John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Ah, spring training. In some ways it's the best time for baseball writers, a time when players, managers, and executives are more relaxed and willing to talk before the pressure of the long season takes hold. 

I first went to spring training in 1982, and suffice to say we writers were a lot more relaxed as well in those days, before Internet deadlines and social media changed everything about the job. 

The quotes aren't nearly as colorful these days, when players seemingly live in fear of the Twitter reaction to even the smallest misstep, but as I head to Florida to write about both the Mets and Yankees for SNY, there's still nothing better than baseball and sunshine in February.

With that in mind, I offer four of my favorite or most memorable experiences covering spring training over the years. Time and space restrictions meant leaving out some gems, from Sid Fernandez pointing a gun in my face one year, to John Franco leading a team-wide media boycott, to getting wind of Sandy Alderson's then-laughable 90-win prediction. 

Maybe some other time. For now I opted for these: 

1. The Picture-Day Fight, 1989

Talk about a godsend for a beat writer. On an otherwise sleepy spring training morning, chaos erupted out of a routine team-picture gathering when Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez squared off and started throwing haymakers. 

In truth, nothing was all that surprising from those 1980s Mets, but there was a back story that made this drama especially fascinating. 

By September of the 1988 season, Strawberry had emerged as the favorite to win the NL MVP Award. He would ultimately lose out to the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson in a vote that would never happen today, as it was based largely on intangibles. But it didn't help that teammate Kevin McReynolds finished third, taking four potential first-place votes from Strawberry as well.  

Late in that '88 season, Hernandez privately had told some of the beat writers that he thought McReynolds was more deserving of the award, saying he'd been more clutch. You had to factor in the love/hate relationship Keith had with Darryl, but as one of the most analytical players of his time, his word still carried weight. 

Fast-forward to spring of '89: Then-Daily News writer Bob Klapisch felt Hernandez was trying to run him off the beat because of his infamous ghost-written David Cone column that riled up the Dodgers in the '88 NLCS. So one day early in camp, he made a point of telling Strawberry how Keith had been politicking against him. 

That same night the two players had words at a local bar, and had to be separated by teammates. Strawberry didn't reveal the source of his anger, but it spilled over the next morning on picture day, as all hell broke loose. 

I was the beat writer for the Post at the time, and I remember walking into the clubhouse after the dust settled, seeing Hernandez and Klapisch going nose-to-nose, screaming at each other until Davey Johnson finally intervened. 

Yep, by then word had gotten to Hernandez that Klapisch had whispered in Strawberry's ear. 

"Don't ever come near my locker again," Keith yelled. 

These days, with players ever wary that confrontation could land them in a viral video, such writer-player fireworks rarely happen. In those days, especially on those raucous Mets' teams, it was practically business as usual. 

2. The Lockout Basketball Games, 1990

As something of a pre-cursor to the 1994 players' strike, MLB owners locked players out of each team's facility in 1990 just as spring training was about to begin.

With several Mets' players already in Port St. Lucie, their workout options were so limited that they gathered daily at a Little League complex just up Prima Vista Blvd., mostly just to throw the ball around a little before heading to the nearby outdoor basketball court for some full-court pick-up games. 

I talked my way into the game, along with a couple of other beat writers to help fill out five-man teams, and we went up and down the court for more than an hour. I was instantly reminded these guys weren't professional athletes for nothing, as some I hadn't thought of particularly athletic showed off some serious game. 

Not everybody, but, heck, even Mackey Sasser could shake and bake. 

Anyway, what I remember most was Ron Darling being the best player on the court, at least for the first couple of days. Then a minor-league pitcher named Terry Bross showed up to play -- the same 6-foot-8 Terry Bross who had started for St. John's a couple of years earlier. 

Much to his chagrin, Darling had to match up with the big guy on both ends, and, well, he wasn't heard from quite as much.

In any case, for four or five days, the beat never seemed so much fun: Show up at the Little League field, play full-court hoop and then grab a player for an interview to write a feature for the next day's paper. No Twitter, no video, no internet deadlines, and the players didn't even mind having us around. 

But then Strawberry showed up. This was only a few weeks after he'd made headlines by reportedly pulling a gun on his then-wife at his home in Los Angeles, and when he arrived in Port St. Lucie, he wasn't in the mood to talk about it.

So someone made arrangements and suddenly the basketball game was moved inside to a local high school -- off-limits to us writers. 

Too bad. I heard Straw could really play, but I never got to see it, and I kid him to this day about getting us booted from the game. 

