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Mets’ James McCann passes test in move to first base

If it were possible for the Mets lineup to get any weirder, that occurred Monday when James McCann was handed an even larger glove.

The Mets catcher started at first base for his initial professional appearance at the position, allowing manager Luis Rojas to place an additional experienced righty bat in the lineup. McCann batted third and homered in the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Rockies at Citi Field.

Pete Alonso’s placement on the injured list Friday with a sprained right hand had meant a combination of Dominic Smith and Brandon Drury playing the position for the weekend series in Miami, during which Rojas said team brass discussed the idea with McCann, who had last played first base in college.

“That is a position I am going to say [McCann] is familiar with, even though he hasn’t played there professionally, but he’s familiar with the position,” Rojas said before the game. “He’s worked there before, he’s looked good to us, so I don’t think we are going to be compromised with him playing first from a defensive standpoint.”

McCann was tested early, diving to his right in the second inning to stop Josh Fuentes’ grounder before throwing to David Peterson covering the bag.

James McCann
James McCann makes a throw from his knees at first base on Monday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“It definitely loosened me up a little bit, getting that first one out of the way,” McCann said. “I joked with the guys, I said, ‘I haven’t felt these kind of jitters in a while, standing out there playing defense.’ ”

Options all around were limited for the Mets, with Drury, Wilfredo Tovar, Khalil Lee and Patrick Mazeika as the bench options for a team that has 16 players on the IL.

“We feel pretty good and have the bat presence there [with McCann], which is something we need right now,” Rojas said. “We need presences in the lineup. We’re facing a lefty, and McCann is a guy we think with some other guys in there we can manufacture some runs.”

J.D. Davis is expected to receive first-base reps at Triple-A Syracuse, but he might not rejoin the club before the Mets complete their homestand on Sunday, according to acting general manager Zack Scott. Davis has been on the rehab trail from a left hand sprain, but was scratched from his Sunday start with a stiff neck.

Scott is hopeful Alonso will return by next week, adding it’s possible the first baseman will need minor league rehab games.

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