Mar 19

Where to slot in Castillo?

Manager Jerry Manuel is thinking about going back to Jose Reyes in the leadoff slot to get him going. That spot worked for Luis Castillo, who owned up to the challenge and is hitting .321 with a .500 on-base percentage.

Castillo has been far from the nightmare at the plate he was last year.

I’ve always liked him second, but I can see the logic of Daniel Murphy in that slot. That also allows for a 3-4-5 of Beltran, Wright and Delgado.

Batting him eighth is a waste, but what about ninth and swap with the pitcher? The idea would be to bunch the speed of Castillo and Reyes together.

Initially, I thought Tony La Russa was reinventing the wheel when he did it, but there’s sense to it. If the pitcher is an automatic out (that’s the assumption), what difference does it make if it is eighth or ninth?

Mar 07

Injury updates …. Santana to throw BP

Johan Santana will throw batting today, and if all goes well, five days after that he could throw in a minor league game.

Manager Jerry Manuel said it means Santana could be on track to pitch the “all important’’ Opening Day.

Meanwhile, Luis Castillo is experience tightness in his left hamstring and is day-to-day.

Ryan Church is expected to play this afternoon after missing two games with a bruised right knee.

Feb 26

Not convinced about Reyes in three hole ….

Every time Jose Reyes goes deep, it seems that soon after he gets into a funk where he starts uppercutting and trying to drive everything and gets away from hitting the ball on the ground. He went deep twice today.

If he becomes a 40-homer guy, fine. But, I don’t really see that happening. Hitting two homers is an aberration. I’d rather see him walk twice a game than go 0-for-4 with two flyballs and two strikeouts.

I don’t see what Jerry Manuel sees in batting Reyes third. I’d rather have him hit first with Luis Castillo second.

Feb 20

Which Delgado will we get?

DELGADO: Who will we get?

DELGADO: Who will we get?

Does anybody know for sure which Carlos Delgado we will see this year? The second half terror that made an MVP run, of the first half horror that had him heading out of town?

Nobody knows. Delgado insists it wasn’t a health issue but a mechanical issue.

Outside of Luis Castillo, Delgado has as more pressure on him than any Met to prove himself this year, and that begins with spring training.

Feb 19

Castillo makes good impression ….

Jose Reyes said he looked like a kid. Jerry Manuel said he looked lighter. Luis Castillo reported to spring training 17 pounds lighter: “I’m a new man, right now.”

The Mets were unable to rid themselves of Castillo’s contract, so he’s back in camp with his value in the hope of a bounce back season. Manuel may bat Castillo first or second, but he has options because the veteran reported in good shape.

No Met faces more pressure to get off to a fast start (to quiet the boo birds who are lining up now) than Castillo. It’s a good sign he took things seriously in the offseason and shed the weight that put pressure on his knees.

We don’t know how Castillo will do, but he’s determined to make another impression. So far, so good.