PORT ST. LUCIE — Seth Lugo prefers to be a starter and is accepting his role as a reliever. But mention the word “opener” to the Mets right-hander at your own risk.
“I don’t think an opener belongs in baseball,” Lugo said Thursday, referring to the trend by many teams of using a reliever to work the first inning before summoning the starting pitcher. “Starters are starters. I’m old school. I like the game the way it’s meant to be played.
“I like seeing [Jacob] deGrom go out there and throw seven [innings].”
With roles still unsettled for several pitchers on the staff, it’s possible Lugo could be considered for occasional opening duty, ahead of Steven Matz, should the left-hander crack the rotation. Matz and Michael Wacha appear to be battling for the final rotation spot, with the other headed to the bullpen. But the Mets could also consider an unorthodox arrangement in which the two pitchers split the job, dependent on the opponent.
The Mets, with a strong rotation, have avoided using openers. Lugo could need convincing it’s the right move if he’s asked to fill that role.
“The way I see it if you have an opener who throws a clean first and…