Mar 01

Mets Week In Review: Niese, Davis, Trade Rumors

Since injuries to starting pitchers are more important than temper tantrums by struggling first basemen, undoubtedly the most important news item of the week was the MRI on left-hander Jon Niese.

The MRI showed no structural damage, but revealed weakness in the back area of the shoulder, which Niese took responsibility for, saying he didn’t work that enough.

That disclosure raised numerous questions about the Mets’ handling of the injury.

Niese’s first exhibition start, Tuesday against Houston, will be pushed back. He is to resume throwing and will be given a set of exercises designed to strengthen the back area of his shoulder.

Manager Terry Collins named Niese his Opening Day starter, and so far that hasn’t changed.

Also this week:

* Ike Davis verbally sparred with New York Post reporter Mike Puma, saying he didn’t “approve’’ of his story the first baseman concealed an oblique injury last year. Davis said he didn’t want to disclose the injury because it was about the time he was to be sent to Triple-A Las Vegas and didn’t want it to come off as making excuses.

Davis did not refute the accuracy of the story and produced a line-drive quote: “I sucked last year because I sucked.’’

However, Puma did him one better, and when asked what would happen if Davis took a swing at him, said: “He might miss.’’

* In the wake of the Davis story, Collins said he wants players to reveal injuries and indicated last year could have been different for Davis had he done so. Later, Niese said he didn’t want to tell anybody about his shoulder ailment.

* In a meeting with his staff, general manager Sandy Alderson said he thought 90 victories were possible, which would be a 20 percent improvement. Talk about setting the bar high.

* The Mets remain ambivalent about Ruben Tejada being their Opening Day shortstop. Alderson did not close the door on free agent Stephen Drew and talked trade with Seattle about Nick Franklin.

* Prospect Noah Syndergaard struck out five in two innings in Thursday’s intrasquad game. Syndergaard threw a nasty curve and fastball that topped out a 97 mph. His first exhibition start is scheduled for Monday against Atlanta.

* Outfielder Eric Young and pitcher Bartolo Colon missed time with muscle strains.

* Collins announced his tentative starting rotation: Niese, Colon, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler and the fifth starter, which is to come from the group of Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia.

* Collins said he would ease David Wright and Daniel Murphy into games, and indicated Wilmer Flores would get time at shortstop.

Jun 08

Pelfrey kept his word

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.

He kept his word.

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Oct 31

Mets bring back Delgado, Tatis; Perez files.

Delgado: Mets pick up option; he's not going anywhere. (Photo: Mets)

Delgado: Mets pick up option; he's not going anywhere. (Photo: Mets)

The Mets picked up the $12 million option on first baseman Carlos Delgado, signed outfielder Fernando Tatis for $1.7 million, and learned Oliver Perez filed for free-agency where he stands to make much more.

By acting quickly, the Mets are addressing their offensive obligations before concentrating on pitching.

Bringing back Delgado should stifle most of the trade rumors and signing Tatis should lessen the need to go after an outfielder this winter (toward that end, Pat Burrell rejected a two-year, $22-million package from the Phillies).

Delgado, who made $16 million last year, turned around his season, and that of the Mets, with a hot second half, and over the final 85 games hit 27 homers with 80 RBI to merit MVP consideration. Tatis, who hit .297 with 11 homers and 47
RBI, is expected to share left field with Daniel Murphy.

Meanwhile, on the first day of the FA filing period, Perez, Damion Easley and reliever Matt Wise all filed.