PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Temperatures at Mets camp took a noticeable dip on Saturday morning, which only served to disguise how few calendar flips are left until Opening Day. As if to remind themselves, the Mets reassigned three more players to Minor League camp, reducing the number in big league camp to 36 -- or 33 not counting injured pitchers Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell. Almost everyone left in the clubhouse has a legitimate chance to make the team.
Saturday's cuts were left-handed reliever Scott Rice, right-hander Chasen Bradford and outfielder Alex Castellanos.
Bradford, a longtime Mets farmhand, posted a 4.15 ERA in nine spring outings, walking six batters over 8 2/3 innings. Castellanos, who signed this winter on a Minor League deal, batted .222 with one home run in 36 at-bats. He will start regularly at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rice, 33, finished with a 9.64 ERA in seven outings, leaving the Mets with only two left-handed relief candidates left in camp: Dario Alvarez and Sean Gilmartin. The latter faced one man in Saturday's win over the Nationals, walking Bryce Harper on five pitches. Both he and Alvarez have struggled with their control all spring, walking a combined 10 batters in 15 innings.
For that reason, the Mets remain likely to sign or trade for a left-handed reliever next week, filling Edgin's roster spot that way.
Uncertainty exists elsewhere at the back end of the bullpen, depending in large part on the health of Vic Black's right shoulder. Regardless of whether Black is ready, rookie Rafael Montero is a near-lock to make the team, while non-roster invitee Buddy Carlyle is trending in that direction.
The Mets are also developing a contingency plan in the event that second baseman Daniel Murphy must miss Opening Day with a strained right hamstring. If Murphy is unavailable, rookies Matt Reynolds and Danny Muno are the candidates to replace him.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.