- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says his long-term prognosis is good as he undergoes cancer treatment.

“I feel very well,” the 68-year-old said Wednesday after arriving at spring training. “I have therapy every couple of weeks, and the side effects have not been significant. Really, since the winter meetings, I’ve been working full time, and I probably could have been at the winter meetings had I not had some sessions scheduled. I feel great. I’m ready to go. I will disappear from here a couple of times during spring training, just to go back to New York for some additional treatment. Otherwise I should be here and 100 percent and ready to go.”

Alderson had not disclosed the type of cancer. He said he was diagnosed “four or five” days after the Mets clinched the NL East title on Sept. 26 at Cincinnati.

“It was a little surreal, having not been to the World Series in 25 years, having never been diagnosed with cancer,” Alderson said. “It was a little bit odd, but the great thing about the postseason is it was a distraction at that time and distractions are always nice.”

Mets pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday coming off their first NL pennant since 2000 and a five-game loss to Kansas City in the World Series. Alderson was hired by the Mets in October 2010 and presided over a turnaround that led to an NL East-best 90-72 record last year, which stopped a streak of six losing seasons.

“Experience is always positive, I think,” Alderson said. “Even negative experiences can provide lessons. Positive experiences are probably more of a concern, because you don’t want to lose the hard work, the ethic, the overall ethos that surrounds the team that got us there last season. This is a great group of young players and veteran players. There’s leadership up and down the roster.”

New York returns one of the premier pitching rotations, led by Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. The Mets also re-signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and added second baseman Neil Walker and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.

“I really haven’t been this upbeat about a team in a long time, and I think that’s exciting,” said Alderson, whose only World Series title was with Oakland in 1990. “It’s exciting for us, exciting for the players and the fans, as well. We may not have a lot of competition for jobs, but I think we’ll have competition for playing time, and I think that’s just as important.”

While Harvey, deGrom and Matz have had Tommy John surgery, Alderson doesn’t expect those pitchers to have a strict innings limit this year. Zack Wheeler is expected to rejoin the Mets in July following elbow ligament replacement surgery.

In light of their heavy workload last year, Alderson said the young starters probably will be held out of the first four or five days of exhibition games.

“They’ll gradually increase their workload, as they would have,” he said. “I don’t think there will be major changes, but little tweaks that hopefully will keep the burden to a minimum.”

Alderson hopes Mets captain David Wright, limited to 38 regular-season games last year because of a hamstring injury and spinal stenosis, will be able to play in approximately 130 games this season.

Alderson said it is realistic to expect catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki to play other positions during spring training, but the team is hesitant to move d’Arnaud. Alderson said d’Arnuad can be a “plus-plus” player as a catcher.

Alderson said the Mets are unlikely to agree to major league contracts with any more free agents, but the team could make moves late in spring training. Last year, the Mets traded for left-handed relievers Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins during the final week before opening day.

Alderson said he is comfortable with Cespedes playing center field this year and having a full spring training to play the position could allow Cespedes to improve “somewhat, if not significantly.”

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