J.D. Davis will ‘get chance’ at third base, but won’t start at hot corner full-time

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The Mets have used seven different players at third base this season, but they’ve found consistency with Jonathan Villar manning the hot corner in over 60% of their games in the first half of the regular season. Which is why, when J.D. Davis returns from his prolonged stay on the injured list, the Mets are not committing to the infielder assuming his previous position on a full-time basis.

Davis (left hand sprain) is expected to join the Mets after the All-Star break. He’s scheduled to spend one more week rehabbing with Triple-A Syracuse to tune up his at-bats, after which he will join the big-league lineup.

The Mets want Davis to be versatile when he returns to the club. He has already split time between third (seven games) and first base (three games) for Syracuse. Mets manager Luis Rojas implied Davis could see playing time at third, first and in the outfield when he joins the team.

“He’ll get his chance to play third,” Rojas said. “We tried him at first too. We also think of his versatility. He’s played the outfield before. I think moving around works well for him. You always want to have J.D.’s bat in the lineup, he’s a really good hitter. But I can’t say right now that he’s the third baseman.”

Davis will be part of a third base rotation, alongside Villar, Luis Guillorme and maybe even Jose Peraza, Rojas said. The Mets will have to crunch their roster when Davis comes off the IL. Billy McKinney and Peraza are both out of options, but one of those two are expected to be demoted.

COOKIE ALL SMILES AFTER LIVE BP

Carlos Carrasco (torn right hamstring) faced Luis Guillorme, Jose Peraza and Billy McKinney on Saturday in his second live bullpen session while he continues ramping up from injury. Carrasco threw 29 pitches over two innings and looked comfortable — in full uniform wearing a blue Mets jersey — on the Citi Field mound.

In attendance to watch the veteran right-hander face batters were Rojas, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson and others, perched behind home plate. Guillorme said Carrasco’s fastball and changeup were playing well. After his session was over, Carrasco received hugs from his teammates. The starter was all smiles as he talked to Hefner about his progress.

Rojas said Carrasco may throw another live bullpen session before going on a rehab assignment. The Mets are unsure how many rehab outings he will need before slotting into the rotation, but Rojas mentioned he could pitch in just one rehab assignment. The club expects Carrasco to complete his progression with the major-league ball club, indicating Carrasco could stretch out to just three or four innings in rehab before getting the green light to come off the IL.

LINDOR WEIGHED DOWN

Francisco Lindor, in a vulnerable postgame press conference on Friday, shared that he was listening to the crowd for boos after he parked a grand slam to left field in the Mets’ 13-4 win over the Pirates.

The home crowd regularly booed Lindor earlier this year after the $341 million shortstop started the season in a slump. Lindor has since improved at the plate, putting up a .976 OPS across the last seven days. But he admitted he’s unhappy about his first-half performance, including a .221 batting average entering Saturday.

Rojas said he was surprised the crowd’s negative reaction from earlier this season is still weighing on Lindor.

“He wants to contribute offensively,” Rojas said. “He knows he’s contributing in other areas. But he knows how passionate our fan base is and he wants to please them, he wants to give them his best. I’m sure he’s emotional when he does something great, like hitting his first grand slam as a Met.

“It kind of surprises me that he’s been carrying some things in there, but on the other hand it doesn’t surprise me that he cares about giving the fans what they want out of him.”

Lindor said it was good to hear the fans react positively after his grand slam, and he fed off their energy when he finally smiled in the dugout.

FINAL GAME OF THE FIRST HALF

The Mets will wrap up the first half of their regular season on Sunday in a series finale against the Pirates… without a starter yet announced. There was some possibility that Jacob deGrom would start on short rest, but Rojas on Saturday indicated that is unlikely.

“I saw him earlier today and we didn’t even talk about it,” Rojas said of deGrom. “We are leaning toward probably not having him throw until the second half. Not to have him on short rest, exposure and just prevent anything from happening. We already had three [injuries] happen. It can be a little risky if we push something.”

The Mets will likely go with a bullpen game on Sunday. Rojas mentioned Jerad Eickhoff as a possibility to start the game and pitch a couple of innings before going to his relief corps.

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