Mets hope Jonathan Villar infielder can be on Opening Day roster



PORT ST. LUCIE — Jonathan Villar’s groin soreness has limited his movement lately, but the Mets are still hopeful he will be part of the Opening Day roster.

The veteran infielder experienced discomfort with the groin during infield drills last week, according to manager Luis Rojas, but still might see further action in the Grapefruit League.

“There is a possibility he is in there Monday,” Rojas said after the Mets’ 8-3 victory over the Astros on Saturday.

Rojas said the preference is to let Villar start a game, giving him proper time to warm up. The manager said he isn’t thinking in terms of the injured list for Villar, who gives the Mets depth at second base, shortstop and third base. Villar will possibly take batting practice Sunday to test the groin.

“He’s responded real well to the day-to-day treatment,” Rojas said. “When you have things pop up this late in camp, you want to be cautious. We want to leave ready, but at the same time we want to leave healthy.”

Jonathan Villar
Jonathan Villar
Getty Images

The 39-year-old Rojas said he hasn’t received the COVID-19 vaccine, but expects to when it becomes available to him. But he’s unsure what percentage of his players will follow suit.

“That really hasn’t been a big topic here,” Rojas said. “I haven’t talked to players. Among coaches, we have talked and I think all the coaches have said ‘yeah.’ Some of them have got it because of their conditions that would put them in the high risk category, so some of them have had the two vaccines or the first one, but with the players I haven’t had that conversation yet.”

Hitting coach Chili Davis and third base coach Gary DiSarcina are among those who have indicated they received the vaccine.

Arodys Vizcaino threw live batting practice in recent days, according to Rojas, but team officials want to see him pitch on back-to-back days before considering a next step. The right-handed reliever, who last week had elbow discomfort, has been impressive this spring as a minor league invite.

Drew Smith, shut down because of shoulder soreness, hasn’t yet returned to throwing from a mound.


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