PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Following their 3-3 tie with the Cardinals on Tuesday, Mets brass huddled together to discuss the state of their Opening Day roster. They did not plan to make any final decisions, knowing much still depends on the health of several key players.Chief among those is
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Following their 3-3 tie with the Cardinals on Tuesday, Mets brass huddled together to discuss the state of their Opening Day roster. They did not plan to make any final decisions, knowing much still depends on the health of several key players.
Chief among those is starting pitcher Steven Matz, who attempted a few throws off the top of a mound early Tuesday morning without issue. The Mets hope that Matz, who is nursing a sore left elbow, can throw upward of 80 pitches in either a bullpen session or a game by this weekend. If that happens, they may still carry him on their Opening Day roster.
"We've got to get him on a mound to where he can really start throwing some pitches to see where he's at," manager Terry Collins said.
The Mets sent one reliever, Paul Sewald, to Minor League camp on Tuesday, ending the right-hander's surprise campaign to make the Opening Day bullpen. In doing so, the club brought their roster picture at least somewhat more into focus with two days left until camp breaks.
But until the Mets figure out Matz's health, they won't know for sure if they even need to choose between Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo as their fifth starter. On top of that, the club is still weighing the benefits of using their fifth starter for the first time on April 8 or April 9.
Those decisions will have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the bullpen, which should include Addison Reed, Noel Salas, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker and some combination of Lugo, Rafael Montero and/or Josh Edgin. Then there's the matter of whether the Mets will carry a traditional seven-man bullpen, or expand it to eight.
"We came into this spring saying basically we've got two bullpen jobs," Collins said. "And due to some injuries and everything that always complicate it, now we've got tougher decisions to make. We're just very lucky that we have some depth on our club to fill in those holes."
On the offensive side, Juan Lagares' MRI came back "better than we had hoped," according to Collins, encouraging the Mets that he could make the Opening Day roster despite his strained left oblique. That will have an effect on either Michael Conforto or Ty Kelly, both of whom are trying to make the club as backup outfielders.
In addition to Sewald, the Mets also reassigned catcher Kevin Plawecki to Minor League camp, leaving Travis d'Arnaud and Rene Rivera as their backstop tandem on the Opening Day roster.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.