New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez returns to the dugout...

New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez returns to the dugout after he popped out aToronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Sunday, June 4, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

ATLANTA — Buck Showalter was noncommittal Tuesday regarding the playing-time split for the Mets’ new catcher duo, rookie Francisco Alvarez and veteran Omar Narvaez, saying only that they both would receive starts. 

In his first game back from a two-month stay on the injured list, Narvaez, who had a strained left calf, was behind the plate for the series opener against Atlanta. Alvarez will be in the lineup Wednesday, according to Showalter. 

“We’ll see what develops as the summer wears on,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to put exact numbers on it . . . We’ll kind of take it day-to-day. I’m not going to let either one of them sit around. I’m going to try to make use of both their skills. We’ll see how it develops. But I’m excited to have two good catchers.” 

Alvarez, 21, grabbed the starting job in Narvaez’s absence. Following his hot May (and much cooler homestand last week), he began Tuesday hitting .237 with a .291 OBP and .492 slugging percentage. His eight home runs were third-most on the team. 

Showalter said he was open to using either catcher as the DH on a given day. 

“It’s not brain surgery to take a catcher who’s DHing and put him in the game [if necessary],” Showalter said. 

The Mets signed Narvaez to a two-year, $15 million contract (with the second year a player option) last offseason. The plan was for him to be the most-days starter, with Tomas Nido complementing him when the Mets faced lefthanded pitchers. 


Now, Nido is off the roster altogether. He, like Narvaez, had received a two-year guarantee recently, signing a $3.7 million contract in January. 

The Mets designated him for assignment on Monday after informing him of their decision Sunday in what Showalter characterized as a difficult conversation. The manager wanted to tell Nido before the team departed for Atlanta. 

“It was emotional, really, for both of us. The timing is never good,” Showalter said. “You try to treat it as humanely as possible knowing that it’s going to be tough any way you do it. On the flip side, we’re happy to get Omar back.” 

In the days prior, the Mets tried to trade Nido but couldn’t find a match. They still can seek a trade involving him, though failing that they’ll have to put him through waivers, a process during which any team can claim him. 

Nido, 29, had been with the organization since it selected him in the eighth round of the 2012 draft. Only Brandon Nimmo (2011) had been around longer. 

Francisco Lindor — who has known and played with Nido since they were Puerto Rico-born kids who had moved to the Orlando area — said he and Nido both were sad to see Nido go. 

“I wish I got to play with him longer. He’s a good friend of mine. Our daughters are friends, our wives are friends,” Lindor said. “He understands the situation. He understands what happens. He has high hopes that he’s going to go somewhere where he’s going to play and he’s going to help them win.” 

Minors details 

Righthander Mike Vasil won pitcher of the month for May in the Double-A Eastern League. 

He had a 2.52 ERA and 0.72 WHIP across four starts with Binghamton. Opposing batters had a .159 average and .296 slugging percentage against him. 

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Mets’ No. 9 prospect, Vasil, 23, was their eighth-round draft pick in 2021. 

Lineup fun 

Another day, another series of interesting lineup decisions. 

Mark Canha was out. Light-hitting DH Daniel Vogelbach moved up to fifth. And Brett Baty, who primarily has batted fifth over the past month, got dropped to seventh. 

He entered the day with a .182/.264/.299 slash line since being moved to the five-hole.  

“We feel like this is our best lineup for today,” Showalter said. “Tomorrow, there will be some changes with a different pitcher.”

Baty went 1-for-3 and Vogelach 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Extra bases 

Before the Mets’ 6-4 loss to Atlanta, they waited out a 100-minute alleged rain delay featuring lots of sun. That annoyed Showalter, who said confusing weather-related decisions have happened before here. With an apparent threat of a storm, the grounds crew had the tarp ready to go in the outfield but never put it on the infield. The worst of the rain: a slight drizzle that lasted a few minutes . . . Bench coach Eric Chavez was ejected by plate umpire D.J. Reyburn in the third inning. “Probably it was my fault because I said something and he kind of reiterated,” Showalter said. “The first two innings, there were about four or five balls called that weren’t even close to strikes."


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