BOSTON — Another pandemic precaution from the Mets: Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz did not travel with the team for their two-game road trip, instead staying in New York to prepare for their next outings.
Neither pitcher was scheduled to face the Red Sox Monday or Tuesday, so the Mets — always looking to minimize the number of people around in this era of social distancing — decided to leave them behind.
“They’re not here,” manager Luis Rojas said. “They didn’t make the trip with the team. They just got ready for the next start.”
DeGrom is slated to start Wednesday against the Red Sox at Citi Field. Matz will get the ball Thursday.
The Mets planned to return to New York after their game Tuesday night the same way they arrived early Monday morning: via a caravan of six buses.
Dom back to the bench
Such is the role of Dominic Smith: In his first start of the season Monday, he homered. On Tuesday, he was out of the lineup again, with Yoenis Cespedes returning to the DH spot.
“I talked with him a little bit [Tuesday afternoon],” Rojas said. “All I told him was, 'Stay hot, kid,' because he feels really good. He's in a good place right now. He will get his chances to start, but at the same time we're counting on him to come off the bench and contribute and do what he can do.”
Rojas said it can be difficult for a young player like Smith, 25, to accept and excel in a part-time role like this. But Smith seems to handle it well.
“This kid, he handles himself so right,” Rojas said. “He has fun with the rest of the team, he's always with that great smile and he works every day.”
As the bullpen turns
The Mets designated reliever Tyler Bashlor for assignment Tuesday. That made room on the 40-man and active rosters for David Peterson, who made his major-league debut in a start against the Red Sox.
Bashlor had a 5.33 ERA in 48 appearances for the Mets in 2018-19. The organization long has thought his ceiling was that of a late-inning reliever, but despite the talent it hasn’t worked out — yet.
“He’s an overdoer. It’s a guy that wants to thrive so hard,” said Rojas, who managed Bashlor in Double-A Binghamton in 2017-18. “The challenge he’s had is how he wants to just throw fastballs by players at times. But for him to work on curveball, changeup to disguise his fastball more and also get some strikes out of those pitches, I think that was something he definitely worked hard [on].”
In light of the Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak, are Mets players confident the season will be played to completion?
“We hope so,” reliever Chasen Shreve said. “I can’t say confidently, just because the virus has been so spread and teams are going in the wrong direction and going up in cases. I can’t say confidently, but we’re definitely hoping.”
Pete Alonso managed to get into and sign the Green Monster before Tuesday’s game, a day after he said he was “not a little upset, I’m a lot upset” at not being able to do so . . . Rojas said he was “not concerned yet” with Robinson Cano’s 1-for-12 start in four games, then Cano went 2-for-3, reaching base four times, and had an RBI double to trigger the three-run second inning . . . Jared Hughes faced live hitters recently, but Rojas wasn’t sure when he or Brad Brach might be ready to join the team. “I heard really good reports of Jared Hughes as far as throwing the ball,” he said . . . The Mets added a pair of righthanders to their player pool: Pedro Payano and Yefry Ramirez. They’ll be based out of the club’s alternate training site in Brooklyn.
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