Mets spring training tickets are currently on sale for games at Tradition Field. To watch the Mets on the road in Florida, you’ll have to contact the home teams’ web sites.
Tradition Field tickets range from $6 to $25. Tickets are available in all price ranges and against all opponents.
Manager Jerry Manuel suggested to reporters he might bat Luis Castillo first and drop Jose Reyes to third.
I’m not crazy about the idea. My first inclination is Reyes will get power happy and put more balls in the air than he does already.
I wouldn’t have a problem with Castillo first if his legs are sound, but I’d hit Reyes second instead of third. If Reyes improves his on-base percentage, the No. 3 hitter will see a lot more fastballs.
As good as Reyes is leading off, hitting second might make him a better hitter if he becomes more disciplined. I still want Reyes to walk more and strike out less, bunt more and put the ball on the ground. If he’s protecting a good leadoff hitter, it just might go to improve Reyes’ game even more.
HERNANDEZ: Adds depth to rotation.
The Mets’ never-ending search to add pitching depth continued today with the signing of Livan Hernandez, El Duque’s half-brother. Hernandez, 34 next Friday, will compete with Jon Niese, Freddy Garcia and Tim Redding for the fifth starter role. He was signed to a minor league deal, but could earn $1 million if he makes the big league roster.
Bet on it.
“I just feel we need to have numbers,” said GM Omar Minaya. The Mets have 29 pitchers in camp.
Hernandez is an innings eater. He threw 180 last season for Minnesota and Colorado, but logged at least 200 the previous eight years. He has won at least 11 games the past nine seasons.
I like the signing. Minaya is right; a team can’t have too much pitching, and Hernandez has a history of durability.
This signing also leaves Pedro Martinez out in the cold.
Mets ace Johan Santana will not be pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, with the decision made for him by the Venezuelan Baseball Federation.
The Federation announced today it was not willing to the insurance premium required for the Mets to clear Santana, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Oct. 1.
Santana tested his knee this week for the first time since surgery, throwing 18 pitches and participating in conditioning drills. Santana said at the time he wanted to play, but the decision would be made by the Mets.
Thankfully, that decision was made for him today.
CASTILLO: All eyes on second baseman.
The most scrutinized Met figures to be second baseman Luis Castillo, the player GM Omar Minaya would have unloaded in an instant, but nobody was willing to come up with a bag of balls.
Harsh, yes … but Castillo has $18 million remaining on his contract, and is coming off a horrible, yet, injury plagued season. No Met has more pressure to come up with a fast start.
To put the odds in his favor, Jerry Manuel has to put Castillo in the spot in the order to best utilize his offensive skills, and that’s second. When Castillo is on his game, he can slap the ball around, bunt and work the count …. all which help Jose Reyes when he’s on base.
And, if Castillo is getting on base, he can be a distraction to the opposing pitcher, and as a base stealer, draw more fastballs. All this, of course, is theory based on Castillo’s performance before coming to the Mets.
All eyes are on Castillo this spring, and they won’t miss anything.