Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

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, 2/24

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, 2/21

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.

Santana “expects to be ready” for Opening Day

It seems a minor firestorm has stemmed from one of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson’s stray comments Tuesday regarding Johan Santana. Speaking about his rotation as a whole during the team’s holiday party, Alderson said:

“We do have some question marks of course, with Santana being one of them. We think he’s going to be ready, but he might not be.”

This is not news. Last anyone heard a concrete update on the left-hander”s status back in September, Santana was skipping his final Minor League rehab start of the season for reasons not completely unrelated to caution. He then proceeded to cut short his instructional league assignment and decline to pitch in Winter Ball. Again, all out of caution.

On Wednesday, the day after Alderson’s admission, one of Santana’s agents issued this byte via Twitter:

Which is encouraging, but there is no way to be certain. The history of pitchers rehabbing from torn anterior shoulder capsules — Mark Prior and Chien-Ming Wang being the two most prominent examples — is not good; even when those two were able to pitch following their injuries, they struggled to recover between outings.

All of which is to say no one — not Santana, not Alderson, not Leible or lead agent Peter Greenberg or even Santana’s battery of doctors and specialists — can know for sure how he will respond. Until Santana climbs on a mound next month and begins throwing again, it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty that the lefty will or will not be ready for Opening Day.

All Mets fans can right now is hope.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Grading the first half for the Mets

Time to grade some key Mets on their first-half performances. Without further ado:

Johan Santana: B
What a strange season for Santana, who alternated dominating stretches with periods of pure mediocrity. The overall results have been fine, though hardly ace-like. Safe to say the Mets are expecting more from Santana in the second half, with last winter’s surgery now squarely in his rear-view mirror.

reportcard.jpgMike Pelfrey: A-
Ignore the past few rocky starts for a minute. If I told you before the season that Pelfrey would go 10-4 with a 3.58 ERA in the first half, I think you would have taken that. Truth is, without Pelfrey, the Mets might not be close to postseason contention.

Jon Niese: A-
Injury aside, Niese has been brilliant at times, and as consistent as any of the five Mets starters. Like Pelfrey, he has given the Mets more than they ever could have expected in Spring Training.

R.A. Dickey: A+
When the Mets signed Dickey, he was nothing more than aging organizational depth. Now he is a legitimate starting pitcher, a cog in the rotation and a key reason why the team is still in this thing. Dickey deserves as much credit as anyone.

Hisanori Takahashi: B+
Like every other starter not named Santana, Takahashi has given the Mets more than they ever dreamed. His few bad starts have handcuffed them, yes, but between his early-season bullpen appearances and his role in the rotation, Takahashi has been stellar.

Jose Reyes: B
Yes, the fact that Reyes made the All-Star team was remarkable considering all he had gone through in the preceding year and a half. But Reyes was useless to the Mets for the first month of the season, and he has done nothing to shed his injury-prone image. Got to dock him some points for that.

Angel Pagan: A
Leading the army of overachievers was Pagan, a player who has finally begun to fulfill his potential. The Mets hardly missed Carlos Beltran this season in large part because of Pagan, who played stellar offense and defense in his absence.

David Wright: A-
Just like that, he’s back to being an All-Star. The Mets have to be pleased with that, considering the miserable season Wright endured last year.

Ike Davis: B
He’s gotten more credit than perhaps he’s deserved, considering his pedestrian offensive numbers. But Davis has played a solid first base while giving the Mets a measure of offensive pop from the position. That’s something worthwhile.

Jason Bay: C
The Mets’ one big free agent acquisition has been something of a bust. Bay is not hitting for power, and that’s the one thing he’s supposed to do well. Now down to sixth in the lineup, Bay must bust out for the Mets to succeed.

Rod Barajas: B
After a hot start, Barajas has cooled off plenty. But he did carry the Met offense for much of the early season, and he deserves some credit for the success of the pitching staff.

Jeff Francoeur: C
Other than his rocket right arm, Francoeur has contributed little to the Mets this season. Now, with Beltran back, he’s going to lose significant playing time because of it.

Luis Castillo: D
After justifying a portion of his contract with a strong year last season, Castillo has reverted back to an old, broken-down second baseman. He’s on the DL now, and there’s no telling how much he’ll be able to help when he returns.

