PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — If spring training is a time to get back into game shape, add this to the list of skills Pete Alonso needs to sharpen: finding his mom in the crowd.
Alonso was thrilled to hit a grand slam on Thursday — with his parents, Michelle and Pete, at the ballpark to celebrate his mom’s birthday — but couldn’t find them during or after his trip around the bases.
"I don’t even know how to spot her in the stands anymore," Alonso said. "It’s weird, because now there’s people again. I don’t know. I lost my knack for it."
The long ball will have to suffice. He swung at a first-pitch fastball from Nationals righthander Cole Henry and deposited it onto the berm in right-center.
During his ensuing video news conference, Alonso volunteered a "big shout-out" to his mom.
"Glad I could get a birthday bomb for you," Alonso said. "Thank you, guys, for coming. It’s really nice to have my parents here at the game."
Since he began playing for the University of Florida in 2014, Alonso has homered on March 4 one other year: 2019, the start of his historic rookie season.
Show me again
What David Peterson did for the Mets as a rookie last year (3.44 ERA in 10 games) was well and good, but when it comes to the Mets deciding on a fifth starter heading into the regular season, what the candidates do during spring training will be more important, manager Luis Rojas said Thursday.
"We gotta pay attention to the recent events, right?" he said. "So what’s going on now is what really matters as far as making a final decision. Obviously, we do take into consideration what happened last year, knowing that the experience, the feel, everything is there. But what we see now, knowing that we have depth with guys in camp, we know we can have a little competition."
Peterson had a fine showing in his Grapefruit League debut Thursday, tossing two scoreless innings (26 pitches) against Washington in the Mets’ 8-4 win. He worked around first-inning trouble after hitting Kyle Schwarber with a pitch and allowing a line-drive hit to right by Ryan Zimmerman.
Step forward for Walker
Taijuan Walker threw two innings of live batting practice against Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor and Albert Almora Jr. He is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut in about five days.
With no game Friday, the Mets are closing their facility, giving players an actual day off. "Nobody is going to be here or allowed to be here," Rojas said . . . Former longtime St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer will manage high Class A Brooklyn this season. He joined the organization in that role last year, but the season was canceled . . . Former Mets owner Fred Wilpon visited Mets camp again, sitting behind home plate (before leaving during the fourth inning). He also was here a couple of weekends ago with new owner Steve Cohen.
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.