March 2012

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/31

The last major test of spring is in the books for Johan Santana, who said he felt “great” after throwing a bullpen session Saturday at Port St. Lucie (pictures below). Assuming his shoulder is not barking when he wakes up Sunday, or during a more routine bullpen session Monday, Santana will start Opening Day against the Braves on April 5.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/30

Dillon Gee struggled, Andres Torres “looked awkward” and Miguel Batista made the team — such was the news Friday from Mets camp, before and during a loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Also making the trip was Lucas Duda, who has impressed the Mets throughout this spring. You can read my take on Duda here.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/29

The Mets did not make their final roster cuts on Thursday, but they may as well have. In reassigning Adam Loewen, Garrett Olson and four others to Minor League camp, the Mets basically committed themselves to Mike Nickeas, Mike Baxter and Daniel Herrera on the Opening Day roster. The only way Herrera will not make it is if fellow left-hander Tim Byrdak is fully healed from knee surgery.

Also: I had a chance to see Chris Young throw off a mound today for the first time since Young reported to camp on a Minor League deal. You can check out a photo from his session below:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/28

Don’t be alarmed, but Johan Santana’s exhibition season is over. After a remarkably healthy spring, the Mets are going to take it easy with Santana heading into his Opening Day start April 5. Rather than pitch against the Marlins on Saturday, Santana will throw a simulated game at Port St. Lucie, then rest and prepare for the opener.

Another good piece of injury news came Wednesday for the Mets when Scott Hairston made his Grapefruit League debut. The Mets are certain now that, barring something unforeseen, Hairston will be ready to go come Opening Day.

Meanwhile, Chris Young reported to camp after signing a Minor League deal with the Mets and discussed his rehab from right shoulder surgery. Young should begin facing live hitters soon.

I also took a look at the organization’s top 20 prospects and where they are likely to open their seasons on Minor League Opening Day.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/27

Excerpts from R.A. Dickey’s soon-to-be-released autobiography, “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball,” became public today, detailing the sexual abuse Dickey suffered as a child. Dickey addressed that topic and others Tuesday after pitching in a Minor League game (below).

David Wright also played in a second consecutive game on Tuesday and is well on his way to be ready by Opening Day.

One other cool thing today: Bob Kolb, who attended the first game in Mets history, is lending his ticket from that game to the Mets Hall of Fame Museum at Citi Field. Kolb showed up at Digital Domain Park on Friday to show off his ticket, which you can see below:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/26

David Wright (below) made his long-awaited Grapefruit League debut today, playing four innings in the field and going 1-for-2 at the plate. Among the highlights were a diving snare of Rafael Furcal’s sharp grounder and a single up the middle in his first at-bat.

Not so sharp early was Johan Santana, who struggled to find his command and velocity before settling down — and, perhaps more importantly, speeding up — in the middle innings against the Cardinals. Santana has one abbreviated start remaining before his Opening Day assignment April 5 against the Braves.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

David Wright in lineup Monday

Mets third baseman David Wright is in the starting lineup for Monday’s game against the Cardinals. Wright planned to meet with trainer Ray Ramirez early Monday morning, but said he would play “unless they tell me otherwise.”

Wright has not played at all this spring, straining a left abdominal muscle earlier this month. Johan Santana is scheduled to pitch for the Mets.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/25

Not a good day for Matt Harvey, who coughed up three homers against the Nationals — including one absolute monster by Jayson Werth — in his first career big league start.

Also not a good day for Jason Bay, who took a Stephen Strasburg fastball off his forearm — ouch — but should be okay.

So who was it a good day for? David Wright, for starters, whose continued progress makes him a possibility to play Monday against the Cardinals. Isn’t that enough?

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster, 3/25

With injury situations beginning to clear up and the bullpen apparently set, I thought it was about time to pin down an Opening Day roster in full. Here’s the best bet as of Sunday evening:

C: Josh Thole
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
3B: David Wright
SS: Ruben Tejada
OF: Jason Bay
OF: Andres Torres
OF: Lucas Duda

Bench: Mike Nickeas
Bench: Ronny Cedeno
Bench: Justin Turner
Bench: Scott Hairston
Bench: Mike Baxter*

LHP: Johan Santana
RHP: R.A. Dickey
LHP: Jon Niese
RHP: Mike Pelfrey
RHP: Dillon Gee

RHP: Frank Francisco
RHP: Jon Rauch
RHP: Ramon Ramirez
RHP: Manny Acosta
RHP: Bobby Parnell
LHP: Garrett Olson*
RHP: Miguel Batista*

*Denotes non-roster invitee.

Others with a chance: INF Jordany Valdespin, OF Adam Loewen, OF Vinny Rottino, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF Matt den Dekker, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP D.J. Carrasco.

Analysis: Injuries will dictate the final spots on the roster. If Torres and Hairston are both healthy, life is easy for Terry Collins. If one or both are injured, it could create opportunities for up to five different players. This scenario also assumes health for Bay and Wright, who should both be good to go. Torres is the one injured Met who seems most questionable.

Right now, Baxter holds the edge over Loewen due to a better overall offensive and defensive performance this spring. Barring a monster slump over the next week, I see him making the team as a left-handed pinch-hitter regardless of the injury situation.

As for the bullpen, Edgin still has a chance to — ahem — edge out Olson as Tim Byrdak’s injury sub. If Carrasco is not healthy — and that appears to be the case — then Miguel Batista is the clear favorite to lock down the club’s final bullpen spot. He easily might have won it over Carrasco anyway.

This 25-man roster configuration would require the Mets to free up three 40-man roster spots, with Jeremy Hefner, Armando Rodriguez, Josh Satin and Zach Lutz seemingly most at risk.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/24

Though Terry Collins admitted Saturday that Opening Day does not look good for Andres Torres, the center field situation actually grew somewhat clearer thanks to comments from Sandy Alderson. Basically, it comes down to this:

  • If Torres and backup Scott Hairston are both healthy in time for Opening Day, the Mets will fill their final bench spot with either Mike Baxter or Adam Loewen.
  • If one of Torres or Hairston is healthy, the Mets will still proceed with Baxter or Loewen on their bench, plus likely either Jordany Valdespin or Vinny Rottino.
  • If neither Torres or Hairston is healthy, the Mets will take a natural center fielder north: Kirk Nieuwenhuis if healthy, otherwise Matt den Dekker.

One other note from Saturday’s game: Mike Pelfrey tweaked his mechanics and came away pleased with the results in a 6-6 tie. Do with that information what you will.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.