Saturday, February 28, 2009

Met Fans Agonizing Over Ace


The Mets have announced that Johan Santana is experiencing 'tightness' in the triceps tendon of his pitching elbow.

The Mets are not conveying concern to the media, but pitching coach Dan Warthen says, "We won't be pushing him."

Warthen says he believes that Santana's discomfort has been caused by his patriotism, "As patriotic as he is, I believe he really wanted to pitch for his country. They only have two big things [in Venezuela] --soccer and baseball. And, in baseball, Johan is the cheese."

April 6, 2009 – Opening Day in Cincinnati – might be in jeopardy because Johan has had no work (other than bullpen sessions), and to be ready for opening day, the rule of thumb is 90 pitches, which might not be likely.

Santana expects to meet with Manuel, Warthen, and the training staff tomorrow.

Just to add a little concern, Santana sounded less than optimistic when he said, "Hopefully, next week I'll start facing hitters" Saturday morning. And -- more ominously -- he said "I'm fine. It's just that the tightness is not something normal for me."

Source: Marty Noble - MLB.com

Getting In The Mood

It's official. I'm Jones-in. I want baseball. I want Mets baseball. I want to pummel the Phillies. I want the season to start. I don't want the WBC - it's like inter-league play. They're forcing phony rivalries.

I was surfing around, and I was looking for something to gear me up (believe me, it doesn't take much to gear up metsfan73!), and I found this real moving video.

Thanks to Dangerous500 for the video. Check it out, it rocks.!

Valentin's View



There is an interesting article on the decision to bat Jose Reyes #3 this spring. Thursday Jerry Manuel was with Mike Francesa on WFAN, and said that Jose will more than likely be his #1 hitter, he just wants him to show better discipline at the plate.

John Harper (NY Daily News) says he likes that Manuel is showing his players that it is about team and not individuals, but Jose Valentin does have some concerns:

Valentin has been a mentor to Reyes, and understands Reyes mindset well. Says where you need to be careful is if Reyes gets frustrated, "When he's not doing well offensively, he tends to change defensively," said Valentin. "He's not the same guy. He has a tendency to lay down when he's not doing well at the plate, and you don't want that." We saw this from Jose when you were able to tell how unhappy he was playing for Willie Randolph.

Valentin says when Reyes sulks, which he is prone to do, it affects his play on both sides of the ball, and he doesn't have the quality at-bats, doesn't steal as much, etc.

Valentin continues, "He doesn't need to get three hits, but if he gets caught stealing, that's when he looks like he's frustrated. He cares the most about stealing bases, and if he's hitting third and he gets on base with two outs, you might not want him to run because you want your No.4 hitter swinging the bat.

"Jose might take off, and even if he steals the base, they may walk the No.4 hitter when you want the big guy swinging the bat. Those are the kinds of things you would need to talk to Jose about, because he doesn't always understand the situation."

For more of Valentin's insight, read John Harper - NY Daily News. With this sort of wisdom, Metsfan73 thinks it might be wise to have Valentin on the pro roster. He could be the manager in the line-up, to complement the manager in the dugout.

Accomplished Writer Moves On


We here at 24 Hours... don't usually post a story like this, but thought it was certainly worth noting.

Accomplished baseball writer, Tracy Ringolsby, for the Rocky Mountain News is moving on. As Ringolsby cites in his final column, the choice isn't his; Scripps is closing down the Rocky Mountain News, and Ringolsby will be moving on.

Ringolsby does not only cover the Rockies, but in a similar way to some of his brethren; Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, etc, he covers baseball.

According to Ringolsby, he will continue to write for foxsports.com, adding a second weekly column. His role at Baseball America will continue. "And if the internet is the future then that might be worth a try."

Ringolsby will also have an expanded role with the Rockies on FSN Rocky Mountain.

To read Ringolsby farewell, Tracy Ringolsby - Rocky Mountain News

Best of luck to Ringolsby, and I personally look forward to catching his columns on the internet.

Casey Fossum another lefty with # 47


I was watching the replay last night of the Mets Cardinals game and caught in the middle with the Mets behind at the time 4-3. When Keith and Gary were talking off on a tangent about something I was wondering about the pitcher that had Jesse's number that was on the mound. At least he was a lefty.


Casey Fossum was signed to a minor league contract on January 18, 2009. He was originally drafted 48th overall by the Boston Red Sox in 1999 out of Texas A&M University. He pitched last year for the tigers and was 3-1 with a ERA just under 5.


Noting that sticks out but he did pitch 2 innings last night and gave up only 2 hits . One to Mr Pujols.


Fossums delivery is old school. He has a quick delivery that brings the hands over the head and remind me a little of old time Met Matlack. The Mets signed Villone another lefty last night so we will see where Fossum winds up but you never know. He is not the #47 we remember and if you ask me if he makes the team needs to take another number.


Pic courtesy of NYfuture stars.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks For The Clarification Cole!


Cole Hamels, the talented Philly starter, and presently afflicted with Montezuma's Revenge of the Mouth, explains his many claims of the Mets being 'Choke Artists'.


According to Hamels, “The word choke means you weren’t able to fully come through when you were supposed to. I think the Mets had the top teams, they pretty much had the championships in the bag and they weren’t able to come through. A lot of guys will perceive them as choking in the end and not fulfilling their end of the bargain because they should have taken it. You know what, it really does show the strength and hard work and I guess the deep down guts that we have to take it away from them.”

