Mickey Callaway knows where Mets still have some work to do

Mickey Callaway knows where Mets still have some work to do

PORT ST. LUCIE — Fundamentally, the Mets have been a bit too sloppy for the manager’s liking.

Unhappy with what he has seen in recent days, Mickey Callaway spoke to the team Sunday about cleaning up throws and base running, in particular. A day earlier, Zach Borenstein was among the offenders when the outfielder threw to the wrong base against the Yankees, allowing Aaron Judge to reach second on a single in the first inning.

“We have some work to do,” Callaway said following the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Astros at First Data Field. “Our fundamentals, we have to throw the ball where we want to throw it. We have got to do things a little bit better than we have been doing. We had a little talk about that this morning and you have to throw the ball where it’s supposed to go. You have to run out balls and that is going to start happening.”

Luis Guillorme made an ugly throw in the ninth inning Sunday, attempting to nail a runner at the plate after tagging second base for an out. The error gave the Astros an extra base.

“There’s fundamentals you have to do to play the game right and we can’t throw to the wrong bag and throw balls away and we have to play the game the right way if we are going to win,” Callaway said.

“We have to do it better than everybody else. We are trying to get a feel for these guys and the baseball they know, and it hasn’t been ideal. I think we have to do a better job at that for sure.”

Yoenis Cespedes, who blasted his third homer of the spring, indicated he is holding back on his throws when possible as he deals with a bothersome right shoulder.

“If there is a moment I have to throw 100 percent hard to the bases I will do it,” Cespedes said. “I haven’t been required to do that so far, but I am OK.”

From Callaway’s perspective, Cespedes’ throws have been strong.

“He has a special arm and he can throw the ball real well,” Callaway said.

Brandon Nimmo went 1-for-3 and continues to impress team brass this spring. Nimmo is 11-for-32 (.344) in the exhibition games and remains in contention for a significant role in center field until Michael Conforto returns from rehabbing his left shoulder. Conforto’s target date for return is May 1.

“[Nimmo] is hanging in there and getting some hits off lefties,” Callaway said. “He is driving the ball in the gap. Just overall a real good spring. He worked real hard this offseason and it’s paying dividends right now.”

Anthony Swarzak threw a simulated game and is close to rejoining the Mets bullpen for the Grapefruit League, according to Callaway. The right-hander has been sidelined for nearly two weeks with a strained calf.

Despite allowing seven base runners in four innings, Jason Vargas surrendered only one run in the Mets’ 5-2 exhibition loss to the Astros. The lefty Vargas piggybacked Jacob deGrom, who pitched 2 ²/₃ innings in his Grapefruit League debut.

Kevin McGowan allowed two runs in the ninth, one of which was earned, increasing his spring ERA to 27.00. The right-hander has been scored upon in each of his five appearances in the Grapefruit League.

Juan Lagares struck out three times as the DH in the leadoff spot as part of his 1-for-5 performance. The Mets are attempting to get Lagares more at-bats as he tries to implement a new swing.

The Mets are off Monday.

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