Mets pitcher Dominic Hamel pitches during a spring training intrasquad...

Mets pitcher Dominic Hamel pitches during a spring training intrasquad scrimmageon Friday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Dominic Hamel is amped to play in the World Baseball Classic, a huge step up in stage and competition for a prospect yet to reach the upper minors. But his involvement is about way more than progressing as a pitcher.

In suiting up for Puerto Rico, Hamel will honor his late mother, Lisa Perez, and his grandfather, who was born on the island. He jumped at the chance to be a part of the international tournament when his pitching coach, Victor Ramos, well connected in the Puerto Rican baseball community and aware of Hamel’s heritage, mentioned the possibility last year.

“I took it as a great opportunity to represent that side of my family,” Hamel, who is from Chandler, Arizona, said Friday. “So having this opportunity to represent her and my grandfather, I know it was in God’s will for me. I’m thrilled. I’m more than excited to represent those colors. I’m hoping I can represent a couple other teams in that process, but for now we’re locked in on Miami [for the opening round next month].” ’’

Hamel’s mother died two weeks before the Mets drafted him in 2021. Pitching through grief and “in a bad headspace,” as he put it, he struggled initially last season, posting a 4.71 ERA through 10 games for Low-A St. Lucie.

A key to his turnaround, he said, was having family nearby. His father and stepmother live in Palm Beach County, an easy trip to Hamel’s home games at Clover Park. When he figured out that level and the Mets promoted him to High-A Brooklyn, he had more relatives in Poughkeepsie, another doable drive to Coney Island.

Hamel, a righthander who will turn 24 next week, wound up with a 3.25 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 145 strikeouts in 119 innings across the two levels. The Mets named him their minor-league pitcher of the year.

“Whenever I see family, it’s really re-grounding, so I think that was the biggest thing,” he said. “They’re able to take me a step back and help me slow it down a bit.”

On Friday, the Mets brought Hamel in from minor-league camp for a scrimmage against a lineup of mostly big-leaguers, including Francisco Lindor, who will be his Puerto Rico teammate. He dealt with command issues but got through the two-inning test excited to do it again next week.

“When I first saw those names in the lineup, yeah, I got a little anxious,” Hamel said. “But I should’ve been way more comfortable because my stuff plays. I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was still able to compete. I’m just waiting to show when I’m on my A-game against talent like this and get my name out there.”

Extra bases

Tommy Pham said his options were limited and that he joined the Mets because they had the best chance to win a championship . . . A standout in the Mets’ three-inning intrasquad scrimmage, complete with umpires, pitch clock and a few hundred people in the stands at Clover Park: centerfielder Alex Ramirez, the Mets’ top outfield prospect, who made a pair of smooth catches in the gaps. Manager Buck Showalter called him a “glider” . . . Brett Baty went 2-for-2, including a single looped over shortstop off lefthander Joey Lucchesi (two innings).

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