Notes: Peterson throws live BP; Butto faces hometown heroes

Canha gets first spring rep at first base; Almonte exits with sore left calf

March 9th, 2023

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Five days after took a comebacker off his left foot in a Grapefruit League game, the Mets held him out of their exhibition against Team Venezuela as a precaution. Truly, just a precaution.

Instead of throwing three innings in the main stadium during the Mets' 6-4 loss to Venezuela on Thursday afternoon, Peterson put in work during a live batting practice session on the back fields. That allowed him to keep his arm in shape without having to take the risks of fielding his position.

“He’s doing well,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He gave me the ‘don’t ask me anymore’ today.”

Assuming Peterson comes out of the live BP session without issue, he should rejoin the rotation soon, continuing what has become perhaps the most intriguing battle in camp. Peterson and Tylor Megill are the two top candidates to replace José Quintana, who is likely to miss the start of the regular season due to a stress fracture in his rib.

As for Quintana, Mets officials still had no update on his status four days after making plans to send him to New York for further testing.

“We’re hoping for good news,” Showalter said. “I don’t think anybody really has a full grasp of exactly what we’re dealing with yet.”

Childhood dream
Peterson’s replacement on Thursday was Venezuelan rookie , who had an opportunity to face a lineup full of players he grew up idolizing.

“It was an honor to be able to face that team over there, especially with the lineup that they have,” Butto said through interpreter Alan Suriel. “It was definitely really a special moment for me to be out there.”

Butto’s hero as a child was Félix Hernández, who has not pitched in the Majors since 2019 and isn’t a member of the current Venezuela squad. But Butto was nonetheless thrilled to see Miguel Cabrera, Salvador Perez and Jhoulys Chacín at the ballpark.

Only the results could have been better for Butto, who allowed a pair of first-pitch homers to Jose Altuve, among five earned runs in two innings. Butto, the Mets’ 15th-ranked prospect, is ticketed for the Triple-A Syracuse rotation to open this season.

Who’s on first?
For the first time this spring, moved from his customary spot in the outfield to first base. Showalter sees Canha, along with Darin Ruf, Daniel Vogelbach and Mark Vientos, as options to replace Pete Alonso on days when Alonso is at DH or otherwise cannot play.

Over his eight-year career, Canha has appeared 119 times at first base, but 75 of those occurred during his rookie season in 2015. He made just one appearance there last year, with Dominic Smith handling the bulk of backup duties. Now, with Smith in Washington, the Mets must find a reliable option to replace Alonso in a pinch.

“He’s one of them,” Showalter said of Canha, who will start at first again on Friday.

From the trainer’s room
Outfielder Abraham Almonte exited Thursday’s game early due to left calf soreness. The Mets plan to hold him out of the lineup on Friday as a precaution. Almonte, a 10-year Major League veteran, is off to a hot start this spring with seven hits in 14 at-bats.