Mets may soon have to make ‘tough’ Brett Baty-Mark Vientos decision

The Mets might be reaching an inflection point at third base.

For about two weeks they have carried both Mark Vientos and Brett Baty in what has amounted to a platoon that has boosted the club’s offense but compromised its defensive flexibility.

Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil played all 19 innings of Tuesday’s doubleheader because the Mets had no true backup middle infielder.

Brett Baty Robert Sabo for NY Post

Manager Carlos Mendoza acknowledged the Mets were holding conversations about how much longer the club can proceed with such an odd roster makeup.

“We gotta get through today, check with [Lindor and McNeil], see where we’re at,” Mendoza said before the Mets were swept in the doubleheader by the Dodgers on Day 5 of a 13-games-in-13-days stretch. “Obviously, we’ll ask for them to play [every inning] today, and we’ll see how it goes.”

The pair survived the pair of games, McNeil saying just that he was “fine” after another long day.

The Mets’ third basemen have been a surprising strength since Vientos was called up May 15.

Baty, a former top prospect who has not turned Triple-A dominance into consistent major league success, had struggled for the early going of the season but hit better since the righty-hitting Vientos arrived and taken the majority of the at-bats against lefties.

Baty is the superior defender — even if he lost the handle on a potential double-play ball in Tuesday’s Game 1 loss — but Vientos has held his own at third and has seen his power play against MLB pitching.

In his first 11 games of the season, the 24-year-old Vientos has blasted three homers and holds a 1.124 OPS.

“This is a tough one. There’s no easy solution here,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “I do think we have two players who deserve to be in the big leagues, and that’s why they’re both here right now.

“I’ve also been consistent that this present roster construction cannot last in perpetuity. At some point we’re going to have to get slightly more conventional. But we have two guys who I think have demonstrated they really deserve to be in the big leagues.”

In years past, the argument might have held that the Mets are stunting the growth of their young players by letting them share time and not ensuring each gets daily reps, one at Triple-A.

Mark Vientos USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Stearns countered that some time against MLB pitching is better than no time.

“We all know that there is a gap right now between Triple-A and major league pitching,” Stearns said. “Just getting those reps against major league pitching I think is beneficial for both those guys. And at some point we’re going to have to make some decisions on our roster.”

Among the Mets’ middle-infield options at Triple-A Syracuse are players with major league experience such as Jose Iglesias, Yolmer Sanchez and Mike Brosseau and prospects such as Rylan Bannon, Luke Ritter and Luisangel Acuña.

Expect Francisco Alvarez back within a few weeks.

The Mets catcher is set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Binghamton, a little over five weeks since April 23 surgery on a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Francisco Alvarez is beginning a rehab assignment this week. Robert Sabo for NY Post

Alvarez has begun taking batting practice and catching while using a brace on his thumb, which he will continue to wear during games.

Rehab assignments for position players max out at 20 days, so Alvarez’s minor league stint will last no later than June 18 (barring a setback or the Mets optioning him if he needs more time).

Alvarez has begun taking batting practice and catching while using a brace on his thumb, which he will continue to wear during games.

“Probably the big thing with Alvy right now is just getting comfortable receiving a baseball and simulating what this is going to be like from a hitting perspective, in the cage, with [velocity] machines, on the field with BP,” Stearns said. “The added complication here with a catcher with this injury is: How is he going to feel receiving the baseball? That’s the hurdle. And we won’t really know until he gets out there, but everything is going well so far.”

Alvarez will begin by catching five to seven innings Thursday, Mendoza said. The Mets will not consider him an option until he is catching back-to-back games of at least seven innings.

After Kodai Senga hinted at some disagreement with the team concerning his rehab, which had been paused after he experienced nerve inflammation, Stearns said there has been no issue with communication.

Stearns also said he did not know when Senga, who restarted a throwing program Tuesday, would debut.

“I don’t have a definitive time frame there. I wish I did,” Stearns said of Senga, whose rehab from a right shoulder capsule strain has hit several snags. “Clearly, any time frame I’ve given you guys earlier on this one we’ve blown past. And so I’m not going to speculate going forward.

“I do know he’s working really hard, and our medical staff is working really hard to get him back out there as soon as possible. I can’t tell you when that’s going to be.”

Stearns on Pete Alonso, who is expected to reach free agency after this season: “Nothing’s changed with Pete’s situation.”

Righty Dedniel Núñez, who was called up as the 27th man for the doubleheader, struck out three in two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk, in the nightcap.

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