Spring opener will feature youthful competition

Most of Mets' Opening Day lineup set to play Saturday in first home game

Spring opener will feature youthful competition

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Terry Collins likes to joke that veteran outfielder Yoenis Cespedes doesn't need to bother acquiring a road gray uniform this spring. David Wright, with his back and neck issues, won't be making any long bus rides in March. Same goes for Neil Walker and Lucas Duda.

That means that when the Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule with a 1:05 p.m. ET game Friday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., they'll do so with a group of younger players fighting for jobs and playing time.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Name day: Mets dedicate First Data Field

Name day: Mets dedicate First Data Field

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Mets players arrived to work on Thursday morning, unfamiliar signs awaited them. Two days before their first Grapefruit League home game, the Mets officially changed the name of their spring stadium, announcing a 10-year deal to rename the ballpark First Data Field.

The park had been named Tradition Field from 2004-10, and from '13 until Thursday.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Conforto taking cues from Bruce, if not at-bats

Young RF is learning from similar left-handed slugger Mets acquired from Reds

Conforto taking cues from Bruce, if not at-bats

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Welp, this is awkward. Or at least, it would be, if the personalities involved were as unstable as the situation itself.

But in the Mets' clubhouse, the fact that Jay Bruce is blocking Michael Conforto from getting the kind of developmental opportunity Bruce himself got long ago with the Reds hasn't prevented the pair from developing a mentor/mentee relationship.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wheeler stays on track in latest 'pen session

Mets righty mixes breaking pitches into 2nd pain-free bullpen outing

Wheeler stays on track in latest 'pen session

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For the second time since elbow tenderness created a snag in his throwing program, Zack Wheeler climbed atop a mound Wednesday for a bullpen session, the highlight of a rain-shortened day at Mets camp. Manager Terry Collins called it "a real big step forward for him," noting that Wheeler mixed breaking balls into his repertoire for the first time in over a week.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wright working on throws behind the scenes

Mets 3B to start off as DH, will return to third base later in March

Wright working on throws behind the scenes

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Throughout the first week of full-squad workouts at the Mets' Tradition Field complex, David Wright has rarely been visible. At times, he has stepped into a batter's box, tracking pitches on a back field. At times, he has fielded fungoes off a coach's bat. 

But when it comes to throwing, Wright has been nowhere in sight. Three times this week, Wright threw away from the eyes of fans and reporters, playing his first games of catch since June.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collins in touch with Classic teams on usage

Concern for health of pitchers a priority for Mets manager

Collins in touch with Classic teams on usage

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets manager Terry Collins on Wednesday backed up Noah Syndergaard's decision to decline Team USA's World Baseball Classic invitation, calling it "the right thing" for Syndergaard's health.

"He's coming off a pretty intense year and I know his goal is to get ready for the season," Collins said. "I think down the road, there will be another [World Baseball Classic] that he'll be able to pitch in if he wants. But I think he's got the mindset that, 'Hey, we've got big things here and I've got to make sure I'm ready.' We've been talking since the end of last season about health, health, health, and he was not going to sacrifice anything to get in the way of getting ready for the year."

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@AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matz went fishing and caught a giant shark

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Matz went fishing and caught a giant shark

Imagine, if you will, a relaxing afternoon fishing. Maybe you're sitting on a boat, maybe you're standing in a river in your waders … either way, it's a pretty peaceful afternoon, right? Well, not for Mets Steven Matz and Sean Gilmartin, who appeared on the internet fishing show "BlacktipH" this week.

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Mets' confidence in d'Arnaud speaks volumes

Mets' confidence in d'Arnaud speaks volumes

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Matt Wieters agreed to terms Monday on a two-year contract with the Nationals, according to multiple sources, it stamped out any lingering speculation that Wieters could, despite all evidence to the contrary, join the Mets.

