Jan 26

Jan. 26.10: Sheets off the board; Smoltz still available.

Ben Sheets apparently wasn’t worth the gamble, so he signed with Oakland for $10 million. I’m not even sure the Mets made an offer.

I understand the Mets’ reasoning and can’t fault them here. Sheets was a DL trip waiting to happen, and the Mets have too many of those already.

On Jan. 23, I wrote, “But, it’s better than remaining stagnant,’’ regarding Sheets which was a lukewarm endorsement.

Elsewhere:

• Johan Santana and Oliver Perez threw in Port St. Lucie without pain.
• The Mets are still contemplating signing John Smoltz.
• The Cubs signed former Mets outfielder Xavier Nady.

Check out the new poll.

Jan 25

Jan. 25.10: Santana to throw off the mound tomorrow.

Johan Santana will test his surgically-repaired left elbow off the mound tomorrow, the second day of the Mets’ three-day mini-camp.Santana underwent surgery, Sept. 1, and the prognosis is good for his return by Opening Day.

SANTANA: Goes off mound tomorrow.

SANTANA: Goes off mound tomorrow.


It’s the first time he’s thrown off the mound since the surgery.

Speaking to reporters today in Port St. Lucie, Santana said: “I’m feeling good. Time will tell, but I am feeling good. We did a pretty good job with the offseason, working out and doing all the rehab, and I’m feeling good. Everything is on schedule.”

In other injury news, Oliver Perez said he’s not feeling any discomfort in his right knee, which had scar tissue removed. … GM Omar Minaya said he’s still exploring the catching market after losing FA Bengie Molina to San Francisco.

Santana went through this before when he was with Minnesota, so he has a frame of reference.

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.