Fully revamped Mets ready to take on NL, rise above 79 wins

Fully revamped Mets ready to take on NL, rise above 79 wins

In part one of MLB.com's team-by-team season preview, we explore one number critical to each club's success. For the Mets, it's simple: 79.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Sandy Alderson took over as general manager in October 2010, the Mets were coming off a 79-win season. With two straight losing seasons in their past and an aging roster causing all sorts of issues, it was clear that their window of contention had closed.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duda may be starting to solve lefties at plate

New approach paying dividends

Duda may be starting to solve lefties at plate

JUPITER, Fla. -- The one knock on Lucas Duda's breakout season -- and certainly something giving the Mets pause as they consider handing Duda a long-term contract extension -- is his history against left-handed pitchers. Simply put, Duda has done next to nothing against them over the past three years. Worse, his same-sided production has waned even as his overall results have improved.

So it was refreshing for the Mets to see Duda rap out three hits against lefties in Sunday's win over the Cardinals, brandishing a new approach at the plate. Rather than try to crush home runs as he normally does against right-handed pitchers, Duda shortened up his swing enough to punch three singles through the infield -- two of them to the opposite field.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gee deals seven sharp in bid for rotation spot

Starter scatters seven hits across seven innings; Duda 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs

Gee deals seven sharp in bid for rotation spot

JUPITER, Fla. -- Infielder Matt Reynolds, who is making a final push for a spot on the Mets' bench, singled and scored the go-ahead run during the sixth inning of New York's 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.

Reynolds opened the inning with a hit off Cardinals reliever Seth Maness and moved to third on an Anthony Recker double. He then scored on a fielder's choice to push the Mets toward their Grapefruit League-best 16th win.

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Jenifer Langosch has been a reporter with MLB.com since 2007, first covering the Pirates and now the Cardinals.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

deGrom eyes bigger prize after Rookie of Year campaign

deGrom eyes bigger prize after Rookie of Year campaign

When it comes down to it, the only thing Jacob deGrom knows about the 2015 season is that he won't repeat his greatest career achievement. The National League Rookie of the Year honor the Mets right-hander won last year is a one-time deal, the one award that has an expiration date.

A player's second season is a once-in-a-career situation, as well, and the 6-foot-4 hurler with the long locks is heading into his so-called sophomore season with eyes wide open.

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John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reynolds has inside track on Opening Day start at second

Regular starter Murphy's lingering hamstring strain likely to keep him out

Reynolds has inside track on Opening Day start at second

JUPITER, Fla. -- At the dawn of Spring Training, it seemed near-impossible that Matt Reynolds would make the Mets. Though Reynolds broke out a year ago at Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets already had their starting middle infield set with Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy. Giving Reynolds a bit more seasoning in the desert seemed apt.

But Reynolds' strong spring, combined with Murphy's lingering right hamstring strain, has cast uncertainty over the situation. With each passing day, it appears less and less likely that Murphy will heal in time for Opening Day, meaning the Mets must choose amongst Reynolds, Danny Muno or Ruben Tejada at second base.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gee reinforces grip on rotation

Right-hander gives up just two runs over seven innings Sunday vs. Cards

Gee reinforces grip on rotation

JUPITER, Fla. -- Publicly, the Mets have still not deemed Dillon Gee their fifth starter. But Gee continued to make that little more than a formality on Sunday, actually raising his ERA to 2.49 by giving up two runs over seven innings against the Cardinals.

"He was patented Dillon Gee," manager Terry Collins said. "He was working on stuff. For the first few innings, he didn't throw a lot of breaking stuff because he was trying to locate the fastball, work on the cutter and the change. He doesn't get caught up in anything except trying to go out and make sure he's ready to start the year. You look up and that's what you get: seven innings and quality work."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sources: Mets, Duda discussing long-term contract extension

First baseman could be signed into his early 30s

Sources: Mets, Duda discussing long-term contract extension

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets and Lucas Duda are discussing a long-term contract extension, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations, which would keep the first baseman in Flushing well into his 30s. The Mets have not publicly acknowledged the negotiations, and general manager Sandy Alderson declined comment on Saturday afternoon.

