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BC-BBN--Mets-Cuts,1st Ld-Writethru

March 23, 2019
Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — The New York Mets cut five players from major league camp Saturday and informed catcher Devin Mesoraco that he won’t be on the opening day roster.

The Mets re-assigned outfielders Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, and pitchers Ryan O’Rourke and Hector Santiago to minor league camp. All six players were offered $100,000 retention bonuses.

The moves trimmed New York’s spring roster to 30, with five days to get that number to 25. The toughest calls appear to be at the catching and pitching positions.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud and infielders Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie could be placed on the injured list prior to the Mets’ season opener at Washington.

D’Arnaud is working back from Tommy John surgery last April, and it’s uncertain if he or Tomas Nido will break camp as the backup to Wilson Ramos. New York has been careful with the 3-year-old d’Arnaud, who caught eight innings over two games Thursday and Friday and has played eight spring games.

“We need to start trying to figure out where exactly he is at,” manager Mickey Callaway said Friday. “We feel the receiving is where it needs to be, but missing a year is tough on your at-bats and on your throwing and game speed. We’re trying to get him in a good spot.

“If we can’t, we have alternatives,” which would mean the 24-year-old Nido. Nido hasn’t had a strong spring at the plate, batting just .179 through 15 games.

Hechavarria’s demotion likely means Luis Guillorme and J.D. Davis will break camp with the team. Guillorme is a slick-fielding, 24-year-old middle infielder who has looked sharp at the plate this spring.

“We’ve made my swing more consistent and repeatable, more straight to the ball,” Guillorme said. “I still go the other way, but I’m driving the ball, not just serving it out there. That’s a big difference.”

With Frazier (strained left oblique) slowly getting back to form and Lowrie (sprained left knee capsule) running out of time in his rehab, Callaway is preparing as if neither will be available Thursday against Max Scherzer.

Frazier has been hitting in the cage and taking grounders. Lowrie hasn’t played in a Grapefruit League game.

Santiago’s demotion came after two awful outings in his only two spring starts. Callaway was hoping the 2015 All-Star would rebound against St. Louis, but Santiago, 31, didn’t make it into the fourth inning Friday. He allowed 12 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings this spring after opening camp as a potential swing man for the bullpen.

The Mets will carry left-handed relievers Justin Wilson and likely Luis Avilan. Fellow southpaw O’Rourke had a fantastic spring, allowing two runs over 10-plus innings, but the team decided against slotting three lefties in the pen.

Kyle Dowdy, a Rule 5 draft selection from Cleveland, is the front-runner to be the seventh reliever, and Callaway likes the hard-throwing right-hander, who allowed one run in four innings in the Mets’ 12-2 win over Atlanta on Saturday.

“I hope he’s still in the organization when the time comes, but that’s not always the case in this situation. I think (him being a Rule 5) can be a tiebreaker,” Callaway said.

NOTES: Opening day starter Jacob deGrom worked three perfect innings, fanning five, against Atlanta. 1B Pete Alonso and SS Amed Rosario both went 3 for 5. ... New York signed SS Ruben Tejada to a minor league deal on Saturday. Tejada, 29, played for the Mets from 2010-15 and will report to extended spring training. He played in 101 games last season for Norfolk, Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate. ...

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