Mar 08

Santana takes next step; Pelfrey rocked.

The Mets received good and bad reviews from two pitchers who might have the highest expectations this season in Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey.

Santana, recovering from shoulder surgery, threw in the bullpen today without discomfort and pronounced himself ready for his next start Sunday, when he’s scheduled to throw three innings against the Marlins.

PELFREY: Rocked in first start.

Santana was anxious to see how his shoulder would respond after Tuesday’s start.

“I was able to throw my bullpen without any problems and with good intensity and work on all my pitches,’’ Santana said.  “I felt pretty good.’’

Santana said every day represents another hurdle, and this week has been all good news. He threw mostly fastballs and change-ups during his 29-pitch outing Tuesday and plans to throw more sliders Sunday.

While we can’t make too much of this to pencil Santana in for the Opening Day rotation, considering what he’s gone through the news is encouraging.

As for Pelfrey, he struggled in his first start of the spring, giving up four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings.  He had the usual problems with his command, in particular with his sinker.

I didn’t get ahead,’’ Pelfrey said in what was a common refrain last year. “It’s kind of hard to pitch when you’re behind in the count. … I didn’t make pitches. The command wasn’t very good today.’’

Pelfrey gave up a homer to Austin Kearns on a crippled sinker.

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Mar 07

Reasons for playing it safe with Wright.

This much I know about rib cage and oblique injuries: They tend to linger, and often until past when you think you’re healed.

WRIGHT: Playing it safe with their biggest chip.

First it was a couple of games. Now it is until next week. And, even that’s a little vague for when David Wright will return. If Wright is shut down for another week, so be it. The biggest deterrent for him not being ready by Opening Day is for the injury to be aggravated.

The last thing the Mets need is for this to drag on into the season and sap his production in the first half. Not only will it hurt the Mets on the field, but also reduces Wright’s value in the trade market. Don’t think for a moment that hasn’t crossed Sandy Alderson’s mind.

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Jan 13

Santana talking 2012 … we’ve heard this before.

Johan Santana said he’s hopeful about returning by Opening Day, which, if it happens, would be welcome news for this free-falling franchise. Who is holding their breath on this one?

When it comes to injuries for this team, whether it comes from player or management, it is best to disregard any statement from Flushing. When it comes to Santana, return and throwing dates have already been pushed back several times.

Santana’s shoulder injury was extremely serious, with long odds against a healthy return. I’d love to see Santana pitch like an ace again, but have resigned myself to doing so by watching classic video.

When it comes to Santana’s return, I’ll believe it when I see it.

 

Dec 23

Nationals making more noise … Mets remain quiet.

I don’t know much about the prospects the Nationals are sending to Oakland for Gio Gonzalez. What I do know is adding Gonzalez makes them considerably more improved, and that includes better than the Mets.

If what is reported is true, that the Mets wouldn’t part with Jon Niese and Ike Davis then that makes a degree of sense because with what is left it isn’t good enough for Gonzalez to carry. Then again, if I were Oakland I wouldn’t deal Gonzalez for a package that includes two players on the mend.

The essence of this trade reveals a key Mets’ weakness, and that’s a lack of depth in the minor leagues that could be used in trades. For the past few years, one of their biggest chips was Fernando Martinez, but injuries have slowed his career to little more than a crawl.

Do you remember when the Mets were telling us about their wealth of outfield prospects in Martinez, Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez? Kind of makes you think when they tout what’s down below now that we really don’t know.

It has been an interesting winter so far for other teams, including St. Louis, which will add Carlos Beltran for two years at $26 million. Beltran won’t make them forget Albert Pujols, but at least the Cardinals are attempting to move forward.

The Mets will add a few minor pieces between now and spring training, but nothing that will prompt anybody to pick up phone and order tickets.

Here we are, a couple of days before Christmas and the weather is warm enough for Opening Day. When I think about the promise and excitement Opening Day is supposed to have, I realize we won’t feel that way at Citi Field for several more years.

Sad really.

Dec 19

Time To Trade Murphy

I’m a big Daniel Murphy fan. I love his determination, I’m impressed by his plate approach, I believe in his value as an offensive player, and his enthusiasm is totally awesome. That said, I just don’t see him as part of the master plan. I’ve heard and read all the quotes about him being the everyday second baseman next season, but I’m not at all thrilled at the prospect of that.

There seemed to be some interest in Murphy during the Winter Meetings in Dallas, and to be honest I was excited at the prospect of shipping him to a team where he would be allowed to play at his natural third base position or even makes his bones as a designated hitter in the AL.

We’ve already tried unsuccessfully to make Murphy a left fielder and then a first baseman. His two attempts to play second base both resulted in season ending injuries that could have been avoided had Murphy understood how to set himself up at second base and field his position properly. Do we really want to risk a third season ending injury?

Murphy has very good value right now, especially for someone coming back from an injury. He was fifth in the NL with a .320 batting average before he got hurt last season, and that is nothing to scoff at.

His .809 OPS ranked high among first basemen and in parts of two season he has stroked 66 doubles and a combined 90 extra-base hits in about 900 at-bats.

Here’s the problem the way I see it, the Mets have been killing this kid and hurting his progress by trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. No matter how hard they keep trying they can’t seem to make Murphy fit in.

He is much too valuable as a hitter to just let him squander on the bench. So why not do what’s best for him and best for the team and trade him for something we need – like a catcher perhaps – or a centerfielder?

Murphy is not getting any younger and after four years of jerking him around he’ll be 27 on Opening Day. Isn’t it time to just bite the bullet and actively shop him to the highest bidder?