It was five years ago tonight that Matt Harvey got the start for the National League as the All-Star Game was played at Citi Field.

The day before, then-prospect Noah Syndergaard represented the Mets and was the starting pitcher for Team USA during MLB's Futures Game. As expected, Syndergaard looked poised and aggressive on the mound, throwing one scoreless inning.

Brandon Nimmo, who started on the bench for Team USA, went hitless during two at-bats.

Later that night, a vibrant, 30-year-old David Wright stood at home plate taking part in MLB's Home Run Derby. He entered the day having already played 90 games that season, while hitting .304 with a .396 OBP, 13 HR, 44 RBI and 21 doubles, 24 hours before playing in his seventh All Star Game in eight years.

"It was awesome," Wright told reporters after the Derby. "It really, really was awesome. It's what I remember the playoff atmosphere being like in 2006. ... It was really, really special."


July, 2013: HR Derby at Citi Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone)


In attendance, I recall literally feeling a jolt from the ovation Wright received from fans when he stepped in to the box. It was an incredible moment. However, for me, the best part of the night was hearing tens of thousands of Mets fans, cheering with a purpose at Citi Field.

The only time prior had been Johan Santana's no-hitter, which was also organic. It wasn't forced. It wasn't a call to action from the public address system. It was just lots and lots of Mets fans on a hot summer night, standing arm to arm, packed in to their favorite ballpark, rooting for their team's Captain and for everything he meant to the team. It was great.

Wright ended up hitting just five home runs and did not get out of the first round. However, then-A's outfielder Yoenis Céspedes hit 32 total home runs to win the event, despite not being selected to be on that year's American League All-Star team.


July, 2013: Andrew Vazzano takes a picture with his phone of David Wright during the HR Derby at Citi Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone


It would be roughly two years later that Cespedes ended up being traded to the Mets, with whom he hit 19 home runs in 71 games in 2015 leading the Mets to their first World Series appearance in 15 years.

Meanwhile, Wright ended 2013 as arguably the best third baseman in baseball, despite hitting just four more home runs and missing 45 games with a hamstring injury during the second half of that season.

Sadly, 2013 was likely his last great season, which he ended with 5.6 WAR. He struggled through 134 games in 2014, ending his season early to have shoulder surgery. He returned in late 2015 and helped the Mets reach the World Series, but played in just 37 games the following season before it was announced he had been battling lumbar spinal stenosis. It was the last time he took the field for the Mets.

Wright is under contract through 2020, during which he'll earn $15 million next year and just $12 million in the final year of his deal. Wright recently ramped up his level of baseball activity and told reporters he is working hard to be able to play again later this season...

"When it's all said and done, I want me to be able to say I did everything I could," he explained in March, when asked why he is still fighting to play instead of retiring. "If it works, that's obviously the goal; and if it doesn't work, then I'll rest easy knowing that I gave it my best shot."



The day after the Derby belonged to Matt Harvey, who was the starting pitcher for the National League.

It's easy when thinking of Harvey to think of a fallen star, someone with big dreams, but bigger injuries. However, go back in time five years and Harvey was the most exciting, promising young pitcher in baseball, captivating the entire league, not just New York City...

"Matt Harvey has that ability, most everyone I talked with told me," I wrote moments before his All Star Game appearance. "They say Harvey can change the Mets, not just on field, but off the field."


July, 2013: On field before All Star Game at Citi Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone


If you recall, those days, Harvey had no fear. He carried himself with an ego and swagger and a glare in his eye. He was serious about success and winning and never backing down, all of which fans and media, myself included, felt would inspire the Mets to change their identity and style of play.

"The question is, 'How will he handle it all in New York?'" former Mets manager Davey Johnson asked me, rhetorically, when wondering about Harvey's popularity and charisma compared to Gooden's fame and downfall roughly 30 years earlier. "It looks like he may have his head on right. If he keeps it even keel, I think he can be alright."

In the hours prior to the All-Star Game, Citi Field was humming like I'd never seen during a professional sporting event -- and most of the attention surrounded Harvey.


July, 2013: Matt Harvey enters dugout before All Star Game at Citi Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone


The World Series in 2015 didn't come close to the level media and frenzy that had been playing out on field five years ago today. Unlike the World Series, which has local media from two cities and a ton of national media, the All Star Game has the same level national media, plus local media from all 30 teams.

Put it this way... whereas I could easily walk around the infield -- dugout to dugout -- before games during the 2015 postseason, there was literally gridlock during the All-Star Game.

"It's is a huge honor," Harvey said before throwing the game's first pitch. "It's obviously very special that it's here in New York and my first All-Star game. I don't think it could be any more perfect."

I was able to shimmy my way down from the Shea Bridge to the spot just over the home team bullpen where Harvey was warming up during the team introductions. I hoped to get the perfect photo from above of him emerging to take the mound, but he jogged out early to throw pitches from center field in time for his name to be announced.

