BALTIMORE — It required some trial and error — plenty of error — but the Mets believe they have cracked the James McCann code: catch less, hit more.
McCann began the Mets’ series against the Orioles with five homers in his past 11 games. Before that, he had one homer in 33 games.
That coincides with him starting to share time at catcher with backup Tomas Nido. Manager Luis Rojas said the lessened defensive duties probably are related to McCann’s improved offensive output.
Thus, McCann and Nido will continue to split time, though Rojas said he doesn’t have a preferred percentage in mind.
Catching is a grind physically during the game and time-consuming before the game. Days off lessens his load — and allows him to work on his hitting more.
"He’s translated it a lot quicker than what we thought," Rojas said. "(Playing some first base) helped too, to get his mind off the game-calling and the preparation that he does, which is very thorough. He stripped down every one of our pitchers, every one of our opposing hitters, to have a plan for them and be there for the pitcher. So I think getting away a little bit for that and focusing more a little bit on his offense has helped him."
Outfielder Albert Almora Jr. began a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Monday.
He has been out since May 12, when he collided with the centerfield wall at Citi Field in an attempt to make a catch. He suffered a left shoulder contusion.
With injured infielders Luis Guillorme and Jeff McNeil on their way back, the Mets have begun preparing Jose Peraza for a utility role, Rojas said. Peraza has been the Mets’ starting second baseman of late, impressing defensively and posting a .231/.286/.397 slash line . . . The Mets released Double-A outfielder Desmond Lindsay on Tuesday. In 2015, he was the Mets’ second-round pick — their first choice in that year’s draft. Injuries limited him to 260 games in parts of six seasons.
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