Jun 04

Castillo headed for DL?

Expect second baseman Luis Castillo to be placed on the disabled list prior to tonight’s game against Florida. In compensating for a bone bruise to his left heel, Castillo has developed problems with his right leg.

CASTILLO: DL bound?

This hasn’t been played out well at all. Castillo has been bothered by the bone bruise for several weeks now and only aggravates it when he plays. Had he gone on the DL weeks ago, he might be back and ready to play by now.

Ruben Tejada, who impressed the Mets during spring training, has been hitting better at Class AAA Buffalo and would be the likely call-up.

The Mets will also activate Jon Niese from the disabled list (hamstring) and he will start Saturday against the Marlins. Unless the Mets can convince Oliver Perez to take a minor league assignment, the Mets will have to option somebody to the minors. The choices are Elmer Dessens, Jenrry Mejia and Ryota Igarashi, the latter who has not pitched well since coming off the disabled list.

Based solely on recent performance, Igarashi should be the odd man out, but things don’t always work that way. Dessens was the last pitcher brought in and manager Jerry Manuel wants to try him as the eighth-inning set-up man.

The Mets have said they would not send Mejia down to stretch him out to become a starter, but that situation might have changed.

The ultimate irony: Perez holds his ground and the Mets option out Mejia. Then weeks later Mejia is brought back as a starter, and to make room for him Perez is cut.

Jun 03

Mets’ Daniel Murphy injured; Oliver Perez still holding tight.

The experiment of Daniel Murphy as a role player is on hold. It remains to be seen about his career.

Weeks of hard rehab work were wasted last night when Murphy re-injured his right knee trying to turn a double-play as a second baseman while playing for Class AAA Buffalo.

“I don’t think it’s real good,’’ Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell told The Buffalo News. “The way he turned the double play was nice. He made the right pivot. It just looked like the guy got there late, and when Murph came down he never got out of the way once he planted his foot.’’

So much for fundamentals.

MURPHY: More bad luck

There was also a school of thought the Mets could showcase Murphy’s bat in the minor leagues for a deadline trade for pitching. That hope is gone now, too.

It takes skill to play in the major leagues. Also, timing and a little bit of luck. Murphy has had little of the latter two and it’s shame because he’s one of the very good guys as he would have done anything to help the Mets.

That now brings us to Oliver Perez. You kind of figured he wouldn’t be going away – at least in the way you hoped.

Until now, Perez’s selfishness has merely inconvenienced the Mets, an annoyance at best. In the next two days it could really shorthand them.

The Mets are still lobbying Perez hard to accept a minor league assignment to clear way for Jon Niese’s return from the disabled list. Niese is scheduled to pitch Saturday at Citi Field; it’s not known when Perez will throw a ball again in anger.

Continue reading

Jun 02

Sorting out the Mets’ bullpen.

Francisco Rodriguez got out of it last night, but it got a little dicey in the end. That’s OK, because when it’s anybody else things get a lot dicey.

One of the best things about Mike Pelfrey’s eight-inning gem is it kept Jerry Manuel from going to his combustible bullpen. The bullpen, which started so well in April, has strained from overuse and evolved into a club concern.

RODRIGUEZ: Only sure thing in pen.

Here we are, June, and the Mets are still trying to find and define roles for their relievers, something that should have been done in March. However, because of ineffectiveness and injury, things change.

For one, Hisanori Takahashi, so effective early is not longer in the pen after being thrust into the rotation. How long Takahashi stays there is anybody’s guess. After two strong starts, Takahashi was raked by the Padres Monday night.

Now in the pen, taking up a spot, is Oliver Perez, now the human white flag in that he will come into the game when it is a lost cause or there are no other options, such as a game going long into extra innings.

The concern now is building a strong bridge to Rodriguez.

Before popping his hamstring, Ryota Igarashi was making claims to be the set-up man, and that’s what Manuel hoped when he came off the disabled list just under two weeks ago.
Igarashi has been awful since coming back, with the bottom possibly being reached Monday night when he gave up six runs on four hits and two walks in a mere one-third of an inning.

Continue reading

May 24

May 24.10: Mejia to stay in pen.

Until they change their minds again, the Mets have made a decision – hopefully definitive for at least the remainder of the season – on Jenrry Mejia.

The prospect with the million-dollar arm will remain in the bullpen.

Manager Jerry Manuel confirmed last night what many surmised after Manny Acosta was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo instead of Mejia to make room for Ryota Igarashi’s return from the disabled list.

“You have a young man who has a tremendous arm, tremendous upside,’’ Manuel said. “If you take what he gives you in small bits, it’s very serviceable, even at the big league level.’’

Several things went into the decision, notably when Mejia started altering his delivery Thursday in Washington. Altered deliveries lead to arm problems and the Mets want to nip possibility early.

During the series with the Nationals, Manuel had suggested Mejia was likely to be the one to go to the minor leagues to make room for Igarashi.

Starting might still be in Mejia’s future, but not for now, and you would be correct if you thought this move had something to do with Manuel’s immediate job future.

“If we wanted to have him start, he could start in the winter somewhere,’’ Manuel said. “But here, if he’s serviceable and if he’s usable, then I’d like to have him. It’s probably selfish on my part, but that’s how I feel.’’

With Igarashi back, the plan is for him and Feliciano to work the eighth and Mejia to work the seventh. Watching Mejia blow away Mark Teixeira Saturday night convinced Manuel.

“Basically, that was the plan all along,’’ Manuel said. “We felt that Igarashi could handle the eighth, and we needed someone to handle the seventh. I wanted to see Mejia pitch in this environment and see how he responded to it, and he did real well.’’

I only hope the Mets stick with this decision and not waver. To bounce him from role to role at 20 could be harmful to his development.

May 17

May 17.10: Does the Mejia yo-yo begin?

Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Mets are toying with the idea of fixing their damaged rotation with Jenrry Mejia. There is now talk of sending Mejia to the minors to stretch him out in preparation of making him a starter.

The rotation is where the Mets wanted Mejia all along, but instead of starting him in the minors they opted to use him in a variety of roles out of the bullpen on the major league level. It only shows they didn’t have a real plan.

I don’t like the idea of bouncing Mejia around and wonder what impact it could have on his development. He seems to be handling things well in his present role and believe they would be better off just keeping him here and getting him ready for the rotation next spring.

We all saw how they rushed Bobby Parnell. Maybe Parnell wasn’t going to make it all along, but there’s no telling how the change of roles hindered his development. I know, I know, you’re going to say Parnell is terrible, but would he be so bad if they had a plan and stuck with it?

We really don’t know, and I’d hate to see the same mistakes made with Mejia.