The Mets on Friday morning sent James McCann to get an X-ray of his aching left wrist “just to be on the safe side,” manager Buck Showalter said.
It turned out to be the right move because the X-ray showed a fracture of the hamate bone. McCann will undergo surgery, the team said, and will be out about six weeks.
Was the fracture a surprise? Yes, and a big one, because McCann and Showalter said on Thursday that McCann expected to be behind the plate on Friday night to catch Max Scherzer at Citi Field against the Mariners.
Instead, Tomas Nido got the start and the Mets recalled Patrick Mazeika from Triple-A Syracuse.
“Just a precautionary thing,” Showalter said of the X-ray. “It’s happened before — something showed up . . . Kind of sad because he was starting to swing the bat.”
McCann, who is in the second year of a four-year, $40.6 million contract, is batting .196 with one home run and a .551 OPS in 21 games (18 starts).
Nido, who went into Friday hitting .204 with a .445 OPS, made his 16th start. Showalter said he expects Mazeika to start on Saturday.
Showalter said the six-week timetable for McCann’s return is just an estimate.
“Could be less,” he said. “Could be more. But we’ll see. Just basing that on what normally happens . . We look forward to getting Mac back. He’s already made a big contribution. The pitchers like throwing to him and Tomas, and I think they will like Mazeika also.
“It’s tough. I know how much Mac likes being on the club and contributing and being a part of it. But we’re going to see him again and he’s going to be contributing again.”
On Thursday — after being held out of the lineup in Washington — McCann expressed confidence that the injury wasn’t anything serious.
“It’s the first time I’ve dealt with it,” he said. “I don’t really know what it’s from.”
Now he knows. And McCann joins Jacob deGrom, Trevor May and Sean Reid-Foley on the Mets’ injured list.
“They say harmony’s not the absence of problems,” Showalter said. “It’s just the ability to deal with them. And nobody cares. Like I’ve said, [opponents are] happy we’ve got them. It’s an opportunity for Mazeika now.”
Mazeika, 28, is a career .190 hitter in 37 games with the Mets, all in 2021. He became a Citi Field folk hero of sorts last May with a pair of walk-off infield dribblers in his first four big-league at-bats before he picked up his first hit.
But the Mets are mostly concerned with how their catchers handle their pitching staff. It’s something that McCann and Nido excel at and that Showalter will be grading Mazeika on during McCann’s absence.
“That’s why we gave [Mazeika] a lot of time in the spring,” Showalter said. “So that we were equipped for things like this. We’ll get him in there. See what kind of load he can carry for us.”
One of the Mets’ top prospects is 20-year-old catcher Francisco Alvarez, who said in spring training that his goal is to make it to the majors this season.
First, Alvarez has to master Double-A. In his first taste of that level at Binghamton, Alvarez went into Friday with a .214 average and four home runs in 24 games.
Alvarez is not on the 40-man roster. Neither are the two catchers currently on the Syracuse roster (Nick Myer and Nick Dini; Myer has not played in the majors). So general manager Billy Eppler likely is scouring the waiver wire for some additional backup backstop types to stash at Triple-A.