Technically speaking, Jay Bruce is a new addition to the Mets. But he doesn't feel that way.
Of course, the slugger was with the Mets until August of last season when he was traded to the Indians. He had been with the Mets since August of the prior season when he came to the team a trade from the Reds. Now, having arrived in Port St. Lucie for spring training, Bruce says it feels comfortable to be back-- like he never left.
"It was very, very comfortable," Bruce said. "It was honestly like I never left. Obviously, I went and had a lot of fun and had some great experiences over in Cleveland, but I'm back here now and hopefully here for the long haul."
With the Mets and Indians, Bruce hit .254/.324/.508 with 36 HR and 101 RBI in 2017. The 30-year-old signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Mets this offseason, who he expects to be good.
"I like our team, man, I really do," Bruce said. "I think that it all goes back to health and if we're healthy, I'd put us up against anyone. I think we just have to do everything we can to stay on the field and stay healthy and just play baseball."
In Bruce's two months with the Indians, he worked with his new manager Mickey Callaway and came away impressed.
"He's great. He's a normal dude. He has some experience, but he's a little younger and he's gonna be able to do what's necessary as far as dealing with and creating a relationship with the team," Bruce said. "He's not a big rules guy, but he expects a lot out of you because he expects a lot out of himself. I think preparation and working hard and being prepared, that's paramount. I think as long as we do that, there's not gonna be any issues and he's going to be a great guy to play for."
The Mets play their first spring training game on Friday, February 23 at 1:10 p.m. against the Braves.