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Robinson Cano returns faster than expected

Robinson Cano of the New York Mets knocks

Robinson Cano of the New York Mets knocks in two runs with a single in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on August 3, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit: Getty Images/Todd Kirkland

PHILADELPHIA — Robinson Cano’s didn’t-miss-a-beat return from the injured list this weekend induced something of a medical mystery: How did he get back so fast?

The Mets said he suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left adductor, a muscle in his groin. Grade 2 suggests it was more than your routine boo-boo, and the Mets-affiliated Hospital for Special Surgery estimates it can take at least two months to return to full athletic activity.

Cano needed just the minimum 10 days on the IL.

“Grade 2: More extensive damage with more muscle fibers involved,” the HSS website says. “However, the muscle is not completely ruptured. These injuries present with significant loss of strength and motion. These injuries may require two to three months before a complete return to athletics.”

Within a few days of getting hurt, Cano was able to run and take batting practice. He said the 10-day timeline was what he was told to expect all along.

“(Mets medical personnel) told me 10 days that I was going to be able to play at my level,” Cano said Saturday. “As far as I know, I feel good right now.”

His bat backs that up. Cano homered (and drove in the tying run in the ninth) on Friday, his first game back. He served as the DH again Saturday but said he expects to play second base this week as the Mets visit the Marlins and host the Yankees.

Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme, defensively inclined infielders who have been hot at the plate recently, more than held their own while Cano was out. But playing defense is important to Cano.

“Honestly, I’m a guy that loves to be on the field,” Cano said. “I’ve done it [DHed] a couple of times, but I love to be on the field. Maybe once in a while, yes, it’s good to get your feet off the field.”

Catching questions

Tomas Nido started Saturday for a second time in three games, sandwiching Wilson Ramos’ poor game Friday (1-for-5, slow tag attempt as the game-ending run scored).

Manager Luis Rojas said it was because he liked the Nido/Steven Matz battery Saturday, as well as the Ramos/Rick Porcello pairing Sunday (though Porcello lives down in and below the strike zone and Ramos typically struggles to receive pitches there).

“Nothing to do with Wilson,” Rojas said of Nido’s start. “We trust Wilson's ability to call games and help us defensively and his bat has always been there.”

Ramos' slash line was .197.269/.279 through Friday. He was among the Mets who participated in optional BP on Saturday.

“I’m having a tough time right now at the plate,” Ramos said. “It’s more mental. I’m still here, ready to work, working at the cage and try to be better.”

Prospect party

The Mets added two of their top prospects, catcher Francisco Alvarez and righthander Matthew Allan, to their 60-man player pool. They will practice at the alternate training site, MCU Park in Brooklyn.

Alvarez, 18, and Allan, 19, realistically are years away from the majors. But this provides them valuable development time in an otherwise lost year, since the minor-league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

“We’re looking for them to just to go ahead and keep getting their reps at that site,” Rojas said. “If we feel they can come and help the team win some time, then definitely they can come do it.”

It also means that they are eligible to be traded. Only players in the pool can be dealt leading up to the Aug. 31 deadline.

Extra bases

Jacob deGrom, as he hoped he would, played catch out to about 90 feet Saturday afternoon. The next step, if his stiff neck allows, is a bullpen session Sunday . . . Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup for a second straight game since suffering a left knee bone bruise . . . David Peterson is fine after reporting shoulder soreness/fatigue at the end of his outing Thursday, per Rojas . . . The Mets’ taxi squad this road trip: Drew Smith, Corey Oswalt, Ali Sanchez . . . Former Mets coach/executive Ruben Amaro Jr. — a former Phillies GM — is attending this series between two of his former teams, working for NBC Sports Philadelphia . . . Zack Wheeler will pitch against the Mets for the first time in the series finale Sunday. He’ll face Rick Porcello, the righthander the Mets signed to replace him.

New York Sports