PITTSBURGH — The Mets will be lining up familiar faces from the minor leagues to systematically thicken their catchers.
On Friday, the team announced that Thomas Nido has granted a waiver and accepted a permanent move to Triple-A Syracuse. The catcher was named to the task Monday as Omar Narvaez returned from the injured reserve.
Nido could have flatly refused to become a free agent, but that would mean giving up the remainder of the $3.7 million two-year deal he received from the Mets last offseason. Nido was left with no minor-league options, but he was fully eligible as a player with less than five years of major league experience and was left off the 40-man roster.
“I’m selfishly excited for us,” manager Buck Showalter said before the Mets lost 7-14 to the Pirates at PNC Park on Friday night. “We will get another quality major league catcher and keep him in the organization. It’s not that it won’t happen, it’s a matter of timing a lot, but I know what we think of him no matter what anyone else does.”
Nido, 29, has become an expendable commodity with the rise of rookie Francisco Alvarez as Narvaez was in IL for two months of rehab following a torn left calf. The Mets also temporarily added veteran catcher Gary Sanchez to the squad during Narvaez’s absence and while Nido was in the IL with dry eye syndrome, a condition he corrected with new contact lenses.
In 22 games for the Mets this season, Nido has a .125/.153/.125 thrashline. Throughout his career, the Mets have judged him primarily on his defensive prowess and framing skills.
The Mets, needing help from the bullpen, recalled lefty Zach McEnhane from Triple-A Syracuse a day after using six relief pitchers in a 10-inning loss to the Braves, 13-10. He gave up 3 runs on 6 hits in 2 1/3 innings on Friday. Steven Nogosek was appointed to the task.
Edwin Useta underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Relief pitchers will likely be out of the game for the next eight weeks.