Jerry Manuel finally echoed what the Mets' front office had been saying for the past week when he endorsed Alex Cora yesterday to be Jose Reyes' short-term replacement. There's a chance Ruben Tejada may eventually grow into that role - maybe even sooner than later -- but the Mets paid Cora $2 million specifically for this type of situation, so he's like to begin the year as the starting shortstop.

While today is only an exhibition game, it still means something to Johan Santana, who will be facing the Twins for the first time since they traded him to New York -- for no reason other than they could no longer afford him. Santana spoke glowingly about his time in Minnesota, and while he does seem happy with the Mets, he definitely still has affection for the Twins.

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Ryota Igarashi is expected to pitch back-to-back days this weekend, and if he keeps throwing as he did last night against the Marlins, he will be a strong candidate for the set-up role. Especially after Manuel reiterated that Jenrry Mejia -- if he is kept with the Mets for Opening Day -- will not be his eighth-inning guy.