Bench: C-
Gary Matthews, Jr., Frank Catalanotto and Fernando Tatis were all massively ineffective during their time with the team. Chris Carter helped for a while but has since faded. The Mets have yet to find a pinch-hitter who can give them consistently good at-bats. The one player here who deserves mention is Henry Blanco, who has worked well with the pitching staff while providing better-than-expected offense when he plays.

Bullpen: C
Francisco Rodriguez has walked a tight rope all season but ultimately has gotten the job done — and quite well, if you consider his numbers. Pedro Feliciano was overexposed against right-handed hitters, but has been just as effective as ever against lefties. Other than those two, the Mets have found no consistent answers in the back end of their bullpen. It’s the most conspicuous weakness for the team heading into the second half.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Thirty-two countries. One winner.

The field of 32 is set.

worldcup.jpgGrowing up in the mountains of Venezuela, Johan Santana has always been just as much of a fan of soccer as baseball. So Santana jumped at the opportunity to start a 2010 World Cup pool in the Mets clubhouse.

At Santana’s behest, group of 32 Mets players, coaches and personnel picked their teams out of a hat. A clubhouse attendant then ordered miniature flags of each country for the players to post on their lockers.

Some of the selections were apt. Ryota Igarashi, for example, drew his home country of Japan. Others were random. Angel Pagan selected Serbia — an unfortunate draw despite the country’s status as a dark horse.

“They’re actually pretty good,” said Pagan, a Puerto Rican native wearing his newfound Serbian pride on his sleeve.

Jose Reyes did even worse, selecting New Zealand — one of the biggest underdogs in the entire World Cup.

“I’m confident in my team, man,” Reyes said. Then he burst out laughing.

Nearly all of Reyes’ teammates enjoyed better draws. David Wright, for example, drew perennial Cup favorite Brazil. Jason Bay selected France, Luis Castillo landed Argentina and a couple of rookies, Jenrry Mejia and Ike Davis, managed to pull popular picks England and Spain out of the hat.

And then there was Santana. The pool’s organizer, Santana somehow managed to select defending World Cup champion Italy. Suspicious, anyone? But with his native Venezuela not in the field of 32, Santana still plans to root for the various other teams on his home continent of South America.

“It’s fun to watch,” he said. “The whole world watches it.”

Here’s the list of all the players involved, and their draws:

Jason Bay: France
Henry Blanco: Algeria
Luis Castillo: Argentina
Alex Cora: USA
Ike Davis: Spain
Elmer Dessens: Netherlands
Pedro Feliciano: Mexico
Jeff Francoeur: Denmark
Ryota Igarashi: Japan
John Maine: Ivory Coast
Jenrry Mejia: England
Jon Niese: Paraguay
Fernando Nieve: Nigeria
Angel Pagan: Serbia
Mike Pelfrey: Uruguay
Jose Reyes: New Zealand
Johan Santana: Italy
Frankie Rodriguez: Greece
Hisanori Takahashi: Honduras
Fernando Tatis: Ghana
David Wright: Brazil

—–Follow along on Twitter @anthonydicomo.

He could have been a Yankee

The move that was supposed to put the Mets over the top came in January of 2008, when they acquired Johan Santana from the Twins in a five-player deal. It didn’t quite work out that way, with the Mets stumbling at the end of ’08 and then falling flat in 2009. But Santana has been one of the lone bright spots for the Mets.

santanapresser.jpgSunday, he beat the team many people thought might be his next employer: the Yankees. After a winter of speculation regarding the Yankees and Red Sox, the Mets swooped in at the end of the offseason, when the Twins were growing desperate and the Mets’ budget package of prospects suddenly didn’t look so meager.

Santana, though, very easily could have been a Yankee. And he knows it.

“Past is past,” he said. “I was always open to come here to New York to either team. In the end, Minnesota had everything in their hands. I don’t even know what happened between those two teams, but reality is here with the New York Mets. I’m very happy to be here.”

Pelfrey starting to think like an ace

In the aftermath of the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Saturday, Mike Pelfrey talked about how when Johan Santana pitches, the Mets take the field expecting to win.

“I want everybody to feel that way about me,” Pelfrey said.

They are starting to. Just as impressive than Pelfrey’s 6-1 record and 2.86 ERA through nine turns of the rotation has been his consistency. Six of Pelfrey’s nine starts have been quality starts — same as Santana. In four of them, Pelfrey has gone at least seven innings — same as Santana.

He’s not an ace yet, but Pelfrey is showing flashes of developing into one. That’s big for a pitcher that was beginning to convince Mets fans he might never figure things out.