James McCann to have surgery for hand fracture

James McCann to have surgery for hand fracture

NEW YORK — What initially appeared to be routine soreness turned out to be something far more sinister. An X-ray taken Friday revealed that Mets catcher James McCann has a broken hamate bone in his left wrist. He will undergo surgery and miss approximately six weeks, which should include most or all of June.

Tomás Nido will assume primary catching duties for the Mets. To replace McCann on the roster, the Mets recalled Patrick Mazeika — a cult hero of the early 2021 season — from Triple-A Syracuse.

“I’m hoping that it’s pretty seamless,” manager Buck Showalter said, “but we’ll see.”

McCann had not played since Tuesday in Washington, when he reported left wrist soreness that he considered insignificant. Two days later, McCann defined his illness as “general soreness just from wear and tear,” saying that he would be available that afternoon if needed. He added that he would be a “full go” by Friday. But McCann didn’t appear again in Washington, and when his soreness persisted, the Mets sent him for a precautionary X-ray that revealed the break.

Although McCann was batting just .196/.266/.286 with one home run in 21 games, he owned a .292 average since April 26. The veteran catcher also ranked in the 94th percentile in MLB in pitch framing, according to Statcast data , and has drawn rave reviews from various members of the pitching staff. McCann was behind the plate for all nine innings of the Mets’ combined no-hitter on April 29.

Without McCann, the Mets will turn mostly to Nido, who entered Friday’s play starts with a .204/.200/.245 slash line (and who had caught five of Max Scherzer’s first six even with McCann in the fold). The 28-year-old Mazeika logged significant time last season, batting .190/.253/.266 in 37 games and recording multiple walk-off RBIs without the benefit of a hit.

“It would be different if Tomás hadn’t been catching any and Mazeika hadn’t been up here before and our pitching staff wasn’t familiar with him,” Showalter said. “We look forward to getting Mac back. He’s already made a big contribution. The pitchers like throwing to him and Tomás, and I think they will Mazeika too.”

With McCann due back as soon as June, the Mets aren’t likely to use his absence as an opportunity to pursue significant upgrades in the trade market. They certainly won’t look to their own top prospect, Francisco Álvarez, a 20-year-old with a bright future but only 24 career games above Single-A ball. Following a brilliant start to his Double-A Binghamton career, Álvarez has posted a .122/.260/.146 slash line over his last 11 games.

For now, the Mets will simply make do with their in-house options while McCann progresses.

“It’s tough,” Showalter said. “I know how much Mac likes being on the club and contributing and being a part of it. But we’re going to see him again, and he’s going to contribute again.”

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