Wheeler, Niese to lead staffs in intrasquad game

Traditional tilt takes place a day before Mets begin Grapefruit League action

Wheeler, Niese to lead staffs in intrasquad game

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese will start Tuesday's Mets intrasquad game at Tradition Field, an annual event in advance of Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener. Tuesday's scrimmage will begin at 12 p.m. ET, with tickets available at the gate for $6. All proceeds go to charity.

Niese is set to anchor a "Team Blue" pitching staff that also includes Rafael Montero, Carlos Torres, Vic Black and Sean Gilmartin, a Rule 5 Draft pick trying to win a spot at the back end of New York's bullpen. Wheeler will lead a "Team Orange" staff that includes Buddy Carlyle, Jeurys Familia and closer Jenrry Mejia.

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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.

Collins experimenting with Mets' outfield alignment

Skipper leaning toward playing Granderson in right, Cuddyer in left

Collins experimenting with Mets' outfield alignment

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Mets manager Terry Collins asked Curtis Granderson if he would prefer to play left or right field this season, Granderson shrugged. When Collins asked the same question to Michael Cuddyer, he received the same response. So Collins plans to use each player at both positions this spring, giving himself the best possible platform to make a decision.

Yet, Collins already knows which way he is leaning. Lauding Granderson's work in right field last season, the manager said he will use Granderson there unless Cuddyer -- a career right fielder who has not played left since 2006, and who has spent just 0.3 percent of his big league innings there -- proves incapable of making the switch.

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Duda could take swings early this week

Duda could take swings early this week

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets first baseman Lucas Duda's strained left intercostal muscle is showing improvement, lining him up to potentially swing a bat early this week. Once that happens, Duda will progress from swinging off a tee to soft toss drills, hitting in a cage and, finally, taking full batting practice.

Though Duda has spent time in the cage each day since suffering the injury in mid-February, he has been tracking pitches without swinging -- a way to keep his timing relatively sharp.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Mets want to turn talk into results

Mets want to turn talk into results

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Some of the old-timers have told these Mets how special it can be.

For instance, Wally Backman and Tim Teufel.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Figueroa's experiences will help his coverage of the Mets

Figueroa's experiences will help his coverage of the Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Nelson Figueroa's baseball career has taken him from Brooklyn to Phoenix, to Philadelphia and Houston and points in between, as well as the Dominican Republic, Mexico and as far afield as Taiwan. At times, he was a successful Major League pitcher, experiencing some of the game's most emotional highs. At others, he was an afterthought, unable to crack a roster.

That's why Figueroa believes he will thrive at SNY as the replacement for Bob Ojeda as the network's primary pregame and postgame studio analyst. Years ago, SNY executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr. watched Figueroa conduct an interview and came away so impressed that he reached out to him, asking about the pitcher's post-playing career plans. Those seeds grew into a job almost immediately upon Figueroa's retirement.

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Long immersing himself in his work with Mets' hitters

Long immersing himself in his work with Mets' hitters

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Within the confines of the Mets' clubhouse, no one studies hitting more than Daniel Murphy. His own harshest critic, Murphy is aware of every nuance of his swing, which allows him to know when something is out of whack. He is aware of his strengths. He understands his weaknesses.

So Murphy was amazed when new Mets hitting coach Kevin Long sent him an email this winter offering a thorough breakdown of the video he watched on Murphy's swing. It was clear to the second baseman that Long had not just watched his tape. He had devoured it.

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MLB.com Columnist

Matthew Leach

Alderson talks baseball data at Sloan conference

Mets GM joined main baseball panel to discuss use of advanced metrics

Alderson talks baseball data at Sloan conference

BOSTON -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson emphasized collaboration and communication as the keys for incorporating new ideas like defensive shifts and catcher framing at the annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Saturday.

Alderson joined baseball analysts Dave Cameron, Dan Brooks, Ben Lindbergh and moderator Jonah Keri on the main baseball panel, called "Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data." He acknowledged that things are changing, but made it a point that players must get accustomed to utilizing new information.

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Matthew Leach is an editor and reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young Mets spend leisure time at the rodeo

Young Mets spend leisure time at the rodeo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Two months in Florida, spent thousands of miles away from friends and family, can force players to be creative with their free time. So when a group of young Mets -- including Jacob deGrom and Dillon Gee -- discovered a rodeo was taking place at the St. Lucie County Fair on Friday night, they did not need much convincing.

"They had ropin', saddle-riding broncs, bareback broncs, bull riding, barrel racing," said deGrom, who also attended last year. "Just a regular rodeo."

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Tejada brushes off Reyes' criticism

Tejada brushes off Reyes' criticism

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Ruben Tejada brushed aside criticism on Saturday from former teammate and mentor Jose Reyes, who told Newsday he was surprised Tejada has not done more to seize the Mets' shortstop job.

"I don't really pay attention to rumors," Tejada said. "If I tried to pay attention to everybody, it would make me crazy. So I take the good things about everybody and try to do my best here, and come here every day to work hard."

