PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Left-hander Scott Rice made his major league debut last year at age 31, in his 15th professional season.
Now, he enters camp as the primary southpaw in the bullpen, although he is not taking anything for granted.
New York Mets
The other lefty relievers in camp are Josh Edgin and prospects Jack Leathersich and Adam Kolarek.
"It's definitely different," Rice said. "Years past I've always been coming to spring training kind of getting to know people and prove to people what my strengths and weaknesses are. And this year it's nice to come in and have the whole staff and everyone know what my capabilities are. Now I just need to go out there and show that I've improved on certain things. "
The heavily used Rice went 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 73 relief appearances through Sept. 3 before halting his season to undergo dual sports hernia surgeries.
"Apparently getting double [surgeries] is pretty unusual," Rice said. "I was just trying to do whatever I could to get out there every day. It just got to the point last year where I couldn't walk. It started bothering me in late July, and then I pitched through August and it just progressively got worse until literally I wasn't even coming out to stretch before BP.
"I was basically in the training room all day long and had to hobble out to the bullpen about the fifth inning and see what I could do. It got to the point where I was like, 'I'm going to end up hurting something else if I keep trying to go through this.'"