PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Spring training is only getting started, but as far as the competition goes for the final two or three spots in the Mets’ bullpen, Drew Smith and Tyler Bashlor — among several others — got started last year with late-summer de facto auditions for the 2019 roster.
Smith had a 3.54 ERA and 1.43 WHIP (and four holds) in 27 games in 2018. Bashlor had a 4.22 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 24 games.
“They’re very much on our radar,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Those guys got to go out there and against major-league hitters; we put them in some tough spots. They got to have some experience. They came into camp ready to go. They know they have to battle with all these other guys to make the team.
“The things that [pitching coach Dave Eiland] asked them to work on in the offseason, it is very evident that they all took that to heart and came in in a better spot than they ended [last] season. Preparing them to make a team and compete to make a team. They are definitely on the radar.”
Among the others in that bullpen competition: Paul Sewald, Jacob Rhame, Tim Peterson and Daniel Zamora. There’s also Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy, who mostly has been a starter in the minors. He said the Mets have been up front with him about the lack of rotation spots.
Notes & quotes: Most position players already have arrived, but their official report date is Saturday. They are scheduled for physicals Sunday, and the Mets will have their first full-squad workout Monday . . . Travis d’Arnaud said his rehab from Tommy John surgery last April is going well, but he has to monitor the number of throws he makes and swings he takes each day while easing into spring training. The Mets expect d’Arnaud to be ready for Opening Day . . . Callaway said he spotted a 12-foot alligator near the house he is living in for spring training. “I’ll see him in the morning,” he said.