JUPITER, Fla. — Dominic Smith’s spring training suffered another setback Wednesday when he was scratched from the Mets’ lineup because of a sore right wrist.
Manager Luis Rojas said the discomfort did not stem from Smith falling down after jumping at the wall in pursuit of a home run on Tuesday. The Mets gave him the day off from hitting, but he still was able to do his defensive work with outfield coach Tony Tarasco.
"He actually said it’s something that he’s had in the past, so it’s probably from a swing," Rojas said, noting that Smith is considered day-to-day. "The number of swings these guys are taking on a daily basis are very much different than what they’re doing in the offseason."
Smith has a had quirky camp, including missing the first two days of workouts for undisclosed reasons. The Mets slowly worked him into the routine, refraining from letting him play leftfield in games until last Friday.
Wednesday was supposed to be his first time playing the field on consecutive days. He has two homers and two singles in 22 Grapefruit League at-bats.
However long Smith is out, Rojas said he "can take advantage of it."
"Like today, he had a really good session with Tony Tarasco where Tony was standing right behind him and they were challenging each other. Who gets the better read?" Rojas said. "There’s a lot of good teaching when that happens, when you know you don’t have to save energy for the game, but all your energy, you’re using it for practice and you’re doing it at game speed."
Barnes in the bullpen
Don’t count out righthander Jacob Barnes in the competition for the last bullpen spot(s). Out of minor-league options, he hasn’t allowed a run since an ugly Grapefruit League debut and in his past two outings has struck out four in two perfect innings.
Adding a split-changeup to his repertoire has helped, Barnes said. So has clicking with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.
"He’s made it pretty easy to understand how my stuff plays," Barnes said, commending Hefner’s ability to translate pitching analytics. "I didn’t really have that previously, so I was just going out there assuming what worked and what didn’t."
Also in the bullpen competition, lefthander Stephen Tarpley has allowed one run in six innings, including a two-strikeout frame Wednesday against the Marlins.
In three simulated innings, lefthanded pitching prospect Thomas Szapucki mostly cruised against a lineup of major-leaguers: Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, James McCann and Kevin Pillar.
"You see the strikeout ratio of this kid is off the charts," Rojas said. "We can count on a guy like that to help us at some point and win some games."
The Mets lost to the Marlins, 3-2, when Joe Dunand — nephew of Alex Rodriguez — hit a walk-off, two-run homer . . . Jonathan Villar went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He is hitting .136 with a .447 OPS. Rojas said the Mets would like to see him be more patient, which historically is not a strength for Villar.