New York Mets' Francisco Alvarez singles against the Cleveland Guardians...

New York Mets' Francisco Alvarez singles against the Cleveland Guardians during the eighth inning in Game Two of a day-night MLB baseball doubleheader at Citi Field on Sunday, May 21, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

CHICAGO — Their potential catcher cluster closer to reality, the Mets keep getting good news about their sidelined backstops.

Omar Narvaez, out since early April with a strained left calf, will begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment Thursday and is on track for an early June return, manager Buck Showalter said.

And Tomas Nido, working his way back from a vision issue, has been “seeing well” while playing for Low-A St. Lucie and is getting closer to a comeback, according to Showalter.

Including the Mets’ current catchers, rookie Francisco Alvarez and fill-in Gary Sanchez, the Mets are looking at a depth chart four deep at one of the most important positions on the field.

“Let’s throw [Michael] Perez in there too. Let’s go for five,” Showalter said. “Let’s throw the guy in Brooklyn in for six.”

But with the potential difficult decisions for the Mets' bosses still a couple of weeks away, Showalter isn’t ready to publicly mull what might happen then. Alvarez is the only one the Mets easily can send to the minors, but he has been by far their top option of late, hitting and catching well after an early adjustment period.

“I hope that [having all four is] the case. It means good things are happening from a health standpoint,” Showalter said recently, adding Wednesday: “Trying to handicap them one through four, I don’t think that’s healthy for them or me. We all have opinions.”


Narvaez will play with High-A Brooklyn on Thursday and Saturday, then join Triple-A Syracuse beginning Monday.

He is eligible to return from the 60-day injured list on June 6, when the Mets begin a series in Atlanta.

“We think he’ll make that,” said Showalter, who has preached caution regarding Narvaez’s injury in particular for several weeks. “Right now, there’s no indication he won’t. We’ve tried to be as conservative as you can be with this because if it happens again — everybody could tell you, you’ve gotta be careful.”

Nido’s timeline isn’t as clear, but the Mets don’t seem to be in a hurry to get him back — especially with Alvarez performing well and club decision-makers curious about what Sanchez can offer.

The vision problems caused by his dry eye syndrome haven’t been an issue, Showalter said. He has been briefly sidetracked by a bruised thumb and a random fever of 102 degrees one night. He has played in four games with St. Lucie, two behind the plate and two at DH.

Asked what the Mets are looking for before Nido returns, Showalter said: “I think he’s shown us he’s very close to being ready. Got through some things. He feels good. Seeing well.”

Nervous but patriotic

Eduardo Escobar, a Venezuela native who has played professional baseball in America since 2008, has been preparing for a major life milestone: taking the U.S. citizenship test late next month.

“It’s exciting, but I’m a little nervous because each and every day I’m trying to study 100 questions,” Escobar said through an interpreter.

Of those 100 standardized history- and government-related questions, Escobar will have to answer up to 10 — and get at least six right to pass.

Most of Escobar’s family has moved to the United States, he said, and he lives here even in the offseason. This next step is a natural(ized) one.

“That’s the dream for everybody coming to this country,” he said in English.

Injury updates

* Max Scherzer said he will be able to pitch “basically normal” Friday against the Rockies, the split callus on his right thumb mostly healed.

* Showalter frequently talks up the talent of reliever Sam Coonrod (right lat strain during spring training), but he is not close to returning. He is penciled in for a rehab assignment in July.

* Elieser Hernandez (right shoulder strain), a missing piece of the Mets’ rotation depth, is approaching a rehab assignment, per Showalter. He has been facing hitters in a live batting practice setting.

* Commack native Stephen Ridings (right lat strain) has been completing bullpen sessions “as tolerated,” Showalter said, and is scheduled to advance to live BP next week.

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