February 2012

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/29

No sooner had I begun working on a story about prospect Reese Havens and his battle to swat away the injury bug, than Havens began skipping workouts with back stiffness. So good when healthy, Havens has been utterly unable to stay on the field since the Mets drafted him in the first round in 2008. I talked to him, his teammates and his personal trainer to try to figure out the answer.

Other than that, camp has been quiet. Last year’s top pick, Brandon Nimmo, showed up and spoke about what he needs to do to advance quickly through the system. And R.A. Dickey threw a session of live batting practice, making several Mets hitters look foolish. Here’s Dickey discussing his session with catcher Josh Thole:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/28

Another day, more home runs for Lucas Duda, who continued bombing balls over the right-field fence on Field 7 despite being hit by a Matt Harvey pitch.

Today at Mets.com we took a look at the pitching trio of Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez, who should help stabilize a bullpen that ranked 28th in baseball in ERA last season. We also talked to some of the popular Mets on Twitter. Rauch, not coincidentally, joined Twitter this afternoon. You can follow him @jrauch60.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets release early pitching lineup

The Mets released their pitching rotation today for the first few days of live games. Note that while all of the pitchers listed below will throw, not all are guaranteed to pitch in the games. If the Mets run out of innings, the leftover pitchers will throw on the side.

Friday, March 2 – Intrasquad game
1. Dillon Gee
2. Matt Harvey
3. Jeurys Familia
4. Miguel Batista
5. Daniel Herrera
6. Tim Byrdak
7. Jeremy Hefner
8. Frank Francisco

Saturday, March 3 – Intrasquad game
1. R.A. Dickey
2. Chris Schwinden
3. Pedro Beato
4. Josh Stinson
5. D.J. Carrasco
6. Fernando Cabrera
7. Armando Rodriguez
8. Robert Carson

Sunday, March 4 – Intrasquad game
1. Mike Pelfrey
2. Jon Niese
3. Ramon Ramirez
4. Jon Rauch
5. Manny Acosta
6. Bobby Parnell
7. Chuck James
8. Garrett Olson

Monday, March 5 – vs. Nationals
1. Dillon Gee
2. Matt Harvey
3. Miguel Batista
4. Daniel Herrera
5. Tim Byrdak
6. Frank Francisco

Tuesday, March 6 – vs. Cardinals (ss)
1. Johan Santana
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Pedro Beato

Tuesday, March 6 – @ Astros (ss)
1. Jeurys Familia
2. Jeremy Hefner
6. Josh Stinson

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/27

It’s been a year since Fred Wilpon has publicly discussed the financial and legal issues surrounding the Mets at any length, so the principal owner drew a huge crowd while holding court for 22 minutes Monday on matters ranging from the sale of minority shares to David Wright’s future to the 2013 All-Star Game.

Wilpon wasn’t the only member of the Mets’ hierarchy to hold court Monday. Manager Terry Collins also addressed his team for an hour prior to the spring first full-squad workout, reminding them that “there’s not a phase of this game we can take for granted.”

Oh, and Wright lost a bet. Pictures below:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/26

A rare cloudy day did not stop Johan Santana from throwing an “up-and-down” bullpen session on Sunday, simulating game conditions (pictures below). Santana will throw twice next week, once off flat ground, in preparation for his first Grapefruit League start on March 6. From there, his April 5 assignment against the Braves will be in sight.

One other interesting note today revolved around David Wright and his friendship with Ryan Zimmerman, who just inked a six-year, $100 million contract extension with the Nationals. The deal could — but probably won’t — have implications for Wright’s own financial dealings in the future, even if he’s not too keen on talking about it now.

Today’s main story, of course, revolved around shortstop Ruben Tejada finally reporting to camp after manager Terry Collins called him out this week for not arriving early. The two smoothed things over early this morning, freeing Tejada to go about the business of replacing Jose Reyes.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/25

The first day of live batting practice took place today at Mets camp, giving Matt Harvey an opportunity to show off his improved curveball and sinker. You can read more about that on Mets.com. Thanks to a new battery for my digital camera, below is a gallery of pictures from the day featuring Harvey and Jeurys Familia:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/24

For once, a quiet day at Mets camp. No ripples today, save for a couple minor news stories: that Johan Santana will make his Grapefruit League debut on March 6 rather than March 5, and that Mike Pelfrey rolled his ankle during fielding drills. No red flags in either instance.

The recent quiet gave me a chance to catch up with David Wright, who is entering a career crossroads at the age of 29. Wright could be traded this year. He could be traded next year. He could stay for good. Either way, he is burning to win a championship with the Mets.

Here’s a picture I snapped today of Wright relaxing before batting practice with Daniel Murphy, who is also quoted in the story:

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/23

An eventful day here in Port St. Lucie, highlighted by bullpen sessions from Jenrry Mejia, R.A. Dickey (below) and Johan Santana, who said he “felt good” after his third session of the spring.

Jason Bay also showed up to camp a couple days early and spoke about his winter, in which he stripped his swing down to what it was with the Pirates and Red Sox. Bay has said similar things in the past, but he appeared relaxed and refreshed during a 15-minute chat.

After workouts ended, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson, manager Terry Collins and other members of the front office boarded a private helicopter bound for Miami and the Knicks-Heat game. Earlier in the day, Collins had called Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin an inspiration for his team, though an immediate Twitter backlash indicated that the helicopter — given the Mets’ money woes — may have been in bad taste.

About an hour before that crew departed, a hearing began in New York that could have major implications on the Wilpon’s litigation with Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover funds from Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Picard wants $83 million from Mets ownership before the March 19 trial even begins; the Wilpons want the trial thrown out altogether.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/22

Some interesting news out of camp today, when the Mets revealed that Ike Davis flew back to New York for additional testing regarding his physical, and Terry Collins admitted that he’s not happy with Ruben Tejada for waiting until the position player deadline to report to camp. Both are developing stories that should see updates later this week. Those links also contain updates on Johan Santana and Jose Reyes’ old uniform number.

What created the biggest stir at camp today, however, was when Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and David Wright began spraying balls all over Field 7, the practice field designed with identical dimensions to Citi Field. Though it was just one batting practice session, and though the wind was blowing out, those three and Collins allowed themselves to hope that maybe Citi really will play in their favor this season.

More tomorrow, including an update on Davis and his situation.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/21

The big news today was something routine, that Johan Santana threw another 30 pitches on his road back from left anterior capsule surgery. That came about an hour after Terry Collins reiterated that he expects Santana to be ready for Opening Day.

Or, if you prefer not to read those 1,000 words (actually 800 or so), here’s a picture:

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.