PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Dellin Betances believes he’ll be ready for Opening Day, which is just over three weeks away.
“Yeah, that’s the goal,” he said. “That was my goal all offseason. I worked really hard to get to this point, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be realistic.”
Betances on Tuesday threw a scoreless inning in his simulated game. Betances, who is recovering from a partially torn Achilles tendon, is not yet throwing at full velocity.
“You’ve just got to trust the process, the plan they have for me,” Betances said. “Obviously, I would’ve hoped to pitch last week, but you’ve got to trust what they have for you. They have a program built in, and I’m just trying to clear every hurdle before they put me out there.”
The right-hander said he has not fielded his position much to this point in his recovery. He’ll need to get off the mound more before pitching in games, but he said he does not feel pain in his ankle.
He does not know if he’s close to pitching in spring training games.
“I’ve got to see how I feel tomorrow, see what the training staff tells me,” he said. “I’ve just been following their orders.”
Added manager Luis Rojas: "We'll have to talk to the performance staff. We did step it up a notch today. ...During Betances' inning, we implemented a couple of bunts just to see if we could get him moving off the mound. He didn't make the play but I had a good conversation with him about getting his feel going after that bunt. And pushing off, he said it felt good."
The Mets in December signed Betances to a one-year deal that includes $10.5 million guaranteed. He figures to be a late-game weapon, just as he was with the Yankees.
There is no timeline but, of course, the Mets would love to have him on March 26.
"So much depth in our bullpen with guys that have the experience of closing games, pitching late in games," Rojas said. "It's just options to have guys like that pitching earlier in games, and he'll be another guy with that experience. So yeah, it definitely will be of a lot of value if he breaks (camp) with the team.
Syndergaard discusses Achilles' heel
Noah Syndergaard is brutally honest in describing his desire to finally control the running game.
”It’s just kind of been my Achilles' heel for probably my entire career,” he said. “Something’s got to change.”
The hard-throwing righty has been working on achieving quicker times to home plate. He does so by finding a quick, athletic and powerful position once he lifts his leg. Then, he must “drive down the mound and be explosive.” But he also needs to be sound mechanically.
Syndergaard said he works on being quicker to home every time he steps on the mound in between starts. He said he’d like to think he’s “further along” than he’s ever been in that area.
Rojas said controlling the running game is a point of emphasis for the entire club.
“Especially in our division, teams have guys that have the profile of stealing bases," he said. "We want to shut that down, and we’re starting to implement that in games. As you can see, we’re really active in throwing over and holding the ball and doing different things. I thought Noah did a good job today.”
In Monday’s loss to Miami, Syndergaard had a strange outing. He struck out five over three innings, but allowed three runs — two of which were earned.
Garrett Cooper homered in the first inning and the Marlins scored two more in the second. Chad Wallach drove in one with a single, but the other scored partly because of an Amed Rosario throwing error.
Regardless, Syndergaard said he felt good and is becoming more comfortable. But his main focus has nothing to do with any of his actual pitches.
“Swallowed my pride in knowing there’s something I really need to work on there, and made a huge emphasis on doing so,” Syndergaard said of controlling the running game.
Matz sent home
The Mets sent home left-hander Steven Matz, who is ill. Rojas said Matz could still remain on track to make his next start, which could be on Friday.
"We have a couple guys that have gotten that (illness) since we've been here in spring training, and they've been able to bounce back the next day," Rojas said. "So let's see how he feels tomorrow, then we'll reassess with you guys."
No Adams update
Matt Adams is supposed to undergo further cardiac testing, but Rojas said there is no update on him.
Last Thursday, the Mets scratched Adams from the lineup and announced their team cardiologist recommended he receive additional testing. The team has not spoken about it since.
Alonso’s meet and greet
On Tuesday, Pete Alonso met with members of the Wounded Warrior Project from Tampa, which is his hometown.
Alonso donated a portion of his Home Run Derby winnings to the Wounded Warrior Project last season.