I don't know about you, but I sure feel better now that he has been able to explain something I must not have understood. I hope the Mets can use this fodder for the bulletin board, and pound him and his stinking team into the ground...

Josh Alper - NBC Chicago

Mets Sign Veteran Lefty To Minor League Deal

Today the Mets signed veteran lefty reliever Ron Villone to a minor league deal. Villone, 39, will be invited to the major league camp, and will compete against Tom Martin, Casey Fossum and Heriberto Ruelas for an unacknowledged role.

Villone will be the 104th person to play for the Yankees and Mets.

Villone whose career began with the Mariners in 1995, has been a member of 11 different teams. Villone pitched in 74 games with the Cardinals last season, when he pitched 50 innings, produced a 1-2 record and a 4.68 ERA. He walked 37 and struck out 50.

I'm starting to get the feeling that the Mets are an orphanage for unwanted pitchers; an island of misfit toys* if you will.



Source: Marty Noble - MLB.com

* Island Of Misfit Toys From The Christmas Classic Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

Johan To Skip Tuesday Start


Johan Santana will miss his next scheduled start this Tuesday (March 3). It is the decision of Jerry Manuel to forgo Johan. Manuel isn't worried, just cautious. Said General Manuel, "extra, extra, extra cautious."

Questioned further, Manuel explained, "I'm not concerned, but I want to be extra, extra, extra cautious with this."

Just because Santana will miss his Tuesday start doesn't mean he will miss a full turn.

"Just because it's so early," Manuel said. "That's my ace. That's my card I've got to play when I need to play it. I don't need to play it right now."

Source:
David Lennon - Newsday

Livan Hernandez in game chat

Adam Rubin over at the Surfing The Mets has a chat with today’s starter after he pitches his 2 innings.

Livan seems very matter of fact and believes that he can help the Mets.

Also Adam chats with
Freddy Garcia and discusses his horrible outing. Garcia looked horrible not even able to finish an inning. First game jitters so we will give him a mulligan.

Citi Field noshing. Get more then a Knish!


Seeing that it is the weekend in front of us and people love to eat out here is a conversation on what Citi Field stands will be offering. If you want to get a idea of some of the people behind the scenes and there ideas for the Shake shack, the taco stand and the rib stand at the New Citi Field check out Ted Bergs blog

Check out this little tidbit. That will make your mouth water. As the guys describe how they did a little research in regards to tacos.

“We ate from taco trucks, we ate at stands and we ate in restaurants. We went into stores wherever they were making tortillas, and rode the trains in San Francisco where we just ate! We went to Superica [in Santa Barbara, Calif.] and we ordered everything they had. If someone said it was the best we wanted to see why it was the best.”


RP: “Ted, we ate everything. We ate eyeballs. You know, tongue is common.”

MMMM can not wait , eyeball tacos. What beer will be washing that down?

They also have there opinion on what stadium has the best garlic fries. Ok I am hungry

Mets 2-0 play the St Louis Cardinals

After the blow out yesterday of the Marlins , the Mets host the Cardinals today with Livan Hernandez getting the start and of course batting 2nd. We did see Ollie lay down a bunt yesterday with Castillo on base so we will see how Livan does .

Todays line up is below.

Castillo, 2b
L. Hernandez, rhp
Reyes, ss
Delgado, 1b
Wright, 3b
Beltran, cf
Church, rf
Anderson, lf
Rivera, c

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mike Piazza not worried about being named. He says he was clean.


In a story over at the NY Post Joel Sherman catches up with former Met Mike Piazza. He will be the hitting coach for Italy. He will be eligible for the 2013 election in Baseballs Hall of Fame.


Sherman finds him on a back field waiting for his team to play the Marlins in a B game and is asked the question if he is on the fame list of players that tested positive.


His response "Absolutely" clean "I know the work I put in."


Piazza ,a shoe in for the hall of fame , shuold have his number retired at Citi Field but that is another story.

Johan Santana feels tenderness scratched from Friday start.

The Mets have annouced that Johan will not pitch on Friday due to tenderness in elbow as reported over at Surfing The Mets - NY Daily News

Seems like this is something that happens at the beginning of the spring season for Johan.

Check out below where Ollie Perez is batting in his start today against the Marlins. Also jose batting 3rd!

Luis Castillo 2B
OLIVER PEREZ P
Jose Reyes SS
Carlos Delgado 1B
David Wright 3B
Carlos Beltran CF
Ryan Church RF
Daniel Murphy LF
Brian Schneider C

Darling On WFAN


Ron Darling visited with Boomer and Carton on WFAN this morning. Some interesting points from Darling:

Regarding Manuel calling players out (Castillo #1 hitter, Church and Tatis platoon) Darling said, "Jerry is throwing shot across the bow makes players uncomfortable", and he is putting players on notice. Darling believes this is a good thing.

Darling thinks Manuel handles the media like a pro.

Darling's assessment on what Oliver Perez needs to do succeed: Follow Johan Santana around and have Santana's professionalism and the way he handles pressure and prepares for the game. He also says that Ollie has to develop a pitch to get right handed batters out.

About the little coverage this pre-season of last years collapse: believes this is in part due to the way General Manuel handles the press and that the Mets have addressed some glaring needs, most notably the bull-pen - with the acquisition of Rodriguez and Putz.

