Francisco Lindor reported to camp on Sunday, which is as exciting for his new manager as it is for Mets fans.
"It’s just great to see him in the uniform," Luis Rojas said of Lindor, who took batting practice and will join his new teammates in their first full-squad workout on Monday at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
"To actually see him in person, wearing the Mets uniform, is just very exciting," Rojas said. "Blending in with the rest of the guys that were out there as well, his personality — was smiling, of course. I’m looking forward to seeing him with the whole squad tomorrow."
Rojas said he will address the team on Monday.
"The message is going to be . . . we’re a very talented group of guys here in camp," he said. "That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re the best team up there. That’s something that gradually we’ve got to get to. The talented group of guys, working together as a team, is what’s going to make that."
Tomas Nido’s 2020 season ended on Aug. 18 after he was felled by COVID-19. The backup catcher had a rough go of it, but he is healthy and looking forward to a productive 2021 as James McCann’s backup.
"Thankfully, everything is good," the 26-year-old Nido said on a Zoom call on Sunday. "I was able to go into the offseason healthy and prepare for this year how I usually do. I’m thankful I’m healthy and I don’t have any lingering effects or anything like that. Thankfully, I’m ready to go and healthy."
The Mets are counting on Nido to be McCann’s understudy. They have five other catchers in camp, but only one (Bruce Maxwell) has major-league experience.
Backup catcher options usually pop up when teams make cuts toward the end of spring training, but for now, the job is the defensively stellar Nido's.
It’s not Nido’s bat that has been his calling card. He's a career .197 hitter over parts of the past four seasons with the Mets.
In 2020, he hit .292 with two homers and a .929 OPS, but that was in only seven games.
"I know it was a very small sample, but it was something to build off this offseason," Nido said. "Obviously, it was the progress I wanted to see, and going forward, it definitely helps the confidence. The work we put in this offseason, the plan is that it’s going to translate and have that confidence to go out there and perform and I’ll be able to produce for this team whenever my name is in the lineup."
Nifty for 50
Righthander Jordan Yamamoto, whom the Mets acquired on Feb. 1 from the Marlins, grew up in Pearl City, Hawaii. He is familiar with another Mets pitcher with roots in the Aloha State.
"I’ve definitely heard of Sid Fernandez," Yamamoto said. "You best believe that that is a legend in Hawaii. It’s funny, I grew up with one of his nephews. We used to play Little League together. We all got baseball cards from Sid Fernandez growing up. It was actually kind of cool — all of them signed and everything."
Yamamoto has a long way to go to make the impact that Fernandez or Benny Agbayani did for the Mets. Both wore No. 50 to honor our 50th state.
"It’s funny," Yamamoto said. "I got a call from someone back home. They’re like, ‘So, you gonna get No. 50?’ I was like, ‘Can’t really do much about that. I’ve got to earn it before I do anything.’ "
Yamamoto will wear No. 45. Reliever Miguel Castro has 50.
Pillar to Mets official
The Mets announced the signing of outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year contract. Pillar, 32, will vie with recently signed Albert Almora Jr. for the job of righthanded-hitting complement to Brandon Nimmo in centerfield.
Pillar split the 2020 season between the Red Sox and Rockies and hit a combined .288/.336/.462 with six home runs, 26 RBIs and five steals. He hit .342 against lefthanders.
The Mets designated outfielder Guillermo Heredia for assignment to make roster room.