The Mets welcomed back old friend Juan Lagares on Wednesday, signing the 31-year-old outfielder to a minor-league contract.
Lagares, recently let go by the San Diego Padres, joined the Mets for Wednesday’s afternoon workout at Citi Field.
Lagares, 31, had spent all of his seven-year MLB career with the Mets. In 2019, he hit .213 with five home runs and 27 RBIs. He appeared in 133 games, but only picked up 285 plate appearances since his most useful role is as a defensive replacement.
Lagares could be insurance in case Jake Marisnick is unable to start the season because of a tight left hamstring. Marisnick played four innings in an intrasquad game on Tuesday, but was not in either lineup for Wednesday’s Mets-only tilt.
The Mets also signed second baseman Brian Dozier to a minor-league deal. Dozier, 33, was also recently let go by the Padres. In 2019, Dozier hit .238 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs for the Nationals.
“It’s more depth, more experience,” manager Luis Rojas said.
The Mets released outfielder Melky Cabrera and infielder Gordon Beckham, leaving their 60-man player pool at 57.
Chili keeps in touch
Hitting coach Chili Davis, who is working remotely from his Arizona home, said he is not sure when or if he will rejoin the Mets this season. Davis, 60, said he is staying away because of the increased COVID-19 risk he would be facing with “a few underlying health conditions that I have,” which he declined to identify.
Davis said he is doing his best to keep in touch with players and staff via Zoom, texts, etc., and is preparing the hitters’ pre-scouting reports for the opening series against Atlanta. But, he admitted, being at home when the season is about to begin is “boring.” Assistant hitting coach Tom Slater has been working with the players in person.
Jeff McNeil broke into Davis’ Zoom call with reporters and said he would try to hit a single up the middle for him in Wednesday’s four-inning intrasquad game. On the third pitch of the game, McNeil lined a single to center as his teammates roared their approval from the third-base dugout.
Wilson Ramos, who returned to camp on Tuesday after a three-day absence for undisclosed personal reasons, was a designated hitter in the intrasquad game. Rojas said Ramos also planned to catch bullpen sessions in an effort to be behind the plate for Friday’s opener since the DH spot will be manned by Yoenis Cespedes...As expected, the Mets placed Robert Gsellman on the injured list with right triceps tightness...Rojas said Jed Lowrie has seen Dr. David Altchek, the Mets' medical director, and will get a second opinion on his left knee. Lowrie will start the season on the IL.