Home News Dominic Hamel, Ryan Clifford shine in Spring Breakout Game while Shintaro Fujinami’s...

Dominic Hamel, Ryan Clifford shine in Spring Breakout Game while Shintaro Fujinami’s struggles continue

Two games were played Friday at Clover Park, with the Mets‘ young pitchers shining in one and a veteran pitcher struggling in the other.

A group of prospects beat the Washington Nationals in the inaugural MLB Spring Breakout game, 4-2, with Ryan Clifford, Vincent Perozo, Kevin Parada and Jeremy Rodriguez driving in runs, while right-hander Dominic Hamel tossed two solid innings as the starter.

The Spring Breakout games, a new initiative by the league to showcase top talent during spring training, featured prospects who received Grapefruit League reps as well as players who had yet to see the main field this spring. Two of the Mets’ most recent draftees, right-hander Brandon Sproat and shortstop Colin Houck, impressed. Sproat needed only six pitches — all strikes — to retire the side, striking out two and touching 99 MPH with his fastball.

Houck went 1-for-2 at the plate.

The Mets scored in the first inning and the Nats came back to tie the game in the second when T.J. White hit an RBI double off Hamel. That was the only run given up by Hamel, who also struck out two.

Spring training is starting to wind down and the prospects can continue preparing for their season. The Mets aren’t in a hurry to rush any of their top guys, especially their pitchers, so fans won’t be seeing them in too many more Grapefruit League games this year.

The big league Mets had a rough night on the mound in the Grapefruit League game that followed. Adrian Houser, who retired all 10 batters faced in his last start, was tagged for four earned runs over five innings of work in a 7-3 loss.

Right-hander Shintaro Fujinami gave up three earned runs without recording an out. A hard-throwing reliever, Fujinami is an intriguing project for the Mets because of his velocity, but a bullpen spot out of camp is far from guaranteed. This performance didn’t do him many favors.

The strike zone eluded Fujinami, who threw 22 pitches but only eight for strikes. He hit the first batter he faced, walked the next one and threw three wild pitches.

Delayed by a visa issue and a personal matter in Japan, he’s been throwing in games just about every other day since he returned to Port St. Lucie. In four appearances, he’s allowed five runs (four earned) on three hits, walking four, hitting one and striking out three over 2 2/3 innings (13.50 ERA).

Left-hander Brooks Raley and right-handers Jorge Lopez and Phil Bickford each threw scoreless innings. Bickford has gone scoreless after giving up three earned runs in his first spring training game earlier this month.

DJ Stewart helped his cause with a home run, his first of spring training. Francisco Lindor and Harrison Bader each went 2-for-3 at the plate.


New for 2024 is the Silver Sluggers Club, a program for Mets fans aged 55 or over. It’s meant to foster community for senior fans through various initiatives led by Jay Horwitz, the club’s vice president of alumni relations.

“The Mets have been committed to providing a best-in-class experience for all fans at Citi Field,” Horwitz said in a statement. “By bringing the Silver Sluggers Club to the ballpark, Citi Field goes beyond a place for Mets fans to watch a game and becomes a social space for people to gather and form a community.”

Horwitz, a longtime former PR director, will host pregame and virtual events for the Silver Sluggers throughout the season, including social meetups, a virtual book club and a warning track salute. Silver Slugger members will also be offered three different ticket packages for select weekday matinee home games with seating in shaded and protected areas in two different sections of Citi Field.

The team also announced that the Teen Club and Kids Club will return for the 2024 season.


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