3/6/2014 5:51 P.M. ET
Piazza enjoying role as Mets' spring instructor
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
PORT ST.LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Piazza seems quite comfortable and at ease in his role of Spring Training instructor.
Piazza watched Noah Syndergaard throw in the bullpen Thursday and came away with this tongue-in-cheek impression after the rookie had popped the catcher's mitt a few times. "He's a control guy. Right?"
Frank Viola, who pitched in the big leagues from 1982-96 and learned to throw his effective changeup from former Brooklyn Dodger Johnny Podres, spoke with Syndergaard about his changeup grip.
The Mets have been quite impressed with Viola's work in the Minor Leagues the last three years, all at the Class A level. He will be the pitching coach for the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas in 2014. Syndergaard will likely begin the season in Las Vegas.
Mets easing Wright back into game action
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets are hoping less is more now that they are in their fourth week of spring camp. They have limited the work of David Wright and Daniel Murphy, in particular, because both have been troubled in recent camps by oblique injuries.
Neither played in game situations until Thursday, when they batted but played no defense. Each is likely to start against the Cardinals on Friday.
"Spring Training is so long. It's really for the pitchers' benefit," Wright said Thursday after he produced two singles and a home run in six at-bats against teammates Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell. "[Manager] Terry [Collins] approached me during the offseason and kind of told me, 'Don't be surprised if in Spring Training I slow you down a little bit and push you back.'
"I felt like I got good work in today. These kinds of 'games' we have help me more than playing in a week of games. I felt I'm more prepared now than I have been in recent Spring Trainings to enter games, and I think I'll get a little more out of it. I wouldn't be able to get the [necessary pregame] work in if I were playing in games. I faced some of the Minor League pitchers this past week. I faced Bobby a few times. And then, I got a chance to go work on things that I think are beneficial to me.
Wright is well aware of the issues he's had in past springs.
"The last couple of years I've had those oblique injuries," he said. "So to kind of slow it up this year, to kind of take those baby steps before ramping it up, I think helps me out. On top of that, I've really missed three-quarters of Spring Training the last two years. And I've felt like I've been prepared to start the season."
• Several scouts have concluded Curtis Granderson is hitting more balls than usual -- for him -- to left-center-field during batting practice. They suggest he realizes the dimensions of Citi Field are not conducive to left-handed power hitting.
"Then they don't know me, they haven't watched me enough," Granderson said in response. "I've always worked on my swing the same way. There are a lot of hits in left-center."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.