PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Robinson Cano’s return to the Mets included standing up in front of the team and saying he was sorry on Monday.
"You can tell he’d been waiting a long time and [it was] something he had in his heart. Guys were very receptive," manager Buck Showalter said hours later. "In this clubhouse, we’ve moved on. It’s something that he and we welcomed and something that needed to be done, and he was perceptive enough to know that. He got it done and you could tell it had been something that was on his mind, something he wanted to do."
Cano was suspended last season after testing positive for a steroid, his second PED-related punishment. He also missed 80 games in 2018 after testing positive for a diuretic, which sometimes is used to mask the presence of other substances.
The Mets continue to talk up Cano’s on-field ability and potential contributions, too, despite his time away. That included Showalter saying Monday that he will see time at second base, DH and maybe even first base. Cano took ground balls — alongside Jeff McNeil, his primary competition at his primary position — at second on Monday.
Showalter said he expects Cano, 39, to play a lot and play well.
"We’ll try to present it with the way that keeps him the healthiest," Showalter said of the playing-time split. "I hope he’s hitting and playing so well that there’s always that lure of doing too much. I hope that’s a challenge."
Taijuan Walker had a debridement procedure — cleaning out broken bits of cartilage — in his right knee in mid-January, Showalter said. He is behind schedule, but the Mets hope he can be ready for the start of the regular season.
A team spokesman added that Walker has been throwing off a mound and has been progressing with his running routine. He has not been cleared for game activity.
Walker, an All-Star who struggled in the second half of last season, had the most 2021 starts (29) and innings (159) of any returning Mets pitcher.
Starling Marte has been dealing with a sore left oblique, so he did not participate in the Mets’ workout Monday.
The Mets had him get an X-ray and other tests that "came back really good," Showalter said.
The Mets finalized their signing of reliever Adam Ottavino on Monday. He received a one-year, $4 million contract, with an additional $1 million in possible performance bonuses.
Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty are the top non-roster prospects in major-league camp, having been promoted from the minor-league side . . . Trevor May and Seth Lugo dealt with weather-related travel delays, but Showalter expected both by Tuesday . . . Yennsy Diaz and non-roster invitee Felix Pena are having visa issues and also have not reported to camp . . . Antonio Santos cleared waivers, so he is off the 40-man roster but still is in Mets spring training . . . The Mets will stage an intrasquad scrimmage Friday at Clover Park. It is open to the public for free. Their exhibition schedule starts at 6 p.m. Saturday when they visit the Nationals in West Palm Beach . . . Showalter, preferring to give his start-of-spring-training speech away from the team facility because they have so many morning meetings, had the team gather Monday evening at the nearby Indian River State College Pruitt Campus.