Mets heading south in nick of time

Mets heading south in nick of time

NEW YORK -- With New York City hoping to duck an ominous winter storm for the second time in five days, the Mets took steps Tuesday to prepare for an extended stay far from blizzards, drifts and black ice. The annual equipment pilgrimage from Flushing, N.Y., to Port St. Lucie, Fla., began late Tuesday morning, when the skies gave no indication of what was to come.

With an assist from Mr. Met, the mascot of moving, workers loaded all sorts of Spring Training paraphernalia onto a 10-wheeler and sent it on its way to the club's training camp headquarters on the East Coast of Florida. Baseball gear was included, of course, and also medical supplies, media relations supplies, the bikes of sons and daughters, playpens and some necessities of Florida living -- golf clubs.

The Mets also left some space in the trailer for whatever good luck they could find. Their disabled-list summer of 2009 was foreshadowed by a seven-week period in Port St. Lucie that produced maladies involving Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Brian Schneider, Ryan Church, Tim Redding and Angel Pagan. They're hoping to avoid more of the same this year.

The truck, depending on the snow, is likely to arrive at Port St. Lucie before the weekend and, of course, before the pitchers and catchers report. Their first day for working out is Feb. 20, but a number of them are likely to get to the area earlier. Position players are to be in town on Feb. 23 and work out two days later.

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