Mar 13

Mets Today: Matsuzaka Gets Start; Davis And Duda Status Update

Daisuke Matsuzaka entered spring training the frontrunner for the Mets’ fifth starter role, and despite a lackluster two starts, remains the favorite.

Left-hander John Lannan is having a better spring, but appears earmarked for the bullpen, which leaves Matsuzaka with a clear path.

Matsuzaka makes this third start today. In four innings covering his first two games, he is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. He has three strikeouts, but hasn’t walked a hitter.

Noah Syndergaard will also pitch today, with the two expected to fill the nine innings. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will also make the trip.

In addition:

* Ike Davis, who took grounders Wednesday, isn’t expected to play. He’s still wearing a protective boot. Manager Terry Collins said even before Davis could be a DH, has to show he can run without difficulty.

* Lucas Duda, bothered by a strained left hamstring, is closer to returning.

* Ruben Tejada is expected to play. Meanwhile, the Mets continue to monitor the shortstop market, but nothing is imminent.

ON DECK: The hole that is the Mets’ shortstop situation.

Mar 12

Mets Wrap: Alderson On Shortstop Situation; Lannan Sharp In Loss; Davis Still Out

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said shortstop Ruben Tejada is not operating under “a microscope,’’ but it sure seems that way.

Alderson said there’s enough time remaining in spring training for Tejada to make his mark, but at the same time hasn’t ruled out signing Stephen Drew and rumors continue to percolate on a trade with Seattle for Nick Franklin.

Alderson did not discount Wilmer Flores, either. All this adds up to: Shortstop remains unsettled.

In addition:

* John Lannan retired the final eight hitters he faced in a 6-4 loss to St. Louis. The Mets are considering him for a bullpen job.

* First basemen Ike Davis (both calves) and Lucas Duda (left hamstring) remain sidelined. It is possible Duda could play as a DH tomorrow. Davis took grounders today, but still has to prove he can run before he plays.

* Reliever Kyle Farnsworth was hit hard again and his chances of making the Opening Day roster are dwindling. Farnsworth has a March 23 out in his contract.

* Daniel Murphy started for the first time since last Friday and went 0-for-3.

* Closer Bobby Parnell is being clocked at 89 mph., but said he’s not concerned.

* Manager Terry Collins said reliever Carlos Torres would make the Opening Day roster.

 

Mar 12

Lannan Sharp In Loss To Cardinals

Lefty John Lannan scored points again today in his effort to land a role with the New York Mets. Signed to compete for the fifth-starter job, Lannan could make the Opening Day roster out of the bullpen.

Lannan gave up two unearned runs in four innings, but retired his last eight hitters in a 6-4 loss to St. Louis.

Lannan struck out five, but perhaps more importantly, got nine ground-ball outs. What’s next for Lannan, he doesn’t know, but sounded as if he’ll start again.

“The possibility of [relieving] has been brought up to me, just in conversation,’’ Lannan told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “I started today, and I’m going to act as if I’m starting five days from now, until I’m told otherwise.’’

The Mets are projected to carry seven relievers, but currently Scott Rice would be the only left-hander unless Lannan makes the roster.

ON DECK: Mets Wrap.

Mar 12

Mets’ Lineup, March 12, Against St. Louis

The Mets keep looking for a shortstop, so why isn’t Wilmer Flores starting today against St. Louis? He messed up a play Tuesday, but how many as Ruben Tejada botched?

It’s clear the Mets aren’t happy with Tejada and are trying to replace him. Run Flores out there for several days to get a better idea. One game doesn’t cut it.

Given that, here’s today’s lineup:

Eric Young, dh

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Curtis Granderson, rf

Chris Young, lf

Eric Campbell, 1b

Taylor Teagarden, c

Juan Lagares, cf

Ruben Tejada, ss

John Lannan, lhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: I already weighed in on Flores-Tejada. … Lagares and Chris Young have hit up-and-down the lineup this spring, so it’s clear Terry Collins has some decisions to make. … Evidently, Lucas Duda isn’t ready, otherwise he could have been used as a DH. … There’s a Teagarden sighting. We haven’t seen much of him this spring.

ON DECK: The Mets’ shortstop situation.

Mar 12

The Importance Of John Lannan As The Second Lefty In The Bullpen

John Lannan signed with the New York Mets to compete for a spot in the rotation, but circumstances dictate he might have a more valuable role out of the bullpen.

“I think that’s been the plan since Day 1,’’ Lannan said Tuesday about possibly working in relief. “They’ve been pretty transparent with that.’’

The Mets figure to keep seven relievers, but with Josh Edgin sent to the minor league camp earlier this week, it leaves Scott Rice as the only left-hander and an increased importance in Lannan.

Lannan starts today against St. Louis, but after that, figures to get substantial time out of the bullpen in a situational role. In today’s specialized game, teams can’t afford to get by with just one left-handed reliever, especially in the lefty-loaded hitting National League East, which goes beyond Chipper Jones, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Jones retired, and Howard and Utley are on the decline, but the latter two still have their moments with the Phillies, as does Domonic Brown.

Washington could start as many as four lefty hitters in Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, Nate McLouth and Denard Span.

The Braves have Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward, and the Marlins have Greg Dobbs and switch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Obviously, that’s more than Rice can handle, and something we don’t know if Lannan can do. He’s made 148 major league appearances, all as a starter. He’s only started seven of 95 minor league games.

This is not something easily picked up, especially with three weeks remaining in spring training.

Lannan said he can get loose quickly, but there’s more to it than that, as he must see how his arm adjusts to: 1) warming up several times in the same game, 2) how he responds to back-to-back appearances, and 3) how he feels after pitching two or three innings one day and coming back the next.

This is a gamble, no question.