Since the dawn of the offseason, Mets officials have said openly and often that they had little interest in Wieters, a free agent who wound up grabbing $21 million from the Nats. A four-time All-Star over eight seasons in Baltimore, Wieters represented an upgrade on paper over Travis d'Arnaud, the Mets' incumbent catcher who has struggled through years' worth of injuries and ineffectiveness.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gorzelanny hoping to find niche in Mets' 'pen

Gorzelanny hoping to find niche in Mets' 'pen

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It was midway through the 2015 season when Tom Gorzelanny's ERA first spiked over 7.00, scoreboards across the Major Leagues blaring out that truth. Roughly a month shy of his 33rd birthday, Gorzelanny was considering his baseball mortality when then-Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones suggested a change. Rather than continue using a standard delivery, the left-handed Gorzelanny should try throwing sidearm in the middle of the season.

Flash forward one and a half years, and there was Gorzelanny on a Port St. Lucie mound, delivering live batting practice on Tuesday to a group of hitters, including Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Reyes and David Wright. He dropped down to the side on every pitch, now an expert on the effects his delivery can have.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

POTD: Cespedes throws knuckleballs at Spring Training

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POTD: Cespedes throws knuckleballs at Spring Training

The Mets are pretty stocked with pitching this year. Although they lost a legendary pitcher/hitter in the offseason, the return of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to a staff that already includes Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom should strike fear in hitters around the league.

But just in case it doesn't, Mets fans needn't worry, for Yoenis Cespedes is working on his knuckleball this spring. 

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Grandy reveres young players' 'work ethic'

Veteran outfielder, now oldest Met on roster, mentoring up-and-comers

Grandy reveres young players' 'work ethic'

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Four years in with the Mets, outfielder Curtis Granderson's goal of winning a championship hasn't changed.

What has changed since relocating from the Bronx to Queens in December 2013, however, is where the three-time All-Star ranks on the age chart.

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Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Breaking down the Mets' Top 30 Prospects

New wave of talent takes over NY's system, headlined by position players Rosario and Smith

Breaking down the Mets' Top 30 Prospects

It had appeared like the top prospects had all graduated to the big leagues. After all, how could there be more impactful talent after the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz graduated off of the Mets' Top 30 list? Well, sometimes looks can be deceiving.

While it's true there weren't guys coming up and throwing gas and looking like future National League Cy Young Award candidates, a still-eligible Matz did get an NL Rookie of the Year Award vote to extend the Mets' streak of getting at least one ROY vote to three years, starting with deGrom's win in 2014. But the contributions from the farm system came from more unlikely sources.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

d'Arnaud, Mets raring to begin title chase

Catcher energized by team's clubhouse, on-field camaraderie

d'Arnaud, Mets raring to begin title chase

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Early on Monday morning, Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud was fighting a smirk as he talked to the media.

d'Arnaud wasn't reacting to a funny response to a question, or to a reporter nearly bumping into a table of players doing crossword puzzles, though.

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Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All smiles, Collins talks possible position switches

All smiles, Collins talks possible position switches

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla -- Spring Training has always been full of oddities, but the Mets' camp on Monday afternoon had a sighting few had ever witnessed.

In the Mets' conference room, seventh-year manager Terry Collins was smiling and cracking jokes.

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Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wright, Wheeler progressing after throwing

Wright, Wheeler progressing after throwing

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright and Zack Wheeler threw on Sunday -- Wright for the first time this spring -- and from all indications it went well for each.

Wright made 30 throws at 60-70 feet, according to manager Terry Collins, and also took 25 ground balls.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackie Robinson Rotunda teaches fans history

Memorial serves as tribute to pioneer who broke baseball's color barrier

Jackie Robinson Rotunda teaches fans history

NEW YORK -- In helping to dedicate Citi Field's Jackie Robinson Rotunda back in 2009, Robinson's widow, Rachel, called it a "stunning space" that is "a superb tribute to Jack's enduring legacy."

"It is my hope that as people of all ages pass through the Rotunda," she said that day, "it will evoke their most cherished memories -- as well as serve as an inspiration to young people who we hope will share the values and ideals by which Jack lived."

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets' Wright always eager for Glove Day

Mets' Wright always eager for Glove Day

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright was one of a group of Mets players who were all smiles early Sunday morning as they strolled by the bags and bags of gloves made by Wilson Sporting Goods neatly lined up and placed outside the clubhouse.