When talking about the heat David Wright received at the end of last season, Darling said that Wright and Reyes are the face of the franchise, and that is why they take a lot of heat. They have to learn how to handle situations, and he believes that is why Wright had chased some bad pitches in key situations coming down the stretch.

Darling believes that Reyes will be the lead-off hitter and Castillo will bat #2. If Castillo falters, we might see Murphy bat second.

When asked about his forthcoming book, The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound, Darling said it is all about baseball, "nothing solacious."

The Mets play the Marlins today at 12:30 and will be broadcast on SNY.

For the complete interview log onto: Ron Darling On Boomer & Carton WFAN

Top Met Prospects

Baseball America has just listed their 100 top baseball prospects. Of the 100, four Mets have made the list.


Not surprisingly, the four Mets are:

# 30 OF Fernando Martinez ("0: Players in Double-A younger than Martinez last season.")

#47 SS Wilmer Flores ("0: Players younger than Flores (who turned 17 on Aug. 6) in full-season ball last season.")

#77 P Jon Niese ("178: Innings pitched last season, including 14 in three big league starts.")

#94 P Brad Holt ("1.87: ERA at short-season Brooklyn, one of four categories in which he led the New York-Penn League.")


I was expecting to see Josh Thole’s name on the list (Read Here), especially with how well he did in the Arizona Fall League.


The interesting thing also is that Jon Niese is ranked #77 – 47 spots below Fernando Martinez, and Niese has a chance to not only be the #5 starter for the Mets this season, but should certainly see some big league action. Martinez, who will report to AAA Buffalo this year, won’t get a sniff unless there are injuries to the present outfielders, or as a late season call up.


Thanks to Matthew Artus - Always Amazin'

Around the Mets blog world

When you start your reading regarding what is going on with the Mets this week make sure you take a look at these stories in the Mets blog world.

Over at The 'Ropolitans read there take on Carlos Delgado and if he is a hall of fame candidtate.


Brooklyn Met Fan or BMF in Mets land as his take on Ryan Church and if the guy, since being traded to NY, is just cursed.

Check out Lou's story at Never Forget 69 where he rants about WFAN's Mike Francessa and his claim the Mets are a 84 win team. I am sure the Mets will like that when Mike spends the next 2 days in Mets camp. Also looking forward to Mike placing his tail between his legs when he interviews Ryan Church today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tim Redding will throw bullpen session thursday

In some news from Met camp Tim Redding will try tommorrow to pitch a bullpen session at tradition field. If all goes well Redding will pitch in a game around march 7th or 8th.

The Mets romped over the Orioles today 9-3. Church,Castillo,Pagan all had good games. Sean Green left with a cut on his finger but will be fine.

Tommorrow the Mets will be home against the Marlins and the game will be on SNY at 1pm. Looking forward to Keith and Gary and maybe Ron?

Duaner Sanchez not guaranteed a spot

Joel Sherman over at the NY Post says that Duaner Sanchez must prove himself in spring training or he might be released or traded.

Sherman toys with a couple of trade ideas. I could see the Mets using Sanchez to make a salary flip-flop type deal for someone such as Texas' Marlon Byrd ($3.06 million) or Detroit's Marcus Thames ($2.275 million).

If the Mets release him by April 1st they will owe him ¼ of his salary. The Mets have to hold on to Brian Stokes since he is out of options. The Mets have a couple of reliever spots open and that could shrink if the Mets ink a lefty. Also it depends on how many pitchers they carry into the season.

Duaner was not the pitcher in 08 that he was before the accident. If he could not contain the bleeding last year he would just fall apart. No confidence in his pitches.

Mets leave many regulars home for first game against the Orioles

Many of the Mets regulars will not be tripping down to Baltimore for the first spring game in Ft Lauderdale.

David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and Brian Schneider stay in St Lucie including Fernando Tatis who has a sore hand that some are blaming on the 80 pitches in 6 minutes drill from the other day.

The Mets will field the following lineup
Luis Castillo 2B Dan Murphy LF
Angel Pagan CF Ryan Church RF
Ramon Castro C Alex Cora SS
Nick Evans 1B Jose Valentin 3B
Fernando Martinez DH
Sean Green P

Is F-Mart A Blue Light Special?


Fernando Martinez is now in the precarious position of being questioned on whether he has been a bust or not. People have to remember that Martinez just turned 20 this past October, and has had injuries over the last few seasons that might have slowed down his progression.

What has never been questioned about Martinez is his bat speed. After hitting the ball hard yesterday, hitting coach Howard Johnson remarks,
"When he does what he did today you see the potential. When you have a guy who can let the ball get deep in the zone and hit the ball that hard the other way, plus still get to the inside pitch because he's so quick, that's a tremendous tool. Just natural ability. “

"When I see that, I think he's close. I really do."

Johnson also said Martinez needs to slow down his bat speed so he doesn’t get fooled on pitches.

Even though he has had setbacks due to injuries, Martinez was invited to participate in the
World Baseball Classic for the Domincan Republic. Martinez won’t be able to attend due to an elbow injury suffered in the Puerto Rico Winter League (see here and here).

Source:
John Harper - NY Daily News

Donald Fehr at Mets camp

Donald Fehr is making his rounds to all the camps as he does every spring. Yesterday he made it over to Pt St Lucie.

