David Wright doesn’t want to think of the Mets as underdogs

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Yesterday, Jeff Wilpon gave Mets players t-shirts with a “U” on them — the Underdog symbol, reflecting that no one really thinks the Mets are gonna do anything this year.

T-shirts with slogans on them don’t really do anything — I still haven’t found the beef and I am not, in fact, a pepper, despite what shirts I owned in the 1980s suggested — but they’re harmless enough. And for crying you loud, the atmosphere around the Mets has been so dreary for so long, at least someone was trying to have a little fun.  All the better that the guy trying to have the fun — Wilpon — is the boss.

But David Wright will not have any of these shenanigans:

“I don’t really like using the whole underdog thing. I don’t really like playing that card. I think it’s just a way to remind everybody in here that the outside expectations aren’t the expectations that we have for ourselves.”

Thanks for your input, Buzz Killington. I look forward to your “We believe we should win the division but, at the end of the day, we will be satisfied with whatever happens as long as we put forth a solid effort and play with integrity and dignity” t-shirts.  Those things should sell like hotcakes.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.