Nationals OF Bryce Harper hit ninth and, despite playing for the National League, was heavily booed by New York fans scattered around the ballpark. Those boos instantly turned to roaring cheers when the monitors switched to showing Harvey on the outfield grass, casually throwing to his catcher. I assume the announcer said, 'Pitching for the National League, Matt Harvey,' but there was no way of hearing him. The crowd was that loud and pumped up to see their golden boy represent us and the Mets standing center stage in front of all of baseball...

In the end, Harvey pitched two innings, faced eight batters and did not allow a run. His three strikeouts were the most for a Mets starting pitcher in an All-Star Game since Sid Fernandez in 1986.

Harvey was quoted in Men's Journal a few days later as saying he hoped to one day sign a $200 million contract, while owning the best apartment in New York City, appearing on everyone's best dressed list, and quietly dating famous women.


July, 2013: Matt Harvey signs autographs before All Star Game at Citi Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone


The day the Men's Journal article was published, I wrote: "Harvey needs to know that the minute he stumbles, the week he has back-to-back bad starts, everyone is going to point to the models, the late nights, the vodka and waters, the photo shoots and the life he is talking about in these interviews. ... There's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning, and I hope Harvey walks it well."

In less than two months, Harvey would have his season shut down after being diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He chose to have Tommy John surgery in October, missed all of 2014. In 2015, after months of debating how many innings he should be allowed to throw, Harvey went above and beyond expectations and returned to pitching heroically as the Mets won the NL East and advanced to the World Series.

However, his 2016 again ended early when it was announced he needed to have a rib removed in an effort to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, during which he could not feel his fingers and questioned whether he'd ever again throw a baseball.

He struggled during most of 2017 and early 2018, leading to him being designated for assignment by the Mets just five months before finally becoming a free agent.


Apr 25, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) shakes hands with starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) after defeating the New York Yankees in an interleague game at Yankee Stadium. The Mets defeated the Yankees 8 - 2. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)


"I really like Matt," Alderson said, after announcing Harvey's fate. "He's a human being. And as I said before, he's a vulnerable human being. .. and I'm gonna miss him, in many ways."

Harvey was eventually traded to the Reds for C Devin Mesoraco.

"I love Harvey, I love him like a son, Harvey's former Mets manager, Terry Collins, told The Hartford Courant earlier this summer. "We went through a lot of wars. I saw a guy, when he got to the big leagues, within two seasons he made himself one of the top three pitchers in all of baseball. So, what happened the last few years, injury-wise and how it affected him, was really tough to see and go through for him."

"I told him last year, 'Matt, your only problem is you set the bar so high, you expect so much of yourself that anything besides that is not going to be good enough in your eyes,'" Collins continued. "I just hope he bounces back. … I wish him the best."

I also wish him the best. And I'm thankful I got to experience the buzz he created five years ago tonight.


Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!


Tags: David Wright, Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)
Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)

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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Mar 12, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 12, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws 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 think the Nationals have seen enough of their major league pitchers this spring. 

The team revealed on Saturday that they will shield their pitchers from Grapefruit League games so that other teams will not be able to get a good look at them, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. 

Jacob deGrom, who was on schedule to start in Sunday's game against the Nationals, will instead pitch in a "B" game on the back fields of the Mets' Spring Training facility along with Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
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Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) reacts after allowing a home run to Miami Marlins designated hitter Lewis Brinson (9) in the first inning of the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) reacts after allowing a home run to Miami Marlins designated hitter Lewis Brinson (9) in the first inning of the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets fell to the Nationals on Friday, 11-3, at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. >> Box score

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

1) Steven Matz continued to struggle in what was by far his worst outing of the spring. The left-hander allowed eight runs on seven hits, including four home runs, and a walk in just two innings of work.  

Tags: Steven Matz
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Pete Alonso opens up 00:01:54
Mets prospect Pete Alonso opens up about his journey through baseball, and what he needs to do to take the final steps to the big leagues.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is having a strong spring.

The 24-year-old reflects on what got him to this point in his career and how he can continue to succeed at the next level. 

Tags: Peter Alonso
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Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Steven Matz' struggles are not getting in the way of his optimism. 

The Mets lefthander had by far his worst outing of Spring Training on Friday, allowing eight runs, including four home runs, on seven hits and a walk in just two innings of work in his latest start against the Washington Nationals. 

Matz, though, knows what the problem is and said that it is better he identifies and works through it now rather than when the season starts. 

Tags: Steven Matz
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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)

Steven Matz and the Mets face Jeremy Hellickson and the Washington Nationals in a Grapefruit League game on Friday at 1:10 p.m. at First Data Field.

