PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For a Mets team desperately seeking a return to health in 2018, any injury news is bad news. But the Mets believe they have avoided the worst early in camp, despite a wave of muscle and ligament aches.Dominic Smith, Tim Tebow, Juan Lagares and Jay
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For a Mets team desperately seeking a return to health in 2018, any injury news is bad news. But the Mets believe they have avoided the worst early in camp, despite a wave of muscle and ligament aches.
Dominic Smith, Tim Tebow, Juan Lagares and Jay Bruce are all nursing minor injuries, the Mets announced Sunday, with Smith's strained right quad the most serious of the bunch. Smith will undergo an MRI Monday in Port St. Lucie.
"There's no real concern," said Smith, who injured his leg Saturday attempting to score from first on what wound up being a ground-rule double. "It shouldn't be that big of a deal, but I'm going to make sure that I do everything it takes to get back out there as soon as I can."
Lagares has a strained left hamstring, and Tebow is dealing with a sprained left ankle, which he sustained tripping over a sprinkler head last week. Both are day to day.
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The Mets previously announced Bruce is not quite ready to make his spring debut due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot -- an issue that he, too, considers minor.
"I hate that you guys are wasting batteries and paper," Bruce quipped, when a group of reporters asked about his status. "It's really precautionary."
More concerned is Smith, who is trying to win a roster spot but missed the Mets' first Grapefruit League game as punishment for showing up late to the team complex. Smith debuted the following day, exiting after three innings due to his injury.
"I'd be lying if I said it isn't [frustrating]," Smith said. "I am human. At the end of the day, we do have emotions and feelings, so this definitely is frustrating, especially after the game [Saturday] that I did play. It definitely stinks."
An audible gasp rose up from the First Data Field crowd when Yoenis Cespedes launched a three-run homer during Sunday's 10-3 win over the Marlins that cleared the park entirely, landing in a grassy area leading to the back fields. Cespedes finished 2-for-3 in his Grapefruit League debut, then declined to discuss his performance with the media.
Bring that sink back
Unhappy with the movement on his sinker last season, Robert Gsellman worked with a physical therapist this winter near his home in Los Angeles to add range of motion to his pitching shoulder. He believes that will create crisper movement on his signature pitch.
Seeing some early benefits Sunday in his Grapefruit League debut, Gsellman struck out a pair in two scoreless innings. One of those came on a backdoor sinker that Gsellman used to freeze the Marlins' Brian Anderson.
"I like the movement on my ball," Gsellman said. "It's actually sinking this year."
What a relief
The four relievers guaranteed spots in New York's Opening Day bullpen -- Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak -- all debuted Sunday, combining to allow two runs in four innings.
Familia spent his scoreless outing working on his splitter and four-seam fastball, pitches he combined to throw just 20 percent of the time last year. All but abandoning the splitter in particular due to a lack of confidence in it, Familia hopes to make it an increased part of his repertoire this season.
"It wasn't working the same way it used to work," Familia said. "Right now, I'm trying to get my splitter back."
Up next:Noah Syndergaard will make his Grapefruit League debut Monday against the Astros, followed by Steven Matz on Tuesday, Matt Harvey on Wednesday and Jason Vargas on Thursday, as the Mets begin rolling out their top starting pitchers. Syndergaard will oppose American League Championship Series MVP Justin Verlander in a 1:05 p.m. ET road game at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches (MLB.TV).
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.