• Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler threw off flat ground Thursday in his continued rehab from a strained right oblique muscle. The Mets are taking things slowly with Wheeler, who is in line to start Opening Day for Triple-A Las Vegas.
• Though he figures Johan Santana will be healthy enough to start on Opening Day, Jon Niese said he would embrace the challenge if he's asked to fill in. The Mets have already tabbed Niese as their backup plan if Santana is not ready to go, in what the left-hander called "a huge honor." Said Niese: "I'm glad the Mets organization has that trust in me."
• Marlon Byrd made his first spring appearance in center field against Team Venezuela, though he did not receive a defensive opportunity. Byrd could become a center-field hedge for the Mets if Kirk Nieuwenhuis is slow to heal from a bone bruise in his left knee.
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.