Soon enough, the owners relented, camps opened, and it was back to the grind of covering a real spring training. I know, I know…nice work if you can get it. 

3. Joe Torre Unplugged, 2006

As I noted in a column for SNY recently, getting to write the late Mel Stottlemyre's autobiography was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career. One small part of it was the rare opportunity to sit and talk with Joe Torre as something closer to a confidant than a newspaper columnist. 

Or at least that's how it seemed to me.

By the spring of '06, I'd written countless columns about Torre, and while we had a good relationship, it was all business.

Unlike some other managers over the years, Torre didn't do many individual interviews, and rarely if ever did he go off-the-record to make a point or curry favor with a writer. Yet he was so good at charming us with his storytelling in group sessions that he was great writing material. 

When I sat down with him in the dugout that morning before a spring training workout in '06, I wasn't really looking for anything but detail on his relationship with Stottlemyre, whom Torre had come to love like a brother during their years together as manager and pitching coach.

However, Mel apparently had told Torre that he could trust me completely, and so from the moment we began talking I realized this was anything but the media-session Torre. Instead it was as if he'd granted me access into his inner circle, and suddenly he was dropping F-bombs left and right, and dropping the hammer on certain people he didn't necessarily care for. 

He never felt the need to tell me anything was off the record, clearly trusting that this was information to be used as background for the book, or not at all in some cases. 

Not that it was anything scandalous. More memorable was Torre's tone, as he routinely offered unfiltered opinions in a manner unlike anything I'd ever heard from him. He talked that way for some 45 minutes as I sat practically spellbound.

Finally, we were done, and after I thanked Joe for his time, I walked away wondering if I now had a different relationship with the Yankee manager that might benefit my column writing as well. 

Turns out I didn't. Torre was cordial as always when we spoke after that, but even when I managed to grab him occasionally on the side after a group session, I never heard anything even vaguely resembling that day in spring training of 2006.

Yes, being in the inner circle proved to be fleeting. And quite remarkable.  

4. Catching Santana, 2010

I had just finished putting the gear on, ready to go behind the plate, when Johan Santana let me know this was more than a publicity stunt for him. 

"Cup check," he said as he smacked me in the groin with his glove. "I'm going to have to bounce a slider in the dirt to get Ryan Howard out, and I'm going to need you to block it." 

Wait, what? Fortunately, I was indeed wearing a protective cup, but suddenly I wondered what I had gotten myself into, asking for the opportunity to catch Santana and write about it for the Daily News.  

Actually, I was shocked that Jay Horwitz had talked his bosses into letting me do it, but the Mets had bottomed out in 2009, and I guess they figured they could use anything resembling good publicity. 

So there I was in Fort Myers, Fla., where Santana lived, a couple of days before he was to report to spring training, on a ballfield at Florida Gulf Coast University about to get an up-close look at what it was like to catch the Mets' ace. 

I was counting on my old college shortstop skills to get me through it, and I was pretty confident because that winter I had been catching bullpen sessions for my son, Chris, who was pitching at Muhlenberg College. 

That said, I hadn't expected Santana to ramp up the expectations for me by announcing that he was treating this as if he were pitching a simulated game against the Phillies lineup, going batter-by-batter against Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Howard, etc. as he would for real in a couple of months. 

"You're calling the pitches," he told me. "You have the scouting report?"

In truth, Santana was being a great sport about the whole thing, but he did want to get something out of this throwing session, and he brought an intensity that had me feeling pressure not to screw up behind the plate. 

And with that Shane Victorino stepped into the batter's box, at least in Santana's mind, as the two-time Cy Young Award winner went to work. 

He was throwing about 88-90 mph, he estimated, but as I saw from behind the plate, the left-hander threw with a short-armed delivery that made it look as if the ball was coming right out of his ear -- creating deception that made him sneaky-fast. 

Also, I saw that his trademark change-up came out of the exact same slot with the same arm speed, making it look like a fastball until it hit the brakes in flight and dived downward as it neared the plate. No wonder nobody could hit that pitch, I remember thinking.

Anyway, all was going well until Santana, trying to be precise, walked Utley with two outs, bringing up Howard. As promised, he threw a slider in the dirt that the Phillies' clean-up hitter may or may not have chased, and though I blocked it, the ball caromed far enough off me that Utley would have been able to advance to second base.

"What'd you think, I was going to throw him a cookie?" Santana barked as I scrambled to retrieve the ball. "Now I'm in a tough spot."

