Mets' Francisco Alvarez returns to the dugout after he flied...

Mets' Francisco Alvarez returns to the dugout after he flied out against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Saturday, July 15, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

For the first time since June 30, Omar Narvaez was the Mets’ starting catcher Sunday.

Francisco Alvarez, who had been behind the plate for 10 consecutive games, with the All-Star break and other team days off mixed in, received a day of rest.

Manager Buck Showalter said that was not related to Alvarez rolling his ankle while running the bases late in the Mets’ loss Saturday night. Alvarez was physically fine, according to Showalter.

“It was as much Omar’s needs as Francisco’s needs,” Showalter said of Narvaez’s dearth of recent playing time.

The Mets have greatly enjoyed Alvarez’s emergence as the everyday catcher, but Showalter doesn’t want that title to be quite so literal. He already is up to 67 games caught this season, on pace to blow away his personal-high 79 from last year.

Showalter said the July 9 game — in which Alvarez dropped a routine foul pop-up on the last day before the All-Star break — was the first time Alvarez looked off to him.

“I want to be careful with him,” Showalter said. “We ran him out a little bit because of the four off days, but a lot of these guys, you really need to look at their track record and how many times they’ve played.


“The last day in San Diego [was] the first time I thought he was [dragging] a little bit. That was the first day I looked out there and said, OK, even though he’s 21, he’s a little worn.”

The Mets gave Narvaez a two-year, $15 million contract (with the second year a player option) last offseason. Entering Sunday, he had played in 17 games, batting .184 with zero extra-base hits.

“As he plays more, gets more consistent, I think you’ll see some of the guy that we were enthralled with,” Showalter said. “But it takes a while. Catching is like anything — there’s a tempo and a rhythm and a feel. Especially when you know you probably won’t be in there tomorrow or the next day.”

Quintana’s debut delayed

One last time — or so the Mets hope — Jose Quintana’s team debut has been delayed.

They pushed him back one additional day, to Thursday against the White Sox, because he still has been dealing with the flu. Justin Verlander will move up to pitch on regular rest Wednesday.

“Give Q an extra day, just to make sure that’s behind him,” Showalter said. “This thing has lingered with him for quite a while. I’m not sure [if] there’s some strain out there that may be a little longer.”

Upon completing his rehab after March rib surgery, Quintana recently said: “That feels good, the process is done. I’ve been working a lot to be in this position.”


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