Sep 10

Doc back in baseball

There was a time when the nickname said it all. When you said “Doc,” everybody knew exactly who you were talking about. Dwight Gooden and the “K” corner was the best there was for several magical seasons at Shea Stadium.

Drugs took it all away, but he saved enough magic for one more night: A no-hitter while with the Yankees in 2006. The Mets’ franchise has never thrown one.

GOODEN: There was a time when he was special.

GOODEN: There was a time when he was special.

After bouncing around the Yankees and Mets in goodwill fashion the past few years, Gooden will now serve as a senior vice president of the Newark Bears, an Atlantic League franchise. Gooden will be the Bears’ community ambassador and work with youth baseball camps and leagues.

 

It is hoped Gooden’s story will sink in with more than a few kids.

I saw Gooden pitch several times and the feeling was always electric. The fastball sizzled and the curve fell off the table and there was always the feeling of utter domination.

Now is a good time to share some Doc moments.

Sep 10

Delgado in 2010?

Jerry Manuel hasn’t closed the door for a return of Carlos Delgado to the Mets for next season. What had been a foregone conclusion might not happen.

“I think it depends a lot on the makeup of the rest of the team, if you have excess in another area – say, speed, then that balances that out,” Manuel said. “If we gear in that direction, it has to be excess if we don’t have any power to balance the team out.”

DELGADO: Do you want him back?

DELGADO: Do you want him back?


An assumption is the Mets would have more power next season with Carlos Beltran available, Jeff Francoeur there for the entire season, and the hoped-for return of David Wright’s power numbers. Given that, the need for Delgado would be lessened.

Of course, none of the above are guaranteed. Then again, neither is Delgado returning to his second-half 2008 form.

Delgado does not help the Mets get younger, faster, more athletic and cheaper. The Mets have to weigh whether Delgado is closer to being the player he was in the second half last season or the first half and most of 2007.

He also has an injury history, and age and his contract are factors. I’d rather leave first base to Daniel Murphy and use the money elsewhere, preferably pitching. The Mets are rapidly making the transition from being the team that had the World Series door slammed in their faces in 2006, and Delgado is holding onto the past.

Agree or not?

Sep 10

Reyes still wants to play

There are games left to be played, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes wants to play in them. OK, maybe a few. All right, at least one.

REYES: Wants to take a few swings this year.

REYES: Wants to take a few swings this year.

With the Mets playing out the string, Reyes wants to test his torn right hamstring one more time. The thought of sitting out the winter and not knowing what to expect next spring training gnaws at him. It’s not much the hitting, or fielding and throwing. It’s the all out running. He wants to know if he can air it out between first and third the way he used to.

This isn’t about the Mets wanting to know his health for the sake of testing the trade market, but for Reyes’ peace of mind. By extension, the Mets would breath easier, too.

“I’m going to still try to come back. I’ve been working so hard to come back, so right now I don’t want to say when but I’m still trying,” Reyes said. “I missed so much time. I’d like to come back to get my confidence back and go into spring training with a better idea.”

Reyes has been on the disabled list since May 26 after sustaining a calf injury that was only supposed to keep him out a few days. He has played in only 36 games with a .279 average and 11 steals.

At the time of the injury, the Mets were in second place, a half-game behind Philadelphia. They are 17 back and should be mathematically eliminated in a few days. Even with nothing to play for, manager Jerry Manuel would like to see Reyes out there.

“The more questions we can answer now, the better off we will be in spring training,” Manuel said.

REYES: Not flying so high anymore.

REYES: Not flying so high anymore.


True enough, but Reyes isn’t even doing any baseball drills. The worst case scenario is out there staring at the Mets as if it were in neon. Reyes completely tears out the hamstring, surgery is required and he’s not ready for spring training.

Reyes isn’t ready and the Mets shouldn’t be considering this kind of talk. If the odds are he’ll need the surgery they should do it now and leave nothing to chance.

Another motivation for Reyes to get out there, and it isn’t a good one, although you have to admire his pride, is he’s chapped by criticism – although nobody with the Mets is publicly saying anything – he’s dogging it.

Carlos Beltran’s return, and the possibility of Carlos Delgado coming back. has fueled Reyes’ ire.

“I don’t know why some people think I don’t want to be on the field,” Reyes said. “I live for baseball. I always play baseball since I was little. I love to be on the field. That’s my main goal. If I ready the last week of the season, I’m going to play the last week of the season.”

Sep 09

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #139; Misch tries to keep roll going.

METS CHAT ROOM

METS CHAT ROOM

The Mets’ decimated pitching rotation in tatters, it continues to be Mike Pelfrey and The Cast of Thousands, trying to see who that day can make it through five innings, or to touch the unimaginable — six innings.

Tonight’s starter, Pat Misch, Nelson Figueroa, Tim Redding and Bobby Parnell have all flashed positive signs that gives one pause to think, “maybe, must maybe, we have something here.”

Then it all goes a way in a flurry or walks and home runs, a reminder why these pitchers are journeymen to begin with. Of the four, Parnell has the best stuff and is the youngest. He has the best chance. He also needs experience. This year the Mets kept him to work out of the bullpen, then turned to him out of necessity. Next spring they should make a decision and stick with it, and that decision should be as a starter.

MISCH: Starts tonight vs.Fish

MISCH: Starts tonight vs.Fish


The others? Well, if Misch, Figueroa or Redding were in next year’s rotation, it would mean Omar Minaya didn’t have a good winter, somebody is still hurt, and count on another long year for the Mets.

Misch, Figueroa and Redding have shown enough positives to where they should be invited to spring training to compete for a long man role. Misch (1-1, 3.25) earned his first major league win Thursday at Colorado, giving up two runs (two solo homers) on four hits in seven innings of an 8-3 victory.

“The key was I minimized the traffic on the bases,” Misch said. “There wasn’t any one on when they got the home runs.”

The Mets will have Carlos Beltran in the line-up again tonight. Beltran was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and went 1-for-4 in his first game since June 21.

“It will probably take him a few games to really find his rhythm at the plate,” manager Jerry Manuel said of Beltran. “I think once that starts he will get on track, so to speak. He looked pretty good.”

Sep 09

Tonight’s batting order vs. Fish

On Free Hot Dog Night at Citi Field, the Mets will send Pat Misch (1-1, 3.25 ERA) to the mound against Ricky Nolasco. In three starts since joining the rotation, Misch has given up three earned runs in 18 innings and three starts since August 23.

Here’s the line-up taking aim at Nolasco (10-8, 5.27 ERA):

Angel Pagan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Josh Thole, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Pat Misch, LP

will start for the Mets. Misch has been a pleasant surprise since being placed in the starting rotation.
Ricky Nolasco will start for the Marlins. It has been an up and down season for Nolasco, a low point coming on August 12 against Houston when he allowed 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings. He has been mostly ineffective against the Mets this season, as he has allowed eight earned runs in 10 innings in two starts, posting an 0-1 record.
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