Here’s an update on the latest Mets and Yankees news from Florida.
Mets’ spring season starts with a win
Seth Lugo made a strong opening statement for the fifth starter role with two no-hit innings while Michael Conforto and Gavin Cecchini each went deep in Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Red Sox. Lugo was encouraged by his effort.
“I tried to go in there with no expectations,” he told reporters, “That’s the best way to keep things simple. I was just trying to feel everything out.”
When asked about his potential regular season role, Lugo replied, “Every spring I’ve come in, there have been guys above me. It’s the same as it’s always been. We’ll see what happens.”
Lugo will spend part of spring training participating in the World Baseball Classic and is scheduled to pitch in Puerto Rico’s opener against Venezuela.
“That’s the start we were looking for,” Conforto told reporters. “It’s Game 1 and I definitely want to get off on the right foot. It felt good to go out there, get a couple hits and put some runs on the board.”
When asked about Conforto, Terry Collins told reporters: “His bat quickness is very good. The plane of his swing is much better than I saw last year. I know he worked hard this winter to go back and rekindle that old swing. It looks like he got it.”
Conforto is trying to bounce back off an up-and-down year in which he hit .220/.310/.414 in just 109 games. He played 33 games with Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Duda ails
The Mets’ first base plans have become murky after Lucas Duda, who missed 115 games last year due to a back issue, received cortisone shots in both his hips on Saturday.
“Lucas is not ready to play, in my opinion,” Collins told the New York Daily News. “We’re hoping in a couple days he’ll be ready to resume activities.”
The Mets’ other options at first have limited experience. Wilmer Flores can play the position but he’ll likely be needed elsewhere in the infield. Neil Walker and Jay Bruce were seen taking reps at first base recently.
Yanks take opener from Phillies
The Yankees started their spring training season off with a win as well, as they downed the Phillies 9-4 on Friday afternoon. The highlight of the game was Aaron Judge’s towering blast to left field that nearly cleared the Steinbrenner Field scoreboard.
“Who’s not impressed by that?” Didi Gregorius told the New York Times. “I told [Judge] to check the scoreboard to make sure it’s OK.”
“If he gets the barrel of the bat to the ball, he’s going to do a lot of damage,” Joe Girardi told the New York Times. “There’s going to be some strikeouts … but he’s a guy that can be extremely productive because of the raw power that he has.”
Judge will still have to fight his way onto the team, but he seems to be fine with that.
“You’re never given anything, so I feel like it’s everyone’s job to take,” Judge told reporters. “I feel like everyone should come into spring training with the mindset that they’re out there to take a job. Nothing’s ever handed out or given.”
Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa, each competing for a spot in the lower rungs of the starting rotation, combined to keep the Phillies off base until the seventh inning in the victory.