Morning Briefing: SportsCenter at camp!


FIRST PITCH: It’s not only the first full-squad workout Thursday. SportsCenter visits Mets camp, with Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling and Buster Olney scheduled to be in Port St. Lucie to conduct interviews with key players and offer analysis, beginning with the show’s 9 a.m. ET edition.

Terry Collins gave Mets pitchers and catchers a light workload Wednesday, in advance of things ramping up.

The Mets enter full workouts mostly healthy. Lucas Duda (left intercostal strain) is the lone notable injury. Collins revealed Wednesday that one pitcher, reportedly Dario Alvarez, was dealing with a minor injury as well that kept him from running drills.

There is a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms in Port St. Lucie on Thursday, but the inclement weather is not predicted to arrive until the afternoon -- hopefully after the Mets have completed their workout.

Interestingly, of the 57 players in camp, only five were not with the organization last season: outfielders Michael Cuddyer, John Mayberry Jr. and Alex Castellanos, catcher Johnny Monell and Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, a left-hander trying to claim the final bullpen spot.

Thursday’s news reports:

Noah Syndergaard reiterated Wednesday that he did not merit a call-up to the majors in 2014. Meanwhile, Paul DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com that he could not foresee Syndergaard being introduced to the majors in relief, even during summer. Read more on Syndergaard in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

Matt Harvey is due to face batters on Friday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Harvey will throw batting practice. Read more in the Daily News.

• Ken Rosenthal at Foxsports.com wrote that friends of Collins believe he may hang it up after this season, but Collins dismissed that talk and Rosenthal himself doesn’t think Collins will retire, either. “I don’t know why they would say that,” said Collins, MLB’s oldest manager at age 65.

• Despite starting on Opening Day last season, Dillon Gee currently is the odd-man out of the rotation. Still, Collins said Gee would be the first choice to step into the rotation should something arise.

Gee tells columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News: "I'm happy to be here. I really am. Right now, I'm approaching this like I'm pitching to be a starter. That's what they've told me to do. I love starting, and I've been successful as a starter. My mindset is I'm a starter, as well it should be for someone who's pitched to a sub-4.00 ERA in the major leagues as a starter."

Read more on Gee in Newsday.

• Mike Puma in the Post chats with the Rule 5 pick Gilmartin. He conceivably could claim the final spot in the bullpen, which may only be available anyway until Bobby Parnell is activated from the disabled list. Assuming Gee is in the pen, six spots are pretty much solidified. The others: Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post profiles the ex-Phillie Mayberry. Sure, Mayberry will start in the outfield against left-handed pitching. But Collins sounded more excited on Wednesday about having Mayberry available as a pinch-hit option, say for lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis, on the days Mayberry does not start. Writes Davidoff:

Last year, splitting his time between Philadelphia and Toronto, Mayberry tallied a .400/.438/.933 slash line in 32 games as a pinch hitter, hitting four homers and driving in 12 runs. Against lefty pitchers, he posted a .243/.341/.571 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 82 plate appearances. The 2014 Mets went .230/.305/.328 with 22 homers and 118 RBIs in 1,452 plate appearances versus southpaws, so you can understand why they picked up a pair of righty bats in Cuddyer and Mayberry while they hope, too, that captain David Wright enjoys a bounce-back season.

The son of former Royals and Blue Jays slugger John Mayberry -- he was born in 1983, the year after the elder Mayberry wrapped up his career with a lackluster Yankees experience -- he played for Stanford then got selected by Texas in the first round (19th overall pick) of the 2005 amateur draft. So he arrived with hopes of a high ceiling.

• Howard Megdal in USA Today previews the Mets.

• The Mets have abandoned their weekly Sunday night spring-training bowling event. It was designed to be team-bonding, but became too much of a public spectacle.

From the bloggers … Mets Report suggests it is too early to name an Opening Day starter.

BIRTHDAYS: Catching prospect Kevin Plawecki turns 24. ... Fourteenth-round pick Darryl Knight is 22.


YOU’RE UP: When do you predict Noah Syndergaard will make his major league debut?