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Pete Alonso hits his fourth homer as he keeps strengthening his case to make the Opening Day roster

His defense, which had been a concern, has improved. His mental discipline after two bad at-bats Sunday impresses Michael Conforto.

Mets Pete Alonso singles during the first inning

Mets Pete Alonso singles during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Feb. 28, 2019, in Jupiter, Fla.  Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Mets have talked about putting “the best 25” players on the Opening Day roster, a way to sell their meritocracy and downplay the idea that they would start first-base prospect Pete Alonso in the minors to manipulate his service time.

With camp ending a week from Monday, is there any possible argument against Alonso being one of the best 25?

“At this point, no. Plain and simple,” Mickey Callaway said. “We still do have a week and a half left, but he’s done a great job.”

Alonso smacked his team-high fourth home run Sunday in a 10-5 loss to the Nationals. He is hitting .347 with a .385 on-base percentage and .673 slugging percentage, second behind Robinson Cano (.730) among Mets with at least 10 at-bats.

But the Mets already knew about Alonso’s hitting prowess. More significantly in his first-base race with Dominic Smith, Alonso also has held his own in the field.

“He’s done a great job on defense,” Callaway said. “I love the way he’s engaged, he’s moving guys around.”

Added Alonso: “They’re really happy with the improvement. I feel like I’ve done a really good job of playing complete baseball. I’ve played well defensively and I’ve done some really awesome things offensively.”

Michael Conforto was impressed Sunday with Alonso’s offensive focus. He struck out swinging in his first two at-bats but went deep in his third.

“I was pretty fired up about that,” Conforto said. “He had a couple of at-bats that could have taken his game a different direction, and he didn’t let that change the way he goes about his at-bats and the way he plays the game.”

Extra bases

Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled minor-league game Sunday. He was sick, the Mets said. He and Noah Syndergaard will face Mets minor-leaguers in an intrasquad scrimmage at 10 a.m. Monday. DeGrom still is lined up to pitch Opening Day . . . The Mets expect outfielder Carlos Gomez to make his Grapefruit League debut Monday. He has been waiting for his work visa, which has been approved but had not arrived in the mail as of Sunday . . . Gregor Blanco and Danny Espinosa were sent to minor-league camp. The Mets have 39 players left on the big-league side . . . Special adviser David Wright is scheduled to be in camp Monday.

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