<
>

Morning Briefing: (Sorta) Harvey Day again!

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Three days after the last event, it’s another mini-Matt Harvey Day on Monday. Harvey is expected to face teammates in a batting-practice-type setting late in the morning. It will be Harvey’s final tune-up for Friday’s Grapefruit League start against the Detroit Tigers at Tradition Field. And this time the teammates are planning to swing, unlike Friday’s initial batting-practice session.

Monday marks the final game-free day for a while at camp. The Mets will play an intrasquad game Tuesday. Wednesday is the Grapefruit League opener against the Atlanta Braves at ESPN Wide World of Sports, with Dillon Gee making the start opposite Wandy Rodriguez.

Monday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins indicated that he would prefer Michael Cuddyer playing left field and Curtis Granderson playing right field. Cuddyer is amendable, even though that would be a new position for him, and even though he is deaf in his left ear.

Writes Marc Carig in Newsday about Granderson as a right fielder in 2014:

According to FanGraphs, Granderson's throwing cost the Mets 7.4 runs, worst among 16 qualifying right fielders.

Collins countered by suggesting that Granderson played the quirky right field at Citi Field well.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

Lucas Duda (intercostal strain) should begin swinging a bat this week, at least hitting off a tee. Read more at NJ.com and MLB.com.

• ESPNNewYork.com previously had reported that Bartolo Colon is getting serious consideration for the Opening Day start. Zack Wheeler is an alternative.

Wheeler told Mike Puma in the Post that less predictable pitch selections in the second half of last season -- such as not always throwing a fastball in fastball counts -- led to more success. Read more in the Daily News.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal looks at the Mets’ deficiencies in the leadoff spot. Collins prefers Juan Lagares emerges as the leadoff hitter. Writes Diamond:

Ideally, the Mets would bring in somebody who offers both power and speed -- “the Rickey Hendersons of the world,” as Ricco put it. But those players are remarkably rare, and given the Mets’ payroll constraints, they usually can’t afford to pursue them when they become available. (One such player, Jacoby Ellsbury, signed a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees before last season.)

“Our actions obviously indicate that it wasn’t as important as some of the other things we look for,” Ricco said. “We value it, but not to the point where we’re willing to make sacrifices in other areas.”

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post is embracing the Mets’ postseason expectations. Columnist Richard Justice at MLB.com addresses that topic, too.

On the Mets’ vociferous expectations about reaching the playoffs, David Wright tells columnist John Harper in the Daily News that you’re damned if you talk about it and damned if you don’t.

“It’s the dumbest thing ever,” Wright told the newspaper. “Somebody asks you if you expect to win this year. What are you supposed to say? It’s not cockiness. There’s a difference between confident and cocky. I haven’t seen anybody being cocky.

“People are saying, ‘You guys are talking a big game.’ We’re not talking a big game. But if you’re asking a group of competitive people who are confident in the guys in here if we’re going to be a good team -- the answer is yes."

• Tim Rohan in the Times looks at the Mets players recording many of the videos in recent days that will be shown on the scoreboard this season.

• Read about SNY’s newest addition, Nelson Figueroa, at NJ.com and at MLB.com.

BIRTHDAYS: Chico Fernandez was born on this date in 1932.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets reach the postseason?