Mets notes

Dominic Smith is tied with J.D. Davis for the team lead with eight RBIs. ... Robinson Cano has a .414/.452/.655 batting line with two home runs and six RBIs in 10 games.

Tags: Steven Matz, Washington Nationals
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Pete Alonso hits vs. Cardinals 00:00:30
New York Mets first base prospect Pete Alonso hits two singles against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets tied the Cardinals. 1-1, on Thursday >> Box score

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

1) Zack Wheeler was dominant for a second-straight start, firing 5.1 shutout innings while allowing two hits, walking none, and striking out four. His ERA is down to 2.25.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Peter Alonso, Travis d'Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Checking out Brodie's Bunch 00:01:25
On the Shea Anything podcast, Doug Williams and Andy Martino discuss the expanded front office staff surrounding Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen.

Doug Williams and Nelson Figueroa drop an all-new episode of Shea Anything, and they go long on the Pete Alonso vs. Dom Smith debate for first base.

They also go deep on whether or not Amed Rosario will break through with a star-making season in 2019, and try to make sense of the new MLB rules changes.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

Tags: Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso
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The NL East is stacked, balanced and expected to be the most compelling division in baseball this season. In large part, this is because the division features several of the league's most dominant starting pitchers and best overall pitching staffs.

For starters, Max Scherzer (Nationals) and Jacob deGrom (Mets) are widely considered to be the top two starting pitchers in all of baseball. According to multiple projection systems and fantasy rankings, the next best 20 pitchers in the league feature an additional five arms from the NL East, including Aaron Nola (Phillies), Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, (Mets) and Patrick Corbin (Nationals) and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals).

In 2018, among NL pitchers producing at least 2.0 fWAR, six were from the NL East, including deGrom, Scherzer, Nola, Syndergaard, Wheeler and Mike Foltynewicz (Braves). Corbin, who was with the D-backs but has since signed with the Nationals, also finished in the Top 10. If extended to the Top 20, two more Phillies join the list (Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez).

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred gestures while speaking during a Major League Baseball owners meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred gestures while speaking during a Major League Baseball owners meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's desire for more action and less dead time in baseball is at the heart of the rules changes that were announced on Thursday, and with that in mind, here are the three I believe are most noteworthy:

1) The three-batter minimum for relievers, which goes into effect in 2020, and makes for intriguing strategy decisions as well as fewer late-inning pitching changes.

2) A 28-man September roster, as of 2020, which will finally bring an end to the ridiculous practice of essentially having unlimited substitutions in the final month of the season.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox the spring training game at JetBlue Park. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox the spring training game at JetBlue Park. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

Zack Wheeler takes the hill as the Mets face Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals in a Grapefruit League game on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. in Jupiter, Florida.

Mets notes

Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith are tied for the team lead in hits (13). ... Travis d'Arnaud is 4-for-10 with one home run and two RBIs in his first four spring training games.

Tags: St. Louis Cardinals, Zack Wheeler
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The MLB and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement on Thursday that includes changes to the rosters, game play and the All-Star voting process over the next two years.

In 2019, the changes include:

  • The elimination of August trades, meaning July 31 will be sole MLB trade deadline.
  • The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.
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Syndergaard becoming Browns fan? 00:01:22
See what New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard had to say when asked about Odell Beckham Jr. being traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Noah Syndergaard saved his best fastball for after Wednesday's game.

The flame-thrower was asked following the Mets' 2-1 win against the Astros about his thoughts on the football Giants trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns.

"He's special. I don't know what the Giants are doing. We'll find out," Syndergaard said.

Tags: Baker Mayfield, Noah Syndergaard, Odell Beckham Jr.
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Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets beat the Astros, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie >> Box score

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

1) Noah Syndergaard was a bit wild but largely dominant, firing 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out five, lowering his Spring Training ERA to 1.88.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Peter Alonso, Seth Lugo, Thomas Robinson, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas

Mets manager Mickey Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wagenen have been consistent this entire offseason stating Jason Vargas would be their fifth starter in 2019.

Against the first batter Vargas faced this spring, he let up a home run. However, he has not allowed a run since, lowering his Grapefruit League ERA 1.08 ERA during his three starts, which is exactly what Callaway had been hoping to see.

"I really think he just needs a regular spring training, which is uninterrupted, to get himself where he needs to be," Callaway told me in January. "The regular schedule allows him to do that to the best of his ability."

Tags: Jason Vargas, Matthew Cerrone
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Cano launches a home run 00:00:17
Robinson Cano hits a shot to center for a home run to put the Mets up 2-0 over the Astros on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie.

Robinson Cano continued his strong Spring Training on Wednesday, launching a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Gerrit Cole to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. The homer was Cano's second of the spring, and as of the sixth inning he's hitting .440 so far.

