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Mesoraco returns from injury to catch for deGrom

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

WASHINGTON -- For the first time in 18 days, Devin Mesoraco returned to the field on Friday, starting behind the plate against the Nationals. Returning this season was never a guarantee for Mesoraco, who received an epidural injection two weeks ago to treat a bulging disk in his back. That Mesoraco did so with Jacob deGrom on the mound is a testament to the latter's comfort level with him behind the plate.

"I'm sure that he knows that Devin's very, very prepared," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of deGrom. "I think Jacob likes the fact that they're on the same page a lot with the pitches they want to throw to hitters. … When you have success, you want to stick with what's been working."

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WASHINGTON -- For the first time in 18 days, Devin Mesoraco returned to the field on Friday, starting behind the plate against the Nationals. Returning this season was never a guarantee for Mesoraco, who received an epidural injection two weeks ago to treat a bulging disk in his back. That Mesoraco did so with Jacob deGrom on the mound is a testament to the latter's comfort level with him behind the plate.

"I'm sure that he knows that Devin's very, very prepared," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of deGrom. "I think Jacob likes the fact that they're on the same page a lot with the pitches they want to throw to hitters. … When you have success, you want to stick with what's been working."

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For Mesoraco, returning to active duty also offered a chance to make an offensive impact before becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. Prior to his injury, Mesoraco was batting .213 with a .295 on-base percentage and a .374 slugging mark. But his 10 home runs were his most since 2014, when he hit 25 for the Reds and made the All-Star Game.

He added a couple of doubles and an RBI in Friday's 4-2 win over the Nationals.

Health, mostly, has prevented Mesoraco from doing anything like that again and is what will give teams in need of catching help pause this winter; from 2015-17, Mesoraco appeared in just 95 games. Still, Mesoraco believes he is healthy now and that his neck issues will not require more than routine maintenance going forward.

"You want to finish the year healthy. You don't want people to have questions going into the offseason," Mesoraco said. "With the things that I've dealt with the past couple of years -- missing so much time, being hurt, not being able to play -- free agency hasn't been on my mind at all. It's just been, 'All right, let's make it through the year. Let's try to be healthy.' That's really been it."

Since receiving the epidural, Mesoraco has not been limited in baseball activities, taking regular batting practice and catching bullpen sessions.

"It's good to be back in there," Mesoraco said. "Hopefully, I can finish the year healthy and on a high note."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Devin Mesoraco