PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Even after Robert Gsellman capped his strong Grapefruit League showing Tuesday with a quality start, delivering six innings of three-run ball in a 3-3 tie with the Cardinals, Mets manager Terry Collins remained coy regarding Gsellman's future. Referring to Gsellman only as one of the
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Even after Robert Gsellman capped his strong Grapefruit League showing Tuesday with a quality start, delivering six innings of three-run ball in a 3-3 tie with the Cardinals, Mets manager Terry Collins remained coy regarding Gsellman's future. Referring to Gsellman only as one of the Mets' top seven starting pitchers, Collins stopped short of officially naming him to the rotation.
But Collins did admit that Gsellman will be on the team, one way or another. And if the right-hander's 2.31 spring ERA -- tops among Mets starters -- is any indication, Gsellman should be in the starting five when the Mets announce it later this week.
"We'll see what happens next," Gsellman said. "I'm excited to start the season. Today was the best I felt all spring."
By the numbers, it was actually one of Gsellman's worst spring outings; the three earned runs he allowed matched the total in his previous five appearances combined, all of them coming on a Matt Adams homer. But Gsellman also struck out six batters, walked just one and demonstrated fine command of his mid-90s sinker. He looked every bit, in other words, like the pitcher who went 4-2 last season with a 2.42 ERA in eight big league outings.
"There are guys who just have a feel for when they're on the mound and a demeanor when they pitch," Collins said. "Robert's learned a lot from his experience last year. He sees the older guys, the way they prepare this spring. I think he's grown up in his preparation and how he goes about things. He knew he had to impress people, and I thought he handled it really well."
The Mets' hesitation in naming Gsellman to the rotation seems to stem from their desire to manipulate their pitchers the first week of the season. It's possible the Mets could "skip" their fifth starter the first time through the rotation, though doing so would only push him back one day. And that strategy depends at least in part on Steven Matz's health, as well as the Mets' decision to carry -- or not carry -- Zack Wheeler north with them.
So Gsellman will learn his fate another day. Tuesday, he was pleased mostly with his ability to swing a bat for the first time since offseason shoulder surgery, after a labrum tear forced him to stick to bunting last summer. Though Gsellman finished 0-for-2, he put the ball in play twice.
"It's fun," he said, laughing. "Bunting is boring."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.