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Morning briefing: Mets take day off

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets enjoy their final off-day of spring training today. Afterward, they play straight through to March 30, when they complete Grapefruit League play across the state in Sarasota against the Baltimore Orioles, then travel to New York.

When the Mets regroup tomorrow, Dillon Gee and Aaron Laffey pitch in a 6:05 p.m. game in Kissimmee against the Houston Astros.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Travis d'Arnaud went 2-for-3 and scored twice Monday.

Tuesday’s news reports:

Matt Harvey allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings and Travis d’Arnaud went 2-for-3 and scored twice as the Mets beat the Cardinals, 3-2, Monday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Post, Newsday, Daily News, Record and MLB.com.

• The Mets have not formally committed, but the rotation is likely to be: Jonathon Niese on Opening Day, followed by Shaun Marcum, Harvey, Dillon Gee, back to Niese, then Jeremy Hefner.

• The Mets are not the only team with injury trouble. Third baseman Chase Headley, who finished fifth in MVP balloting in 2012, is likely to miss the season-opening series between the Mets and San Diego Padres with a fracture at the tip of his left thumb.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger reviews the spring training of Bobby Parnell, who is slated to be the team’s closer, with Frank Francisco destined to open the season on the disabled list as he works back from elbow inflammation.

• Zack Wheeler pitched in a game on the minor league side Monday. It marked Wheeler’s first time in a game since being scratched from a Feb. 27 Grapefruit League start with a strained right oblique.

• The Mets assumed some risk by keeping d’Arnaud in camp beyond last Friday, Marc Carig notes in Newsday. If d’Arnaud were to get injured in camp within 15 days of Opening Day, he would land on the major league DL to open the season and get MLB pay and service time. The Mets deemed the risk acceptable in order to further expose d’Arnaud to the major league environment and pitching staff. D’Arnaud nonetheless remains ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas to open the season. Read more on d'Arnaud in the Post and Daily News.

John Buck, battling the flu, was given Monday off.

• The Champions Club, located on the field level behind home plate at Citi Field, will be renamed the Hyundai Club after the Mets reached a sponsorship agreement with the automaker.

• Tim Marchman in the Journal suggests Kirk Nieuwenhuis embodies the Mets. Writes Marchman on the positive side about Nieuwenhuis:

Last year, Nieuwenhuis hit .252/.315/.376, so that his OPS+ -- on-base plus slugging percentage, adjusted for park and league effects and indexed to 100 -- was 91. Over the last three decades, 13 center fielders have hit within five points of that either way over at least 300 plate appearances at age 24. Every one was a success, or is right now a still developing and valuable property.

At the top of the class, you have real stars such as Andruw Jones and Ray Lankford, who might have made the Hall of Fame if things had gone a bit differently. At the bottom, you have useful role players like Chad Curtis and Corey Patterson. In between are the likes of Melky Cabrera and Austin Jackson, who had big years last season, although Cabrera was banned 50 games for a positive drug test.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes that Zach Lutz and Anthony Recker overlapped in college at Alvernia (Pa.) University, making them part of a small group of players -- as few as eight -- to reach the majors after last playing in college for a Division III program.

From the bloggers … Shannon from Mets Police was playing video games. The good news: Ike Davis wins the 2016 MVP and Johan Santana wins the Cy Young. The bad news: The Phillies win the World Series.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who finished his career with the ’62 Mets, was born on this day in 1927.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: What should Sandy Alderson do on the Mets’ off-day?