Wilson Ramos to resume playing in Venezuelan winter league tonight

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Wilson Ramos is scheduled to be back in the lineup for Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan winter league tonight, less than a week after being rescued following a kidnapping at gunpoint.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo signed off on Ramos remaining in Venezuela and returning to game action, but told ESPN-980 in Washington that the team plans to give Ramos a physical exam following the winter meetings next month and will have him speak to a specialist “equipped to talk to people in these types of situations.”

Ramos finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .267 with 15 homers and a .779 OPS in 113 games, which is one of the most productive seasons by a 23-year-old catcher during the past 25 years.

The Mets are strongarming Devin Mesoraco into retiring

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The Mets told catcher Devin Mesoraco on Saturday that he will not make the team, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported. Mesoraco, a major league veteran of eight seasons, said he won’t accept a reassignment to Triple-A. According to Matt Ehalt of Yahoo Sports, the Mets will place Mesoraco on the restricted list rather than release him. As a result, Mesoraco is expected to retire from baseball.

This is a bad look for the Mets. Most teams release the major league-caliber players they don’t plan to break camp with so they can pursue opportunities elsewhere. The Mets must really be hurting for catching depth.

Mesoraco, 30, was decent as the Mets’ back-up last season after coming over from the Reds in the Matt Harvey deal, batting .222/.306/.409 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI in 229 plate appearances. Mesoraco is a bit below-average defensively and spent much of the mid-2010’s on the disabled list dealing with hip and shoulder injuries.

On Monday afternoon, the Mets signed free agent catcher René Rivera, per SNY’s Andy Martino. Rivera was recently released by the Giants. He is less potent with the bat than Mesoraco, but a bit better defensively. Rivera will back up Wilson Ramos and Travis d'Arnaud will likely open the season on the injured list. Tomás Nido will be the third-string catcher behind Rivera.