JUPITER, Fla. — Luis Rojas made it official Monday morning: Righthander Robert Gsellman is in the Mets’ bullpen — with a caveat.
"As of now," the manager said, seemingly leaving the door open for an external addition, though he later added that he has not had any conversations to that effect.
Gsellman beat out lefthander Mike Montgomery, who was released Sunday night. Rojas offered two reasons for the Mets choosing Gsellman: They like the quality of his pitches, and they like his experience pitching multiple innings.
With lefthanders David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi filling out the back of the rotation — and being less likely to pitch deeper into games than the other starters — the Mets wanted Gsellman as a righthanded bridge option.
"Just knowing that we have two lefty starters, having a guy that can go multiple innings as a righty is something that we need," Rojas said.
Still, Gsellman’s track record doesn’t inspire confidence. The Mets believe he can be better than his 4.91 ERA the past three seasons. Gsellman said he lowered his arm slot slightly, which makes his sinker sink more, something that hasn’t happened for him as much in recent years.
"If I can’t find the right arm slot, my pitches won’t be consistent," he said. "If they’re not consistent, then I won’t be getting the job done. So just gotta keep that arm slot."
Rojas said, "We like where the stuff is. We know that there’s some things that he needs to work on, and he’ll put it in place."
Regarding a few sidelined pitchers . . .
Seth Lugo hasn’t thrown yet but will do so "soon," Rojas said.
The Mets’ best reliever the past three years, Lugo had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and was originally slated to start throwing this week. Overall, Lugo’s progress and attitude has been "very, very positive," Rojas said.
Carlos Carrasco has been throwing, allowing him to maintain some arm strength while sidelined with a strained right hamstring. "He's in a really good place," Rojas said. "Week-to-week approach as far as where his status is, but he's throwing right now."
Arodys Vizcaino (sore right elbow) will go to the alternate site, where the Mets will see if he can pass other tests, including pitching on consecutive days and multiple innings.
As the rotation turns
After Jacob deGrom on Opening Day Thursday at Washington, Marcus Stroman will pitch Game 2 of the series on Saturday.
The rotation after that is to be decided. The Mets might use deGrom in the fifth game at Philadelphia — doable because of the off day — to break up lefties Peterson and Lucchesi.
For Noah Syndergaard, the end of spring training doesn’t change much. He will remain in Port St. Lucie indefinitely, he said in passing after a bullpen session Monday, as he continues through the Tommy John surgery rehabilitation process. The Mets expect Syndergaard to return in June.