Mets prospect Dominic Smith late for first game, benched

Mets prospect Dominic Smith late for first game, benched

Mets prospect Dominic Smith isn’t making the best first impression on new manager Mickey Callaway.

Callaway scratched Smith from the starting lineup for the Mets’ first spring training game Friday after the first baseman showed up late for team meetings. Smith had been slated to bat cleanup in the game against the Braves.

The Mets’ new skipper called it “a little shocking” Smith would be late on the first day of games.

As for Smith, he initially wouldn’t reveal why he’d been scratched but eventually talked to reporters at the urging of Mets PR staff.

“Everybody wants to know why I wasn’t in the lineup today. I was late. I apologize,” Smith said (via the New York Daily News). “That’s stuff that shouldn’t happen. It’s unacceptable in any locker room, the Mets or wherever you play.

“I am not in there today, just something that won’t happen again.”

The 22-year-old Smith, considered the No. 2 prospect in the organization in 2016, struggled in his MLB debut last season, slashing .198/.262./.395 in 167 at-bats, although he flashed some power with nine home runs. According to the Daily News, he’s slated to begin 2018 at Triple-A Las Vegas.

So Smith knows Friday was a missed opportunity. He admitted he’s disappointed in himself.

“I am more upset I let myself down. I was so excited last night to be in the lineup and be playing and stuff like that. It’s the first day, you are a little kid inside,” Smith said. “Sometimes you can’t get sleep. Up all night, thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s my first day again. Get to show what I can do.’ I am kinda more disappointed in myself and with myself than anything else.”

Today's game: Mets vs. Cardinals, 1:10 p.m.

Today's game: Mets vs. Cardinals, 1:10 p.m.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who is in his eighth year with the club, discussed his future plans and potential successor with SNY contributor Andy Martino. Regarding how much longer he wants to hold the position of GM, Alderson said it’s something he thinks about “from time to time.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve never really focused on the next thing,” he said. “I’ve always kind of said to myself — I tell people this, too — focus on the job you have right now because it’s the most important job you’ll ever have.”

Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About): If the Mets are winning and in a good spot when Alderson retires, Ricco will almost certainly get the job. He’s qualified, perfect for being a modern day GM, and he’s earned the gig. If the Mets are struggling and thinking they may be due for another rebuild, I’m not sure how ownership will handle the transition. It could certainly be entrusted to John, but it would also be understandable (given his connection to Alderson, Omar Minaya, and Jim Duquette) that the Wilpons would want a new perspective and voice when carving a new path…

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Indians lose Cactus League Opener

Indians lose Cactus League Opener

Not all is right with the world now that baseball has begun, but things are a little better. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Cincinnati 6, Cleveland 4

Box Score

Yonder Alonso homers in first Indians at-bat – It only took Yonder Alonso one pitch to show why the Indians added him over the offseason.

Cincinnati beats Cleveland Indians, 6-4, in spring-training opener behind two 2-run homers | cleveland.com – Tucker Barnhart and Brandon Dixon hit two-run homers on Friday to lead the Reds to a 6-4 victory over the Indians in the spring training opener for both teams at Goodyear Ballpark.

Cleveland Indians’ Mike Clevinger gets his spring off to a good start with one scoreless inning | cleveland.com – Mike Clevinger, competing for a job in the rotation, started Friday’s spring training opener for the Indians and worked a 1-2-3 first inning in a 6-4 loss to Cincinnati.

Cleveland Indians’ Yonder Alonso: “I was just looking for a good pitch to hit” | cleveland.com – Alonso, the new first baseman, hit a homer onto the roof of the party center in right field at Goodyear Ballpark on the first pitch he saw as an Indian.

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Do the Cleveland Indians really have the worst outfield in the big leagues? Hey, Hoynsie | cleveland.com – People have questions. Inexplicably, some want them answered by Hoynsie.

Cleveland Indians: Yandy Diaz, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer — Terry Pluto | cleveland.com – The Cleveland Indians had some trade talks involving Danny Salazar and outfielders from other teams. Salazar’s latest injury killed those discussions.

Brinks truck or no Brinks truck, Francisco Lindor says there has been no extension talks with Cleveland Indians | cleveland.com – “The Indians haven’t talked to me about an extension,” said Lindor, as he prepared to open the spring-training season against the Reds on Friday afternoon.

Indians’ Jose Ramirez popular in hometown – Ramirez loves giving the young Bani boys someone they can look to as a role model. He was one of those kids. He was told he was too small to play baseball, even as he held his own in games with older player

Around the League

Mets' Dominic Smith's tardiness a disservice to himself

Mets' Dominic Smith's tardiness a disservice to himself

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Dominic Smith lost the did the work, lost the weight and came into spring training a changed man, ready to beat out a five-time All-Star to become the Mets’ starting first baseman in 2018. 

