, Dr. Keith Meister, near where he lives in Texas. Mendoza said he expects Raley to visit when the Mets play the Rangers next month.

Extra bases

Brandon Nimmo was fine and in the lineup for the Mets’ 7-2 loss to the Giants a day after getting hit in the head by a pitch. “The helmet did its job,” he said . . . Brett Baty played over Mark Vientos because the Mets wanted to start lefthanded hitters against Giants righthander Jordan Hicks . . . The Mets acquired minor-league infielder Pablo Reyes from the Red Sox for cash. Reyes will report to Triple-A Syracuse.


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