Mets Focus On Summer Camp As Opening Day Looms

The New York Mets take to the field on July 14 in preparation for Opening Day on July 24. (Photo by Joseph Wolkin)

The New York Mets are ready for the MLB season to start. There is no more “if” players will take to the field.

The orange and blue squad is back in Queens, prepping at Citi Field in what the MLB is calling Summer Camp. Essentially, it’s a second spring training as a way to get players and teams acclimated to the changed environment, social distancing and to get their bodies in mid-season form.

To enhance social distancing, the Mets added a second Summer Camp location in Brooklyn’s MCU Park. The smaller stadium is now the place to be for the back half of the Mets’ 60-player roster during the pandemic.

“The plan is to keep camp going and enforce distancing,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said on Tuesday. “We have the luxury of the facility in Brooklyn being so close, and now that we’re ramping up games and innings that we’re playing — rather than three sessions, we’re getting in one session and an inter-squad game — we’ve taken advantage of that facility. It’s still one camp. Those players working out there will be in games here. They’re still competing for a position on the roster.”

With the social distancing rules aside, the Mets are setting up for Opening Day on July 24 at home against the Atlanta Braves. The team is acclimating to the regular season schedule by holding scrimmages at times similar to that of an intense regular season. For example, on Tuesday, the Mets are holding a late-day scrimmage, followed by an early afternoon one on Wednesday.

“It’s a crucial week as far as implementing things we’re going to see during the season,” Rojas said.

Second baseman Robinson Cano is at the stadium after missing the first few days of camp since the team returned to Queens. The Mets did not day the reason he was out, and they are not allowed to say if it is coronavirus related.

But the best news of all might be the status of Yoenis Céspedes, who is in camp and is hitting like he was never injured in the first place. The outfielder will likely serve as the team’s designated hitter this year, playing in the outfield if needed.

Stay tuned to Long Island Weekly as we chat with Mets radio legend Howie Rose next week.

Joseph Wolkin
Joseph Wolkin is the former editor of the Levittown Tribune, Syosset-Jericho Tribune and Anton Media Group's automotive special section and county news section. A graduate of Stony Brook University, Joseph has been published in dozens of publications. He is the author of Grandma: The Story Of A Boy And His Grandma.

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