Starling Marte’s health in Mets’ spring training win
Starling Marte’s health in Mets’ spring training win


TAMPA — If there was extra attention on Starling Marte among Mets players who had a slow spring training, it was because of the ailments that derailed him last season.

But Marte arrived at camp feeling like his health questions had been answered.

He left on Monday, saying nothing had changed in that regard.

The Mets consider that a win.

“I continue to think with Starling the most important thing is health,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said a day earlier. “And what we’ve seen is that he’s a solid player.”

On that day, Marte was hit in the helmet by a Clay Holmes breaking ball in the fifth inning and left in good spirits.

He is “fine,” according to manager Carlos Mendoza.

Marte, who missed the final two months of last season battling groin discomfort, hasn’t been pampered this spring.

Starling Marte struggled in spring training and hit just .159. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Playing as a regular right fielder, Marte showed off his athleticism and strong arm even when his bat went quiet.

For the spring, he produced a .159/.245/.182 bracket with one stolen base.

“In spring training, you work on different things, so you just have to make sure you go out there and get the reps you need,” Marte said through a translator. “Obviously you can look at those numbers and that’s why you’re asking, but those numbers don’t really matter.”

Marte, 35, recovered in the offseason and assured himself and team officials that he was healthy based on his performances in the Dominican Winter League in January.

Now the Mets would like to think they have a version of the player who had a .292/.347/.468 slash line with 18 homers in 118 games two years ago to help the team reach the playoffs.

“I worked really hard this offseason to fix a lot of the things that went wrong physically last season, so once I was able to play those games in winter league where I was able to run the bases and feel good out there, then I kind of si when it clicked for me,” Marte said.

“Once I got to spring training, physically I felt good. I just knew I had to keep doing the same things to be out there on the field, so there were no worries when I got to spring training.”

However, Mendoza has held talks with Marte this spring about potential DH shifts.

That was before the team last week signed JD Martinez to become the regular DH.

Starling Marte is open to serving as the Mets’ designated hitter sometime in 2024. USA TODAY Sports

But Marte, who initially balked at the idea of ​​playing DH, had additional conversations with Mendoza after Martinez arrived and said he was open to the possibility.

Mendoza on Monday said it’s possible “a few” of those DH starts could come in the 10-day window Martinez spends in the minor leagues to start the season while accumulating at-bats.

“It was one of those things where [Mendoza] said it could benefit me long-term — how my body could benefit from it,” Marte said. “After the signing, we had to have another conversation and I told them if that’s what they want, some days to play DH, I’ll still do it and [Mendoza] he was able to speak to me in a way that I could understand because it’s not something I’ve done.”

Marte said the Mets added a piece to the lineup that seemed to be missing in Martinez.

“When you have a hitter of that caliber, it’s going to make an impact, and I felt like we needed to have that type of hitting bat in the lineup,” Marte said. “He’s able to reinforce what we do as a team and make the pitcher think more when he’s out there. We’re going to get on base and hopefully he can carry a lot of us through the season.”

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