Mets Manager Shares ‘Fluid’ Approach With Starling Marte

Starling Marte

Getty Will the Mets consider increasing Startling Marte's DH time to keep him healthy at 35 years old?

New York Mets outfielder Starling Marte is 35 years old and coming off an injury-plagued season that saw him play just 86 games due to a groin injury. When he was in the lineup, Marte was far from the All-Star caliber player he was for the 2022 Mets.

Given his age and injury history—Marte has not reached 140 games played since 2018 with the Pittsburgh Pirates—some could wonder if it makes sense to play him more frequently in the designated hitter role rather than his traditional right field.

Marte is a strong defender, but sticking him semi-regularly at DH could protect his body from wear and tear sustained playing the field, and help keep his needed bat and base-stealing ability near the top of the Mets lineup.

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza detailed his approach to playing Marte while he spoke to reporters on February 27 at Clover Park, the team’s spring training complex.

“Time will tell, this is a guy that wants to be on the field,” Mendoza said of Marte. “Conversations that I’ve had with him already is [that] he wants to be in the outfield. But we’ll be smart and it will be fluid.”

Marte is hoping to return to his previous success, which included his 292/.347/.468 slash line for the Mets in 2022 with 16 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 118 games.

His playoff performance for the 2022 Mets was hindered by a fractured finger that forced him to miss the final four weeks of the regular season. He also dealt with oblique, quadriceps, and groin discomfort throughout the 2022 season. In 2023, Marte stole 24 bases but had a poor .248/.301/.324 slash line with just five home runs in 341 plate appearances.

“These guys are not used to DH, but those are some of the conversations that I’ll have with [Marte] as we get closer to Opening Day and move forward through the regular season,” Mendoza told “Days that he’s playing X amount to games on the field—whether we want to give him a complete off-day or if we want to keep him in the lineup as a DH.”

Starling Marte’s Offseason, Spring Has Been Encouraging

Starling Marte made his spring training debut on February 28 and went 0-for-2 at the plate while not seeing any defensive chances in right field. But in his second spring training game on March 1— batting leadoff and playing right field—Marte flashed his cannon of an arm to a throw out a runner at third base and legged out a bunt single to show he still has plus speed as a runner.

The Mets have been impressed with the bat speed Marte demonstrated this offseason while he played in the Dominican Winter League.

Going back to the offseason, we went to the Dominican and watched him play. The early reports from the hitting coaches were how well the ball is coming off his bat, and that’s important,” Mendoza said. “The way he’s moving around during outfield drills and all that, and how he’s feeling the next day has been encouraging.”

Fellow Mets Star Edwin Diaz Nears Spring Training Debut

Mets closer Edwin Diaz missed the entire 2023 season due to a torn right patellar tendon he suffered while celebrating at the World Baseball Classic. It was a major blow for the Mets after Diaz was the best closer in baseball in 2022, recording a 1.31 ERA, 32 saves, and striking out 118 batters in 62 innings.

Diaz has now begun fielding drills, the last step in his recovery process before pitching in a spring training game. Mets star slugger Pete Alonso said Diaz was the “same guy” after he faced Diaz in live batting practice this spring, according to Newsday’s Tim Healey.

“I’ve been feeling great, I’m putting a lot of work together to get back in the game. I’m really good right now,” Diaz told Feb. 27. “I just started fielding my position, that’s the last thing we’ll do before going to a real game. I started doing that today and I feel great.”

Read More