COLLINS: Says he is eye to eye with Santana.
This time, Terry Collins knew what Johan Santana was doing and seemingly both are on the same page, even though the left-hander was mum today on both his throwing and the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
After mugging with several friends on the Venezuelan WBC team, Santana long-tossed in the outfield, and followed that with several pitches off the mound from where he fielded bunts.
The timetable is a bullpen session, then batting practice and possibly pitching in a game, March 14. That would leave three starts before the start to the season.
“We’re not worried about April 1,” Collins said. “We’re worried about 30 starts. … This is about protecting him.’’
Collins and Santana didn’t appear on the same page Sunday when the latter threw off the mound and the manager questioning his reasoning later, saying he had nothing to prove.
MUPRHY UPDATE: Daniel Murphy, sidelined with a strained right side muscle, played catch, took grounders and hit in the cage. He followed that up by saying he didn’t have a timetable for when he’d take live batting practice and appear in a game.
“I want to play,’’ Murphy said. “But, I want to be smart. There’s three weeks left. There’s time.’’
THE GAME: Jon Niese gave up four runs on six hits in 2.1 innings, and Carlos Torres was hit for seven runs on eight hits in 1.2 innings as the Mets were beaten, 14-10, by the Venezuelan WBC team.
Collin Cowgill continues to impress, going 3-for-4 with two RBI as the DH. … Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and Lucas Duda was hitless in two at-bats.
K-ROD SEEKS REDEMPTION: Former Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez did not distinguish himself during his tenure with the Mets. It wouldn’t be a reach to say the highlight of his stay was general manager Sandy Alderson’s ability to trade him the summer after his fight with his former father-in-law outside the family lounge at Citi Field.
The punch cost Rodriguez an injured hand and night in jail.
Yesterday, he visited with Collins as a member of Venezuela’s WBC team. He told reporters after the game he would like a chance to make amends with the Mets.
“I would love to,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve got a great coaching staff over there. To come back and redeem myself would be great, because I’ve got to be realistic and honest. You would have to be real blind to not see that I fell when I was there. That’s not even a question. To be able to get one more shot and get it done would be great.”
JUST WONDERING: With Mark Teixeira out eight to ten weeks, and to open the season on the disabled list along with Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, nobody is projecting a hot start from the Yankees.
The media is expected to crush the Yankees assuming a slow start, which could take some of the negative attention away from the Mets.
METS NOTEBOOK: Despite the Mets scoring ten runs, Collins said he’s concerned about the offense. “We’re not swinging the bats very good,’’ he said. “But, we still have around 40 at-bats (per starter) to go.’’ … Kirk Nieuwenhuis is getting treatment on his bruised left knee and said there’s no timetable for his return. I’ll have something with Nieuwenhuis in the morning. … The Mets are in their 25th spring in Port St. Lucie, the seventh longest tenure in the majors. … Matt Harvey will start Thursday against Miami, followed by Greg Burke and Brandon Lyon. … Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell and Josh Edgin will pitch Friday against Detroit at Lakeland. … Former Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti lives in nearby Vero Beach and is a guest instructor.