Catcher James McCann returns after six weeks on injured list with hamate fracture – The Denver Post


James McCann returned to his usual squat behind the plate on Saturday, catching for none other than the Mets starter with a six-pitch arsenal.

With McCann’s left hamate fracture, ensuing surgery and rehab behind him, the Mets backstop played for the first time in six-plus weeks, batting ninth, in the Mets’ game against the Marlins in Miami. Right-hander Chris Bassitt was on the hill for the Amazin’s, pitching to McCann again for the first time since May 2 against the Braves at Citi Field.

There is perhaps no other starting pitcher on the Mets’ starting five that missed McCann more than Bassitt, who has a 2.61 ERA in five starts pitching to him. That battery works so well because McCann is known to do extensive homework on his starters, and Bassitt’s toolbox features a sinker, cutter, slider, fastball, curveball and changeup that requires patience and quick-thinking behind the plate.

Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has said Bassitt is at his best when he’s throwing all six of his offerings confidently. While McCann sat on the IL, it took nearly a month for Bassitt to get on the same page with Mets backup catcher Tomas Nido. During that stretch, Bassitt allowed 22 earned runs in 26 innings, making for the worst spread of starts in his eight-year career.

It should be smooth sailing for Bassitt with McCann back behind the plate, beginning with the righty’s 15th outing of the year on Saturday. For McCann, he will try to start anew and have a better season offensively than the numbers he posted to begin the year.

McCann is hitting a pedestrian .196/.266/.286 with one home run, six RBI, two walks, two doubles and 11 strikeouts across his first 21 games of the season. In the 28 games that Nido filled in for the injured McCann, the backup catcher hit .225/.281/.236 with nine RBI, six walks, one double and 23 strikeouts. Patrick Mazeika, who also helped replace McCann, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday.


Adam Ottavino is quietly having one of his best seasons in three years. The veteran reliever, who pitched for the Yankees from 2019-2020 before landing with the Red Sox last year, has a 2.60 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 30 relief appearances for the Mets this season. His 27.2 innings pitched are fourth-most in the relief corps, behind Drew Smith (31.2 IP), Edwin Diaz (28.2 IP), and Seth Lugo (28.1 IP). His 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings are second-most on the Mets pitching staff (minimum of five innings pitched).

Ottavino has allowed one earned run in his last 19 relief appearances, posting a 0.50 ERA with nine hits, five walks and 18 strikeouts in that span. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings against the Marlins on Friday, including leaving the bases loaded in relief of Smith in the seventh inning. He’s holding right-handed hitters to a .147 batting average this season, and has posted a 0.71 ERA with three walks and 14 strikeouts in 14 games on the road this year.

The Mets acquired Ottavino in March, just days after the MLB lockout was over and spring training had finally begun. The Brooklyn native posted a 4.21 ERA in 69 appearances for the Red Sox last year, striking out 71 batters in 62 innings. But he hasn’t had a season this good since 2019 with the Yankees, when he recorded a 1.90 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 66.1 innings and 73 outings.


The Mets have done a solid job squashing their division so far this season. They are 23-8 against the NL East this year, including an 11-1 mark in their last 12 games against division rivals. The Amazin’s have lost back-to-back games against NL East opponents only once all season, which took place more than two months ago at Washington and Philadelphia on April 10-11. Their .742 winning percentage is the best intradivisional record in baseball, and they’ve outscored their NL East rivals 162-101 this year.



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