PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets fans won’t have to wait long this season for the triumphant return of a cult hero.
Braves righthander Bartolo Colon is slated to pitch against his former team on April 5, the second game of a season opening series. He will be opposed by Jacob deGrom.
Mets ace Noah Syndergaard had hoped for the opportunity to square off against the 43-year-old Colon, whose tenure in New York was marked by an unlikely home run that nearly overshadowed his steadiness on the mound.
Instead, Syndergaard will start Opening Day against Julio Teheran. The Mets’ ace proclaimed himself ready following his final tune up on Wednesday. He struck out four in three perfect innings during an intrasquad game featuring mostly minor leaguers.
Syndergaard said he intends to throw more two-seam fastballs this season, which makes his changeup even more difficult to hit. On Wednesday, he maintained smooth mechanics throughout, another sign of his readiness.
“Today was the final steppingstone with my progress in spring training, so I feel good with it,” Syndergaard said.
Meanwhile, Matt Harvey faces Jaime Garcia in the third game of the regular season, a matchup of pitchers who have returned to the mound following surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Centerfielder Juan Lagares (strained left oblique) may be ready to play in a game on Thursday against Triple-A Las Vegas. “The MRI didn’t show anything real bad,” said Lagares, who is hoping to be ready for Opening Day . . . Rafael Montero tossed two scoreless innings in Wednesday’s 2-2 tie with the Braves. The righty lowered his ERA to 1.77. But a spot on the roster will likely come down to whether the Mets carry an extra reliever . . . Tim Tebow went 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average to .138 at the end of Grapefruit League play. “He’s a tremendous kid and I wish him all the best,” Collins said of Tebow, who will play at Low-A Columbia. “To do what he’s attempting to do is not easy for anyone.”