Duda, 29, is set to make $4.2 million this season as an arbitration-eligible player, more than twice what he earned a year ago. He is under team control through the 2017 season, meaning any extension would be at least four years long -- covering his final three years of team control plus his first year of free agency. Such a deal would take Duda at least through his age-32 season, guaranteeing him a measure of security while giving the Mets a proven cleanup hitter for the foreseeable future.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

deGrom gets better of Strasburg, with help from long ball

Granderson, Wright lead four-homer attack for Mets

deGrom gets better of Strasburg, with help from long ball

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jacob deGrom kept thriving, David Wright and Curtis Granderson kept mashing and everything continued going swimmingly for the Mets on Saturday in a 10-2 win over the Nationals.

Granderson and Wright hit back-to-back home runs off Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg in the third, giving deGrom all the cushion he would need. In his penultimate spring start, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year fired seven innings of one-run ball, the only damage coming on a leadoff homer by Bryce Harper in the sixth. That lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 2.45, tops amongst all pitchers with more than 20 innings.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cohen takes a look ahead to upcoming season

Mets broadcaster speaks with MLB.com before start of 2015 campaign

Cohen takes a look ahead to upcoming season

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- SNY's broadcast team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling -- Gary, Keith and Ron, or simply GKR to Mets fans -- is entering its 10th season calling games on SNY. MLB.com recently caught up with Cohen to talk about this year.

MLB.com: The expectations for this Mets team are higher than they've been in half a decade. Are they warranted?

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets taking cautious approach with Black comeback

Given injuries, team fears rushing reliever back too soon

Mets taking cautious approach with Black comeback

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Though Vic Black enjoyed a successful return to the mound on Saturday, throwing a 22-pitch bullpen session late in the morning, his status for Opening Day remains tenuous. Black is looking at a progression that would have him return to game action next Wednesday, leaving essentially no margin for error between now and April 6.

"I'm good with what they end up deciding to do," said Black, who threw off a mound for the first time since the Mets diagnosed him with right shoulder tendinitis in mid-March. "The joy here is that my arm feels great, which means that I can help the team out when the time comes."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets reassign Rice, Castellanos, Bradford to Minors camp

Mets reassign Rice, Castellanos, Bradford to Minors camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Temperatures at Mets camp took a noticeable dip on Saturday morning, which only served to disguise how few calendar flips are left until Opening Day. As if to remind themselves, the Mets reassigned three more players to Minor League camp, reducing the number in big league camp to 36 -- or 33 not counting injured pitchers Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell. Almost everyone left in the clubhouse has a legitimate chance to make the team.

Saturday's cuts were left-handed reliever Scott Rice, right-hander Chasen Bradford and outfielder Alex Castellanos.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harvey celebrates b-day with breezy outing

Mets' ace fans five, allows one run in 4 1/3 innings against split Cardinals squad

Harvey celebrates b-day with breezy outing

JUPITER, Fla. -- Consider this mathematical improbability: Matt Harvey was one of four Mets players to celebrate a birthday on Friday, receiving an early-morning cake in the clubhouse alongside outfielder Michael Cuddyer and catcher Johnny Monell. (The fourth, outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo, is in Minor League camp.) But Harvey's celebration did not linger. At age 26, there was much work to do.

It certainly seemed like business as usual later in the day, when Harvey waited out a brief rain delay before setting a spring high of 80 pitches in his 4 1/3-inning, one-run outing against the Cardinals in the Mets' 5-4 loss. Though Harvey was less efficient than he would have liked, the most remarkable aspect of his afternoon was how unremarkable it all seemed. He was just plain old Harvey, hitting 97 mph on a notoriously slow Roger Dean Stadium radar gun while keeping the Cardinals largely off the basepaths.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets fear Murphy could miss Opening Day

Second baseman will rest unless club is certain he can play in season opener

Mets fear Murphy could miss Opening Day

JUPITER, Fla. -- Daniel Murphy's sluggish progression back from a strained right hamstring has the Mets questioning his readiness for Opening Day, increasing the odds that either Matt Reynolds or Danny Muno will make the team.

