Minicamp Q&A with Kris Benson

Kris Benson is rested, healthy and ready to join Pedro Martinez and the rest of the Mets' rotation in the hunt for the NL East this season. Benson stopped in with to discuss the Mets' ongoing mini-camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

You went to minicamps like this with the Pirates organization. What made you want to come down to Florida this week?

Well, more than anything I wanted to come down here and see what it was like as far getting used to the complex and meeting some players, coaches and stuff. It was getting acclimated, more than anything. At the same time, I get to work with Rick [Peterson] and get on the mound. I'll be here for two days and that gives me a chance to get out and move around a little bit.

After one day, what are your initial impressions?

It's a small city, and it doesn't look like you can do much other than play baseball. I love the complex – the field is great over there – and I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun this year.

Did you have any rust throwing off the mound?

No, I felt great. I've been throwing since the beginning of December, and [Monday] was my second time throwing off a mound. The arm's feeling good, the body's feeling good and everything's coming into shape. Rick likes what he's seen so far and we've still got five weeks left, so it's looking real good.

Is this right about in line with where your progress has been in previous seasons around this time?

It's probably a little bit better, because I was able to take advantage of the whole offseason. Last year I was rehabbing my shoulder in the offseason, so I missed out on about a month and a half to rest. I was able to take advantage of the whole offseason this time. I think that's going to translate into a fresher season for me – instead of spending a month and a half off and then starting to throw again, I was able to take three months off. That's going to spell big dividends for me.

Did you keep up day-to-day with the Mets' front office dealings over the winter?

I was definitely doing that. I would check out the Web sites and see what was going on and keep up with everybody. People would call me and tell me about who's on the rumor mill, and I'd check it out and follow it on ESPN when it started to heat up. I definitely followed it quite a bit.

What is the attitude like among the major league players here now that the Mets have signed Carlos Beltran and he'll be here on Wednesday?

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be here on Wednesday, but I'm sure the excitement is going to be more and more as far as bringing in Pedro and Beltran this offseason. It's going to be a whole different attitude and mentality this year because this year we were finally able to go out and get guys who people didn't think we were going to be able to get. You never know what we're going to do at first [base]. It's a matter of the whole organization taking a step forward and getting us closer to the World Series.

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