Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo during a spring training workout on Feb....

Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo during a spring training workout on Feb. 24 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — In his first plate appearance of spring training on Sunday, and first since he signed an eight-year, $162 million contract to remain with the Mets during the offseason, Brandon Nimmo drew a four-pitch walk against Rays righthander Luis Patino.

He then sprinted to first base.

Second time up? Nimmo walked on five pitches. And again, sprinted to first base.

Big money isn’t going to change Brandon Nimmo. Which is one reason the Mets gave it to him in the first place.

Nimmo departed after four innings. He saw nine pitches and didn’t swing at any of them.

The only down note was a drive to centerfield in the fourth hit by Curtis Mead that Nimmo lost in the sun.

It was scored a two-base error. It could have been a disaster because, as Nimmo said, “It went right by my face . . . [The ball] was about 50 feet above my head. I went, ‘Oh, [expletive]’ . . . I dodged it at the last second . . . Tough skies today, but that’s part of getting back into it. I’d rather do it now. I’d rather look stupid now than during the season.”

Nimmo’s late start to spring training games was by design, not because of injury. He and the Mets’ performance staff agreed that he should do more individual and drill work rather than play in games in the first half of camp to reduce his workload for what they hope will be a full, healthy season — and seven more after that. Nimmo will turn 30 on March 27, three days before Opening Day.

In 2022, Nimmo hit .274 with 16 home runs and an .800 OPS in 151 games. It was the highest amount of games he’s played in a full season since 2018, which was excellent timing, given that Nimmo was entering the free- agent market as the top centerfield option. If the Mets hadn’t ponied up the big bucks, someone else would have.

Nimmo also turned down a chance to play again for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. Mindful of a hamstring injury he suffered in the 2017 WBC, Nimmo decided to keep his focus on the Mets.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “But the most important thing for me right now is being on the field and ready for Opening Day when the Mets go. I want to win a World Series, and maybe that makes me a bad person that I would rather win a World Series than the WBC right now. That’s where I’m at in my career.

“Steve [Cohen] has invested a lot into this team and I just want to make sure that I’m on the field and doing everything that I can to try and keep his investments on the field and trying to win that World Series that he wants.”

Carrasco has rocky outing

In his third start of spring training, Carlos Carrasco pitched four innings and allowed three runs on two homers in the Mets’ 10-4 loss to the Rays.

Carrasco gave up a solo homer by Niko Hulsizer in the third inning and a two-run shot by Kyle Manzardo in the fourth.

He was helped by catcher Francisco Alvarez, who — throwing from his knees — picked off Gavin Collins at first base in the third.

Switch-hitting shortstop prospect Ronny Mauricio, batting lefthanded, hit a 452-foot home run to right in the fifth for his fourth homer of spring training.

Reliever Bryce Montes de Oca was taken out in the ninth, one batter after walking three, with what manager Buck Showalter called a “forearm strain.” Montes de Oca will be sent for an MRI.

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