PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets manager Terry Collins said he emerged from a meeting Sunday with a better understanding of baseball’s new rules to protect middle infielders.
“The sliding change was explained much better today, and we’ll certainly have a better grasp of the challenges we can make,” said Collins, who met with an MLB delegation that included chief baseball officer Joe Torre and former Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Torre’s delegation has been touring big-league camps to offer clarifications on the rule, which would make illegal the kind of takeout slide that Chase Utley used in the NLDS that resulted in a fractured leg for Ruben Tejada. The new rule also makes the neighborhood play subject to video review.
“It’s going to help protect the infielder a lot more,” said Collins, who initially had questioned the rule’s effectiveness.
Sean Gilmartin, Logan Verrett, Zack Thornton, Chase Bradford and Akeel Morris will pitch during tomorrow’s intrasquad game.
Rafael Montero will start Thursday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Nationals. He’ll be followed in relief by Gabriel Ynoa and Jeff Walters. Verrett will start Friday’s home opener against the Marlins. He’ll be followed by Thornton and Buddy Carlyle.
The Mets won’t announce an Opening Day starter until the middle of camp. Collins said all five members of the rotation are candidates . . . Wilmer Flores will see plenty of time at first base and third base during Grapefruit League games. The Mets intend to use him as a utility man, though he has no experience at first . . . Tejada spent his day taking reps at third base. Like Flores, he will see action in a utility role . . . The Mets hosted a clinic for more than 100 Special Olympics athletes and their families.