PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets have resolved to take advantage of the extra time in spring training because of the World Baseball Classic.
The extra cushion will allow them to delay the Grapefruit League debuts of projected starting pitchers, a measure to protect the health of their top arms. It also will provide more time for David Wright to ease into more baseball activities in hopes of being ready for Opening Day.
“I know most of these guys probably hate it,” said Wright, who is coming off neck surgery. “But it’s beneficial for me because I get a chance to kind of take baby steps, where we have a little bit of extra time to ramp it up this year.”
Wright threw Sunday for the first time since his surgery in June and is scheduled to throw again Tuesday. He said he will throw every other day “for the very short term” as he regains shoulder strength.
Manager Terry Collins said the team’s projected major-league starters won’t appear in Grapefruit League games until near the end of the first week.
Righthander Seth Lugo will start the exhibition opener against the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Friday. Lefthander Sean Gilmartin will start the home opener Saturday. When the Tigers visit Sunday, the starter will be righty Chris Flexen, who spent last season with high Class A St. Lucie.
Yoenis Cespedes’ first idea was to avoid a repeat of the frenzy that occurred during spring training last year, when he took a parade of fancy cars to camp. His first two rides this year were conservative by his standards: a pickup truck and an SUV. But on Monday, he rode in a customized Polaris Slingshot three-wheeler.
One day after his 21-pitch mound session, righty Zack Wheeler said he felt no lingering effects in his surgically repaired right elbow. He’s slated to throw again tomorrow. Wheeler had been slowed by soreness in his elbow . . . The Mets held a baseball clinic Monday for more than 100 Special Olympics athletes from the Port St. Lucie area . . . Righty Fernando Salas is slated to begin the season as the setup man, with Addison Reed sliding into closer duties, under the assumption that Jeurys Familia will be suspended for violating baseball’s domestic-violence policy.