Mar 10

Let’s See More Of Fred Wilpon

One figured Mets owner Fred Wilpon would be around Tradition Field Monday afternoon considering commissioner Rob Manfred was in Port St. Lucie.

What you didn’t expect was for Wilpon to talk with manager Terry Collins in his office for about 20 minutes after the game. Collins said Wilpon would be a regular presence during spring training.

WILPON: Let's see his fire.

WILPON: Let’s see his fire.

Let’s hope so. And, let’s hope he doesn’t fade once the season starts.

“He expects it to be a much better team. There’s no doubt about that,’’ Collins told reporters Monday. “He told me two weeks ago, ‘Look, I’m going to be here a lot – a lot,’ where, in the past, he’d come in and he’d be gone for a week or 10 days.’’

I really want to see that, and deep down, I believe Mets fans want to see more of the owner.

Collins said he and Wilpon discussed the rising number of walks (36 over the last 61 innings); the left-handed hole in the bullpen; and the roster composition. Normal stuff, but things you’re also wondering about, right?

I covered the Yankees for over eight years and tracking down George Steinbrenner was a daily chore. It was often fruitless, but there were times, such as when he ripped Hideki Irabu and forced the team to wait in the clubhouse for over three hours to delay a flight to Los Angeles, that it made for an interesting day.

A Steinbrenner explosion kept the Yankees on the back pages for three or four days. There was no owner like Steinbrenner, who not only left his mark on the Yankees, but baseball as well.

I don’t expect Wilpon to be that visible, or vocal … or cantankerous, for that matter. However, this is his team and I want to see fire from him. I know he as other financial interests, but the Mets are his most high profile venture by far. I want him to show Mets fans he’s really into his team. I want to see him sit in the stands and mingle with the fans.

People say Wilpon is passionate about baseball and the Mets. I want to see that feistiness. If the Mets lose three straight to the Nationals this summer, I want Wilpon to make a headline. When Wilpon speaks, people will listen and I want him to be a presence at Citi Field.

Several weeks ago I wrote a piece on what Wilpon could say to make people want to care about the Mets. Well, I want to see his passion about the Mets. If he does that, well, then maybe that’s his message to the fans that he cares.

Mar 09

Mets Matters: Wilpon Meets With Collins

Mets owner Fred Wilpon met for 20 minutes with manager Terry Collins after his team was routed Monday by Miami.

mets-matters logoNo worries.

“He just wanted to talk about the club, which he loves to do,’’ Collins told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “He loves to talk baseball. But he’s not mad at all.’’

Wilpon also told Collins he would be more visible this spring.

INJURY UPDATES: Lucas Duda was cranking them out Monday in batting practice. Duda, who was sidelined for nearly three weeks with a strained left intercostal muscle, will hit again Tuesday.

* Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who cut his left ring finger Sunday did not play, but will make the trip Tuesday to Disney against Atlanta.

* Daniel Murphy reported no problems after his return to the lineup Monday. Murphy is off Tuesday but is scheduled to play Wednesday.

* Outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo remains sidelined with a jammed left thumb.

UP NEXT: Bartolo Colon will make his second start of the spring Tuesday against the Braves at Disney. Colon threw two perfect innings in his spring debut last Thursday against Washington. … Hansel Robles, Buddy Carlyle and Akeel Morris are also scheduled to pitch.

Mar 07

Mets Today: deGrom Starts Against Braves

Following back-to-back perfect starts from Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey, the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and his under-construction curveball will attempt to make it three straight Saturday afternoon against Atlanta in Port St. Lucie.

DeGROM: Unveils curveball.  (Getty)

DeGROM: Unveils curveball. (Getty)

Last season’s NL Rookie of the Year is working on a curveball to give his repertoire more depth. Opposing teams will adjust to deGrom, and the curveball is an attempt to counter those adjustments, which is essential because the last thing a pitcher should be is predictable.

“It’s a great pitch whether it be strike one or a strikeout pitch,’’ deGrom told The New York Post about his curveball. “Talking to Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler and all those guys and see how they throw theirs and taking little bits of information from them and trying it in bullpens.

