It’s all well and good that Johan Santana took the time to counsel Oliver Perez after yesterday’s torching. What’s not all well and good is the need for him to do so: Perez had another devilish outing, giving up six runs on six hits with six walks in 4 1/3 innings.
“I am concerned because I don’t see arm strength,’’ pitching coach Dan Warthen said, who, for one, thinks Perez fell behind because of the WBC, where his ERA was 9.45 in two starts.
“I was a little bit reticent when he left [for the Classic], and my worries have come to fruition,’’ Warthen told reporters.
Warthen said Perez put on some weight and doesn’t have the arm strength he needs this late in camp; manager Jerry Manuel said Perez lacks command and velocity.
The Mets were one of the biggest proponents of the WBC, but there’s a difference between pitchers and position players when it comes to getting ready for the season.
Considering how long Perez stayed on the market, and after signing a below-than-what-he-expected three-year, $36 million contract, one would have thought he would have done everything he could to stay in shape and prove his doubters wrong.
* Mike Pelfrey’s strained left leg has improved enough to where he’ll start Saturday against Washington. Pelfrey threw in the BP today and told reporters: “I felt it a little bit, but it’s a lot better. If it was the regular season and I had to pitch today, I would’ve.”
* Carlos Delgado got six hits in his first seven at-bats playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC.
* Jon Niese gave up a hit and a walk in four scoreless innings in a minor league game today. Niese is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.
* Outfielder Angel Pagan underwent arthroscopic surgery in New York to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and could be out as long as nine weeks. Pagan didn’t play last year after May 12 after injuring his shoulder when he fell into the stands in Los Angeles.
David Wright is not the one to go to if you want to knock the WBC. He’ll be on the Major League Baseball Network tonight trumpeting its praises.
He’s not buying it will take away from preparing for the regular season.
“I think it will help with the development of getting ready for the regular season because you’re talking about playing in meaningful games, big at bats, trying to get runners over, get runners in,’’ Wright said.
“We were talking today with our manager Jerry Manuel and he likes the idea of a lot of us going to play in the classic because it puts us in those real life game situations where every at bat counts, being unselfish, trying to do things for the good of the team, and hopefully that will put us in a position where we are ready come first week of April.”
Not to mention the last week of September.
When I look at the Mets offensively, the deterioration of fundamentals is the main problem. With essentially the same line-up as Willie Randolph’s, pounding the fundamentals has to be Manuel’s biggest challenge.
Johan Santana plans to represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but said that won’t be his call.
“It will be a medical decision,’’ Santana said this morning in a conference call. “The team will need to approve it. … There are a lot of things here that the Mets want to protect, and if they don’t want me to play I will not play.’’
Santana had arthroscopic surgery in October to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and has not begun his off-season throwing.
He will be examined next week in Port St. Lucie, and then could begin a long-toss throwing program.
“I want to play, but at this point I don’t really know what’s going to happen,’’ Santana said. “If everything is not right they will not let me go.’’
After Alex Rodriguez opted to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic this spring, and with Chipper Jones expected to be the DH, third base opened up for David Wright. Team USA will have an all-New York left side of the infield with the Yankees’ Derek Jeter at shortstop.
Wright will likely be the only Met playing for Team USA, but the Mets could also send Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez (Venezuela), and Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).
I found it interesting that Phillies Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels said they preferred getting their work in during spring training and preparing for the season to play for the team that pays them. Yankees’ CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett said the same thing.
Yes, I am well aware a player can get hurt anywhere, but I’m especially wary about pitchers throwing in game conditions that early in the spring. But, that’s just me. Does anybody have a problem with players leaving teams during spring training to prepare for the WBC and exposing themselves to injury.