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Mets Morning News: Lugo beats out Wheeler for final rotation spot

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Your Sunday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

The Mets’ Opening Day roster appears to be pretty much set. The team announced yesterday that Wheeler will begin the season at Triple A Las Vegas, while Seth Lugo will be in the rotation, with Jason Vargas slated to begin the season on the disabled list.

It seems that despite his quicker than anticipated recovery, Michael Conforto will begin the season on the disabled list as well, which should cement Phillip Evans’ spot on the Opening Day roster. However, after diving for a ball in center field and sliding into home plate without any issues with his shoulder, Conforto will likely return well ahead of his originally projected timeline.

However, Joel Sherman writes about how much he cringed when Conforto made his dive in center and was sent for the play at the plate, given how important his health is to the Mets’ success.

Based on the roster decisions that have been made this spring, it appears as if the Mets will be more of a meritocracy than they had been in years past. Mickey Callaway was blunt about Hansel Robles and delivering the news—that came as somewhat of a shock to Robles—that he would start the season at Triple A.

Antoinette Cristina has had Mets season tickets since the franchise’s inaugural season in 1962, making her the longest-running season ticket holder. For the Cristina family, love of orange and blue runs deep. And Antoinette is not shy about sharing her opinions about all things Mets.

Around the National League East

As part of the series of tributes the Marlins have planned for those affected by the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Derek Jeter gave the head coach of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team a call, inviting them to play at Marlins Park.

Miguel Montero edged out Pedro Severino for the Nationals’ backup catching job.

As far as the Nats’ rotation goes, A.J. Cole will start the season as the 5th starter, but will probably simply be a placeholder until Jeremy Hellickson is fully stretched out and ready to go.

The Braves have released Scott Kazmir, accepting the sunken cost of the $16 million he’ll be owed this season. The door opened for Kazmir somewhat when Luiz Gohara sprained his left ankle. However, it appears the Braves are opting for Anibal Sanchez to fill the vacant roster spot instead.

The Phillies cut former Met Francisco Rodriguez yesterday. The team also announced that Jake Arrieta will make his Phillies debut on April 8th at home against the Marlins.

Around Major League Baseball

MLB.com gave us their players to watch for all thirty MLB teams. For the Mets, it’s Noah Syndergaard.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com also gave his rankings for the top 10 starting rotations in baseball for 2018. The Mets came in at #9.

In a terrifying moment, former Met Howard Johnson was hit in the face with a line drive during a minor league game yesterday. He was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital, where he is recovering.

Shohei Ohtani continues to be a controversial subject this spring. While most are still in the two-way player’s corner, at least one scout believes he cannot be a successful player on both sides of the ball.

In a very Unsexy move, the Rangers released Bartolo Colon. However, they are still trying to renegotiate a deal that would keep Big Sexy in the organization.

The Diamondbacks acquired infielder Deven Marrero from the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Luke Gregerson will begin the season on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, the Cardinals announced.

The Reds acquired relief pitcher Robinson Leyer from the White Sox and there’s a chance the hard-throwing righty could make the Reds bullpen.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

There was a new episode of Amazin’ Avenue Audio, where Chris and Brian discuss the final week of spring training and Steve takes a look at what’s going on down on the farm this season.

Richard Staff and Brian Salvatore covered Wheeler’s demotion to Triple A and Lugo winning the spot in the rotation.

This Date in Mets History

Happy birthday to former Mets Lee Mazzilli and Tom Glavine!