PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mike Piazza is back in Mets camp for the week, reprising his role as a guest catching instructor, but this time it’s a little different. David Wright, Piazza’s teammate in 2004-05 and his successor as face of the franchise, isn’t here.
Piazza sympathized with Wright’s plight, including his injury-induced retirement leading to his role as a senior adviser to the COO and GM.
“It’s mixed emotions for me with David,” the Hall of Fame catcher said. “Obviously, I’m happy that he’s moving on with his life. It’s always frustrating to watch a bull go down, so to speak.
“He’s such a great guy and meant so much to the team and performed so well, and at the end it’s frustrating. You have to really do a lot of internalizing when as a player you go to hit the gas, the throttle, and it’s not there. It’s a very difficult feeling. The fact that he’s going to stay close to the organization — he’s got probably so much to give off the field as well.”
How about including Wright’s No. 5 with Piazza’s No. 31 among the Mets’ retired numbers?
“There’s room up there for him,” Piazza said. “I’m glad I don’t make those decisions. Ask Jeff [Wilpon] that one.”
Piazza spends most of the year in Italy, an opportunity that “wouldn’t have materialized” if not for his failed ownership of a minor-league soccer team there. He didn’t rule out one day pursuing a Major League Baseball team, but for now he is to, as his wife says, “just wait for your pitch.”
“Drink the vino, munch on the pasta and just enjoy life,” Piazza said. “My 5-year-old is speaking fluent Italian, better than me. It’s really freaking me out.”
The Mets lost both of their split-squad games Tuesday, 14-4 to the Tigers at First Data Field and 4-3 to the Braves in Kissimmee.
At home, Brandon Nimmo went 1-for-5 as the DH in his first game after dealing with a sore right shoulder. He said the plan is to have a day off Wednesday and make his defensive debut Thursday.
Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia each allowed two unearned runs in one inning in his first Grapefruit League appearance. “My body felt fine, arm felt fine, just a little mechanically off,” Wheeler said, noting an issue with how he moved his leg. Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario had two hits apiece.
On the road, Corey Oswalt, making his spring debut, tossed two perfect innings. Luis Guillorme had two hits.
First baseman Dominic Smith has gotten positive reviews from Mets decision-makers early in camp. “His attitude has been really, really good,” GM Brodie Van Wagenen said. “He did come in in great shape.” … The Mets are signing Wilson Ramos' younger brother, catcher Natanael Ramos, to a minor-league deal. He'll get a shot at making a minor-league team. The younger Ramos, 25, was a Mets farmhand from 2011-17, reaching low Class A Columbia in his last season. He didn’t play in 2018.