Morning Briefing: Rafael Montero makes pitch


FIRST PITCH: Although Rafael Montero is expected to be ticketed for the Opening Day bullpen, the 24-year-old prospect gets another start Monday for the New York Mets.

Montero is due to face the Miami Marlins at 1:10 p.m. ET at Tradition Field (SNY). He opposes right-hander Dan Haren, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in December in the deal that also brought Dee Gordon to Miami.

Officially, manager Terry Collins continues to decline to name Dillon Gee the fifth starter over Montero.


    • Lucas Duda had three hits against left-handed pitchers, two of which drove in runs, and Gee battled through seven innings as the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Sunday at Roger Dean Stadium. Read more on Duda in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

    • Mets players who are not scheduled to see action in a road Grapefruit League game -- including the other members of the rotation -- typically do not make the trip during spring training. Instead, they stay back at the Port St. Lucie complex and do their workouts, then have a short day. Well, Sunday’s travel roster had virtually everyone checked, with a note, “ALL IN.” The entire team, with the exception of injured players who had specific rehab work assigned back at the complex, attended the Mets-Cardinals game in Jupiter to enhance team camaraderie. Captain David Wright told Joel Sherman in the Post that he got the idea from the Cardinals, who are widely known as a model organization. Writes Sherman:

So while the Nationals are the team to beat in the NL East and the Yankees in New York, the Cardinals signify the gold standard for consistent excellence. Yep, Wright has noticed. He has had conversations with Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and [Adam] Wainwright, tapping into the wisdom of the Cardinals’ clubhouse leadership. It is a big reason why the Mets traveled en masse -- every healthy player still in camp -- to Sunday’s game against St. Louis.

Read more in the Daily News.

  • Matt Harvey makes an appearance on Page Six.

  • Bobby Parnell tossed a scoreless inning, albeit with a walk and hit batter, in a minor league game Sunday.

  • Mike Puma in the Post looks at who should start at second base assuming Daniel Murphy (pulled hamstring) opens the season on the disabled list: Ruben Tejada, Matt Reynolds or Danny Muno. “I honestly didn’t think I really had a shot at making the team, but my mindset was just coming in here and showing them what I could do, and things would play themselves out,” Reynolds told Puma. “I didn’t expect things to happen with injuries with Murphy and everything. I hate to see it happen, but at the same time it’s an opportunity.”

  • A pair of left-handed relievers became available during the weekend, although neither has the type of lefty-righty splits that likely would attract the Mets. The Chicago Cubs released Felix Doubront, while the Atlanta Braves released James Russell. Doubront had an 11.57 Cactus League ERA. Lefty batters hit .337 against him last season. Russell, 29, had a 10.57 Grapefruit League ERA and reportedly had diminished velocity. Lefty batters hit .284 against him in 2014.

  • Read more on Gee versus Montero in Newsday and the Daily News.

  • Peter Kerasotis in the Times profiles catcher Johnny Monell, a Bronx native who has four Grapefruit League homers as well as a .357 average. Monell’s father, also Johnny, once played in the Mets organization, too. Writes Kerasotis:

    Like his father, Monell grew up in Bronx streets playing baseball. Pelham Park was across from the apartment complex where he lived, and one particular game he and his friends played there shaped his hitting style. Stationed between two buildings, the boys would bat with a pitcher approximately 40 feet away, firing a tennis ball. If they hit the ball between the second and fourth floors of the apartments across the street, it was a single; between the fourth and sixth floors, a double; the sixth and eight floors, a triple; above the eighth floor, a home run; and on the roof, a grand slam. The real trick, though, given how narrow the opening was between the buildings, was to keep from pulling the ball.

    “You had to hit it up the middle,” said Monell, who graduated from Christopher Columbus High. “If you hit the buildings, it was an out. To this day, I’m an up-the-middle, gap hitter. I really think it comes from playing that game at Pelham Park.”

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report writes that general manager Sandy Alderson has plenty of decisions to make this week. … Rising Apple believes the Mets should pass on Russell, who was released by the Braves.

BIRTHDAYS: Terry Bross turns 49.


YOU’RE UP: Are the Mets disrespecting Gee by dragging out a supposed competition with Montero?