Pablo Sandoval to begin minor league rehab assignment Friday

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Pablo Sandoval hasn’t played since straining his left hamstring while stretching for a throw at first base on July 24, but he’s ready to return to game action.

According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Sandoval is scheduled to play five innings at third base tomorrow when he begins a minor league rehab assignment with High-A San Jose. Giants manager Bruce Bochy thinks he “more than likely would play two of three games down there” before returning, which means he’ll likely be activated for Monday’s series opener against the Nationals if all goes well.

Sandoval, 25, is batting .299/.352/.491 with eight home runs, 33 RBI and an .843 OPS in 62 games played this season. The recently-acquired Marco Scutaro has filled in quite nicely at third base, including a career-high seven RBI last night, but he’ll likely see more playing time between second base and shortstop once Sandoval is ready to return.

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.