Mar 06

Mets Wrap: Harvey Couldn’t Ask For Better Day

With the exception of a few more innings, Matt Harvey couldn’t have asked for more in his first mound appearance with the Mets since August of 2013. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Harvey’s rehab culminated in two perfect innings in Friday’s 5-4 exhibition victory over Detroit. Harvey struck out three and his fastball topped out at 99 mph.

HARVEY: Perfect start. (Getty)

HARVEY: Perfect start. (Getty)

Harvey was immensely pleased with his performance, and more importantly, with how he felt.

“Things felt so good that the fact that I did have surgery is completely out of my mind,’’ Harvey told reporters. “The big thing is I was happy throwing strikes and not walking anybody. Those are the things you try to work on.

“Especially hearing things about guys going through this process and having tough command, for me, that was the big thing that I was focusing on today. And I was pretty happy about it.’’

Harvey threw only 25 pitches and joked with manager Terry Collins about pitching a few more innings, knowing it wouldn’t happen.

The Mets haven’t clearly defined how they will limit Harvey’s innings this year, but he spoke with dialing down how much, and how hard, he throws between starts.

Of course, with any pitcher coming back from arm surgery, the key is how he feels Saturday. If all is positive, he is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Miami in Jupiter.

MURPHY INJURED: Daniel Murphy sustained a bone bruise and left Friday’s game after being struck by a David Price pitch on the top of his right hand in the second inning.

He was replaced by Ruben Tejada and is considered day-to-day.

EXTRA INNINGS: Shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds homered off Joe Mantiply in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. … Matt den Dekker hit a two-run double. … The Mets committed three errors. … Justin and Jaden Ramos, sons of Rafael Ramos, a NYPD officer murdered in December, were guests of David Wright and served as batboys. … Jacob deGrom will start Saturday against Atlanta at Port St. Lucie. The game will be on WPIX-11.

 

Mar 03

Wright Flashes Captain’s Bars To Syndergaard

David Wright gets it and always has. Now let’s see if the same can be said for Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ captain reprimanded the young pitcher Tuesday for being in the clubhouse eating lunch instead of being on the bench for the intrasquad game.

Without getting in Syndergaard’s face, Wright let it be known Syndergaard’s place was in the dugout, not in an air-conditioned clubhouse. It’s something a team captain should do.

WRIGHT: Shows leadership skills. (AP)

WRIGHT: Shows leadership skills. (AP)

Syndergaard did not immediately move until Bobby Parnell picked up the rookie’s plate and dumped it in the trash.

Call that an exclamation point.

Wright is the captain for a reason, and that is to not only be a good example, but make sure his teammates understand.

“Being a young player, any chance you get to learn, you go out there and learn,’’ Wright told Newsday. “I’m not a big ranter and raver. When I get on somebody, it’s 99-percent private. I’m not going to yell and scream, but when I speak to somebody, when I get on somebody, the point needs to be taken.’’

The Mets have pointed to this year as when they could be competitive and possibly even challenge for the playoffs. Syndergaard is counted on to be a integral piece in the Mets’ development, and if he’s to become what they hope, he must learn how to win.

And, that includes learning the protocols of a clubhouse. If Syndergaard is to eventually be a leader, he can’t be if he’s eating in the clubhouse during a game – even an intrasquad game.

Wright was teaching. He showed Syndergaard there is a right way and a wrong way to being a teammate.

Syndergaard should have known better, but made a mistake. He said he didn’t think it was a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, maybe it wasn’t. But, Syndergaard hasn’t been around long enough to make that decision.

Championship teams are built on little things, and that’s why Wright thought it was a big deal. Lecturing Syndergaard is as much a part of his job description as driving in runs and playing third base.

If he doesn’t step forward, then who will?

“I understand where David was coming from,’’ Syndergaard told Newsday. “We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.’’

Often, there is a mental turning point in a player’s career, as if a light switch was flipped. Maybe Wright turned it on for Syndergaard.

 

Feb 27

Mets Matters: Harvey Sharp In Throw Session

Matt Harvey threw two 20-pitch sessions to hitters without pain Friday and is on track to start, March 6, against Detroit.

Harvey threw to David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy, who only tracked pitches and did not swing.

Harvey couldn’t be happier.

“It was awesome,’’ Harvey told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “You step in the box and you have David in there, it’s a good feeling to have that and be back. I couldn’t feel better. It was a good day.

“The biggest thing today is getting used to having somebody in there and getting that feel of somebody standing in the box. Obviously them not swinging, you don’t quite get all the feel of what you need to work on or exactly what is working at the time and what isn’t.’’

Wright liked what he saw: “The biggest thing was it looked like the ball was coming out pretty free and easy. You could see the smile on his face from him being happy to be back out there. As a teammate and a friend, I was happy he was able to get back out there.’’

COLON COULD GET OPENING DAY START: ESPN reported Bartolo Colon could get the Opening Day start, which would be the seventh of his career.

He would make the most sense because he’s used to the buzz and was the Mets’ most dependable starter last season, winning 15 games and working over 200 innings.

