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Mets to Field Rookie-Level Team in Florida After One Year Off

The New York Mets are fielding a Gulf Coast League team after a one-year hiatus.

The Gulf Coast Mets, a rookie-level club, will play out of the Major League Baseball franchise’s spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, according to an e-mailed release. The team operated as a Mets affiliate every season from 2004-2011 before being eliminated last season.

General Manager Sandy Alderson said in the release that the team was re-formed because the Mets needed more roster space to develop young players. Last year’s hiatus had nothing to do with money, spokesman Jay Horwitz said today in an e-mail.

New York was 74-88 last season, and finished fourth in the National League East for the fourth consecutive season. The team has made the playoffs once in the last 12 season, and last year drew 2.24 million fans, its lowest total since 2003, according to ESPN.

Gulf Coast League teams play a 60-game schedule. Player are not allowed more than two years of minor-league experience.

The Mets are one of three MLB franchises with nine minor league affiliates, according to the release, joining the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays. Eleven other MLB teams have eight minor-league affiliates, while the remaining 16 franchises have seven minor-league clubs.

Earlier this year the Mets named the Las Vegas 51s their new Triple-A affiliate, replacing the Buffalo Bisons.

-- Editor: Michael Sillup

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