Results tagged ‘ Stephen Drew ’

Dispatches from Las Vegas and Port St. Lucie, 3/15

One more game in the desert before the Mets head back east.

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What we learned: Believe the hype: Cashman Field in Las Vegas is as hitter-friendly as they come. … Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias may miss significant time with a stress reaction in his shins, perhaps creating another suitor for Stephen Drew.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“If you get hit when it’s 117 degrees right here, you get to go into the air conditioning.” –Triple-A Las Vegas manager Wally Backman on Cashman Field’s unprotected dugouts

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/4

Not to be outdone by Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler gave the Mets three brilliantly efficient innings Tuesday. But the story was Curtis Granderson, who hit two home runs in the win over Houston.

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What we learned: The Major League Baseball Players’ Association is “keeping an eye on” the Mets’ financial spending, according to union chief Tony Clark.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

“Mom and dad are here today. They might not approve.” –Granderson on why he has not joined the crew of Mets modeling their hair after Wright

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Mets Spring Training: Week 1 in review

The first calendar week of camp is complete, with Mets pitchers, catchers and position players all on the premises. Here’s a recap of what went down in Week 1:

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“It’s hard seeing all the guys, seeing them put their uniforms on and realizing that Spring Training is going to go a little differently this year,” Harvey said during his first day in camp. “Today has definitely been a little bit of a struggle.”

  • Mets doctors later cleared Harvey to throw a baseball for the first time since surgery, which he did Saturday.

“There’s always a conversation on [the payroll]. It’s not something that [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] can just go out and do whatever he wants, but yes we’ve had multiple conversations, and we’ve had the ability to go after some guys that I don’t think anybody knew we were going after. They didn’t all hit, but we did try, and those all would have expanded the payroll above where we are now.”

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Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/19

It’s been an abnormally quiet camp so far for the Mets, and barring an Ike Davis trade or a Stephen Drew signing in the near future, it’s liable to stay that way. That’s just fine for the Mets, who are peacefully going about their business in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The remaining position players not yet in camp must report by the end of Thursday, in advance of the first scheduled full-squad workout Saturday. Other than that, it’s status quo.

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What we learned: Fully healthy for the first time in years, Daisuke Matsuzaka began his offseason workout program in mid-October. Matsuzaka is the early front-runner for the Mets’ fifth starter’s job. … Nothing has changed on the Stephen Drew front. Don’t expect the Mets to sign him unless his price comes down significantly.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“I’m on vacation.” –Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, explaining why he did not wish to speak to the media

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Shortstop not necessarily dead for Mets’ Flores

Wilmer Flores has not played his natural position of shortstop professionally in the United States since 2011, when he was 19 years old. Despite the Mets’ clear weakness at that position, Flores’ name does not typically surface in discussions about it. And for good reason — the Mets have no immediate plans to use him there, in part because of the lack of mobility that scouts have long predicted for him.

But the notion of trying Flores at shortstop is not permanently dead. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this week that if Flores’ winter conditioning program pays the type of dividends the team hopes, it’s possible he could receive some reps at the position this spring.

“I don’t think we’d rule it out,” Alderson said in a telephone interview. “Why should we? I think we have to see how Spring Training plays out for him — is there going to be a spot for him in the lineup? Is there not? Is he going to be a bench player for us? Is he going to go to Las Vegas?”

Alderson pointed several times to the team-supervised conditioning program Flores attended in Michigan this winter alongside Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and several Mets prospects. This was the first winter of his career that Flores spent significant time focusing on his overall health rather than his baseball skills, according to the GM.

“I don’t want to place too much stock on four weeks of conditioning, but this is a guy who’s never really had the opportunity to develop himself physically the way players here in the United States do, who have a season and then an offseason,” Alderson said. “He’s never had an offseason. He’s always played. So this is a different type of offseason for him — one in which he’s been able to invest in his career. We’ll see how it pays off for him.

“I wouldn’t say [Flores to shortstop] is dead. I think that one of the things we want to see is how well he has done with his training regimen in Michigan. Before this offseason, I’m not sure he ever had any sort of structured, regimented conditioning program. The work that they have done on speed and agility and quickness, etc., may have an impact on his ability to play certain positions — including second base and conceivably even shortstop. But right now, that’s all speculation.”

Flores, who signed with the Mets as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2007, played shortstop exclusively over the first four years of his Minor League career. In 2012, he shifted to third base, before playing mostly second last year — partially an organizational response to third baseman David Wright signing an eight-year contract that runs through 2020.

Along the way, scouts have continually pegged Flores as a corner infielder, skeptical that his limited mobility would allow him to play a middle infield or corner outfield spot. But Flores held his own at second despite a nagging ankle injury, and Alderson is curious to see how he responds after two intensive fitness sessions near Ann Arbor, Mich.

“It became clear, if you watched him play last year and run the bases … that [conditioning] was an area that needed to improve,” Alderson said. “Since he’d never done any conditioning at all, you say to yourself, ‘Gee, there may be substantial opportunity for improvement. Let’s see what happens. Let’s try it.’ And that’s what we’ve done. We won’t know the benefits of that until we get down to Spring Training.”

What the Mets do know is that they are thin at shortstop, with Tejada coming off a below-replacement level season, free agent Stephen Drew a long-shot to sign and no high-ceilinged prospects on the immediate horizon. Flores, by contrast, revived his own prospect status with a breakout offensive year in 2012, carrying that wave all the way to the Majors in 2013.

“Is he definitely not a shortstop? I try not to say anybody’s definitely not something,” Alderson said. “We tried Duda [a natural first baseman] in left field. There’s no reason why we can’t try other players at positions where at first blush you’d say, ‘No, that’s not possible.’”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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