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Mets' Saturday workout forced indoors by rain

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Steady rain washed out much of the Mets' scheduled workout on Saturday, leaving players -- with four days until the Grapefruit League season begins -- scrambling to fit in their scheduled exercises.

Hitters worked in covered cages, while pitchers threw in an enclosed space. Many Mets also took part in workouts at the team's Barwis Methods training facility attached to Tradition Field.

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Harvey draws positive reviews after facing batters

Mets ace throws 43 pitches in first outing on mound vs. hitters since surgery

Harvey draws positive reviews after facing batters

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As Terry Collins wrapped up his daily news conference following Friday's workout, the Mets manager was asked if Matt Harvey's first appearance on the mound in 18 months was a milestone.

"I'm going to wait until those guys in different-colored uniforms get in that batter's box," Collins said. "That will be a milestone for him."

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

Collins watching lefty bench bat competition closely

Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker competing for spot on Mets' 25-man roster

Collins watching lefty bench bat competition closely

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- There's a position battle that Mets manager Terry Collins is going to be watching closely for the next month -- the one involving left-handed hitters Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

"One of those guys has got to be on our bench, so it's up to them to show us this spring what they can do," Collins said following Friday's workout at the Tradition Field Spring Training complex. "If at the end of Spring Training Matt den Dekker outplays [Nieuwenhuis], hey, we got to go with the best 25."

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

Murphy focused on task at hand with Mets

Murphy focused on task at hand with Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Six and a half years ago, Daniel Murphy arrived in Houston as a little-known 13th-round Draft pick trying to help the Mets win a pennant race. He spent much of the next half-decade trying to prove he belonged -- first in the big leagues, then at second base. Consistently, Murphy defied the odds.

Yet while the Mets have always appreciated Murphy's old-school skill set and attitude, they never rewarded him with a long-term contract extension. Instead, Murphy enters this season on an $8 million arbitration settlement, with no guarantees beyond it.

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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 set for first spring start on March 6

Harvey set for first spring start on March 6

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Matt Harvey will take a significant step forward in his rehab from Tommy John surgery on March 6, when he is scheduled to make his first Grapefruit League start against the Tigers. It will be Harvey's first live game action since Aug. 24, 2013, also against Detroit.

Dillon Gee will open Grapefruit League play for the Mets on Wednesday, followed by Bartolo Colon and Harvey on March 5 and 6, respectively. Jacob deGrom and Matt Bowman will start the two halves of New York's split-squad games on March 7, Steven Matz will pitch March 8 against the Red Sox, Jon Niese will start March 9 and Zack Wheeler will go on March 10.

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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 to be sidelined from swinging bat for a week

Duda to be sidelined from swinging bat for a week

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- What first appeared to be a minor left intercostal strain for Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is lingering. Duda, whom the Mets originally expected to miss only a few days of full-squad workouts, will instead refrain from swinging a bat for at least another week.

Duda strained the muscle taking swings earlier this month, prior to the official start of camp.

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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.

Syndergaard feeling more comfortable at Mets camp

Top prospect admits to being overwhelmed last spring, pressing at Triple-A

Syndergaard feeling more comfortable at Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It was enough that Noah Syndergaard was struggling. It was enough that Syndergaard was sweating out his days in the Las Vegas desert, long past the time he expected to become a member of the Mets.

All of that was enough. It came to a point around the All-Star break when Syndergaard was so sick of reading the critical tweets directed at him, so tired of seeing the unflattering descriptions in print, that he deleted the Twitter application off his phone entirely. He didn't want to know.

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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.

Projecting the Mets' Opening Day roster

Projecting the Mets' Opening Day roster

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- If any questions remained as to the makeup of the Mets' Opening Day roster, manager Terry Collins answered them in the early days of spring. With only five players in camp who did not end last season in the organization, Collins never figured to face many difficult decisions. And while upsets do happen, the bulk of New York's roster appears relatively static heading into this week's full-squad workouts:

Catchers (2): Travis d'Arnaud, Anthony Recker

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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 instituting limits after latest spring injury

Suffering minor intercostal strain, Duda one of several players to work way in advance of camp

Mets instituting limits after latest spring injury

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- If the Mets were not already committed to scaling back their players' workloads this spring, a minor injury has them reassessing that issue.

First baseman Lucas Duda, one of several players to report nearly two months early to Spring Training, strained his left intercostal muscle while swinging in the batting cage earlier this month. Duda called the injury a "non-issue" and expects to be ready to participate in all activities by the end of this week. But he will not hit for the first few days of full-squad workouts.

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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.

Granderson won't let lineup spot affect rebound

After tough first year with Mets, outfielder working with old hitting coach, new Citi dimensions

Granderson won't let lineup spot affect rebound

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Early in Mets camp, manager Terry Collins has floated the idea of batting outfielder Curtis Granderson leadoff this season, in an effort to expose Juan Lagares to lower-pressure situations. If Lagares proves he has developed enough offensively to be a force atop the lineup, only then might Collins be comfortable batting him there.

But perhaps that setup is not ideal, either. Bouncing all around the lineup last season, Granderson hit .181 with seven homers batting first or second, versus .269 with 13 home runs in a comparable number of at-bats elsewhere.

