Mets Notes: Edwin Diaz takes next steps, spring debut for Starling Marte set

Here are the latest Mets notes as spring training rolls on...

Edwin Diaz takes next steps

Diaz threw live batting practice again on Tuesday as he rounds into form ahead of his first game action since ACL surgery.

During live BP, Diaz faced hitters including Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso.

Before Tuesday, Diaz hadn't yet practiced fielding bunts or covering bases. But that changed after his live BP session, as he practiced covering first base.

Diaz faced hitters on Feb. 15 for the first time since his surgery and said after that he's "100 percent ready" to pitch.

He added that he had a "pretty normal" offseason, with the only difference being some extra focus on strengthening his legs as he followed the program laid out by the team.

Starling Marte's Grapefruit League debut is set

Marte is looking to rebound after a 2023 season where he was never fully healthy following double groin surgery.

He played winter ball in the Dominican Republic during the offseason and said he's ready to play "170" games this season.

He is set to make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday.

"He's doing a lot of backfield activities where he's facing live pitching, sprinting, doing different drills," Mendoza said. "The goal is for him to be in the lineup tomorrow."

With Marte slated to again be the regular right fielder, Mendoza was asked if there's anything he has to prove following his lost 2023.

"I don't think it's anything to prove here," he explained. "This is a guy that's been a special player in this league for a long time. I think it's just the health part.

"We saw the great Marte in 2022. Obviously last year he dealt with a lot. Going back to the offseason, where we went to the Dominican to watch him play. The early reports from the hitting coaches are how well the ball is coming off his bat. And that's important."

The bullpen battle

The Mets' bullpen, barring injuries, is largely set.

Diaz will anchor the unit, with Brooks Raley, Adam Ottavino, Jake Diekman, Drew Smith, Jorge Lopez, and Shintaro Fujinami also expected to be on the Opening Day roster.

Fujinami has minor league options, so the Mets do have the ability to have him open the regular season with Triple-A Syracuse if they choose.

So figure the Mets have one or two open relief spots, with Michael Tonkin perhaps having a leg up.

On Tuesday, Mendoza referred to Tonkin as "a guy that can give you multiple innings," which figures to be of serious value for New York with them in need of a long man.

Mendoza also touched on recent waiver claim Kolton Ingram, a left-hander he said has "swing-and-miss stuff." Mendoza also noted that Ingram has minor league options, so that could be a hint regarding the initial plan for him.