Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza, the two greatest players in franchise history, walked out of Shea Stadium to close the historic ballpark last fall. They’ll team to throw the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day.
Opening Day won’t be the time to do so, but sometime this summer, the Mets should take a day to honor Mike Piazza by retiring his No. 31.
With a little less than three weeks before Opening Day, some issues the Mets opened camp with are starting to take focus. Others remain blurred.
Johan Santana, it seems, is on track. My philosophy on injuries is to assume the worst until the player proves otherwise. After a strong 56-pitch outing in a minor league game yesterday, the reports on Santana and his slider are good.
The fifth starter was another issue, and candidates Freddy Garcia (14.40 ERA this spring) and Livan Hernandez (3.72) will work today against the Braves. Garcia, obviously needs a complete turnaround to stay in contention, but coming off injuries, he’s likely to open the season with an extended spring training.
Hernandez has been mostly good, but still hasn’t blown Jerry Manuel away as to where the job is his. And, until he does, there will always be those Pedro Martinez whispers that won’t go away.
SANTANA: Pitched BP today.
Johan Santana threw a 36-pitch bullpen session today and in on target to be ready for Opening Day.
Santana told reporters: “I pitched today with no problems in my elbow or my arm or anything, so I am fine, and at the same time I was working on my pitches and I was able to command it, so that’s what you want to see.
“For being my first time facing hitters, I think it was pretty good. Everything was there — breaking ball was there, my change up was there, my arm speed, my legs are there. That’s what you are looking for. You look for your legs to be there and to feel comfortable, and that’s how I felt.”
Barring a setback Santana could get in a minor league game this week.
Johan Santana will throw batting today, and if all goes well, five days after that he could throw in a minor league game.
Manager Jerry Manuel said it means Santana could be on track to pitch the “all important’’ Opening Day.
Meanwhile, Luis Castillo is experience tightness in his left hamstring and is day-to-day.
Ryan Church is expected to play this afternoon after missing two games with a bruised right knee.
While the Phillies are set with Cole Hamels as their Opening Day starter, the Mets aren’t there yet with Johan Santana.
Santana threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday, and is not yet at full strength following surgery to repair a torn mtorn meniscus in his left knee.
“Everything is where it’s supposed to be,” Santana told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “I don’t expect to be 100 percent right away. It’s going to take some time. We’ve got around seven weeks to get everything going and I’m pretty sure we’re not going to have any problems.”