PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets are headed to Disney World!
Dillon Gee will throw the team’s first pitch of the Grapefruit League season when the Mets visit ESPN Wide World of Sports for a 1:05 p.m. game Wednesday against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and the Atlanta Braves.
Also scheduled to pitch for the Mets: Dario Alvarez, Erik Goeddel, Jack Leathersich, Akeel Morris, Scott Rice, Zack Thornton and Jon Velasquez. Prominent position players on the trip include Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. (See the full travel list here.)
Terry Collins will get his first look of spring training at Lagares leading off, which is the manager’s preference if he feels the Gold Glove winner can produce even a .330 to .340 on-base percentage.
The game is not televised in New York, but WOR will carry it on the radio. With Howie Rose on Islanders duty, newly hired Wayne Randazzo will make his play-by-play debut, alongside Josh Lewin.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Captain David Wright, trying to enforce team standards, found Noah Syndergaard inside the clubhouse eating lunch during Tuesday’s intrasquad game and confronted the top prospect. Bobby Parnell reportedly jumped in and tossed Syndergaard’s food in the trash. Syndergaard was contrite. Terry Collins offered support for the veterans’ policing actions.Adam Rubin
Noah Syndergaard found himself with unwanted attention Tuesday.
“I think this is a bump in the road,” Sandy Alderson told the Post. “I don’t think this is a big deal.”
Columnists David Lennon in Newsday and John Harper in the Daily News write that Tuesday’s incident will serve Syndergaard and the Mets well long term. Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post also applauded Wright, but noted the captain needs to lead in the batter’s box, too.
Still, I worry about Syndergaard’s psyche. He made an honest mistake. And although he stands 6-foot-6, he is sensitive and seems to lack some confidence. Pulling him aside and privately saying he ought to be outside instead of creating headlines by acting in front of reporters may have been the better call.
• Billy Bean, MLB’s ambassador for inclusion, visited Mets camp on Tuesday and addressed Mets players. Bean came out about his sexual orientation after his playing career.
Later in the day, Daniel Murphy cited his religious beliefs in saying he does not approve of Bean’s sexual orientation, although Murphy noted that his belief set does not preclude him from getting to know Bean and acting cordially.
• The Mets had a scoreless, eight-inning intrasquad game on the eve of Grapefruit play, although it is worth noting that two frames were called with two outs because pitchers had reached prescribed throwing limits.
Wright went 0-for-2 and fielded a grounder on the backhand at third base in his first game since a shoulder injury prompted him to be shut down after a Sept. 8 game last season. Jonathon Niese faced the minimum over two scoreless innings and indicated his shoulder feels night-and-day better than last spring training, when he struggled to crack 80 mph. Zack Wheeler struggled with his mechanics and issued two walks and surrendered two hits in 1 2/3 innings. View the box score here.
• Those “Take the damn thing” T-shirts the Mets were issued by the club? They’re gone, according to SNY’s Robert Brender. Brender tweeted: “Was told Mets players no longer have their ‘Take the damn thing’ shirts. I haven't checked further but was told they were taken back.”
• Alderson said there are no substantive trade talks going on right now with respect to the team’s excess starting pitcher. Still, let’s see if any high-profile scouts are watching Gee on Wednesday at Disney. Read more at NJ.com, in the Daily News and at MLB.com.
• The families of a pair of NYPD officers slain in December will visit the Mets in Port St. Lucie this weekend.
• David O'Brien in the Atlanta Journal Constitution reviews the Braves heading into Grapefruit League play, including Eric Young Jr. competing for the center-field job with Melvin (formerly B.J.) Upton Jr. out two months with a foot injury. Right fielder Nick Markakis also is out, after surgery last week to repair a herniated disk in his neck.
The Phillies are just entering the tunnel. Who knows how long they will be in the darkness?
BIRTHDAYS: Jack Fisher, who pitched for the Mets in the ’60s, was born on this date in 1939.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Mets are making a strong, coordinated, multi-front bid today to unseat A-Rod from the tabloid sports sections. Your move, Yankees.
— Jeff Todd (@JA_Todd) March 3, 2015
YOU’RE UP: Was David Wright and Bobby Parnell confronting Noah Syndergaard in view of the media appropriate?