Justin Verlander admits he has ‘some work to do’ after rough Mets start


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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Justin Verlander got in his work, but otherwise didn’t have many positives to offer about his outing Monday night.

“I have got some work to do — that was a tough one,” the Mets co-ace said after walking six batters over 4 ²/₃ innings in his team’s 3-2 exhibition loss to the Nationals.

“I don’t think you ever want to go through spring and breeze through everything, so it was nice to have a lot of traffic tonight. Obviously I would have liked to navigate it a hair better, but it wasn’t by far my best.”

Verlander allowed two runs and two hits in his penultimate start of the Grapefruit League season.

The right-hander expects to pitch again Sunday in Port St. Lucie and will then slot into the opening series rotation in Miami somewhere behind Max Scherzer, who is on track to pitch Opening Day on March 30.

Justin Verlander

As he adjusts to the pitch clock, Verlander said he needs to perhaps slow his pace, especially with runners on base.

Omar Narvaez watched just about every Mets game that was televised during his stint with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

“I kept track of how everybody was doing,” Narvaez said.

The veteran catcher figures to receive the majority of reps behind the plate for the remainder of spring training as he continues to learn a new pitching staff after signing with the team over the winter.

“Omar needs to catch,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Showalter has spoken with Jeff McNeil and expects the second baseman to play catch up by jumping around to minor league scrimmages at the Mets complex upon returning from the WBC rather than getting locked into Grapefruit League games.

Pete Alonso’s plan is to rejoin the Mets on Florida’s west coast and play in scheduled exhibition games against the Braves and Rays. Team USA, which includes McNeil and Alonso, will play in the WBC final on Tuesday.

Jeff McNeil, legging out a single earlier this month, will catch up on his training by playing in minor league scrimmages.

Mike Vasil, one of the Mets’ highly-regarded pitching prospects, will start Thursday against the Braves, allowing Carlos Carrasco to remain behind in Port St. Lucie and get in his work in a minor league game.

Scherzer is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Tuesday is the Mets’ final day off breaking camp.

They will return to play five straight days of Grapefruit League games before an intrasquad scrimmage is held Monday at Clover Park.

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