Banged-up Mets could be whole soon

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Mets, with a little luck, might have their full starting lineup on the field for the final week of spring training.

Starling Marte still hasn’t appeared in the Grapefruit League and James McCann has been sidelined since earlier this week, but manager Buck Showalter provided an optimistic timetable for both Friday.

McCann, who is resting from back discomfort, likely will return to the lineup Tuesday, according to Showalter.

The veteran outfielder Marte, sidelined by left oblique soreness, may play in a minor league game on Monday.

Marte in recent days played the outfield and ran bases in a minor league game. The Mets are set to break camp on April 5.

Jacob deGrom felt good during a side session, according to Showalter. The right-hander is coming off his first outing since last July (he pitched two scoreless innings against the Astros on Tuesday with five strikeouts).

DeGrom and Max Scherzer are scheduled to pitch in a piggyback on Sunday against the Cardinals at Clover Park. The plan is for deGrom to pitch three innings, with Scherzer behind him for five or six.

Taijuan Walker’s Grapefruit League debut is scheduled for Saturday against the Nationals in Port St. Lucie. The right-hander, who is listed behind David Peterson in the pitching order for the game, has been taking it slower than usual this spring after undergoing surgery in January to remove damaged cartilage from his right knee.

Travis Jankowki’s full extension catch in center field to rob Alex Bregman of a hit Friday night was just the latest glove work by the 30-year-old outfielder. His chances of breaking camp with the team improved last week with MLB’s decision to expand rosters to 28 players for the first month.

Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil are options to play corner outfield spots as needed, but Jankowski would give the Mets another pure outfielder behind Marte, Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha.

Showalter was still buzzing pregame about the 441-foot homer off Clover Park’s scoreboard that top prospect Francisco Alvarez hit the night before. Showalter said he consulted bullpen coach Craig Bjornson just to make sure the ball actually hit the scoreboard.

“He said, ‘Oh, yeah, about three times,’ ” Showalter said. “It rattled around up there.”


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