I was pretty sure he was kidding, but he wasn't smiling. Fortunately, he went on to throw a perfect slider on the corner to strike Howard out and escape the inning. 

At that point Santana did smile as he walked toward me, and, sensing he was done, I asked, "You good?"

I think he misinterpreted my comment, as if I was asking for feedback on my performance behind the plate.

"It was painless," he said with a shrug. 

I took that as a compliment. 


HARPER: Mets' contract talks with deGrom is critical for Brodie Van Wagenen's credibility >> Read More

RELATED: Jacob deGrom won't rule out innings restrictions, says extension 'kind of up to them' >> Read More

RELATED: Van Wagenen on priority of extension for deGrom: 'I don't view this as all or nothing' >> Read More

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deGrom's latest on extension 00:00:57
New York Mets Cy Young pitcher Jacob deGrom says his optimism is dwindling on a contract extension by Opening Day.

Jacob deGrom's Opening Day deadline to secure a long-term contract extension is approaching, but the Mets ace did not sound very confident a deal could get done by then. 

After expressing optimism on a new contract just 11 days ago, deGrom changed his tune on Saturday following his final Spring Training start when he was asked if he was still optimistic. 

"Probably not as," he said. "Still have to see."

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Mets' offense erupted on Saturday against the Braves while Jacob deGrom looked true to form as they cruised to a 12-2 victory. >> Box score

Five things to know about Saturday's game...

1) Jacob deGrom appears to be ready for the regular season, tossing three perfect innings while striking out five batters in his final start before Opening Day.  

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Peter Alonso, Ronny Mauricio
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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ruben Tejada is back with the Mets. 

The 29-year-old utility infielder agreed to a minor-league deal with the Mets on Saturday, the team announced. 

Tejada spent the first six years of his career with the Mets before splitting time with the Giants, Cardinals and Orioles. He also had a brief minor-league stint with the Yankees in 2017. 

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Feb 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets head up to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. as they take on the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. 

Mets notes

Jeff McNeil is back in the leadoff spot after homering in the first inning on Friday. He is hitting .364 with three home runs and four RBI this spring. ... Pete Alonso is hitting .356 with four home runs and 10 RBI as he bats second. ... Robinson Cano is batting third and brings a .447 average into the game. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano
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New York Mets' Devin Mesoraco stands at the on-deck circle in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo/AP)
New York Mets' Devin Mesoraco stands at the on-deck circle in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo/AP)

The Mets are getting closer to finalizing their 25-man roster for Opening Day, but it will not include Devin Mesoraco

The 30-year-old catcher was informed on Saturday that he did not make the major-league roster and is now assessing his options, the team announced. 

Per Mike Puma of The Post, Mesoraco has told the Mets he refuses to go to Triple-A and is pushing for the club to release him. 

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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Wright adjusts to new role 00:01:19
David Wright stopped by the booth in today's Mets game. He talked about still wanting to be "one of the guys" and adjusting to retirement.

Mets great David Wright stopped by the SNY booth during Friday's split squad game against the Cardinals and spoke about his new role with the team and adjusting to life away from the baseball diamond. 

Tags: David Wright
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Mar 22, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) delivers a pitch in the first inning of a spring training game against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Navarro)
Mar 22, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) delivers a pitch in the first inning of a spring training game against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Navarro)

The other half of the split-squad Mets couldn't take down the Astros on Friday night in a 7-3 loss on the road. >> Box score

Five things to know about Friday's game...

1) Jason Vargas got the start in this second game for the Mets, and it was a decent one. He started strong, allowing only a solo homer to Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the second. And he still kept the lead in tact when George Springer laced an RBI double to make it a 3-2 game. But, when the sixth came around, he allowed a homer to Alex Bregman, and Robinson Chirinos' double allowed a runner to score that was charged to Vargas despite being pulled for Edwin Diaz. Overall, he allowed four earned on six hits while striking out three and walking two over 5.2 innings. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Houston Astros, Jason Vargas, Juan Lagares, Luis Guillorme
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Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets split the squad on Friday with one half hosting the Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. on SNY. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Houston Astros, Michael Conforto
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Feb 23, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil at bat in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 23, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil at bat in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets' split squad fell to the Cardinals on Friday, 15-5, at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie >> Box score

Five things to know about Friday's game...

1) Jeff McNeil blasted a long home run on the first pitch of the game in a 1-for-3 day at the plate. 

