Jun 05

Today in Mets History: Mazzilli drafted.

A local boy made good for the Mets when on this day in 1973 they used their first-round pick to select Brooklyn Lincoln High School outfielder Lee Mazzilli.

MAZZILLI: Tabbed in draft.

Area kid, skilled and with movie star good looks, Mazzilli seemed destined to be a big New York star.

Three years later he debuted with the Mets and played with them through the 1982 season after which he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. It turned out to be a great deal for the Mets, who subsequently dealt Terrell to Detroit for Howard Johnson.

Mazzilli didn’t last a full season with the Rangers, who traded him to the Yankees. After the 1982 season, Mazzilli was traded to Pittsburgh, where he played three years. He was released, then re-signed with the Mets in July of the 1986 season.

Ironically, prior to that year, the Mets offered Ray Knight to Pittsburgh for Mazzilli, but the Pirates rejected the deal.

Mazzilli finished his career with Toronto in 1989, and managed the Baltimore Orioles in 2004, but was fired the following year.

Mazzilli’s best two years were 1979-80. In 1979, he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game at Seattle and hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and drove in the winning run in the ninth with a bases-loaded walk.

The following year, Mazzilli hit 18 homers with 76 RBI and 41 stolen bases.


Mazzilli will also be remembered for testifying for immunity in the Pittsburgh drug trials along with teammates Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, John Milner and Rod Scurry.  Keith Hernandez also testified at the trial.


May 24

Today in Mets History: Cone hurls second straight shutout.

David Cone was always one of my favorites. He’s one of the few players who chatted with you on the days he pitched. A lot of guys are basket cases, but not Cone. He was always great to deal with, win, lose or draw.

CONE: Always a straight shooter.

And, if you saw him later in the hotel lobby, he’ll visit with you over a beer. And, funny, too. Glib and smart is a great combination.

Just like his fastball and nasty curve, when mixed with guile made him hard to beat. You wanted him in the clutch. Cone just would not give into hitters with the game on the line, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to get himself in and out of jams. It is why he became a hired gun with Toronto and later the Yankees.

On this date in 1992, Cone was at his unbeatable best, throwing his second straight complete-game shutout, defeating the Giants, 6-0. Five days before, he beat the Padres, 8-0. Cone went 81-51 with a 3.13 ERA and 15 shutouts in his seven years with the Mets, and finished his career at 194-126 with a 3.46 ERA.


Cone was traded to the Mets prior to the 1987 season along with Chris Jelic for Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo. He went 5-6 in 21 appearances (13 starts) that year. He began the next season in the bullpen, but was in the rotation by the first week of May and went 9-2 in the first half to earn his first All-Star appearance.

Cone went on to win 20 games, but what is remembered most about that season about him was the controversy he stirred as a guest columnist for The New York Daily News when, among other things, he called the Dodgers’ Jay Howell, “a high school pitcher.’’

The Mets lost that NLCS to Los Angeles and the dynasty fizzled, although Cone stayed on until 1992 when he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game, but was traded as a mercenary to Toronto.

Cone currently does Yankees games for the YES Network.


ON DECK: Looking at Wilpon’s criticism of Beltran.

Apr 22

Mr. Pelfrey, this is your wake-up call.

Spring training is over, so it is time Mike Pelfrey start pitching like he means it.  Pelfrey is 0-2, but more indicative of how he’s pitched is his 9.72 ERA. If he wants to be considered a No. 1 pitcher, he must pitch like one.

PELFREY: Time to get going.

Pelfrey is coming off a 4-0 loss last Saturday in Atlanta in which he gave up 11 hits in five-plus innings. He fooled nobody.

And, it has been that way all season. Last year, Pelfrey saw the seventh inning in 17 starts. He’s yet to last that far this year.

There are two ways to look at Pelfrey’s body of work against the Diamondbacks. He’s 0-5 with a 6.69 ERA. The first way is he’s due for some success. The other is he could be in for more trouble tonight.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself because nobody else in the league is going to feel sorry for you,’’ Pelfrey said. “I definitely have to be better.’’

