PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jeurys Familia’s Grapefruit League debut included the typical turbulence he endures at this time of year.
The Mets closer gave up a run and three hits in one inning in a 5-2 loss to the Astros on Monday. On a grounder to first, he neglected to cover the bag. But he came out of his first outing feeling strong.
“Feel good,” Familia said. “Ready to go.”
In a few days, he will leave camp to join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic. By the end of the tournament, the Mets might know how long he could be suspended for his offseason arrest for domestic violence. Until then, they must prepare him for the season, regardless of how long he might be out.
In the past, Familia’s velocity has taken time to build up in the course of the exhibition slate. He looked closer to regular-season form on Monday. His fastball hit 97 mph and manager Terry Collins said his pitches had their typical sink.
“It was a pretty good first day,” Collins said.
Familia will make one more Grapefruit League appearance before leaving camp for the WBC. There are rough edges that need to be smoothed out.
“I stayed on the mound,” Familia said of forgetting to cover first base. “My fault.”
Who’s on first?
Lucas Duda resumed light baseball activities, three days after getting cortisone shots for hip soreness related to back stiffness. But Collins said he might be a few more days away from swinging the bat, which would impact when he makes his Grapefruit League debut.
The Mets’ top starting pitchers could begin pitching in Grapefruit League games as early as Thursday, with righthander Noah Syndergaard at the front of the line.
“They’re coming up here,” said Collins, who has delayed game action for the top starters as an extra precaution against injury.
Syndergaard likely will be followed by Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman, who appears to be the team’s fifth starter.