Mar 18

Clock clicking down on Met issues

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.

Mar 07

Santana passes BP test

SANTANA: Pitched BP today.

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.

Mar 07

Injury updates …. Santana to throw BP

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.

Feb 16

Santana update

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.”

Feb 15

Griffey to Braves?

It’s looking as it that might be the case. Griffey, who lives in Orlando – where the Braves train in spring training – has wanted to play for Atlanta. He might soon get the case. The Braves confirmed interest today according to ESPN.com.

I broached Griffey to the Mets a couple of weeks ago, a thought that was rather coldly received. Apparently, the Braves still think he has something left.

He does vs. the Phillies, hitting .357 against them last season. Of course, Griffey isn’t the same player, but for a team wanting to win this year he’s a good piece to have. He’s exactly the kind of bat you trade for in July. Why not have him all season?

The Phillies, by the way, have already named Cole Hamels their Opening Day starter.