The No. 17 is seen in the grass on the...

The No. 17 is seen in the grass on the outfield before an MLB game at Citi Field on Thursday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Ron Darling said on Thursday that he informed Keith Hernandez that the Mets had carved a giant “17” into the centerfield grass at Citi Field in honor of their former first baseman, who will have his uniform number retired on Saturday.

Hernandez is trying to avoid becoming emotional about the whole thing. But Darling indicated Hernandez was touched by the Mets’ gesture.

So you can imagine how emotional Hernandez is going to be on Saturday when he becomes the sixth Mets player or manager to have his number retired, joining Gil Hodges (14), Mike Piazza (31), Jerry Koosman (36), Casey Stengel (37) and Tom Seaver (41). Jackie Robinson’s 42 is retired throughout baseball.

The Mets are encouraging fans to come early and take mass transit if possible. The parking lots will open at 1:10 p.m. and gates will open at 2:10 p.m.

SNY’s coverage of the Hernandez ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. The Mets will play the Marlins beginning at 4:10 p.m.

Hernandez was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 1997 and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Hall of Fame in 2021. This will be his first number retirement.