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Friday, March 29, 2013
Roster sharpens as Mets leave St. Lucie

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets made a flurry of moves as they prepared to depart Port St. Lucie for a trip across the state to Sarasota to face the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

• Non-roster left-hander Scott Rice beat out Robert Carson as the second left-hander in the bullpen. Rice, 31, makes his first major league roster in his 15th professional season.

Omar Quintanilla will head to Triple-A Las Vegas as the shortstop, meaning the Mets will carry no bona fide backup to Ruben Tejada.

Anthony Recker beat out Landon Powell as backup catcher to John Buck.

• Like Rice, Marlon Byrd, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison were added to the 40-man roster. The Mets previously had freed 40-man spots by outrighting Brandon Hicks and trading Elvin Ramirez to the Los Angeles Angels. They now also have successfully placed Reese Havens and Darin Gorski through waivers. The 40-man roster currently is full, but another spot can be created by shifting Johan Santana to the 60-day DL.

• Right-handers Jeurys Familia and Greg Burke have made the team.

• The lone decision not announced is whether Justin Turner lands on the DL to start the season, although that seems more likely than not. If Turner is on the DL, Zach Lutz and Kirk Nieuwenhuis should be on the roster. If Turner were active, the Mets can only choose one of the other two -- likely, Nieuwenhuis it would seem.

Nieuwenhuis' probable addition, although not official, signals the Mets are dissatisfied with their defensive capability in center field. Nieuwenhuis hit .088 this spring, though.

Shaun Marcum, as expected, will open the season on the disabled list. The Mets will try to ready him to be activated for Game 6, against the Miami Marlins. At that point, the eight-man bullpen would be reduced to seven. If Marcum cannot go, the Mets would have to search for other options -- with Aaron Laffey presumably the leading candidate.

Pedro Feliciano, Tim Byrdak and Matt den Dekker will remain behind in Port St. Lucie. Feliciano has said he will pitch for Class A St. Lucie.

So 23 spots on the roster belong to ...

Catchers (2): John Buck and Anthony Recker

Infielders (5): Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, David Wright and Jordany Valdespin

Outfielders (4):Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd and Mike Baxter

Rotation (4): Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner

Bullpen (8): Bobby Parnell, Brandon Lyon, LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison, Josh Edgin, Scott Rice, Greg Burke and Jeurys Familia

Plus, two of three from DL-candidate Justin Turner, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Zach Lutz