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso
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Pete Alonso continues domination 00:01:13
Pete Alonso has had a very strong spring. Nelson Figueroa and Steve Gelbs break down his chances of breaking camp with the Mets.

As SNY's Andy Martino has hinted to on several occassions, and most recently by Jon Heyman, the Mets appear as if they will start the season with Pete Alonso on the 25-man roster. 

It is also a strong possibility fellow first baseman Dominic Smith joins the 24-year-old while the Mets use analytical tools to determine how to maximize production from both Smith and Alonso, according to Martino

Mets manager Mickey Callaway also sounded like he was leaning that direction while speaking with reporters on Wednesday. 

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Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets split the squad on Friday with one half hosting the Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. on SNY. 

Mets notes

Pete Alonso is hitting .352 with four home runs and nine RBI this spring ... Travis d'Arnaud is the starting catcher and batting cleanup. ... Carlos Gomez is still searching for his first hit of the spring as he bats seventh in his third Grapefruit League game. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano
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Callaway into Alonso batting 2nd 00:00:35
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway spoke about Pete Alonso being the Mets' best option batting second with Jed Lowrie injured.

Mets first base propsect Pete Alonso has had a red-hot Spring Training and appears to have found a home in the batting order hitting second. 

Manager Mickey Callaway explains why he believes that is a good fit for him and the Mets' lineup. 

Tags: Peter Alonso
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New York Mets third baseman David Wright speaks to the crowd after a game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets third baseman David Wright speaks to the crowd after a game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets great David Wright will be an honorary ambassador of the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black this May.

Wright, the seven-time All-Star who played his last game in September and has taken a role in the Mets' front office, will take part in a ceremony before Friday's Mets-Cardinals Grapefruit League game in which Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith will pass the "honorary ambassador torch" to him.

Tags: David Wright
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New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto connects for a two-run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto connects for a two-run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Fearing that free agency might never be quite the golden goose it was before analytics seemingly devalued just about everyone this side of Mike Trout, MLB players are suddenly signing team-friendly contract extensions faster than Brandon Nimmo runs to first base on a walk.

So why haven't the Mets taken advantage of the opportunity?

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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What's the latest on the Mets? 00:00:40
On Baseball Night in New York, Andy Martino broke down the latest news on possible extensions for Jacob deGrom and other Mets.

Will the Mets and Jacob deGrom agree to a contract extension before Opening Day? Are other Mets candidates for extensions?

SNY's Andy Martino provides an update on the extension talks on Baseball Night in New York.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)
Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)

During the summer of 2017, Mets 1B Dominic Smith was considered the top first base prospect in the minors. He was promoted to the Mets a few weeks later, at which point he was widely considered to be their long-term, future first baseman.

He struggled at the plate and in the field and was later called out in public for his preparation and eating habits by then-GM Sandy Alderson. In response, Smith changed his diet, trimmed down, and returned to Triple-A in hopes of regaining the trust of the organization. 

Thanks to Alderson's remarks, Smith, 23, entered 2019 much like he entered 2018, questioning whether he had any sort of future in the big leagues.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) throws during drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) throws during drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Don't expect to see injured Mets veterans Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie on the field on Opening Day.

Mickey Callaway indicated on Thursday that the two infielders won't be healthy by the time the Mets open the season next week.

"I just don't see it," Callaway said. 

Tags: Jed Lowrie, Todd Frazier
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Brandon Nimmo on his approach 00:00:54
New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is happy about his approach at the plate after starting the spring in a slump.

The Mets beat the Marlins on Thursday at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie >> Box score

Five things to know about Thursday's game...

1) Michael Conforto remained on fire, hitting a homer in his fourth-straight game -- a mammoth two-run shot to right field. 

2) Steven Matz rebounded from a tough start his last time out, firing 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing six hits, walking none and striking out three.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Steven Matz, Tyler Bashlor, Danny Abriano
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Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With Opening Day one week away, things are starting to come into focus for the Mets. Here's how we see things shaking out in our 25-man Roster Prediction 3.0...

Starting Rotation (5)

  1. Jacob deGrom, RHP
  2. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
  3. Zack Wheeler, RHP
  4. Steven Matz, LHP
  5. Jason Vargas, LHP
Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Drew Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jacob Rhame, Jason Vargas, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Paul Sewald, Peter Alonso, Robert Gsellman, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Todd Frazier, Travis d'Arnaud, Tyler Bashlor, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Doug Williams and Andy Martino drop an all-new episode of Shea Anything, and they break down how Mickey Callaway should handle Pete Alonso and Dom Smith if both make the Opening Day roster.

