Meow the Mets: Camp kitten finds new home

March 23rd, 2022

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Mets prospect Josh Walker rolled into Clover Park early Monday morning, he noticed something out of the ordinary: His car was meowing.

Curious, Walker popped the hood and was shocked to find a small, black-and-white kitten, maybe 8-10 months old, nestled underneath the engine. Unsure of what to do, Walker flagged down a stadium maintenance worker, who helped him lure out the cat with some salmon.

Back inside the clubhouse, as Walker relayed the tale to his teammates, some of them -- including reliever Trevor May -- told him that the experience was a good omen. Walker tended to agree. So that afternoon, he took the kitten to a vet, got it up to date with shots and tests, and confirmed that it had no identity chip.

The cat was most likely a stray. Walker -- who loves animals, grew up with a cat and has another at home -- decided to adopt it.

He named it Metro, in honor of the Metropolitans.

“My first big league camp and then something weird like that happening, and then I love cats, anyway,” Walker said. “It’s just a cool little thing that happened.”

Walker, 27, will take all the good omens he can find as he looks to debut for the Mets this season. A 37th-round Draft pick out of the University of New Haven in Connecticut in 2017, Walker was struggling to hit his stride and rehabbing a shoulder injury when he was involved in a car accident in Port St. Lucie in 2019. Doctors believe the accident led to subsequent nerve damage in Walker’s elbow, which required surgery.

It was not until last season that Walker resumed his upward arc, starting the season in High-A Brooklyn and making it all the way to Triple-A Syracuse by season’s end. MLB Pipeline recently named Walker the Mets’ 24th-ranked prospect.

Walker is slated to begin this year back at Syracuse, which works out just fine for his new relationship with Metro. Walker has family in the area that can care for the cat when he is on the road.

“He’s been pretty cool,” Walker said. “He hasn’t been crying all that much. He’s taken well to human beings being around him. … Some cats, they’re [mean], and some cats act nice. He seems to be on the better side of that. I’m going to try to give him a home and keep him as long as I can.”