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Mets to play Yankees in 2 exhibition games

Nimmo shows off power, Davis embraces versatility
@AnthonyDiComo
July 7, 2020

NEW YORK -- The Mets and Yankees will play a pair of exhibition games on July 18 at Citi Field and July 19 at Yankee Stadium, the teams jointly announced Tuesday. Major League teams are allowed up to three exhibition games against other clubs at the end of Summer Camp,

NEW YORK -- The Mets and Yankees will play a pair of exhibition games on July 18 at Citi Field and July 19 at Yankee Stadium, the teams jointly announced Tuesday.

Major League teams are allowed up to three exhibition games against other clubs at the end of Summer Camp, according to league protocols. Given their geographic proximity to each other, the Mets and Yankees are uniquely situated to take advantage of that.

The teams will play a 7:10 p.m. ET game at Citi Field on July 18, followed by a 7:05 p.m. ET game at Yankee Stadium on July 19. The Yankees also announced a third exhibition game against the Phillies; the Mets have not said if they will play a third as well.

The Mets-Yankees exhibitions will be broadcast on both SNY and the YES Network.

During the regular season, the Mets and Yankees will play six games against each other -- three at Citi Field (Aug. 21-23) and three at Yankee Stadium (Aug. 28-30). They have played annually in the Bronx and Queens since Interleague Play began in 1999.

Before that, the Mayor’s Trophy Game was a New York tradition dating back to the 1940s, when the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants would meet for in-season exhibition games. Discontinued when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California in '57, the Mayor’s Trophy was revived for the Mets and Yankees in '63, but a contest bearing that title has not been played since '83.

In addition to their Interleague games, the Mets and Yankees sporadically meet for exhibitions during Spring Training in Florida, though not on an annual basis.

Patience and power

For the third consecutive day, the Mets’ Summer Camp practice centered around a pair of simulated games at Citi Field. The loudest hit in either belonged to outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who smoked a home run off Marcus Stroman about halfway up the lower-right-field seating bowl.

The pitch, according to manager Luis Rojas, was a 68-mph “get-me-over curveball.”

“He’s locked in at the plate,” Rojas said of Nimmo. “I think he’s feeling pretty good. He naturally has a good plate discipline, but he’s also being aggressive with the pitches that he can do damage [on], and he showed it there today.”

Stroman was otherwise sharp in his two-inning outing, striking out Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil in a clean first inning.

Camp absence

Reliever Jared Hughes, who signed with the Mets on June 30, has yet to participate in a Summer Camp workout. The Mets have not provided a reason why; Rojas said he will not discuss the status of any player not in camp.

Hughes is the only player in the Mets’ 60-man pool whose absence from camp the team has confirmed. Two others, Stroman and Amed Rosario, debuted on Sunday after sitting out the first two days.

Seeking versatility

For the first time since Summer Camp began, J.D. Davis spent time Tuesday taking ground balls at third base. He has discussed with the Mets the possibility of seeing time at third, in left field and at designated hitter, though the team has not settled on an exact breakdown.

Jeff McNeil is penciled in as the starter at third, but he is also capable of playing second, left and right. Davis was to be the starter in left, but his playing time there will depend at least in part upon the health of Yoenis Céspedes.

Socially distant speech

Following the Mets’ first simulated game, all participants gathered in shallow right field around general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who spoke with them for approximately 10 minutes about various topics. Rojas indicated that under normal circumstances, such a meeting would have taken place indoors. But with COVID-19 protocols in place, it is easier for the Mets to gather en masse on the main field.

“We’re trying a lot of things here,” Rojas said. “We’re checking where we can meet, where we can meet our distances. It’s tougher for us indoors, so it’s good for us to go out there and have a talk, talk about different things, how camp is going and how happy we are with the results.”

Van Wagenen has encouraged players to stay 10 feet apart from each other rather than the usual six. The Mets are also requiring players to wear multiple masks in certain tighter indoor spaces, such as hot and cold tubs.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.