Mar 30

Pelfrey arguably key to season.

Now, was that so hard?

After so many stinkers last year and this spring, Mike Pelfrey finally came up smelling like roses last night. At least somebody wearing Pelfrey’s number did.

PELFREY: Time to get serious.

Yes, I realize it is one game after so many bad ones, but spring training is for getting your hopes up, and if not for Pelfrey, then for whom?

One run on three hits in 6.1 innings is a quality start, one I’d take every time, and one reminiscent of 2010 when for most of the summer he was all the things he was supposed to be.

Pelfrey significantly regressed last year and by his own admission said this could be a make-or-break season for him. If he duplicates last year, it is easy to see the Mets cutting ties with him. They’ve already bounced that around in passing this spring, but realistically had no other choice but to keep him.

He had a bum ankle early in camp, but his arm seems fine. He has experience. He’s been successful at times, although inconsistently so. He has a reasonable salary ($5.68 million). He’s young enough to turn it around. There have been a lot of late bloomers in the sport (Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax come to mind). While not saying he has the potential of either, two summers ago he had months of dominance worthy of the hope of seeing it again.

Because of his inconsistency, Pelfrey’s value to the Mets is greater with the hope of him turning it around. And, with pitching their biggest concern – and no guarantees with Johan Santana – if the Mets are to have any semblance of a competitive team they need Pelfrey to start cashing his potential chips.

A lot of things must happen for the Mets to avoid the season everyone is projecting for them, and it begins with Pelfrey to quit licking his fingers and start pitching to his expectations. Beginning now.

Mar 27

Will Mets hold back Santana?

This injury-riddled spring for the Mets has had one bright spot and that is the rehab of Johan Santana. His velocity has increased, topped off at 92, then leveled off to the high 80s in yesterday’s start.

SANTANA: Will they hold him back?

Santana’s arm strength has improved, but not to where the Mets would have hoped to start the season. I don’t believe a final start will get him to the level the Mets want, so after all the work he and the Mets have put in, why push the envelope now?

It’s been two years, so what’s another couple of weeks? The Mets must be cautious with this decision because Santana could represent a competitive and fun summer. I see the Mets holding back a couple of weeks to give Santana more time to build his strength with an extended spring training.

 

 

 

Mar 23

Pelfrey just doesn’t get it.

Mike Pelfrey continues to tick me off. This time, it is hearing the news has been pitching with a high right ankle sprain during spring training. Pelfrey said he injured his ankle in the offseason and aggravated it the beginning of camp.

PELFREY: Will it ever happen for him?

There are several ways to look at this, none of them good for the Mets:

* If Pelfrey is injured, then he’s a complete idiot for not telling the Mets’ trainers and medical staff immediately. It is common knowledge in the sport that leg injuries often lead to arm injuries because it alters the pitcher’s mechanics and puts a strain on the arm.

As a pitcher, how does Pelfrey, either not know this or chooses to ignore it? Just plain stupid.

Pelfrey came to camp saying this could be a make or break season for him, so given that, why would he take such a risk? Just dumb.

* These get their ankles wrapped every day. How could a trainer miss this? There has to be tenderness, soreness, slight swelling or change in color.

* What does pitching coach Dan Warthen have to say about this? Warthen told reporters the ankle is why Pelfrey has primarily pitched out of the stretch most of this spring and why his velocity was down. So, with that answer, Warthen is saying he sent Pelfrey out there knowing he had a bum ankle. That’s got to be a new level of stupid.

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Mar 17

Santana on course

So far the brightest light in spring training has been Johan Santana’s return from shoulder surgery.

His numbers weren’t impressive in his last start, Thursday against Detroit, but that’s not what’s important three starts into spring training.

Santana’s recovery between starts has been pain free and he’s been able to maintain the five-day rotation. Also,  his velocity is gradually getting better. However, he’s still not satisfied with his control, but that will improve with his arm strength.

Santana was mostly at 87-88 mph. in his first start, but was a consistent 89 against the Tigers, and topped out at 91 on his 65th, and final, pitch of this outing.

“I’m feeling good,’’ Santana told reporters. “It’s a process and I’m building up.’’

The Mets are aiming for four innings or 75 pitches in his next start.

The Mets need a lefty hitting outfielder to come off the bench and are more likely to choose between Adam Loewen and Mike Baxter than scan the waiver wire at the end of spring training.

The Mets’ thinking is with so many more pressing needs, why invest in an area with so little potential payoff.

Jenrry Mejia, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, is reportedly on schedule for a May return. I’d bet the over.

 

Mar 08

Santana takes next step; Pelfrey rocked.

The Mets received good and bad reviews from two pitchers who might have the highest expectations this season in Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey.

Santana, recovering from shoulder surgery, threw in the bullpen today without discomfort and pronounced himself ready for his next start Sunday, when he’s scheduled to throw three innings against the Marlins.

PELFREY: Rocked in first start.

Santana was anxious to see how his shoulder would respond after Tuesday’s start.

“I was able to throw my bullpen without any problems and with good intensity and work on all my pitches,’’ Santana said.  “I felt pretty good.’’

Santana said every day represents another hurdle, and this week has been all good news. He threw mostly fastballs and change-ups during his 29-pitch outing Tuesday and plans to throw more sliders Sunday.

While we can’t make too much of this to pencil Santana in for the Opening Day rotation, considering what he’s gone through the news is encouraging.

As for Pelfrey, he struggled in his first start of the spring, giving up four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings.  He had the usual problems with his command, in particular with his sinker.

I didn’t get ahead,’’ Pelfrey said in what was a common refrain last year. “It’s kind of hard to pitch when you’re behind in the count. … I didn’t make pitches. The command wasn’t very good today.’’

Pelfrey gave up a homer to Austin Kearns on a crippled sinker.

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