They also discuss who should be backing up Wilson Ramos if the veteran goes down with injury as well as where Jacob deGrom stands with so many contract extensions being signed this spring.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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Tom Seaver speaks during a ceremony for Members of the 1969 New York Mets baseball team before the Mets play the Phillies Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009,  in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Tom Seaver speaks during a ceremony for Members of the 1969 New York Mets baseball team before the Mets play the Phillies Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Mets will be permanently changing the address of Citi Field to honor Tom Seaver, the team announced on Thursday, with full details to be released at a later date. 

In addition, the team will be unveiling plans this June for a statue to honor Seaver, Mets chief revenue officer Lou DePaoli said, according to Newsday.

"We've been working on exploring a potential statue option for a couple of years in coordination with the [Seaver] family," DePaoli said. "We won't be unveiling a statue this season. We will unveil the plans of what it will look like sometime on that ['69] weekend."

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Jun 21, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) looks on prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 21, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) looks on prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ichiro Suzuki walked off the field Thursday for the last time as a player, ending a Hall-of-Fame career that began in 2001 -- including a stint with the Yankees and a period spent pestering the Mets as a member of the Marlins. And while he was one of the best hitters ever, he also gave some of the best and funniest quotes ever. Here is a sampling...

'Who the f*ck is Tom Brady?'

In 2017, Ichiro received a text message from a number he didn't know. The number belonged to Tom Brady, who had gotten it from Alex Rodriguez and wanted to talk to Ichiro about his stretching regimen. When one of the coaches asked Ichiro who had texted him, his response was perfect: 'Some guy named Tom Brady. Who the f- is Tom Brady?'

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New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

After two days off (one due to a scheduled off-day and one due to rain), the Mets face the Marlins at First Data Field on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. on SNY. 

Mets notes

Pete Alonso gets the start at first base as the Mets trot out a lineup that should very closely resemble what we see on Opening Day. ... Steven Matz is on the mound. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz, Tyler Bashlor, Wilson Ramos, Danny Abriano
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Robinson Cano back in New York 00:01:31
Take a deeper look at one of the newest Mets, Robinson Cano. The veteran is expected to bring a lot to New York, this season.

During their first meeting about 2019, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway agreed that their roster needed a well-respected, accomplished, battle-tested player that could handle New York and provide a heavyweight presence in the clubhouse.

According to MLB sources familiar with the deal, Van Wagenen quickly identified Robinson Cano as a possible fit. It was well known the Mariners were eager to move his contract, which -- by the way -- Van Wagenen negotiated for Cano when representing him in 2014.

In return for taking on roughly half of the $120 million left on Cano's current contract, the Mets wanted closer Edwin Diaz. In the end, after shopping a similar deal to other teams, the M's sent Cano and Diaz to the Mets for top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, and prospect Gerson Bautista while no longer having to pay roughly $60 million in payroll during the next five years...

Tags: Robinson Cano, Matthew Cerrone
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Mickey Callaway on Smith, Alonso 00:00:51
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway explains how he would handle Dom Smith and Pete Alonso if both first basemen break camp with the team.

We suggested eight days ago that it could make sense for the Mets to carry both Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith on the Opening Day roster, and manager Mickey Callaway said Wednesday the team is considering just that.

And If the Mets do carry the right-handed hitting Alonso and left-handed hitting Smith, Callaway suggested it wouldn't be in a straight platoon. 

"I wouldn't classify it as a platoon situation," Callaway said. "I think our main goal would be to put them in the best situation to succeed. ... keep them both healthy and in the game mentally."

Tags: Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso, Danny Abriano
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Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets have a challenge ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs this season, being in what is expected to be the toughest division in baseball. Michael Conforto, fully healthy after working his way back from injury in 2018, is embracing it. 

"The division was tough this past year and this year it got a lot tougher," Conforto told Buster Olney during an interview Tuesday on ESPN Radio. "I think we're very lucky to be in a division that's as competitive as it is. The Braves, the Phillies, us, the Nationals, and even the Marlins -- they've got some good young players and you really can't overlook that series you have against them every so often. It's gonna be a battle as well."

Among the biggest moves elsewhere in the NL East were the Phillies adding Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, the Nats adding Patrick Corbin, and the Braves taking a shot on a rebound year from Josh Donaldson. The Mets added Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, and more. 