To see the Video: Donald Fehr talks about steroids and HGH at Mets camp - New York Mets baseball - NJ.com

He claims now everything is out of his hands. This is the story he told the Mets players.

In Newsday David Wright says "When you take tests that names are never supposed to come out and that trust is betrayed, that's obviously a concern,"

Of course Fehr is taking no responsibility for the fact that the names are out there. So players who are still playing that were on steriods wake up every morning wondering if this is the day I am outed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Maine Without Pain


John Maine pitched for the first time since having bones spurs removed from his (right) pitching shoulder. Maine struck out two, allowed one hit, and one walk in two scoreless innings.


Said Maine, "My arm feels great. My body feels great. I just feel like it's been such a long time. The mechanics are a little off and I was rusty a little bit, but other than that, and more importantly, my arm feels good."

Maine had a solid first inning when he struck out Luis Castillo on three straight fastballs, got Jose Reyes to fly to center,and sent Carlos Beltran packing with a strikeout.

About his off season rehab Maine said, "I worked hard in the winter, going through the rehab and all the therapy and all that to be able to come out here and have no setbacks, so I am happy with it and I am happy with where I am at right now."

When discussing the change-up that lofted over Reyes' head, Maine had this to offer, "It's been a while since I've thrown that thing, and it's tough to get it game speed. It was the first one, and it was just a slippery ball. ... I think in my bullpens now I've got to start giving it a little more effort, get the feel for it then and hopefully get a couple games in and be ready to go."

Maine is another former Peterson prodigy who abandoned the curve ball for the change-up, but like the other's, he is going back to the curve under the tutelage of Dan Warthen.

Mets skipper Jerry Manuel was impressed with the outing of his 27 year old starter, "John Maine was throwing strikes. He hadn't been out there in a while, and he let the ball go. He pitched, so it's definitely for him, and for us obviously, a big step in the right direction."

Source: USA Today

News from Met Camp Tatis, Castillo

In Florida it seems that Fernando Tatis was scratched from playing today. He hurt is hand and was see getting electronic stimluation.

Check out the box scores from today intra squad game over at the blog of
Adam Rubin

Guess what Luis Castillo did his first at bat ? It was not a stretch he saw 3 strikes and did not lift his bat of his shoulder. Consistency!!

Below is most of the list of Mets who will be leaving to join there teams in the WBC as posted by
Amazing Stories

Dominican Republic
Jose Reyes

Mexico
Elmer Dessens,Oliver Perez

Panama
Ruben Tejada

Puerto Rico
Pedro Feliciano,Nelson Figueroa,Alex Cora,Carlos Delgado,Carlos Beltran,Jesus Feliciano

United States
J.J. Putz,David Wright

Venezuela
Francisco Rodriguez

Spring Training. What decisions await Jerry Manuel?

As spring training games start for the Mets tomorrow against Baltimore, Jerry Manuel will have a couple of decisions to make regarding the make up of this club when then head back to New York at the beginning of April . With the World baseball classic being played this year, spring training itself will run a bit longer. Will this help Jerry make some decisions?

Today we will deal with the starting pitching decisions that await the gangsta.

Starting rotation.- With the top 4 being Santana, the big Pelf, Maine and Ollie Perez, Jerry has to worry about 1 spot as long as everyone stays healthy. So Manuel can choose from.

Tim Redding- 08 stats 10-11 4.95 Era in 182 innings. 120 strike outs 65 walks. He will be behind a little bit with the shoulder issue. Now he might be shelved for longer then expected. If he is ok love to see him be in long relief. A slot the Mets have not had since Darren Oliver.

Freddy Garcia- 08 stats 3-3 4.20 Era in 15 innings. 12 strike outs and 6 walks Coming off of surgery will he be strong enough to give the Mets a full year?

Livan Hernandez- 08 stats. 13-11 6.05 Era 180 innings 67 strikeouts 43 walks. A work horse but is coming off a Era of over 6 runs per game with the Twins and Rockies last year. What does he have left? How old is he? 34? 40?

Jon Neise- 08 Stats with Mets 1-1 7.07 Era 14 innings 11 walks and 8 strikeouts.The 22 year old Lefty seem to lose composure going down the stretch last year when he was placed in the rotation. Most likely will start in buffalo.

Other options might include Bobby Parnell and Brandon Knight? I think if everyone is healthy, it might be some interesting competition for the 5th spot.

Getting to know new 3rd base coach Razor Shines


Ok so the guy spent last year in the Phillies farm system . Despite that he already has a heads up over last years 3rd base coach. Razor has a personality not lost in translation.


Last year we had seen and not heard Luis Aguayo coaching at 3rd. Of course that was not a Manuel man. Razor is a Jerry man.


In an article entitled New Mets Coach Is More Than Just a Name - NYTimes.com we get an inside look at the Mets new 3rd base coach who played a couple of years back in the mid 80's behind the shadows of Expos greats Carter, Dawson and Tim Raines. He friended Mets manager Jerry Manuel and have enjoy a friendship over 20 years which includes a White Sox world series ring for Razor.


He is already being vocal in camp and it seems that many players have always liked him


"Just the other day, Shines said, Arizona outfielder Chris Young telephoned him, just looking to talk. Tim Redding had never met or spoken to Manuel until signing with the Mets in January, but during an introductory phone call told him that he played for Shines in 2006."
“Jerry told me that if I got along with Razor, I’d get along with him,” Redding said. “He was dead-on.”


