By Ed Coleman
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WFAN) — The Mets will play their first exhibition game Friday, hosting the Atlanta Braves at First Data Field. And here’s your “opening day” lineup:
CF Brandon Nimmo
DH Adrian Gonzalez
3B Todd Frazier
1B Dominic Smith
C Travis Darnaud
2B Jose Reyes
SS Amed Rosario
RF Kevin Kaczmarski
LF Matt den Dekker
P Zack Wheeler
Mickey Callaway will manage his first game for the Mets. What does he want to see from Wheeler in his start?
“Not just Wheeler but every pitcher that pitches, I want to see guys that are aggressive, that get ahead, don’t back down, are able to do the small things, control the run game, field their position,” he said. “I think if we do all those things the right way, we have the talent to have a very good pitching staff. So those are the things that we’ll evaluate guys on throughout spring training.”
Steven Matz threw live batting practice Wednesday, getting ready for a start sometime early next week. Callaway was asked his impressions of Matz thus far.
“Worker,” he said. “Obviously, you look at him and he looks the part, but he actually gets the work in. Very thoughtful in all of his routines. When he’s on the mound, he’s very relaxed and throwing the ball where he wants to right now. Great first impressions.”
Meanwhile, young shortstop Amed Rosario has exhibited propensity to be a free swinger at the plate. Callaway said his advice to Rosario has been to “be selectively aggressive.”
“You don’t want to be so passive that you miss your pitch,” the first-year manager said. “But you don’t want to be so aggressive that you’re swinging at the pitcher’s pitch, either. So we want him to be selectively aggressive, and not miss that first mistake that that pitcher makes.”
There are definitely areas where the Mets have to get better, and they will work on those during the spring games.
“Controlling the running game is something that we have to get better at,” Callaway said. “So we’re going to be doing a lot of picking, and we’ll be calling those type of things from the bench. We have to practice our bunt plays in live situations, so you’re going to see some of that throughout spring training. We’re definitely going to work on things, and we’re going to make sure that we work on things in-game as well.”