Here are some thoughts on Yoenis Cespedes, Robert Gsellman, and more with the Mets roughly one month away from Opening Day at Citi Field...
Last week I pointed out that Cespedes looks heavier and thicker, yet also appeared to be moving better.
As I said, he looked to be more agile and with more balance -- no doubt a result of doing pilates and yoga instead of an aggressive strength-training program. In Sunday's game, he hit a three-run home run, after which he lumbered slowly around the bases looking like David Ortiz.
The thing is, I don't care about that. Instead, more important, he ran hard down the line to first during a ground out later in the game. And he did team running drills before the game, which he was often unable to do last season.
According to team insiders, Cespedes may look thicker because he worked to build up his core. Also, don't forget, he's a man in his early 30s, so he's going to start getting a bit heavier and more broad whether he tried to or not.
In this context, the team is not concerned. Instead, they're watching his movement, stability, and whether he is getting winded or not when running, all of which he's been passing with flying colors.
It took 12 months, but it looks like Gsellman finally found his sinker, which he was using last week in workouts and also used to great effect Sunday when he allowed one hit and struck out two in two innings against the Nats.
"He has done a real good job of staying with that delivery and keeping that front side in there and getting the sink that he wants," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
According to Gsellman, the added sink may be because he has a better range of motion in his shoulder, which he believes is the result of receiving deep tissue therapy this past winter.
Robert Gsellman threw two scoreless innings on Sunday in his first Grapefruit League start. (Jasen Vinlove | USA TODAY Sports)
Gsellman struggled in 2017. However, he's still just 24 years old and only a year removed from being a trade target of several teams after going 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 44.2 innings in 2016.
I refuse to be duped by Rafael Montero, who pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning Sunday. I want him to be awesome, but I'm done expecting anything from him. It's just easier and less stressful that way.
Adrian Gonzalez continues to look really, really good at first base. In Sunday's game, he picked a low throw out of the dirt. He later lunged upward (with his notoriously bad back) to snag a high throw to his right. I still have zero faith he can hit. It's also possible he has yet to break a sweat this spring. In either case, he can still pick it and will upgrade the team's infield defense no matter what he does with the bat.
This is a crucial time for Dominic Smith, who was disciplined for being late for a team meeting on Friday. During the game on Saturday, it was announced he experienced tightness in his leg after running hard around the bases. He'll undergo an MRI later today. Gonzalez was likely to start Opening Day with Smith in Triple A regardless of Smith's legs or ability to set an alarm clock. However, with 1B prospect Peter Alonso turning heads, Smith can't afford to miss time (be it due to tightness, slumps, or tardiness).
In addition to Smith, the Mets are monitoring injuries to Juan Lagares (hamstring) and Jay Bruce (plantar fasciitis), while nursing back Michael Conforto (shoulder surgery). It's understandable that fans and media would panic here, especially after last season's injuries. I did. But, this is typical for spring training, especially during the first week of games.
It happens every year to every team. In most instances, these are just little aches and pains that would get played through and never reported during the season. However, in spring training, why push it? It's better to rest, keep it contained and get back at it healthy... I hope.
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!