WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As a former All-Star coming off a disappointing season curtailed by health issues, Dellin Betances might be the most scrutinized Mets reliever in camp.
The right-hander struggled in his Grapefruit League debut last week, but showed improvement Monday, when he allowed an unearned run in the fourth inning of the Mets’ 9-5 exhibition loss to the Nationals.
“I felt like I was attacking the strike zone for the most part today,” said Betances, whose fastball sat mostly in the 90-92 mph range, with one pitch that hit 94. “It’s something that I’ve got to continue to do and make sure my pitches are more consistent.”
Betances allowed a two-out double to Starlin Castro before Alex Avilia hit a grounder into the shift that should have been the third out. But J.D. Davis threw it away, allowing the run to score.
Last spring training Betances was returning from a torn Achilles and may not have been ready if the season started on time. He missed most of September after straining a lat.
“I like his stuff better than last season,” a major league talent evaluator said. “I think his velocity will tick up by Opening Day.”
Carlos Carrasco threw in a simulated game in Port St. Lucie and will pitch for the first time in an exhibition game this spring either this week or early next, according to manager Luis Rojas. The Mets will send Taijuan Walker to the mound Tuesday for his first exhibition start, and Jacob deGrom is slated for Thursday, following a blank day on the schedule.
Dominic Smith started at first base, his first time playing a position this spring as Rojas looks to gradually increase his activity. Rojas indicated most of Smith’s action this spring will come in left field, which figures to become his primary position in the absence of a universal DH.
Pitcher Jordan Yamamoto mishandled Juan Soto’s grounder in the first inning for an error, leading to the two runs (unearned) that scored against him for the day. The right-hander pitched three innings and allowed three hits and one walk. Yamamoto is competing for the fifth spot in the Mets rotation with David Peterson and Jonathan Lucchesi, among others.