Aug 30

Today in Mets’ History: Casey, then Sandy bid farewell to Shea

Casey Stengel, who broke his hip five weeks earlier, announced his retirement as manager of the Mets on this date in 1965.

The following year on this date, Bob Friend beat Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 10-4, at Shea Stadium. It would be his final decision against the Mets as he retired after the 1966 World Series. Davey Johnson, then the second baseman of the Baltimore Orioles and the future manager of the Mets, would get the last hit off Koufax.

Stengel eventually had his number retired while Koufax is a frequent visitor to the Mets spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

 

Jul 26

Santana to pitch Thursday

The Mets announced today Johan Santana will make his first rehab start Thursday at Port St. Luice and make 45 pitches. Figuring no setbacks, perhaps we’ll see Santana by mid-August. What do the Mets have to gain by pitching Santana with the season all but lost by then?

SANTANA: Expected to pitch this week.

Obviously, Santana will not have pitched enough by the end of the month for anybody to risk a trade. The key for Santana is to gain peace of mind so he won’t have to go through the winter wondering about the spring.

Pitching this year will also enable Santana to judge where he is physically and what his off-season pitching workouts will be like.

It’s tempting to say watching Santana could help the Mets gauge their pitching needs over the winter, but he wouldn’t have made enough starts for them to get a definitive picture. Even if Santana pitches well the last six weeks of the season and during spring training, he’ll need to go deep into 2012 before we know if he’ll hit the wall as pitchers often do the year after surgery.

 

Jun 30

Today in Mets’ History: No-hit by Sandy Koufax.

On this date in Mets History, the Mets fell to one of the great ones in 1962 when Sandy Koufax threw the first of his four career no-hitters, winning 5-0, at Dodger Stadium.

KOUFAX: Said to have had the ``left arm of God.''

To illustrate the strange nature of the sport, the previous day the Mets drew 16 walks to win 10-4.

Koufax issued five walks and struck out 13 Mets, including Rod Kanehl, Cliff Cook, Elio Chacon, Chris Cannizzaro and Ray Daviault twice each.

BOX SCORE

In 20 career starts against the Mets, Koufax was 17-2 with a 1.44 ERA, including 14 complete games.

KOUFAX CAREER

Koufax had a dominating six-year run from 1961-66, when he was named the National League MVP in 1963, and won the Cy Young Award in 1963, 65 and 66. His career was cut short at the age of 30 with arthritis.

At 36 years and 20 days, he was the youngest entry into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Koufax played basketball at the University of Cincinnati, and played for the baseball team in 1954. He was scouted by the Dodgers, but the report was lost.

Koufax later tried out for the Giants and Pirates – neither of which offered a contract – and the Dodgers again. This time, he was signed for $6,000 with a $14,000 signing bonus.

A close friend of owner Fred Wilpon, Koufax is a frequent visitor to the Mets’ spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and tutors the pitchers most every spring.

After a long drought, Koufax is back in the Dodgers’ family. The Dodgers hired him to be a minor league pitching coach in 1979, but he resigned in 2000, the departure blamed on an uneasy relationship with then Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

Koufax severed ties with the Dodgers in 2003 when a New York Post article wrote of his sexual orientation and implied he was gay. Both the Post and Dodgers were owned by Rupert Murdoch at the time. Koufax resumed his relationship with the Dodgers when Frank McCourt purchased the team in 2004.

Jun 23

Wright cleared; Capuano injured; notebook.

David Wright was cleared today to resume baseball activities and will head tomorrow to Port St. Lucie to begin his rehab.

The Mets are talking about two weeks, but we’ve heard that song before. There’s a lot of torque to a baseball swing and we don’t know how his back will respond to that stress.

It is premature to discuss where Wright will hit in the order when he returns, just as it is too soon to assume he’ll be back in two weeks and step right in.

This should come under the category of: No surprises here.

Chris Capuano pitched a strong six innings, but left today’s 4-1 victory over the Athletics with pain in his right abdomen.

There was no word from the Mets after the game whether Capuano would miss his next start.

NOTEBOOK: Pitching prospect Matt Harvey and third baseman Jefry Marte will participate in the Future’s Game as part of the All-Star festivities in Phoenix. … Mets starters have a 2.62 ERA over the last 27 games. … Second baseman Ruben Tejada is in a 2-for-29 slump. … Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will pitch against Texas this weekend. None have faced the Rangers.

 

Jun 06

Injury updates: Wright, Beltran and Davis.

WRIGHT: Won't be doing this for at least three weeks.

The more I think of it, the more it steams me how poorly David Wright’s injury was handled – by both parties. First, by Wright for not immediately seeking treatment, and then for putting it off. Then by the Mets for not insisting he be examined.

Some days it hurt and others it felt better, but Wright kept playing. I admire his grit, but in this case question his judgment. The result was playing a month with a fracture in his lower back. Wright will be shut down for at least another three weeks.

Had this been done immediately, he might be playing today, if not shortly. And, there’s no telling what residual damage was done, or potentially could have been done.

The Mets have a lot invested in Wright, which makes it crazy to play around like this.

Today’s off day will give Carlos Beltran a chance to heel his bruised shin, but don’t be surprised if he sits Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, Ike Davis will continue to rehab his ankle in Port St. Lucie.