After throwing to hitters in a simulated game Sunday for the second
time this spring, Pedro Martinez said he's hopeful of being able to
work one or two innings in an exhibition game this week.
If Martinez had to pitch in a regular-season game now, he
anticipated he couldn't go more than five innings. It long has been
speculated he would not be the Opening Day starter, April 3, against
"It is not an issue," Martinez said. "We have a lot of pitchers, so
why rush it?"
Left-hander Tom Glavine, who threw five innings in a simulated game
Sunday, is on track to start Opening Day.
Martinez said he still feels discomfort in his right big toe, but it
is something he will have to pitch through during the season.
One of the minor league hitters who faced RHP Pedro Martinez in a
simulated game Sunday was Jim Burt, the son of the New York Giants'
former defensive tackle.
2B Kaz Matsui will be lost for at least three weeks with a
sprained MCL in his right knee. He has already begun workouts on an
exercise bike. His injury gives prospect Anderson Hernandez a chance to
win the job.
SS Jose Reyes will return from the Dominican Republic team of the
World Baseball Classic and play Tuesday against Baltimore at Ft.
The Mets reassigned the following players to their minor league
camp: RHPs John Maine, Henry Owens and Steve Schmoll; LHP Matt Perisho;
INF Juan Tejeda and OF Julio Ramirez.
The Mets are off Monday.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0.00 -- RHP Brian Bannister's ERA after his first
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It will be good to get everybody back and get into a
flow. We have two weeks to go. That's sufficient time to get it
rolling." -- Mets manager Willie Randolph on getting the chance to
field his complete lineup after two starting position players, a
starting pitcher, two key relievers and two bench players return from
the World Baseball Classic.
ARRIVALS: INF Julio Franco (free agent from Atlanta), 2B Jose Valentin (free agent from Chicago White Sox), C Paul Lo Duca (trade
from Florida), LHP Billy Wagner (free agent from Philadelphia), 1B
Carlos Delgado (trade from Florida), 1B/OF Xavier Nady (trade from San
Diego), OF Endy Chavez (free agent from Philadelphia), RHP Chad Bradford (free agent from Boston), RHP Duaner Sanchez (trade from Los
Angeles Dodgers), RHP Steve Schmoll (trade from Los Angeles Dodgers),
2B Bret Boone (free agent from Minnesota), RHPs Jorge Julio and John
Maine (trade from Baltimore), C Bobby Estalella (minor league free
agent), RHP Jeremi Gonzalez (minor league free agent), RHP Jose Santiago (minor league free agent), RHP Jose Lima (minor league free
agent from Kansas City).
DEPARTURES: C Mike Piazza (arbitration not offered, signed with San
Diego), 2B Miguel Cairo (free agent, signed with Yankees), RHP Braden Looper (free agent, signed by St. Louis), RHP Roberto Hernandez (free
agent, signed by Pittsburgh), C Mike DiFelice (arbitration not offered,
signed with Washington), 1B Doug Mientkiewicz (free agent, signed with
Kansas City), INF Jose Offerman (arbitration not offered), RHP Shingo Takatsu (arbitration not offered, OF Gerald Williams (arbitration not
offered), 1B Mike Jacobs (traded to Florida), RHP Yusmeiro Petit
(traded to Florida); minor league 3B Grant Psomas (traded to Florida),
OF Mike Cameron (traded to San Diego), RHP Danny Graves (option
declined, signed with Cleveland), INF Marlon Anderson (free agent,
signed with Washington), LHP Felix Heredia (option declined, signed
with Arizona), RHP Jae Seo (traded to Los Angeles Dodgers), LHP Tim Hamulack (traded to Los Angeles Dodgers), LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (released,
signed with Yakult Swallows), RHP Kris Benson (traded to Baltimore).
PROJECTED ROTATION: The Mets are built to win this season, and like
most teams with a closing window, they are trying to get it done with
an aging pitching staff. General manager Omar Minaya said there will be
a lot of arms in spring training, but in actuality, they are unproven
and under normal circumstances would be competing for a fifth starter
role. RHP Aaron Heilman has the inside track at that job, following
RHPs Pedro Martinez and Steve Trachsel, and LHP Tom Glavine, all 34 or
older, and inconsistent RHP Victor Zambrano.
RHP Pedro Martinez (15-8, 2.82) pitched well enough to win 20
games in his first season with the Mets, but he didn't receive much
bullpen or offensive support. Martinez's season was cut short by a
right big toe injury, and he hopes a specially designed shoe will give
his foot stability to push off. But the early signs in spring training
LHP Tom Glavine (13-13, 3.53), who will be 40 by Opening Day,
enters the season 25 wins shy of 300 for his career. Glavine had a
strong second half, working at least seven innings in 12 of 15 starts.
RHP Steve Trachsel (1-4, 4.14) made only six starts after
undergoing surgery for a herniated disk. He moves up to third in the
rotation following the trade of RHP Kris Benson to Baltimore.
RHP Victor Zambrano (7-12, 4.17) is likely to lose his slot in the
rotation to RHP Aaron Heilman, and if one of the team's young arms
develops, it wouldn't be a shock to see Zambrano out of the rotation
RHP Aaron Heilman (5-3, 3.17) has the inside track on cracking the
rotation because of his work out of the bullpen last season. His
opportunity opened after RHP Kris Benson was traded to Baltimore.
PROJECTED BULLPEN: The Mets' bullpen is simply better after adding
closer Billy Wagner, a hired gun who brings a 95-plus mph heater and 38
saves from Philadelphia. However, a closer is often as good as his
setup men, because if they can't bring the game to him, there is no
chance at a save. With the rotation suspect, the Mets also brought in
RHPs Duaner Sanchez, Jorge Julio, Chad Bradford and Steve Schmoll.
