JUPITER, Fla. -- Stretching out to 90 pitches in the Mets' 8-7 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday, Matt Harvey declared himself ready for the regular season -- though his first assignment may not come until the Mets' second series of the year.Harvey said that because the Mets used him
JUPITER, Fla. -- Stretching out to 90 pitches in the Mets' 8-7 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday, Matt Harvey declared himself ready for the regular season -- though his first assignment may not come until the Mets' second series of the year.
Harvey said that because the Mets used him against St. Louis, instead of confining him to a Minor League game as they are doing with several of their other pitchers, he assumes he will not face the Cardinals during the team's Opening Series. Instead, Harvey appears lined up to oppose the Phillies in Game 4 or 5 -- a likelihood that manager Mickey Callaway did not dispute.
Whenever he pitches, Harvey said, he will be ready, as evidenced by the 5 1/3 effective innings he threw Tuesday at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Striking out five and dialing his fastball to 95 mph, Harvey lowered his spring ERA to 4.50. That includes a 3.48 mark with 13 strikeouts and three walks over his last 10 1/3 innings.
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"I was able to get out of some jams when I had gotten behind in the count," Harvey said of Tuesday's outing. "When you can do that, and you can trust your fastball and trust your offspeed stuff to throw for a strike, that's kind of a good indicator that the work that's gone into this Spring Training has paid off. I guess yeah, you could say that I'm ready to go."
Adrian Gonzalez's poor month took a turn for the better on Tuesday, when he hit his first homer -- an opposite-field blast, just his second extra-base hit of spring -- against Cardinals reliever Jason Motte. Gonzalez is batting .191 in Grapefruit League play.
"It was a good feeling and somewhat of a monkey off my back," he said. "Everybody's starting to get right where they need to be with four games here to go."
Gonzalez has faced little pressure in camp, with Dominic Smith missing all but one game due to a strained right quadriceps. Callaway said Tuesday that it's unlikely Smith appears in another game.
As expected, Jason Vargas underwent surgery Tuesday to remove the fractured bone in his right hand. Vargas will refrain from throwing for approximately five days; though the Mets have not committed to putting him on the disabled list to start the season, it remains likely that they do so.
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Asdrubal Cabrera was a late scratch from Tuesday's lineup after having a tooth pulled. The Mets expect him back on Thursday.
The Mets trimmed their list of roster hopefuls to 34 on Tuesday, sending catcher Jose Lobaton, infielders Gavin Cecchini, Luis Guillorme and Ty Kelly, outfielder Matthew den Dekker and pitchers P.J. Conlon, A.J. Griffin, Matt Purke, Drew Smith and Corey Taylor to Minor League camp.
Of the 34 remaining players, 22 are locks to make the roster while four others -- Vargas, Michael Conforto, T.J. Rivera and David Wright -- are DL candidates. That leaves eight players still fighting for roster spots: Smith and catcher Tomas Nido, who are not expected to make the team; infielder Phillip Evans, who will make it only if the Mets decide to carry an extra bench player; and relievers Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero, Hansel Robles and Jacob Rhame.
Neither Montero nor Robles distinguished himself in Tuesday's win. Montero faced three batters, allowing a leadoff walk and a double. Entering in relief of Montero, Robles allowed a pair of inherited runs, then an unearned run of his own, before coming within inches of giving up a game-tying homer in the ninth.
Robles hung on for the save, lowering his spring ERA to 9.26 in the process. Montero increased his to 9.00.
The Mets will play their Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate in an exhibition game Monday at First Data Field before heading to the airport later that day. Gates open at noon ET, parking is free and tickets are $5, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Attendees will also receive a voucher good for one ticket to Class A Advanced St. Lucie's April 5 home opener vs. Bradenton.
Although the Mets are off on Wednesday, Jacob deGrom will report to First Data Field to pitch in a Minor League game, stretching out to around 90 pitches in preparation for his March 31 season debut. The rest of the Mets will return to action Thursday, with Zack Wheeler starting a 6:10 p.m. ET home game against the Nationals. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.