Tags: Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud during spring training at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud during spring training at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

As the Mets continue to work out their catching situation, most of the attention has centered around the competition between Travis d'Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco to back up Wilson Ramos -- but Tomas Nido remains in camp as well.

The Mets have long seen Nido as a potential long-term solution as a backup catcher. No one is deluded about his offensive potential, but Nido is an excellent defender in a role that requires it.

D'Arnaud has also made himself more central to the team's plans this year. He is making progress in his return from Tommy John surgery, and the Mets like what they are seeing from his on-field performance.

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Mets are offering a unique ticket package for Citi Field this season. 

For $39 per month, Mets fans can download the "Amazin' Mets Pass" on their smartphone that will give them access to 78 games this season. The tickets are for standing room, but there is an option to upgrade to a seat Monday-Thursday. All fans have to do is download the tickets for the game from the app, and scan the code at the gate to gain access.

"The program is targeted to the millenial demographic and unconventional audiences," Mets Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales Chris Zaber told The Post's Natalie O'Neill. "It's a greay way to gain access to Citi Field at a low cost. Even if you come to three games a month, it's a great deal.

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Donovan Mitchell loves Piazza 00:01:50
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell reminisces about growing up when his dad was with the Mets and his favorite Mike Piazza memory.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is in town to face the Knicks this week, but the 22-year-old spent some time on Tuesday reminiscing about growing up around the Mets. 

Mitchell's father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., has worked in the Mets front office for several years and is their director of player relations and community engagement. 

Mitchell spent a lot of his time growing up around his father and at Shea Stadium, where he recalled one of his favorite memories -- the Mike Piazza home run after 9/11. 

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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK - March 19, 2019 - SNY, the official television home of the New York Mets, New York Jets and all things New York sports, today announced its 2019 regular season broadcast schedule for the New York Mets featuring 133 exclusive live games including pre- and post-game shows. SNY's Emmy Award-winning Mets broadcast returns Thursday, March 28 at 1:05 p.m. ET, as the New York Mets open the 2019 season on the road against the Washington Nationals.

SNY's broadcast team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, widely regarded as the best booth in baseball, return for their unprecedented 14th season together. They will be joined by Mets on-field reporter Steve Gelbs. Gelbs will continue delivering his insightful in-game interviews and features with players, coaches and other personalities. This season, the broadcast team will also be providing content for SNY's social media outlets pre-, during and post-game. The award-winning production team headed by executive producer Curt Gowdy, Jr., senior coordinating producer Gregg Picker, and director Dan Barr, will continue to lead all SNY-produced Mets telecasts.

SNY's Opening Day Lineup will begin with a special 90-minute Citi Pre-Game Live hosted by Gary Apple, who will be joined by former Mets Todd Zeile and Nelson Figueroa and former Mets General Manager Jim Duquette as they take viewers right up to the start of the game with Jacob DeGrom scheduled to take the mound for the Mets.

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On the morning after Derek Jeter announced his retirement during spring training of 2014, I happened to be in Angels camp in Tempe, Arizona. At that time, a manufactured storyline was going around that Mike Trout could replace Jeter as the "face of baseball."

As Trout fielded questions about this topic, he was affable, engaging -- and clearly uninterested in being anything other than a great ballplayer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was more goofy younger brother than international celebrity, and that seemed fine.

The news on Tuesday morning of Trout's 12-year, $430 million agreement with the Angels, first reported by ESPN, closed off any remaining chance that Trout can ever rise above niche recognition from hardcore baseball fans.

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Feb 27, 2019; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Feb 27, 2019; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

When the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes in the waning minutes of the 2015 trade deadline, they had to part with one of their top pitching prospects, Michael Fulmer

The deal arguably worked out for both sides in the short term; Cespedes helped lead the Mets to a pennant that year and re-signed with the team, while Fulmer won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and was an All-Star the next season. But the righty regressed in 2018 and had knee surgery in September. 

Now, Fulmer won't see a mound for quite a while. He has been recommended to have Tommy John surgery, the team said Tuesday, after consultating with the renowned Dr. James Andrews, who also performed Fulmer's knee surgery. Additionally, he will seek a third opinion befor making a final decision. 

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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Sep 28, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Sep 28, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The nightmare scenario for the Mets of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper landing with the Phillies didn't happen, and the nightmare scenario of Mike Trout joining Harper on the Phillies won't be happening, either.

