Smile! You're On Kazmir Camera

The first day of full squad workouts. A beautiful sunny Florida day. Plenty of reasons to smile. But we're talking about some special "I know what you're getting for Christmas" smiles that seemed to be everywhere. Scott Kazmir threw in front of Mets coaches and front office people on Tuesday, and when asked about the session today, everyone broke into huge grins.

"He was definitely sharp." according to catcher Joe Hietpas, who caught the session and also caught Kazmir last year in St. Lucie, as "The Grin" crept across his face. "I don't know if it was a showcase...but every time that kid throws it's a showcase, isn't it? He had real good movement on everything."

Kazmir couldn't keep "The Grin" off his face either. "Yeah, I threw pretty well." His face lights up when he talks about pitching like most kids his age light up when they discuss their Spring Break plans.

"I got to see the video. The 500 frames per second video from the lab? It was really cool. You could see everything!" he said as he talked about how his trip to Rick Peterson's Birmingham laboratory is affecting his performance. "They showed me how I was coming set here (holding his hands by his chest) and how I still had my hands together as I started my stride. They had me come set here (lowering his hands) and the difference was amazing. I was throwing so...easy...so effortlessly."

Art Howe commented in typical Art Howe fashion saying, "The Kid has a real good arm." When pressed for more, he came back with "The Grin", and "He's got a real good arm."

Catcher Vance Wilson was somewhat less reserved. "He's got as good a fastball as anybody in pro ball." opined Wilson. "His change up is above average and his curveball is good. Physically he's not real imposing until you see his fastball. His stuff is definitely good enough to be a # 1 starter or a closer."

St. Lucie teammate Chase Lambin echoed Wilsons thoughts. "Kaz's stuff is just plain scary. I just hope I can stay on his team so I don't have to face him."

When you ask someone who has seen Kazmir pitch about him, you get "The Grin". He's a special kid and he convinces more people just how special every time he picks up a baseball. The only people who aren't smiling are the hitters he faces.

Camp Notes

Kaz Matsui was impressive in BP today, hitting a couple of laser beams batting left handed and turning around a Tom Glavine fastball righthanded. It's amazing how much power he generates from such a small frame.

Mike Cameron was shagging flies and taking BP without any noticeable discomfort from his sore toe. he did, however, skip running drills again today.

Mets "step camp" got underway this afternoon after a one day delay due to rain. The camp is designed to give the Mets top prospects who aren't in the Major League camp a running start on spring training and a chance to work specifically on adapting the organization's techniques and philosophies. Lambin, Tyler Davidson, Bobby Malek, Lastings Milledge, Corey Ragsdale, and Rodney Nye were among those in attendance.

Tom Glavine threw well in BP, keeping his teammates from hitting anything particularly hard off of him.

David Wright continued to hit impressively in BP, drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd on a couple of prodigious shots.

Matsui and Jose Reyes moved to one of the fan accessible fields today for infield practice and put on quite a show covering the middle of the infield impressively and demonstrating a number of quick flips and shovel passes that delighted the crowd.

Mike Piazza continues to work hard at first base. He occasionally gets handcuffed by balls he gets caught in between on, but he has shown soft hands around the bag and catches pretty much everything that is thrown to him from the other infielders.

Roger Cedeno took BP with Matsui and Reyes today. In addition to the obvious "top of the order" grouping, it appears Cedeno has better cross-language communication skills, speaking comfortably with Reyes in Spanish and keeping Matsui rolling around laughing through his interpreter.

PHOTOS: Matsui, Reyes, Wigginton, Levis, T. Piazza, Strange, Trachsel, Kazmir, Piazza(3), Jacobs, Wilson, F. Wilpon, Peterson, Huber, Stanton, Franco, Matsui, Howe(2), Cameron(2), Nye(3), Ragsdale, Matsui(6), Reyes, Matsui, Cedeno, Matsui(4), Glavine, Matsui, Heilman(2), Zeile, Gonzalez, Zeile, D. Garcia, Perez, Wright, D. Garcia, Cameron(3), Brazell, Wigginton, K. Garcia(3), Matsui, Matsui/Reyes(4), Spencer/Piazza, Erickson(3), Kelly(2), Sedlacek, Bevis, Matsui, Reyes, Reyes/Cedeno, Reyes/Cedeno/Matsui, Matsui, Reyes, Phillips, Piazza(5), Cameron(2), D. Garcia, Wright, Wigginton, Spencer, Perez, Duncan, Huber, Spencer(2), Phillips, Lambin(3), Davidson

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