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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.

Collins wants Tejada to treat spring like open competition

Mets shortstop has lost starting job to Flores, but manager hopes to see 25-year-old earn time

Collins wants Tejada to treat spring like open competition

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Though Mets officials remain committed to Wilmer Flores as their starting shortstop, manager Terry Collins has gone out of his way this spring to promote Ruben Tejada's candidacy for the job. At the least, Collins knows, Tejada will be a backup middle infielder for the Mets. So the manager hopes to see some newfound fire out of Tejada, who is still just 25 years old.

"I am not in Ruben Tejada's head," Collins said. "I hope I'm in his head, but I'm not. But at the end of the year, I didn't tell Ruben Tejada what he needed to do. I asked him what he thought he needed to do, because that's where it has to start. I'm going to give him an opportunity to show it's still there. Now it's in his corner."

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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 finds fit with Mets, isn't worried about transition

Cuddyer finds fit with Mets, isn't worried about transition

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As Michael Cuddyer played out a losing string with the Rockies last summer, it became only natural for him to look ahead to his pending free agency. Unsure if the Rockies would extend him a qualifying offer, Cuddyer knew his decision would be difficult. He also knew that at age 35, winning was more of a priority than ever.

It was around that time that the Rockies flew to New York, and over a three-game series, they scored a total of two runs -- one of them on a Cuddyer homer. Jacob deGrom fired eight shutout innings. Rafael Montero added 5 1/3. Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off sacrifice fly.

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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 has chance to earn Mets' leadoff role

Collins says developing patience at plate key for young player

Lagares has chance to earn Mets' leadoff role

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Early last season, Mets manager Terry Collins was hesitant to bat Lucas Duda cleanup, fearing a slump might discourage him and, ultimately, stunt his professional growth. Duda responded with a career-high 30 homers, leaving no question by season's end as to who the cleanup hitter was.

This spring, Collins is straddling the same line with Juan Lagares. While Collins wants Lagares to earn leadoff duties and thinks his lineup works best that way, the manager -- unwilling to undermine his center fielder's confidence -- has already mentioned Curtis Granderson as a possible alternative.

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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.

Gilmartin hopes stellar changeup helps land bullpen role

Collins 'anxious' to get a look at lefty in action

Gilmartin hopes stellar changeup helps land bullpen role

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In the early days of camp, some pitches tend to catch more attention than others. Last year, Noah Syndergaard's curveball wowed all onlookers. Matt Harvey's heater always draws crowds.

This year, Sean Gilmartin's changeup is one of those pitches. A Rule 5 Draft selection last December, the left-handed Gilmartin is hoping his signature pitch will help him win a crowded back-end bullpen competition.

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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.

Citi Field to host Legends of Wrestling event

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Bill Goldberg, Bret Hart, Ric Flair and Rob Van Dam are among 30 professional wrestlers scheduled to appear at a Legends of Wrestling event on June 7 at Citi Field, the Mets announced Monday.

The event, which will take place when the Mets are on the road, begins with autograph and Q&A sessions from 3-5 p.m. ET. Six wrestling matches will follow in a ring set up around 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.

SNY tabs Gelbs as Mets' new field reporter

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- So beloved was Kevin Burkhardt as SNY's field reporter that hundreds of fans gathered on Citi Field's Shea Bridge during his final home broadcast last September, crushing around Burkhardt as he signed autographs and posed for pictures. For eight years, Burkhardt built a reputation as one of the game's best local television reporters, parlaying that into a high-profile national job with FOX.

Steve Gelbs, in other words, has quite the challenge ahead of him.

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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 throws first bullpen, feels like he 'never left'

After Tommy John surgery, ace now pitching on regular program

Harvey throws first bullpen, feels like he 'never left'

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As most of the organization's brass gathered behind him, Matt Harvey climbed atop a mound on Sunday, surrounded by teammates, to throw his first official bullpen session of spring. In zipped a fastball as cameras beeped and clicked. In came a slider. In came a fastball, and so on and so forth.

Then off walked a satisfied Harvey. Though the former All-Star began throwing bullpens shortly before the start of camp, this was his first session since organized workouts began.

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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.

Wright making adjustments to maintain his health

Wright making adjustments to maintain his health

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As other, mostly younger players scurried about on Sunday, clutching plastic plates of chicken, rice, beans and plantains, David Wright stepped out of Tradition Field's clubhouse kitchen carrying a metal bowl filled to the brim with greens. "Looks delicious," Wright said as he searched for a place to sit.

The Mets' most important player knows he cannot eat like he did a decade ago, among other things. Wright is also vowing to stop sliding head-first into bases, as well as promising to listen when manager Terry Collins suggests a night on the bench.

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Wheeler expecting big things from Mets' rotation

Wheeler expecting big things from Mets' rotation

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Add Zack Wheeler to the growing list of Mets touting their rotation's potential.

"I think we can be great," Wheeler said on Sunday, returning to camp after a one-day absence due to illness. "We have a lot of young arms, and if we all just put it together, I think we'll be a great staff. I think if everybody stays healthy, we'll be ready to go."

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