Mar 06

Jon Niese Tested Today

It’s not the pitching line, but the feel of his pitches this time of year.

“I felt good. My stuff was very good,” Jonathan Niese said after this afternoon’s 62-pitch outing against the Venezuelan WBC team.

“I am not used to that kind of workload (this early in spring training). But, that’s a good thing.”

NIESE: More work to do. (AP)

NIESE: More work to do. (AP)

Niese said getting his curveball over and mastering his change-up is what concerns him most. Both are feel pitches requiring time to master.

“I have to get my curveball over,” Niese said. “I couldn’t get my curve-ball over for strikes. My change-up is getting a lot better, but it’s not where I want. I need to build off this. Usually my change-up is always the last pitch. … I like where my arm strength is and I like how the ball is coming out of my hand.”

Niese called pitching to the Venezuelan team, which includes Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Gonzalez as “humbling.”

“They have a good lineup,” Niese said. “They made me work. I made a couple of mistakes and they made me pay for them.”

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Mar 06

Venezuelan Manager Says Johan Santana Is Sad About WBC

Mets fans might remember former Met Luis Sojo for his game-winning hit in Game 5 of the 2000 World Series. He’s now the manager of Venezuela’s WBC team and this morning said he knows Johan Santana is sad for not being able to pitch in the Classic.

Pointing to Santana, Sojo yelled to Mets manager Terry Collins: “He was supposed to pitch for me today. What happened?”

SOJO: Talks about Santana.

SOJO: Talks about Santana.

Santana long-tossed and fielded bunts while throwing off the mound this morning. He has not yet spoken to reporters about the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

“I talked to (Santana) a lot this winter,” Sojo said. “We understand the situation (about Santana not being allowed to pitch by the Mets). It is unfortunate. Right now, I know he’s sad. He has a good relationship with the players. I know how much he wanted to play.”

The Venezuelan team is loaded with Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Carlos Gonzalez and Martin Prado among today’s starters.

Sojo said the controversial Chavez’s death created an emotional cloud in his clubhouse.

“He used to be a baseball guy,” Sojo said. “A lot of times I got the phone call at 7 in the morning. I like to sleep. ‘Hey, that was the president, and he wants to talk to you.’ And after the games, the WBC, he used to call me. I mean, he loved baseball and he knows everybody … all the guys that I used to have on the teams. That was my relationship with him, over the phone.

“One time … I know we got the lead, like three runs in the third inning or fourth inning, and somebody scored five runs. He called me and said, ‘How come you don’t bring [in] Francisco Rodriguez? He said, ‘Hey, he’s the closer, I can pitch him in the fourth, so you should know that.’ ”

Rodriguez is on the Venezuelan team and chatted with Santana and Terry Collins before this afternoon’s game.

 

 

Mar 05

Marcum, Hawkins And Feliciano Work Today; Waiting For Mejia Results

With Jenrry Mejia in New York for an exam, several other Mets pitching prospects – if you can call injured and aging veterans that – toiled in a “B’’ game against Miami.

Shaun Marcum, who hasn’t endeared himself to manager Terry Collins by not being in the best shape upon his arrival and 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins each worked two innings.

Marcum didn’t give up a run while Hawkins gave up one. In addition, Pedro Feliciano gave up a run in one inning.

Hawkins and Feliciano are competing for spots in the bullpen while Marcum is the projected fifth starter.

Mejia’s test results are expected to be announced tomorrow.

Mar 05

Jeremy Hefner Wants That Fifth Spot In The Rotation

The latest on Johan Santana cane from manager Terry Collins who said that Johan Santana’s decision to throw a bullpen for the first time in 10 days, was “unnecessary” and said he “wished his ace handled himself differently.”

Mike Kerwick of The Record quotes Collins who suggests that Santana needs to calm down and get his emotions in check, and that he should have gone about this the proper way.

“He’s fine,” Collins said, “and he wanted to show everybody he was fine. I just said, ‘Look, we’re going to do this the right way. We’re not going to hurt you. … I don’t care how upset you are about things. We’re going to do this the proper way.’”

Jeremy HefnerMeanwhile, Jeremy Hefner, whom Kerwick tabs “the sixth arm in a five-man rotation,” made a case that he deserves the final slot if staff ace Santana is unable to pitch come April. Hefner tossed three innings of one-run ball in a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Monday afternoon.

“First and foremost, I want Johan to be healthy,” Hefner said. “He’s a leader of this team. If something happens and he’s not able to go, then obviously that would maybe fall on my shoulders. I’m going to prepare to go out and give it my best whenever my name’s called.”

Good for Hefner… You like to see that kind of confidence and determination from your younger players. Back on January 23, I wrote a post that referred to Hefner as being one of the more underrated starters in camp.

CONGRATULATIONS: Last night at around 11:00 PM I got a text from MMO’s Minor League Analyst that his wife’s water just broke. Around 1:00 AM Jaxon Petanick was born and he and his mom are both doing just fine. Congratulations to Mitch and his family on this happy occasion.

baby mets fan on board bumper

Mar 04

Is Terry Collins In Charge Or Is Johan Santana?

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Or worse, a desire not to communicate.

SANTANA: Shouldn't take a bow for Sunday's stunt.

SANTANA: Shouldn’t take a bow for Sunday’s stunt.

Apparently, unbeknownst to manager Terry Collins, his veteran left-hander Johan Santana threw off the mound Sunday when the Mets earlier indicated it could be at least ten days before he would do so.

ESPN reported this dialogue:

Collins: “What did you get on the mound for?”

Santana: “Because I felt good.”

Collins: “It was unnecessary. … The last thing I need is to have you wake up tomorrow stiff and then we take a huge step backward because you wanted to show everybody you’re OK. I understand what you’re doing, but once in a while you’ve just got to let stuff slide away. You’ve just got to let it roll off your back and move on and get yourself ready.”

From that exchange, Collins was in the dark when Santana took the mound. And, Santana apparently didn’t care enough to follow the rest plan or to tell his manager.

This was amazingly ridiculous on the part of both.

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