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Mets Morning News: Mets might use an opener while Carrasco is out

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

New York Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco runs during a spring training drill in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Photo by Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Meet the Mets

Carlos Carrasco said he felt his hamstring “pop” during sprinting drills. He has since been diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain and there is not yet a timetable for his return.

Compared to his battle with cancer, though, Carrasco said, “This is nothing for me. I can walk away from this.”

In yesterday’s simulated game, David Peterson threw five innings and Dominic Smith returned to the batter’s box.

Luis Rojas indicated that Peterson “probably has the lead” for the fifth starter slot (which will be the fourth slot while Carrasco is out).

Rojas also said that while Carrasco remains sidelined, the Mets may sometimes utilize an opener. “There’s lineups out there that we can benefit from having an opener and getting one to two innings, and having a guy come in and give us three, and bridge to the late-inning guys that we have,” he said. “There’s some strategy that we can include against certain lineups.”

Today’s Grapefruit League game against the Nationals will be a preview of Opening Day, with Jacob deGrom facing off against Max Scherzer on the mound and the Mets trotting out their starting lineup.

The Mets released minor league catcher Andres Regnault.

In other injury updates, Arodys Vizcaino (sore elbow) should pitch again in about a week, while Seth Lugo has resumed “everything but” throwing.

Around the National League East

Bryce Harper was spotted yesterday pumping gas...in full uniform.

The Phillies bullpen is beginning to take shape. Several of the veteran relievers with the Phillies on minor league contracts can opt out of their deals on Wednesday if they don’t think they will be making the team.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com reviews four remaining questions the Braves have heading into the home stretch of spring training, including the latest on Mike Soroka and the competition for the fifth starter slot.

As Carter Kieboom continues to struggle this spring, filling Anthony Rendon’s shoes looms large for the Nationals’ young third baseman. They have some internal options to utilize of Kieboom’s struggles continue into the regular season.

Sandy Alcantara will start on Opening Day for the Marlins for the second consecutive year.

Around Major League Baseball

Jack Leiter threw a no-hitter for Vanderbilt yesterday with sixteen (yes sixteen) strikeouts. He will be one of the top prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft.

Cubs prospect Jesus Camargo was arrested after the police found 21 pounds of methamphetamines and oxycodone in his equipment bag.

Ken Davidoff of the Post calls the recent criticism of the Rays’ approach to team building—slashing payroll in favor of a wholehearted embracing of analytics—“beyond ridiculous.”

Baseball is testing out limits to the infield shift in order to drive up batting average on balls in play, but Rob Arthur of Baseball Prospectus points out that infield shifting is only part of the picture. Outfield defensive positioning has also played a large role in the drop in BABIP.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

We profiled two additional players in our season preview series. Grace Carbone previewed David Peterson’s season and Vasilis Drimalitis previewed James McCann’s season.

This Date in Mets History

A couple of former Mets were born on March 21: Shawon Dunston and Tommy Davis.