New York Mets' Trayce Thompson rounds the bases after hitting...

New York Mets' Trayce Thompson rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in West Palm Beach, FL. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Trayce Thompson has a famous basketball brother, and both have a famous basketball dad. But when it came time for him to choose a sport way back when, his choice was clear: baseball.

“I like to call it an athletic family,” said Thompson, the brother of Golden State’s Klay Thompson and son of two-time NBA champion Mychal Thompson. “My dad, my parents, they never pushed sports on us. We just grew up around sports. For me, it was baseball from Day One. If you would ask anybody in Portland, Oregon, who we grew up with, they would’ve told you when I was 5 years old baseball was my thing. I love the game. Fell in love with the game at a super-young age.”

So you can thank the Mariners and Ken Griffey Jr. for pushing Trayce Thompson down this path, to parts of seven major-league seasons with five clubs and — now — spring training on a minor-league deal with the Mets.

The outfielder, who will turn 33 next month, is a long shot to make the Opening Day roster but would serve as valuable, experienced depth at Triple-A Syracuse. His grand slam off Nationals lefthander Robert Garcia — lefties typically give him trouble — highlighted the Mets’ 6-3 exhibition win on Monday.

In finding a new team, he didn’t mind that the Mets play on the East Coast and hold spring training in Florida, two new experiences.

“I felt like it was good to challenge myself,” he said. “Obviously, New York is a different beast. The media, super-passionate fans, fans who are super-intelligent and know the game and care about winning. It’s kind of an exciting thing for guys. If you win, it means a whole lot in this city.

I was looking forward to the challenge. I feel like I’ve always had challenges throughout my career and they’ve brought out the best in me.”

 

Dream come true

Righthander Max Kranick’s two perfect innings against Washington marked a major moment for him personally: his (spring-training) debut for his childhood team.

Kranick grew up in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, area but inherited deep Mets fandom from his father, who was born in New Jersey. His favorite player was David Wright, and the family had season tickets at Shea Stadium for a couple of years when he was a kid.

“I was young, but I feel like it was every home Sunday afternoon game,” said Kranick, who had a handful of relatives and friends in the crowd for his start. “There were many mornings and nights driving there and driving home.”

Kranick, 26, is a backup starting pitcher for the Mets, competing against a few others for a lone season-opening rotation vacancy.

McDelayed

Jeff McNeil won’t get into a Grapefruit League game for at least a few more days, with manager Carlos Mendoza estimating that will come “the first week of March.”

He spent the first couple of months of the offseason rehabbing an elbow ligament injury.

“It’s part of his progression, his build-up, volume and all that after going through what he went through in the offseason, some of the things he was dealing with,” Mendoza said.

Brandon Nimmo is on a similar schedule, though that is because he doesn’t like playing in a lot of exhibition games, as opposed to a specific injury.

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