Mets starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco was all smiles Sunday after testing his arm for the first time since he was shut down earlier this week with soreness in his right elbow.
“I don't feel frustrated about this; this is something normal for me,” Carrasco said. “I'm really happy that I started throwing today, and I’ll just kind of take it day by day now.”
Carrasco threw a live batting-practice session on Monday and then was shut down Wednesday after telling the Mets about his achy elbow, an issue he said he has experienced regularly at this point in the spring throughout his career. No MRI was taken, as the Mets decided rest and treatment would take care of the issue.
The right-hander, who said this problem has never bothered him during the regular season, threw at 75 feet on Sunday, reporting no issues with his arm. He’ll stretch it out to 90-120 feet on Monday. If all goes well, Carrasco will throw a 10-to 15-pitch bullpen session Tuesday.
“You’ve got to trust his feel for his body and his experience and our medical staff, trainers, our performance stuff getting a good connection with him,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Learning today that he threw and he felt great and he's looking at the next couple of days to throw a side, it definitely gives you that peace of mind. It's a very good day.”
Rojas wasn’t ready to predict whether Carrasco would be ready to take his first turn in the rotation when the season begins, but the pitcher expressed confidence that he’ll take the ball when his turn arrives in the first week of April.
“I know my body, I know my routine, I know everything,” Carrasco said. “I’m going to be ready for the season.”
It remains to be seen whether Carrasco will pitch in a Grapefruit League game during the final two weeks of Spring Training, but both he and Rojas said they don’t consider it a necessary step for the righty to make his first scheduled start in April.
“I like that he's optimistic that he's going to be there at the start of the season; I trust his optimism, and I trust his experience,” Rojas said.
“For him to go through his progression and ramp up and everything and being healthy, that's our main goal. If he doesn't face an opposing uni, Carlos will be just the same Carlos that we expect to have.”
Peterson got off to a fast start with two quick outs in the first, but St. Louis loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, setting up José Rondón’s two-run single.
“Getting two quick outs and then letting guys on is unacceptable, in my mind,” Peterson said. “That's something that we need to work on going forward.”
Peterson issued a leadoff walk in the second inning and allowed another run in the third, but he finished strong in the fourth, sitting the Cardinals down in order on three ground balls.
“Just attacking guys -- I felt really good about that fourth inning,” Peterson said. “I think that's more of who I am.”
Rojas noted that Peterson left too many strikes over the heart of the plate, resulting in some hard-hit balls. Inconsistent command was the biggest problem for the lefty, who is trying to lock down a spot in the rotation.
“I thought the last inning was the best one, when he had the three outs via contact,” Rojas said. “Location-wise was where he just didn't execute at times.”
Tomás Nido (left foot bruise) caught Taijuan Walker in a "B" game on Sunday, and Rojas said the catcher could have played in the Mets’ game against the Cardinals.
“He's good to go,” Rojas said of Nido, who fouled a ball off his foot Thursday during batting practice.
“We wanted to pair him with Walker since [James McCann] caught him in that first outing that he had the other day.”
Walker threw 59 pitches over three innings in the "B" game.
Pitchers on deck
Some National League teams have been letting their pitchers hit in exhibition games rather than utilizing a designated hitter, but the Mets are still a week away from sending their pitchers to the plate.
“They’re swinging in the cage,” Rojas said. “They’re getting loose.”
Jacob deGrom, who will start Tuesday vs. the Astros, is the likely candidate to take the Mets’ first pitching at-bats in his following start.
The Mets will take a full day off Monday, giving them a chance to rest up for the final stretch of the spring.
“We think it's a plus knowing that we can take a full day off,” Rojas said. “Just taking a full day off and going to that second half of camp now, we're going to turn things up a little bit. I think it'll be a very productive one for the guys; the guys are going to start playing more innings now, so this day off [Monday] is going to help a lot.”