As the Mets kicked off their 2020 spring training slate with a split-squad game against the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie on Saturday, Luis Rojas saw the game through a new perspective.
For the first time, Rojas watched the game from the dugout as a major-league manager.
Rojas' Mets fell to the Marlins 5-3 on Saturday, but as is the case with all spring training efforts, the game was more about getting things right for Opening Day rather than immediate results.
Still, Rojas was pleased with what he saw in his first game as a manager.
"I was very excited to watch the guys play," Rojas said after the game. "You've obviously been thinking about coming to spring training and getting together with the guys, going through the opening meeting, everything we've gone through, looking forward to watching the games, and going out there really excited to watch them compete."
"The first inning, guys were having good at-bats throughout our lineup, and now going into the game, we played really good defense today. We turned three double plays today, and (Andres) Gimenez played really good at short and (Max) Moroff did a good job too. … So watching the guys play, that was really exciting today. First game in spring training managing, but up there too watching the guys compete and play, that's something that I was looking forward to."
Rojas watched on as Rick Porcello made his Mets' spring training debut as well. The former Cy Young winner pitched one inning, and while he gave up one run, he struck out one batter and also showed a comfort level with Wilson Ramos behind the dish.
"I thought it was a good inning," said Rojas. "Establishing his fastball down, mixing his curveball, something that early in the bullpens I was watching, he wasn't mixing it much and then he started mixing it more and more every time he did a bullpen and into live BP. … I thought it was a good one inning for him."
"I like Ramos with a knee down trying to get Porcello's fast ball. Porcello's fastball action, the two season, Ramos was really good receiving it down in the zone. There were a couple of strikes early that hit the spots and Ramos was receiving them cleanly. I liked it. I liked the way the inning went about. Two stolen bases and the bloop single, but throwing the ball over the plate where he wanted, down in the zone, and mixing the curveball. Good stuff for him."