In a sign that Opening Day is getting closer, Matt Harvey became the first Mets pitcher to bat in a Grapefruit League game today in the Mets’ 8-5 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Matt Harvey's 2012 Topps Update Rookie Debut baseball card

Matt Harvey’s 2012 Topps Update Rookie Debut baseball card

“We decided when we started spring training that starting the 13th, against National League clubs, our pitchers are going to start hitting,” [Manager Terry] Collins said. “It’s a big part of the game. … There’s no reason why they shouldn’t get some quality at-bats because they’re baseball players once they get the bats in their hands so we got to get them ready.” (via NJ.com)

Now if only we could be rid of the designated hitter in all of the rest of the games, major and minor league.

In a less welcome sign that Opening Day is getting closer, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin explains why prospects like Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores will soon be sent over to minor league camp:

Wilmer Flores Topps 100 insert card from the 2010 Bowman baseball card set

Wilmer Flores Topps 100 insert card from the 2010 Bowman baseball card set

Generally, if 40-man-roster players remaining in major league camp become injured within 15 days of Opening Day, they earn major league service time and pay and have to land on the disabled list to open the season until they heal.

That’s too bad, because getting a look at the kids is the most interesting part of spring training. Let’s face it, we’ll see enough of John Buck and Anthony Recker beginning in April. (Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Daniel Murphy in some real spring training games soon – just how serious is a strained intercostal muscle supposed to be, anyway?)

Still, happy thoughts: we’re one week from the official end of winter, and less than three weeks from baseball games that count for something other than national pride.

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About Paul

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper in New Jersey. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

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