PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After giving up five runs in an inning in Thursday's 8-5 loss to the Nationals, Mets closer Jeurys Familia said he is dealing with a bout of arm tightness that afflicts him every year around this time. A notoriously slow starter in spring, Familia often
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After giving up five runs in an inning in Thursday's 8-5 loss to the Nationals, Mets closer Jeurys Familia said he is dealing with a bout of arm tightness that afflicts him every year around this time. A notoriously slow starter in spring, Familia often sits in the low 90s with his fastball until the end of March, at which point he ramps his offerings up closer to triple digits.
"I don't think it's a problem," Familia said. "Every year I deal with this stuff."
"It sounds like it's something he feels every spring, just getting his body going," manager Mickey Callaway said. "I'm sure he's frustrated after today, but he'll get to where he needs to be."
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Although Familia had not allowed a run until Thursday, his spring ERA increased to 8.44 with the two-homer outing. The Mets plan to give Familia the lion's share of their save opportunities early this season, but continued issues could open the door for AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak to receive chances.
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Each morning around 6:30 a.m. ET, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez arrives to the ballpark to begin an hour and a half of stretching, core activation and massage. This is the process the 35-year-old Gonzalez believes is necessary to keep his back from costing him the type of major playing time it did last season in Los Angeles.
"Anyone in baseball who's had a back issue, I see them do these things and I've said, 'Man, you do a lot of work,'" said Gonzalez, who is hitting .208 this spring. "They're like, 'You have to.' Now, I understand why."
The Mets' game against the Yankees on Wednesday was SNY's most-watched Grapefruit League broadcast since the network's inception in 2006, and its second-highest rated preseason game ever. Only the first professional game played at Citi Field in '09 attracted more viewers.
In pitching 1 2/3 shutout innings Thursday, Ramos lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 1.59, creating some possible ninth-inning intrigue if Familia's issues linger.
Jacob deGrom came out of a routine bullpen session Thursday morning without issue, passing his last test before Sunday's Grapefruit League debut against the Astros.
"I survived," deGrom said, laughing.
Despite that, it is unlikely deGrom has enough time to be ready for Opening Day. The Mets want him to start at least four Grapefruit League games, meaning the earliest he could debut would be March 31, the second game of the regular season.
Oh say can you sing?
The Mets will host their 2018 Anthem Search at 10 a.m. ET on March 13 at Citi Field, giving the first 100 contestants to arrive a guaranteed audition to sing the song of their choice -- excluding the national anthem -- a cappella. The winner will then perform the national anthem at a 2018 Mets game at Citi Field. More information is available at Mets.com/AnthemSearch.
Steven Matz will lug his 54.00 spring ERA into a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Tigers in Lakeland on Friday, looking to fend off rotation challengers Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Matz entered Spring Training as an odds-on favorite to make the Mets' rotation, but two straight poor performances have hurt his stock. He'll face former Mets prospect Michael Fulmer at Joker Marchant Stadium. Listen on Gameday Audio.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.