PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets will wear a uniform patch this season to honor late Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, featuring Carter's No. 8 emblazoned upon a white home plate.
Carter, who spent five of his 19 big league seasons in New York and is a member of the Mets Hall of Fame, died last week following a nine-month battle with brain cancer.
The Mets will also wear a 50th-anniversary patch throughout the season.
Mets young hurler Harvey impresses early
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After one of Matt Harvey's particularly nasty curveballs, Ike Davis jumped backward and let out a whoop.
"If it was a two-strike count there," Davis said afterward, "I definitely would have been walking back to the bench."
It was nothing more than the first day of live batting practice at Mets camp, where pitchers throw glorified bullpen sessions to hitters who are free to -- but rarely do -- swing. Harvey, a top prospect and one of a half-dozen Minor League pitchers in big league camp, used the opportunity to show off his four-seam fastball, improved curveball and sinker.
He drew a crowd.
"Obviously, that's a pretty impressive looking pitcher," manager Terry Collins said. "We all know he can throw hard. Now it's a matter of dealing with the process, and that's getting better."
Barring something completely unforeseen, that process will not include an assignment to the Opening Day roster. Most likely, Harvey will begin the year back at Double-A alongside fellow prospects Jeurys Familia and Zack Wheeler, before working his way up to the Major Leagues by September. But that timeline has not stopped Harvey from approaching coaches on a regular basis, asking what he must do to make the club now.
"That's where I want to be," Harvey said. "I came to camp trying to make the team."
Collins considers that a positive sign from a player unusually determined to improve his abilities. Harvey, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, considers it normal.
To achieve his goals, Harvey has worked hard on his curveball, a pitch that has all but replaced a slider in his arsenal. He has also worked on a two-seam fastball, which he hopes to utilize more often this season.
It was the curve that most impressed Harvey's onlookers Saturday, at a time when pitchers are not yet lighting up radar guns.
"The last one he threw to me started on my hip," catcher Josh Thole said. "I jumped out of the way and it was down the middle. You don't see that on an everyday basis."
Mets interest in Kazmir 'tepid' at best
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets came away unimpressed with Scott Kazmir's second workout in Texas and have only a "tepid" interest in signing the left-hander, general manager Sandy Alderson said Saturday.
After Kazmir threw for a handful of scouts earlier this month, the Mets were the only Major League team to attend his second workout on Friday. Based upon the reports he received, Alderson characterized Kazmir's performance as "fair," indicating that a reunion is unlikely.
A first-round Draft pick of the Mets in 2002, Kazmir, 28, has not pitched regularly in the big leagues in two years. Battling elbow and shoulder issues since 2008, the left-hander is 19-24 with a 5.54 ERA over the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was a two-time All-Star, striking out an American League-best 239 batters for Tampa Bay in 2007.
Mets reveal 2012 promotional schedule
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Banner Day and John Franco's induction into the Mets Hall of Fame highlight Citi Field's 2012 promotional schedule, which the team unveiled Saturday.
The Mets will give away 490,000 items throughout the 2012 season, in a series of promotions that also includes Franco's induction (June 3) and the return of Banner Day (May 27). Other highlights of the promotional schedule include the club's 50th anniversary bobblehead series (various dates), the popular Cap Trade nights (June 22-24) and mini bat day (July 7).
The full promotion schedule is available here. Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, March 5 at 10 a.m. on mets.com.
• Shortstop Ruben Tejada was expected to land in Miami around 3 p.m. ET Friday and report to Mets camp in time for his physical on Saturday. Manager Terry Collins, who was disappointed that Tejada did not arrive early, plans to speak with his new starting shortstop first thing Saturday morning. "I'm not going to yell and scream at Ruben Tejada," Collins said. "All I want to find is an explanation to get him to understand that there are priorities."
• Left-hander Johan Santana will throw an "up-and-down" bullpen on Sunday, splitting the session in half to simulate resting between innings of a game. Santana will long toss early next week and pitch a live batting practice session toward the end of the week, before starting the Mets' second Grapefruit League game on March 6.
• The Mets' exhibition rotation is set. Dillon Gee will start the Grapefruit League opener on March 5, with Santana and Jeurys Familia pitching both halves of the club's split-squad games the following day. R.A. Dickey will follow Santana in the March 6 game at Digital Domain Park, setting up the following regular-season rotation: Santana, Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Gee, in that order.
• Top prospects Zack Wheeler and Brandon Nimmo were among 34 Minor Leaguers who reported to the Mets' annual STEP camp this weekend. The program, which takes place before Minor League camp begins, is designed to acclimate prospects to the rigors of professional baseball on and off the field.