Trout, who had been due to hit the free agent market after the 2020 season, has agreed to a 12-year deal worth $430 million to remain with the Angels, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN

The new deal absorbs the two years that were remaining on Trout's existing deal, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale, technically making it a $363.5 million extension that begins in 2021. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and does not contain any opt-outs...

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Feb 26, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 26, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

After Tuesday's rainout in Jupiter against the Marlins, Mets RHP Zack Wheeler -- who was set to start -- will instead throw 90 or more pitches Wednesday during an intrasquad game during the team's off day. 

Wheeler remains on track to start the third game of the regular season, but with the rainout pushing his schedule back, he will now be making the start on regular rest instead of an extra day of rest.

Jacob deGrom is scheduled to start on Opening Day -- March 28 against the Nationals -- with Noah Syndergaard starting the second game of the season on March 30 (after a team off-day), and Wheeler getting the ball on March 31.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Mets 1B prospect Pete Alonso hit his fourth home run of the spring on Sunday.

"I felt like last year I had a pretty solid year and I feel like this year I'm composing myself to have an even better year," Alonso recently told reporters in St. Lucie. 

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway have repeatedly said they want to leave Florida with the best 25 guys on the Opening Day roster.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Wright's knowledge brings value 00:03:15
New York Mets special advisor David Wright discusses how often GM Brodie Van Wagenen calls him and explains the value he brings to the team.

David Wright may have never won a World Series with the Mets, but he did win an NL pennant and had some successful seasons, so he knows what it takes to win in the majors and that it is sometimes more than just talent on the field. 

That's how Wright felt about the 2015 Mets and he sees some of that in this year's team. 

The former Mets captain, in Port St. Lucie as special advisor to the GM, listened to a team meeting on Monday and spoke with some players afterward about what it takes to win in this league. 

Tags: David Wright
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Syndergaard VS deGrom 00:00:48
Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom faced off in a minor league intrasquad game on Monday, with Brodie Van Wagenen and David Wright watching.

Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard squared off against one another on the back fields of the facilities at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie on Monday in a minor-league intrasquad game. 

The Mets decided to scratch them from their scheduled starts against the Nationals this week in an attempt to scale back exposure against teams that they will be seeing plenty of in the regular season. 

DeGrom allowed one run on seven hits while striking out 12 in 6.1 innings while Syndergaard allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks while also striking out 12 in six innings. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard
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Mar 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Michael Conforto (30) at bat in the third inning of the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Michael Conforto (30) at bat in the third inning of the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Michael Conforto stayed red hot at the plate and Jeurys Familia served as the opener during the Mets' 6-5 loss to the Nationals on Monday in Port St. Lucie. >> Box score

Five things to know about Monday's game ...

1. Conforto went yard for the third straight day, launching a two-run homer in the first inning for his fourth homer of the spring. The two-run shot gives him 10 RBI in Spring Training.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Washington Nationals
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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Negotiations between the Mets and ace Jacob deGrom are ongoing, with optimism in some corners that the sides will reach a deal by next Thursday's self-imposed deadline.

As of Monday morning, an agreement was not imminent, but the Mets and deGrom's reps continued to hammer away behind the scenes. SNY has previously reported that deGrom is seeking a deal of approximately five years and $150 million; it is not known what type of deal the sides are currently discussing.

The tone of this negotiation has shifted a few times over the course of the winter, which is probably to be expected for a potential deal this large. At the winter meetings in December, deGrom's reps at CAA left a meeting with Mets higher-ups expecting an offer.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Conforto launches a home run 00:00:14
Michael Conforto continues his strong spring with a 2-run home run to put the Mets up 2-0 over the Nationals on Monday in Port St. Lucie.

Michael Conforto seems ready for Opening Day.

The outfielder launched a home run Monday in the bottom of the first inning, his third straight game with a homer. He crushed a 3-2 pitch to right field with two outs to give the Mets a 2-0 lead over the Nationals.

Conforto has four homers and 10 RBI this spring.

Tags: Michael Conforto
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Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Reliever Jeurys Familia will open Monday's Grapefruit League when the Mets take on the Nationals on Monday at 1:10 p.m. on SNY. 

Mets notes

Michael Conforto remains in the cleanup spot after homering in the last two games. He is hitting .255/.314/.468 with three home runs and eight RBI this spring. ... Juan Lagares is back in the lineup on Monday batting second and in center field. ... Robinson Cano enters the game with a .486 average and two home runs. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Washington Nationals
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Alonso homers again in loss 00:01:41
Michael Conforto, Mickey Callaway and Peter Alonso comment on Alonso's power display and improved all-around game this spring

Pete Alonso doesn't lack confidence when he steps in the batter's box. At least, he hasn't shown any signs of it this Spring Training. 

