New York Mets Spring Training

Dillon Gee will be the fifth starter

Dillon Gee will be the team’s fifth starter, sources told ESPN’s Adam Rubin (April 1).

That said, Rubin believes there is still a chance Gee could get traded to another team early in the season.

Gee is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in seven appearances this spring. In 35 starts the last three seasons, he is 25-26 with a 3.85 ERA.

The Mets had also been considering 24-year-old RHP prospect Rafael Montero, who has allowed one run in his last 10 innings. He is now expected to either begin the season as a starting pitcher in Triple-A or be in the team’s Opening Day bullpen.

The Mets recently told reporters that Gee or Montero will start the game on Friday, April 10, in Atlanta, while Jon Niese will start the next day, Saturday, April 11.

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Mets offense is clicking, Alderson credits Long and Roessler

This spring, the Mets are 18-11 and have outscored opponents 169 to 115, while having a Grapefruit League-leading .856 OPS as a team.

“There is sort of a group dynamic going on,’’ Mets GM Sandy Alderson told NY Post reporter Kevin Kernan (April 1). “These at-bats are interrelated, because these guys are all talking about what they’re doing, what they are trying to do, so the cumulative effect has really been excellent so far.”

The Mets hired new hitting coach Kevin Long in October, 2014, after he had spent the previous eight seasons with the Yankees.

In early March, after returning from a week at Tradition Field, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone said, “Long is instilling a more serious sense of work, trust and positivity that I don’t recall seeing in previous teams.”

According to Cerrone, in addition to making technical adjustments to each swing, Long was working hard to create more trust between hitters and coaches (March 4).

“He looks to be running a fun, group effort, less a one-on-one clinic,” Cerrone wrote.

In addition to hiring Long, the Mets also hired Pat Roessler to be the team’s assistant hitting coach. He has spent the last 11 years with the Yankees as a hitting instructor and in player development.

“It’s been great from the very beginning,’’ Alderson added, talking to Kernan. “They’ve been all-in since the very beginning. They’ve invested a lot of time before spring training to get up to speed with our hitters. … I’m very impressed with the effort they’ve put in.”

NJ.com: Meet the man who went from Robert Wood Johnson medical school CFO to running Mets scouting department

Mets special assistant JP Ricciardi and Jim D’Aloia played baseball together at St. Leo’s University.

According to reporter Mike Vorkunov, nearly three decades later, Ricciardi called D’Aloia to leave his job as CFO at Robert Wood Johnson medical school to be an advance scout for the Mets. D’Aloia is now running the team’s scouting department >> Read more at NJ.com

Montero

Rafael Montero is no longer tipping his pitches

Rafael Montero allowed no runs and only two hits, while striking out six without walking a batter, in his last start. In his start before that, against the Yankees, Montero allowed only one run over four innings.

According to pitching coach Dan Warthen, Montero had been tipping his pitches last season, which is partly why he struggled during his time with the big-league club.

“That’s pretty much all we’ve worked on with him (this spring),” Warthen said (March 31).

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What’s on Tap for Wednesday, April 1

The Mets play their last home game of the spring on Wednesday when they host the Cardinals at Tradition Field at 1:10 p.m. The game will air live on SNY.

Bartolo Colon, making his last start before Opening Day, takes the ball for the Mets. Carlos Martinez will start for the Cardinals.

In case you missed it

Jon Niese was sharp and John Mayberry, Jr. hit a solo home run as the Mets beat the Nationals, 2-0, on Tuesday.

Terry Collins knows his job is on the line, a person close to Collins told reporter Jon Heyman.

Recently acquired LH reliever Jerry Blevins told reporters the Mets have a chance to “shock some people in the NL East.”

LHP Dario Alvarez was optioned to minor league camp.

The Mets told reporters that either Dillon Gee or Rafael Montero will start on April 10, with Jon Niese starting on April 11. That means the first five starters of the season should be Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Gee/Montero, and Niese.

Collins

Terry Collins knows that his job is on the line

Terry Collins knows he could be fired if the team doesn’t get off to a good start, a person close to the manager told CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman (Mar. 31).

“I think we should win,” Collins told Heyman. “If you’re talking about this job, as a manager, we deal with it every day, every year. I relish it. That’s why I get up in the morning.”

In addition to Collins, Heyman lists 11 other managers who could potentially be fired during the season.

