Mar 29

March 29.10: Wrapping up the Day.

Jose Reyes took batting practice today, but didn’t do anything distinguishing against minor leaguers Mike Antonini and Dillon Gee.

Reyes hadn’t faced a pitch since last May, and the Mets are debating whether to force-feed him six at-bats a day in minor league games for several days before giving him a couple of exhibition games.

“I feel good. I don’t play since last May, so I can’t wait to get on the field,’’ Reyes said this afternoon. “Right now, I’ll take it one day at a time and see what happens next.’’

Reyes said he’s been running 100 percent for the past week without any problems to his hamstring. Even so, there’s a difference between running sprints in the outfield and the type of running – stopping and starting and changing of directions – done in a game.

NIESE NOT SHARP: Projected fifth starter Jon Niese had a rough day, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Marlins.

Even so, Niese was given credit for the victory today over the Marlins by the official scorer.

NOTEBOOK: Today was supposed to be Johan Santana’s turn to pitch, but the Mets didn’t want to start him against the Marlins, the team he’ll face next Monday on Opening Day at Citi Field. Santana will get his work in minor league games this week. … Jenrry Mejia gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings today. … After a sluggish spring, Jeff Francoeur is starting to come around with three hits, including two doubles. … Infielder Ruben Tejada, who could stick with club if Reyes opens the season on the disabled list had two hits to raise his average to .339. … The Washington Nationals claimed reserve catcher Chris Coste on waivers.

Mar 18

March 18.10: Perez tries to take another step vs. Marlins.

Oliver Perez is left-handed with 90-mph. plus heat. He’ll keep getting chances. When he’s on, as he was last Saturday against Detroit with four hitless innings, he ignites the imagination.

Then again, when he’s the Bad Ollie, he reduces those in the Mets’ dugout to a bunch of babbling, head-scratching messes. Jerry Manuel once said the Bad Ollie kept him on the top step of the dugout ready to spring out.

Perez threw strikes and spotted his pitches against the Tigers, and the Mets want to see more of that tonight against Florida. The Mets continue to hang with Perez because of his high ceiling for potential, which is greater than John Maine or even Mike Pelfrey.

Perez’s command was good in his first two starts, traceable to a consistency in his footwork mechanics that resulted in a comfortable release point.

“It seems so easy when it all works,’’ pitching coach Dan Warthen said.

When Perez has an idea where his pitches are going he becomes more focused and relaxed. The anxiety is gone.

It seems like a little thing, but in the Detroit game Perez cruised and retired his first eight hitters, but then walked the next two. The wind kept Carlos Guillen’s ball in the park. The next inning, Perez regained his focus and set the Tigers down in order.

There are dozens of games when those circumstances produced a different scenario.

It’s only spring, but it beats what we’ve seen before.

Beltran making progress: Carlos Beltran, who’ll open the season on the disabled list following knee surgery, is encouraged by his rehab.

“I’m doing good,’’ Beltran told ESPN Radio. “I come to the ballpark every single day, rehabbing, to try and put myself in the best condition, so when it come time for me to start playing baseball I can go out there and do what I know I can do.’’

Here’s tonight’s batting order vs. Marlins:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Mike Jacobs, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Alex Cora, SS
Henry Blanco, C
Oliver Perez, LP

Followed by Pedro Feliciano, Hisanori Takahashi, Pat Misch, Ryota Igarashi and Francisco Rodriguez.

Dec 15

Why not the Mets?

CAPPS: Not drawing interest from Mets.

CAPPS: Not drawing interest from Mets.

At 26, and showing solid production and no injury history, the interest has been hot for reliever Matt Capps. Reportedly, a dozen teams have contacted Capps’ agent, but surprisingly not one of them has been the Mets. He’s a free agent because Pittsburgh did not offer arbitration.

With the bullpen in need of repair, one would think the Mets would be all over this. They are not.

Agent Paul Kinzer called the interest in Capps as “enormous.” Capps has said he’d like to pitch for the Cubs, but the field includes the Yankees, Orioles, Nationals, Marlins and Rangers. The reported asking price is at least $3 million a season. He has closer experience and would be ideal for the Mets’ set-up role.

Dec 04

Mets’ minors aren’t making it ….

Baseball America has ranked the Mets’ minor league system 20th in the majors, ahead of only Washington in the NL East. The Phillies are fourth, Braves seventh and Marlins ninth. The Nationals are at 26.

The Phillies are deep, meaning they have the chips to spend on a major league arm, such as Roy Halladay, if they chose. If Toronto goes outside the division, I’m still saying the Phillies will get him.

Baseball America did rank the prospects Ike Davis and Jenrry Mejia among the top ten prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

Despite horrid numbers, the scouts love Mejia’s arm strength. Still, he’s at least two years away. The Mets see Davis in 2011 and that’s conceivable. Scouts are saying he has 30 homer potential, but they don’t like his propensity for striking out, saying it will drag down the rest of his game.

Oct 09

Put up or shut up ….

The Mets have always been an organization that has placed a lot of premium on talking and hoping for the best. We don’t often see times when they take charge in determining their destiny. Even Johan Santana, they admit, was because the market came back to them.

We have now learned the train wreck that was the 2009 season was the fault of coaches Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea, both with limited responsibilities. It wasn’t as if they controlled a pitching staff that walked over 600 hitters or an offense that hit less than 100 homers.

Mets ownership is saying Omar Minaya has the resources to spend in the free-agent market and the nine-lived general manager is saying he will make trades despite a thin farm system.

The Mets have their new stadium, they have their showplace, which was filled for the most part this summer. But, it won’t be long before Citi Field won’t be a magnet anymore. It happened in Camden Yards and Jacobs Field. Eventually, thirty brands of microbrew, BBQ and clam chowder aren’t a draw anymore. Fans will soon learn it is easier to go to a local pub for those things than pay the price to drive out to Queens.

The Braves improved this year as did the Marlins, and we know the Phillies will be aggressive. If the Mets don’t dramatically improve, they could be looking up for a number of seasons to come. This offseason has the potential to shape the Mets for the next several seasons. If they prove to be all talk and fizzle again, we’ll be faced with another rebuilding phase.