It’s homecoming weekend for Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who grew up in the Tampa area. He is expecting family and friends to attend the three-game series between the Mets and Rays starting Friday night at Tropicana Field.
Being at home means sleeping in his own bed and driving his car to The Trop.
“It’s very uncommon to be in our home city … because we are spread out the majority of the year,” Alonso said. “But to be able to sleep in my own bed, drive my own car to my job, it’s really a blessing. It’s something … I appreciate. It’s awesome.”
Friday will not be the first time Alonso played in The Trop. The first time occurred in 2013 in the Pinellas-Hillsborough All-Star Game.
“I had a pretty good game. It was like an exciting thing. I’m happy to be on the field again,” Alonso said. “I was playing third back then. Now I will be on the other side of the diamond.”
Alonso talked about growing up in the area and playing travel ball with Rays outfielder Brett Phillips. According to Alonso, nothing has changed with Phillips. He still plays the game with great enthusiasm.
“He is a great guy, awesome human being. The coolest thing is that he is the same. He is the same kid I grew up with,” Alonso said. “He is a really special person.”
Alonso said he was not a Rays fan growing up, but his love for baseball is second to none. He did go to the American League Championship Series in 2008 when Tampa Bay played the Red Sox. The Rays would later advance to the World Series and lose to the Phillies in five games.
“It was really cool seeing guys like Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton,” Alonso recalled. “There were guys I would see the majority of the time. It was cool for me to see them do it.”
• The Mets were hoping that outfielder Brandon Nimmo would return to big league action starting Friday, but he is still bothered by the bone bruise in his left index finger.
In his last at-bat for Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday, Nimmo felt pain in the finger, according to Mets manager Luis Rojas. Nimmo will not be playing for Syracuse on Friday night. He is going to get treatment and receive more tests.
• Right-hander Jacob deGrom (right-side tightness) continues to pitch on flat ground. He threw the ball well mechanically, according to Rojas, but there is no word on when he will have a bullpen session.
“The separation, the landing and everything he [did on flat ground] felt really good,” Rojas said. “It was a positive day. We are going on a day-to-day basis, but he is doing better and better.”
• Infielder J.D. Davis (left hand bruise) is hoping to be back on the field Saturday, according to Rojas. It will depend on how Davis feels after working on the “high velo machine” on Friday. Davis feels he doesn’t need a rehab assignment.
Alonso on Quattlebaum, Howard
Alonso has high praise for new Mets hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum and assistant hitting coach Kevin Howard, who joined the Mets coaching staff early this month, replacing Chili Davis and Tom Slater, respectively.
Alonso said Quattlebaum and Howard have been flexible and working hard to improve the team’s identity in the batter’s box, which means not chasing bad pitches and capitalizing on pitches in the strike zone.
“I feel from an offensive standpoint, we have been performing and putting up runs,” Alonso said. “I feel we haven’t hit all cylinders. When we do, it’s going to be scary.”