It was the team's annual Wilson Glove Day, the day when those contracted with the company receive their mitts for the upcoming season. Some are custom designed with many different styles on display. Juan Lagares has his son's name (Juan Lagares Jr.) imprinted on his glove.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes all business after new deal with Mets

After signing 4-year deal, outfielder in long-term driver's seat with Mets

Cespedes all business after new deal with Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- No more car shows. Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is signed long term and focused on bringing the team a championship.

With fancy rides almost as flashy as his power at the plate, Cespedes is toning down that side of himself and instead putting the emphasis back on the diamond. Having signed a four-year, $110 million contract in November, Cespedes is settling in as a cornerstone in the Mets' future.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collins looks to strike right tone from Day 1

Collins looks to strike right tone from Day 1

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Opening Day is still several weeks away, but Sunday is an extremely special day for Mets manager Terry Collins.

"I was raised in this game that tomorrow is the biggest day of the year for the manager," Collins said Saturday, a day before the Mets' first full-squad workout.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reyes aiming to add center fielder to his resume

Wright, Cabrera set to be starters, but Mets want vet infielder's bat in lineup

Reyes aiming to add center fielder to his resume

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The most recent Mets player to transition from shortstop to center field, Juan Lagares, did it as successfully as just about anyone in history. Once so bedeviled that he committed 40 errors in 82 games as a Minor League shortstop, Lagares moved to center and won a Gold Glove Award seven years later.

So when Jose Reyes began tossing around the idea of shifting to center field, he sought out the Mets' resident guru.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith reports to camp slimmer, feeling energized

Prospect, who could be Mets' 1B of future, spent offseason getting healthy

Smith reports to camp slimmer, feeling energized

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mexican food was Dominic Smith's vice. When Smith wanted to indulge, he would head to the nearest local spot in Southern California for a carne asada wet burrito, smothered in cheese.

That habit disappeared this winter, when the Mets' second-ranked prospect reported to Mike Barwis' team-sponsored fitness facility in Michigan for an offseason full of workouts. He traded in burritos and hamburgers for smoothies and leafy greens. By the time Smith reported to Mets camp, he had shed 24 pounds, dropping down from his high point of around 258.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Syndergaard gets Opening Day nod

Syndergaard gets Opening Day nod

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Early Thursday morning, manager Terry Collins called his entire starting staff into his Tradition Field office to affirm what they already knew. Coming off a breakout, Cy Young-caliber season, Noah Syndergaard will be the Mets' Opening Day starter on April 3 against the Braves.

"It's just a huge honor," Syndergaard said later in the afternoon. "It's something I've been working for ever since I was with the Mets, to be the Opening Day starter at one point. I'm extremely thrilled that Terry instills that kind of confidence in me. I'm going to go out there and get the job done."

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bruce shifts focus to proving he belongs

Veteran ignores offseason rumors, looks to bounce back in first full season with Mets

Bruce shifts focus to proving he belongs

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Between juggling an infant baby and performing usual preparations for the upcoming season, Jay Bruce insists he never had much opportunity to reflect on the trade rumors that dogged him this offseason. So it was little surprise to Bruce that, when it came time to report to Spring Training, his GPS pointed to Mets camp.

"I had a pretty easy time with it, to be honest with you," Bruce said Thursday after arriving at Tradition Field. "I had a lot of stuff going on in the offseason so I wasn't too concerned. I've been going through trade rumors for basically two full years now so it was nothing new. I'm definitely of the mindset these days, and at this point, that nothing is done until it's done. So here I am. I'm happy to be here and I look forward to the season."

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker would welcome long-term extension

31-year-old providing Mets with versatility, leadership

Walker would welcome long-term extension

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Even after Neil Walker put pen to paper, accepting the Mets' $17.2-million qualifying offer, neither side stopped thinking about a longer-term commitment. For Walker, a multi-year extension would mean planting roots in the Northeast, where he owns a home and has started his family. For the Mets, it would mean locking up a player who quickly became a leader in their clubhouse.

At the time, Walker's injury history -- he underwent back surgery in September -- scuttled talks. But neither side killed the conversation, making it possible Walker rips up his qualifying offer and signs a multi-year extension as soon as this spring.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.