The Mets made six cuts after Friday's exhibition game against the Rays, ensuring utilityman Frank Catalanotto, 20-year-olds Ruben Tejada and Jenrry Mejia, and likely Sean Green have made the squad.
The cuts: outfielder Chris Carter, right-handers Bobby Parnell, Nelson Figueroa, Kiko Calero and Elmer Dessens, and infielder Russ Adams.
The Mets currently have 26 healthy players left for 25 spots. Green presumably should edge out left-hander Raul Valdes for the final bullpen spot, but that's the only outstanding question. General manager Omar Minaya said the final announcement will come after Saturday's Grapefruit League finale against the Orioles in Sarasota.
Valdes is on loan from Tabasco in the Mexican League, and a team official said he believed Valdes would be able to pitch in Triple-A Buffalo. Parnell, Calero, Dessens and Adams also are ticketed for the Mets' top minor-league affiliate. Figueroa has the right to opt out if he goes unclaimed off waivers, and is expected to do so. He likely would attempt to pitch in Japan, although the timing of the announcement wasn't ideal for securing a job.
Figueroa and Carter in particular had strong springs. Carter, acquired in last season's trade with the Red Sox for left-hander Billy Wagner, hit .393 with four homers and nine RBI in 28 at-bats. Minaya said the ability to send Carter to Buffalo without exposing him to waivers made the choice logical since it allowed the Mets to keep Catalanotto, who otherwise would have been lost.
"We had some guys that can do that role that Figueroa has given us," Minaya said. "... The Carter situation is, when you have (minor-league) options, sometimes options work against you. And I think right now, when you put a team together, you really want to have numbers. ... I'd rather have two options available than make the move and only have one and then have to go out and look for somebody else."
Regarding Calero, Minaya said: "Coming into camp a little bit late, we really didn't get to see the Calero that we believe is there. We told him we want him to go to Buffalo and we might be seeing him here sometime before the year is out."
Parnell set a franchise rookie record for appearances with 68 last season.
"We like Bobby Parnell a lot," Minaya said. "Sometimes you're going to have situations where you just need to go work on a certain pitch. You need to work on something. ... We want to see some of his offspeed stuff get better."
PROJECTED OPENING DAY ROSTER
Catchers: Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco
First base: Mike Jacobs
Second base: Luis Castillo
Shortstop: Alex Cora, Ruben Tejada
Third base: David Wright
Outfield: Jason Bay, Angel Pagan, Gary Matthews Jr., Jeff Francoeur
Utility: Fernando Tatis, Frank Catalanotto
Rotation: Johan Santana, John Maine, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez
Bullpen: Francisco Rodriguez, Pedro Feliciano, Hisanori Takahashi, Ryota Igarashi, Fernando Nieve, Jenrry Mejia and Sean Green (or Raul Valdes)