But apparently, there is one crucial habit he has yet to break. Smith was late to a team meeting Friday, prior to the Mets’ first Grapefruit League game against the Atlanta Braves, a game he was slated to play. Manager Mickey Callaway, who has preached accountability all spring, didn’t hesitate to take him out of the lineup

“We have expectations for guys, and if they don’t meet that expectation, then we have to hold them accountable,” Callaway said. “That’s why Dom wasn’t in the lineup today.”

WATCH: Stoneman Douglas kids speak out

Callaway’s benching of Smith signaled to the rest of the team that he’s serious about being serious. Last year, the Mets had disciplinary issues that ranged from public suspensions for skipping a game and no-so-public punishments for a prank gone awry when a sex toy landed in a locker. 

This discipline came in a public way, pulling him aside in front of the team and media. 

“I’m here to help these guys be a better person as well, not just be a coach and help them perform on the field,” Callaway said. “I take that very seriously. I’m always going to try to help them be a better person.”

But this is less about Callaway and more about Smith. Just a few days ago, Smith told NJ Advance Media that between his new body and his improved mindset, he’s confident that he can, in fact, win the position battle. And if he ended up back in Triple-A, he would use the opportunity to become a leader. He would take what he learned in the big leagues last season and show those in Las Vegas. 

This act, though minor, doesn’t exactly scream leadership. Managers go nuts about being on time. It’s almost a military-like mindset. 

Smith was replaced by Peter Alonso at first base, someone he could easily be usurped by soon. Initially, the Mets said the reason for the benching was just to get Alonso more at-bats, and while that proved to not be the case, even I want to see more of what Alonso can do. 

Apparently, he homered off the First Data Field scoreboard while playing in the high-A Florida State League last year. 

It would behoove Smith to be on time, or even early, from now on, because until he proves himself he’ll be watching his front with Adrian Gonzalez and Wilmer Flores ahead of him, and his back with Alonso behind him. 

“It’s a little shocking,” Callaway said. “He’s trying to win a job, and it’s unfortunate.”

Abbey Mastracco may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @abbeymastracco. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

Mickey Callaway 'shocked' Dominic Smith was late to first game

Mickey Callaway 'shocked' Dominic Smith was late to first game

PORT ST. LUCIE — The gates had not even opened. The field was not even ready for batting practice on his first “game day,” as a big league manager and Mickey Callaway had to make an important move. The Mets first-time manager had to bench one of the organization’s top prospects for showing up late to work.

Otherwise, Callaway had a “great,” time managing his first game.

“It’s different. I have different responsibilities on the bench,” Callaway said. “It was fun today, taking guys out, you have to talk to everyone of them. If I take a guy out, I have to talk to two people at a time, so (bench coach) Gary (DiSarcina) did a great job of making that happen. I have responsible to put on signs now in situations. That’s something I am getting used to. We’re not giving a ton of signs early in spring training. I am going to start looking to (third base coach) Glenn Sherlock when giving signs in those instances and getting used to it.”

Callaway began his day by benching Dominic Smith for showing up late to team meetings. He called it “a little shocking,” that Smith, who is targeted for Triple-A after a disappointing major league debut last fall, would be late on the first day of games.

“It’s the first thing we said in our little meeting about expectations,” Callaway said of being on time.

While Callaway didn’t broadcast what happened, he allowed Smith to address it with reporters first, he definitely set a tone with the team. After preaching accountability to the team for the past two weeks, he showed that he will consistently mette out the consequences.

“The team knows. I didn’t say anything, but they know, they are around, they knew who was supposed to play and who wasn’t in there,” Callaway said.

***

Matt Harvey threw his last live batting practice Friday and pitching coach Dave Eiland called it “very encouraging.” The one-time ace threw all his pitches facing minor league catcher Tomas Nido and minor league outfielder Tim Tebow.

“He’s repeating his delivery really well, it’s hard to pick up the pitches,” Nido said. “He looked good.”

***

The Mets rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Braves 6-2 Friday. Minor league outfielder Zach Borenstein had a double and two RBI. Corey Oswalt pitched two scoreless with four strikeouts, while Hansel Robles, Jacob Rhame , Jamie Callahan and Drew Smith each pitched scoreless innings. Chris Flexen gave up a run on two hits and Tyler Bashlor allowed a run on a hit and two walks. … Asdrubal Cabrera, who is being eased back into the lineup, said he expects to be in a game by Sunday.

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