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Mets Morning News: The Quest To Crown The 2013 King Of Spring Training Begins Today

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

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

BASEBALL IS BACK, EVERYBODY! Our long national nightmare is over as the Mets square off against the Nationals in some spring training action this afternoon at 12:10. You can catch the game on SNY and if you do, you'll see Shaun Marcum face off against Stephen Strasburg. You'll also get to see Zack Wheeler pitch, among others.

There was some disappointing news yesterday, as Johan Santana's first spring start has been pushed back to the middle of March. The lefty needs to build up strength in his surgically repaired shoulder. This doesn't seem like a death blow but considering Santana's injury issues in recent years, it's probably not something to brush off.

The Mets played an intrasquad game yesterday and the Mets defeated the Mets 6-2 in 5 innings. Wilmer Flores hit a three-run home run to left field and nearly parked another one out to right. Jordany Valdespin also hit a bomb.

Jenrry Mejia is in camp after having his arrival delayed thanks to a visa investigation. Meanwhile, Pedro Feliciano and outfielder Jamie Hoffmann have been sent to New York for follow-ups on their physicals.

Lucas Duda's spent the last few weeks cleaning up his batting stance, eliminating a toe tap and hand movements. Hopefully the adjustments work out for him.

At Capital New York, Greg Hanlon has a great piece on Mets' lead broadcaster Gary Cohen. Of note is the fact that Gary apparently reads Amazin' Avenue. If you're reading this right now, let me just say "Hi, Gary!".

Around the Majors

It shouldn't be a surprise but Justin Verlander wants to become MLB's first $200 million pitcher.

For what it's worth, Gio Gonzalez passed a drug test right after the Biogenesis story broke.

Word came out yesterday that Nationals' reliever Drew Storen was dealing with excruciating back pain during his game five meltdown in last year's playoffs.

There's some bad news, as former Dodgers' and Padres' great Steve Garvey has prostate cancer.

At Baseball Nation, Grant Brisbee ranks the top 10 moves of the offseason and the Mets' acquisition of Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra checks in at number four on the list.

Yesterday At AA

Chris McShane checks in from Port St. Lucie with some video of Greg Burke, Matt Harvey, and Jon Niese pitching. Chris also passes along some pictures from yesterday's activities.

James Kannengieser has another community projection, this time for shortstop Ruben Tejada. If you predicted Ruben would show up to camp 9 days early, you win!

Matthew Callan recaps episode nine of the first season of This Week In Baseball.

Brock Mahan looks back at February 22nd in Mets' history.