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Sunday, February 23, 2014
Morning Briefing: Game Week arrives!

By Adam Rubin

Above, Matt Harvey compares work-related scars with Mets clubhouse chef Theresa Corderi.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: It’s Game Week in Port St. Lucie.

The Mets stage their second full-squad workout Sunday, but it is later in the week when baseball really returns.

The Mets have an intrasquad game Thursday, then open their Grapefruit League schedule Friday against the Washington Nationals at 1:10 p.m. at Tradition Field.

SNY (full TV schedule) and debuting WOR (full radio schedule) will carry Friday’s opener.

Sunday’s news reports:

Matt Harvey tossed a baseball Saturday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22. After making 20 throws at 60 feet, Harvey said he feels “brand new.” Although Harvey wants to rehab in New York this season, Mets officials prefer he do so in Port St. Lucie. Sandy Alderson said the final determination is unresolved.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests the Mets loosen the reins on Harvey and let him come back in August or September if he is capable.

Read more on Harvey’s first throwing session in the Times, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.

Nelson Cruz just signed with the Baltimore Orioles for $8 million, with the potential to earn $750,000 in incentives. Alderson insisted Saturday he had no regrets about signing Chris Young for $7.25 million in November, given Cruz’s ultimate price tag.


Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsNelson Cruz has signed with the Orioles.


Writes columnist John Harper in the Daily News:

However, that doesn’t mean [Cruz] would have signed the same deal with the Mets. Almost certainly they would have had to pay more to get him to play in their ballpark rather than Camden Yards in Baltimore, a home run haven for right-hand hitters, where Cruz no doubt is hoping to put up splashy numbers and then go looking for a big score again next winter.

So it’s overstating the case to call this a screw-up by Alderson. Signing outfielders was too much of a need to wait around all winter, hoping something like this would happen with someone like Cruz.

Other baseball people, in fact, say the consensus around the game was that some team would give Cruz a multiyear deal, especially after shortstop Jhonny Peralta, another player suspended in the Biogenesis scandal, gave teams -- including the Mets -- sticker shock by signing early with the Cardinals for four years, $53 million.

Regarding Stephen Drew, Alderson’s handicapping of the free-agent shortstop landing with the Mets remains unchanged. The GM said Saturday, via the Star-Ledger: “I think it’s just unlikely based on all the circumstances. It’s not necessarily just from our point of view -- just with all the circumstances, our other options in camp." He described the likelihood of Drew landing with the Mets as “slim” in Newsday.

Read more on Cruz and Drew in the Post.

• Terry Collins plans for David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson to not play the first week of the Grapefruit League schedule. Wright is content to proceed slowly after ramping up quickly for the World Baseball Classic last spring training.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger profiles Anthony Seratelli, who is trying to be a rookie in the majors at age 31 this season -- a similar storyline to Scott Rice last year. The Mets made a strong push to sign Seratelli for a backup infield role the minute minor-league free agency began during the offseason.

• Right-hander Erik Goeddel, who served as a reliever at UCLA, is permanently moving to the bullpen. All but five of Goeddel’s 66 professional appearances have been as a starter since he was drafted in 2010.

Bobby Parnell threw a standard bullpen session Saturday, a day after being held out with left quadriceps tightness. Parnell did not participate in fielding drills, however. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• An industry source says Andy Masur has not been offered the WOR pregame/postgame job just yet, although one source told ESPNNewYork.com on Friday they expected the former San Diego Padres play-by-play man to land the gig. Bob Raissman in the Daily News also lists Seth Everett and MLB.com host Pete McCarthy as candidates. ESPNNewYork.com has heard those names as well.

• Marc Carig in Newsday chats with Ruben Tejada. Writes Carig:

First came the whispers about his physical conditioning, followed by an error-filled April that served as a preview of his cursed season. By midsummer, Tejada had been injured and marooned in the minors, and the team’s discontent had seeped on to the airwaves.

In a radio interview, general manager Sandy Alderson griped that getting the shortstop to do extra work was “like pulling teeth.”' The Mets appeared to be finished with the 24-year-old, who had been seen as a critical piece of the team's rebuilding project.

“You want to do everything good,”' Tejada said this past week as he looked back at the most tumultuous season of his career. “But it’s impossible.”'

Eric Young Jr. and Chris Young could become the first Mets with the same surname to start on Opening Day since 1978, according to the Post. That year, Ken Henderson started in left field and Steve Henderson started in right field.

• Commissioner Bud Selig told The Michael Kay Show on Thursday he has no concerns about the Mets. “I’m very comfortable with the Mets' situation,” Selig said, as quoted by the Star-Ledger. “I have a lot of faith in the Wilpons and a lot of faith in Sandy Alderson. [I have] absolutely no concerns or trepidations about the Mets’ situation. They’re a solid franchise in my mind and on paper.” Listen to Selig's full interview here.

• The Mets bought EY Jr. a WWE-style championship belt and presented it to him at the end of their introductory meeting Saturday as a tribute to him claiming the 2013 NL steals crown, Carig notes in Newsday.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report notes the Rolling Stones and Mets are the same age.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Bonilla, who is on the Mets’ payroll through 2035, turns 51. ... Ron Hunt was born on this date in 1941.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

The champ is here! Coach Tom Goodwin presented @EYJr w/the NL Stolen Base Championship Belt. #Mets #SpringTraining pic.twitter.com/GfNiRwK0M7

— New York Mets (@Mets) February 22, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets nix Matt Harvey pitching in the majors in 2014 under any circumstance?