Metro has your notables and quotables from Mets and Yankees camp:
The Mets have their rotation set for their first Spring Training games on March 3 and 4. When the Mets square off with the Nationals on Wednesday they’ll start Rafael Montero (1-4, 4.14 ERA in 54.1 career innings), who hasn’t seen action since injuring his shoulder in April of last season. Gabriel Ynoa and Jeff Walters are also expected to get work in. Ynoa comes off a career high 152.1 innings for Double-A Binghamton in which he logged a 9-9 record and a 3.90 ERA. Walters (3-0, 2.45 ERA at all levels) was quickly moving through the lower farm ranks before injuring his elbow in 2015, which required Tommy John surgery. This will be a big step in determining whether or not the 27-year-old hurler still has a major league future.
On March 4 against Miami the Mets will start Logan Verrett, a waiver-wire pickup who turned in some fine spot starts during 2015. Buddy Carlyle, a 38-year-old journeyman who’s provided bullpen depth over the last few years and Zack Thornton, who turned in a 4-4 record with a 3.94 ERA in Triple-A Las Vegas last season, will be behind Verrett.
Erik Goeddel recently had an awkward golf outing with his brother and Phillies minor-league outfielder Tyler Goeddel. Chase Utley, who infamously barreled into and injured Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the NLDS last season, was on the course with the Goeddels as well, and it wasn’t too long before last postseason's incident was brought up.
“I didn’t really want to talk about it, I don’t think [Utley] really did either…it just came up,” Erik Goeddel told the Daily News. “He understands [why the Mets are upset]. He definitely knows there’s something coming. He said, ‘Just don’t peg me in the head.’”
Nathan Eovaldi, whose season ended prematurely in September due to elbow inflammation, missed a scheduled bullpen session on Thursday due to a minor groin issue. He’s now slated to get that session in on Tuesday after throwing from flat ground on Sunday. Eovaldi recently gave an interview to the New York Post, and when asked if New York could become a "Mets town," he tersely replied: “No, I don’t think so.”
Eovaldi also spoke at length about why he’s so confident in the Yankees’ chances this season.
“We’re gonna have a great team this year. Everybody’s sleeping on us.” Eovaldi also believes a 20-win season is in the cards for him. “With the bullpen that we have backing us up...I can go out there and do my job and I got Dellin [Betances], [Andrew] Miller and [Aroldis] Chapman coming in and slamming the door.”
The Yankees’ third-base situation is a little murky in the early stages of Spring Training. Chase Headley is the undisputed starter, but his backup is still to be determined. Rob Refsynder has gotten some practice at third, but the career middle-infielder still has a long way to go.
“We won’t put him at third until he…feels comfortable,” Joe Girardi told reporters recently, “We’ll ask him - give us a day when you’re ready to go to third. I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s uncomfortable.”
Starlin Castro, who was brought in to play second after mostly playing shortstop in his six-year career with the Cubs, is also expected to get reps at the hot corner. Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ third baseman emeritus, will try to mentor Castro.
“There are so many plays you don’t have at short - bunting, cutoffs and relays…you’re just basically reacting” Rodriguez said. “[But] if you can play short, I think you can play anywhere on the field.”