The New York Mets have broken camp.
After a 12-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, the Mets flew to Sin City. They will face the Chicago Cubs on Thursday and Friday at Cashman Field, the home ballpark of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. The Mets then continue on to Kansas City for the season opener on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
Jacob deGrom was supposed to start Thursday’s 8:05 p.m. ET game against the Cubs. But with his first child due on Tuesday, the Mets decided to leave deGrom near his family in Florida; he instead will pitch in a minor league game in Port St. Lucie. Barring his wife Stacey going into labor, deGrom plans to participate in the Opening Day ceremonies in Kansas City on Sunday. His first regular-season assignment -- birth permitting -- is scheduled for next Friday’s home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.
With deGrom not in Nevada, right-handed prospect Paul Sewald will start against the Cubs on Thursday. It will be meaningful for Sewald. He grew up in Las Vegas and actually pitched once before at Cashman Field -- while participating in the Area Code Games during his high school years. Sewald, the organization’s 10th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of San Diego, is ticketed for Las Vegas’ bullpen to open the season.
Right-hander Ryan Williams, who finished last season at Double-A Tennessee, is due to start for the Cubs.
THURSDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
Matt Harvey got back on a mound, but his final tuneup continued a poor string of outings. In his first action since dealing with a blood clot in his bladder, Harvey allowed a three-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman during a two-inning appearance. Over Harvey’s final three spring training starts, including a back-field outing against the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A farmhands, Harvey allowed 15 runs in 8 1/3 innings. Harvey, upset with how his bladder issue was portrayed in the tabloids, did not speak with reporters after Wednesday’s outing. With the 12-1 loss to the Nats, the Mets went winless in their final 13 Grapefruit League games and finished 7-16-5. The lone run came on a ninth-inning homer by Travis Taijeron against Jonathan Papelbon. Taijeron was named the John J. Murphy Award winner as the organization’s top performer in his first big league camp. He hit .368 with a team-best 11 RBIs. Noah Syndergaard, his routine disrupted by pitching in relief of Harvey, allowed a two-run homer to Jayson Werth but no other damage in three innings. Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a fly ball to allow ex-Met Daniel Murphy to reach base ahead of Werth’s blast. “The arm didn't feel as strong today,” Syndergaard said. “I didn't have that extra little life on my fastball. But you can't have your best stuff every day. You've got to go out there and be able to perform regardless.” Terry Collins used his full lineup. The only unexpected wrinkle: Asdrubal Cabrera hitting seventh, one slot ahead of Travis d’Arnaud. Read more on Harvey and his media blackout in the Post and Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
The Mets are expected to carry Matt Reynolds as an extra bench player during the opening series in Kansas City. When the Mets arrive home to face the Phillies, Reynolds is expected to be demoted to Las Vegas and former Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson is likely to be added to the roster, giving the Mets a seven-man bullpen.
The Mets showed off new features at Citi Field for the 2016 season. On the food side, there are new items such as Shake Shack’s “Smoke Shack” bacon cheeseburger, Nutella-stuffed fried rice balls with cinnamon sugar, Rao’s steak pizzaiola hero with slow-roasted short rib, deep-fried cheesecake on a stick and Pig Guy NYC’s peanut-butter pretzel-coated thick-cut bacon on a stick. Also on tap in 2016: a daily fourth-inning race in which people dressed in vehicle costumes compete on the warning track, like the Sausage Race in Milwaukee and the Presidents’ Race in Washington. Of course, Coke replaces Pepsi. And there are no shortage of T-shirt giveaways, including one featuring Neil Walker. Read more in Newsday, the Daily News and at MLB.com.
Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post did not like what he observed from the Mets during camp.
The Mets’ farm system is ranked 21st by Baseball Prospectus. Writes BP: “The Mets dropped the furthest, going from a top-five system to a bottom-10 one. Graduating Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard will do that, though. In addition, trades have thinned out the pitching depth some, and the pre-Conforto first-round picks (Nimmo, Cecchini, Smith) have had some developmental hiccups. The most interesting names spent 2015 in short-season ball, and Luis Carpio is already slated to miss the 2016 season with a labrum tear. Steven Matz is currently propping up the system, but two top-30 picks should help Sandy Alderson and company reload.”
Nina Mandell in USA Today speaks with a physician about the symptoms Harvey revealed regarding his bladder.
Mr. Met will judge Good Morning America’s mascot competition on Friday on ABC.
John Smoltz discusses the Mets’ rotation with Neil Best in Newsday.
From the bloggers ... Mets Report believes Harvey needed more spring-training work.
BIRTHDAYS: Tom Hausman turns 63. ... Sixto Torres is 20.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Excited to see which casino Cespy buys!— Jerry Blevins (@jerryblevins) March 30, 2016
YOU’RE UP: Which food item described above sounds the most scrumptious?