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With Cabrera gone, Jeff McNeil getting his MLB opportunity as a regular at second base

Mets pinch hitter Jeff McNeil runs to first

Mets pinch hitter Jeff McNeil runs to first base after drawing a walk against the San Diego Padres during the seventh inning of a baseball game at Citi Field on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

PITTSBURGH — When spring training ended, Jeff McNeil was about to turn 26 and was headed to Double-A Binghamton, a level he first touched in 2015. He had lost most of the previous two seasons to injury. In that time, the thought that his major-league dream might never happen had crossed his mind.

Those circumstances underscore the improbability of McNeil’s ascent. He dominated in Binghamton, dominated for Triple-A Las Vegas, and after spending his first couple of days in the majors as a backup infielder, he now slots in as the Mets’ everyday second baseman following the Friday trade of Asdrubal Cabrera to the Phillies.

“We’re excited that he’s going to be over there for an extended period of time,” manager Mickey Callaway said.

McNeil, who went 2-for-6 with three walks and one strikeout in his first four games entering Saturday, understands the skepticism that results from him being older than the typical rookie. But he’s excited to have a shot now for the final third of a whirlwind season.

“I’ve performed all throughout my career,” McNeil said. “I hit basically at every level. I just missed [most of] two years. This could have happened a couple of years ago when I was 24. When you see a 24-year-old rookie, that’s more normal.

“It all happened [this season] so fast . . . Now I’m here, which is an unbelievable feeling.”

Frazier inches closer

Todd Frazier (strained rib cage muscle) started a rehab assignment with High-A St. Lucie on Saturday and is penciled in for a return early in the Mets’ homestand that starts Thursday.

Frazier is scheduled to play seven innings Sunday, and the Mets want him to play a full game before returning. “We want to make sure he’s in a good spot to come back,” Callaway said.

Extra bases

Noah Syndergaard is lined up to start Wednesday against the Nationals, which keeps Steven Matz on a normal five-day schedule for his start Tuesday . . . The Mets called up infielder Luis Guillorme from Las Vegas to take Cabrera’s roster spot . . . T.J. Rivera, who recently had a setback in his comeback from Tommy John surgery, is about a week away from a rehab assignment, assistant general manager John Ricco said. If all goes well, he should be an option in the infield by late August . . . Callaway on David Wright, who is continuing his rehab in St. Lucie: “He’s doing good. He’s plugging along. Obviously still has a long way to go. I think the real challenge is going to be at some point when he actually has to play in some games. But he definitely is progressing nicely.”

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