PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Now that the World Baseball Classic has wrapped up, perhaps Mets righthander Seth Lugo will stop getting mistaken for the rapper Eminem.
Lugo dyed his hair blond, just as the rest of the members of team Puerto Rico during their memorable run to the WBC finals. But Lugo’s hair tends to lie flat, and he has just enough of a resemblance for fans to take notice.
“I heard it about a hundred times the last two weeks,” Lugo said Friday when he returned to Mets camp. “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?”
Even away from the ballpark, he heard the question while at a CVS in Los Angeles. It wasn’t the first time. The naturally dark-haired Lugo has gone blond in the past as part of gags with his teams in travel ball as a kid. The famous resemblance was noticed back then, too.
Now, Lugo will shift his attention to more pressing business. He’s slated to start one of the Mets’ split-squad games Monday. Technically, the Mets still have a rotation spot up for grabs. But Robert Gsellman has made a strong bid, posting a 1.56 ERA in the spring.
That leaves Lugo’s status in flux, though team officials seem comfortable carrying him on the Opening Day roster as a reliever.
“I’m not sure,” said Lugo, who posted a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings during the tournament. “I try not to be the GM of myself. Just be ready for whatever situation they need me and control what I can control, just execute the pitches.”
Righty Zack Wheeler will start the other half of Monday’s split squad, with lefty Steven Matz slated to pitch in a minor-league game . . . Jacob deGrom starts in a minor-league game Saturday with Rafael Montero scheduled to pitch against the Braves . . . Matt Harvey starts Sunday at home against the Braves . . . Fernando Salas allowed two hits in two-thirds of an inning as he works to catch up on innings. He pitched just twice at the WBC and a visa issue prevented him from pitching in Grapefruit League games until earlier this week.