There’s no question out of necessity the Mets rushed Mike Pelfrey, but it says a lot about him that he was able to learn and not let the frustrations of a 3-8 season in 2007 sabotage his development as it would with many young pitchers.
PELFREY: Goes for fifth straight win tonight.
Pelfrey appeared to find himself in 2008, but regressed last year to the point where he was mentioned in trade rumors. Pelfrey, simply, was a mess with some hideous moments, such as a three-balk afternoon in San Francisco.
He still had all the good things in his scouting report, such as a power fastball, but it was outweighed by a propensity for not being able to finish off batters or innings.
When things got tense, Pelfrey got tight and small threats mushroomed into big innings. When they unraveled for him, he was all over the place.
When he struggled this spring, some speculated he’d be better off in the minor leagues – I had that thought – but Pelfrey promised he was working on things and would be better.
Two notes to pay attention to tonight: Will Oliver Perez find home plate and will the hitters finally wake up?
Perez is coming off another miserable start, walking a season-high seven and hitting a batter in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to San Francisco. He has walked 25 in 30 innings.
Perez is winless in his last seven starts but Jerry Manuel said he’ll stay in the rotation.
“I am disappointed in myself,’’ Perez said. “I’ve got to be better than that. I know what I have to do.’’
The Mets aren’t hitting at all, especially on the road where they are averaging less than four runs a game with a .208 average.
“We have to start swinging the bats,” Manuel said. “We have to take note these next couple of days where we are as an offensive club. And if we continue to see the same thing, then I’m going to have to make some adjustments to the lineup.’’
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.
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.
While the Mets are waiting to improve their pitching, it wouldn’t hurt to take a diversion and continue to add to their bench. There’s still a matter of the Daniel Murphy platoon at first base.
With Carlos Delgado not showing in winter ball he’s capable of the defensive end of it, why not go with Ryan Garko at first over Fernando Tatis?
Garko hit a combined .268 with 13 homers and 51 RBI last season for Cleveland and San Francisco. Tatis, who has been serviceable the last two seasons with the Mets, doesn’t have that power. Instead, he’ll be remembered for grounding into 13 double plays last year.
Garko won’t come at a high price, has some pop and plays first base by trade. I’d go with him over Tatis.