EXTRA INNINGS: Manager Terry Collins said Wright, Murphy, Cuddyer and Granderson would sit out the first few exhibition games.

Feb 26

Projecting Mets’ Opening Day Roster

With the exhibition games about to begin shortly, I thought it would be a good time to post my initial projection of the Mets’ 25-man Opening Day roster.

Whether it is Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon or Jon Niese, don’t look for the Mets to deal any of these starters. Anticipate Gee making the team in the bullpen.

NIESE: Only lefty starter. (AP)

NIESE: Only lefty starter. (AP)

Assuming no injuries or trades – and there are no signs of the latter occurring – this is how I envision the Mets’ Opening Day roster:

STARTING PITCHERS (5)

Matt Harvey: If he’s there, don’t exclude him as the Opening Day starter.

Zack Wheeler: If he improves his command he could have a breakout year.

Jon Niese: The lone lefty. I’d slot him third in the rotation order.

Bartolo Colon: Threw over 200 innings last season, won 15 games to provide valuable veteran presence.

Jacob deGrom: Hoping to avoid sophomore jinx.

BULLPEN (7)

Dillon Gee: Slated for long relief and spot start duty.

Jenrry Mejia: Gets closer role because Bobby Parnell won’t be ready until May.

Jeurys Familia: Eighth-inning set up and situational role.

Vic Black: Set-up and situational role.

Josh Edgin: Situational lefty.

Carlos Torres: Spot starter and long relief roles.

Seventh reliever: Barring a trade or signing, this spot could go to Scott Rice.

CATCHERS (2)

Travis d’Arnaud: Showed offensive potential, but needs to improve holding runners.

Anthony Recker: Back-up catcher. I would like to see him get more time because of power potential.

INFIELDERS (7)

Lucas Duda: Has strained side muscle and currently limited. Mets hoping for 30-homer encore.

Daniel Murphy: Steadiest bat will be closely watched at the trade deadline.

Wilmer Flores: The shortstop job is his to lose. Hoping Terry Collins gives him a long leash.

David Wright: A lot depends on him staying healthy.

Ruben Tejada: Collins says in the shortstop mix, but will back up at short and second.

Dilson Herrera: Made strong impression last year. I’d like to see him play more.

Eric Campbell: Can play the infield corners, outfield and will be tested at catcher this spring.

OUTFIELDERS (4)

Michael Cuddyer: Won NL batting title two years ago.

Juan Lagares: Center fielder could also bat leadoff.

Curtis Granderson: Also being considered as leadoff hitter. I’m not expecting 40, but 30 homers would be great.

John Mayberry: Adds right-handed bat.

ON DECK TODAY:  Previewing Matt Harvey’s throw day.

 

Feb 22

Wright’s Comeback Is Key Met Issue; Acknowledges He Must Adjust

Numerous times I’ve said the most pressing issue with the Mets is David Wright’s health – regardless of what happens with Matt Harvey.

Wright is entering the third season of an eight-year, $138-million, an award for being the face of the franchise and the promise of what he could bring to the Mets through the 2020 season. When Wright is whole, the Mets have a chance of being the same.

WRIGHT: Change in the air. (AP)

WRIGHT: Change in the air. (AP)

He had a decent 2013 season hitting .307, but injuries limited him to 112 games. A shoulder injury cut last year short and held him to eight homers and only 63 RBI. He hasn’t hit at least 25 homers with 100 RBI since 2010, and that’s the basis for him being the key issue – if he doesn’t start post real All-Star numbers then the contract becomes a burden and consequently a distraction.

That’s why what he told reporters Sunday was important. He acknowledged the need to slow it down from time to time. Only twice in the last five years has he played as many as 155 games, and even that might be too much.

“I think it is probably to the point where I have to be a little more realistic that it’s probably not in my best interest or the team’s best interest to go out there and play 162 games,’’ Wright said. “I think a good off day here and there probably can be beneficial for both me and the team.’’

But, that’s up to Terry Collins. If he left it up to Wright, he’d play. Collins must be disciplined enough to have a plan with Wright and stick to it. Usually, that means resting him the day before an off day. That’s a two-day rest.

Wright also acknowledged he must modify his game, meaning being more selective and concentrate on driving the ball in the gaps and not worrying about pulling.

“I remember our first year in Citi Field [in 2009], I think I hit 10 [homers] and I felt like I had a very productive season – and it was because of driving runs in, scoring runs,’’ Wright told reporters today in Port St. Lucie. “I don’t judge a season by how many home runs I hit. It’s more being productive, more being a middle-of-the-order-type hitter, where I’m driving in runs, scoring runs.

“The thing that bothered me last year wasn’t the lack of home runs. It was more that I just didn’t feel like I was the hitter I’m capable of being.’’

At 32, Wright’s best days are behind him, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be good ones ahead of him. After all, he has six more years, and with the Mets thinking playoffs, they can’t afford Wright being a shell of what he has been. He’s at the stage of his career when he knows he has to adjust. Professional hitters are able to do that – which is what he acknowledged this afternoon.

Wright has always been a pro, and I wouldn’t expect anything less of him now.