LHP Billy Wagner could arguably be the most dominant closer the
Mets have ever had. He has the heater to be lights-out in the ninth
inning and throughout his career has always been able to handle the
pressure. However, there is always the New York factor.
RHP Duaner Sanchez came over from Los Angeles and figures to be
manager Willie Randolph's eighth-inning setup man. Seventy-one
strikeouts in 82 innings with the Dodgers last year says he has the
stuff to do it.
RHP Jorge Julio was Baltimore's closer two year ago, a setup man
last season and now is slotted in for the seventh inning with the Mets.
He still has a power arm, which is why general manager Omar Minaya was
willing to take the chance by dealing RHP Kris Benson.
RHP Chad Bradford brings a submarine style to the bullpen.
Injuries limited him to only 31 appearances last season with Boston.
RHP Yusaku Iriki comes over from Japan with the standard pitches
but no major league experience.
RHP John Maine came over from Baltimore with RHP Jorge Julio in
the trade for RHP Kris Benson. The Mets and Orioles talked about
Julio-for-Benson for two months until the Orioles agreed to add Maine.
PROJECTED LINEUP: Spring training opens with only two positions
considered open, and even those appear to be predictable -- Xavier Nady
and Victor Diaz in right field and just about anybody to take over for
Kaz Matsui at second base. Nady is expected to win the right field job,
and Matsui probably can keep his job with a good spring. The Mets are
set everywhere else, and from No. 3 through 6 in the lineup -- with CF
Carlos Beltran, 1B Carlos Delgado, 3B David Wright and LF Cliff Floyd
-- they have four sluggers with 30-homer and 100-RBI potential.
SS Jose Reyes (.273, seven homers, 58 RBIs) brings speed, a strong
glove and tremendous potential to the table. Reyes has had problems
staying healthy, but when he's sound, he can do a lot of things.
C Paul Lo Duca (.283, 6, 57) is no Mike Piazza, but then again,
Piazza was no Piazza last year, either. The Mets like Lo Duca batting
second because he can protect Jose Reyes with his bat control and can
get on base for the RBI men.
CF Carlos Beltran (.266, 16, 78) had the first-year New York
jitters last summer but vows he'll be fine. Beltran is a solid player,
but the truth is he hasn't had a $100 million track record. It is time
for him to earn the money.
1B Carlos Delgado (.301, 33, 115) rejected the Mets after the 2004
season to sign with Florida, but general manager Omar Minaya was
persistent and took advantage of the Marlins' fire sale. Delgado
shouldn't be flustered on the New York stage and figures to be the
Mets' most powerful left-handed threat since Darryl Strawberry.
3B David Wright (.306, 27, 102) is a star now who is only getting
better. Traditionally, third base has always been a black hole for the
Mets -- save Howard Johnson in the mid-1980s -- but Wright gives them a
star with long-term potential.
LF Cliff Floyd (.273, 34, 98) seems to always surface in trade
rumors, but the Mets would be foolish to part with his bat and the
power he provides, not only in protecting 3B David Wright, but as a
threat in the bottom third of the order.
RF Xavier Nady (.261, 13, 41) came over in the trade that sent CF
Mike Cameron to San Diego. Nady was set to play first base until the
Mets traded for Carlos Delgado.
2B Kaz Matsui (.255, 3, 24) has been the subject of trade talks
all winter, but the Mets found no takers. Not only has Matsui not
played well, but he has not played much -- only 87 games last year and
114 in 2004 because of injuries.
PROJECTED RESERVES: The Mets are more legitimate contenders this
year than last because they've done a lot to bolster their bench, which
didn't give them much last year.
INF Julio Franco, 47, came over from Atlanta and gives the Mets
instant bench credibility. The man can still hit, as evidenced by a
.275 average with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 233 at-bats last year.
INF Jose Valentin is a switch-hitter and could get a chance to
move out Kaz Matsui at second base.
OF Victor Diaz was penciled in to start in right field before the
trade for 1B Carlos Delgado, which figures to move Xavier Nady to right
field. Diaz hit 12 homers in only 89 games last year, so there's pop in
INF/OF Chris Woodward can play shortstop, second, third and left
field. His .283 average indicates he's not an automatic out.
TOP ROOKIES: The Mets don't have too many position questions, and
with Carlos Beltran anchored in center field, their best prospect,
Lastings Milledge, probably will open the season in the minor leagues.
Anderson Hernandez played well at both Triple-A and Double-A and will
get a shot to unseat Kaz Matsui at second base.
OF Lastings Milledge is a five-tool player Boston kept asking for
when the Mets were interested in OF Manny Ramirez. The Mets wisely said
no. He's likely to open the season at Triple-A because they don't want
him to languish on the bench. He hit .337 last year at Double-A
2B Anderson Hernandez will get a chance to beat out Kaz Matsui but
will also get competition from veterans Jose Valentin and Bret Boone.
Hernandez hit .326 in 66 games at Double-A Binghamton and .303 in 66
games at Triple-A Norfolk.
SPRING FOCUS: How far the Mets go this year will be determined by
their pitching -- whether their aging rotation stays healthy and if the
influx of arms to the bullpen is productive.
MEDICAL WATCH: RHP Pedro Martinez's inflamed big right toe is the
most pertinent medical issue. Martinez will be wearing a specially
designed shoe to alleviate the pressure on his foot during his
delivery. It looks more and more as if he might not be ready by Opening