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Mets' Robinson Cano to begin rehab with Brooklyn weeks ahead of schedule

Robinson Cano watches the action during the Mets-Cubs

Robinson Cano watches the action during the Mets-Cubs game at Citi Field Wednesday, August 28, 2019 Credit: David L. Pokress/David L. Pokress

PHILADELPHIA — Well ahead of his initial recovery schedule, second baseman Robinson Cano will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Saturday, Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. Cano will join short-season Class A Brooklyn.

After taking live batting practice at Citi Field, Cano said this week that he initially was given a timetable of six to 12 weeks for rehabbing his torn left hamstring. This weekend marks four weeks since Cano was injured.

“That really will be a big step,” Callaway said. “Quicker than that time frame. But he feels like he’s in a good spot. The performance staff feels like he’s ready to do this. This is a big step for him.”

Brooklyn’s regular season ends Monday, but it might make the playoffs. The same is true for Triple-A Syracuse.

Callaway said the dwindling number of minor league games available to Cano was not a factor in the speed with which he is going on a rehab assignment.

“It’s not a chance we’re taking,” Callaway said. “It’s just the rehab process that he’s on and where he’s at and how he feels and what we’re seeing. I think it would have been the same even if we’re midway in the season because he feels like he’s in a really good spot.”

Still, if the minor league season ends and Cano isn’t at full strength, the Mets would have little choice but to activate him and have him finish rehabbing in the majors — available initially as a pinch hitter, say, until he gets back into regular game shape. The same could be true of Jed Lowrie (various leg injuries) and Dominic Smith (stress reaction in left foot).

“You’re running out of minor league games to go play, so at some point you probably have to do that, unless you want to set up live BPs and stuff like that,” Callaway said. “It might make more sense at some point just to get some of these guys in there and have them off the bench if they’re not ready to play a full nine.”

Cano, 36, has been on the injured list three times with leg injuries this year. He has had one of the worst offensive years of his career, hitting .252 with a .295 OBP and .415 slugging percentage.

Prepping PSL

With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on Florida — and landfall expected late Monday or early Tuesday — the Mets are preparing their Port St. Lucie spring training/minor league complex appropriately.

The Florida State League and Gulf Coast League ended their seasons early, meaning most if not all of the 70-plus Mets players based in Port St. Lucie have time to evacuate.

The complex also is undergoing long-planned renovations, with most of the new steel structure at First Data Field in place. The storm forced crews to hit pause on that work, with the construction company spending the past few days making sure none of the equipment is loose.

Front-office changes

The Mets made several changes to their pro scouting staff this week, standard procedure in baseball at this time of year, including letting go of senior director of pro scouting Jim D’Aloia, a source said.

Also not returning is special assistant to the general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who was reassigned from first-base coach to the front office when Brodie Van Wagenen was hired last fall. Three other scouts were not retained: Lee MacPhail, Tim Kissner and Tim Fortugno.

Extra bases

Brandon Nimmo (bulging disc) was back in the lineup for Syracuse on Friday after a day off Thursday. Callaway said he doesn’t know when Nimmo will be activated. Rosters expand to up to 40 players Sunday. … Lowrie was not in Syracuse’s lineup Friday, but his five innings at second base Thursday marked the first time during his rehab assignment that he played on consecutive days. … Joe Panik, batting fifth Friday, started in that spot for the third time in his 662-game career.

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