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Mets Morning News: “It was definitely different”

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

MLB: Exhibition-New York Yankees at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

The Mets lost to the Yankees 9-3 in an exhibition game that featured sloppy defense and less than stellar bullpen work on the part of the Mets. However, bright spots included strong appearances from both Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances, who are essential to the Mets’ success this season.

It was the first whiff of normalcy for both teams, but of course the fact that things are not really normal was palpable for everyone involved. “It was definitely different,” Rick Porcello said of the eerie silence in the ballpark. The Yankees did phantom high fives in the dugout, which manager Aaron Boone described as, “really weird, really awkward.”

Robinson Cano batted third in yesterday’s exhibition game and all indications are that the three hole will be his place in the lineup during the regular season.

According to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, A-Rod and J-Lo simply do not have the funds to compete with the other bidders for the Mets.

A rumor had cropped up that Nets owner Joe Tsai was joining A-Rod and J-Lo’s bid for the Mets, but Tsai himself later denied this himself on Twitter, saying, “I grew up as a Mets fan and I have a lot of respect for Alex and Jennifer. But I’m not involved in bidding for the Mets. Gotta focus on basketball.”

Matt Adams exercised his release clause and became a free agent yesterday. “It was a little bit of a surprise,” manager Luis Rojas said of Adams choosing to leave the Mets. But Rojas is also not worried about the first base situation since the Mets “have a lot of coverage there.”

Despite insistence by the Mets that he was progressing, Jed Lowrie will not be playing in the exhibition games against the Yankees this weekend. He has not been made available to the media about his situation.

Amed Rosario will focus more on stealing bases this season, writes Tim Healey of Newsday.

You can look at pictures of the cardboard cutouts that now make up the audience at Citi Field, courtesy of Newsday.

Jane Havsy of the Morristown Daily Record wrote a profile of the Mets’ public address announcers, Marysol Castro and Colin Cossell. They both talked about how they’ve been keeping (very) busy during the pandemic, their working relationship in the booth, and much more.

Around the National League East

“I can’t compare it to a flu, I can’t compare it to a cold. I never had a 104.5 fever before,” said Freddie Freeman regarding COVID-19. The Braves star is the most prominent example of a player coming down with severe illness due to coronavirus. He said he felt so bad the night of July 3 that he prayed and said, “Please don’t take me.”

The Phillies bested the Nationals in their exhibition game yesterday. Phillies ace Aaron Nola pitched five shutout innings, while Nationals top starter Max Scherzer was touched up, allowing three-run homers to Didi Gregorius and Bryce Harper.

Around Major League Baseball

The Blue Jays have been denied permission to play their home games in Toronto this year, as the Canadian government feels it is unsafe for players to travel back and forth from the United States. Alternative sites for the team to play include its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, where COVID-19 cases are surging, and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, which hosts the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team. Given the coronavirus situation at each respective site, the team prefers Buffalo, but work remains to be done to ensure the lighting and replay capabilities at the stadium are up to MLB standards.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark released a statement on the deaths of civil rights icons John Lewis and CT Vivian, saying in part, “Their strength and courage will be missed but their impact will be felt for generations to come.”

Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues that while A-Rod may be the wrong messenger on revenue sharing, he is not wrong when he says that MLB and MLBPA should have a mutual interest in growing revenue “instead of fighting and fighting against each other because there’s too much competition out there right now.”

The Tigers have placed pitcher Jordan Zimmerman on the 45-day injured list with a right forearm strain.

Orioles pitcher John Means was scratched from his expected start for today’s exhibition game against the Phillies due to dead arm/fatigue, reports Dan Connolly of The Athletic. The Orioles are being cautious with Means, who is their projected Opening Day starter; it is unclear whether this issue will affect his ability to start on Friday.

After posting a rather cryptic statement about leaving baseball the night before, Domingo German clarified his situation on Instagram yesterday, apologizing for the post and saying, “This past year has been very tough for my family and myself, for which I take full responsibility. Not being with my teammates while they get ready for the season, knowing that I have let them down, has taken a toll on me and last night I let my emotions get the best of me. Baseball is my life and I promise I am not walking away.” German has 63 games left in his 80-game suspension for domestic violence.

Pirates broadcaster Bob Walk has tested positive for coronavirus. He still hopes to return to the booth for Opening Day.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Lukas Vlahos cites control as a major obstacle for Tyler Bashlor in 2020 in his season preview of the righty reliever.

An SB Nation survey of MLB fans shows that fans think the Braves will win the NL East and Jacob deGrom will win the Cy Young.

This Date in Mets History

The infamous night at a Houston bar in which members of the 1986 Mets got into a scuffle with police took place on July 19 of that year.