But the knock on Alonso throughout his career in the Minor Leagues is that he struggles defensively. The first baseman has worked hard to erase the stigma, however, and simply play the position better. And he's feeling pretty good about his defensive game as the 2019 season beckons. 

"I'm extremely confident," he told reporters Sunday after the Mets' 10-6 loss to the Nationals. "I mean, I feel like I've done a 180 from 2017 to now, because that was my dark year, so to speak, defensively."

Tags: Peter Alonso
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Alonso, Conforto go deep 00:00:50
Pete Alonso belted his 4th homer of the spring and Michael Conforto also went deep for the 2nd straight day in a loss to the Nationals

Six runs from the Nationals in the first inning set the tone for the game, as they beat the Mets, 10-6, on Sunday at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches. >> Box score

Five things to know about Sunday's game ...

1. For the second straight game, Michael Conforto homered. This time, he drilled a two-run shot off Stephen Strasburg in the third inning. He worked a walked and struck out to raise his Grapefruit League average to .253 with a .782 OPS. 

Tags: Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano
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Feb 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled outing Sunday in a "B" game for the Mets due to a stomach illness. 

It's obviously no reason to sound the alarms, and the silver lining here is noteworthy. To keep the 30-year-old on track to start Opening Day in less than two weeks, deGrom will throw Monday on the back fields. Fellow rotation mate Noah Syndergaard will toe the rubber for the other team in the Mets' intrasquad contest, providing an intriguing matchup, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported.

With a pair of games scheduled against NL East rival Washington for Sunday and Monday -- the two days deGrom and Syndergaard were scheduled to pitch, respectively -- the Mets made the conscious decision to shield them from Major League competition for the remainder of Spring Training. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard
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Leiter returns to Mets 00:01:24
Former Met Al Leiter talks about rejoining the organization as a Baseball Operations Advisor

For Al Leiter, joining the Mets as a baseball operations advisor for the club and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was a no-brainer. 

The 53-year-old met with reporters in Port St. Lucie, where he was attending spring training, on Sunday and said he simply felt like it was time for him to return to the organization he grew up rooting for. 

"There's no other organization that would make sense," Leiter said. "There's no B.S. I loved playing here. I had the majority of my success here, as a Met. It's the right thing. There's no other option." 

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Jacob deGrom (48) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jacob deGrom (48) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The idea of a five-man starting rotation for the ages, as predicted by John Smoltz, among others, is but a memory now, with Matt Harvey gone and Steven Matz more mediocre than elite since his rookie season.

But the Mets might still have the best Big Three in baseball, if Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard all pitch with the dominance expected of them. 

How far can that take them? Pretty darn far, if their history is any indication.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets infielder Pete Alonso (20) onnects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets infielder Pete Alonso (20) onnects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Hector Santiago takes the mound for the Mets on Sunday as they head to West Palm Beach to face the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. 

Mets notes

Michael Conforto returns to the cleanup spot on Sunday after going 2-for-3 with a home run on Saturday ... Pete Alonso bats second with his team-leading three home runs this spring while Dominic Smith is the DH as he continues to make his case to be on the Mets' Opening Day roster. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Washington Nationals
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Mets' bats looks good in loss 00:00:59
Michael Conforto homered and drove in 3 runs, while Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil continued their strong springs in a loss to the Marlins

The Mets jumped out to a 6-0 lead before running into some trouble with their middle relief in a 11-6 loss to the Marlins on Saturday. >> Box score

Five things to know about Saturday's game...

1) Michael Conforto had an impressive day at the plate batting cleanup, blasting a two-run shot in the first inning then singling in a run in the third in a 2-for-3 day at the plate with three RBI. 

Tags: Jason Vargas, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo
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Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Jason Vargas and the Mets face Sandy Alcantara and the Miami Marlins in a Grapefruit League game on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. 

Mets notes

Pete Alonso gets the start at first base and is batting second as he carries a .375 (15-for-40) average and team-leading three home runs into the game ... Robinson Cano (13-for-32) will bat behind Alonso while Travis d'Arnaud (4-for-13) gets the call behind the plate. 

Tags: Jason Vargas, Miami Marlins
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