PORT ST. LUCIE — Dellin Betances wants to turn on the heat.
After throwing in a simulated game Tuesday, the Mets reliever indicated he’s still trying to regain velocity, as he continues to build up his left ankle. Betances is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon he sustained in September with the Yankees, after missing most of the season with a right shoulder impingement.
“I am just trying to build up every outing, but I know myself for a long time, so I know right now it’s not coming out the way it will during the season,” Betances said. “It takes me a little bit to get that going, but I feel everything has been good.”
Betances must show team officials he’s mobile enough to field his position before he’s cleared to appear in the Grapefruit League. The right-hander previously indicated he would like to appear in seven or eight games this spring and be on the Opening Day roster.
“That’s the goal,” Betances said, referring to Opening Day. “That was my goal all offseason, and I worked really hard to get to this point, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be realistic.”
Manager Luis Rojas indicated Betances will be evaluated by the team’s performance staff in the coming days to determine if he’s ready for an exhibition game.
Steven Matz was sent home in the morning after feeling ill. The left-hander skipped his side session and it will be determined Wednesday if he remains on track for his next start. Matz is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Astros in West Palm Beach.
Jeurys Familia had his first clean inning of the spring, working a perfect sixth with one strikeout. The right-hander has not allowed a run in the exhibition season.
Rojas said he didn’t have an update on Matt Adams, who was scratched from Thursday’s lineup to undergo cardiac testing. Adams was not at the ballpark Tuesday.
Former Mets pitchers Mike Hampton and Glendon Rusch were in camp, invited as alumni. Hampton departed the Mets for the Rockies after only one season in 2000, infamously saying the Colorado school system was better.
Hampton was reminded of that comment by a reporter.
“I have got a son that is working on his Masters and then my other son is on the dean’s list in JUCO playing baseball,” Hampton said. “So I guess the school system worked out all right.”
Jeff McNeil homered leading off the game for the Mets in their 6-1 exhibition loss to the Marlins in Port St. Lucie. McNeil is 8-for-15 (.533) at the plate this spring.
Pete Alonso hit a fly ball to left-center in his final at-bat that appeared to have a chance of going out, which would have been his first homer of the spring. Alonso didn’t get quite enough and it was caught. He is 2-for-18 (.111) this spring.
Michael Conforto lost his glove reaching over the right-field fence attempting to catch Garrett Cooper’s homer. Conforto then ran around the fence and retrieved his own glove.
The Mets face the Cardinals on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie with Marcus Stroman on the mound for his third start this spring. Daniel Zamora and Chasen Shreve are among the scheduled pitchers for the Mets.