Jan 18

Jan. 18.10: Spring training questions.

Questions, questions ....

Questions, questions ....

With a month before the start of spring training, let’s take a look at the ten top issues surrounding the Mets when the arrive at Port St. Lucie:

1) Who are the fifth starter candidates?
A: Jon Niese is from the organization. It could also be Oliver Perez or John Maine if the Mets should add another arm. Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland are still out there, but they are also linked to other teams. There’s no guarantee the Mets will bring in somebody else.

2) Where is Johan Santana?
A: Santana is coming off surgery. The Mets are saying he’ll be ready, but they said the same thing about John Maine last spring.

3) What is Jose Reyes status?
A: Reyes says he feels good, but he hasn’t tested that hamstring in game-type conditions. And, how much speed has he lost?

4) Did David Wright find his home run stroke over the winter?
A: Maybe it was Citi Field, maybe not. But, Wright did not hit with power last season. That has to change if the Mets are to do anything.

5) Carlos Beltran is how many weeks away?
A: Originally, they said 12 weeks. He won’t be ready by spring training to do baseball activities, but maybe they’ll have a better timetable by then.

6) What’s the catching situation look like?
A: The Mets have plenty of reserve catchers, but not a No. 1. They hope it will be Bengie Molina. They really don’t want to rush Josh Thole to the majors.

7) Who is the real Mike Pelfrey?
A: Pelfrey appeared on the verge of breaking out in 2008, but regressed last season. It’s about time he gets to the next level.

8) Where does the coin land?
A: Will Coinflip Perez show consistency beyond being inconsistent? He’s also coming off surgery. The reports are he’s working hard, but he’s worked hard before with no results.

9) What are the bullpen roles?
A: They could change if they sign John Smoltz. I’d rather have him in a set-up role than Kelvim Escobar. That way I could also drop Bobby Parnell down to a lower pressure slot.

10) What kind of camp will Jerry Manuel run?
A: Lax or clamp down? There were injuries last season, but the team also played fundamentally poor baseball and that’s his responsibility.

Sep 02

METS NOTEBOOK/LINE-UP: Beltran update.

* Center fielder Carlos Beltran will begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight at Brooklyn. His bone bruise is healing and the team said he could return next week at home against the Marlins or for the weekend series at Philadelphia.

BELTRAN: At Brooklyn tonight.

BELTRAN: At Brooklyn tonight.


A lot of people have written Beltran off for this season, but we’ll see. Things have changed before.

* One person we’ll definitely not see this year is John Maine, who threw in a simulated game yesterday at Port St. Lucie. He’s scheduled to pitch in a minor league rehab game Saturday.

Personally, I’m not counting on anything from Maine anymore. I believe the Mets should go into the off-season thinking he’s not in their plans. If he comes back that’s a bonus, but they should by-pass the opportunity to get somebody else in the hope Maine will return.

* David Wright took a lot of ribbing for his oversized helmet, but said he’ll keep wearing it. Wright returned from the DL Monday. Wright is not in the line-up tonight as manager Jerry Manuel said he wants to rest him to see how he responded to playing again. No qualms with that decision.

Here’s tonight’s line-up vs. Rockies:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Tim Redding, RP

Jun 18

Perez update

Oliver Perez, on the DL since May 7, threw three shutout innings in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie. He gave up three hits and one walk with five strikeouts and reported no pain.

“I felt really good,” Perez said. “I’m a little tired because it’s hot, but I feel strong. I threw three innings, and I was using all my pitches. I used my slider, backdoor, in good situations, behind the count, my change-up, too. I’m happy I had good command, and I was throwing a lot of strikes.”

Perez will throw again Tuesday.

While the news is encouraging, it must be tempered with the fact he’s basically starting over and will need at least three more games before he’s ready. That puts his return in early July at best.

Never mind the results, the important thing is he felt no discomfort in his knee.

In other injury news: John Maine threw in a simulated game and still feels a pinch in his shoulder. … Angel Pagan could be back in New York within two weeks. … Billy Wagner could face hitters by the first week in July.

May 30

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #48; scrub edition.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Well, the Mets don’t have Ramon Castro to kick around anymore. From the moment Jerry Manuel pinch-hit Omir Santos for him you knew Castro’s Mets’ days were numbered.

Fittingly, the deal was pulled last night, announced moments after Santos’ game-winning single. Very cosmic.

The timing of the deal was such as to make room on the 25-man roster for Brian Schneider, who was activated from the disabled list for this afternoon’s game against the Marlins.

The line-up, where David Wright and Luis Castillo are both rested, is something that would look like the “B” squad in Lakeland.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, LF
Fernando Martinez, RF
Carlos Beltran, CF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Ramon Martinez, 2B
Brian Schneider, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Tim Redding, P

Five of the starters, including Redding, weren’t on the Opening Day roster. Redding gets another start with Oliver Perez ailing on the DL. Perez left his minor league rehab assignment to return to Port St. Lucie, Fl., with discomfort in his knee following his last start for Triple-A Buffalo.

An MRI has diagnosed tendinitis of the patella tendon.

One other thing.

I scanned the comments this morning and disappointed to read some of the dialogue. This really is a heady blog with a lot of intelligent comments and theories. We digressed a little last night. I don’t care if you disagree with each other. Hey, passionate fans do that, but please, no cursing at each other.

We’re better than that guys. Disagree all you want, be spirited, but this isn’t the Wild, Wild West. You can disagree without the attacks.

Thanks.

Mar 05

On Santana: Are they really sure?

SANTANA: Are they sure?

SANTANA: Are they sure?

He’s easily the most important Met. How far they go this season is dependant on Johan Santana’s elbow, his shoulder, and his knee – every part of him.

October will be yet another empty month if Santana is injured and misses a substantial part of the season.

The appearance is the Mets aren’t on the same page on a timetable when a day after pitching coach Dan Warthen’s itinerary had Santana missing Opening Day the two-time Cy Young winner said he thought differently.

Santana threw 46 pain-free bullpen pitches Wednesday and the tenor has changed. Santana, manager Jerry Manuel said, isn’t a like everybody else, telling reporters in Port St. Lucie: “You have templates that you like to follow, and everybody don’t fit those templates. That’s why he is who he is.’’

I don’t think anybody doubts Santana’s competitiveness. All you have to do is think back to his last start of the season on a bum knee that required surgery.

This guy throws with his guts as much as he does his arm, and part of me can’t help but wonder if the Mets are doing with Santana what they did with Pedro Martinez, which is let him call the shots.

If they thought he needed a MRI a week ago, then why not go through with it and be sure?