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Marcus Stroman is excited about how well he's throwing his changeup

Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman throws a pitch to

Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman throws a pitch to the Cardinals during the first inning of a spring training game on March 4 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Of the nearly 70 pitches Marcus Stroman threw during his largely uneventful four-inning simulated game Monday at Clover Park, one elicited outward excitement from the righthander himself: an 0-and-1 offering to Jed Lowrie, who swung and missed.

Stroman smiled wide. Behind home plate, with a computer on his lap, pitching analytics coordinator David Lang did the same and motioned toward Stroman, a cap-less tip of the cap.

The reason for such enthusiasm: It was Stroman’s changeup, a pitch he has dabbled with in years past but is focusing on improving this spring training.

“It’s my sixth pitch,” said the former Patchogue-Medford star, who also throws a two-seam fastball, cutter, slider, curveball and four-seam fastball. “It’s slowly growing to be a pretty good pitch. I feel like I have so many weapons. I feel like I can go to any pitch in any count.

“[The changeup has] been a point of emphasis. So when I’m able to get a swing-through on a lefty after throwing a bad changeup and doubling up on it, knowing that that pitch is at the back end of my arsenal, that gives me a lot of confidence.”

Stroman mostly cruised against major-league teammates — including Lowrie, Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith — and Mets minor-leaguers. He allowed a home run by Ryan Cordell, a non-roster outfielder, in the fourth.

But it was his changeup that had Stroman pleased afterward.

“I’ve always felt that if I’m able to grasp it, it’ll take me to the next level,” he said.

Lugo debuts

Seth Lugo tossed a perfect inning against the Marlins on Monday in his delayed Grapefruit League debut after breaking his left pinky toe last month. Brian Anderson grounded out, Corey Dickerson struck out swinging and Jesus Aguilar popped out to shortstop. Of his 15 pitches, 10 were strikes.

He said the toe doesn’t bother him when he does any baseball activities.

“I’m sure it’ll be a little while before it’s fully healed,” Lugo said, “but I didn’t feel it out there and it didn’t affect any pitches, so that’s all that matters.”

Lockett locks it down

Walker Lockett tossed three shutout innings, bringing his two-game spring training total to 4 2⁄3 scoreless innings. This was his first start.

“I’m a starter, so I like to start, so any time I can get a start, I’m pleased,” he said.

But Lockett acknowledged that the Mets’ rotation already is full, so “any way I can help the team, that’s what I want to do.”

He is out of minor-league options, which means if he doesn’t make the major-league team, he’ll have to be cut from the roster.

“It’s in the back of your head,’’ Lockett said, “but ultimately all you can do is go out there and perform and let the chips fall where they may.”

Extra bases

Matt Adams went 0-for-3 in his first game since missing a week to get his heart tested . . . Manager Luis Rojas said Eduardo Nuñez will play shortstop, leftfield and rightfield in the next two weeks. Nuñez already has played second and third, and the Mets want to see him in a super-utility role . . . Corey Oswalt allowed an unearned run with five strikeouts and no walks in four innings against the Marlins. He has allowed one run in eight innings for a 1.13 ERA.  





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