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Series preview: Mets at Kansas City Royals

NEW YORK METS (90-72, first place/National League East in 2015) at KANSAS CITY ROYALS (95-67, first place/American League Central)

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71 ERA in 2015) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55), 8:37 p.m. ET, ESPN

Tuesday: RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (9-15, 4.28), 4:15 p.m. ET

ROYALS SHORT HOPS

  • The Royals lost July rentals Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist as free agents during the offseason, but re-signed homegrown three-time All-Star Alex Gordon to a four-year, $72 million deal. They also added Ian Kennedy for five years and $70 million and Joakim Soria for three years and $25 million. Kansas City then signed World Series MVP Salvador Perez -- a three-time Gold Glove winner at catcher and All-Star -- to a five-year, $52.5 million extension. Manager Ned Yost signed an extension through 2018. Soria also pitched for the Royals from 2007 through 2011. Former closer Greg Holland underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 2 and was non-tendered. Gordon acknowledged he never intended to depart. With Zobrist leaving, Omar Infante and Christian Colon will jockey for playing time at second base.

  • Jarrod Dyson, who had been slated to platoon in right field with Paulo Orlando, suffered a strained right oblique in the Cactus League opener and will open the season on the disabled list. Alex Rios started 105 games in right field for the Royals last season, but hit a disappointing .255/.287/.353 and saw his option declined by the club. Rios remains unsigned.

  • Ex-Met Dillon Gee signed a minor league deal with Kansas City in mid-December, spurning major league offers elsewhere because he wanted to be with a contender. The right-handed pitcher was rewarded with an Opening Day roster spot and should work out of the bullpen. Fellow ex-Met Chris Young re-signed with Kansas City. He will pitch in the rotation.

  • The Royals will split their World Series championship celebrations into a pair of pregame ceremonies. The banner-raising event will be Sunday, with the ring presentation Tuesday.

METS SHORT HOPS

  • Matt Harvey allowed 15 runs in 8⅓ innings over his final three spring training starts, which included an outing against the St. Louis Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate. He also dealt with a blood clot in his bladder during that stretch and is continuing to take medication, according to manager Terry Collins. The uncertainty about how Harvey will pitch in his first meaningful game since that ill-fated ninth inning in Game 5 of the World Series is one reason why the Mets will carry former Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson rather than an extra bench player during the opening series.

  • Collins has suggested that the Mets will use an outfielder -- expected to be Michael Conforto -- as the designated hitter in Kansas City. That would allow Juan Lagares to patrol the spacious outfield at Kauffman Stadium. Lagares would start in center field with Yoenis Cespedes in left field, despite the Mets experimenting with the opposite alignment multiple times during spring training. Cespedes produced his first spring training home run in Thursday’s exhibition finale against the Chicago Cubs as the Mets snapped a 14-game winless streak.

  • Jeurys Familia did not blow a save after July 30 during the regular season in 2015, but blew three against the Royals in the World Series.

  • Travis d'Arnaud will bat eighth in a deep Mets lineup.

  • Noah Syndergaard sent a high-and-tight pitch to the backstop to open Game 3 of the World Series. Will there be retribution by the Royals? Stay tuned.