Notes: Nido update; Giménez starts again

September 5th, 2020

NEW YORK -- Following more than two weeks away from his teammates, catcher  returned to the Mets this weekend in an effort to ramp back up to the active roster.

Officially, Nido remains on the injured list for an undisclosed reason, but the Mets added him back to their 60-man player pool so that he can train at their alternate training site in Brooklyn. Nido has been on the IL since the Mets returned from their five-day coronavirus hiatus late last month.

“All I can tell you is that he was just [going] crazy to come back,” manager Luis Rojas said, noting that Nido spent time at Citi Field on Friday.

Teammate Michael Conforto said that Nido was “stuck down [in Florida] for a long time … the quarantining is absolutely brutal.”

“Missing being out there with my brothers!” Nido wrote on Instagram last week. “Can’t wait to get back out on the field soon. Wear your mask and stay safe, this virus will strike when you least expect it. Be back soon.”

When Nido returns, he will find a more crowded catching situation than when he departed. The Mets traded for Robinson Chirinos last week, and have twice started him over Wilson Ramos since that time. Assuming the Mets plan to keep both Ramos and Chirinos on the roster, the only way to carry Nido would be to have three catchers.

Nido is out of Minor League options, meaning the Mets cannot keep him in Brooklyn once he’s ready to return without first putting him through waivers. That’s a risk the team likely won’t take, considering Nido appeared to be on the verge of a breakout before landing on the IL. He had already begun cutting into Ramos’ playing time after homering twice and knocking in six runs in an Aug. 13 win over the Nationals. Nido is also easily the best defender of the Mets’ three primary catchers.

“It’s great to see him back,” Conforto said. “It was good to see him [Friday]. It’s good that he’s healthy. He’s feeling a lot better. I was just in the cage when he came in there and he looks like he never left. He said he feels good. It’s going to be an adjustment for him, but it’s always good to have one of our guys back.”

Change at short?
On Thursday, Amed Rosario gave the Mets his best offensive performance of the season, rapping out three hits and driving home three runs in a 9-7 win over the Yankees. His reward? Two consecutive games on the bench.

Rookie Andrés Giménez started again at shortstop over Rosario on Saturday, because Rojas preferred the matchup against Phillies right-hander Spencer Howard.

“I spoke to [Rosario],” Rojas said. “I explained to him what we were going to do as far as starting lineup, and just to be ready in whatever capacity we’re going to use him.”

Forty games into the season, Rosario is batting .229 with a .592 OPS, though he has shown signs of a better approach in recent days. After going 100 consecutive plate appearances without a walk to start the season, Rosario has drawn two free passes in his last three games.

Still, the Mets remain enamored with Giménez, a standout defender and baserunner who entered Saturday batting .268 with a .696 OPS. Asked directly if Giménez has supplanted Rosario as the Mets’ starting shortstop, Rojas demurred.

“Right now, in this stretch that we are [in], we’re going to say that Giménez is getting back-to-back games because he’s looked really good against right-handed pitchers,” the manager said. “Rosie looked good his last game, but right now, we’re basically spending some time using Giménez as a hot hand.”

Rotation matters
The Mets officially announced David Peterson as their starter for Monday’s series finale against the Phillies, though they didn’t reveal what that means for two other members -- or former members -- of the rotation.

Peterson will return to the starting five after a single relief appearance in which he fired four shutout innings on Wednesday at Camden Yards. He outperformed that day’s starter, Michael Wacha, by a significant margin.

Rojas declined to say if Wacha will be available out of the bullpen behind Peterson on Monday, or if the former will instead start the next day against the Orioles. The decision will have an impact on Robert Gsellman, who has been stretching out as a starter but may head back to the bullpen because of his struggles in that role. On Friday, Rojas did not commit to Gsellman, who owns an 8.68 ERA as a starting pitcher.

Standing up to cancer
For the fifth consecutive year on Saturday, the Mets were among those clubs to wear gold ribbon decals and wristbands on the field to raise awareness for childhood cancer. The gesture was in recognition of Major League Baseball’s “Childhood Cancer Awareness Day,” held during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C).

Childhood cancer awareness efforts in previous seasons have included special pediatric cancer awareness batting-practice T-shirts, online campaigns to empower fans to hold fundraisers for pediatric cancer research and donations to local children’s hospitals. MLB and its clubs have supported the fight against cancer through a variety of initiatives for many years. As Stand Up To Cancer’s founding donor, Major League Baseball has pledged more than $50 million to SU2C’s collaborative cancer research programs, providing invaluable support. Launched in 2013, the work of the Stand Up To Cancer/St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team has helped to develop new immunotherapy approaches and contributed to the development of two new treatments for difficult-to-treat pediatric leukemias that have been approved by the FDA. MLB has recognized SU2C at its jewel events since the '09 World Series.