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The New York Mets hope their hard-throwing pitchers can dominate

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  • The New York Mets hope their hard-throwing pitchers can dominate

    PORT ST. LUCIE George Foster Jersey , Fla. (AP) — in the NL East this season.First, they have a little work to do controlling the strike zone.Noah Syndergaard walked five over 2 2/3 innings and Edwin Diaz gave out two free passes in his spring debut Saturday, shaky efforts for two of the biggest arms in the sport.Syndergaard opened by walking Houston’s George Springer on four pitches and was charged with an unearned run when Springer scored on a throwing error by shortstop Danny Espinosa.“Probably not his best outing ever,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “But when it’s something not typical of a player like that, kind of scattering the ball around Tom Seaver Jersey , you don’t really worry about it.“It’s kind of an anomaly in my mind. The stuff was good, the sliders he clicked were really good, he threw some good change-ups and we know the velocity is there and he was feeling good. He just didn’t have command of the ball like he usually does.”Syndegaard averaged 97.4 mph on his fastball last season, second best in the majors among pitchers with at least 100 innings behind the Yankees’ Luis Severino. He said the timing of his delivery was off Saturday.“My lower half and my upper half weren’t really quite synching up,” he said. “I just tried to guide the ball instead of drive it through the mitt.”This was Syndergaard’s second outing of the spring Paul Konerko Jersey , and he pitched well in the first one. He said he wasn’t totally comfortable for the debut, either, but thinks it might be beneficial to have to grind through some innings in early March.“I always think it’s great to struggle, that separates the men from the boys. It’s how you react and make adjustments … when you realize you don’t have your best stuff,” said Syndergaard , who held the Astros hitless.Diaz posted an MLB-high 57 saves last season for the Mariners and ranked 13th among qualified relievers with a 97.3 mph average fastball.The Mets were anxious to watch their new closer make his blue-and-orange debut. Diaz walked a pair in a scoreless sixth inning, fanned one and didn’t allow a hit to the Astros in an 8-7 loss.“He was a little rusty because he hasn’t pitched in a game until today for a while,” Callaway said. “He’ll get it all honed in and over the plate and be aggressive. His stuff is great.”NOTES: OF Michael Conforto hit a solo homer off Justin Verlander in the first inning, his first shot of the spring. … Catcher Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam and went 3 for 3. … Callaway said Travis D’Arnaud will serve as the DH on Sunday and Monday. It will be his first action since Tommy John surgery in April. … INF Jed Lowrie held a clinic with a Colombian baseball team Saturday on Field 2. One of the players was Jose Mosquera, who lost his right leg in a car accident. A big supporter of Project Beisbol Nellie Fox Jersey , Lowrie and wife Milessa covered the cost of a prosthetic leg and fitting procedure for Mosquera. “It speaks volumes of what the game means to so many,” said Lowrie of Mosquera’s commitment to baseball. NEW YORK (AP) — John Ricco is staying with the New York Mets and has been promoted to the new position of senior vice president and senior strategy officer.The 50-year-old will report to chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon — a son of owner Fred Wilpon — on business and finance projects. The Mets said Tuesday that Ricco will be involved in construction projects at the team’s training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and other minor league facilities. He also will remain responsible for oversight of baseball operations budget, major league payroll and salary arbitration.Ricco joined the Mets from the commissioner’s office in 2004 as assistant general manager under GM Omar Minaya and stayed on when Sandy Alderson replaced Minaya after the 2010 season.Ricco was promoted to vice president in May 2009 and to senior vice president of baseball operations in December 2016. He was part of the trio along with Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi that ran the team’s baseball operations after Alderson left last summer for health reasons.Brodie Van Wagenen was hired as GM in October and Ricciardi left the following month to join the San Francisco Giants.Minaya remains as a special assistant to the GM Harold Baines Jersey , and the Mets added former Kansas City general manager Allard Baird as assistant general manager for scouting and player development, and Adam Guttridge as an assistant GM with expertise in analytics.