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Mets Morning News: Mike Piazza returns to Mets spring training, Ian Desmond signs with Rangers

Your Sunday morning dose of Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

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Meet the Mets

Zack Wheeler threw off the slope of a mound yesterday for the first time in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Speaking of pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery, Adam Wainwright has high expectations for Matt Harvey this year since it's his second full season back after having the procedure. Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen agrees, as he said Harvey has a chance to be the best pitcher in baseball this year.

The Mets have set their pitchers for the first few days of intrasquad and Grapefruit League games, and Rafael Montero will start the Grapefruit opener against the Nationals on March 3.

Finally voted into the Hall of Fame this year, legendary Mets catcher Mike Piazza is back as a guest instructor in Port St. Lucie this morning. Current Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who grew up a big fan of Piazza, is excited to work with him again.

The Post compares Yoenis Cespedes's life in Cuba with his life since coming to the United States and recaps some of the history of his and his family's challenges in leaving the country and the importance Cespedes places on his family. Anthony DiComo wrote about Cespedes's hard work through the lens of his car collection, too.

Tim Rohan of the Times has an excellent profile of Dominic Smith and his family, which focuses on why his mother decided to move the family in with Smith shortly after the Mets drafted him in the first round a few years ago.

Former Mets bench coach Bob Geren is now bench coach for the Dodgers, which puts him on the other side of Chase Utley's takeout of Ruben Tejada's leg. That might sound a little bit awkward, but Mets reliever Erik Goeddel recently found himself playing golf with Utley thanks to his brother Tyler, who the Phillies took in the Rule 5 draft in December.

Around the National League East

Fish Stripes looks ahead to Justin Bour's 2016 season.

At least Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf are team players, says The Good Phight.

Around Major League Baseball

Ian Desmond is officially a former National, as he has signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Texas Rangers to play left field. Whatever you say, Texas. With that signing, the Mets will have the 19th and 31st picks in the 2016 amateur draft.

Astros ace and American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel was good against just about everyone last year, but he was particularly dominant when facing the Yankees.

The Baltimore Orioles are finally the weirdest team in baseball, writes Grant Brisbee, as he highlights their bizarre offseason strategy over the past few years.

Tony Clark, head of the MLBPA, has spoken to some players about their concerns with the one-game Wild Card play-in.

Beyond the Box Score would like to remind you to not pay attention to spring training stats.

This date in Mets history

On this date in Mets history, Brian Bannister was born, and Dave Kingman returned.