Here’s Pelfrey’s supporting cast for tonight:

Jose Reyes, SS

Daniel Murphy, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Jason Bay, LF
Ike Davis, 1B

Mike Nickeas, C

Jason Pridie, CF

Not surprisingly, the Mets placed Angel Pagan on the disabled list this afternoon when he reported to Citi Field with persistent pain in his left side from a pulled muscle. I like that Terry Collins is not jockeying Beltran and kept him in right field.

Beltran is getting comfortable in right field, and it isn’t that he can’t play center anymore, but why put him through that?

By the way, the Mets aren’t the only team to have seen something in second baseman Brad Emaus. Colorado traded for him today after he cleared waivers and was returned to Toronto.

Chris Young will throw a bullpen session tomorrow and if all goes well he could start Tuesday at Washington. Meanwhile, Dillon Gee gets the start tomorrow.

To talk during the game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.


Mar 23

Plan for Beltran; Emaus inside track at second.

Although not definitive, the Mets’ roster is taking shape as spring training approaches.

The Mets remain insistent Carlos Beltran will be ready for Opening Day and are pushing him, although they aren’t likely to play him in a major league game in case things unravel and he’ll be forced to open on the disabled list.

EMAUS: Second base frontrunner.

Beltran was hitless in five at-bats today as a DH in a minor league game. He will play as a DH tomorrow and Friday, but possibly this weekend he could play in the field and run the bases.


“I do think it is fair to say at this point there’s not a lot of wiggle room in that schedule between now and Opening Day if he’s going to be on the active roster,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said. “As of this point he’s still on track for Opening Day.’’

DL assignments are backdated 10 days into spring training, so if things stand as they are and Beltran were to only play in minor league games he would only miss the first three games of the season (the Mets have two off days among the first five games).

Assuming this plan works out, Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, the outfield depth, will right field. Should Beltran land on the DL, Lucas Duda will be the 25th man on the roster.

Today, Alderson told reporters to take a look at today’s lineup card and use their imagination. Standing out was Brad Emaus at second base and Daniel Murphy at third.

Emaus, a Rule 5 pick-up from Toronto, has a greater upside than Luis Hernandez, who is out of options and is being shopped because he probably won’t clear waivers. The Mets have a good idea of what to expect from Hernandez, but Emaus has potential working for him.

“I like my chances, but we’re not all the way there,’’ Emaus told reporters this afternoon about his chances.

Murphy started at third today and has been getting time and first and second. He’s the projected left-handed bat off the bench.

Justin Turner, as expected because of his options, was sent down.

Meanwhile, Oliver Perez signed a minor league deal today with the Nationals.

Feb 23

Mets to consider Murphy/Emaus platoon at second

Just because he hustles doesn’t mean Daniel Murphy will win the second base job. There are concerns about his defensive abilities, and while he has shown glimpses of offensive production, it is still a small window.

MURPHY: Competing for second base job.

The Mets like Rule 5 selection Brad Emaus’ potential, and he’ll get a nod over Justin Turner because the latter has remaining options.

The book on Emaus is he has adequate range and power potential as he hit ten homers in 309 at-bats for Toronto’s Triple A affiliate last summer.

Could he and Murphy share the job in a platoon basis? Absolutely.

Also working in Emaus’ favor is his ability to back up David Wright at third. Murphy, of course, can back up Ike Davis at first, so that platoon offers versatility.

Where does that leave Luis Castillo?

The Mets would love to deal him, but aren’t close to drawing any interest. Reports are Castillo could have reported in better shape, and although he didn’t come to camp early because of a family situation, he didn’t tell the Mets what was going on.

Manager Terry Collins said he would have preferred Castillo report early, but said that while not being aware of Castillo’s situation. A little communication would have spared Castillo a dig from his new manager.

Not a good start by Castillo, who has to be flawless to make the team.

I believe the deciding factor at second base is defense. If Murphy/Emaus show they can handle the position, it would go a long way to keeping that platoon over Castillo, whose defense skills are on a decline.