PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.
FIRST PITCH: One week from Opening Day, the Mets are winding down activity in Florida.
Monday’s news reports:
• Matsuzaka has been expected to be the fifth starter, but Jenrry Mejia is providing staunch competition. Mejia limited the Washington Nationals to one run on two hits and a walk in five innings Sunday.
There are business factors perhaps influencing the decision. Those factors potentially include the organization being able to delay Mejia’s arbitration eligibility by a year if he remains in the minors for the first month of the season.
A resolution should be known soon. The Mets would need to pay Matsuzaka $100,000 on Tuesday at noon to retain him if they do not guarantee him an Opening Day roster spot by then.
• The Mets officially released Kyle Farnsworth after informing him he would not make the Opening Day roster. Still, the Mets may re-sign Farnsworth within a couple of days, after Farnsworth has the opportunity to see if any other teams are interested. Read more in the Record and MLB.com.
• John Lannan began his introduction to the bullpen Sunday with a 1-2-3 inning against the Nats. Lannan is projected to join a relief corps that also includes Bobby Parnell, Jose Valverde, Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Carlos Torres and Scott Rice. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.
• Jonathon Niese is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday, one week after receiving a cortisone shot in his left elbow to address inflammation. The Mets hope Niese pitches in two minor-league games, then is activated from the disabled list April 6 to face the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. Read more in the Daily News and Star-Ledger.
• Curtis Granderson had a tiebreaking two-run homer against Drew Storen and the Mets beat the Nats, 3-1, at Tradition Field. In the other split-squad game, Juan Lagares walked and scored the lone run in a 4-1 loss to Freddy Garcia and the Braves at Disney.
• From the bloggers … Joe D. at Metsmerized writes that the Mejia decision will be a litmus test for Alderson and his seriousness about a 90-win season. … Rising Apple also suggests logic dictates Mejia as the fifth starter.
BIRTHDAYS: Valverde turns 36.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
"@Olli24 : The view from the baseball play-by-play booth at Olympic Stadium. #Mets #BlueJays @ExposNation #MLB pic.twitter.com/s22NC8ePk6"
— Alexandre Breton (@Gordon_Brett) March 24, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Would it be a travesty if Daisuke Matsuzaka beats out Jenrry Mejia for a spot in the rotation?