“Sometimes I throw it at 78 (mph) and that’s a big difference from the slider. It gets the hitter off balance.’’

He will be that much more difficult if deGrom can control his curveball to get ahead in the count so he isn’t reliant on starting off each hitter with a fastball.

Last year deGrom was just trying to make the team. Things are a lot different this spring.

“This spring is so different,’’ deGrom said. “I can really come in here and work on things. Last year when I was over on the big league side, I didn’t throw my curveball one time because I was trying to make the team and prove I could get outs in spring training.’’

Gee is currently slated to work out of the bullpen and manager Terry Collins will use him in that capacity today to get used to that timing.

The game will be telecast on WPIX-11.

Mar 06

Mets Wrap: Harvey Couldn’t Ask For Better Day

With the exception of a few more innings, Matt Harvey couldn’t have asked for more in his first mound appearance with the Mets since August of 2013. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Harvey’s rehab culminated in two perfect innings in Friday’s 5-4 exhibition victory over Detroit. Harvey struck out three and his fastball topped out at 99 mph.

HARVEY: Perfect start. (Getty)

HARVEY: Perfect start. (Getty)

Harvey was immensely pleased with his performance, and more importantly, with how he felt.

“Things felt so good that the fact that I did have surgery is completely out of my mind,’’ Harvey told reporters. “The big thing is I was happy throwing strikes and not walking anybody. Those are the things you try to work on.

“Especially hearing things about guys going through this process and having tough command, for me, that was the big thing that I was focusing on today. And I was pretty happy about it.’’

Harvey threw only 25 pitches and joked with manager Terry Collins about pitching a few more innings, knowing it wouldn’t happen.

The Mets haven’t clearly defined how they will limit Harvey’s innings this year, but he spoke with dialing down how much, and how hard, he throws between starts.

Of course, with any pitcher coming back from arm surgery, the key is how he feels Saturday. If all is positive, he is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Miami in Jupiter.

MURPHY INJURED: Daniel Murphy sustained a bone bruise and left Friday’s game after being struck by a David Price pitch on the top of his right hand in the second inning.

He was replaced by Ruben Tejada and is considered day-to-day.

EXTRA INNINGS: Shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds homered off Joe Mantiply in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. … Matt den Dekker hit a two-run double. … The Mets committed three errors. … Justin and Jaden Ramos, sons of Rafael Ramos, a NYPD officer murdered in December, were guests of David Wright and served as batboys. … Jacob deGrom will start Saturday against Atlanta at Port St. Lucie. The game will be on WPIX-11.

 

Mar 04

Mets Today: Showcasing Gee

Let the showcasing begin for the Mets and Dillon Gee, whom they have been trying to trade since the end of last season. Gee will start today against Atlanta in the Mets’ exhibition opener, with the parameters being 35 pitches or two innings.

Gee, who threw 199 innings two years ago, regressed last season and was 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA. He’s expendable with the return of Matt Harvey following elbow surgery.

GEE: Being showcased this spring. (AP)

GEE: Being showcased this spring. (AP)

The Mets tried to trade Gee this off-season, but found little interest, probably because of their high asking price. After the winter meetings they indicated a willingness to accept a low-level prospect, but GM Sandy Alderson said the market is currently dry.

“I think most clubs, including ours, are focused on what’s going on in camp and evaluating what they already have,’’ Alderson told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “If there’s going to be any significant trade talk, I think typically it’s going to happen later in spring training, unless there’s an injury of some sort. By and large, I think that comes more in the second half of spring training.’’

Assuming no injuries in the rotation, Gee is the sixth starter, which puts him on the outside, or more to the point, in the bullpen as a long reliever. Because each starter has a significant question next to his name, it makes sense to hold onto Gee, who has been productive. The Mets won’t trade Gee just for the sake of making a deal.

From his point, Gee likes it here and wants to stay.

“I’m happy to be here. I really am,’’ Gee said at the start of camp. “Right now, I’m approaching this like I’m pitching to be a starter. That’s what they’ve told me to do. I love starting, and I’ve been successful as a starter.’’

But, that’s not his choice.