Positive vibes is what Shines brings to this team and he is very approachable. Which is 10 times better then just being there and being quiet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ryan Church talkes to reporters.

If you have not seen the video here is Ryan Church talking to reporters regarding him playing right field and his conversation with Jerry Manuel courtesy of SNY . Church was upset about what he read this morning in regards to Manuels comments

Mets featured on MLB tuesday night in 30 clubs in 30days

Set your dvr's or get ready to watch the MLB network feature the NY Mets on this tuesday night at 11pm.

In the Mlb network feature 30 clubs in 30 days the Mets will be on the 1 hour program. Jerry Manuel and David Wright will be interviewed.

Niese Impresses, Jerry Observes

This afternoon, prospective #5 starter, Jon Niese pitched well during an intra-squad scrimmage. Niese fired two perfect innings, on the way to a 2-0 win. Sandy Alomar Sr. was the winning manager over his son, SandyJr.

During the game, Jerry Manuel was positioned right behind Jose Reyes, making comments and offering suggestions. Manuel said, "I feel like I'm playing. I like being out there. I really enjoy being behind the shortstop, talking to him. I've got one more day to do that."

On another note, the 'heart' of the Mets order, Wright, Reyes, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Castillo, Church and Murphy finished a combined 0-for-13.

Niese comments on his start and his chances of making the team (below):


video


Source: Anthony DiComo - MLB.com

Jerry Manuel already leaving a stamp in his first Mets spring training

The games have not even started yet. The first game is not until Wednesday and we already see how Jerry Manuel is leaving his mark on his first Mets camp.

Inspiring address with team- New Met J J Putz said it was the best address he ever heard to start spring training camp.

New tvs in clubhouse.- Showing Mets game wining hits among other positive things the Mets did last year

Jose Reyes- Moving down in the lineup . Possibly batting 3rd.


New batting regimen 80 swings in 6 minutes all to the opposite field. Promoting situational hittng. Manuel has been promoting team work. No I in team.

Already addressed the left field platoon. Murphy left fielder. Tatis will backup Church and Wright at 3rd.

Some have mentioned it is for the media so they do not have to hit up the Mets about the September collapse. This of course is interesting but not the reason.

This is Manuel’s club now and this is his version of spring training. He is doing his best to address the Mets mistakes of the past and his mistakes he made last year and his first go around as manager as the White Sox.

Go Gansta!

Valentin Is Realistic About His Chances


Words that would be great to hear, but may not be heard this season: “Now batting for the Mets and playing second base, number 99 – Jose Valentin…”

Valentin is realistic about his chances. He knows he is getting older, he’s 39, is coming off a battery of injuries, including surgery on his neck, hamstring problems, and a broken tibia – all in the last two years.

About his chances, Valentin says,
“Hopefully, this is not the end, but if it is, I’m ready for it. If it happens, I’ll be proud of myself, proud of what I’ve accomplished and the type of player I was and the type of person I am. I’ll just go ahead and start a new career.”

Valentin also realizes that this might be his last chance to partake in a World Series. Spanning a career that began in 1992, the Stache has never had the opportunity.

If Valentin doesn’t make the Mets roster out of Spring Training, he will report to AAA Buffalo, and be a player-coach. Ken Oberkfell, the Bison’s manager said this about having Valentin as a player-coach,
“Shoot, you kidding me? Who wouldn’t? I might go to him for advice more than he’d come to me.”

A turning point in Valentin’s career came when he was a young player playing for Jerry Manuel and the White Sox, and Manuel saw something he didn’t like, and pulled him into his office:
“He’d tell me that I could give more than I was giving him and that I was a better player than I showed that day. He told me he expected more from me because he thought I had a lot of managing potential. The way he communicated that to me — it was perfect. I respected him and valued his opinion. That told me I had what it takes.”

It would be great if there was a place on this year’s Mets for the Stache, but if not, we might see him in the dugout or coaching the bases one day soon in Flushing.

Thanks to
BEN SHPIGEL - NY TIMES for this story.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Muniz Looks To Split To Make Mets Pen


Carlos Muniz is working on a split fingered fastball. He hopes that the development of this pitch will secure a spot on the major league roster.


Muniz on using the pitch in the Mexican League, "I threw 20 innings working on the split-finger. The pitch is coming along real well. It's a feel-pitch, that's all. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not there. I just have to figure out when it's good and when I can throw it. That's what I'm focusing on in spring training."

With the acquisition of both Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz, Muniz has no chance of landing the closer role. He is not only aware, but accepting of that. He is just looking to land a job in the Met bullpen this season

Said Muniz, "Those guys will bring a lot to this team with their talent. There's a sense of comfort having two All-Star closers in the eighth and ninth inning. Everyone's pumped up having them here. "

Source: USA Today

Daniel Murphy handed left field job - No platoon

In a surprising move this early in spring Jerry Manuel has given the left field job to Daniel Murphy and will not have Fernando Tatis platooning with Murphy.

Manuel will instead have Murphy play left field and have Tatis sub for Church, and even give a day off to Wright at 3rd when needed.

Not sure why he feels to make this move already without even playing a game in spring training.
Tatis, who won comeback player of the year last year, had been slotted in to split time with Murphy in a lefty,right platoon.

