Notes: Canó apologizes; Bassitt 'excited' about rotation

March 14th, 2022

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In a meeting before the first official day of Mets workouts, second baseman Robinson Canó addressed his teammates about the performance-enhancing drug suspension that cost him the entire 2021 season. Manager Buck Showalter, who granted Canó time to make his statement, called the tone apologetic.

“It’s something that needed to be done, and he was perceptive enough to know that,” Showalter said.

Canó plans to address his situation with the media later this week, now that he has done so with his teammates. Many current Mets were not on the roster the last time Canó took the field back in 2020, months before Major League Baseball suspended him 162 games for testing positive for Stanozolol. It was Canó’s second career suspension.

Showalter noted that there was no reason for Canó to delve into the reasons behind his suspension. The second baseman simply cleared the air with his teammates in a brief address.

“In this clubhouse,” Showalter said, “we’ve moved on.”

See you in September?
The timing of Joey Lucchesi’s Tommy John surgery last June made him a borderline candidate to return this season, given that operation’s recovery timetable of 12 to 18 months. But Lucchesi has already progressed well enough that Mets trainers have told him he’s a strong candidate to return in August or September.

“I’m praying it goes smoothly so I can come back later in the season and help out the team, contribute any way I can,” Lucchesi said. “I’m pretty happy about how it’s coming along.”

The fact that Lucchesi needed surgery at all came as a surprise to the left-hander, who felt mostly normal elbow soreness following a start in June. Lucchesi had been on his best run of the season, posting a 1.19 ERA over five starts prior to his injury.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was hurt,” Lucchesi said, noting that he leaned on teammates Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Drew Smith for advice leading up to his operation. “I have a good pain threshold, but I know when I’m hurt. I guess it was something that just happened. It was like a wild thing that happened out of nowhere.”

This spring, Lucchesi has already thrown up to 120 feet off flat ground, with mound work on the medium-term horizon. Returning late in the season might not give Lucchesi quite enough time to stretch back out as a starter, but he said he’s happy to come out of the bullpen if that’s where the Mets need him.

“Obviously, I love starting. That’s my passion,” Lucchesi said. “I did a little bit last year out of the ‘pen. Whatever we need at that point in time.”

Welcome to New York
Heading into Spring Training, Chris Bassitt understood that the A’s were likely to sell off parts. As a veteran starting pitcher with one remaining year of team control, Bassitt figured he would be a part of it. So when Oakland general manager David Forst called him with the news that he had been traded to the Mets, Bassitt was mentally prepared.

“I understood the direction that I thought they were going to go, and so I wasn’t surprised,” Bassitt said.

In New York, Bassitt will slot third in the rotation behind Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer -- two hard throwers who offer a contrast in style to Bassitt’s pitch-to-contact repertoire. The Mets are hopeful that with those three atop their rotation, they can boast one of the game’s most potent starting fives.

“To be paired with the group we have is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Bassitt said. “So I’m excited, and I hope to make the most of it.”

Roster issues
The Mets were missing four relievers from their first official day of workouts: Seth Lugo and Trevor May, who were both dealing with weather issues as they traveled to Port St. Lucie, and Yennsy Díaz and Felix Peña, who were tackling visa issues. Showalter said he expected Lugo and May both on site by Tuesday; the other two may be further delayed.

Tune in for baseball
SNY announced that it will broadcast six of the Mets’ eight Grapefruit League home games, beginning with their 1:10 p.m. ET matchup against the Cardinals on Sunday. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling will be in the booth for that one. WPIX will carry the other two home games on March 27 and April 3.

As usual, the network will not broadcast any of the Mets’ spring road games.