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Asdrubal Cabrera wanted to return to Mets in offseason

The Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera reacts after his seventh-inning

The Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera reacts after his seventh-inning two-run double against the Mets at Citi Field on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Asdrubal Cabrera wouldn’t say his tiebreaking two-run double for the Nationals meant more to him because it came against his former team, but he did admit to being hurt about how the Mets handled last offseason.

Cabrera spent parts of three seasons with the Mets before being sent to the Phillies near the 2018 trade deadline with an expiring contract. The infielder said Sunday that he received a phone call from the Mets during the offseason, and he added that there was mutual interest in a return to Flushing. But he didn’t hear from them again, and three days later, he heard the Mets had signed infielder Jed Lowrie.

“[It hurt] a little bit, yeah, I can’t lie,” Cabrera said. “They had an opportunity to bring me back and they called me one day [saying] they wanted me to come back. Then three days later, they signed Lowrie.”

The injured Lowrie hasn’t played this year. He remains without a timetable to return, although manager Mickey Callaway said he is “progressing.”

On Sunday, Cabrera gave the Mets a little taste of what they missed out on. With the bases loaded in the seventh inning, the 13-year veteran lined a two-out, two-run double to rightfield off Justin Wilson to break a tie at 3 in the Nationals’ 7-4 victory at Citi Field.

“I’m just going out there and doing my job no matter who we play,” Cabrera said. “I’m just here to help the team win.”

With another chance at a reunion after the Rangers designated him for assignment July 31 and he cleared waivers, this time Cabrera used his power to spurn the Mets. Although he said he received a call from the Mets, he opted to sign with the rival Nationals last Monday.

The Mets signed infielder Joe Panik, who starred at St. John’s, on Friday. He had been designated for assignment by the Giants.

Cabrera understands the business side of the Mets’ decision, but he said that when he told his kids during the offseason that they likely would be returning to New York, they were excited. His children’s heartbreak stayed with him.

“For me, family is the first thing. It’s really important,” he said. “I always say ‘Family first,’ and after that, it’s a job or whatever. But if my family’s good, I’m good. If they’re happy, I’m happy.”

Cabrera had a .279/.333/.464 slash line, 55 home runs, 179 RBIs and 179 runs in 374 games with the Mets. He hit .235 with 12 home runs, 51 RBIs and 45 runs in 93 games with the Rangers before being designated for assignment.

The infielder said he enjoyed his time in New York. But family feelings, along with the Nationals’ position at the top of the wild-card standings, made him opt for Washington.

“I loved playing here in this city. A really good crowd every day with the fans,” Cabrera said. “But looking at the situation, this team is going to give me the opportunity to try to make the playoffs, and my kids and family, they made a choice.”

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