Many Mets fans believe that the Mets have some glaring flaws in the roster, maybe even fatal ones, and I agree with that notion. But there’s something exhilarating about that day when pitchers and catchers start working out at Tradition Field, and all over Florida and Arizona. There’s hope for the Mets having a great season and a championship run for the first time in 24 years. There’s also something, for me, about the impending change of seasons from the typically rotten Northeast U.S. winter to spring and summer soon to follow.
The Mets pitchers and catchers need to be in Port St. Lucie by Thursday February 18. Already, many players have been arriving and working out. The best early coverage that I’ve seen is Adam Rubin’s blog at the Daily News.
There are some major problems with the roster: Carlos Beltran is out until May, the Mets don’t have a legitimate first baseman or catcher, and they didn’t improve a questionable starting rotation. And to everyone’s chagrin, Luis Castillo is still a Met. Even with all of those perceived problems, there’s still something exciting about the players reporting to work outs. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
The middle of February is about the time each year that I’ve about had it with the Connecticut winter. The weather is awful and it’s great to start thinking about warm weather and sunshine. There really is nothing better than the beginning of spring training. Those roster flaws that I mentioned haven’t gotten me down yet, although they likely will soon enough. For this week, it’s thrilling to be a baseball fan. That’s all I’m thinking about until I start to see the Mets full-time lineup shake out later in the spring.
Pedro Martinez– Threw in Port St. Lucie last Friday and again on Tuesday. The Mets are just seeing how he feels after throwing before putting him up against live hitters.
Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez– Doctors allowed him to take the boot off that he’s been wearing. He’ll be in Port St. Lucie starting a light running and throwing program.
Matt Wise– He’s pitching in a Florida State League game today. The Mets will evaluate his performance. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list now. The Mets want to see how he looks pitching back to back days.
Angel Pagan– He flipped over the railing into the stands catching a fly ball in Los Angeles. He stayed in the game for another inning but Endy Chavez substituted in left field for him. It sounds like it isn’t anything serious.
The big decision for the Mets will come when Matt Wise comes back. Do they DFA Joe Smith or Jorge Sosa? That seems to be the logical choice. Smith has options so it would be easier to do it that way. The problem is that Smith has been more effective than Sosa. This is sure to create a big debate among us in the near future.
Read the full story at ESPN.
I’ve been scouring the Internet today looking for an update on Pedro Martinez’ injury status. This is his sixth week on the disabled list since straining his hamstring in his first start of the season.
Finally, this evening MLB.com posted an update on what Martinez is doing. He’s still throwing side sessions from a bullpen mound in Port St. Lucie. He hasn’t faced live hitters yet but expects to as early as this week.
He’ll need to throw a simulated game or an extended spring training game first. Then he’ll need to make some rehab starts in minor league games. It could be a while before he’s back.
A month ago Pedro was making noise to Dominican newspapers about how he’s going to surprise everyone and be back in New York before the end of April. It’ll be interesting to see what the Mets do with the rotation when he gets back. Mike Pelfrey or Nelson Figueroa will be out. Pelfrey could go to New Orleans and work on his control. I’d prefer to see Figueroa stay in the rotation but he’s probably better suited to come out of the bullpen than Pelfrey.
If you’re headed south for some spring training games Ken Davidoff of Newsday gives a brief review of the sites. PSL gets a B in his grading system. Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale get the highest marks.
It’s so cold here today that just reading this article about the first day in Port St. Lucie made me feel better. Ben Shipgel from The New York Times does a nice job of setting the scene for the players starting to show up for Spring Training. It’s just what we needed on a day like today.