Mets Morning News: Mets Defeat Verlander's Tigers In Big Game, What Do You Mean It's Only Spring Training?

USA TODAY Sports

Your Saturday morning dose of New York Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links

Meet the Mets

On Friday, the Mets defeated the Tigers 6-2 as Jon Niese tossed three scoreless innings. Niese, who Terry Collins says could start on Opening Day if Johan Santana isn't ready, is working hard to continue to perfect his changeup, a pitch that he and Dan Warthen believe helped him immensely in the second half of 2012. This afternoon, the Mets take on the Marlins at Tradition Field at 1:10 PM and you can catch this one on SNY. Matt Harvey will get the start and Lucas Duda, who missed Friday's game with an undisclosed ailment, is back in the lineup.

Daniel Murphy hit off of a tee and should be ready to go in a week.

Three veteran relievers on the Mets' roster will receive early decisions about whether they've made the team out of spring training. One of them, LaTroy Hawkins, is scheduled to pitch for the first time this week. Another, Pedro Feliciano, tossed a bullpen session on Friday.

Terry Collins doesn't think Frank Francisco will be ready for Opening Day, meaning that Bobby Parnell will be entrenched in the closer's job to start the year. Projected setup man Brandon Lyon likes the Mets' chances this year.

Toby Hyde has a great interview with the always talkative Brandon Nimmo, who has reported to camp taller and stronger. I'll be excited to see how he performs in Savannah this year.

Jay Horwitz has really taken to the Twitter and this tweet this morning shows it.

Around the Majors

R.A. Dickey's knuckleball is in midseason form, you guys. I'm very excited about Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard but it still pains me to have to write about Dickey in this section. Dickey Be Praised!

Carl Crawford's status for Opening Day is in question after the Dodgers' outfielder was shut down with nerve irritation related to his Tommy John surgery last year.

Remember Scott Proctor? The righty reliever is in camp with the Giants and he blames alcoholism for his decline, not Joe Torre's overuse while he was with the Yankees and Dodgers.

There's some cool stuff here about the future of baseball analytics at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston.

Mark Prior and Dusty Baker are back together in Cincinnati. Prior, still trying to make it back to the big leagues, has signed with the Reds to a minor league deal.

Yesterday At AA

James Kannengieser asks you to develop a community projection for Mike Baxter. He grew up in Whitestone and was a Mets fan, you know!

Michael Donato previews the World Baseball Classic, which began late last night.

Brock Mahan takes a look back at March 1st in Mets' history.

Chris McShane wants to remind you that Amazin' Avenue Fantasy Baseball Leagues begin soon.

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