Several Mets staying sharp in winter ball

Several Mets staying sharp in winter ball

NEW YORK -- Though more than seven weeks remain until the start of Spring Training, plenty of Mets are keeping busy at various Winter Leagues around the Caribbean. Some, such as Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeurys Familia, are hoping to stay sharp in advance of the World Baseball Classic in March. Others are simply trying to make an impression, or receive a few extra reps following injury-shortened seasons.

Here's a look at how the Mets are faring:

Cabrera: The Mets' shortstop has spent the past week with Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan League, where he is 0-for-16 with five strikeouts. No matter. This is merely a tune-up for Cabrera, who aims to play for Venezuela in the Classic. Cabrera spent most of last season battling a chronic knee injury, so the Mets will keep a close eye on Cabrera's health this winter.

Caribbean Winter Leagues

Familia: After prosecutors dropped charges on Familia last week in a New Jersey court, he flew down to the Dominican Republic to join Gigantes del Cibao. Familia threw a live bullpen session on Thursday, according to Gigantes' official website, with an eye toward appearing in his first game next week.

"I'm here to help the team and try to bring a championship again," Familia said of Gigantes, which last won the Dominican League two winters ago. Like Cabrera, Familia hopes to play in the Classic.

Familia's 25th save sets record

Juan Lagares: A shoulder sprain cut short Lagares' winter ball season in the Dominican, though the Mets expect him to be back to 100 percent well before the start of Spring Training. Before sustaining his injury diving for a ball in center field, Lagares hit .170 with nine RBIs in 14 games for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican League.

Rafael Montero: Remember Montero? The Mets still consider him a potential contributor in 2017, considering their relative lack of starting pitching depth. But Montero's struggles have continued in the Dominican League, where he has allowed three runs in one inning for Leones del Escogido.

Montero escapes trouble in 4th

Jenrry Mejia: Though Major League Baseball banned Mejia for life following his third positive performance-enhancing drug test, he is still technically Mets property. Mejia recently resurfaced in the Dominican League, where he has allowed six earned runs in four innings for Licey.

Others of note: Infielder Phillip Evans, whom the Mets left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft earlier this month, is batting .311 in 19 games for Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican League. He hit .335 last year at Double-A Binghamton. Earlier this offseason, 11th-ranked Mets prospect Marcos Molina resurfaced in the Arizona Fall League following a lost year recovering from Tommy John surgery. He remains one of the brightest arms in New York's farm system.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.