Previous Reports

In the upcoming book, Baseball Maverick, Sandy Alderson admits that he was closer to firing Collins in 2014 than was being reported.

“Frankly, for me, that percentage (51%) has been eroding,” Alderson said last September, speaking to the book’s author, Steve Kettman, who says a meeting with the team’s hitters ended up saving their manager’s job.

Collins, 65, has a 2016 option worth $1.2 million, which the team has yet to pick up (Mar. 19). He recently denied reports suggesting he might choose to retire at the end of the 2015 season (Feb. 25).

“If we have a good year, I would love the opportunity to come back and do it again,” he said.


In early February, team reporter Mike Puma said, “If the Mets are sitting seven or eight games below .500 on Memorial Day,” the Mets could let go of Collins (Feb. 1). Similarly, MLB Network Radio host and former Mets GM Steve Phillips said, in the event ex-Twins manager Ron Gardenhire returns to managing in 2016, it could very well be with the Mets.

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Mets win, 2-0, against Nationals

Jon Niese tossed six scoreless innings and John Mayberry Jr. hit a home run as the Mets beat the Nationals, 2-0, on Tuesday in Viera, FL.

Game Notes

Niese faced 20 batters, went six innings, let up four hits and struck out three. He told reporters after his last start that he planned to adjust his delivery to reduce stress on his throwing shoulder.

Mayberry had three hits, including a home run to left field. He has four home runs this spring, during which he’s batting .426.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out twice, giving him 12 during his last 10 games, during which he’s batting just .185 after a hot start to the spring.

Ruben Tejada had an RBI single, giving him 12 RBI in 19 games.

The Mets (18-11) have won 12 of their last 15 Grapefruit League games.

Lucas Duda hit a single against Gio Gonzalez, marking his fourth hit in consecutive at bats against a left-handed pitching.

The Mets finish 5-1 against the Nationals in Grapefruit League games this spring.

What’s Next

The Mets host the Cardinals at Tradition Field on Wednesday at 1:10 pm ET. Bartolo Colon (0-2, 7.71 ERA) will start for the Mets against Carlos Martinez (1-0, 3.94 ERA).

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Mets sort of announce their rotation for the first week of the season

The Mets have told reporters that either Dillon Gee or Rafael Montero will start the game on Friday, April 10, in Atlanta, while Jon Niese will start the next day, Saturday, April 11.

Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey will start earlier in the week against the Nationals in DC.

The team also recently said deGrom will start their home opener Monday, April 13, with Harvey pitching the next day.


Gee has yet to be informed if he’ll start the season in the rotation or bullpen, he recently told Newsday reporter David Lennon (March 29). It was later reported by ESPN’s Adam Rubin that Gee could still be traded (March 30).

In 35 starts the last three seasons, Gee is 25-26 with a 3.85 ERA. He hasn’t pitched in relief since 2011.

Montero threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits in his last start. He struck out six batters and did not walk anyone.

“We’re going to wait a while,” Terry Collins said after Sunday’s game, speaking about when the team will make a final decision about their rotation.

Matt Reynolds

Daniel Muno or Matt Reynolds?

In the event Daniel Murphy will be on the disabled list for an extended time, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone has said the team will start Triple-A infield prospect Matt Reynolds at second base. However, if Murphy can be back the first week of April, the starting job could go to Daniel Muno.


maggieMaggie Wiggin, MetsBlog.com

Neither of these young men are the next MVP, but I expect one or both to prove useful as the season wears on and injuries or trades thin out the infield. In the long term, I see more potential for Reynolds to stick with the big-league team, but Muno has earned the opportunity to prove himself as well…

To read more of this story, click here

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New LH reliever Jerry Blevins says Mets can shock NL East

The Mets acquired LH reliever Jerry Blevins from the Nationals for OF Matt den Dekker on Monday.

Blevins was informed of the trade by his manager during the middle of Monday’s game, he told reporters in Viera before his first game with the Mets on Tuesday (March 31).

“I was like, ‘What the heck, I’m supposed to pitch,'” he said.

Blevins is wearing No. 13, the same number he wore with the Nationals.

“I see a huge opportunity with this organization,” said Blevins, who will make $2.4 million this year, after which he’s eligible to be a free agent. “We have a chance to shock some people in the NL East.”

Sandy Alderson said Monday he acquired Blevins, as well as LH reliever Alex Torres, to have them in the Opening Day bullpen when the season starts next Monday.