PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Two Mets pitchers who have yet to throw in Florida for different reasons are both nearing returns to the field.
Right-hander Jenrry Mejia, whose arrival in Florida was delayed more than a week by visa issues, is expected to report to camp for the first time Friday. Mejia has been working out in the Dominican Republic and should be in strong enough shape to join his teammates for regular drills on Saturday.
Incumbent closer Frank Francisco will attempt to play catch Monday for the first time since pitchers and catchers officially reported last week. Francisco threw off flat ground earlier this month, but doctors subsequently shut him down due to a bout of right elbow inflammation. The right-hander underwent surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his elbow, and may not be ready for Opening Day.
MLBPA's Weiner: Higher payroll necessary for Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Meeting with players for more than an hour Thursday at Tradition Field, MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner said he thinks the Mets will need to raise payroll to become a competitive team.
"Look, the New York franchise in the National League is one of the flagship franchises in baseball," Weiner said. "I think everybody would like to see the Mets as a competitive team, and it's going to require a higher payroll. I trust that the Wilpons, Sandy Alderson, John Ricco, all those people will end up putting together a competitive team shortly."
The Mets oversaw an unprecedented drop in payroll over the past two calendar years, falling from $142 million on Opening Day 2011 to $94.5 million last season. This year's player budget figures to clock in somewhere around $95 million, though principal owner Fred Wilpon recently said he has given Alderson carte blanche to increase payroll if he sees fit.
That should please Weiner, the union and player agents throughout baseball, many of whom viewed David Wright's recent eight-year, $138-million contract as a positive step for the Mets.
"David is the face of the New York Mets and David made a decision, and it's what the Basic Agreement is there for," Weiner said. "David understood that if he went out to market, he'd probably make more money -- and perhaps substantially more money. So yes, I think it's a good thing from a competitive basis that David is an anchor of the New York Mets for the future."
Wright headlines Mets' 2013 bobblehead series
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Five bobblehead nights, including one for David Wright, highlight the 2013 promotional schedule that the Mets released Thursday.
The Mets are planning an All-Star bobblehead series featuring Ron Darling (April 21), John Franco (May 25), Wright (June 30), Dwight Gooden (July 21) and Tom Seaver (Aug. 25), with the first 25,000 fans in attendance each night receiving a figurine. The Mets will also give away an All-Star gnome to the first 25,000 fans in attendance on July 4.
Other special events for the 2013 season include Banner Day on May 11 and fireworks night on May 24, as well as promotional staples such as cap trade night (May 27-28), Bark in the Park (April 20) and Autism Awareness Day (April 27).
Single-game Mets tickets go on sale Friday, March 1 at mets.com.