Mar 04

Mets Matters: Nieuwenhuis Has Big Day

As far as first impressions go, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a great one going 4-for-4 with a RBI in the Mets’ 8-2 rout of Atlanta.

mets-matters logoNieuwenhuis, who is out of options, is competing Matt den Dekker for a reserve outfield spot. Not having options gives Nieuwenhuis an edge.

“He’s out of options, so it’s nice to see him have a big day,’’ manager Terry Collins told reporters. “He’s had to battle so many injuries in the last couple of years. The one thing we saw both he and Matt do, that’s shorten their swings up a little bit to where they can put the ball in play more consistently.’’

Today’s box score: Mets 8, Atlanta 2

GEE ROCKED: Dillon Gee, whom the Mets are trying to deal, gave up two runs in a two-inning, 35-pitch debut.

Gee is next scheduled to pitch Sunday out of the bullpen.

EXTRA INNINGS: Wilmer Flores left the game in the fifth inning when he was hit by a pitch on his left pinkie finger. … Flores’ replacement, Matt Reynolds had a RBI single. … Leadoff hitter candidate Juan Lagares had two hits, including a double, with a walk and run scored. … Lucas Duda, out with a left intercostal muscle strain, swung the bat. … Former Met Eric Young, stole a base on Travis d’Arnaud. … The Mets play Washington Thursday (5:05 p.m.), with Bartolo Colon getting the start. Gabriel Ynoa, Cory Mazzoni and Josh Edgin will also work for the Mets.

Mar 02

Mets Matters: Looking At Harvey, Left Field And Other Issues

It is way too early for rave reviews, but the first impression of Matt Harvey have been positive. Harvey threw to hitters – who swung this time – Monday morning and the reaction has been good.

Curtis Granderson especially liked Harvey’s command, telling reporters: “The big thing is he went to both sides of the plate really consistently and accurately and effectively. If he did miss, it was a miss that he wanted to make — not toward the middle of the plate.’’

mets-matters logoHarvey is ready, if not anxious.

“Once the hitters start swinging, that’s kind of a sign games are near and the season is coming closer,’’ Harvey said. “For us it’s exciting. Especially being 18 months from a competitive game, it’s a good feeling.’’

This is the last time for Harvey to be scheduled against hitters before Friday’s exhibition game against Detroit.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Harvey is slated to throw 35 pitches over two innings Friday, and will not exceed 40 pitches.

DUDA TO SWING THIS WEEK: First baseman Lucas Duda, bothered by a strained left intercostal muscle, could start hitting off a tee this week.

Manager Terry Collins said if that goes well he could start taking batting practice next week.

UP IN THE AIR: Collins hasn’t decided who’ll be his leadoff hitter, but favors Juan Lagares over Granderson.

Collins wants Lagares’ on-base percentage, which was .321 last season, to be in the .330 to .340 range.

Left field is to be determined between Granderson and Michael Cuddyer. Neither is greatly experience in left field, but both say they are willing to play wherever Collins wants. Cuddyer has three career starts in left, while Granderson has 22. Collins will rotate them for two weeks before making a decision.

“Obviously I don’t have much experience, but at the same time there’s no saying that I can’t come over there and learn,’’ Cuddyer told reporters about playing left field. “I take a lot of pride in being an athlete, not just a right fielder or a first baseman. It’s being a baseball player. And the definition of being a baseball player is going out and playing baseball where the manager puts you. So it’s fine with me.’’

You love to hear that stuff.

 

Feb 28

Mets Matters: Collins Prefers Lagares At Leadoff

Mets manager Terry Collins stated a preference today for Juan Lagares over Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter.

Lagares has the speed, but strikes out too much and doesn’t have the on-base percentage – at least not yet – needed for that slot in the order. Lagares’ on-base percentage last year was .321 and Collins said he’d like it to be in the .330 to .340 range.

“You’d like it higher, but we’ve got to start with a reachable number for sure,’’ Collins told reporters today in Port St. Lucie.

mets-matters logoTODAY’S PRACTICE RAINED OUT: As they are several times every spring, rain forced the Mets into the inside today.

The Mets have batting cages and pitching mounds under cover, and there’s always a contingency plan for practice inside in case of inclement weather.

Both in good weather and bad, nearly every minute is scripted and accounted for.

HARVEY UPDATE: On the day after throwing 43 pitches to non-swinging hitters Friday, Matt Harvey reported no pain in his surgically-repaired elbow today.

Harvey is expected to throw batting practice Monday and start the March 6 exhibition game against Detroit at Tradition Field.

The Mets’ exhibition schedule begins Wednesday against Atlanta at the Disney complex in Orlando. Dillon Gee is scheduled to start, thereby starting the showcasing.

The Mets will hold an intrasquad game Tuesday.

Feb 27

Mets Matters: Harvey Sharp In Throw Session

Matt Harvey threw two 20-pitch sessions to hitters without pain Friday and is on track to start, March 6, against Detroit.

Harvey threw to David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy, who only tracked pitches and did not swing.

Harvey couldn’t be happier.

“It was awesome,’’ Harvey told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “You step in the box and you have David in there, it’s a good feeling to have that and be back. I couldn’t feel better. It was a good day.

“The biggest thing today is getting used to having somebody in there and getting that feel of somebody standing in the box. Obviously them not swinging, you don’t quite get all the feel of what you need to work on or exactly what is working at the time and what isn’t.’’

Wright liked what he saw: “The biggest thing was it looked like the ball was coming out pretty free and easy. You could see the smile on his face from him being happy to be back out there. As a teammate and a friend, I was happy he was able to get back out there.’’

COLON COULD GET OPENING DAY START: ESPN reported Bartolo Colon could get the Opening Day start, which would be the seventh of his career.

He would make the most sense because he’s used to the buzz and was the Mets’ most dependable starter last season, winning 15 games and working over 200 innings.

EXTRA INNINGS: Manager Terry Collins said Wright, Murphy, Cuddyer and Granderson would sit out the first few exhibition games.

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.