Mets call up top prospect Alvarez from minors; Narváez on IL

Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — Touted prospect Francisco Álvarez was recalled by the New York Mets from Triple-A Syracuse before their home opener against the Miami Marlins.

Álvarez was brought up to replace fellow catcher Omar Narváez, who was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 6, with a strained left calf.

“We had a player hurt and he was on the roster, and next guy up,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Next guy in line.”

The 31-year-old Narváez was injured during a loss in Milwaukee, and the team announced that an MRI revealed a medium- to high-grade strain. He is expected to miss about eight to nine weeks.

Rated one of baseball’s top prospects, the 21-year-old Álvarez was not in the starting lineup. Tomás Nido caught Tylor Megill in a game that was postponed a day because of a bad weather forecast.

Showalter said Álvarez will get some playing time, but he wouldn’t commit to how much.

”We’ll see how that evolves. Obviously we’re lucky to have a guy like Tomás who we’re very comfortable with, obviously,” Showalter said. “Day-to-day thing, what the needs of the club are and what Tomás is – but certainly Francisco will get some playing time.”

Showalter said he will consider using Álvarez at designated hitter, too.

Narváez was hitting .286 with two RBIs in five games for New York after signing a two-year, $15 million contract as a free agent in December. The deal includes a player option for 2024.

His injury leaves the Mets without a left-handed-hitting catcher on the active roster to pair with Nido, a right-handed batter who is a much stronger defender than hitter.

Nido, who turns 29 next week, began the day with a .217 career batting average and .573 OPS in 256 major league games. He hit .239 with three homers, 28 RBIs and a .600 OPS in 98 games last season.

“I know Tomás was hoping nothing would happen to Omar, but he wants to take this opportunity and run with it,” Showalter said. “He’s probably looking at it as an opportunity to establish himself as an everyday catcher, which he’s capable of doing.”

Álvarez hit two home runs in four games for Triple-A Syracuse early this season. He made his big league debut late last September and went 2 for 12 with a homer, a double and two walks in five regular-season games. He was included on New York’s playoff roster and struck out in his only postseason appearance in the NL wild-card round against San Diego.

Nationals blow 6-run lead, rebound to beat Phillies 8-7

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WASHINGTON (AP) Lane Thomas singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals sent the Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight loss, winning 8-7 after blowing a six-run lead.

The defending NL champion Phillies have just five victories in their last 18 games and are tied with the Nationals at the bottom of the NL East at 25-32.

“We’ve got to overcome it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We’ve got to play better, get consistent in all phases and keep moving forward.”

Alex Call drew a two-out walk against Connor Brogdon (2-1) in the eighth, stole second on a low pitch that catcher JT Realmuto couldn’t make a throw on and scored on Thomas’ single to right center.

“The way Lane’s swinging the bat, if you can get on second base, we can win the game,” Call said. “I look over and the ball’s in the dirt, he doesn’t catch it. Now I’m saying: ‘All right, Lane. Come on!’”

Kyle Finnegan (3-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory, stranding the tying run on second in the ninth.

Nick Castellanos homered twice, singled, doubled and drove in five runs for Philadelphia, which had scored just three runs in its past three games.

“There’s definitely a lot of positives as a group,” Castellanos said. “Showing some fight. It would have been really, really easy to lay down and allow the way the game started to be the way that it finished.”

Down 7-1 after four innings, Philadelphia tied it at 7 in the eighth. Brandon Marsh worked a nine-pitch walk against Mason Thompson leading off, and Drew Ellis singled with one out. Finnegan came on to face Kyle Schwarber, who hit a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop CJ Abrams fielded it behind it behind second base, touched second for one out, but threw wildly to first and Marsh came home with the tying run.

Castellanos’s second homer, a two-run shot to center in the sixth, pulled the Phillies to 7-3 and Marsh added an RBI single in the inning.

In the seventh, Schwarber doubled with one out and Bryson Scott reached on an infield single. Hunter Harvey came on and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. Castellanos singled to center scoring two runs to make it 7-6.

Luis Garcia homered and Jeimer Candelario doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who have won seven of 12.

Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler, coming off eight shutout innings against Atlanta, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“This one’s on me really,” Wheeler said. “Guys battled back. Just couldn’t finish it out. We know who we have in this room and what we’ve got to do.”

Josiah Gray gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings for Washington.

Candelario doubled just beyond the reach of left fielder Schwarber to drive in the first of Washington’s two runs in the first.

In the second, Abrams hit a one-out drive to deep center that Marsh misplayed into a double. With two outs and two on, Candelario doubled off the wall in right center to make it 5-0.

Garcia ended Wheeler’s night with a solo homer in the fourth.

“When you come out the way we did, you’ve got to tack on,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It didn’t happen tonight, but we got one more than the other guys.”


Candelario is 9 for 26 (.346) with four doubles, a home run, nine RBIs, five walks, and seven runs scored in his last seven games.


Phillies: Thomson said RHP Taijuan Walker played catch Friday and there are “no worries about his next start.” In a four-inning outing against the Mets on Thursday, Walker’s sinker velocity averaged 90.6 mph, down from 92.7 mph for the season. His fastball, splitter and curveball velocity also dropped.

Nationals: OF Victor Robles (back spasms) took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the injured list. … LHP Sean Doolittle (elbow) gave up a run on two hits and struck out two batters in 2/3 of an inning working his second straight night for Class A Fredericksburg.


Phillies: LHP Matt Strahm (4-3, 3.20) will start a bullpen game on Saturday.

Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.57) went seven innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters in his previous outing – a no decision against the Royals.

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