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Mets, Yankees start off slow on ESPN ‘Sunday Night Baseball’

The local teams will appear only once each in the first two months of the MLB season.

Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury steals second base in

Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury steals second base in the first inning against Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera at Citi Field on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets and Yankees each will appear only once in the first two months of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” in 2018, but both teams will have more turns in the showcase national game later in the season.

ESPN announced its April and May schedule on Tuesday, with the Giants visiting the Dodgers on April 1, followed by the Mets at the Nationals on April 8.

The Yankees will visit the Angels and Shohei Ohtani on April 29 in Aaron Boone’s first game as Yankees manager on the telecast he used to work for as an analyst. Neither New York team is scheduled for a Sunday night in May.

But ESPN also announced select games for July and August, and on that slate the Yankees host the Red Sox on July 1 and the Mets on July 22, and the Mets visit the Phillies on Aug. 19.

One or both New York teams could — and in the case of the Yankees, almost surely will — make additional Sunday night appearances when the rest of the schedule is revealed in stages during the season.

Each team is allowed a maximum of six Sunday night games.

Last season, the schedule was heavily front-loaded with Mets and Yankees games.

Over an eight-week stretch last spring, the Mets or Yankees played on ESPN on six Sundays, with four of those games played in New York, meaning late nights for people with school or work the next morning.

Sunday night games in midsummer are somewhat less disruptive for ticket-holders.

ESPN announced that Jessica Mendoza will return as a booth analyst and Buster Olney as a reporter, but the telecast lost both its play-by-play man, Dan Shulman, and Boone. ESPN has not yet filled either of those openings.

New York Sports