Murphy, who has not played since March 19, continued hitting and running on Friday at the Mets' Spring Training complex. But with only six Grapefruit League games remaining before the Mets head to Texas for a pair of exhibitions, manager Terry Collins is growing concerned about Murphy's ability to work his legs into game shape.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets hope Familia, and his pitches, keep rising

Sinker part of reliever's success, but club sees potential elsewhere in zone

Mets hope Familia, and his pitches, keep rising

JUPITER, Fla. -- The key to Jeurys Familia's success has always been his ability to throw sinkers low in the strike zone, thereby generating ground balls. No National League pitcher with at least 75 innings last season induced grounders at a higher rate than Familia, who by most statistical measures was the Mets' best reliever.

But the Mets want more out of Familia, who has taken on additional importance with Josh Edgin out for the season, Bobby Parnell set to miss at least another month and Vic Black nursing a right shoulder injury that may sideline him on Opening Day. Pitching coach Dan Warthen has spent time this spring teaching Familia how to pitch up in the zone, going as far as to tweak the right-hander's delivery. The result, the Mets hope, will be a more complete pitcher, capable of putting away left-handers as easily as he does same-sided hitters.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets' bats spring to action late behind Harvey

Mejia scuffles after ace's five-strikeout effort against split Cards squad

Mets' bats spring to action late behind Harvey

JUPITER, Fla. -- Starters Matt Harvey and John Lackey each looked sharp in their penultimate starts of Grapefruit League play on Friday, though it was the Cardinals who came away with a 5-4 split-squad victory.

Efficiency allowed Lackey, in his third start of the spring, to become the first Cardinals pitcher this spring to cover seven innings in a Grapefruit League outing. He scattered six hits and didn't allow the Mets to advance a runner past second until the seventh, when New York used back-to-back hits by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Michael Cuddyer to foil the shutout bid.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets find power stroke with 3 HRs vs. Nationals

Mets find power stroke with 3 HRs vs. Nationals

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez completed his longest and best outing of the spring, but his performance was matched by Mets right-hander Matt Bowman. Both pitchers completed five scoreless innings in New York's 8-3 victory on Thursday night at Space Coast Stadium.

The Mets scored four runs in the eighth off reliever Craig Stammen, punctuated by a two-run homer from Matt den Dekker, one of three jacks for New York. The Nationals' only offense came in the sixth off reliever Jeurys Familia, who was removed with two outs in the inning after allowing three runs on four hits.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happy birthday to Matt Harvey and Buster Posey

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Happy birthday to Matt Harvey and Buster Posey

On Friday, Matt Harvey turned 26 and Buster Posey turned 28 (Mariah Carey also turned 45 and Fergie turned 40, but that's beside the point). The two 20-somethings are among the brightest stars in the league, so it's fitting that they share a birthday together. Maybe they'll celebrate together? Maybe they'll invite Fergie?

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Mets prospect Bowman stellar in spot start

Mets prospect Bowman stellar in spot start

VIERA, Fla. -- For Mets Matt Bowman, receiving a last-minute callup from Minor League camp for a spot start in Thursday's game was rewarding enough. Doing so against the Nationals, his favorite team from the moment he attended their inaugural game in Washington as a middle schooler, only added to the experience.

Part of him is still a fan. Standing on first base after a fifth-inning single during the Mets' 8-3 victory, Bowman told Ryan Zimmerman -- the longest-tenured National -- that he has enjoyed watching him "for a good long while now."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Flores shakes off sore left foot against Nats

Flores shakes off sore left foot against Nats

VIERA, Fla. -- Wilmer Flores' return from a bruised left foot proved relatively uneventful -- 1-for-3 with a walk in the Mets' 8-3 win over the Nationals on Thursday, plus seven innings at shortstop with two defensive chances. All of which was just fine for Flores, who endured some soreness after missing three games with an injury that could have been much worse.

"I feel it a little bit, but I've just got to go through it," Flores said. "It's going to be sore after, but I feel great."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets shield Colon, give Niese intrasquad duty

Mets shield Colon, give Niese intrasquad duty

VIERA, Fla. -- Though Jon Niese was a late addition to Thursday's Mets intrasquad roster in Port St. Lucie, Bartolo Colon was not. Once New York named Colon its Opening Day starter against the Nationals, the club abandoned all thought of using him in that evening's Grapefruit League game -- also against said Nats.

