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Mark Canha defends Pete Alonso, Buck Showalter and work ethic of ex-mates

Mark Canha isn’t with the Mets anymore, but on Tuesday he defended Pete Alonso, manager Buck Showalter and the team’s work ethic.

Now with the Brewers after he was part of the trade-deadline exodus from a sinking club, the outfielder has been among the many to face questions about what went wrong for the 2023 Mets.

Canha, who spent 1¹/₂ seasons in Flushing, said playing in New York can be “heavy,” particularly the expectations that came with the highest-priced major league team ever, but blamed injuries more than anything for the Mets’ 71-85 record.

He said he does not blame Alonso, whose Mets future is unclear because he can become a free agent after next season.

Alonso has not been signed long term and was part of the trade-deadline talks.

A WFAN host has stated Alonso, a team leader, is part of the issues within the club’s clubhouse.

Former Met and current Brewer Mark Canha (left), celebrating Pete Alonso's homer on Opening Day this season, defended the Amazin's slugger, Buck Showalter and his ex-team's work ethic.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“He feels like such a New York guy and really embraces that role. … He’s just so all-in on the Mets,” Canha said on “The Show” podcast with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman. “I loved playing with Pete. Saying that he’s a problem in the clubhouse couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Pete is a big part of the identity of the New York Mets, not to mention a world-class, perennial power-hitting first baseman that doesn’t come around very often and one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Canha also said he does not feel Showalter is part of the problem.

The manager’s job security has come into question after the failed season and with David Stearns set to take over as team president.

It is unclear whether Stearns will stick with Showalter, who was brought in to manage a win-now team and could be asked to manage a team with lower expectations next season.

“I love Buck. Playing for him was amazing and so much fun and just a great experience,” said Canha, a nine-year veteran. “He’s such a good baseball mind. The attention to detail on this guy is unreal.

“I honestly think that Buck could manage any team because of the way he handles players, the way he handles people in the organization, your analytics groups and coaching staff and the way he manages bullpens. I don’t think there’s anything he doesn’t think about.

“He’s one of the older guys managing a baseball team right now, and the sharpness is incredible.”

Finally, Canha said he does not believe that a poor work ethic ruined this season.

Tommy Pham, in an interview with The Athletic, said the Mets had “the least-hardest work group of position players I’ve ever played with.” Pham did defend the amount of work team leaders Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo put in.

Canha said he was not surprised Pham made the accusation, but only because Pham works harder than most.

Most major league players, Canha said, have their own routine that they have found works for them. Pham’s routine is more laborious.

“I don’t think I necessarily agree with the fact that other players don’t work hard,” Canha said. “To expect everyone to work the way that Tommy Pham works every day is a little bit much. That works for him.”

Starling Marte (right groin strain) was not able to work out, as scheduled, Tuesday at Citi Field because rain left the field wet.

Showalter said he, general manager Billy Eppler and Marte still had to talk about what is best for the outfielder, who has not played since Aug. 5.

Showalter had expressed hope Marte could return this season, but time is running out.

“I know where I think it’s headed, but we’ll see,” Showalter said.

A rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse was scrapped over the weekend because of travel issues and Marte feeling under the weather.

Before the Mets’ game with the Marlins was postponed by rain Tuesday, Francisco Alvarez was slated to return to the lineup after his left hand was hit by three foul tips Sunday in Philadelphia, forcing him to leave the game in the sixth inning.

“He’s doing well,” Showalter said. “He’s ready to go.”

Alonso’s foundation donated $10,000 to Long Island’s North Shore Animal League, which celebrated by bringing puppies that he played with to Citi Field.