Sep 09

Maine has test tomorrow.

Of all the injured Mets who had a chance of returning this season, seeing John Maine again was easily the most important.

Billy Wagner returned, showed he was healthy and sent the Red Sox. We are finally seeing Carlos Beltran, although he might still be gimpy. Mets doctors say Johan Santana and Oliver Perez should make successful recoveries from surgery and be ready for spring training.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.

MAINE: As fragile as his bobblehead doll.


Then again, that’s what they said about Maine.

Maine, on the disabled list since June 7 with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder, will throw a simulated game tomorrow, and barring any complications, start the second game of Sunday’s double-header at Philadelphia.

“It feels good,’’ Maine told reporters yesterday. “Strength-wise, it’s not quite 100 percent. But as far as the pain, it’s just not there. I think with a good off-season, I’ll be able to put it behind me. It should go away and should be fine.’’

The operative word being off-season. If Maine somehow didn’t pitch again this year, the Mets would have nothing to evaluate and might opt to non-tender him a contract. The risk being somebody else would take a chance on him and he’d bounce back.

Personally, I think they’ll tender the contract anyway because the money is rather small and would be for one year, and because the Mets don’t have that many minor league options, and they are unlikely to splurge on the free-agent and trade markets. The inclination wildly spend is not there. Look on whom they passed last winter (Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf).

However, should Maine make it out of Sunday’s 60-pitch audition without difficulty, he should get three more starts before the end of the season. Four starts is roughly a short spring training, but it this case it might be enough for the Mets to start formulating some plans.

Maine has as much to gain as the Mets by pitching in September, because if he proves he’s healthy, and the Mets inexplicably don’t tender a contract, he would enter the free-agent market.

If the Mets are able to pencil in Maine for one rotation spot, it would eliminate one of the many headaches the Mets will have to contend with this winter.

Although there has been some discussion about putting Maine in the bullpen, I don’t see the Mets using this window for that kind of experiment.

Sep 02

About last night: Concern about Pelfrey.

If a lost season is all about searching for answers the Mets are still asking questions when it comes to Mike Pelfrey, whose only consistent aspect of his game is running up his pitches to 100 by the fifth inning.

PELFREY: Giving up the long ball.

PELFREY: Giving up the long ball.


Last season, which began under pitching coach Rick Peterson and ended under Dan Warthen, Pelfrey showed breakout signs going 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA. He explained he was a fastball pitcher and became more aggressive in challenging hitters with that pitch and not fooling around with his secondary pitches when he needed an out. His pitches had enough movement to where a pitch down the middle could move to the corners.

Last night’s loss was just another in a long line of disappointing performances. He was consistently behind in the count, and as his habit, would let one inning get away from him. Given a walk, or an error, or a bad call, Pelfrey lets it stay with him and his concentration would wander. Big innings find him frequently.

All those balks are an indication of a lack of focus.

Pelfrey is 9-10 with a 5.03 ERA, and while it is possible to equal last season’s mark it wouldn’t be indicative of his year. In 150 1/3 innings, hitters are batting .288 against him and he has given up 233 baserunners. Sixth of them have been walks, compared to 64 all last year. Pelfrey gave up 86 runs this year; already he has allowed 91. He has pitched like a No. 5 starter.

PELFREY: Another early exit.

PELFREY: Another early exit.


Yet, there are times he seems untouchable. There are games when you start to think he’s turned the corner, but in the next one runs into a brick wall.

He does sound an awful like Oliver Perez.

We must remember, Pelfrey hasn’t taken the progressive road to the major leagues. He’s been force fed to a large degree and is learning on the job. There’s enough talent there to where the Mets shouldn’t give up on him. I was glad he wasn’t sent to Minnesota in the package for Johan Santana.

I don’t know to the degree having two pitching coaches has hampered his development, or if that’s a moot point. Pelfrey hasn’t gone off on his coaches.

At his present rate Pelfrey won’t come close to the 200 innings he threw last season. But, it has been largely due to ineffectiveness than injury.

