Right-hander Kiko Calero, who failed to make the big-league club despite posting a 1.95 ERA with the Florida Marlins last season, is expected to remain with the organization. Calero did not have an “out” in his minor-league contract, but the Mets were not going to force him to pitch at Triple-A Buffalo against his will. Calero was 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in seven Grapefruit League appearances spanning 6 1/3 innings.
“All indications are he is going to come back,” a team insider said.
Mets officials expect fluidity with their bullpen early in the season, and suggest the relievers who broke camp won’t stick long if they’re underperforming. Also sitting at Buffalo: ex-Brave Manny Acosta, Bobby Parnell, Elmer Dessens, Raul Valdes, Travis Blackley, Adam Pettyjohn and Mike O’Connor.
LINED UP: Manager Jerry Manuel confirmed ESPNNewYork’s Friday report about the Opening Day lineup:
Alex Cora, ss; Luis Castillo, 2b; David Wright, 3b; Mike Jacobs, 1b; Jason Bay, lf; Gary Matthews Jr., cf; Jeff Francoeur, rf; Rod Barajas, c; Johan Santana, lhp.
For the Marlins:
Chris Coghlan, lf; Cameron Maybin, cf; Hanley Ramirez, ss; Jorge Cantu, 3b; Dan Uggla, 2b; Ronny Paulino, c; Cody Ross, rf; Gaby Sanchez, 1b; Josh Johnson, rhp
Santana and Johnson matched up in Game 6 last year, at the close of last season’s opening road trip for the Mets. The Amazin’s lost, 2-1, because of Daniel Murphy’s costly two-out error in left field in the second inning. “We do the little things,” Santana said, contrasting this year’s squad with the 2009 version.
SHUFFLED: Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez altered his rotation, bumping right-hander Anibal Sanchez from the opening series. The skipper instead inserted newly acquired left-hander Nate Robertson in Thursday’s game opposite Jon Niese. Gonzalez didn’t want Robertson, who was obtained from the Detroit Tigers, sitting 10 days between outings. The decision means Fernando Tatis’ first start at first base over Jacobs should come in Game 3, against the southpaw Robertson. The Mets also are scheduled to face a lefthander Saturday -- John Lannan of the Washington Nationals.
NUMBERS GAME: Infielder Ruben Tejada will wear No. 11, while fellow 20-year-old Jenrry Mejia dons No. 32. Among other newcomers: Frank Catalanotto is No. 2. Ryota Igarashi is No. 18. Matthews is No. 19. Jacobs is No. 35. Bay is No. 44. Hisanori Takahashi is No. 47.
WELCOME HOME: Jacobs, who last was a Met in 2005, before being shipped to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado, had the nostalgia of returning tempered somewhat by a new ballpark greeting him. Still, Jacobs had never seen Citi Field in person, since the stadium opened last season, when Jacobs played in the American League for the Kansas City Royals.
“I didn’t come here last year, so to be here this year and see this is obviously really exciting for me,” Jacobs said. “Just being here and knowing I’m going to be in the lineup tomorrow -- it doesn’t get any better than that.”
BULL-DOZED: After widespread complaints from visiting teams last season because of obstructed views of the playing field from the bullpen, the Mets reconfigured the domain beyond the right-center wall. Rather than the visitors needing to look through two fences and the home bullpen to see the field, the bullpens are now side by side. The home bullpen also received an upgrade.
“It’s easily the best in baseball,” reliever Sean Green said. “They did a lot of good things. They have a nice enclosed area. The way they angled the bullpens seems more efficient now just to be able to see the game. It’s kind of 50-50 now as far as who gets a fair shot of the action. They did a good job.”
NOT A SLAP-STICK: GM Omar Minaya said that while Tejada isn’t a home-run slugger, observers may be underestimating his power. Tejada, whose youthful appearance makes him look like a high school student, hit five homers in 488 at-bats last season with Double-A Binghamton and is widely viewed as having doubles power. Still, Minaya suggested, Tejada shouldn’t be labeled a singles hitter like predecessors Anderson Hernandez and Wilson Valdez.
SHEA HELLO: The bridge on the concourse in right-center field at Citi Field will be christened “Shea Bridge” during a 10:15 a.m. ceremony Monday. Bill Shea was influential in bringing National League baseball back to New York in 1962, and his named adorned the Mets’ former home. Three generations of Shea family members will attend the ceremony.
BUFFALO WINGERS: The Triple-A Bisons’ rotation currently is R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee, Pat Misch, Tobi Stoner and Bobby Livingston.