Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

It may be Harvey Day, but Harvey tries to keep himself at bay

VIERA, Fla. — Take Matt Harvey, one of the most competitive pitchers in baseball, and place him in a game after 16 tiresome months of rehab. Throw a former Cy Young Award winner on the other side, then toss them both into the carnival like atmosphere of Port St. Lucie, Fla.’s Tradition Field. Home opener, mid-70s, packed house — that sort of thing.

Understand, then, that Harvey can say and do all the right things leading up to the Mets’ 1:10 p.m. ET Grapefruit League against the Tigers on Friday, his first game action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in Oct. 2013. He can swear a dozen times over that he’s “just looking at it as another day” and that he’s “getting ready for the season like anybody else.”

Manager Terry Collins still knows that once Harvey steps into uniform, stands on the mound and sees Tigers ace David Price on the other side, it will be impossible — even in a boring, old, counts-for-nothing spring game — to completely rein in Harvey.

“I just want him to understand this is part of the process of getting back,” Collins said. “You’re not going to do any more to make a huge impression on this club by trying to overthrow tomorrow. Just go out there, hit your spots, work on your stuff and let the two innings play out. But as we all know, we’re going to have to ratchet him down a little bit probably before he walks out on that mound.”

Said Harvey: “I don’t think my mentality’s going to change at all. It’s just my first outing in Spring Training, getting ready for what’s coming in the future. I’m not looking at it as a comeback or anything of that sort. It’s me preparing for a normal season.”

For Harvey, Friday’s Grapefruit League game will complete an 18-month process that began when he partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, cutting short what had been, up to that point, one of the finest seasons of any Mets pitcher in history. Following a two-month flirtation with rehab, Harvey decided in Oct. 2013 to undergo surgery, then spent most of the next year working his arm back into shape — sometimes in the privacy of the Mets’ Port St. Lucie training center, often within the media crush of New York City.

By Sept. 2014, Harvey had convinced the Mets that he was back to his old self. Still, the out-of-contention team held him back, knowing that an extra six months could mean the difference between long-term health and a future recurrence.

That decision makes Harvey’s matchup with Price his first game action since Aug. 24, 2013, also against the Tigers.

“Prior to the surgery, he had premier stuff,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “He looked like he was bound to be a superstar. Certainly for his sake and the game’s sake, I hope he bounces back and continues where he left off, because he was a very bright spot for Major League Baseball as a young player.”

Daniel Fields, one of the Tigers hitters making a two-plus-hour bus ride across Florida to face Harvey, noted that having Price on the other side only adds to the juice.

“Those are two of the best arms in the game right now,” said Fields, who will be in a lineup also set to include big leaguers Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias, Rajai Davis and Nick Castellanos, but not star veterans Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Yoenis Cespedes or Victor Martinez. “Whenever you get a matchup like that in Spring Training, that’s what you want to see. I’m excited for [Friday]. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

The Mets are, too. They just want Harvey to stick to his word and avoid overdoing it.

“Only Matt Harvey can speak for Matt Harvey,” Collins said. “For me, it’s a Spring Training game. I know that it’s a story because he’s Matt Harvey, but I don’t want to see anything more than I would see in a normal Spring Training game.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Kevin Long breaks down Mets hitters

New Mets hitting coach Kevin Long spoke at length this morning, offering his take on several Mets hitters. Read the story on, but also check out these bonus takes:

20150228_084340On Curtis Granderson: “When I’ve seen Curtis — and I’ve seen him at a very high level — he’s able to get on base. He’s able to drive the ball. And certainly the top of the order, those guys are going to get more at-bats throughout the year. Let’s say he hits sixth. He’d probably lose 70, 80 at-bats to the guy who hits leadoff. So do you want your best hitters and the guys who get on base the most? Certainly you do. There’s some other options, so that’s not etched in stone, but we’ll say how this plays out. Terry’s ultimately is going to have the final say-so on that. But Curtis has done it before. He’s capable of doing it. So we’ll just see how it plays out.

“Obviously we’ve worked on a few things, and we’re going back to the blueprint of when he was with the Yankees. There are a couple minor things that we’re working on. One is getting his hands into a consistent position, and just getting him to feel the consistency he had, the shortness to the ball, obviously the compact swing that he had, the explosiveness — it’s all in there. It’s just a matter of going back, kind of going through the video, getting together, trying some things in the cages and seeing if we can gain on it. And I think we have. I think he feels good about his work that he’s done in the offseason, and now coming into Spring Training — it’s not that we’re gaining momentum anymore, it’s more about staying where he’s at now.

On Juan Lagares: “Juan’s talented. I’ve noticed that and I’m excited about this player. He’s got a nice demeanor about him. He’s confident. Obviously he’s going to have to hone in on the strike zone and kind of take these chases and these swings out of the zone, and be able to lay off some pitches, and determine what’s a pitch that he can do damage to. And if he can’t, certainly laying off is going to do what? It’s going to increase his on-base percentage. I think with Juan, it’s more about, ‘Can we maximize his ability to get on base?’ So he’s got some work to do.

“There’s drills you can do. There’s a lot of vision stuff. And I’ll use Robinson Cano as an example because he’s the guy who sticks out, but we really paid attention to what he was swinging at, talking about his ‘A’ swing, talking about doing damage to the ball, talking to him about, ‘Today, you swung at seven pitches out of the zone. Let’s see if we can get that number down to four a day.’ And then all of the sudden, the four turns into two.’ Instead of trying to get there all at once, you gradually get there. So we’ll do strike zone stuff where we’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s just swing at pitches middle-away. Anything in, take it, instead of trying to cover the whole strike zone and expand it.’ You can do that early and you can do that in plus counts, and a lot of times that we’ll help as well.

“He’s got a good swing and he’s always had the ability to get hits. He finds a way. I think he hit .285, which the Major League average is .250, so he’s 35 points up there. What we’re looking at is, ‘What is his on-base?’ It’s probably .315, .320. If we can get that number up to .350, .360, you’ve gain on it quite a bit.”

On David Wright: “He’s a tough one for me to kind of give you an honest evaluation of. I wasn’t here. I didn’t live it. I didn’t see it. I couldn’t see his face. I didn’t know what kind of workload he was able to do or not able to do. So in David’s case, certainly I can tell you that if I’ve got a shoulder issue and I need to get extension, at some point it’s going to pinch. And it’s going to hurt. So if you saw him cutting off his swing and not getting through baseballs or not driving the ball, you can put two and two together and say they probably had something to do with it.”

On Travis d’Arnaud: “It’s funny because when I looked at Travis and I looked at him early on, it was almost like the competitiveness was out of him. The athlete, he was thinking too much. He wasn’t trusting his ability, and probably what had gotten him to the big leagues. Maybe he didn’t know if he could compete at this level. I think when he went back to Triple-A, he said, “You know what, I’m going to go back to the way I hit.’ And one of those things was getting on the plate. Getting on the plate certainly helped him a great deal. I could see his confidence level rise, I could see his swing start to come together, and really I’ve done very little with Travis — almost nothing, other than keep his confidence level up and his spirits up, and let him know that what you did last year when you came back was enough, and it was terrific.”

On Lucas Duda: “He’s well aware that he needs to work. And all lefty-on-lefty stuff is, or righty-on-righty stuff, it’s angles. So we’ll get different angles and we’ll get the ball coming from this angle a lot more than this angle. Obviously he’s had some success [against right-handed pitchers]. He’s had some success [against lefties] in the Minor Leagues. So it’s here. He can do it. When he’s able to swing, we’ll get back to doing some lefty-on-lefty stuff, and see if we can’t get him a little bit more consistent there. Obviously we’re talking about a 30-home run guy. There’s not many of those in the Major Leagues. So the more that we can get Lucas in the lineup, the better off we’ll be.

“Using the whole field certainly will get that average where it needs to be. But Lucas, if I’m not mistaken, I think he has power to all fields. Certainly we’ve seen more to the pull side, and most hitters are going to have more power to the pull side, but this something that Lucas has done in the past. He’s been able to drive the ball to all fields. So I’m sure some of our attention will go to that, and we’ll see if maybe we can get that average to elevate just a little bit.”

On Bartolo Colon: “Bartolo’s got some work to do [laughing]. He’s not too vested in putting that much time into getting his swing where it needs to be. He said he had two hits last year, and I said, ‘How about four hits this year?’ And he said, ‘How about three?’ That’s where we’re at with Bartolo.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Matt Harvey: “In the end, maybe my surgery was the best thing to happen to me”

Two days after reporting to Spring Training, Matt Harvey has posted a revealing essay on Derek Jeter’s “Players’ Tribunal” site. The essay details his 2013 offseason trip to Laos and subsequent rehab from Tommy John surgery.

harveyarrives2-16Harvey writes:

Every morning for the first few weeks after surgery, all I could do were arm curls with five-pound weights. It was an eye-opening experience — realizing that one year you can pitch in an All-Star Game in front of your home crowd and then a few months later all you can do is curl five-pounders.

But being away was good for me. It gave me time to do some soul searching. Just like in New York, I walked around a lot to clear my head. Being alone in a country and not speaking the language turned out to be a good temporary escape. For the first time in a long time, I was in a place where nobody recognized me. In New York, occasionally people will say hello to me on the street. (Other times, even hometown fans have a hard time recognizing me, like I had fun showing in this video I did for Jimmy Fallon.) In Laos, I was invisible and that was fine. I remember talking to a street vendor and having a funny “conversation” — we had to use hand gestures — but when I asked to take a photo with her, she refused. To her, I was just an American weirdo with one arm in a sling and the other arm making crazy hand signals. I couldn’t blame her. We waved goodbye and I went on my way.

You can read Harvey’s entire entry here.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

In pictures: Duda does Japan

My notebook wasn’t the only tool I brought to Japan with me. Check below for a collage of some of the best Duda pics I snapped across the Pacific:

dudacollageFollow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Turning Japanese? I really think so.

You may have noticed a conspicuous absence in this space the past couple weeks, as I traveled to Japan to cover the Major League Baseball All-Star Series. Though only one Met — first baseman Lucas Duda — made the trip, I hope you’ll appreciate all of the coverage anyway. The full list is here, with some of the highlights below:


Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Mets WAR leaders, end of season

Highest and lowest Mets WAR scores in 2014, according to the web sites Fangraphs and Baseball Reference:

1. Juan Lagares, 3.8
2. Lucas Duda, 3.3
3. Jacob deGrom, 3.0
4. Daniel Murphy, 2.6

5. Bartolo Colon, 2.1

41-(t). John Lannan, -0.4
41-(t). Omar Quintanilla, -0.4

41-(t). Scott Rice, -0.4
44. Chris Young, -0.6
45. Gonzalez Germen, -0.7

Baseball Reference
1. Lagares, 5.5
2. Duda, 3.7
3. deGrom, 3.1

4. David Wright, 2.8
5. Murphy, 2.0

40-(t). Juan Centeno, -0.3
40-(t). Josh Satin, -0.3
42-(t). Lannan, -0.4
42-(t). Rice, -0.4

44. Bobby Abreu, -0.6
45. Jose Valverde, -0.8

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Poll: Do you care that Matt Harvey attended Derek Jeter’s final home game?

In case you missed it, Matt Harvey showed up at Yankee Stadium tonight to pay his respects to Derek Jeter. The issue? His own teammates were playing a game against the Nationals a few hundred miles to the south, with Zack Wheeler on the bump.

All of which begs the question: do you care?

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Three Up, Three Down: Three series to go edition

That means it’s 27 Up, 27 Down to go.


Monday: Marlins 6, Mets 5
Three Up: Jacob deGrom, Wilmer Flores, Travis d’Arnaud
Three Down: Jeurys Familia, Dilson Herrera, Jenrry Mejia

Tuesday: Mets 9, Marlins 1
Three Up: Wilmer Flores, Bartolo Colon, Ruben Tejada
Three Down: Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker

Wednesday: Marlins 4, Mets 3
Three Up: Lucas Duda, Matt den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Three Down: Curtis Granderson, Ruben Tejada, Bobby Abreu

Season Standings
Jacob deGrom +14
Jon Niese +8

Bartolo Colon +7
Travis d’Arnaud +7
Daniel Murphy +6
Lucas Duda +5
Zack Wheeler +5

Josh Edgin +3
Dillon Gee +3
Buddy Carlyle +2

Ike Davis +2
Matt den Dekker +2
Dana Eveland +2
Juan Lagares +2
Eric Campbell +1

Kirk Nieuwenhuis +1
Anthony Recker +1

Bobby Abreu -1
Wilmer Flores -1
John Lannan -1
Jenrry Mejia -1
Bobby Parnell -1
Omar Quintanilla -1
Josh Satin -1
Vic Black -2

Gonzalez Germen -2
Taylor Teagarden -2
Dilson Herrera -3
Curtis Granderson -4
Carlos Torres -4
Jose Valverde -4
Kyle Farnsworth -5
Scott Rice -5
Eric Young, Jr. -5
Chris Young -8
Ruben Tejada -10
David Wright -10

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Poll: Who should be the Mets’ 2015 shortstop?

External candidates include free agents such as J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie and Asdrubal Cabrera, as well as any trade targets.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Three Up, Three Down: Rocky Mountain High edition

“We’re pretty excited about it, to be honest,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of his team’s sudden September ascension in the Wild Card standings.

shakeshackMonday: Mets 3, Rockies 2
Three Up: Jon Niese, Curtis Granderson, Wilmer Flores
Three Down: Vic Black, Dilson Herrera, Matt den Dekker

Tuesday: Mets 2, Rockies 0
Three Up: Jacob deGrom, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares
Three Down: Jenrry Mejia, Eric Campbell, Wilmer Flores

Wednesday: Mets 2, Rockies, 0
Three Up: Rafael Montero, Carlos Torres, Eric Young
Three Down: Travis d’Arnaud, Curtis Granderson, Wilmer Flores

Season Standings
Jacob deGrom +13
Daniel Murphy +8
Bartolo Colon +7
Jon Niese +7

Zack Wheeler +6
Travis d’Arnaud +5
Lucas Duda +5

Josh Edgin +3
Dillon Gee +3
Juan Lagares +3
Eric Campbell +2
Buddy Carlyle +2

Ike Davis +2
Dana Eveland +2
Matt den Dekker +1
Jeurys Familia +1
Kirk Nieuwenhuis +1
Vic Black -1
Erik Goeddel -1

Dilson Herrera -1
John Lannan -1
Daisuke Matsuzaka -1
Bobby Parnell -1
Omar Quintanilla -1
Josh Satin -1
Gonzalez Germen -2
Taylor Teagarden -2
Wilmer Flores -4

Curtis Granderson -4
Carlos Torres -4
Jose Valverde -4
Kyle Farnsworth -5
Scott Rice -5
Eric Young, Jr. -6
Chris Young -8
Ruben Tejada -9
David Wright -10

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo


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