Colon, who relies largely on the deception he generates by changing speeds, faced the Nationals five times last season and once already this spring. With his Opening Day start only two weeks away, avoiding their hitters was a priority.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets' pitchers may hit 8th with Wright in mind

Mets' pitchers may hit 8th with Wright in mind

VIERA, Fla. -- Though Matt Harvey may be more interested in the 80-odd pitches he is scheduled to throw in Friday's spring start against the Cardinals, manager Terry Collins plans to add a layer of intrigue to Harvey's afternoon: As he did 10 times last year and may do even more frequently this summer, the manager will bat his pitcher eighth.

Collins said he is considering doing so more often because it would allow him to shift David Wright from third to second in the lineup, increasing his at-bats over the course of the season and, theoretically, his RBI opportunities as well.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ne-Yo added to lineup for Mets concert series

Ne-Yo added to lineup for Mets concert series

VIERA, Fla. -- Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer Ne-Yo has been added to the Mets' 2015 postgame concert series, the team announced on Thursday. He will perform after the Aug. 15 game against the Pirates at Citi Field, with tickets starting at $20 at mets.com/concerts.

Ne-Yo, who has sold more than 10 million records worldwide, released his sixth consecutive Top 10 studio album earlier this year. He joins the Steve Miller Band (June 27) and Heart (July 25) on the Mets' postgame concert series.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lagares, Mayberry power up to back sharp Montero

Outfielders go deep as pitching prospect holds Yanks to 1 run over 4 innings

Lagares, Mayberry power up to back sharp Montero

TAMPA, Fla. -- John Mayberry Jr. homered off Masahiro Tanaka and Juan Lagares cracked a two-run blast off Dellin Betances as the Mets defeated the Yankees, 7-2, on Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Lined up to serve as the Yanks' Opening Day starter, Tanaka permitted three runs (two earned) and four hits over 4 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven. The right-hander threw 47 of 59 pitches for strikes and said that he has been working on throwing his two-seam fastball more often this season.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Is Montero pitching his way into starting rotation?

Collins won't rule it out for righty after strong start against Yanks

Is Montero pitching his way into starting rotation?

TAMPA, Fla. -- Mets manager Terry Collins continues to dangle the possibility that Rafael Montero could pitch his way into the starting rotation to open the season. The 24-year-old right-hander continues to do everything he can to keep that possibility alive.

Facing a lineup that included most of the Yankees' projected starters, Montero allowed one run on three hits in four innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter in the Mets' 7-2 Grapefruit League win Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Parnell throws scoreless inning in Triple-A game

Murphy hits off tee, still questionable for Opening Day with strained hamstring

Parnell throws scoreless inning in Triple-A game

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A gaggle of scouts, executives and Minor League players gathered around a back field of the Mets' complex Wednesday to watch former closer Bobby Parnell pitch. Several of them clutched radar guns, curious to see how fast Parnell -- nearing the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery -- would throw.

The one person decidedly uninterested in velocity was Parnell. Focusing on quieting his mechanics while working in particular on his two-seam fastball, Parnell shrugged off radar-gun readings that rested around 90 mph, topping out at 92.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cuddyer ready to lead youthful Mets to the postseason

Cuddyer ready to lead youthful Mets to the postseason

Michael Cuddyer is ready to be a veteran leader for a Mets club that's full of young talent but hasn't advanced to the playoffs since 2006.

The 35-year-old Cuddyer, who signed a two-year, $21 million deal in the offseason, is a 14-year veteran who's made it to the playoffs six times.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wheeler has successful Tommy John surgery

In addition to having UCL replaced, righty also has flexor pronator tendon repaired

Wheeler has successful Tommy John surgery

TAMPA, Fla. -- The first step toward getting right-hander Zack Wheeler back into the Mets' rotation has been completed.

"Zack Wheeler this morning underwent successful surgery at HSS in New York to repair the flexor pronator tendon and reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He is expected to make a full recovery," the team said in a statement Wednesday.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gilmartin making case for role in Mets' bullpen

Gilmartin making case for role in Mets' bullpen

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Mets have been taking an extra long look at their left-handed bullpen candidates since losing Josh Edgin for the season to Tommy John surgery.

So the fact that Rule 5 Draft selection Sean Gilmartin came in to start the fifth inning of Wednesday's 7-2 Grapefruit League win over the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field and retired all four batters he faced was noteworthy.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.