It’s time for an off-day full of links after a poor road trip. The Giants are coming to town tomorrow for a weekend series. And there were several curious decisions made by Jerry Manuel during the road trip that made many of us scratch our heads. It’s a good day to take a breath, get back on track this weekend, and get ready for the Mother’s Day pink bats and sweatbands on Sunday.
Here are the links:
- Daily News– Mike Pelfrey asked to go back to New York after Sunday’s game in Philly to have his right shoulder examined. He felt some tightness in it before Saturday’s start.
- Mets.com – The MRI on Pelfrey’s shoulder didn’t show anything and he says that he’s ready to make his next scheduled start on Friday night.
- Metsblog.com – Interesting stats on the Mets poor pinch-hitting this season. Good questions are raised about some of the guys in Buffalo that are raking right now.
- Daily News – Carlos Beltran has a new knee brace and plans to start running late this week or early next week. Didn’t we hear the same thing about Beltran a month ago?
- Daily News – Daniel Murphy is still rehabbing his knee injury in Port St. Lucie with no timetable for a return to games.
- NJ.com – Kelvim Escobar is having season-ending shoulder surgery. He never even made it to opening day. But the Mets owe him $1.25 million for his troubles this season.
- Fangraphs – Dave Allen writes a good piece examining Dan Warthen’s strategy for Johan Santana to throw more inside fastballs the first time through the order and then change it up subsequently.
- Daily News – David Wright was involved, at some point, with the financial advisers that are being sued by Cliff Floyd and Rondell White over a failed real estate deal. The article says Wright isn’t involved in the lawsuit.
- Fangraphs – R.J. Anderson writes about the odd moves that Jerry Manuel has been making recently, and the fact that this is the kind of thing that could cost him his job.
Spring training games start up Tuesday against the Braves in Port St. Lucie. That’s always a great sign that the season will get started soon, and the miserable winter weather will be long gone almost as soon. Although there are plenty of stories about the Mets coming out of Mets training camp, here are a few that really stand out this week:
- NY Post – Jose Reyes was interviewed by federal agents regarding his relationship with Canadian doctor Anthony Galea. The doctor was charged with possession of performance enhancing drugs and his client list includes Tiger Woods and swimmer Dana Torres.
- Star- Ledger – Kelvim Escobar still can’t pitch because of a sore shoulder that’s kept him from pitching for the last two seasons. Jerry Manuel says that Escobar probably won’t be ready for opening day either. Joel Sherman continues his assault on the Mets by writing that Escobar’s woes sums up the Mets whole operation.
- NY Post – The Post reports that the covering for the “C” in the Citi Field sign fell during bad weather onto empty seats in the outfield smashing into pieces. If you’re in the outfield seats during a windy game, watch you back. The Post goes on to list the litany of structural problems that have plagued Citi Field in it’s first year of existence.
- Daily News – Adam Rubin has a good, long interview with David Wright. There are many of the same story lines that you’ve already heard: his new-look physique, lack of power and high strikeout total last year, and his joking with Chipper Jones about how big the Citi Field outfield is.
One of the biggest changes we’ll see as Mets fans this year will be in the bullpen. Of course, Francisco Rodriguez is still at the back of the pen. But there are some big changes in front of him. Last season the Mets acquired J.J. Putz in a trade before the season and that sealed the setup role for 2009. It didn’t work out as planned with Putz only pitching in 29 games before having elbow surgery. But the plan for the season was clear. It isn’t so clear who will set up Rodriguez in 2010.
Ryota Igarashi may have the inside track if he can show the type of performance that he did while playing in Japan. The 30 year-old right hander is a flame thrower with a touch of wildness. You can read a great profile of Igarashi at NPB Tracker. We’ll get a much better idea of what he can do against Major League hitters during spring training. Sometimes the success that players have in Japan just doesn’t translate here in the U.S.
The Mets signed Kelvim Escobar off the scrap heap but the real surprise is that they gave him a Major League contract. Escobar has only pitched in one game in the last two seasons due to shoulder problems. But he has had a nice career in the American League. He’ll be this spring’s version of Freddy Garcia or Livan Hernandez. That is, seeing if he still has enough to pitch in the big’s at 33 years-old.
Escobar spent his first seven seasons in Toronto, coming up in 1997. He’s a Venezuelan that most recently pitched with the Angels. So I would assume that the Mets got some feedback from Francisco Rodriguez about him before the signing. Who would know him better than K-Rod?
If you look at Escobar’s split stats, he’s very consistent versus lefties and righties. He’s also pitched five games in his career against the Phillies going 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA. He also seems to have the most trouble from pitches 1-30 in his career, once he gets past that point in the game he’s pretty formidable. Maybe he can rekindle some of that old magic.