New Mets manager Callaway undaunted by early spring injuries
By BILL WHITEHEAD
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) New Mets manager Mickey Callaway says his team took precautionary steps before this current rash of bumps and bruises cropped up.
Starting right fielder Jay Bruce is day-to-day with a bout of plantar fasciitis, though he may be back in the lineup at designated hitter on Tuesday. Center fielder Juan Lagares, who will likely share time with left-handed Brandon Nimmo, has been held out with a minor left hamstring strain.
Young first baseman Dominic Smith, who overslept and was scratched from New York's lineup Friday due to tardiness, is down with a strained right quad. His hustle on Saturday going from first to third on Jose Reyes' ball that eventually turned into a ground-rule double cost him.
And Tim Tebow, who didn't miss a game at Florida while playing quarterback for the Gators and winning the 2007 Heisman Trophy, is out with an ankle sprain after running over a sprinkler head on a practice field. He's expected to resume full workouts in a few days.
Callaway said he isn't letting the early injuries get to him.
"It would bother me if we hadn't taken precautionary measures to try and prevent some of these things. Injuries are going to happen no matter what you do, but as long as we're doing the right things and trying to prevent them, then it's not going to bother you as much," he said.
Smith, who has never missed baseball activities due to injury, will get an MRI on Monday.
"The smartest decision was to come out so it doesn't flare up and get worse," Smith said.
Callaway said he didn't know the level of concern he had for Smith's injury.
"I probably will have a better idea how concerned I am after (the MRI)," the skipper said. "Right now he's just not feeling great."
Despite a rough weekend, the hope for good health on a club that was beset with a variety of maladies the past few seasons has the players optimistic.
"If we stay healthy, it's going to be fun this year," reliever Jeurys Familia said. "The group we have is a special group. Everybody has experience in the big leagues."
Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera predicted more than fun if the Mets can manage to stay off the disabled list during the regular season.
"If we stay healthy, we can be in the playoffs this year," said Cabrera.
Pitcher Robert Gsellman, who started against Miami, is healthy and spent time in the offseason learning about his body. He worked with his physical therapist in Los Angeles, expanding the range of motion in his shoulder and concentrating on deep-tissue exercises to increase being looser with his body.
"With the range of motion in my shoulder, I can actually get up instead of dropping down. I like the movement on my ball. It's actually sinking this year," he said.
The 24-year-old Gsellman started and spun two scoreless innings, getting four groundouts with his trademark hard sinker and posting two strikeouts in New York's 10-3 win over Miami.
"He's a sinkerball guy. He can't ever not have it and not throw it. If he's not on with it that day, he's got to continue to throw it," Callaway said.
NOTES: Cabrera said it was a natural choice for him to choose second base instead of third. "I played there before in Cleveland my first two years. I think third base is a little more difficult, but I'll play any position they want me to play. If you play every day, you want to play one position," said Cabrera, who played 32 games at second and 44 games at third last year. . Familia said he has been focusing on two pitches his spring. "I'm trying to throw my four-seamer and splitter. That way I can throw them more in the season. (Last year) my splitter wasn't working the same way it used to." . Callaway on Yoenis Cespedes' mammoth homer to left field: "It's a presence. You make a mistake, you're going to pay. That ball was hit pretty good." . The rotation for the next four games will feature Noah Syndergaard at the Astros on Monday, Steven Matz against the Astros on Tuesday, Matt Harvey against the Braves in Orlando on Wednesday and Jason Vargas against Miami on Thursday.
Updated February 25, 2018