Morning briefing: Heading home


FIRST PITCH: Only hours remain until the Mets arrive in New York.

Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner are due to share the workload today as the Mets wrap up Grapefruit League play with a 12:05 p.m. game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

The team then will fly to New York.

The players will have a noon workout Sunday at Citi Field, in preparation for Monday’s matinee opener against the San Diego Padres.

Gee seemed to right his spring training Monday, when he tossed six scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves at Disney. Hefner will pitch for the first time since his Tuesday outing was cut short. He was smoked in the pitching elbow by a sharp one-hopper off the bat of Carlos Beltran.

Saturday’s news reports:

• Before departing Port St. Lucie on Friday afternoon, the Mets nearly completed their Opening Day roster.

In: left-hander Scott Rice, right-handers LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison, Greg Burke and Jeurys Familia, outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Anthony Recker.

Out: left-hander Robert Carson, shortstop Omar Quintanilla and catcher Landon Powell, who all are headed to Triple-A Las Vegas.

To be determined: whether Justin Turner will land on the DL, which would mean Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Zach Lutz head north.

Terry Collins said he is still weighing whom to use in center field. Collin Cowgill should start against southpaws. The options against righties include Byrd, Jordany Valdespin and Nieuwenhuis.

To clear roster room, second baseman Reese Havens and left-hander Darin Gorski were removed from the 40-man roster. Both cleared waivers.

Johan Santana is determined to return to pitching. He is leaning toward undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder for the second time. Sandy Alderson said there is no clear connection between Santana’s 134-pitch no-hitter and the shoulder tear recurrence. David Wright spoke with Santana, who was in “a bit of shock” about the diagnosis. Read more in the Journal, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News and Record.

Matt Harvey tossed four scoreless innings in his final preparation for Game 2 of the regular season. Ruben Tejada had three RBIs and Cowgill produced a two-run homer as the Mets beat the Cardinals, 7-2, Friday in their Tradition Field finale. Harvey finished with 33 spring-training strikeouts (in 27 1/3 innings), second only to Julio Teheran (35 with the Braves, in 26 innings) in the majors.

• Wright played five innings at third base and went 0-for-3 against the Cards in his first Grapefruit League game since early in camp, before having to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic. He plans to face the Orioles today and be in the Opening Day lineup, as does Daniel Murphy. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post suggests these Mets resemble 1982 or ’83, when the seedlings for the ’86 championship were beginning to hatch. "We’re not completely happy with the team we're putting on the field in 2013," Sandy Alderson told Davidoff. "That doesn’t mean we’re without expectations, believe me, but we're definitely looking forward. We're going to be in a very advantageous position very soon."

• Columnist Steve Politi in the Star-Ledger asserts Santana “failed to live up to his expectations with the Mets.”

• Check the Post’s season-preview section here.

• Mike Kerwick writes a season preview in the Record.

• Andy Edelstein in Newsday chronicles appearances of Mets and Yankees on “Seinfeld.”

• Ken Belson in the Times suggests Mets injuries could affect ticket sales.

From the bloggers Faith and Fear in Flushing will be around to welcome the new members to the Mets' 25-man band. … Unlike this year's season previews, Mets Police notes, in 2006 the prognosticators were picking the Mets for October. … The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests Santana stepped up when required.

BIRTHDAYS: Terry Bross, a St. John’s product and now an agent, turns 47.


YOU’RE UP: Who should start in center field for the Mets on Opening Day -- Marlon Byrd, Collin Cowgill, Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Jordany Valdespin?