MONTREAL - Curtis Granderson sees heroes throughout the New York Mets lineup.
Granderson, who signed a four-year deal with the Mets in the off-season, already likes what he sees from his new teammates ahead of Monday's season opener.
"You can be a hero in so many different ways here, whether it's making a pitch, stealing a base, getting a hit, or closing out a game," said Granderson on Saturday, who played with the city-rival Yankees last year. "No matter what it happens to be, we can win games in so many different ways here."
The Mets closed out their pre-season on Saturday afternoon, losing 2-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. On Friday, New York lost 5-4 in the first of two exhibition games between the Mets and Jays in Montreal.
Despite the back-to-back losses, Granderson is confident the Mets (14-16) are better than they have been in recent memory.
"You have to start building that camaraderie when you get a chance to in spring training, which we were able to do," he said. "The youth, the energy, and the plan have all been there. We're about to go to battle for six months, hopefully seven months."
New York's march towards that seventh month of baseball — post-season play — begins March 31 at home with a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.
After a highly successful spring training, Dillon Gee will get the start on Opening Day. Gee, whose 1.08 earned-run average in 16 and two-third innings was New York's best, will become the 23rd Mets pitcher to open a season.
Gee's dominant performance over the course of the six-week spring training was only part of the decision to send him to the mound on Monday. The Mets open their season with a few starting-rotation pitchers struggling with injuries.
Ace Matt Harvey, on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery last October, could miss the entire 2014 season. Jonathan Niese, also on the DL, is expected to be game-ready by the first week of April.
Starting for the Mets after Gee will be 23-year-old Zack Wheeler, and newly acquired Bartolo Colon.
New York's fifth starter, Jenrry Mejia, is dealing with inflammation on his right forearm after taking a line drive off the bat of Ryan Goins in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Blue Jays on Friday.
Mejia will see a doctor in New York to determine the severity of the injury, but he is still expected to start in the Mets' fourth game of the season against the Cincinnati Reds on April 4.
That leaves Daisuke Matsuzaka out of the starting rotation. The former Red Sox pitcher was sent down to triple-A Las Vegas after Saturday's game.
"I've had confidence in what I've been doing these last few games," he said. "I'm definitely shocked by this decision. I'm disappointed, but I just have to move on."
Matsuzaka pitched well against the Jays on Saturday, striking out eight over five scoreless innings of work.
The teams took the scoreless deadlock into the bottom of the eighth inning, when Toronto's Melky Cabrera hit a two-run shot off Adam Kolarek over the left-field wall.
Eric Young Jr., the Mets' left-fielder, saw Cabrera's bomb soar over his head and into the stands. Young thinks the Mets will be a tough team to face this year.
"We have some more speedsters on the team now, as well as good power," he said. "That combination can be a lot of fun, and a lot of chaos for the other team.
"We showed very good chemistry this spring. Guys are getting along and having fun. All those things are pointing in the right direction and should lead to a fun season."
Between Granderson (RF), Eric Young (LF), Chris Young (CF) and Juan Lagares (CF), the Mets' outfield is one of the team's brightest spots ahead of the upcoming season.
"We have a very athletic outfield," said Granderson. "And the fact that the guys can interchange positions is a very important thing. You know hat what you're putting out there won't be a liability, it's going to be an asset."
On Friday, Toronto beat the Mets in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-hitter Ricardo Nanita singled with two on and two out, giving the Jays the walk-off victory.
Notes: The New York Mets have not made the post-season since 2006, when the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated them in the National League Championship Series. … Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard will begin the season pitching at triple-A Las Vegas. The right-hander could crack the Mets' lineup sometime before July. … The Mets spent $87.25 million on Granderson, Curtis Young and Colon in the off-season. … 50,229 people attended Saturday's matinee game between the Mets and Jays at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.