Feb 27

All Eyes On Harvey Today

The longest journey begins with a single step and Matt Harvey will take another one today when he throws to hitters for the first time this spring. The toast of New York two years ago when he captured the town’s imagination with his blazing fastball and grit, will again have all eyes on him.

HARVEY: All eyes on him this morning. (AP)

HARVEY: All eyes on him this morning. (AP)

Harvey last pitched, Aug. 24, 2013, when he left in pain with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Two months later, after much deliberation and against his initial hopes, he underwent elbow surgery.

Harvey’s rehab has included long-tossing, throwing off the mound – including to non-swinging hitters. Today, non-swinging batters will look back at him. However, as it was with Bobby Parnell on Thursday, the batters will just track pitches to give Harvey a feel for what it’s like.

Harvey told reporters: “How these things usually go is guys will stand in and kind of watch, monitor and track pitches – which guys did last year. I think once they start really getting the counts and have somebody behind there [umpiring], I think that’s when [the significance] will start.’’

Well, that’s totally not true, as it will be highly significant if Harvey walks off the mound this morning without any pain. The book on Harvey is he pushes the envelope and the last thing the Mets want is for him to push it beyond what is scheduled. He doesn’t need to prove he can still throw hard or drop off a 12-to-6 curveball.

Just get in, get out, get iced, answer the questions you’ve anticipated for nearly 18 months and prepare for your March 6 exhibition start against Detroit.

ON DECK:  What went on with Lucas Duda?

 

Feb 26

Mets Matters: Duda Out Longer Than Expected; Pitching Updates

He’s a Met and it’s an injury, so you know this isn’t the best news. Initially it was a strained oblique muscle and Lucas Duda wouldn’t be able to swing the bat for two or three days. The injury was subsequently re-diagnosed to be a strained left intercostal muscle and will be out for at least a week.

Reportedly, Duda has been dealing with the injury for a couple of weeks.

mets-matters logoHARVEY TO THROW FRIDAY: This is what we’ve been waiting for since he last pitched in August of 2013. Matt Harvey will throw to hitters for the first time Friday. Presuming he does well, he’ll make an exhibition start, March 6, against Detroit at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

PARNELL THROWS: Reliever Bobby Parnell threw to hitters Thursday. The batters stood in the box without swinging. Parnell told reporters: “It felt good to see some hitters in the box. It was a big step.’’

Parnell, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, will open the season on the disabled list.

EARLY SPRING ROTATION SET: Manager Terry Collins named his early exhibition rotation:

Dillon Gee and Jon Velasquez, (March 4); Bartolo Colon and Gabriel Ynoa, (March 5); Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, (March 6); Jacob deGrom, Matt Bowman, Steven Matz and Rafael Montero, (March 7 split squad game).

ON DECK: I will preview Harvey’s throw day tomorrow morning.

Feb 26

Exhibition Rotation Announced

You can’t read anything, such as who will be the Opening Day starter, into manager Terry Collins’ announcement this afternoon about his spring training rotation:

Wednesday, March 4, at Atlanta: Dillon Gee with no mention of who will follow him.

Thursday, March 5, at Washington: Bartolo Colon with Gabriel Ynoa in relief.

Friday, March 6, Detroit at Port St. Lucie: Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard. The game will be televised by SNY.

Saturday, March 7, Atlanta at Port St. Lucie: Jacob deGrom with Matt Bowman in relief. This is a split squad game, with Steven Matz and Rafael Montero working against Miami.

There is no mention when Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler pitch.

ON DECK: Mets Matters: Today’s notebook.

Feb 26

Forget Murphy Contract Talks, He’s A Goner After This Year

It is a moot point regarding Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Reports out of Port St. Lucie Thursday say Murphy is open to negotiations about a contract extension. He doesn’t want to talk during the season, but said his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, are available.They shouldn’t wait for the phone to ring because it won’t as the Mets are willing to let Murphy walk after this season when his $8-million contract expires.

MURPHY: He's gone. (AP)

MURPHY: He’s gone. (AP)

“As of right now, I’m a Met for this year for sure,’’ Murphy told reporters. “I’d love to be here in the future. That, again, is way in the distant future. I’ve got too much anxiety about today to worry about what happens in November.’’

Murphy will be shopping for a team in November, because if the Mets really wanted him they could have tied him up to a multi-year deal a long time ago.

After trying for a long time to find a place for the natural third baseman to play, the Mets tried left field and first base before settling on second base. It took time, but he’s developed into a better than average defender at the position.

The Mets tried to trade him and undoubtedly will want to move him at the deadline as to dump salary. If they wanted him, he’d be here, but the Mets’ unwillingness to negotiate speaks volumes.

And, with the Mets having other options – among them: Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds – it is clear Murphy isn’t in their future. At the most, it would be just like it was with Jose Reyes. They will make a token offer – one they know he won’t accept – then just let him leave.

So, if you’re a Murphy fan, enjoy him while you can, because he’ll soon be a goner.

ON DECK:  Spring training rotation.

 

Feb 26

Projecting Mets’ Opening Day Roster

With the exhibition games about to begin shortly, I thought it would be a good time to post my initial projection of the Mets’ 25-man Opening Day roster.

Whether it is Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon or Jon Niese, don’t look for the Mets to deal any of these starters. Anticipate Gee making the team in the bullpen.

NIESE: Only lefty starter. (AP)

NIESE: Only lefty starter. (AP)

Assuming no injuries or trades – and there are no signs of the latter occurring – this is how I envision the Mets’ Opening Day roster:

STARTING PITCHERS (5)

Matt Harvey: If he’s there, don’t exclude him as the Opening Day starter.

Zack Wheeler: If he improves his command he could have a breakout year.

Jon Niese: The lone lefty. I’d slot him third in the rotation order.

Bartolo Colon: Threw over 200 innings last season, won 15 games to provide valuable veteran presence.

Jacob deGrom: Hoping to avoid sophomore jinx.

BULLPEN (7)

Dillon Gee: Slated for long relief and spot start duty.

Jenrry Mejia: Gets closer role because Bobby Parnell won’t be ready until May.

Jeurys Familia: Eighth-inning set up and situational role.

Vic Black: Set-up and situational role.

Josh Edgin: Situational lefty.

Carlos Torres: Spot starter and long relief roles.

Seventh reliever: Barring a trade or signing, this spot could go to Scott Rice.

CATCHERS (2)

Travis d’Arnaud: Showed offensive potential, but needs to improve holding runners.

Anthony Recker: Back-up catcher. I would like to see him get more time because of power potential.

INFIELDERS (7)

Lucas Duda: Has strained side muscle and currently limited. Mets hoping for 30-homer encore.

Daniel Murphy: Steadiest bat will be closely watched at the trade deadline.

Wilmer Flores: The shortstop job is his to lose. Hoping Terry Collins gives him a long leash.

David Wright: A lot depends on him staying healthy.

Ruben Tejada: Collins says in the shortstop mix, but will back up at short and second.

Dilson Herrera: Made strong impression last year. I’d like to see him play more.

Eric Campbell: Can play the infield corners, outfield and will be tested at catcher this spring.

OUTFIELDERS (4)

Michael Cuddyer: Won NL batting title two years ago.

Juan Lagares: Center fielder could also bat leadoff.

Curtis Granderson: Also being considered as leadoff hitter. I’m not expecting 40, but 30 homers would be great.

John Mayberry: Adds right-handed bat.

ON DECK TODAY:  Previewing Matt Harvey’s throw day.