"I don't want him to get into a strictly platoon situation," Manuel said of Murphy, who produced four hits in 10 at-bats off lefties last year. "I think he's a little better player than that. Also, with Church being left-handed, I kind of see Murphy being a better hitter right now."

Ryan Church is coming off an off season last year due to the concusions that limited his playing time.

Get a chance to see Citi Field for maybe just $5-$10


The Mets earlier today issued a Press Release in regards to opening up Citi Field on March 29th . The St John's baseball team will take on Georgetown in the first baseball game at Citi Field.


This will be the first opportunity to get inside the new stadium for most fans. This game will take place a week before the Mets host the Red Sox in 2 exhibition games .



The tickets for the St Johns game will go on sale at Mets.com starting on March 2nd and will start at 5.00 plus fees.



Might just have to check it out especially if all the food stands will be in operation! No one will of course be watching the game just walking around and checking out the place.

Backstop Help From The Farm




Literally. Mets catching prospect Josh Thole (pronounced Toe-Lee) honed his skills in the southern Illinois second floor loft of the barn of his friend, Jason Rakers, a friend of his that was going off to play minor league ball.

Up in Rakers loft, he had an L screen, a black protective net and a hitting T, where he and Thole practiced hitting.

When Thole was drafted by the Mets in the 13th round of the 2005 draft, they knew he could hit, they just didn't know where he might play defensively. The Mets haven't had many catching prospects turn out to be pro caliber players, the last being Todd Hundley.


Thole began his career as a first baseman, but didn't think he would make the Mets as a 1B, so he concentrated on catching. Bob Natal, the Mets catching coordinator worked with Thole on his catching skills. When recounting, Thole said, “At that point, I needed someone who I could relate to. We just started from ground zero, with my stance, and then kept building on it. I’d still play first base, but I truly felt like if I wanted to get to the big leagues, it was going to be behind the plate.”

Tony Bernazard, the Mets VP of player development, said of Thole, “We’re going to spend a lot of time and effort on developing a catcher, and this is the guy who’s ahead of everyone.”

Minaya's feelings: “He can hit, that much we’re sure of.” His defense needs some work.”

The Mets also have a prospect with more 'pedigree' in Francisco Pena, who is the son of Tony Pena. But at only 19, he is behind Thole, 22, on the Mets depth chart.

Over the last couple of years Thole has really turned some heads. He had a solid year last year, and was rated very highly with his performance in the AFL (Arizona Fall League). So much so, he was invited to Mets camp this spring.

Thole continued, “The one thing I’ve always said is that I’m going to give the organization every reason to like me. I’m going to work my butt off. If things don’t work out, that’s part of life, part of baseball.”

Another irony, Thole was born October 28, 2006 – the day of the Mets Championship Parade - “A nice little coincidence,” Thole said.

Along with Jon Niese's birth date of October 27, 1986 – the day the Mets won the World Series, maybe there is some great days ahead with these young players.

No pain from John Maine


It might have been only pitching live batting practive but its a start. John Maine pitched for the first time in over 6 months and felt no pain. Of course he was not satisfied with the results. He also is trying to bring back his curve ball for the first time in 3 years.

It seems that Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen is having the pitchers add to there respective arsenals . Giving them more pitch selection on the mound is great if the new pitch is something that can be effective. Nothing wrong with trying it in Florida.

Brian Schneider will be tested this year

During the off season there were rumors that the Mets were trying to trade Brian Schneider. That they were not happy with him in the way he played defensively in 2008.

Well no trade happened and now we move to 2009. Now going into this year there will be more expectations on him since the Mets have mentioned that he will be in the lineup more this year.

In the NY Post Manuel has been quoted as saying "I'm looking at getting him a lot more [at-bats]," "As we sit here today, we feel that Schneider in his second year probably should get the bulk of the catching."

When he was brought over the Mets did not expect much in his offensive side of the game. He did wind up hitting over .250 which was better then the .230's in 07 with the Nats. His defense needs to improve . There were alot of balls that he should have caught that went for a passed ball. This will be his 2nd year essentially catching the same top 4 in the rotations.

Mets ace Johan Santana had this to say. "I like the way Schneider calls the game," the Mets' ace said this week. "I'm comfortable with that, and we work well together."

Lets hope more playing time turns into a positive. Is Castro in the dog house due to his usual late summer umm injuries?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some Words From Port St. Lucie

The video below shows Carlos DelGado (sorry drunkjaysfans), Jose Reyes, and Luis Castillo speaking about Spring Training 2009.

Notice Jose Reyes' comments about Jerry Manuel and his communication. Very different from Willie Gump.

Man, I can't wait for the season...you???

Enjoy...



video

Mets set pitcher assignments for first couple of spring games

Today at Amazing Stories Steve Popper has the list of pitchers for the first couple of games of spring training. Below are the first 2.

Feb. 25 - at Baltimore (Fort Lauderdale) Green, Dessens, Stokes,
de los Santos, DeSalvo, Feliciano, Sanchez, O'Day

Feb. 26 - vs. Florida (Port St. Lucie)Perez, Gee, Ruelas, Snyder, Kunz, Muniz, Switzer

Pelfrey and Santana will pitch against Italy on the 27th.

Tim Redding has ailing shoulder

Over at Mets.com Anthony DiComo is reporting the Mets pitcher Tim Redding has some shoulder discomfort and needs to stay off the mound until late next week.

