JUPITER, Fla. -- They may have expected the news, but that did not make it any less disappointing for Mets top pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia. Harvey and Familia were among 11 players in the first round of cuts from big league camp Thursday morning.
"I'm not happy about it," Harvey said. "But I can't make the decision, so I'm going to go out there wherever I'm throwing and do the best I can, and keep working and try to get to the level I want to be at."
In addition to Harvey and Familia -- who are ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, by MLB.com on the Mets' Top 20 Prospects list -- the club cut pitchers Jenrry Mejia, Armando Rodriguez, Josh Stinson and Robert Carson, infielders Wilmer Flores, Reese Havens, Zach Lutz and Valentino Pascucci, and outfielders Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker. Mejia, Havens and Nieuwenhuis all might have stuck around longer if not for injuries.
There were never any such expectations for Harvey or Familia, considering how conservative the Mets plan to be with their top pitching prospects. Along with fellow right-hander Zack Wheeler, who was not in big league camp, Harvey and Familia represent the team's brightest hopes for a quick return to consistent success.
"The future's really bright," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Harvey, who is not on the 40-man roster, will still appear in Grapefruit League games going forward, when the Mets need to borrow players from Minor League camp. By rule, they cannot borrow Familia, who has been with the organization longer and is thus on the 40-man. Both players figure to start this season at Double-A Binghamton.
Reyes' first appearance vs. Mets a brief one
JUPITER, Fla. -- As R.A. Dickey threw his warmup pitches Thursday, he tried not to snicker at his former teammate standing in the on-deck circle. Jose Reyes incites that sort of thing in people. His personality, the Mets know better than anyone, is infectious.
Then Reyes stepped into the box, batting right-handed against the knuckleballer Dickey. And in doing so, he transformed into his new identity for the Mets: just another opponent.
"Competitive nature takes over," Dickey said. "He steps in and it's time to go."
Reyes grounded out back to Dickey in his only at-bat of the game. He did not return after a rain delay halted play for 54 minutes in the third inning.
That showdown marked the first time Reyes has faced his former teammates since signing a six-year, $106 million contract with the Marlins in December. Though the Mets and Marlins had already played multiple times this spring, split-squad schedules and travel rosters had kept him away from his old team until Thursday.
When he finally did catch up with his former teammates and coaches, Reyes spent most of his time asking them about David Wright. Later in the day, after finishing his work on the field, he placed a phone call to Mets PR director Jay Horwitz in the press box.
"You can tell he's still got great feelings for his teammates here," said manager Terry Collins, who expressed to Reyes after last season how badly he wanted him back.
Reyes admits that his first regular-season game against the Mets will be different than Thursday, simply because of how deeply his roots go in New York. Signing as a 16-year-old in 1999, Reyes spent his entire professional life in the organization before leaving for Miami this winter.
"This is nothing," Reyes said. "It's going to be a little crazy when I go back to New York. This is Spring Training. This is just another game."
Collins ejected in eighth inning of Mets' loss
JUPITER, Fla. -- The games may not count, but don't tell that to Terry Collins.
Home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn ejected Collins in the eighth inning of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Marlins for arguing a call against Jordany Valdespin, who was called out for batter's interference.
"This kid's trying to make the club," Collins said, recounting his argument. "You call him out on something like that?"
Because the visiting clubhouse is located in a far corner of Roger Dean Stadium, Collins had to walk all the way down the left-field line after his ejection, past scores of jeering fans. But in doing so, he at least earned some respect from his counterpart in the Marlins dugout.
"Everybody does what they have to do," Ozzie Guillen said. "Managers are always trying to protect their players the best they can. Some people look at that the wrong way. One of the best managers to ever wear the uniform is the king of leaving games, Bobby Cox. That's all you can do to let the players know you are behind them."
Mets manager Terry Collins called R.A. Dickey "the story" of Thursday's game, lauding the knuckleballer for his two perfect innings. After a rain delay cut short his outing, Dickey threw another five simulated innings in the bullpen for a total of 75 pitches. "I felt like the knuckleball was coming out of my hand great today," Dickey said.
After a 1-for-11 start to the Grapefruit League season, Jason Bay now has two doubles and a single in his last four at-bats, raising his average to .267. "You know him, he works hard," Collins said. "I just think getting him at-bats is important."