PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets aimed to strike a balance. To lessen the risk of injuries to their starting pitchers, they hit the brakes on the traditional spring training calendar, delaying when their top arms would appear in games.
Now they will learn if those efforts have paid off. Noah Syndergaard will start against the Astros on Friday, beginning a stretch of four straight games in which the team’s top starters will make their exhibition debuts.
Jacob deGrom will pitch Saturday, followed by Matt Harvey on Sunday and Steven Matz on Monday. All three are coming off surgery.
“I like it a lot,” Matz said of the delayed schedule earlier this week. “I felt like you could work on stuff without going into that second gear, that game speed. No matter how much you try to back it down, you still have the adrenaline going when you have a crowd. It’s good to ease into it more.”
The Mets limited throwing during drills early in camp before delaying game action.
“As I’ve said before, we’re trying to find the sweet spot between too much and too little,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “But I think we’re comfortable that by the end of spring training, they’ll have enough innings, we’ll have brought them along more slowly than we have in the past, and hopefully there will be a very positive consequence with that.”
Robert Gsellman allowed a hit and struck out two in two innings in his Grapefruit League debut as the Mets beat the Marlins, 11-6.
“Extra rest is always key. It helps out a lot,” said Gsellman, the Mets’ potential fifth starter, who also had his game action pushed back.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a mammoth homer to straightaway centerfield that sailed over the batters’ eye. “He can do it at will,” manager Terry Collins said . . . Curtis Granderson jammed his left thumb while making a sliding catch but is expected to have no lingering issues . . . Bullpen candidate Erik Goeddel tossed a scoreless inning in his first Grapefruit League game. The righty is coming off surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow.