Results tagged ‘ R.A. Dickey ’

Report from Port St. Lucie, 4/1

Unless you’re R.A. Dickey, who received two stitches on the right heel after being spiked in Sunday’s game, it was a good day to be a Mets starting pitcher. It was a good day to be a left-handed Mets starting pitcher, at least. The team named Johan Santana its Opening Day starter, then news broke that Jon Niese is in serious talks to sign a pre-arbitration contract extension.

As for me, I’m heading home for a few days of rest before Opening Day. Check back here for plenty of updates then.

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, 3/22

It’s been a while since the Mets have enjoyed a full day of truly, unanimously positive injury news. Thursday was that day, with David Wright participating in a full workout for the first time since his injury (see batting practice photo below), Scott Hairston taking dry swings outside and Andres Torres feeling improvement in his tight left calf. If all three are ready for Opening Day, it will make things a lot easier for Terry Collins, who is struggling in particular with his center field roster decisions.

I also took a look today at some of the defensive data predicting a poor season for the Mets, particularly the Plus/Minus system in John Dewan’s “The Fielding Bible Volume III.” If you’re interested in that sort of thing, I’d suggest checking out Dewan’s Fielding Bible website, where you can purchase a copy of his book.

Oh, and R.A. Dickey took a no-hitter into the sixth, bidding to do in Spring Training what no Mets pitcher has ever done in the regular season. Ultimately, he fell a dozen outs short.

Still not convinced it was a good day for the Mets? Chipper Jones announced that he will retire after the season, leading Wright and others to reflect on the surefire Hall of Famer’s history of tormenting of their franchise.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/15

So the Mets finally got a glimpse of old friend Jose Reyes today, playing his Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. You can read about that on Mets.com and Marlins.com.

I also caught up with Frank Viola III, son of the former Cy Young award winner who, with the help of R.A. Dickey, is trying to revive his career with the knuckleball. That story is here.

I’m taking a long weekend off, so don’t expect any updates on Mets Cetera until Tuesday. But I’ll be back in full force then, bringing you all the news from the second half of Mets Spring Training.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/1

Things are ramping up at Mets camp, with intrasquad games scheduled throughout the weekend and the first Grapefruit League game against the Nationals on Monday evening.

Before Johan Santana threw to live batters Thursday for the first time since October, I caught up with R.A. Dickey and some of the people who have made the past year of his life such a whirlwind. Check out the profile on Mets.com.

As for the pictures, here’s Santana chatting up Terry Collins after his live batting practice session:

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Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

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, 2/23

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.

R.A. Dickey for governor?

Kudos to Duke law student Pat Andriola, who discovered this gem: Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey received a write-in vote in the New York gubernatorial race won by Andrew Cuomo last November. So did Donald Duck, apparently. Via the fine folks at Fangraphs:

Internet denizen Pat Andriola has brought to the world’s attention this actually official document, which reveals that R.A. Dickey was, in fact, the recipient of no less than one vote for New York’s most recent gubernatorial election.

Click the link above for a picture of the document. And uh, good for you, R.A.

—–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.

Rushing the knuckleball fraternity

Because he only completely committed himself to the knuckleball five years ago, R.A. Dickey figures he’s “about 26 in knuckleball years.” Which means he’s still in the process of learning.

dickeydelivers.JPG“The scouting report on me over the past couple years has been get into fastball counts, and you’ll get fastballs,” Dickey said. “Well this year it’s been a little bit different, and I think that’s really helped. I don’t just throw a token fastball 2-0 or 3-1 now. You’re going to get a knuckleball.”

Dickey has been throwing more knuckleballs on the whole. In comparison to years past, when he threw between 63 and 67 percent knucklers, according to the web site Fangraphs.com, Dickey has thrown the pitch nearly 75 percent of the time over his first two starts of this season.

By comparison, Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has thrown the pitch 84 percent of the time over his 18-year career.

When Wakefield and Dickey spoke prior to Tuesday’s game, Wakefield told him simply to trust in the pitch. For the first time in his career, Dickey is doing so, providing the most convincing evidence that he may be able to sustain his recent gains at the age of 35.

I think it’s just a matter of the maturation of the pitch,” he said. “This is my fifth year to throw it, and every year you learn a little something more with it. That’s why it’s been a nice journey with me for this pitch.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @anthonydicomo

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