Feb 27

Fifth starter update: Livan sharp; Garcia not so

GARCIA: Rough day.

GARCIA: Rough day.

Watching Feddy Garcia labor big time against the Cardinals. It’s early, but it has to be frustrating for Garcia, who has given up four runs on a pile of pitches. Garcia is trying to make the team as the fifth starter.

He’s competing with Livan Hernandez, who threw two perfect innings today, Tim Redding and Jon Niese.

If I were betting, I would say Hernandez wins the job, Redding will get slotted as the long man, Niese and Garcia would open in the minors.

Feb 26

Not convinced about Reyes in three hole ….

Every time Jose Reyes goes deep, it seems that soon after he gets into a funk where he starts uppercutting and trying to drive everything and gets away from hitting the ball on the ground. He went deep twice today.

If he becomes a 40-homer guy, fine. But, I don’t really see that happening. Hitting two homers is an aberration. I’d rather see him walk twice a game than go 0-for-4 with two flyballs and two strikeouts.

I don’t see what Jerry Manuel sees in batting Reyes third. I’d rather have him hit first with Luis Castillo second.

Feb 26

Santana scratched for tomorrow ….

Johan Santana has been scratched from tomorrow’s start because of tenderness in his elbow. Jerry Manuel said he would pitch during the regular season, which is manager speak for saying, “I don’t want to make a big thing about this right now.”

Santana pitched through a tender elbow last year.

Tim Redding, who is trying to build up his arm strength, won’t throw off the mound tomorrow. Redding will continue to long toss and won’t go off the mound until next week. The Mets are thinking March 8 for when he’ll get in a game.

Mike Pelfrey will start tomorrow.

Feb 26

Good and bad signs ….

Luis Castillo drove in four runs with two hits yesterday, but Duaner Sanchez walked two hitters on nine pitches.

It’s only one game, so let’s not get carried away either way, but both are key issues for the Mets this season.

Sanchez might never regain his pre-accident form, but something close is imperative if he’s to become a key set-up again. Wildness is not a good way to do that.

A lot has already been written about Castillo. He’s Jerry Manuel’s pet project this spring. Manuel believes leadoff might jumpstart Castillo. It worked yesterday. But, I still have my doubts. I think he’s more ideally suited to hit second with Jose Reyes batting first.