Mar 28

Santana Hurts Shoulder; Career Could Be Over

The bleak news concerning Johan Santana turned black this afternoon when the Mets announced the veteran left-hander would likely miss the season and could see the end of his career after a probable re-tear of the anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.

Santana was attempting a comeback following surgery, Sept. 2, 2010, but hasn’t responded following nearly two years of rehabilitation. After throwing off the mound without the Mets’ knowledge, March 3, the 34-year-old was shut down with weakness in his shoulder.

SANTANA: Will we see this pose again?

SANTANA: Will we see this pose again?

Santana returned to New York where he was given a MRI, and team physician Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital of Special Surgery determined the diagnosis.

“A second surgery is a strong possibility,’’ general manager Sandy Alderson said in a conference call.

If so, it might mean close to another two years of rehabilitation, which would undoubtedly end his career.

Santana is in the final guaranteed season of a six-year, $137.5 million contract . He will make $25.5 million in salary with a $5.5 million buyout.

Alderson said the Mets prepared their rotation with the idea the two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star would go on the disabled list. Jeremy Hefner will take his spot in the rotation. Alderson said the Mets don’t have plans to promote highly-touted prospect Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler, who is slated to begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, expressed his sympathy on his Twitter account: “Sad to hear about Johan. Got to know him this spring. Awesome awesome guy. Stinks to see it happen to him. Nothing but the best on recovery.”

There is no timetable for Wheeler’s promotion, but the Mets don’t figure to bring him up until mid-June, thereby extending his free-agent and Super Two status.

Santana signed with the Mets during the winter of 2007, which followed a season in which the team blew a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining, citing a lack of strong starting pitching.

The Yankees and Red Sox were after him, but both deemed Minnesota’s asking price too high, so the Twins turned to the Mets. At the time, former Mets general manager Omar Minaya said “Santana fell back to us,’’ in explaining the acquisition of a franchise pitcher for prospects Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey.

Santana started 34 games for the Mets in 2008, his only full season with the franchise. Every other year was cut short by injury or ended with surgery.

After rehabbing during the winters of 2010 and 2011, Santana returned to the majors last year with initial success, including a 134-pitch no-hitter. There was speculation that high pitch count contributed to his shoulder weakness and later that summer he lost a career-high six games before going on the disabled list in August.

The Mets never conceded the high pitch count was a contributing factor, but instead attributed it to his rigorous rehab work, and a sprained ankle and lower-back injury that ended his season.

The Mets knew Santana was to lighten his off-season routine last winter, but Alderson said the pitcher wasn’t in top shape when he reported to spring training. That prompted an angry Santana to throw off the mound despite Alderson saying he was at least ten days away.

“Johan has had an exceptional career,’’ Alderson said of the pitcher with a career 139-78 record and 3.20 ERA. “We all hope that career will continue.’’

That’s unlikely now.

Mar 28

Mets’ Triple-A Rotation Takes Shape

DARIN GORSKI: Is he officially a reliever now?

DARIN GORSKI: Is he officially a reliever now?

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York took to Twitter a short while ago and began posting his projections for the Mets Triple-A roster.

Included in his Las Vegas 51’s rotation he has: Zack Wheeler, Aaron Laffey, Collin McHugh, Chris Schwinden and Carlos Torres.

A month ago I projected the rotation as follows:

  1. Zack Wheeler
  2. Collin McHugh
  3. Mark Cohoon
  4. Darin Gorski
  5. Aaron Laffey

That was what I had once I removed Mejia, who has been shutdown for at least a month, and Hefner who won a job in the Mets rotation. The biggest difference between what I project and Rubin is that he has Carlos Torres in the rotation and Darin Gorski is nowhere to be seen.

When I posted my projection back on February 21, I did speculate that both Familia and Gorski may not even make the cut and could be relegated to the bullpen because of a numbers crunch:

Jeurys Familia is looking more and more like a reliever now and even Darin Gorski is beginning to trend in that direction lately.

I’m not that surprised that Schwinden makes Rubin’s cut even though I personally saw him as a numbers casualty as well, but the Torres thing surprises me.

