An hour into his third season as Mets manager, Terry Collins is standing on a back field at the team’s spring training complex and smiling.
“Fifty-five players on the first day,” Collins says, gesturing to the scrum of men in blue and orange playing catch, stretching, hugging and catching up on winter stories. “Twenty major league hitters a week early.”
In a famous example, Ruben Tejada was on time last year — but on time is late for Collins, and the young shortstop was sure to arrive more than a week early this time.
On Monday, the cumulative effect of Collins’ enthusiasm was a first morning full of energy and action, which is not always the case this early in spring training.
Although pitchers and catchers were required to be in Port St. Lucie by the end of the day, they do not need to show up at the complex until undergoing their physical exam on Tuesday.
But soon after 8 a.m. Monday, most Mets — and not just batterymates but infielders and outfielders too — filled the clubhouse, preparing for their workouts. Ike Davis patrolled the room, yelling “shalom” and “Mazel tov,” while Zack Wheeler nestled deep into his locker scrolling through a smartphone.
Wheeler later threw a bullpen session, and pitching coach Dan Warthen simply lifted his eyebrows and smiled when asked how the phenom looked. The Mets’ other top prospect, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, impressed his manager during batting practice.
“Did you see d’Arnaud hit yet?” Collins said on Monday morning, his head shaking slowly, mouth slightly agape. “That kid has some kind of bat speed.”
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NY Mets manager Terry Collins excited for 2013 season with 55 players arriving to Spring Training on the first day
New York Daily News | Feb 12