Q & A: Mets GM Jim Duquette

Inside Pitch Magazine caught up with Mets general manager Jim Duquette this afternoon for an exclusive Q&A on the state of the Mets:

You were extremely high on Tyler Yates, even dating back to last season. Are you excited to see what he does in front of a home crowd tonight?

Yeah, especially after his last outing, which was such a positive outing -- his first major-league start, and his first major-league inning. I hope when you hear that Tyler Yates is pitching tonight, people will get excited to see what happens.

He's still relatively unknown to us, and with him each start we'll be looking for more consistency. If his start in Puerto Rico was any indication, we'll be pleasantly surprised from him. Each start is new territory for him.

What are your thoughts on Grant Roberts' struggles this season, and is he still a candidate for the starting rotation in the event of an injury?

No, we're not looking at him as a starter at this point. I'd just like to see him get re-acclimated to the bullpen and concentrate on getting hitters out. His stuff has been about the same as it was early in spring training when he was doing well, but he's been a little tentative lately – his stuff has been up and his location wasn't as good. We've talked to him about getting back to that mentality he had in February and March.

Obviously, you were hoping you would get more than just a few games out of Cliff Floyd. How has Floyd's injury changed the Mets' thinking?

I don't think it really has right now. We're still looking at possibilities to improve the team, but if Cliff's injury is a long-term injury it might change our thinking. I'm exploring some possibilities for short-term options and some long-term options as well. If there's anything that's compelling and makes sense, we'd do that, but we're not going to drastically change the team right now.

What factored into the decision to recall Jeff Duncan from Norfolk and not Raul Gonzalez?

The feeling, at least right now, was that Jeff had a good spring and he could provide speed at the top of our lineup since Jose (Reyes) isn't ready yet (Duquette said earlier that Reyes, who is still in Port St. Lucie, will play three or four rehab games to test his hamstring and is not likely to play at Shea Stadium during this homestand).

It's that intriguing idea that we've talked about with Reyes and Matsui at the top of the lineup, and we'll see if Jeff can help generate something like that.

Duncan was swinging the bat well all spring and early on at Norfolk, so we'll give him that opportunity early on. If it doesn't work out, we can always go back and get Raul later on.

Mike Piazza is starting at first base tonight; Jason Phillips and Todd Zeile are both here as well. Has Craig Brazell become lost in the shuffle, and have any other teams shown interest?

He's a guy we like, obviously, because he's on our 40-man roster. He's off to a little bit of a slow start at Norfolk, but he's really just going to have to bide his time and be ready for whenever he gets the call with us. There were a couple of (general managers) who asked about him, but they weren't offering anything that would give us a reason to move him in a deal.

Is there anything new to report with the search for a new Brooklyn Cyclones manager?

We're going to take our time on that. We've got a couple of possible replacements from within the organization and we'll keep all of you guys posted on that.


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