Here’s tonight’s line-up vs. Pittsburgh:
Jose Reyes, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Carlos Delgado, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, LF
Omir Santos, C
Ryan Church, RF
Jon Niese, P
I like that Castillo is hitting second and Murphy is batting sixth. I hope it stays that way.
* Mike Pelfrey’s strained left leg has improved enough to where he’ll start Saturday against Washington. Pelfrey threw in the BP today and told reporters: “I felt it a little bit, but it’s a lot better. If it was the regular season and I had to pitch today, I would’ve.”
* Carlos Delgado got six hits in his first seven at-bats playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC.
* Jon Niese gave up a hit and a walk in four scoreless innings in a minor league game today. Niese is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.
* Outfielder Angel Pagan underwent arthroscopic surgery in New York to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and could be out as long as nine weeks. Pagan didn’t play last year after May 12 after injuring his shoulder when he fell into the stands in Los Angeles.
GARCIA: Rough day.
Watching Feddy Garcia labor big time against the Cardinals. It’s early, but it has to be frustrating for Garcia, who has given up four runs on a pile of pitches. Garcia is trying to make the team as the fifth starter.
He’s competing with Livan Hernandez, who threw two perfect innings today, Tim Redding and Jon Niese.
If I were betting, I would say Hernandez wins the job, Redding will get slotted as the long man, Niese and Garcia would open in the minors.
HERNANDEZ: Adds depth to rotation.
The Mets’ never-ending search to add pitching depth continued today with the signing of Livan Hernandez, El Duque’s half-brother. Hernandez, 34 next Friday, will compete with Jon Niese, Freddy Garcia and Tim Redding for the fifth starter role. He was signed to a minor league deal, but could earn $1 million if he makes the big league roster.
Bet on it.
“I just feel we need to have numbers,” said GM Omar Minaya. The Mets have 29 pitchers in camp.
Hernandez is an innings eater. He threw 180 last season for Minnesota and Colorado, but logged at least 200 the previous eight years. He has won at least 11 games the past nine seasons.
I like the signing. Minaya is right; a team can’t have too much pitching, and Hernandez has a history of durability.
This signing also leaves Pedro Martinez out in the cold.
MARTINEZ: One more year?
I remember talking with Pedro Martinez the last day of the season and him telling me he never felt ready between rehabbing injuries and taking time off to visit his ailing father.
“I don’t want to leave this way,” Martinez told me then. “I didn’t feel right this year. I know I can still pitch.”
Martinez had his moments last season, both good and bad, but a guy with his heart shouldn’t be easily dismissed. If his pride lets him be a fourth or fifth starter, then he’s worth it. Let’s face it, could he be any worse than Freddy Garcia or Tim Redding?
There’s a report out of the Dominican Republic that has Omar Minaya meeting with Martinez about bringing the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer back for an encore to his four-year, $53 million contract.
Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t set with their rotation. With no assurances they’ll re-sign Oliver Perez, bringing back Martinez in a stop gap role makes sense. He’s not the young stud we’d all like, but there aren’t any guarantees Jon Niese is that guy, either.