Redding had surgery on his foot back in November and was told not to put any pressure on it so he did not start throwing until 10 days before reporting to Camp. The shoulder now is feeling some discomfort so he will just do some long toss before he try the mound again.

Redding said. "I got down here and I tried to force it, and it caused some discomfort in the back of my shoulder."

Redding, signed as a free agent, is trying to make the starting rotation and is up against youngster Neise and Freddy Garcia and maybe even Livan Hernandez.

The Focus Of A Young Player


Daniel Murphy has been considered a real 'work horse', someone who not only studies the game, but puts personal stats aside to help the team.


It's easy to prove this point; Murphy was originally drafted by the Mets as a third baseman, but with David Wright having that position locked up for years to come, Murphy switched to second base. When called up to the Mets late last year, he never got a sniff at second, and was put in LF to, at first, platoon with Fernando Tatis, who were filling in for an injured Moises Alou and an injured Angel Pagan.

When asked about which position he sees himself playing, Murphy says, "My thought has always been I'll play wherever they want me."

Murphy is humble. When asked about his quick progression through the ranks of the Mets farm system, moving from AA to the pros last season, Murphy replies, "Any success I had last year can be attributed to this organization and the coaching staff and players that welcomed me in. I can't say enough about how comfortable they made me feel and at ease I was when I came up."

Murphy is aware of the type of player he is, and fully understands his strengths and weakness. Fielding is considered to be a weakness for Murphy, and he is well aware: "It's something you have to work on. Now my job is to get as crisp and consistent in the outfield as I possibly can be."

Murphy will be platooned with Tatis in LF again this season (barring a trade, injuries, etc.), and he has no problem with it, "I am approaching it like I am going to play every day, and whenever I'm in there, try to help this team win. Right now the future is a run at the World Series in 2009."

With Carlos Delgado's contract expiring at the end of the season, this might be his last year in a Met uniform. Will that open the door for Murphy or Nick Evans to move to a full time 1B job? Evans is the better defender, Murphy the better hitter. Evans a right handed bat, Murphy a left handed bat. Might be a nice problem to have to deal with.

Source: AP

New Met reliever Sean Green.


We all know about the trade that brought closer J J Putz here. We lost a good fan favorite in Endy Chavez and some pitcher that I cant remember his name. Well the Mets also received another pitcher in that deal and that is 29 yr old reliever Sean Green



Green drafted by the Rockies in 2000 made his major league debut in 2006 with the Mariners. In 07 and 08 he pitched in 136 games totaling over 147 innings. He is a workhorse. His stat that sticks out to me is the fact he does not give up home runs. You hear that Heilman? Oh year now I remember his name. Sean gave up 3 home runs last year and none after June 21st. So when he is pitching we can expect him to do something we have not seen in a while. Finish an inning in which he starts.

His stats for last year Won 4 lost 5 , 79 innings and 80 hits an era of 4.67 with 62 Ks and 36 walks. he had a whip of 1.47 and 17 holds. Obviously you would like a higher strikes to walks ratio. He could be brought in as a 6th or 7th inning guy who can pass it off to his new Met teammate J J in the 8th.

Bobby Parnell looking to start 2009 in Queens.

The 24 year old had a taste of playing in the big leagues last year and wants to start the season with the big club. He is working on bringing back his splitter like he used in college.

In today's Newsday David Lennon writes up Parnell as a serious threat to make the ball club.

"His fastball is a consistent 96-97 mph -- he's reached 99 -- and he's combined that with a slider and improving changeup. Add the splitter, and Parnell will get more swings and misses as it dives into the dirt."

He could compete for spot with Brian Stokes. The things he needs to develop is confidence the first time he gets rough up. Last year Eddie Kunz tried to make an impression but was a bit shaky .

Friday, February 20, 2009

Catching Up With JJ Putz

WPIX Channel 11's Lolita Lopez catches up with newly acquired Mets set-up man, JJ Putz.


Putz enlightens us that when in NY, he is real excited about NY pizza, and that there is a Ray's near his apartment. Putz also isn't a fan of bagels, NY or other.


Putz is a metal head, and the NY crowd should love the head-bangin music when he enters a game.

I really think the Shea faithful will embrace Putz. He is a character, and NY is just the place for such personalities.


For the complete interview, see below:





video

John Franco back with the Mets.

Looks like lefty John Franco is in good graces with the Mets as he is planning to spend some time with the Mets down in Pt St Lucie.

In his blog
Amazing Stories Steve Popper mentions that Franco was introduced to the team as a guest instructor. He will spend a week with the team in March to work in anyway he can with the team pitchers. We hope that he does not try to get into people ears in ways of manipulating the coaches and management which he seem to do in his last years with the Mets with former teammate Al Leiter.

More On Gil Hodges Memorial Park...




Hopefully this will be our last post on the naming of the new Mets stadium, but I doubt it.
In Newsday’s Spin Cycle article,
Citigroup gave $$ to signers of Mets' stadium letter, they cite that six house members that signed a letter saying, “it is deceitful and unreasonable to single out Citigroup for an agreement signed several years ago” – received campaign contributions from Citigroup over the last two campaign cycles.

The letter these house members signed was in response to Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) bid to have Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to demand Citigroup cancel its $400 million, 20-year deal to put its name on the new New York Mets ballpark in Queens.

