General manager Sandy Alderson delivered news Mets have longed to hear, but it came with a significant caveat.
“If a player is available to us later in the year, presuming we have some success to that point in the season, yes, [we can add salary],” Alderson said when asked if the organization has payroll flexibility.
The Mets entered the 2014 season with an $89 million payroll — 22nd in the majors — according to the AP. The organization spent $89 million on free agents — including Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Bartolo Colon — this offseason.
Alderson is optimistic the spending will lead to an improved on-field product, which in turn will lead to improved turnout at Citi Field, which has seen a decline in fan attendance every season since it opened in 2009. The Mets drew an average of 26,695 per game last season.
“What I’m hoping is that as we get better, the fans respond to that improvement [and] that payroll number will go up,” Alderson said. “We do have some flexibility.”
Young out of lineup
A strained quadriceps was not the way Chris Young wanted to begin his Mets tenure.
But that is the reality of his situation as Young injured his quad running out a ground ball in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
“I felt a little tweak in my quad,” Young said. “I didn’t think it was anything serious initially. I didn’t feel it jogging [off the field]. I went in and got it evaluated and [it’s just] a mild quad strain. It feels pretty good. It doesn’t feel terrible.”
Even though Young’s injury is short term, he was bothered at the prospect of not being in the Opening Day lineup.
“For me, personally, it sucks,” Young said. “I’ve been working hard all spring and getting ready for Opening Day, and you get to Opening Day and [you’re not] able to go out there with your teammates. It’s a tough one.”
Young said he was available to pinch hit, but he was not used. He is considered day to day.
Mets notes …
»Second baseman Daniel Murphy was not available as his wife Victoria went into labor. He flew to Florida to be with her, for the birth of their first child.
»The Mets honored Ralph Kiner by unveiling a commemorative logo on the left field wall. Kiner passed away due to natural causes at his California home on Feb. 6. He was 91. Kiner was represented by his children Michael, K.C., Tracee, and Kimberlee.
»New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threw out the opening pitch. De Blasio was joined by six children from the East Harlem Tutorial Program.
»Matt Harvey, David Wright and Curtis Granderson received the loudest ovations when they were introduced, while shortstop Ruben Tejada was booed.
»As is tradition, the Mets are off Tuesday. Bartolo Colon will oppose Gio Gonzalez Wednesday night, and Zack Wheeler will start the series finale Thursday afternoon.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.