The Mets are off tomorrow, which is a good thing, and gives us some time to look at what is going on for the Mets so far this spring.
Most encouraging has been Johan Santana’s progress through three starts. He’s been healthy and his velocity is gradually increasing.
Jon Niese has been solid and showing all signs he’s on the mend. If Santana isn’t ready for spring training, then Niese is the No. 1 as Mike Pelfrey hasn’t shown he’s capable in that role.
Pelfrey is still an enigma and has shown nothing to prove he’ll go into the season on a role. There’s still something missing in the Mets’ biggest question.
Health questions Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy seem as if they sound, but the latter still has his shaky moments at second base.
Andres Torres had a fast start in center field, but there’s not a reliable backup.
David Wright remains a health question, as does lefty reliever Tim Byrdak. With a hole in the bullpen, the Mets have four candidates vying for the role, with Garrett Olson seemingly having the inside track.
Ruben Tejada has a hamstring problem which was a temporary setback, but those types of injuries have a long recovery period.
We’re a week into the games and already the Mets have had injury issues with David Wright, Ike Davis, and, of course, the day-to-day watching of Johan Santana. Add Lucas Duda to the list. He was scratched from today’s against the Braves with a stiff back. He’ll likely be out until next week.
Here is today’s lineup for the Mets:
Ruben Tejada, SS
Josh Thole, C
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Valentino Pascucci, 1B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
Adam Loewen, LF
Juan Lagares, RF
Mike Baxter, DH
Ronny Cedeno, 3B
Dillon Gee, RP
The Mets are playing two games today, but all eyes are on Port St. Lucie where Johan Santana will make the start against St. Louis.
Here are the Mets’ lineups for today’s split-squad games:
vs. St. Louis at Port St. Lucie.
Andres Torres, cf
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Jason Bay, dh
Ike Davis, 1b
Justin Turner, 3b
Josh Thole, c
Adam Loewen, lf
Mike Baxter, rf
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Johan Santana, lhp
vs. Houston Astros at Kissimmee
Ruben Tejada, ss
Wilmer Flores, dh
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Lucas Duda, rf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Josh Satin, 1b
Vinny Rottino, 3b
Rob Johnson, c
Juan Lagares, lf
Chris Schwinden, rhp
LINEUP COMMENTS: Terry Collins is keeping Jason Bay and Ike Davis together in the batting order, as they would normally be. … In the Houston game he’s also keeping together the double-play combination of Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.
ON DECK: Santana gets the ball.
Manager Terry Collins conducted his first press conference of the spring this morning. He was upbeat and positive as expected, but made no brash projections, which was appreciated.
COLLINS: What is he saying?
However, like with all managers, there was a message beyond Collins’ words. What he said and what he meant are two different things.
Most managers take the one-game-at-a-time approach, but Collins did make the point of saying the team needed to get off to a fast start. He could have added that includes spring training, also.
Why is this important?
Last night at the 32nd Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in New York, Daniel Murphy told reporters that expectations for the Mets this season are to make the playoffs.
“Expectations for us this year are like any other. We expect to go to the playoffs.”
His thoughts on Terry Collins seeing him batting in the leadoff spot:
“I am gonna hit wherever he tells me, I am gonna hit wherever he sees best fit. If I am hitting No. 1 that means I am in the lineup. That’s a good sign for me.”
Murphy reserved his best comment on him raking in 2012 and busting out with Ike Davis:
“I sent Ike Davis a text. I told him I was putting in a request with TC to hit somewhere near him to get some good pitches. That guy is a killer and I want to be near him,” Murphy said. “He kind of laughed and texted back: ‘Let’s go dominate.’ I think we’re ready and excited for the season.”
This guy is sumthin’ else and I’m glad he’s on our side… I’m with 28 too…