PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets manager Terry Collins typically spends a significant chunk of his offseason in Florida, where he owns a home near the team's Spring Training complex. Captain David Wright always travels down to camp early as well, this year even before the Super Bowl.
The rest of the Mets have fallen in step behind their leaders. General manager Sandy Alderson estimated that more than 60 Mets players and Minor Leaguers showed up to optional workouts this week, days before big league pitchers and catchers are required to report.
"This is quite impressive," Alderson said Thursday, two days before the club's first official report date for pitchers and catchers. "I think we had over 60 guys here yesterday, and it's supposedly voluntary. It needs to be a little organized with the number of people we have here, so the staff has been here as well and it's great."
The Mets also had several players, including outfielder Lucas Duda and shortstop Ruben Tejada, spend large chunks of their offseason at a fitness camp outside Ann Arbor, Mich. Infielder Wilmer Flores and outfielder Juan Lagares are still at the camp, with plans to depart on Friday. They are not required to be in Florida until Feb. 20, when position players must report.
Wright makes changes to offseason routine
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Now 31 years old, David Wright is not the same athlete he used to be. Twice in the past three years, Wright missed significant time due to injury -- once when he suffered a stress fracture in his lower back in 2011, then again when he strained his hamstring last August. And that does not include the intercostal strain that knocked him out of the World Baseball Classic last spring, threatening his status for Opening Day.
As a result, Wright has taken a hard look at his offseason routine, changing things up in an attempt to stay healthy. Rather than focus on speed and strength, Wright spent time this winter working on things he never before considered "all that important."
"Usually in the offseason, you go out there and you try to get bigger, faster, stronger," Wright said. "I've kind of realized with the hamstring, with the lower back thing that I had, that some flexibility needs to be incorporated. Maybe it's not always the best way to try to see how much weight you can lift. Maybe it's more important to do some flexibility stuff, do some stuff that maybe I didn't think about when I was younger, because you could pretty much roll out of bed and not get hurt.
"Now that you're a little bit older with some more miles on you, you have to think of a different way as far as tuning up your body for a season. I think that I've made a nice adjustment, and I'm excited to see how that plays out in a long year."
By far the longest-tenured Met, Wright is also signed on longer than anyone else in blue and orange. His current deal runs through 2020, potentially giving him 17 years of service time all with one team.
For now, Wright is a 10-year veteran with one career playoff appearance on his resume. That is another thing he would like to change in 2014.
"I feel like I blinked and I'm 10 years into a Major League career," Wright said. "Obviously, I'd like to win before I get to the point where I just feel like I can't do it at a high level anymore.
"Of course you feel that urgency when you feel like just yesterday you were 21 years old. All of a sudden, now you're 31. I still feel like I've got a lot in the tank, but at the same time, I know how fast these 10 years went by. I hope these next seven for me don't go by nearly as fast."
Mets want focus to be on team, not Harvey's rehab
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Though the Mets are eager to track Matt Harvey's rehab progress all spring and summer, do not expect them to trumpet his every achievement along the way.
"The thing that maybe I should try to make clear at the very outset of this camp is that the story for 2014 is not Matt Harvey," general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday. "The story for 2014 is the other 25 players who are active. We're all interested in Matt's progress, obviously. But we don't intend for it to be a storyline every time he throws 40 pitches."
Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, and is expected to play catch for the first time next weekend. Coming off a National League Cy Young Award-caliber season before his injury, Harvey has stated that he would like to return as soon as September -- though a more realistic goal would be the start of 2015.
"I know he's anxious to get back and I know he wants to be ready to go in September, and that's fine," Alderson said. "But we have an identity of interest with him, and that is his long-term value to himself as a player and to us as an employer. We'll focus on his rehab with that in mind."