Players hit in the cages this morning as it rained here. The weather here has been awful; rainy and chilly. Nothing sun drenched about PSL these days.
Those hitting include Daniel Murphy, who took an injection for a strained intercostal muscle on his right side.
Also on the injury front, Jenrry Mejia was examined in New York yesterday for a thyroid issue and Zack Wheeler threw on flat ground and will do so again today. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is hobbling around with a bruised left knee.
Here’s today’s lineup against the Venezuelan team:
Mike Baxter, rf
Collin Cowgill, dh
Ike Davis, 1b
Marlon Byrd, cf
Lucas Duda, lf
Justin Turner, 2b
John Buck, c
Zach Lutz, 3b
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jonathan Niese, lhp
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Justin Turner, dh
Mike Baxter, rf
Zach Lutz, 1b
Brian Bixler, 3b
Landon Powell, c
Juan Lagares, lf
Omar Quintanilla, ss
Jenrry Mejia, rhp
LINEUP THOUGHTS: Interesting to see Valdespin leading off and playing second. The Mets are looking at him as a potential Plan B if Daniel Murphy is unable to start the season. If he starts, leadoff is a good spot for him because of his speed. … Also, the Mets want to see Nieuwenhuis at second if he doesn’t win the leadoff spot. There he’ll need to work the count and advance runners which require patience and bat control, two things Nieuwenhuis needs to improve. … Zach Lutz, playing first today, has a chance to make the roster as a bench player. … Quintanilla is also competing for a bench spot. … Regarding Mejia, in his first start they want to get an idea of his arm strength and command. He will work on his secondary pitches later. … There’s a rule the travel squad in an exhibition game must have five major leaguers. The Mets are stretching it a bit.
NOTE: I will have another post or two this afternoon.
Ike Davis is having a horrid start to this season, hitting .131 with 21 strikeouts in 61 at-bats. It’s been all or nothing for Davis, mostly nothing in his comeback from last year’s ankle injury.
DAVIS: Anguished (AP).
Davis is on pace to hit 29 homers, but with only 67 RBI. He’s also on pace to draw 38 walks, but strike out a staggering 200 times. If the Mets are to make this a fun summer, they must get a turnaround from Davis.
Terry Collins is betting on Davis playing his way out of this rather than try to find his swing in the minor leagues.
“I truly believe the only way to get out of something like this is to make sure he continues to get in there and get at-bats,” Collins said.
Collins pinch hit for Davis last night, and will do so again if the situation dictates, but said Davis will be in there and that’s the best way to right
While Collins is demonstrating confidence in Davis, it must be remembered the Mets have few alternatives should they option him. They could move Daniel Murphy to first, but that would only delay his acclimation to second base.
They could play Zach Lutz for a few games, but Davis is the future and eventually must learn to play himself out of slumps. He might as well learn now.
Jason Bay’s disappointing tenure with the Mets took another downward turn this afternoon when he was placed on the disabled list with a fractured rib on his left side. This is a painful injury that could take a lot longer than two weeks to heal.
- BAY: And the hits keep on coming (AP).
To take Bay’s spot on the roster the Mets brought up infielder Zach Lutz from Triple-A Buffalo, where he was hitting .333 with three homers and 10 RBI. Meanwhile, Andres Torres began a rehab assignment last night at Single-A St. Lucie.
Lutz could give the struggling Ike Davis some time off at first base.
Bay has been in a slump in his two-plus years with the Mets after signing from Boston. There is no telling how long he’ll be out, so it’s quite possible his third year could be a wash, too. What this injury also means is it could prevent Bay from getting 500 at-bats. If he gets that many at-bats this year and next it would trigger an option, something the Mets would rather not have happen.
It’s still raining in Denver, so this lineup could be a moot point. But, here’s who the Mets are playing this afternoon behind Jonathan Niese:
Jose Reyes, SS
Willie Harris, 3B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Justin Turner, 2B
Josh Thole, C
Jason Pridie, CF
Jonathan Niese, LP
COMMENTS AND NOTES: Six starters whose names begin with a “J.’’ Wonder if that’s some kind of record. That could be the best thing to be said about this lineup. … Beltran up to third in the order. If he has a hot game will Terry Collins leave him there for awhile? … Nick Evans is cold and both Zach Lutz and Lucas Duda are injured, which is why the Mets didn’t promote a first baseman. … Chris Young has opted for season-ending surgery. … Bobby Parnell will pitch tonight at Triple-A Buffalo.