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Morning Briefing: Don't mess with ... the Mets!

4/3/2015

JUPITER, Fla. --

FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets awoke somewhere other than Florida for the first time in roughly two months.

After completing Grapefruit League play on Thursday, the Mets jetted to the Lone Star State for a two-game weekend exhibition series against the host Texas Rangers.

Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets in Friday’s 8:05 p.m. ET game in Arlington (WOR 710 AM). Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Rafael Montero may get some bullpen exposure in the game.

In Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. ET matinee, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee both should pitch.

FRIDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • General manager Sandy Alderson said the plan is for Daniel Murphy to be on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post and at MLB.com.

  • Matt Harvey completed a dominant spring training by tossing four scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. He finished Grapefruit League play with a 1.19 ERA and walked only one batter in 22 2/3 innings. He next faces Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals in the series finale in D.C. The Mets ultimately played to a 0-0 draw with the Cardinals in the Grapefruit League finale to finish with an 18-12-1 record. Watch video highlights of Harvey’s performance here. Read more on Harvey’s final tuneup in the Times, Post, Daily News, Record, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com. The finale also included a beer-holding fan flying over the railing and onto the field.

  • Get behind-the-scenes info on the production of E:60’s “Matt Harvey: The Dark Knight Rises” here. The full-hour show featuring Harvey premieres Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Harvey responds to a question about team ownership wanting him to possibly have a quieter off-field personality: "I have one father, basically. I think if I win, I'll be fine. As long as I'm winning and doing my job and not getting arrested, I'm not doing drugs. I'm not doing anything like that. I'm here to win. I'm here to play, and who I hang out with is my choice." Read reviews in the Post and Newsday.

  • Curtis Granderson suffered a bruised and swollen right knee when he was struck by a third-inning pitch from Lance Lynn on Thursday.

  • Juan Lagares, who was in New York on Thursday for a physical, officially is signed through 2019, with a team option at $9.5 million for the following season. Lagares is guaranteed $23.5 million from 2016 through ’19. Meanwhile, Alderson reiterated that long-term contract talks with Lucas Duda’s representatives will end Monday if no deal is in place by then. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Journal and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Zack Wheeler initially said he expects a 14-month rehab time from Tommy John surgery and about a June 1, 2016 return to the majors. However, Marc Carig writes in Newsday that because Wheeler needed a tendon repaired in addition to the UCL replacement, the rehab may last a month more than that.

  • Matt Reynolds, who batted .391, was named the top rookie in camp by the club.

  • The bullpen cart once used at Shea Stadium fetched $112,500 during an auction at Sotheby’s.

  • Jenrry Mejia cut his prodigious hair. Read more in the Post, Daily News and at MLB.com.

  • Right-hander Logan Verrett, selected from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft in December, was claimed off waivers by the Rangers when the Baltimore Orioles began the process of returning him.

  • ESPN The Magazine projects the Mets for only an 80-82 record, although that is good enough for second place in the NL East.

  • 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo will begin the season at Double-A Binghamton.

  • Jared Diamond in the Journal has a Mets season preview.

  • The average ticket price on the secondary market at Citi Field is up 19 percent over last season, to an average of $104.47, Neil Best writes in Newsday. Read more in the Post.

  • Best in Newsday also profiles Steve Gelbs, who is succeeding Kevin Burkhardt as field reporter on SNY’s Mets telecasts. "From my perspective, to go in and try to be Kevin Burkhardt right away, it wouldn't work, because I'm not Kevin Burkhardt. I'm Steve Gelbs,” Gelbs tells Best.

  • David Wright approves of the Mets’ moves late in spring training, the captain tells Carig in Newsday.

  • Justin Terranova in the Post asks experts which team is better: the Mets or Yankees.

  • Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post discusses the relationship between Wright and longtime friend and fellow Virginian Michael Cuddyer.

  • The Mets are “strongly considering” carrying eight relievers and four bench players to start the season, Kristie Ackert reports in the Daily News.

  • From the bloggers … Rising Apple explores what the Mets could have done differently during the offseason. … Mets Report asks if the Mets are ready.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Hawk Taylor was born on this date in 1939.

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YOU’RE UP: What record will the Mets produce this season?