Jeff Mathis; Travis d'Arnaud

Travis d’Arnaud could make the Mets out of spring training

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The Mets aren’t likely to compete in 2013 and, as such, keeping Travis d’Arnaud’s service time clock from starting would probably be a wise thing for the Mets to do. And they probably will, but Sandy Alderson isn’t saying that’s a mortal lock:

“I just don’t want to rule anything out,” Alderson said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to create false expectations for our fans or put pressure on Travis. He hasn’t played since last June (because of a knee injury). . . . As far as Opening Day is concerned, he could be with us. But we have a very capable veteran in John Buck as well.

Sounds like if d’Arnaud clearly beats Buck out in camp, the job is his. But if I’m betting I say he starts the year in Las Vegas.

Get it? Betting? Vegas? I, uh … don’t bother, I’ll show myself out.

Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.