PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets’ outfield, the epicenter of their early rash of largely minor injuries, is coming back together.
Rightfielder Jay Bruce (plantar fasciitis) played defense for the first time in spring training Thursday, logging three innings, throwing out a runner at second and doubling in his only at-bat. Manager Mickey Callaway said Bruce will play the outfield again Friday.
“He said he feels totally fine,” Callaway said.
Callaway said Bruce’s outfield ability is an underrated part of his game, and throwing out the Marlins’ Cameron Maybin when he tried to stretch a single was an example of that.
Bruce posted six defensive runs saved in rightfield last season after putting up a -11 DRS the year before.
“Great throw. Great release,” Callaway said. “He knows the game of baseball, so he knows, ‘I have to come get this ball and get it in quick because this guy might try to stretch this into a double.’ ”
Centerfielder Juan Lagares (strained left hamstring) and leftfielder Yoenis Cespedes (mild shoulder soreness) are slated to make their defensive debuts Friday. Lagares has missed the first week of exhibition games and Cespedes has been limited to DH duty in a pair of games.
The Mets have two split-squad games Friday: 1 p.m. at First Data Field against the Nationals and 6 p.m. in West Palm Beach against the Astros. Cespedes was on the travel roster. Lagares was not.
Swarzak takes it easy
Righthander Anthony Swarzak has a strained left calf, an MRI confirmed Wednesday, and he sat out the Mets’ workout Thursday to receive treatment.
“It’s a day-to-day thing,” he said. “We’re going to take it easy the next few days and see how my calf bounces back from that.”
Opening Day does not appear to be in jeopardy for Swarzak, who as a reliever does not need as much time to build up as starters do. He also emphasized that the strain is not a significant one.
On his 25th birthday, Michael Conforto hit soft toss in the batting cage Thursday, his first time since September shoulder surgery. That’s a step forward from his previous work hitting off a tee . . . Righty Seth Lugo, competing for a roster spot, retired the first eight Marlins he faced Thursday before yielding consecutive extra-base hits and a run. He struck out three in three innings.
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