Mets Matters: Johan Santana Doubtful For Opening Day; Lucas Duda Breaks Out

It is not surprising that GM Sandy Alderson indicated today it is “less and less likely,’’ Johan Santana

would be ready for Opening Day.

mets mattersAlderson attributed that to Santana not being in good shape when he reported to spring training because he didn’t go through his normal off-season routine after extensive rehabbing the previous two winters.

“From my standpoint, his arm is fine, as far as we know,’’ Alderson told reporters. “Was he ready to pitch when he came into camp? No. Even he may have been a little surprised by that.

“So that leaves us where we are today. And where we are today is getting him ready to pitch as soon as we possibly can. We haven’t rule out Opening Day, although given when we think he might get on the mound, it becomes less and less likely. We haven’t given up on that notion yet. And we’ll see where it takes us.’’

The Mets are kidding themselves in thinking Santana has a chance to make the Opening Day start because he hasn’t thrown off the mound since Feb. 19.

Jonathan Niese will start if Santana opens the season on the disabled list. In that scenario, ESPN reports the earliest Santana could start would be the sixth game of the season.

Also expected to open the season on the disabled list is closer Frank Francisco, meaning Bobby Parnell will get that opportunity.

PITCHING UPDATE:  Shaun Marcum, LaTroy Hawkins and Pedro Feliciano are expected to pitch in a “B’’ game Tuesday against the Marlins.

Marcum and Hawkins have been working in the bullpen to build up their arm strength. Feliciano, who has a heart ailment, was cleared to resume throwing, and will wear a heart monitor.

TODAY’S GAME: The 8-8 tie with Miami reminded me that there was a time when they played extra innings during spring training.

I don’t know when they stopped, but I remember a story that Pete Rose got his break during a long extra-innings game in which he made an impression with several extra at-bats.

I am sure he’s not the only one.  There’s no telling who might have had a chance to shine if the game lasted a few more innings.

The game sure has changed.

Even so, two Mets in particular left the game with a good taste in their mouths.

The first was Matt Harvey, who gave up a leadoff homer to Chris Yelich, then settled in for 2.2 solid innings.

The second was Lucas Duda, who homered and hit an opposite-field double. Manager Terry Collins was more impressed with the latter because it reflected positively on alterations he made with his stance.

Going the opposite way is vital for Duda, because it shows patience and means shortening his stroke. Statistically, this should lead to reduced strikeouts and more walks, thereby adding to his on-base percentage.

Duda will open the season in left field, which, at Citi Field is easier to handle than in right.

2 thoughts on “Mets Matters: Johan Santana Doubtful For Opening Day; Lucas Duda Breaks Out

  1. I liked that Duda hit the home run off a left hander. John, you hit on a good point and I have commented on this before. Left field is easier to play then right and Duda has played left field a lot more than right field in the minors. He will be much more comfortable out there. Additionally, Duda will be playing behind Wright and Tejada, who can go back on the ball much better than Murphy and Davis. This will allow Duda to play deeper.

    Keith Hernandez said it best today on the broadcast when he commented about how everyone was worried about Duda after two spring training games. Hernandez laughed at all of the comments being made about Duda and how peole were concerned with him when it was only the second game of a long spring training. They have a month to get ready.

    The one player that I have also commented on before and have see him play many times is Colin Cowgill. I am telling all Mets fans right now, this guy will be a fan favorite and will play more than people expect. He can hit right handlers and left handlers. He will make plays with how hard he plays on the field. I saw him play in Reno for a whole year and he can hit and defend. He has been blocked in Arizona and Oakland.

    The one player that I think needs to be on this team is Valdespin. How he fits on this team I don’t know but I am thinking he needs to be on it. I would like to know what anyone else is thinking on this.