Mar 11

Jordany Valdespin Making Impact

Jordany Valdespin is not an easy person to like, and especially hard to cheer for. Ask a question and he’ll often mumble an indifferent and inaudible answer.

VALDESPIN: Decked by Verlander (AP)

VALDESPIN: Decked by Verlander (AP)

He exudes confidence on the field, but crosses the line with a brash attitude, tendency to showboat and not always hustle. Off the field he wears a bright red baseball cap reading “JV 1.’’ He often carries himself  with an “I own the world,” persona that goes beyond confidence, so much that manager Terry Collins has warned him to tone it down a notch.

Last year, Valdespin fell out of favor with the Mets despite hitting five pinch-hit homers. He didn’t help himself in the offseason when he was suspended in winter ball. Even so, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis out with a bruised left knee and Daniel Murphy sidelined with a strained right side, Valdespin is being given every opportunity to make the roster in the outfield or as a second baseman.

Valdespin has produced, but with a caveat: He plays to his own soundtrack.

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Mar 11

Today’s Mets Lineup Vs. Tigers

Here’s today’s Mets lineup against Detroit at Lakleland.

Jordany Valdespin, 2b

Ruben Tejada, ss

Ike Davis, 1b

Lucas Duda, lf

Mike Baxter, rf

John Buck, c

Travis d’Arnaud, dh

Matt den Dekker, cf

Brandon Hicks, 3b

Jonathan Niese, lhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: The Mets are giving Valdespin every chance to make this team. His versatility helps him. He’s at second today and has played center and right this spring also. … Duda had three hits the other day against Houston. He’s in left today hitting behind Davis. I am wondering if Terry Collins will stack the two lefties during the season. … den Dekker again in center. He’s Mets’ best defensive outfielder, but they don’t know if he’ll hit enough. He has five hits, including a homer this spring.



Mar 08

Mets In Lakeland To Face Tigers; Gee Gets Ball

Good morning from Lakeland. Just arrived. The drive was a little over two hours, straight highways all the way through past Yeehaw Junction, dozens of orange groves, junkyards, farms and dilapidated motels.

The weather is nice, but it wasn’t a pretty drive.

The Tigers play in a place called Joker Marchant Stadium, built in 1966. It has been renovated several times. There’s a hill behind the left field fence, much like what the Mets have at Tradition Field in right.

The Mets’ bus just arrived and I’ll be heading to the clubhouse in a few minutes. The Tigers are taking batting practice and there’s only a few people in the stands.

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Mar 07

Jordany Valdespin Saying Right Things

Jordany Valdespin sat by his locker, his eyes glued to a television showing Phillies-Nationals highlights. However, his mind seemed elsewhere, but apparently not on his quest to be the Opening Day leadoff hitter in center.

“They have a decision to make, and the only thing I can do is keep playing hard and give them something to think about,’’ Valdespin said.  “I can’t make the decision. I have to play hard and see what happens in spring training.’’

Valdespin rarely made eye contact, instead kept on watching the television.

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Mar 04

Questions About Marcum, Santana And Nieuwenhuis

The Mets are off tomorrow, but have a “B’’ game in Jupiter in which Shaun Marcum, Pedro Feliciano and LaTroy Hawkins will pitch.

The projected fifth starter, Marcum, raised concerns when he didn’t report in shape. Here is a guy trying to hang onto a major league job and he doesn’t come to camp ready to pitch and says he only needs four exhibition appearances to get ready for the season.

MARCUM: Pitches tomorrow.

MARCUM: Pitches tomorrow.

Guys like that are hard to cheer for and you only hope he’s right about the four games. Somehow, I doubt it.

Hawkins, 40, is competing for a bullpen spot, and as a veteran supposedly requires only a minimum amount of innings.

Feliciano, once a Mets’ workhorse out of the pen, was sidelined with a heart ailment and is required to wear a monitor.

Considering all three could make the staff, that’s not a good sign for the Mets’ pitching.

SANTANA QUESTIONS: Other than Johan Santana being angry at reporters having the nerve to ask him about his condition, there’s been no timetable in the wake of his throwing off the mound Sunday.

I still don’t understand how the Mets can say they monitored Santana in the off-season, yet be surprised he didn’t come to camp in shape.

I also don’t understand why Santana, who knows the Mets won’t extend him beyond this season, didn’t report ready considering he would be pitching for a new contract.

Perhaps, with $31 million due him from the Mets this year, he’s already thought about cashing in his chips and calling it a career.

Just wondering. Also wondering why Santana wanted to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela  when he’s not even ready to pitch in an exhibition game for the Mets.

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