JUPITER, Fla. -- The Mets may be a young team, but they are not without an elder statesman.
The club has informed 41-year-old right-hander Miguel Batista that he has made the Opening Day roster, all but finalizing the bullpen. Batista, who is scheduled to start Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, will serve as a long reliever and spot starter.
"He keeps himself in terrific shape," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He knows what he's doing on the mound. He gives us that veteran presence in the bullpen, which helps. We've got some young people on this team and they can turn to him for some leadership, which he can provide."
The Mets had to inform Batista by Friday morning if he was going to make the team. Had they cut him after that deadline, they would have owed Batista a $100,000 retention bonus.
Instead, the Mets put him on their roster, optioning right-hander Chris Schwinden to Triple-A. Batista will likely join Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Acosta, Bobby Parnell and Daniel Herrera in the Opening Day bullpen, though Herrera will only make the team if Tim Byrdak is not fully healed from left-knee surgery.
Batista won his 100th career game as a starting pitcher with the Mets last summer, posting a 2.64 ERA in five relief appearances and four starts. A veteran of 10 different teams, Batista has spent time as a starting pitcher, closer, middle and long reliever over his 17-year career.
"He'll pitch some short spurts," Collins said. "But he's the one guy that's durable enough. He'll throw enough that if we need a spot start, he can give it to us."
Torres' status for opener is uncertain
JUPITER, Fla. -- Outfielder Andres Torres looked "awkward" while batting in a Minor League game on Friday, Mets manager Terry Collins said, leading to continued uncertainty over whether Torres will be ready for Opening Day.
Finishing 1-for-5 with a single, Torres did not play the field in his first game action since straining his left calf 11 days ago.
"When you don't play for 10 days, two weeks, you can get like that," Collins said. "He's hit in the cage and he's hit off a machine. He's tracked. He's done all the [preliminary] stuff. Now, he's just got to get in there and start to see live pitching, try to pick up [the ball's] rotation and other things that big league hitters do."
Torres will not be able to do that in Grapefruit League games, where his presence would prevent the Mets from backdating a potential disabled-list stint to start the season. The Mets will only use him in one of their final five Major League exhibitions if the center fielder proves completely healthy in Minor League games.
Though that does not necessarily preclude Torres from breaking camp with the team, it certainly makes it more difficult.
"That's the decision we'll have to make next week: what stage we think he's at," Collins said. "Are we better off getting him up there and getting him at-bats and getting him in shape with us, because he's still a big part of the club? Or do we leave him down and go with somebody else in center?"
That somebody would be Scott Hairston, who has recently proven himself healthy after a long battle with a strained left oblique muscle. If Torres does not make the Opening Day roster, it would also open up a spot for Vinny Rottino, who is capable of playing first base, third base and catcher in addition to the outfield.
Grapefruit season strong for Gee despite loss
JUPITER, Fla. -- One mediocre outing could not spoil a strong Grapefruit League season for Dillon Gee, whose six innings on Friday produced a rare occurrence: For the first time all spring, an opposing team hit Gee hard.
"Today was really weird," the right-hander said after giving up four runs and 10 hits to the Cardinals. "I felt awesome in the 'pen. I felt pretty good the first inning, and I kind of lose it after that. I felt like I was struggling and battling myself the whole game."
Even so, Gee took solace in the fact that he allowed no walks and threw his curveball for strikes at will. For Gee, more important than a strong ending to the spring will be a strong ending to the season. Last year, the right-hander faded rapidly after jumping out to an 8-1 record and 3.32 ERA over his first 15 outings.
"When it starts getting to the middle months of the season, when last year he started to run down a little bit, he's got to be able to get through that stage this year," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Because we're going to need him going out there with some quality starts in August."
Left-hander Johan Santana will throw approximately 50 pitches in a side session on Saturday, in his penultimate tuneup before Opening Day. Santana will throw one additional side session before pitching on April 5 against the Braves at Citi Field in his first regular-season game in more than 19 months.
Third baseman David Wright reported no problems after playing for the fourth time in five days on Friday, this time in a day game after a night game. Wright finished 0-for-3 and played five innings at third base.