PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBSNewYork) – The Mets can’t catch themselves reflecting too much on last year’s World Series run if they expect to return to the grand stage again in 2016, manager Terry Collins said Thursday.
Holding his first spring training news conference at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, the Mets’ skipper said he wants the team to have a “swagger” and expect to play a long season, but not to be cocky.
“We need to keep things in perspective and go play,” Collins said. “Just by having the names on the back that were out there in November, it isn’t going to win games for you.
“We’re excited about getting started,” he added on the same day pitchers and catchers reported.
Collins said he’s not concerned about the greater expectations being placed on the Mets.
“I love expectations,” he said. “ … We create our own expectations.”
Collins said the biggest key to winning another pennant will be the team’s health, especially in its starting rotation, the Mets’ greatest strength.
“The best pitching staff in baseball is the healthiest,” the manager said.
Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon figure to make up the rotation to start the season. Zack Wheeler, who underwent “Tommy John” surgery last season, is expected back in July.
Collins also said he has realistic expectations about David Wright’s availability during the season. The Mets’ 33-year-old captain played in just 38 regular season games in 2015 after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis. The third baseman has already said he’s managing his workload this spring with the goal of being healthy for Opening Day.
Collins said he will talk to Wright and the team’s trainers in the coming days to determine a strategy for keeping him healthy all season. Last week, general manager Sandy Alderson said the goal was for Wright to play 130 games.
• Collins said shortstop Ruben Tejada, who broke his leg on Chase Utley’s slide in the NLDS, entered camp in his best physical condition in four years.
• Travis d’Arnaud will be the Mets’ primary catcher, although Collins isn’t sure yet how many games per week he will start.
• Wilmer Flores could back up Lucas Duda some at first base.
• Collins said second-year pitcher Noah Syndergaard made as big an adjustment last season as any player he’s ever been around. Syndergaard has a chance “to be off the charts,” the manager said.