Camp Report: Activity all around

The novelty of seeing Pedro Martinez with an interlocking Mets ‘NY' cap on his head hasn't worn off any around Port St. Lucie, as the most mundane of spring training tasks – the ten minute bullpen session – drew a crowd of reporters and photographers Wednesday. <P> With less than two weeks to go until the start of the exhibition schedule, camps all around the Sunshine State are bustling with activity.

That was no different around the Mets' complex, where the two young cornerstones of the infield, David Wright and Jose Reyes, continue to pour sweat into the soft dirt around the minor league training grounds, working tirelessly in the cages and at their respective positions.

The unexpected highlight of the spring rosters continues to be 43-year-old Andres Galarraga, who is quickly emerging as an early contender for the feel-good story of the spring.

Galarraga's signing in late December was largely overlooked as a minor addition to the club, but that was before the Mets truly became the ‘new' Mets, adding Martinez and Carlos Beltran to their troops for the 2005 season and beyond.

A survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Galarraga's presence alone would be enough to inspire the Mets. But, as Galarraga sprays line drives around the back fields in early batting practice, the reality is beginning to emerge that the Big Cat could help the Mets as a first base backup for Doug Mientkiewicz.

Certainly, Galarraga's power off of the bench could wind up being an asset, and everybody in baseball seems to agree that they'd like to see Galarraga – considered one of the game's true ‘good guys' - belt his 400th career home run (he has 399).

  • Reaching out: In a brief conference yesterday with reporters, Mets GM Omar Minaya said that he has been in telephone contact with outfielders Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd, and reported that both are in decent spirits despite offseason turmoil.

    The plan continues to be that, on Opening Day, Floyd will be in left field and Cameron in right. The Mets were reported to have offered the oft-injured Floyd to a variety of clubs with little interest, and Cameron was irked when the Beltran signing prompted a position change.

    "He said he was getting into the baseball mind-set," Minaya told reporters about Floyd. "I think it's fair to say there will be days he questions changing positions. It's only natural. That's just part of it."

  • Missing in action: Cuban defector Alay Soler is still hung up in the Dominican Republic with visa problems, and his arrival date in spring camp is unknown. The New York Post reports that Soler, a 24-year-old righthander who was signed to a $2.8 million deal last summer, may have attempted to use an illegitimate passport from a family member to gain entry into the United States.

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