According to this article,
“Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) logged $6,000 from Citigroup in the 2005-6 cycle; Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Queens), $10,000 total in 2005-6 and 2006-7, and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx), $20,000 total in the two cycles. (For the record, on Long Island, Citigroup also contributed during that period to Long Island Reps Peter King, total $1,000, and Carolyn McCarthy, total $4,500.)”

These house members claim that they are against both Kucinich and Poe because they never looked to take action against other corporations that have naming rights to athletic facilities, who also received
‘federal assistance.’

If named Gil Hodges Memorial Park, this would never have received so much press!

Jerry Manuels message Go TEAM


Before the Mets started there first spring training full team workout for the 09 season he held a meeting with the team for about 30 minutes. Now this is something that every team does but it is Manuels first as the manager. Is mantra is to put the team first. Some of the quotes from the Mets you can read here

Ryan Church had this to say "It was simple, the message. We have the guys here, we have the talent -- now finish the job" he also went on to say that it was a complete 180 from Randolph last year. You can draw your own conclusions.

Manuel has started to lay the groundwork. Now lets see if this team is ready for the long haul. By the way the first televised game on SNY is less then a week a way. At least it is something.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wright and Reyes Need to start leading this team.

They might be only in there mid 20’s but the time has come for the left side of the infield to emerge from there shells and start taking the team on there backs.

In an article from the
NY Post Wright is quoted as saying if anyone wants to lay blame for what's happened to us, they should blame me. I want that responsibility. I want to be that kind of player. Me and Jose, I think we both want that."

It is nice to see them step up. This is becoming there team. Wright needs to make adjustments going into 2009 and so does Reyes especially if he will be batting down in the order away from his # 1 spot. I would like to think Reyes will not lose a step.

When people speak of the core of the team, these 2 are the inner core of the offense. Wright needs to produce when it counts. He could have changed a lot of peoples perceptions last year if he just was able to get home a run when he came up with no outs late in the year. Reyes needs to start leading with his head and is ability.

Mets will have a patch on there Caps to commemorate there new home at Citi Field.


Not sure why the Cap is ok to have the Citi Logo/look of the new park but the patch on the sleeve can not. This patch on the cap will be worn all year.

Picture courtesy of the
NY Post

Spring Training Tid-Bits



David Lennon - Newsday has provided some intersting Tid-Bits:




Fernando Martinez - the highly regarded prospect expect to patrol the OF at some point this year, or next, was cleared yesterday to take BP. Martinez is nursing a strain of his right, throwing, elbow. He will resume throwing in about two or three weeks. Martinez says his elbow is feeling better. The elbow was injured warming up while playing in the Carribean Series. Martinez is projected to start the season at AAA Buffalo.

Jose Valentin - the second base spark plug for the 2006 Mets, has been assigned #99. Valentin underwent laser surgery on his neck to relieve pain he was suffering, last summer. He resumed baseball activities two weeks later. Valentin hopes to make the squad, but if he doesn't, he will report to Buffalo, and serve as a player coach. Said Valentin, "Now that I have a chance, I'll take it. Use all the bullets I have left. See if I can make it. If not, I'll try to start a new career and start coaching."


Marlon Anderson - has gone the Luis Castillo route by dropping 17 pounds during the off-season. He lost the weight using an "isogenic cleanse". Anderson limited his diet to two shakes and one lunch - equalling no more than 600 calories - for 25 straight days. Anderson claims he feels better than he has in year. That is good. The Mets sorely missed Anderson's bat off the bench in 2008, where he had a miserable season, only batting .210.

It would be a nice addition if Jose Valentin is able to make the club. He proved to be an invaluable leader in 2006, and this team needs an on the field leader. Delgado helps, Beltran helps, Wright is more flash than substance in the leadership department. Marlon Anderson is solid, but being only a role player, doesn't help as much as an everyday player. If Valentin can make the club, and get some quality playing time, he could be that missing piece the Mets have been lacking since the departure of Cliff Floyd.

Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes are ready to play

Both are in camp. One lighter the other added an addition to the family in the off season.

Luis Castillo is doing what he can to make a difference in 2009. He came to camp yesterday 17 pounds lighter . Manuel was quoted saying "He looks real good, he looks light"

He spent most of the winter working out to make himself stronger to over come the knee issues he had last year. Of course losing the weight will help take pressure off the knees and back.

Joe Reyes added the 3rd baby girl to his family and came back to NY ready to play and embrace where ever he needs to bat in the line up. I hope if they bat him 3rd that he will not start thinking he needs to hit home runs now.

Check out the latest on the 2 in this NY Times article here

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

RIP

Shea Stadium - April 17, 1964 - February 18, 2009
Served As A Home For All Met Fans For Almost 45 Years
Served As Host To World Championships In 1969 & 1986
Served As Host To Division Winners In 1969, 1973, 1986. 1988, 2006
Served As Wild Card Winners In 1999, 2000
It's official: Our beloved home is no more. Shea Stadium will only live in our memories and our hearts.
At 11:21 this morning, the demolition crew toppled the last remaining structure of Shea. One fan summed it up well. “It’s like watching a slow death,” DeAngelis said. “All we can do now is reminisce.”


View Video Below-curtesy of NY Ralf




Source: Joshua Robinson - NY Times

And another video: