Mets could use six-man rotation to start season
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The question about the opening in the back of the Mets’ rotation has been framed as a binary decision: lefthander David Peterson versus righthander Tylor Megill.
But what if the initial answer is both?
Manager Buck Showalter said Sunday that the Mets are considering using six starters during the first turn through the rotation. That would make room for both Peterson and Megill and delay the Mets’ fifth-starter choice potentially into mid-April.
The Mets plan to use a sixth starter periodically in 2023 to help manage the workload of other pitchers. Doing so this early would make sense because they open the year by playing eight games in eight days.
“We know both of them are going to pitch for us at some point this year,” Showalter said. “I feel pretty sure about that. The question is when and what order.”
They split most of the Mets’ 8-7 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Peterson (four innings, one hit, four strikeouts) walked away with “mixed feelings,” he said, because he issued four free passes. Megill, repeatedly burned by his command and the Mets’ defense, was unhappy after giving up six runs (three earned) and walking five batters in 3 2⁄3 innings.
“Not my best day, to say the least,” Megill said. “I couldn’t locate a slider today, so that was a big problem. A little bit all over the place.”
In four Grapefruit League games, Peterson has allowed one hit and eight walks in 12 scoreless innings. Megill (also four games) has allowed 12 hits and eight walks in 12 innings.
“Tylor is in a good place. He’ll be fine,” Showalter said. “We make so much of — and I understand the reasons why from a fan’s standpoint — is [Brandon] Nimmo going to start the season? Who is going to be in the rotation to start the season? I look at it in a lot bigger picture than that.”
Outfielder DJ Stewart, in camp on a minor-league deal, hit for the cycle against St. Louis.
When bench coach Eric Chavez was about to remove him from the game, Stewart dropped a “subtle hint” that he knew he was a home run shy, talking his way into one more at-bat. Chavez told him if his spot in the lineup came up that inning — the seventh — he could take it.
On a first-pitch curveball from Chris Stratton, Stewart lined a homer to rightfield.
“It’s honestly hard,” said Stewart, who played parts of five seasons with the Orioles. “You don’t see many people do it. I’ve never done it in my entire baseball career. Even though it’s a spring training game, I’m very excited about it.”
Max Scherzer will face the Rays at Tropicana Field on Friday in his final exhibition outing. Veterans don’t often make cross-state road trips during camp, but Showalter said Scherzer wanted to pitch in that environment instead of in a minor-league game . . . Francisco Lindor, Eduardo Escobar and Omar Narvaez — whose teams were eliminated from the WBC in recent days — will return to the lineup Monday night when the Mets visit the Nationals. Narvaez will catch Justin Verlander . . . Righthander Denyi Reyes recently returned to Mets camp after a two-week absence related to immigration issues, Showalter said. He was able to keep throwing while in the Dominican Republic . . . Showalter on Mark Vientos and Brett Baty: “There’s a good sense of urgency to their defensive game. Their glove is working better . . . We’ve seen more arm strength than some people knew that Mark had because his feet are getting in a better position to throw . . . I’m excited about where both of those guys are.”