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.

Feb 25

Finding a place for Tatis

TATIS: Looking for a place for his bat.

TATIS: Looking for a place for his bat.

Fernando Tatis’ position just might turn out to be batter. Jerry Manuel said Tatis would rotate off the bench at the infield and outfield corners, just to get his bat in the lineup. It’s a good idea if it is done with consistency so he’ll get enough at-bats to stay sharp.

Tatis is currently bothered with a swollen hand and won’t play today against Baltimore.

Feb 24

Wright said WBC will help in fundamentals

WRIGHT: Likes WBC intensity.

WRIGHT: Likes WBC intensity.

David Wright is not the one to go to if you want to knock the WBC. He’ll be on the Major League Baseball Network tonight trumpeting its praises.

He’s not buying it will take away from preparing for the regular season.

“I think it will help with the development of getting ready for the regular season because you’re talking about playing in meaningful games, big at bats, trying to get runners over, get runners in,’’ Wright said.

“We were talking today with our manager Jerry Manuel and he likes the idea of a lot of us going to play in the classic because it puts us in those real life game situations where every at bat counts, being unselfish, trying to do things for the good of the team, and hopefully that will put us in a position where we are ready come first week of April.”

Not to mention the last week of September.

When I look at the Mets offensively, the deterioration of fundamentals is the main problem. With essentially the same line-up as Willie Randolph’s, pounding the fundamentals has to be Manuel’s biggest challenge.