Mets’ Starling Marte confident he can stay healthy in 2024: ‘I feel like I can play 170 games’

For the 2024 Mets, the health of Starling Marte remains a topic that fans will want to monitor as the year goes on. But as the 35-year-old outfielder told reporters after Sunday’s workouts in Port St. Lucie, he’s feeling good and the team has recognized it.

“I feel great, I feel like I can play 170 games,” Marte said in English, with little help from the team’s interpreter. “Playing in the Dominican last year, [the Mets] see me do my job in the training room and weight room, and they say ‘good job’ for what I’m doing at this time.”

After coming off double groin surgery over the 2022 offseason, the Dominican native missed most of the second half of 2023 with a groin strain and bouts of migraines. Marte appeared in just 86 games last season.

But the two-time All-Star says he’s not worried about his past groin injuries and that his time playing in the Dominican Winter League this offseason showed a lot of people how healthy he really is going into the 2024 season.

“Still confident in what I’m doing,” he said. “I don’t have to show anybody. I just have to show now how ready I am, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Marte said that before the 2023 season, the Mets approached him about playing in the Winter League but he declined. But this time around, he approached the team and the trainers about playing in the Dominican.

He told them, “I feel like I’m ready now and I want to show you guys I’m ready to play.”

Marte’s time in the Winter League was seemingly a success as he got through without injury and entered spring training in good health. When asked what he learned about his health from his time playing in the Dominican, the outfielder was direct.

“I know I’m good. That’s what I learned.”

May 17, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets right fielder Starling Marte (6) reacts after hitting a single during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Again, the Mets are hoping Marte can return to something close to his All-Star 2022 season when he slashed .292/.347/.468 while playing in 118 games, all in the outfield. When healthy, Marte can anchor the right field position alongside presumptive starters Harrison Bader and Brandon Nimmo.

But when asked where he fits on the team defensively, Marte said he hasn’t had that conversation with the team yet, but made it clear he wants to play the field.

“I want to be on the field all the time. That’s what I like,” he said. “Help the pitcher when I get a chance to catch the ball. And do what I do every time I step on the field and help as much as much as I can.”

Marte has two Gold Gloves on his resume and hopes to bring that elite defense to the Mets on an everyday basis in 2024.

And that's evident in Marte's demeanor this spring. He seems more relaxed. Perhaps that’s because everything he went through last year affected him not just physically.

“It really affected me mentally because it was something I never gone through in my career just having that type of operation, feeling a little limited,” Marte explained. “They sent me to all these different programs and training. And now the reason why I feel so much better is because they sent me to all those places. And now I feel 100 percent.”

But Marte can say those things, but he knows that his play on the field will show it. At the same time, the veteran outfielder isn’t about proving himself right, it’s about baseball.

“I don’t have to prove anything,” he said. “Just play my game. Focus on what I want to do, be ready for every day and have fun.”

Marte is just as confident about his team as he is with his health this season, and is ready to show what the 2024 Mets are made of when the season begins.

"Great team, everybody knows that. When we step on the field on Opening Day, we'll show what we got."