Mar 11

Revisiting Mets’ Primary Spring Training Issues

On the first day of spring training, I posed five Mets manager Terry Collins needed to answer by Opening Day. Now, halfway through – 20 days remaining to be exact – it is time to revisit those questions, which haven’t been done in the positive:

Q: WHO WILL BE THE FIFTH STARTER?
A: Ideally, they wanted Jenrry Mejia but his elbow remains an issue, and there’s a chance he could open the season in the bullpen or the minor leagues. Either way, the fifth starter role isn’t imminent. Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are candidates. Without Mejia, Matsuzaka appeared to have the inside track, and that’s likely to remain. With lefty reliever Josh Edgin sent to the minor league camp, Lannan will get time working in relief (there will be a separate post on that later today).

PARNELL: Said he'll be ready (AP)

PARNELL: Said he’ll be ready (AP)

Q: WILL BOBBY PARNELL BE READY BY OPENING DAY?
A: Parnell, recovering from neck surgery, insists he’ll be ready, but he’s only made one appearance. Collins would like to give him at least seven or eight. Assuming Parnell is ready, Vic Black will get the set-up role, but his control hasn’t been good. Veterans Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde are competing for jobs in the bullpen and both have closer experience.

Q: WILL THE IKE DAVIS SAGA EVER END?
A: Not any time soon. The Mets tried to trade Davis since October, but their asking price was too high. Davis kept tabs on the rumors and acknowledged he is surprised to be in Port St. Lucie. He began camp the projected starter, but it hasn’t been a good spring. First, he acknowledged he hid an oblique strain last year to avoid the appearance of making an excuse. The following day he ripped into the reporter who had the audacity to write what Davis said. Next was tightness in both calves, caused by too much work in the weight room. He’s currently in a walking boot. About those 90-plus at-bats Collins wanted? Not happening. He’ll likely start the season on the disabled list.

Q: CAN RUBEN TEJADA BECOME THE PLAYER EXPECTED OF HIM?
A: That doesn’t look promising, either. Tejada has a strained hamstring and his defense has not been good. He’s also not hitting. The Mets aren’t close to signing free-agent Stephen Drew or trading for Seattle’s Nick Franklin. Wilmer Flores started today at shortstop and could get more time.

Q: WHO WILL BE THE LEADOFF HITTER?
A: Collins prefers Eric Young, who missed several games with tightness in his side. Collins prefers Daniel Murphy second and Tejada – if he plays – down in the order. Currently, it appears it will come down between Eric or Chris Young. The latter, however, strikes out too much to be a successful leadoff hitter. If Eric Young gets the job, we should see Juan Lagares in the minor leagues instead of languishing on the bench.

ON DECK: Lannan in the bullpen.

Mar 08

Mets Wrap: Syndergaard Off, Mets Win Anyway

Noah Syndergaard found out today what a lot of pitchers already know: Life can be tough when you can’t locate your fastball.

Today, the Mets’ prospect’s command was off as he gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in three innings in a game won, 3-2, over Detroit. The outing came five days after he gave up one hit in two scoreless innings against Atlanta.

Syndergaard’s fastball again topped out at 97 mph., but it’s not about how fast you throw it, but where you throw it.

In addition:

* Eric Young played second base and misplayed a grounder into a two-run single.

* The Mets’ defense included errors by second baseman Daniel Murphy and shortstop Ruben Tejada. The latter misplayed two other balls not ruled errors.

* Matt Clark, batting for Omar Quintanilla in the ninth, drove in two runs with a double.

Mar 07

Mets’ Lineup, March 7

Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his second exhibition start today against St. Louis at Port St. Lucie. Today marks the first appearances of this spring by Daniel Murphy and David Wright. Major League Baseball continues its instant replay experiment.

Here’s today’s Mets’ lineup:

Eric Young, lf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Curtis Granderson, rf

Chris Young, cf

Josh Satin, 1b

Travis d’Arnaud, c

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, dh

Ruben Tejada, ss

LINEUP COMMENTS: The top four could be the Opening Day order. … Still waiting to see Wilmer Flores start a few more games at shortstop. … The bottom of the order is probably the best spot for Tejada.  

 

Mar 04

March 4, Mets-Astros Lineups

Eric Young, who hasn’t played this spring for the New York Mets because of tightness in a side muscle, is in the lineup in left field and leading off this afternoon against Houston in Port St. Lucie.

However, first basemen Ike Davis (calves) and Lucas Duda (legs), and infielders Ruben Tejada and Wilfredo Tovar (hamstring), remain sidelined and listed day-to-day.

Zack Wheeler will make his first appearance of the spring and is to go two innings or 30 pitches.

Here’s today’s lineups for the Mets and Astros:

METS

Eric Young, lf

Chris Young, cf

Curtis Granderson, rf

Brandon Allen, 1b

Josh Satin, 3b

Travis d’Arnaud, c

Taylor Teagarden, dh

Anthony Seratelli, ss

Omar Quintanilla, 2b

 

Zack Wheeler, rhp

HOUSTON

Dexter Fowler, cf

Jose Altuve, 2b

Marc Krauss, rf

Chris Carter, dh

Jesus Guzman, 1b

Carlos Corporan, c

L.J. Hoes, lf

Jonathan Villar, ss

Cesar Izturis, 3b

 

Rudy Owens, lhp

Mar 04

What’s Going On With Early Mets’ Injuries?

The New York Mets have frequently been criticized for their handing of injuries, and already this spring there have been several, many of them of the tight muscle variety.

The first case was left-hander Jonathon Niese, who complained of a tired arm, caused by weak muscles in the back of his shoulder.

I raised several questions, primarily that he might not have been given the exercises needed for rehab. Niese is now throwing again and has been given a series of exercises.

The Mets’ other injuries this spring are new, and could fall under the umbrella of not warming up properly.

First basemen Ike Davis and Lucas Duda have missed time with tightness in their leg muscles; shortstop Ruben Tejada has a tight left hamstring; and outfielder Eric Young has muscle tightness in his side.

Manager Terry Collins told reporters in Port St. Lucie he attributes these injuries to the fields being hard from being baked by the sun and the players could be overly exerting themselves.

While they could be contributing factors, there might be others, such as whether they spend enough time doing stretching exercises getting loose and are they properly hydrated?

Also, players these days spend an extraordinary amount of time lifting weights and perhaps not enough stretching or doing flexibility exercises. These causes wonder as to what type of off-season workout programs they are on.

Who knows, Collins could be right and this could be a freak thing. However, there have already been four players – excluding Niese – who have missed time because of tight muscles.

This all must be analyzed, especially considering the Mets’ history in their handling of injuries.