The Mets signed the 30-year old free agent back in November and I remember thinking at the time how confusing an addition it was – even as minor league fodder.

Last season, Torres made 31 appearances for the Colorado Rockies and posted a 5.25 ERA and 1.415 WHIP in 53 innings pitched. All of his appearances were in relief. He’s having an awful spring for the Mets, posting a 8.54 ERA in 5.1 innings with nine hits allowed and five runs. I don’t see the value in pushing aside a younger pitcher with higher upside just to give Torres a job. It makes little sense to me.

I would also think that Mark Cohoon was more deserving of a spot on the Vegas rotation, especially after his solid season in Binghamton where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 1.207 WHIP in 23 starts, 18 of them quality starts.

And while I did speculate Gorski would go to the pen, my thinking at the time was because he’d be squeezed out because of the numbers crunch and not because a determination would be made that he was finished as a starter.

If we can give Gorski another season in the rotation, I’d be all for it. I would most rather see that than to push him aside because of someone like Torres.

Update: Right after I posted this Adam Rubin DMed me and said that yes, Familia is now officially a reliever.

Mar 27

Mets’ Promotions For 2013 Season

SPECIAL OFFERS AND NEW ATTRACTIONS AT CITI FIELD FOR 2013 SEASON

Birthdays and First Days Highlight Special Offers; T-Shirt Tuesdays, Power Packs and Student Rush Return

Tickets Available for Opening Day, Monday April 1 at Mets.com and (718) 507-TIXX

FLUSHING, N.Y. – The New York Mets today announced the lineup of special offers and new attractions at Citi Field for the 2013 season. The Mets open the season this Monday, April 1 against the San Diego Padres at 1:10 p.m. Tickets are available at Mets.com and (718) 507-TIXX.

Special Offers

Birthdays – As a happy birthday present from the Mets, fans can receive a complimentary ticket to that day’s game to celebrate their birthday at Citi Field. Fans can show a valid form of identification (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc.) at the Citi Field Ticket Windows on their birthday to receive a ticket, subject to availability. Offer does not apply for games on Opening Day, April 1, the Subway Series May 27-28, or after September 29. For those celebrating their birthday when the Mets are on the road, on an off day, in the off-season or on non-eligible games, their complimentary ticket can be redeemed for games on April 3-4, 23-25 and September 13-15.

First Days – Fans who are coming to a Mets home game for their first time are encouraged to stop by Fan Assistance to receive a personalized First Game certificate signed by Mr. Met.
T-Shirt Tuesdays – Fans will receive an exclusive limited edition t-shirt plus a game ticket for just $19. For more information, visit: Mets.com/tshirts

Power Pack – For $23, fans can enjoy a ticket to a game in the Left Field Landing and a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog, Two Boots pizza slice, Brooklyn Burger or veggie burger, Nathan’s Famous French Fries and a regular sized 16oz Pepsi-branded soda. Fans can upgrade their seating location to the Baseline Box on the Field Level for $39 per ticket. For more information, visit: Mets.com/powerpacks Student Rush – High school and college students can purchase tickets for $10 with valid school identification for all home games except Opening Day, April 1 and the Subway Series, May 27-28, subject to availability. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: Mets.com/studentrush, beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 27.

Military Go Free – Military personnel with active military identification will be issued complimentary tickets day-of-game only in the Ticket Office lobby in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, subject to availability. Accompanying non-military persons must purchase tickets, subject to availability.
Kids Go Free – Pick up a copy of the Daily News starting April 3 and fill out a voucher to receive up to three free kids tickets with the purchase of a regularly priced adult ticket for the April 19-28 games. Vouchers can be redeemed at the Citi Field Ticket Windows on the day of the game.

Renamed Seating Locations

Hyundai Club – The all-inclusive club, formerly known as the Champions Club, features a gourmet buffet includes a daily chef selection of carved meats and pasta and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. A selection of peanuts, popcorn, fresh baked cookies and ice cream are also available. The club, located on the Field Level behind home plate, is only accessible to Hyundai Club ticket holders.

Citi Field Dining

Under the direction of Citi Field Executive Chef Robert Flowers, the Mets and ARAMARK have added new dining options throughout the ballpark.

The Delta Sky360° Club Market will feature a LaFrieda family custom blend sausage, Two Boots pizza, and Batter Up Chicken by Tribeca Grill, buttermilk fried chicken, warm pizzelle cookies and a whipped maple butter.

El Verano Taqueria at Taste of the City on the Field Level behind centerfield will feature a new Cantina bar menu with frozen drinks and housemade snacks such as chile roasted peanuts and pork rinds. The newly renamed Hain Celestial Gluten-Free Stand adjacent to the World’s Fare Market will offer gluten-free Hain Celestial snacks, hot dogs, sausage and peppers and beer. The Promenade Level will feature a bar by section 414 with frozen and mixed drinks.

Two new single-serve Zipz wines – Fetzer Crimson Cabernet Blend and Fetzer Quartz Chardonnay Blend – will be available at several locations throughout the ballpark including most Taste of the City concessions and through in-seat service.

The following is a sampling of some of the new items and where they are available:

  • ?  Shake Shack – ‘Shroom Burger (vegetarian), High Heat Cheese Fries, Cheese Dog/High Heat Cheese Dog, “Meet the Pretz” (black & white custard, chocolate covered pretzels and malt powder)
  • ?  Blue Smoke On The Road – Beef Brisket Sandwich, Corn Bread, Pit Beans
  • ?  El Verano Taqueria – Steak tacos/quesadillas
  • ?  Catch of the Day – Fish tacos
  • ?  Acela Club – Moules Frites, Braised Short Rib, Pork Milanese, Bouillabaisse “A La Peron”
  • ?  Caesars Club – New paninis and sandwiches
  • Hall of Fame and Museum

    With the Mets hosting Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game for the first time since 1964, the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum will feature a special display highlighting All-Star Game memorabilia from Mets All-Stars. Johan Santana’s no-hitter, the first in franchise history, will be honored in the Put it in the Books display with the pitching rubber and home plate from the June 1, 2012 game. The museum will also commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Mets capturing the National League pennant in 1973 by displaying artifacts from members of that team. The Jersey Wall will return and display uniforms from such Mets greats as Edgardo Alfonzo, David Cone, Pedro Martinez, Willie Mays and John Stearns.

    The following is a sampling of All-Star Game items:

  • ?  1964 All-Star Game program, ticket, pennant
  • ?  Gary Carter game-used cap from 1986 All-Star Game
  • ?  Darryl Strawberry 1986 All-Star Game trophy for most votes
  • ?  John Franco 1990 All-Star Game ring
  • ?  Mike Piazza 2002 All-Star Game bat
  • ?  David Wright game-used cleats from his first All-Star Game in 2006
  • ?  David Wright 2006 Home Run Derby bat

    Major League Baseball All-Star Game Merchandise

    A selection of Major League Baseball All-Star Game merchandise will be available at the Mets Team Store and throughout the ballpark. The items include: backpacks, bags, baseballs, blankets, caps, fleeces, jackets, jerseys, mini bats, mugs, pennants, pins, towels and t-shirts.

 

Mar 27

Mets Shouldn’t Push Wright For Opening Day Start

With most strained and pulled muscles, a sound approach is whatever timetable is given just add a week.

Given that, I don’t see why the Mets seem to be rushing David Wright, who sustained a strained left intercostal muscle while at the WBC. I also don’t see why Wright is rushing himself.

WRIGHT: Needs to slow down.

WRIGHT: Needs to slow down.

Didn’t anybody learn anything from the Johan Santana fiasco? What is to be gained by him playing in a handful of games? Could it be nobody wants to point a finger at the WBC? Could it be that both parties want to put their handling of the injury on the back burner?

Wright made it to the field yesterday, getting five at-bats in a pair of minor league games, but not playing defense. For that, he’s taking ground balls from third base coach Tim Teufel.

In both cases, he didn’t face anything coming to close to the actual speed of a major league game.

Wright says he feels better, which is positive news. He said he’s optimistic about Opening Day, which is what you would expect him to say.

“I’ve been optimistic about Opening Day since I came back to St. Lucie, and talked to the doctors and the trainers about the diagnosis,’’ Wright told reporters yesterday. “It’s another step closer, so I’m still very optimistic.’’

We could end it there, which would be the puff story way to go, but that wouldn’t be accurate.

What is accurate is Wright is as tough as they come, once playing a full month with a stress fracture in his lower back. He’s had muscle pulls and a beaning-related concussion. This player, the best the Mets ever produced outside of Tom Seaver, is strong and fearless.

However, there are times when he’s lacking in judgment. There is a difference between pain and injury. All players have some type of pain, but an injury can be career damaging.

Wright should have been more cautious with the back; he needs to be more cautious with his current injury.

In the grand scheme of things, what is the difference if Wright plays April 1 or April 7? Seriously, do you expect it to be the difference between making the playoffs and going home for the winter as they have every season since 2007?

What pushing the envelope with Wright could mean is the difference between missing the first half dozen games of the season and potentially a month if he’s reinjured.

Wright could play and not be reinjured, but it could impact him at the plate or in the field. It could lead him to bad habits and consequently another injury. If the Mets and Wright constantly find themselves looking at first the calendar, and then the clock, he’s simply not ready.

How much time Wright needs, I don’t know. But, what I believe from all the information the Mets and Wright are putting out about his injury in relationship to Opening Day is he’s not ready.

I would like to see him play, because he’s arguably the best reason to watch the Mets, but I am willing to wait a week. The season will still be here when he gets back.

However, it might not be if he has to sit for another month or longer.

Mar 27

Don’t Force Wheeler Because Of Marcum

There are two no-brainers in place for the Mets with their latest injury news.

The first was the slam-dunk Shaun Marcum would be injured. The surprise was it happened before the team broke camp, but considering the shape he reported in, well, maybe not so much.

WHEELER: Not ready.

WHEELER: Not ready.

The second is the inevitable early clamor for the Mets to promote prospect Zack Wheeler, which should be an emphatic NO WAY.

Manager Terry Collins told reporters today in Port St. Lucie, but he has a few more days to mull it over in his mind, especially throwing Johan Santana’s name on the soon-to-be-DL list.

“There’s a reason why we sent him out,’’ Collins said. “He needs to face hitters in Triple-A.’’

Although Wheeler was impressive in his first appearance since straining his oblique muscle, too much can’t be read into that because he wasn’t facing major league hitters.

The send-off the Mets gave Wheeler was to work on his command, especially lower in the strike zone and on the corners. That includes both his fastball and breaking pitches.

GM Sandy Alderson was adamant at the start of spring training of putting Wheeler, “in a chance where he has a chance to be successful,’’ but said he’s not there, yet.

Alderson wouldn’t identify a concrete timetable, and some of it pertains to the free agent and Super Two issues. Based on service time within the first 20 days of the regular season, Wheeler would become a free agent after the 2018 season instead to 2019, and be eligible for an extra year (four instead of three) in salary arbitration.

An example of a Super Two player is the Phillies Cole Hamels, but it should be remembered he was first played in that status in 2009, the year Philadelphia went to the World Series. At last check, the Mets haven’t been over .500 since that year.

People accuse the Mets of being cheap off the time, but this is more a prudent option and an accountant’s decision. However, Alderson said if there’s a need for a player such as Wheeler or catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud they would be promoted regardless.

If Marcum isn’t ready for the season – it seems doubtful he will make Thursday’s start – the Mets will likely place him on the disabled list. It would be foolish to wait to see if he’ll be ready for the season’s second start, or even worse to push him back in the rotation.

Under those scenarios, if Marcum pitched and was re-injured, he would go on the disabled list backdated to the time of that injury and be out two-weeks. If not, he would be backdated into spring training and miss time.

Marcum sustained a pinched nerve in his neck sustained throwing in the bullpen Monday. Marcum has only broken 200 innings once during his career, and only had 124 last year.