Mets' Francisco Alvarez making serious progress toward return, to take huge step this weekend

Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez is ramping things up in a big way as he works toward a return from a torn ligament in his left thumb that required surgery.

"He's doing a lot more nowadays," manager Carlos Mendoza said before Wednesday's game. "He's already catching, swinging the bat, hitting off the tee, hitting soft toss.

"I think he's scheduled to take BP with us when we get back home over the weekend. Progressing well. So, yeah, a lot of good reports on him."

As far as receiving pitches with his left (glove) hand, Mendoza said things are going well.

"He's got a splint there that is helping, but yesterday he caught," he explained. "He's scheduled to catch off a velo machine today. And like I said, BP on the field this weekend, so progressing well."

Before this recent ramp up, Alvarez had been participating in one-handed hitting drills and playing catch.

Alvarez's thumb surgery took place on April 23, with the team saying after that a general return to play would take roughly eight weeks.

That timeline would put Alvarez back in big league game action in the middle of June.

If he continues to progress well, with the next steps being the aforementioned plan to catch off a velocity machine Wednesday and take batting practice this weekend, it stands to reason that Alvarez will be ready for a rehab assignment in the near future.

The Mets' offense has struggled in a big way without Alvarez, with the stumbles of Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brett Baty compounding the issue.

Meanwhile, Alvarez's replacements behind the plate -- Tomas Nido and Omar Narvaez -- have not offered much offensively.

Nido is slashing .246/.270/.361, while Narvaez is slashing .164/.193/.200.