PORT ST. LUCIE — Robinson Cano is taking his time to build up for the exhibition season.
The Mets second baseman likely won’t appear in his first Grapefruit League season until at least the weekend, according to manager Luis Rojas, to ensure his legs are strong enough for continual action.
Cano last season was sidelined by quadriceps and hamstring injuries that limited him to 107 games.
“Robinson had, we call it a learning experience last year as far as strength and getting ready to go through the regular season like he did last year,” Rojas said. “After going through the injuries he had he took the offseason to work on those and he came into spring training, he’s doing the same thing.”
Cano will start as the DH before moving to second base, according to Rojas.
Steven Matz allowed a homer leading off Sunday’s game to Harrison Bader before retiring the next three batters in his one-inning appearance against the Cardinals.
“I’m really happy with it,” Matz said. “I think my changeup was down. Curveballs were down, arm feels good.”
Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless second inning, allowing one hit and one walk in his first appearance this spring.
“I feel like a kid compared to last year,” said Familia, who shed 30 pounds in the offseason. “I feel like everything is a lot easier. This offseason I didn’t rest because I was looking for the objective and the goal … to get stronger to have a better season, to be able to really strengthen my body and my arm.”
David Peterson, Michael Wacha and Noah Syndergaard are scheduled to start the Mets’ next three exhibition games. Peterson, the team’s top pick in the 2017 draft, will face the Nationals on Monday in West Palm Beach. Wacha will get the 2 ½-hour bus ride to Lakeland on Tuesday to face the Tigers before Syndergaard pitches at home Wednesday against the Astros.
Jacob deGrom will continue to face hitters in live batting practice this week, but isn’t slotted into the rotation yet. Edwin Diaz will also continue facing hitters in live batting practice.