Tags: Robinson Cano
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Feb 25, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 25, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets (8-10) host the Astros in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m., live on SNY. 

Mets Notes...

Noah Syndergaard looks to bounce back from a subpar outing on Friday against the Marlins. ... Jeff McNeil starts at third base for the third time in four days as it seems more probable by the day that he'll be there on Opening Day. ... Pete Alonso starts at first base as he tries to earn his spot on the roster.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Peter Alonso
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Feb 15, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) during spring training at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports  (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 15, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) during spring training at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

In an effort to land on the best NL East bullpen, I surveyed several baseball insiders, including three MLB scouts and multiple front office and player development members from the National League.

For what it's worth, their consensus is exactly how I see the final rankings, which are as follows...

5. Marlins

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Best of Tim Tebow 00:01:02
Tim Tebow is done with Spring Training at the Major League level. It was definitely an eventful spring for the outfielder.

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Two-plus years into the Tim Tebow experience -- or is it experiment? -- the outfielder's most notable accomplishment in baseball circles has been turning widespread cynicism about his motives into blanket appreciation for his commitment.

After all, the former Heisman Trophy winner, and now TV star/football god in SEC country, has ridden minor-league buses all over the eastern half of the country for two seasons, making only incremental progress toward prospect status, and still Tebow perseveres.

And so even notoriously hard-bitten major-league scouts preface their harsh analysis of the player with praise for the person.

Tags: Tim Tebow, John Harper
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Jed Lowrie (Mark Flamini, SNY)
Jed Lowrie (Mark Flamini, SNY)

Mets INF Jed Lowrie's rehab has been going really well, and he noted last week that he would be returning to baseball activity soon. Well, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said he has hit the ground running on that front. 

Van Wagenen explained that Lowrie, who is recovering from a knee capsule sprain, is already throwing and hitting as he works his way back to the team.

"Jed has begun his throwing program and he's also done his hitting program," Van Wagenen told reporters at the Mets' Spring Training game on Tuesday. "he's been hitting in the cages both right and left-handed. We're going to try to build that up as the days go forward."

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Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)
Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)

With Opening Day just over two weeks away, the Mets are dealing with injuries to two infielders and watching as their two main competitors for the first base job -- Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith -- tear the cover off the ball. 

Given the current situation, it's a near-certainty that one of Alonso or Smith will grab the Opening Day job, but the intrigue doesn't stop there -- not with both of them being so young (Smith is 23 years old, Alonso is 24) and full of promise.

Both Alonso and Smith have proven their worth in the minors, and with them appearing to be in prime position to make a big league impact, how will the Mets handle it now and in the future?

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, Todd Frazier, Danny Abriano
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Mar 12, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 12, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws 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 had trouble generating any offense against the Marlins in an 8-1 loss on the road on Tuesday afternoon. >> Box score

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

1) Jacob deGrom got another spring start, and it was a pretty good one for the Mets' ace. The only blip on his line was a two-run homer allowed to Brian Anderson in the bottom of the third inning. Overall, he allowed those two earned runs on six hits while striking out six and walking none over five innings of work.

Tags: Drew Smith, Jacob deGrom, Miami Marlins, Travis d'Arnaud, Tyler Bashlor, Wilson Ramos
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deGrom is hopeful for extension 00:00:27
New York Mets Cy Young pitcher Jacob deGrom wants to be a part of the team's future and wants to get a deal done with Brodie Van Wagenen.

It was at the beginning of Mets Spring Training that Jacob deGrom gave the team an Opening Day deadline to work out a contract extension, but there has yet to be word of any traction regarding it. But the Mets' ace is still confident both sides can reach an agreement. 

DeGrom has been staying on the outside of the extension talks with GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets, telling reporters after his start Tuesday that he is letting his new CAA agent, Jeff Berry, "do his thing." And though there are only 13 games left down in Florida before deGrom kicks off the 2019 season against the Nationals on March 28, he still has high hopes that big paycheck will come his way by then. 

"Being a part of the future is definitely something that I would like to be a part of," deGrom said. "That was a goal of mine so I think we're hopeful so we'll just see what happens.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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A week after former MLB slugger Jose Canseco pledged to help Tim Tebow, the Mets prospect responded. 

"I appreciate it, anybody wanting to work with me is humbling, he's a great one at it," Tebow told reporters after being cut from camp on Tuesday. "But we have a lot of great coaches here."

Canseco, who admitted to using copious amounts of steroids during his career, saw something wrong with Tebow's swing. And he tweeted repeatedly last week about how he wants to help...

Tags: Tim Tebow, Danny Abriano
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Mickey Callaway mic'd up 00:02:05
Listen in and get the inside story when Mets manager Mickey Callaway wears a microphone during spring training workouts in Port St. Lucie.

SNY mic'd up Mets manager Mickey Callaway at Spring Training.

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