PITTSBURGH — With the Yoenis Cespedes saga over (for now), manager Mickey Callaway’s news tidbits on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park were more minor and much more positive.
Noah Syndergaard, Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil are among those “in really good spots,” as Callaway often likes to say.
Syndergaard — getting over a case of hand, foot and mouth disease — threw Thursday and remains in line to start Tuesday or Wednesday against the Nationals.
“He’s doing really well,” Callaway said. “Had a good workout today, threw out to 120 feet. No issues. He’s in a really good spot.”
Callaway expects Frazier, out for nearly three weeks with a strained rib-cage muscle, to get into minor-league rehabilitation games in the next couple of days.
And then there’s McNeil, who in Frazier’s absence found his way into the lineup at third base Thursday against the Pirates, his first major-league start.
With the Mets facing a string of righthanded starters at least through the weekend, Callaway indicated that McNeil is set for a handful of starts. Although Frazier is approaching a return, playing time would open up if and when the Mets trade second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera.
“He deserves it. With the way he performed this year in the minor leagues, he deserves a chance to come up here and see what he can do,” Callaway said of McNeil. “He’s in a really good spot with his confidence and we’re going to get to see what he can do.”
Vargas set for return
Jason Vargas’ goal for his second half, which begins Friday with his first start in more than a month, is to achieve what eluded him in the first half: normalcy.
Injuries have bookended his season to date — broken hand in spring training, strained calf in June — so he is hoping for a prolonged chance to pitch healthy every five days.
“Just to get into a consistent rhythm,” said Vargas, who has an 8.60 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in nine starts. “I think that’s been the hindering factor with what happened in the first half.”
The Mets optioned Corey Oswalt to Las Vegas to make room for Vargas.
MLB Pipeline published updated prospect lists Thursday. The Mets have four players in the top 100: shortstop Andres Gimenez (No. 60), first baseman Peter Alonso (No. 65), outfielder Jarred Kelenic (No. 69) and righthander Justin Dunn (No. 100) . . . The Pittsburgh/Washington road swing is the Mets’ annual family trip. It got off to an unfortunate start Wednesday evening when a plane full of Mets and their families was stuck for nearly three hours at LaGuardia Airport because of bad weather . . . Ty Kelly, designated for assignment Tuesday, cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas.