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Mets' Collins returns to camp in time for first workout

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Following a three-day absence to mourn his father's death in Michigan, Mets manager Terry Collins returned to Spring Training Saturday on the first day of mandatory pitcher and catcher workouts.

"I'm doing fine," Collins said. "My dad lived a great life, 95 years old and was doing great until the final week of his life. I'm doing fine. I was glad I got to spend a month with him down here."

For Collins, the sights and sounds of camp signaled a return to business. The day began with a meeting, and while Collins plans to save his usual fire and brimstone -- reporters can typically hear his speech through the wall separating Tradition Field's conference room from its media center -- for the morning of next week's first full-squad workout, his message to pitchers and catchers was clear.

"This is a room full of as good a pitching staff as there is throughout the league," Collins recalled saying. "Now you've got to go out and show us each and every day what you can do, because people are watching."

Other notes from Saturday's first day of camp:

Dillon Gee is on track to be the odd man out of a rotation currently employing six members, Collins confirmed. That could change barring injury, however, and the Mets will keep Gee stretched out as a starter for the duration of Spring Training.

• Collins is still deciding between Juan Lagares, the presumptive favorite, and Curtis Granderson as his leadoff hitter. The coaching staff worked extensively with Lagares on his basestealing late last season, but remains concerned about his on-base percentage (.321 in 2014, .302 for his career).

• Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler missed the first day of workouts with flu-like symptoms. He is day to day.

• Infielder Eric Campbell, who like most of his position player peers reported early to camp, performed defensive drills with catchers throughout the morning. Campbell will serve as the team's emergency catcher.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo.
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