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Mets on verge of reuniting with catcher Rene Rivera, source says

Rene Rivera #44 of the Mets celebrates his

Rene Rivera #44 of the Mets celebrates his fifth inning home run against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Mets were close to signing catcher Rene Rivera to a minor-league deal Monday, a source said.

Rivera, who played for the Mets in 2016-17, would replace Devin Mesoraco in the No. 4 spot on the depth chart, poised to join Triple-A Syracuse.

The Mets plan to put Mesoraco on the restricted list, another source said, because he decided not to join Syracuse after the Mets chose not to carry him on the Opening Day roster. That would prevent Mesoraco from joining another organization. Alternatively, the Mets could release him from his minor-league contract.

Wheeler not worried

Zack Wheeler’s otherwise strong camp had its first hiccup Monday. He got hit around by the rebuilding Orioles for five runs in three innings — and he wasn’t worried about it at all.

Spring training is finally over, which brought relief instead of concern.

“I hate that this was the last one right before the season,” Wheeler said. “But I had plenty of success this spring, so I just look at that and concentrate on that. I went in a little too lackadaisical [mentally]. It’s basically just getting your work in. I know that’s a spring training term, but that’s all I was really doing.”

It’s easy to forget, after Wheeler’s big summer and his unquestioned status this spring, that he actually started last year in the minors. That lasted one start in Triple-A before the Mets brought him back two weeks into the season.

This time he knows when he’ll get the ball: Sunday against the Nationals in Washington.

“I didn’t even think of it that way,” Wheeler said. “It’s nice to know that I’m here and I’m starting the third day.”   

Extra bases

Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy was not with the team in Sarasota as the Mets sort through their options with the reliever — carry him on the active roster or put him on waivers/offer him back to the Orioles. Tim Peterson, another candidate for the last bullpen spot, went with the team to Syracuse . . . Pete Alonso tried to bunt with two on and nobody out in the fourth inning Monday, a call from the dugout, and popped it up foul to catcher Pedro Severino. Mickey Callaway said of Alonso, who hit 36 homers in the minors last year: “There might come a time when he might have to do that at some point if he’s in the big leagues. So we wanted to make sure he practiced it in a game.”

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