PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets have set their initial Grapefruit League rotation, holding back some of their established starters to take closer looks at those likely ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rafael Montero will kick things off on Friday afternoon against the Nationals, followed by John Lannan on Saturday, Daisuke Matsuzaka on Sunday, Noah Syndergaard on Monday, Jon Niese on Tuesday and Bartolo Colon in a split-squad game Wednesday.
Montero, Lannan and Matsuzaka are all ostensibly competing for the Mets' fifth starter's job, though Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia appear to be the early frontrunners.
Two Mets pitchers not in the initial spring rotation, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler, will make their Grapefruit League debuts later this spring. Barring injury, Gee, Wheeler, Niese and Colon are all guaranteed spots in the Opening Day rotation, with Niese the early favorite to start against the Nationals on March 31.
"We've got to see everybody," manager Terry Collins said. "We have to get seven or eight starters ready. … I'm anxious to see them all."