Mets Notes: David Peterson handles Cardinals in spring start
JUPITER — There are relatively few position battles in Mets camp this spring but left-hander David Peterson is hoping to create one when it comes to the rotation.
Peterson started his quest for a spot in the rotation Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals in the Mets’ fourth Grapefruit League game of spring. It was a good start for him to build on over the next month, throwing two scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
Peterson, who previously told the Daily News that he is looking forward to the competition for a rotation spot, threw mostly strikes in his 25-pitch outing. He used all five pitches and felt they were sharp in the Mets’ 12-7 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
“I’ve really tried to have five pitches that hitters have to be worried about instead of having two or three that I may throw,” Peterson said. “I’m trying to spread out some of that usage and be able to have multiple weapons against bigger hitters.”
Peterson was particularly happy with the feel and movement on his slider. He showed some impressive athleticism with a jump throw to get reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt out in the first inning.
Goldschmidt chopped one off the end of his bat and it dribbled up the third base line. Peterson was aided by a pick from Pete Alonso at first base to get the out and retire the side in order.
It was a big assignment for a February game but Peterson handled it well.
“You want to see the best of the best and we’re going to see him again,” Peterson said. “It’s always good to face some of those guys and see where you’re at and see where they’re at and move forward.”
The Mets signed Tommy Pham to be the fourth outfielder and part-time designated hitter but there are still some questions when it comes to the outfield defense. Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha and Starling Marte will have off days managed, which means the configuration of the outfield will have to be managed as well.
Pham has played mostly left field, which is an easy spot to use Jeff McNeil when Canha needs a day off. Nimmo can handle right field when Marte is off, so Pham might have to play more center field than he has in the past. Pham has only played 209 games in center field, most of which came in 2018 with the St. Louis Cardinals (94). He’s only played 11 games in right field and Marte’s health has been questioned as of late with the double groin surgery.
But everyone is healthy now and the Mets like Pham’s ability to play multiple outfield positions, so the club doesn’t feel as though they need to see him play center field in spring training games.
“We don’t have to,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I know he’s capable and he’s got a track record.”
VERLANDER SET FOR SATURDAY
Justin Verlander has a date for his debut: Saturday, March 4.
Verlander will pitch in a Grapefruit League game for the first time in a Mets uniform against the Miami Marlins this weekend in Jupiter. Max Scherzer will make his second spring training start Friday against the Washington Nationals at Clover Park.