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Rumble Ponies manager Lorenzo Bundy checks in from spring training

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(WBNG) -- Mets minor league players are currently in Port St. Lucie for spring training ahead of the 2021 season, which begins May 4.

Rumble Ponies manager Lorenzo Bundy was only with the minor league players for three days last spring training before the pandemic shut things down.

He said the first week of this year's camp has consisted of physicals, COVID-19 testing and getting to know each other.

"We're making progress as far as getting to know the guys and reintroducing ourselves, and just kind of making sure we take care of them and we don't jump back into things so fast, as far as physical work," he said.

Bundy said there are protocols players and coaches have to follow during spring training, and he expects certain guidelines to be in place during the season, although they aren't set in place just yet.

"When we get to Binghamton, there's going to be a lot of responsibility placed on each individual involved with the Rumble Ponies...It's really going to have to be a team effort for us and I think we're going to be okay," he said.

While the Mets have been vocal about getting players vaccinated, Bundy said a plan for minor league players is still being discussed.

"Hopefully we can get everybody vaccinated," he said. "Hopefully everybody wants to get vaccinated and we can take care of that, and that's one less worry we have to have on our minds and we can focus more on baseball than on something that's changed everybody's life."

As far as the upcoming season, Bundy said there are a lot of question marks when it comes to the roster.

"We got a mixture of guys that are working out with us," he said. "Some guys were in High-A St. Lucie last year, some were in Columbia, Low-A last year. There are a couple of free agents working out with us. Who knows how the domino effect will happen when this thing is all over. Maybe somebody that's in the alternate (site), that's already in Brooklyn, maybe we get a guy or two from that group that falls down to us."

Bundy said he's excited to start playing exhibition games next week so he can get a better sense of players.

"I like to see game competition and that gives me a better feel of how guys are looking, how are guys doing," he said. "I'm one of those guys that the practice time is important, but the evaluation part really gives you a better idea when you start to play exhibition games and you get into the battle of competing against each other."

Bundy also weighed in on the new season format, which is set up with six-game series and every Monday serving as an off day.

"The six-game series, I understand it because it takes away the travel," he said. "Usually after three days or four days, you probably don't want to see that team anymore but we understand."

He said he loves the new off-day format because it gives players a consistent day to regroup.

"I think it's going to help keep guys healthy to have that day off...Maybe I use that day as, say a player has a little nagging injury or something like that, I give him Sunday off and now that ends up being two days off. I think it's good, I really do," said Bundy.

The Rumble Ponies season begins May 4 on the road in Akron. They return for the home opener on May 11, hosting the Altoona Curve at 6:35 p.m.

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Nicole Menner

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