As the Mets prepare for next season, Pelfrey is one of the few givens on the staff as in he’ll be back. However, the Mets need to see development in 2010. If not, he’ll go from a No. 2 to a No. 4 in a heartbeat, and not soon after that a No. 5 to just another flameout bust.

Pelfrey is young, but he’s also been around to where he knows he must show something soon.

Sep 01

Mets Notebook: Wright ready for tonight.

Third baseman David Wright will be activated from the disabled list today and be in the line-up against Colorado. Manager Jerry Manuel said Wright would play tonight and tomorrow, then rest Thursday before the team’s series against the Chicago Cubs. Wright will be wearing the new ultra-protective batting helmets.

WRIGHT: To play tonight.

WRIGHT: To play tonight.


Johan Santana and Oliver Perez underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital of Special Surgery in Manhattan. Santana had bone chips removed from his left elbow and Perez had scar tissue removed from the patella tendon of his right knee. The team said both should be ready for spring training. That they had surgery with a month remaining is in their favor, unlike Jose Reyes, whose agent said surgery might not be until the end of the month. Santana was 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts; Perez was 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA in 14 starts.
BELTRAN: Rehab begins tomorrow.

BELTRAN: Rehab begins tomorrow.

Carlos Beltran was re-examined by Dr. David Altchek today and cleared to begin a rehab assignment tomorrow at Brooklyn. Beltran is on the disabled list with a bruised right knee and reports are he could be facing microfracture surgery in the off-season. If letting Beltran play again this season for the first time this season since June 22 is for his own peace of mind, then go for it. But, it this is just to trot him out there in an attempt to win a few games then I think it’s not a good plan and they explore the surgery and get that done quickly.

Today is when rosters can be expanded up to 40, but the Mets aren’t planning much immediately, with only 22-year-old catcher Josh Thole joining the team in Denver. With free-agent-to-be Brian Schneider not expected to return, Thole could the laying the groundwork for next spring.

First base prospect Ike Davis was added to the United States’ roster for the World Cup, Sept. 9-27, in Europe. Davis, 22, was hitting .307 with a .386 OBP, 26 extra base hits and 41 RBI in 54 games at Double-A. After the World Cup, Davis will play in the Arizona Fall League.

Aug 26

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #127; Perez out for year.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Another day, another season-ending injury. Mets fans were put out of their misery today of having to watch Oliver Perez pitch again this year with the news the combustible and wild left-hander has patella tendon tendinosis in his right knee and will have surgery.

This can’t be a shock to anybody, is it? Or, even a disappointment. I don’t like to see anybody hurt, including Perez, but I won’t miss having to watch him until next year.

Perez, 28, who was signed to a three-year, $36-million contract last winter, was 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA in 14 starts. His balky knee forced him to spent more than two months on the disabled list earlier this season.

PEREZ: Done for year.

PEREZ: Done for year.


Yesterday, it was Johan Santana who was announced would have surgery. The Mets say both Santana and Perez will be ready for spring training, but what they don’t know, is what condition they will be or if they’ll be ready for the start of the season as no surgery is guaranteed.

The Mets had enough pitching questions as it was, now they must have to think about how much they’ll have to add in the off-season via free agency to protect against the chance of either of those two not being ready.

Only Mike Pelfrey remains in the rotation that opened the season. The rest includes Pat Misch, Tim Redding, Bobby Parnell and Nelson Figueroa.

Lance Broadway has been called up from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Perez. He’s got a great New York name, but also a combined 5-9 record with a 6.17 ERA with Buffalo and Charlotte.

Is he the answer? I think not.

The erratic Pelfrey (9-8, 4.67) will start for the Mets tonight at Florida in a match-up that does not favor New York. Pelfrey has been strong in his last two starts, including a win over Philadelphia. However, Josh Johnson (12-3, 2.99 ERA) will start for the Marlins. He has dominated the Mets in three starts this season, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA. He is 6-0 lifetime against the Mets.

Johnson will face this line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP