March 2009

Swing'n early in St. Lucie

MetsBW.JPGThe Mets’ bats have jumped on the Astros early. How can Houston go 18 straight spring games without a win? That is some serious March Madness!

Two familiar faces are back in the clubhouse today as Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado arrived back at Spring Training but aren’t expected to play until next week.

They may have had the last laugh following news of David Wright’s injury in last nights meaningless World Baseball Classic game. I really hope NO team has to stomach a devastating injury by the time this thing wraps up. The pageantry of this event has been wonderful but a significant player shelved, on a contending club, would be terrible black eye.

~ Ben Wagner

Bisons open exhibition action

SALVADOR.jpgThe Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, opened their spring exhibition schedule with a 3-3 tie against New Orleans Zephyrs (Marlins) in Port St. Lucie, FL.

The big knock came off the bat of C Salvador Paniagua, whose two-out RBI single tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Last season, Paniagua hit .248 with seven home runs and 19RBI in 45 games at Double-A Binghamton.

Other News & Notes

~ Ben Wagner

Enjoying St. Lucie, Wright?

WrightWBC.JPGNo word when Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltan are scheduled to return to camp after David Wright‘s game winning single for Team USA sent Puerto Rico packing last night.

“I’m going to tell them to enjoy St. Lucie,” Wright said with a first-to-third smile. “The whole game we were kind of ribbing each other back and forth and it was good to be able to come out on top. That was a lot of fun.” – NY Post

That aside, I’ve enjoyed St. Lucie but I’m looking at it much differently than Delgado and Beltran must be. While Brad Bisbing and I have been pounding the keyboard over the past few days in Florida, I have also been corralling interviews with various scribes, scouts and baseball folk.

I took the liberty to break some of the conversations down and give you the meat and potatoes:
VP/AGM – Tony Bernazard CLICK HERE!
Buffalo Pitching Coach – Ricky Bones CLICK HERE!

As you will hear from Bernazard and Bones, there are a number of jobs up for grabs on the Mets roster and with an incredible amount of pressure in the clubhouse leading into this season and success ultimately equaling post season play, it’s nice to live in the present.

“I never thought we’d be dogpiling in March,” Wright said. “It was pretty special and something I’ll always remember. Every hitter in that dugout wants to be up in that situation. When you play in your backyard as a kid, that’s the situation going through your mind.” – NY Daily News

~ Ben Wagner

Santana's outing

johan.jpgIrish or not, the Mets’ eyes were smiling after Johan Santana’s outing back in St. Lucie this morning against Mets’ minor leaguers. During the intrasquad game, the staff ace worked four innings, surrendering six hits and a pair of runs, while whiffing five on 56 pitches, 40 strikes.

Santana stayed back at Traditions Field while the rest of Big League Camp took a 5-1 loss next to Mickey and Minney’s place (details below on The Dish).

In other pitching news, Bobby Parnell topped out at 96 mph on the in-stadium gun (a rare luxury at Spring Training sites) while working a perfect frame after Jonathan Niese threw the first four innings.

News & Notes

~ Ben Wagner

O Danny Boy

The Mets ran into a spring training buzz saw on Tuesday as the Braves improved to 13-3 in exhibition play with a 5-1 win.

Irish eyes were smiling on Mets OF Daniel Murphy, who finished 3-4 with a double. He hit the ball hard every time, and would’ve had a four-hit game if it wasn’t for a spectacular catch in center by Atlanta’s Josh Anderson.

Starter Jonathan Niese gave up two runs in four innings of work. He only allowed two hits, but one was a two-run homer off the bat of Anderson in the second inning. That was the last hit the southpaw allowed.

One particularly nice duel came against INF Casey Kotchman. After jumping ahead on Kotchman, Niese had him out in front of three consecutive off-speed pitches of 73, 74, 75mph. Kotchman fouled those off, but then was no match for a 91mph heater high and away. It was one of Niese’s three strikeouts.