Nothing will be given to Peter Alonso

PORT ST. LUCIE — Peter Alonso will be handed nothing — and like it.

The rookie first baseman will be among the most scrutinized players in camp for the Mets this spring, but he needs to win the job, according to Mickey Callaway, because the organization isn’t taking the approach the spot is his to lose.

Alonso hit 36 homers last season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas and is regarded as the organization’s No. 2 prospect, behind infielder Andres Gimenez.

“[Alonso] has to earn it, just like everybody else,” Callaway said Wednesday. “Everybody in camp has to earn their way, and I don’t think they want it any different.

“I hope they all come in feeling like it’s theirs to lose and that they have an edge over everybody and that they have that confidence they can go out there and play first base or third base or shortstop and know they are the best one at that position, but know that they have to earn it. I think that is the way we built this team and it’s going to drive players to be the best they can possibly be. But we have a lot of winners in that room.”

Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith are the other players in camp competing for the first-base job.


Callaway said he isn’t concerned about Jason Vargas in the rotation’s fifth spot. The veteran lefty went 7-9 with a 5.77 ERA last season, but was respectable in the second half. In those final 11 starts he pitched to a 3.81 ERA.

“This guy was an All-Star in 2017, and if he would have had a regular spring training last year, we would have seen a different Vargas the first half,” Callaway said. “Once he got on that regular schedule — that starter’s schedule that a guy like Jason Vargas really needs, because he has to execute pitches and he has to execute just every one of them — he pitched great, better than a lot of No. 3 and 4 starters in that second half.”

Vargas missed part of spring training last year after undergoing surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right hand.


Yoenis Cespedes has reported to camp, but Callaway said it’s too early for the Mets to think in terms of a timetable for his return as the outfielder rehabs from surgeries to remove calcifications from both his heels.

“He feels like he’s on track and that’s all we are really worried about at this point,” Callaway said. “I would love for him to come and impact the club like he has done in the past and contribute to our success late in the season and that is kind of where we are at right now with him and our ballclub.”

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