Lindstrom a Full-Go

2005 was a year hurler Matt Lindstrom would like to forget. Pitching with a stress fracture in the humerus bone of his pitching arm last season, he went 2-5 with a career-worst 5.40 ERA and 55 walks in just 73.1 innings of work, while pitching as a starter the majority of the time. Finally healthy, Lindstrom is back in AA and pronounced himself a "full-go" after Friday's appearance.

"It felt good," Matthew Lindstrom said after making his first AA appearance of the season against the Trenton Thunder (Yankee) on Friday. "It was weird because a few days ago I was battling some back spasms. I think it was because of dehydration. I'm over that and it felt good [on Friday]."

"The location [of my pitches] was good. I think [Gabe] Lopez and [Bronson] Sardinha wore me out a bit, fouling off all those pitches. Overall I felt pretty good. It was a good outing."

The 26-year old right-hander pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Binghamton's 3-2 victory over Trenton on Friday in his 2006 AA debut after making 11 appearances with the St. Lucie Mets.

"I feel pretty good right now," an excited Lindstrom exclaimed. "I was down in Florida for a while. It's kind of nice to be out of there. I was down there since February 1st. I was down there getting in shape and getting my arm ready to go. It's nice to be up here in the northeast again."

Despite even pitching pain-free in Spring Training, the Mets wanted to keep a close eye on Lindstrom and their cautious approach to his rehab was the main reason why he debuted in high-A this season instead of beginning the year in Binghamton.

"I think so," Lindstrom said of the reason he stayed in the Florida State League so long this year. "They wanted to get me to the point where I could go back-to-back games, as far as an inning one day and another inning the next day."

"At first they were building me up by giving me three or four days off, then give me a couple of innings and then a couple of days off," Lindstrom continued. "Now I'm at the point where I can throw on back-to-back days. I'm a full-go."

While throwing without pain for the first time in a while has Lindstrom very excited, his shift to the bullpen is another reason why he is taking the mound with a permanent grin.

Armed with a plus fastball and a devastating slider, it was Lindstrom's slow progression on the development of his curveball and changeup that finally forced the Mets' hand and ended his days as a starting pitcher.

"Just fastball and slider now," Lindstrom said of his pared down repertoire as a full-time reliever. "I've got a split that I throw sometimes, but that's my third best pitch. The coaches and everybody here are like, if you're doing to die - which means get hit or lose - die by your best pitch, and that is definitely my fastball."

"I've got the split in my back pocket," the reliever continued. "I think I got Sardinha out with my slider. I pretty much get ahead with the fastball and now I'm trying to finish with my fastball too, up in the zone, then go to my slider if I can't do that."

Finally healthy and back where he belongs - relieving and at least in the upper levels of the minor leagues - the question now becomes just how quickly will they move Lindstrom along.

"I don't know to tell you the truth," said Lindstrom. "Hopefully it is an accelerated program. Everybody's goal is to get to the big leagues and do well there. We'll see how it goes. I'm just happy to be here and I think the sky's the limit."

"We're ready to go."

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