QUEENS — The Mets’ catching situation is continuing to inch toward its inevitable log jam that will force the organization to make some burdensome decisions.
Tomas Nido, who has been out since May 5 while addressing dry eye syndrome, began his rehab assignment with Single-A St. Lucie on Friday.
“[His vision] seems to be good,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said on Sunday. “Believe me, if there was any issue, you’re not going to get in the batter’s box facing 95-97 mph down in St. Lucie coming at your coconut.”
While the early returns on his eyes — which needed punctual plugs inserted to rectify the issue — have been good, he was hit in the hand toward the end of his first rehab game, per Showalter. He will act as a designated hitter out of precautionary measures over his next few games, though necessary scans and x-rays came back negative to rule out any serious injury.
Omar Narvaez, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal to join the Mets over the winter, will be going out to begin his rehab assignment this week, per Showalter. A decision on which minor-league affiliate he’ll join, though, has not been made as of yet.
The veteran backstop is dealing with a calf strain that has sidelined him since April 5.
“That’s a very precarious injury,” Showalter said. “You can’t go about it too fast… If you go about it too fast, it’s going to be right back [to the injured list]. I’ve seen people miss the whole year because of this thing because they keep pushing where they go ‘OK, I think he’s fine, he doesn’t feel anything,’ and all of a sudden he pops it again.
“Each time you do that, it’s a further setback. So I hope everything goes well this week.”
The Mets recently called up former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez to join top prospect Francisco Alvarez, who is beginning to find his footing in the majors at 21 years old and with consistent playing time coming from the slew of injuries to the position.
Once Narvaez and Nido are ready to return, Mets decision-makers will have to choose just two of those catchers to carry. That could mean optioning Alvarez back down to Triple-A or cutting ties with Sanchez or Nido considering Narvaez’s spot on the roster is safe and the team values Nido’s defense.
Potentially, it’s a good problem for the Mets to have given the lack of depth and volatility of the catcher’s position around the league. But Showalter won’t look that far down the road.
“We’re not there yet,” he said. “Hopefully that’s the case and everybody’s healthy.”