Results tagged ‘ Tigers ’

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.

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/27

What we learned: Jon Niese still appears on track to pitch April 6.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“We’re not going to be able to go achieve our goals with guys having par or sub-par years. We’re not that good offensively. –David Wright

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/22

What we learned: Daniel Murphy is still not quite healthy, but the Mets expect him to be ready for Opening Day.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“Honestly, I was a little scared. I haven’t done that in a while. Thankfully nothing happened.” –Bartolo Colon, a long-time American Leaguer, on running the bases

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

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

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

vegasstrip

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.

matsuzakabullpen

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

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Where will you go, Jose Reyes?

Welcome to speculation season. Various reports Wednesday pegged San Francisco as a possible trade destination for Mets shortstop Jose Reyes — which it is. But the reigning World Series champions are hardly alone in their desire. To nab Reyes at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, a team must be both in contention and in need of a shortstop — a rare combination that eliminates two-thirds of the league at first glance.

Below is the remaining one-third, in no particular order:

Team: Giants
Current SS: Miguel Tejada

The Giants have a clear need with an anemic offense, no true leadoff hitter, and an aging and unproductive starting shortstop in Tejada. Hardly a Moneyball disciple, general manager Brian Sabean is also unlikely to fret over Reyes’ history of low on-base percentages. But if a bidding war is in the offing, the Giants may fall short — their farm system remains thin beyond top first base prospect Brandon Belt.

Team: Brewers
Current SS: Yuniesky Betancourt

The Brewers could use someone to set the table for sluggers Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. But they also have greater needs — pitching, anyone? — and if they fall out of the race in the NL Central, the small-market Brewers are liable to turn into sellers themselves.  Like the Giants, they also have a weak farm system, widely considered to be the league’s worst.

Team: Cardinals
Current SS: Ryan Theriot

Acquiring Reyes would allow the Cardinals to shift Theriot down in the lineup and over to second base, improving their team in more ways than one. But they already have four dynamic offensive players in Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Colby Rasmus; like the Brewers, the Cards may be more interested in shoring up their rotation.

Team: Reds
Current SS: Paul Janish

Put Reyes in Cincinnati, and the Reds suddenly become clear favorites to repeat as NL Central champions. But given their rotation struggles, they may also mirror their division rivals, the Cardinals, in prioritizing a pitcher.

Team: Dodgers
Current SS: Jamey Carroll

It’s unclear how Major League Baseball’s takeover of the Dodgers’ day-to-day operations will affect their ability to take on salary at the deadline. If the Dodgers can indeed spend, they’d be an ideal trade partner for the Mets: a big-market team with playoff aspirations, a glaring lack of middle infield punch and a strong-enough farm system.

Team: Tigers
Current SS: Jhonny Peralta

As in St. Louis, acquiring Reyes would allow the Tigers to shift their current shortstop to second base. But if former top prospect Scott Sizemore pans out in Detroit, the Tigers may be more inclined to allocate their resources elsewhere. A big outfield bat may be a more pressing concern.

Team: Angels
Current SS: Erick Aybar

As long as the Angels remain unwilling to expose young center fielder Peter Bourjos to the leadoff spot, they could use a player such as Reyes. Their need is not glaring. But Reyes could be enough to vault them past the Rangers in a crowded AL West, and the Angels possess a deep enough cache of prospects to outbid almost anyone.

Team: A’s
Current SS: Cliff Pennington

A longshot, considering the team’s perennial small payroll and general manager Billy Beane’s affinity for on-base percentage. But Reyes would still represent a major upgrade over Pennington by any measurement, and the A’s do have the ability to take on some payroll. If they’re in serious contention come July, it’s not impossible.

Team: Twins
Current SS: Alexi Casilla

It’s clear the Twins are in need of an offensive jolt, and it’s clear that Reyes would be a major upgrade over Casilla. But after adding significant payroll in recent years by signing several key players to long-term contracts, they would the Twins would be unlikely to pursue Reyes in free agency. That makes a trade for the shortstop unlikely, as well.

Team: Red Sox
Current SS: Jed Lowrie

If Lowrie continues to produce at his current clip, this may be a moot point. But the Red Sox are never shy about trading for top talent, and despite the Adrian Gonzalez trade, they still have several intriguing arms in their system. Toss their deep pockets into the equation and they could be a match.

Team: Yankees
Current SS: Derek Jeter

It doesn’t make sense. But it’s the Yankees. Don’t ever count them out, ever.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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