Mets infielder Jeff McNeil hits during a spring training workout...

Mets infielder Jeff McNeil hits during a spring training workout on Feb. 19 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jeff McNeil is scheduled to make his spring training hitting debut on Sunday in a minor- league game on a back field at Clover Park, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza announced on Saturday.

McNeil has been playing defense only in minor-league games as he waits for his left biceps soreness to dissipate.

If all goes well, the second baseman will make his major- league spring training debut on Tuesday. The Mets, even the minor-leaguers, are off on Monday.

“He’s feeling great,” Mendoza said. “But it is something that we want to make sure that he’s under an environment where we can control. So he’s going to go down there, play five innings and get two at-bats, and hopefully everything comes out well [and then] he’ll play on Tuesday for us.”

McNeil’s 2023 season ended a few days early when he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He had a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and started swinging again in December.

The 2022 MLB batting champion with a .326 average, McNeil slumped to .270 last season, his first of a five-year, $50 million extension.

Fujinami up and down

Two days after striking out a pair in a perfect inning, Shintaro Fujinami had a nightmare outing on Friday against Washington. The erratic righthander faced four batters. He hit the first one, walked the next three and threw three wild pitches.

The potential for dominance is why the Mets signed the 29-year-old to a guaranteed $3.35 million contract with an additional $850,000 in possible bonuses, even though he had a 7.18 ERA with Oakland and Baltimore last season, his first in the U.S.

“He was off today. Obviously,” Mendoza said after the game. “We saw it. But he’s got good stuff and our goal is to get him in the strike zone as much as possible.”

On Saturday, Fujinami said he watched video after the troubling outing and thinks he spotted a mechanical flaw in which his pitching arm was too far behind his body.

But Fujinami has always had trouble with control, even in Japan, which is why the Mets likely will have him start the season in the minors, which is permitted in his contract.

“I can’t control how people or the front office or the coaches evaluate me,” Fujinami said through an interpreter. “I just focus on what I can do and see what happens.”

Daddy Diaz back

Edwin Diaz rejoined the team after leaving for New York for the birth of his third child, a son whom he and his wife, Nashaly, named Lucas Jose. Diaz is scheduled to make his second exhibition appearance on Sunday when the Mets host the Marlins. Diaz struck out the side on 14 pitches in his first outing.

Ex-Met McAndrew dies

Jim McAndrew, a Mets pitcher from 1968-73, died Thursday at a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, after a brief illness, a Mets official announced on Friday.

McAndrew, who was 80, went 36-49 in six seasons with the Mets. He was part of the 1969 World Series championship team and the 1973 NL championship squad. He ended his career in 1974 with San Diego.

Mets blast Astros

In a game attended by owner Steve Cohen, Tyrone Taylor hit his first home run and Yolmer Sanchez had a three-run double as the Mets beat the Astros, 6-1, in West Palm Beach . . . Former Long Island Ducks pitcher Michael Tonkin started the bullpen game for the Mets and threw two shutout innings. Tonkin, who made 45 appearances for Atlanta last season after not pitching in the majors since 2017, has not allowed a run in four outings. Tonkin, 34, pitched for the Ducks in 2019 and 2021 . . . Joe Suozzi, the son of U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, had an RBI double for the Mets . . . Mark Vientos went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and is batting .171.

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