New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza smiles during a spring...

New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza smiles during a spring training baseball workout Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The lineup card exchange prior to the Mets’ 3-1 exhibition win over Houston on Sunday meant a little more than usual to Carlos Mendoza.

When the Mets manager met the Astros’ Omar Lopez at the plate, it marked a noteworthy occasion: This was the first time two Venezuelans managed against each other in a spring-training game.

That is according to "El Extrabase," a Spanish-language baseball publication that specializes in covering those with Venezuelan roots.

Mendoza was proud to share that moment with Lopez, a first-year bench coach who handled managing duties at Clover Park on a split-squad day for the Astros. Lopez and Mendoza were the manager and bench coach, respectively, for the Venezuelan team in the World Baseball Classic last year.

“It was pretty cool, especially with the relationship that I got with Omar,” Mendoza said. “I had the opportunity to work with him in the WBC and I managed against him a lot in winter ball, so we know each other pretty well. The fact that [it’s] two Venezuelans — even though it’s a spring-training game — it means a lot to all of us. An honor and a privilege. It was really good to see that.”

Mendoza is just the second Venezuelan to be a full-time major-league manager. Ozzie Guillen is the other.

Spring scenes

Making his Grapefruit League debut, catcher Francisco Alvarez crushed an opposite-field, two-run home run off Houston righthander A.J. Blubaugh. Alvarez didn’t often display power to rightfield last year but said that this season he is “working on using more of the field, using every part of the field.”

 

Also highlighting in the victory: Tyrone Taylor went 2-for-3 with two runs and made a smooth, running catch in center.

“He made it look real easy,” Mendoza said. “I don’t think it was that easy, but it was a hell of a jump.”

Zack Short opened the game with a backhanded stop and a strong, long throw from shortstop to nab a speedy Kenedy Corona.

A utility infielder, Short is unlikely to break camp with the team but is a flexible option if the Mets need him.

“I like him everywhere,” Mendoza said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about here, the versatility. He’s a plus defender. You can put him at short, you can put him at third, you can put him at second base.”

Slow and steady Sevy

The Mets are taking it slow with Luis Severino, who ended last season with a severely strained left oblique. Mendoza indicated Severino likely won’t get into a Grapefruit League game for at least a week, potentially two.

Severino faced batters for the first time this spring on Sunday, tossing two simulated innings against Brandon Nimmo, Harrison Bader, Starling Marte and others.

Sean Manaea threw three innings in the simulate game, the unusual length for this time of year.

Personnel news

The Mets claimed lefthander Kolton Ingram off waivers from the Tigers.

To make room on the 40-man roster, they moved David Peterson to the 60-day IL.

Ingram, 27, had a five-game cameo in the majors with the Angels and posted a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings in the upper minors last season.

Extra bases

Francisco Lindor hosted a clinic for 50 Port St. Lucie-area kids . . . Edwin Diaz has not yet participated in fielding drills, a final test before he can pitch in games for the first time since last March.

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