May 15

Mets Notebook: Josh Thole, Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Terry Collins said this afternoon Josh Thole has been headache-free for¬†several days and is expected to go on a rehab assignment before he’s activated from the disabled list. The Mets haven’t had a drop off defensively and the pitchers like throwing to Mike Nickeas. However, Nickeas isn’t much of an offensive threat.

Lefty reliever Tim Byrdak is on pace to make over 90 appearances which could force the Mets’ hands and have them seeking another lefty reliever.

Terry Collins said Kirk Nieuwenhuis is feeling more comfortable. He feels as if he belongs. As I wrote earlier today, I believe the Mets’ first option is to rotate Nieuwenhuis when Jason Bay is ready to come off the disabled list.

In what is the least guarded secrets, MLB will announce the Mets to get the 2013 All-Star Game.

In scanning the box scores, I wonder how much the Mets now regret not signing pitcher Derek Lowe, who is winning big for Cleveland. You’ll recall the Mets eschewed the chance to sign Lowe and instead gave Oliver Perez $36 million over three years.

The tarp is off the field, and here’s the Mets’ lineup for tonight:

Andres Torres, cf

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf

David Wright, 3b

Lucas Duda, rf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

Ike Davis, 1b

Ronny Cedeno, ss

Mike Nickeas, c

Dillon Gee, rhp

 

May 15

Jason Bay’s Return Presents Dilemma To Mets

Jason Bay has begun working out in Port St. Lucie. He’s still several weeks away, but what is to become of the Mets’ outfield when he comes back?

Terry Collins said Bay will play, but not how much.

BAY: A frequent site. (Getty Images)

I don’t like the idea of Kirk Nieuwenhuis returning to the minor leagues or having his playing time substantially reduced. And, for the money the Mets are paying Bay, he will play. That’s always a factor, regardless on what the manager or GM say.

Part of what goes into Collins’ decision would be the Mets’ record at the time. If they are consistently winning and with Nieuwenhuis producing it would be deflating to sit him.

The Mets could bring Bay back slowly in a platoon role until he regains his stroke. And, I’m talking about the one he left in Boston, not his brief spurt before the injury.

Another scenario, and one more difficult to implement because of all the moving parts would be to rotate Nieuwenhuis in the outfield, playing a day in right, one in center and one in left, which would give Andres Torres and Lucas Duda a rest. It could also bury Scott Hairston on the bench. I believe this will be how Collins handles things.

I like Nieuwenhuis and he’s done nothing to warrant to be benched. Conversely, Bay’s track record is such that he doesn’t deserve the automatic fulltime insertion into the lineup.

The one thing we have learned since Bay’s injury is Nieuwenhuis represents the Mets’ future, while Bay does not.

 

May 13

Mets And Mothers

While tradition is fathers and sons watching baseball, mothers also play an important role.

My mother was as instrumental as my father when it came to fostering my love of baseball. It was mom who drove me to my Little League games and practices. It was my mom who also brought home a pack of baseball cards when she went to the store.

My mother didn’t understand the nuances of the sport, but she knew my favorite teams and players. When the World Series was played in the afternoon and I couldn’t watch it, she would tell me the final scores when I got off the bus.

I miss my mom, but my love of her does live on a bit as I still follow baseball.

I wish all you have a Happy Mothers Day and do something special to her.

For those moms who might be watching the Mets this fine afternoon, here’s the starting lineup:

Andres Torres, cf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Ike Davis, 1b
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Rob Johnson, c
Jon Niese, lhp

May 12

Frank Francisco Spoils Script; Dickey Starts Today

Frank Francisco proved again last night a team is as strong as its bullpen. When the door isn’t slammed, defeat walks through it, and last night the Mets’ winning streak was snapped at five.

A fifth straight comeback win, and six straight victories overall would have represented another step, but they’ll have to start from scratch now. The thing about this team is the feeling it can be done.

It was exciting to see the Mets rally again, getting key pinch-hits from Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter. With how the game began, it looked like a long night.

But the way the Mets fought back, working long counts and playing fundamental baseball was good to see. Lucas Duda hitting a grounder to the right side to advance David Wright; Nieuwenhuis coming back from two strikes; Mike Baxter running up the count before he delivered.

For the most part that is how the Mets have played lately and it reflected in the standings.

Then comes the bullpen, which I’m not sold on. Francisco already has two blown saves and two losses. There’s a reason why the Blue Jays let him go and we’ve seen glimpses of that already.

He’s another reliever that brings to the mound with him an uneasy feeling this might not be a pretty inning. He proved that last night.

The Mets attempt to rebound this afternoon with R.A. Dickey, who has been their most reliable starter. Ricky Nolasco pitches for the Marlins, so this could be low scoring.