Five pressing issues facing Mets as season fast approaches

port street. LUCIE — The Mets bring most of their team to his coast in Gulf, Florida, for an exhibition game against the Braves and Rays starting Thursday.

There is still work to be won and lost, and the focus will shift to the season opener on March 30 in Miami.

The World Baseball Classic ended Tuesday night, with Team USA representatives Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeill and Adam Ottavino returning to camp by Thursday.

Less than a week after spring training concludes, there are a few Mets questions to ponder.

Who will be the opening third baseman?

That may depend on whether general manager Billy Eppler is ready to move on from Darrin Ruff and give the right-handed DH at-bat to Eduardo Escobar.

Brett Beatty’s battle for third base is just one of the issues the Mets will have to decide before the regular season starts.

That would make an entrance for Brett Batty to play third base.

Rookie Batty was one of the Mets’ bright spots this spring, taking the opportunity presented to Escobar at the WBC.

Batty, who was called up last year when Escobar was injured, effectively bypassed Triple-A, leaving some to wonder if he could benefit from at least a short stretch in Syracuse.

Ruff was disappointed last year, but he may get another shot at the club considering Eppler traded four players to the Giants for the veteran.

Is Brandon Nimmo ready for the season opener?

There’s quiet optimism that this outfielder won’t need a stint on the disabled list to start the season with a sprained right knee and ankle, but if Nemo isn’t ready, the Mets will be on the mend. Has Kana and Tommy Pham as short-term possibilities.

Nemo’s injury seemed to get worse when it happened, as he needed help getting off the field after suffering an injury slipping to second base last Friday.

Will the Mets open with a six-man rotation?

This is an idea Blass considered. David Peterson and Tyler Megill each got a start into the first turn of the rotation, giving Max Scherzer an extra rest.

The Mets are set to play eight straight days to kick off the season, with the first seven at ballparks with retractable roofs (Miami and Milwaukee), taking the postponement out of the equation.

David Peterson
David Peterson

Scherzer is lined up on the pitch for the season opener on March 30, and with an extra starter he won’t have to pitch again until six days later to complete the road trip. Justin Verlander is lined up for his April 6th home opener.

With the addition of a sixth starter, Verlander could pitch Game 2 and get an extra day off before the home opener.

But the Mets could also give a Game 2 start regardless of Peterson or Megill.

With a view to retaining the veteran pitcher long term, the Mets plan to insert a sixth starter when they plan to do long stretches without rest.

Tyler Megill
Tyler Megill

What will be the shape of the bullpen?

David Robertson, Adam Ottavino and Drew Smith are locked up for the season opener, as is Brooks Reilly.

Tommy Hunter is in solid form for a spot, and Dennis Santana, who was unwaived by the Twins last weekend, has no minor league options left.

John Curtis has excelled in his comeback from Tommy John surgery and positions himself for a roster spot.

The final spot comes from a list that includes Stephen Nogocek (from minor league options), Jeff Brigham, Eliza Hernandez and Jimmy Yakabonis.

Which stocks have seen the most gains this spring?

Ronnie Mauricio earned MVP honors in the Dominican Winter League, followed by a strong run in the Grapefruit League with four homers and .922 OPS in 35 at-bats.

The question may be whether the Mets should trade Mauricio at a premium or keep him at Triple-A Syracuse this season as shortstop insurance in case Francisco Lindor sustains a long-term injury. If Mauricio stays with the organization, his future will be second baseman or outfielder.

Beyond Mauricio, reliever Steven Ridings’ speed and movement made the camp buzz. Pitching his coach Jeremy Hefner recently told The Post that the right-hander “has some of the best I’ve ever seen.” But Riding, returning from a shoulder injury, is a long-term project that needs to show he can stay on the mound.

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