Mar 13

Mets Today: Matsuzaka Gets Start; Davis And Duda Status Update

Daisuke Matsuzaka entered spring training the frontrunner for the Mets’ fifth starter role, and despite a lackluster two starts, remains the favorite.

Left-hander John Lannan is having a better spring, but appears earmarked for the bullpen, which leaves Matsuzaka with a clear path.

Matsuzaka makes this third start today. In four innings covering his first two games, he is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. He has three strikeouts, but hasn’t walked a hitter.

Noah Syndergaard will also pitch today, with the two expected to fill the nine innings. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will also make the trip.

In addition:

* Ike Davis, who took grounders Wednesday, isn’t expected to play. He’s still wearing a protective boot. Manager Terry Collins said even before Davis could be a DH, has to show he can run without difficulty.

* Lucas Duda, bothered by a strained left hamstring, is closer to returning.

* Ruben Tejada is expected to play. Meanwhile, the Mets continue to monitor the shortstop market, but nothing is imminent.

ON DECK: The hole that is the Mets’ shortstop situation.

Mar 11

Mets Could Use John Lannan In Bullpen

Starter or reliever, it doesn’t matter to left-hander John Lannan, who just wants to be on the New York Mets’ Opening Day roster.

Lannan, 29, was brought into camp to compete for the fifth-starter role with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia. Matsuzaka appears to have the inside track, but Lannan will start Wednesday against St. Louis.

LANNAN:  Will pitch for food. (AP)

LANNAN: Will pitch for food. (AP)

However, the demotion of reliever Josh Edgin to the minor league camp leaves Scott Rice as the only lefty in the pen, and the Mets are seriously considering Lannan in that role.

“I think that’s been the plan since Day 1. They’ve been pretty transparent with that,’’ Lannan told reporters in Port St. Lucie Tuesday morning about working in relief. “TC asked me how I felt about it. Obviously I’ll do anything to help the team, in any capacity.’’

Lannan has appeared in 148 major league games, all as a starter. He’s only worked out of the bullpen seven times in 95 minor league games, so there’s obviously a lot to learn.

The times Lannan did work in the pen he knew when he was to enter the game and had time to warm up. This will be different.

“I want to see how I am when the phone rings and I don’t have any warning,’’ Lannan said. “You always hear about that adrenaline rush when the phone rings. If it does come to that point, I want to see how I react to that.’’

Lannan said he can get loose quickly, but there’s more to it than that, as he must see how his arm adjusts to: 1) warming up several times in the same game, 2) how he responds to back-to-back appearances, and 3) how he feels after pitching two or three innings one day and coming back the next.

Lannan is coming back from surgery in the offseason to repair a tendon linking the thigh muscles to his left knee. So far, he’s pleased with his camp, having given up two runs on hour hits with four strikeouts and zero walks in two appearances.

Lannan still believes he can start on this level, and at his age, he’s worth keeping around in whatever role. Pitching is such a commodity and the Mets have several issues in their rotation, so even if he makes the roster in the pen he could start again.

ON DECK: Mets vs. Cardinals result.

Mar 11

Revisiting Mets’ Primary Spring Training Issues

On the first day of spring training, I posed five Mets manager Terry Collins needed to answer by Opening Day. Now, halfway through – 20 days remaining to be exact – it is time to revisit those questions, which haven’t been done in the positive:

Q: WHO WILL BE THE FIFTH STARTER?
A: Ideally, they wanted Jenrry Mejia but his elbow remains an issue, and there’s a chance he could open the season in the bullpen or the minor leagues. Either way, the fifth starter role isn’t imminent. Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are candidates. Without Mejia, Matsuzaka appeared to have the inside track, and that’s likely to remain. With lefty reliever Josh Edgin sent to the minor league camp, Lannan will get time working in relief (there will be a separate post on that later today).

PARNELL: Said he'll be ready (AP)

PARNELL: Said he’ll be ready (AP)

Q: WILL BOBBY PARNELL BE READY BY OPENING DAY?
A: Parnell, recovering from neck surgery, insists he’ll be ready, but he’s only made one appearance. Collins would like to give him at least seven or eight. Assuming Parnell is ready, Vic Black will get the set-up role, but his control hasn’t been good. Veterans Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde are competing for jobs in the bullpen and both have closer experience.

Q: WILL THE IKE DAVIS SAGA EVER END?
A: Not any time soon. The Mets tried to trade Davis since October, but their asking price was too high. Davis kept tabs on the rumors and acknowledged he is surprised to be in Port St. Lucie. He began camp the projected starter, but it hasn’t been a good spring. First, he acknowledged he hid an oblique strain last year to avoid the appearance of making an excuse. The following day he ripped into the reporter who had the audacity to write what Davis said. Next was tightness in both calves, caused by too much work in the weight room. He’s currently in a walking boot. About those 90-plus at-bats Collins wanted? Not happening. He’ll likely start the season on the disabled list.

Q: CAN RUBEN TEJADA BECOME THE PLAYER EXPECTED OF HIM?
A: That doesn’t look promising, either. Tejada has a strained hamstring and his defense has not been good. He’s also not hitting. The Mets aren’t close to signing free-agent Stephen Drew or trading for Seattle’s Nick Franklin. Wilmer Flores started today at shortstop and could get more time.

Q: WHO WILL BE THE LEADOFF HITTER?
A: Collins prefers Eric Young, who missed several games with tightness in his side. Collins prefers Daniel Murphy second and Tejada – if he plays – down in the order. Currently, it appears it will come down between Eric or Chris Young. The latter, however, strikes out too much to be a successful leadoff hitter. If Eric Young gets the job, we should see Juan Lagares in the minor leagues instead of languishing on the bench.

ON DECK: Lannan in the bullpen.

Mar 07

Mets’ Lineup, March 7

Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his second exhibition start today against St. Louis at Port St. Lucie. Today marks the first appearances of this spring by Daniel Murphy and David Wright. Major League Baseball continues its instant replay experiment.

Here’s today’s Mets’ lineup:

Eric Young, lf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Curtis Granderson, rf

Chris Young, cf

Josh Satin, 1b

Travis d’Arnaud, c

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, dh

Ruben Tejada, ss

LINEUP COMMENTS: The top four could be the Opening Day order. … Still waiting to see Wilmer Flores start a few more games at shortstop. … The bottom of the order is probably the best spot for Tejada.  

 

Mar 06

Mets Wrap: Game Rained Out; Davis, Duda Ailing; Wright Plays Intrasquad Game

The New York Mets’ game against the Houston Astros was rained out today, forcing them to alter their pitching rotation.

Fifth-starter candidate John Lannan, scheduled to start, will now work Friday against St. Louis at Port St. Lucie. Daisuke Matsuzaka will also pitch against the Cardinals. Rafael Montero and Steven Matz, also scheduled to pitch today, will go tomorrow.

In addition:

* Recovery for first basemen Ike Davis and Lucas Duda from leg injuries remain slow, with neither expected to play soon. Davis hit against live pitching in an intrasquad game, but did no running.

* Bartolo Colon, who has been bothered with a tight calf, threw three scoreless innings in an intrasquad game and said he will be ready to pitch Monday against Miami.

* David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada hit in the intrasquad game. Wright homered. Jonathon Niese and Bobby Parnell pitched after Colon.