Terry Collins pleased about near-perfect attendance

Mets manager Terry Collins stretches during spring training. Mets manager Terry Collins stretches during spring training. (Feb. 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

advertisement | advertise on newsday

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The required arrival date for position players isn't until Saturday. The first full-squad workout isn't until Monday.

Nevertheless, the Mets began the new season with near-perfect attendance. Of the 58 players invited to camp, 54 already have reported.

"When you look in the clubhouse and you have almost all your position players here early, it's a good sign," manager Terry Collins said.

Visa issues have delayed the arrival of righthander Jenrry Mejia, who the Mets said was randomly selected for identity verification. Outfielders Jordany Valdespin and Marlon Byrd recently played in the Caribbean Series. Infielder Wilfredo Tovar has yet to arrive.

But the rest of the Mets already have started preparations, including shortstop Ruben Tejada, who drew Collins' ire last spring training when he didn't report early to camp.

"One of the things we've talked about, that we've really stressed, is the importance of starting a season right," Collins said. "And the best way to do it is to have guys in game shape -- midseason form, as a lot of people say -- on April 1. They do that by being here early."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Duda progressing

Lucas Duda has progressed to taking 60 swings per day. Though he still is not 100 percent, he continues to move toward a full recovery from a fractured right wrist, which required surgery in November.

Though there's a cap on the number of swings he can take, Duda has participated in all hitting drills. The 27-year-old is projected to provide power in the middle of the lineup.

"It feels good," said Duda, who hit 15 homers in 121 games last year. "There's no limitations. It's just the amount, I guess, that would be the limitation. But it feels good. I don't foresee it impacting anything."

Looking for work

With a large group of arms in camp to compete for bullpen jobs, Collins said the Mets likely will stage intrasquad games on March 5 and March 12, which had been scheduled off days.

"We've got a lot of pitching we've got to get innings for," said Collins, who will leave the team's March 19 off day intact.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Rain a factor

For a second straight day, rain might hamper the Mets' workout plans Friday. Bad weather forced pitchers to work indoors Thursday, and with more rain in the forecast for Friday morning, Collins bumped back workouts to later in the day.

You also may be interested in: