July 2006 Archives

July 31, 2006

Small consolation ...


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 31, 2006
ALL-STARS BELTRAN, UTLEY NAMED CO-WINNERS OF THE BANK OF AMERICA
PRESENTS THE NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran have been named co-winners of the Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week for July 24-30, 2006. Bank of America, the Official Bank of MajorLeague Baseball, is the presenting sponsor of the National League and American League Player of the Week Awards, which reflect Bank of America’s long-standing tradition of promoting and recognizing higher standards of accomplishment.

Utley, who extended his hitting streak to 32 games on Monday afternoon, led the National League with 34 total bases, 13 runs and 15 hits and ranked second with 11 RBI last week. Over his eight games played during the week, Utley hit two doubles, a triple and had a .441batting average, a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .513 on-base percentage. Utley’s streak is the second longest in club history, trailing only that of double play partner Jimmy Rollins, whose 38-game streak extended into the 2006 season. At 32 games, Utley’s streak is the seventh longest since Joe DiMaggio’s record-setting 56-game campaign in 1941.

Beltran led the league with 15 RBI and tied for the lead with five home runs. In six games, Beltran batted .385, scored seven runs and recorded a 1.000 slugging percentage, a .433 on-base percentage, 26 total bases, 10 hits and one double for the week. Beltran became the ninth player in baseball history to hit three grand slams in a single month, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Other nominees this past week included Craig Biggio (.370, 2 HR, 3 RBI), Mike Lamb (.421, 3 RBI) and Luke Scott (.417, 6 RBI) of the Astros; Cincinnati’s Adam Dunn (.550, 3 2B, 5 RBI) and Scott Hatteberg (.429, 3 2B, 2 RBI); Andre Ethier (.409, 4 HR, 7 RBI), Rafael Furcal (.500, 2 HR) and Russell Martin (.471, 2 2B, 7 RBI) of the Dodgers; Paul Lo Duca (.455, 10 H) and Orlando Hernandez (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 SO) of the Mets; Florida’s Josh Willingham (.381, 4 HR, 8 RBI) and Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 0.00 ERA); Pittsburgh teammates Ronny Paulino (.421, 8 H, 3 RBI), Jeromy Burnitz (.400, 1.300 SLG, 3 HR) and Kip Wells (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SO); Marcus Giles (.370, 10 H) of the Braves; Chicago’s Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 4.85 ERA, 11 SO) and Aramis Ramirez (.435, 10 H, 2 HR); Bill Hall (.409, 4 HR, 10 RBI) of the Brewers; Ryan Howard (.304, 4 HR, 9 RBI) of the Phillies; Colorado’s Jeff Francis (1-1, 1.13 ERA, 1 SHO), Jason Jennings (1-1, 1.13 ERA, 1 CG) and Byung-Hyung Kim (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 SO); Arizona’s Tony Peña (3-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G); and Eliezer Alfonzo (.375, 3 HR, 6 RBI) of the Giants.

So long Sanchez ...

METS ACQUIRE RHP ROBERTO HERNANDEZ & LHP OLIVER PEREZ

The New York Mets today acquired righthanded pitcher Roberto Hernandez and lefthanded pitcher Oliver Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Xavier Nady.

Perez, 24, was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA in 15 starts for the Pirates. In 76.0 innings, he yielded 88 hits, 64 runs, 56 earned, with 51 walks and 61 strikeouts. In addition, the 6-3, 210-pounder started six games for Indianapolis (AAA) of the International League after he was optioned to the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate on June 29th.

Oliver was 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA in those six starts at Indianapolis. In 32.0 innings, he surrendered 28 hits, 21 runs, 20 earned, with 11 walks and 34 strikeouts.

Perez constructed a 7-5 mark with a 5.85 ERA in 20 starts in 2005 with the Pirates. In 103.0 innings, he permitted 102 hits, 68 runs, 67 earned, with 70 walks and 97 strikeouts.

He won a career-high 12 games and finished sixth in the NL in ERA (2.98) and was fourth with 239 strikeouts in 196.0 innings in 2004.

Oliver has recorded 632 strikeouts in 591.2 career innings. He is 29-40 in six seasons with a 4.56 ERA in 105 games, 104 starts with the Padres and Pirates.

Hernandez, 41, was 0-3, with two saves and a 2.93 ERA in 46 games with the Pirates. In 43.0 innings, he’s allowed 46 hits, 24 runs, 14 earned, with 24 walks and 33 strikeouts.

He is 10th on the All-Time Save List with 326.

Roberto spent last season with the Mets and did not surrender a run in 55 of his 67 appearances. The 6-4, 245-pounder went 8-6 with four saves and a 2.58 ERA. In 69.2 innings, he permitted 57 hits, 20 runs, earned, with 28 walks and 61 strikeouts.

Hernandez ranks second among active pitchers with 938 games and over the last two seasons, he’s held righthanded batters to a .214 (49-229) batting average. Roberto led the Mets with 18 holds in 2005.

During his 17-year major league career, Hernandez is 64-68 with 326 saves and a 3.32 ERA. In 1,004.1 innings, he’s allowed 928 hits, 430 runs, 370 earned, with 429 walks and 899 strikeouts with the White Sox, Giants, Devil Rays, Royals, Braves, Phillies, Mets and Pirates.

Nady, 27, hit .264 (70-265), with 37 runs scored, 15 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 40 RBI, with 19 walks and 51 strikeouts in 75 games this season.

##

July 30, 2006

Freeze-dried Pedro

Funny exhange this morning in the Mets clubhouse. Former GM Steve Phillips, a trade deadline fixture on ESPN in the absence of Peter Gammons, is on the big screen giving his rundown of the Top Five playoff-ready rotations. All of Phillips' picks are from the American League, a detail that he emphasizes for effect, and that incites Pedro Martinez.

Martinez hops up from his chair and shouts at the giant Phillips face, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. You'll apologize later."

But the talking head Phillips isn't finished. Almost on cue, he switches to Martinez's performance on Friday -- his first start in a month -- and then stresses the importance of resting him for October.

"I had a rest!" Martinez shouts. With that, the players stretched out on the clubhouse sofas start laughing, and Jose Valentin, stitting at a laptop watching video, yells over, "Put him in the freezer!"

If only the Mets could wait and defrost Martinez for October.

In other news ... Cliff Floyd was a late scratch from today's lineup because of soreness in his left Achilles tendon. Chris Woodward replaced him in left. Surprisingly, Carlos Delgado was back at first base, despite suffering a bruised right knee from a Tim Hudson fastball the previous afternoon.



July 29, 2006

Tricky Dick II

With 48 hours before Monday's non-waiver trade deadline, time for a little comic relief. This morning manager Willie Randolph had a photo on his desk of Dick Cheney's visit to the Mets' clubhouse earlier this season during a series at RFK Stadium. There was the vice president, smiling broadly, with Randolph and a number of the Mets circled around him (Carlos Delgado was conspicuously absent). Upon seeing the photo, one member of the press corps blurted out as a caption, "Win ... Or I'll shoot you in the face!" That brought laughter from the group -- even the Republicans -- so here's today's contest. What's your caption? Any suggestions?

July 28, 2006

Deadline chatter

The Mets are putting up a Brave front (pun intended) when it comes to trade talk this weekend. Would they like to add another player before Monday's non-waiver trade deadline? Sure. Do they need to? They say no. But a lot is riding on Pedro Martinez's start tonight after his month-long stint on the DL, and if he looks shaky, or his sore right hip remains a problem, it may be time for Omar MInaya to get A's GM Billy Beane on the phone

Both sides insist they haven't discussed Barry Zito in days, or even weeks (right), but that will no doubt change quickly if Martinez gets ripped by the Braves tonight. The Mets are scouting Zito's start tomorrow against the Blue Jays, so expect those talks to rekindle over the weekend. With Dontrelle Willis apparently off the market, would you do a Lastings Milledge-for-Zito deal? And would Livan Hernandez or Kip Wells be a significant improvement over what the Mets already have?

July 26, 2006

Omar's Ongoing Search

Mets GM Omar Minaya was amicably unrevealing about his intentions regarding Monday's trade deadline. "Nothing but back and forth conversations," he said Wednesday afternoon in the runway outside the Mets' clubhouse. "There are so many teams in the wild-card race. I've never seen it like this. It speaks well for parity."

Parity is not what the Mets are seeking, however. They want to reach elite status and despite their huge lead in the NL East, there are perceived holes in the pitching staff, particularly the starting rotation. "Every team is looking for pitching. We will investigate anything to make our club better," Minaya said.

While Minaya wouldn't bite on specific names, it's known that the Mets have interest in pitchers like Barry Zito, Dontrelle Willis, Livan Hernandez, Gil Meche and others. "There are a lot of big names, but they're rumors," Minaya said. "That's fun for the fans but who knows? In the next two or three days, there could be a big swing. Teams that are three games out [in the wild-card race] could fall back to six."

If such teams have free agents they are unsure if they can sign next year, they face that annual dilemma. "Clubs are asking themselves, 'When is the best time to get the most for a player?' And how long do you hold out as a seller?" Minaya said.

He was smiling as he raised these questions. It's nice to be a buyer and even nicer not to face much urgency to make a move at all.


July 24, 2006

Extended rotation

With Pedro Martinez scheduled to start Friday in Atlanta, manager Willie Randolph said today that the Mets will use six pitchers this time through the rotation and then figure out what to do with the spare arm. Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and even Orlando Hernandez all are candidates for the bullpen, but the decision could come down to a variety of factors. Maine seems best suited for the bullpen, but he pitched a four-hit shutout on Saturday, and could be more valuable as a starter. If Pelfrey becomes the odd man out, the Mets would rather keep him on turn at Double-A Binghamton, and El Duque, who may be as old as 43, is probably not durable enough to handle the bullpen workload.

In other news, Jose Valentin is getting the night off, so Chris Woodward will start at second base.


July 20, 2006

Del-Got it

Carlos Delgado finally smacked his first home run of July, a solo shot off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the fourth inning of today's game. He had only three extra-base hits in 42 at-bats this month and whiffed in his first at-bat today, giving him nearly three times as many strikeouts (15) as hits (6) to that point.

July 19, 2006

Pedro Quickie

Here's the latest on the Pedro Martinez saga ...
Martinez threw an extended bullpen session this afternoon, split into two 30-pitch halves, and reported no problems with his right hip. He also used every pitch except for his cut fastball, and Martinez said he usually doesn't throw it during his side sessions anyway.
Next up for Martinez is a simulated game, which will likely be Saturday, and that puts him on schedule to rejoin the rotation for Braves series in Atlanta, which begins July 28.

Pelfrey enough?

There's no question Mike Pelfrey was better the second time around Tuesday against the Reds. A consistent mid-90s fastball, good location, sharp slider. Maybe the biggest thing left for him to learn after his second straight victory is how to keep his shoelaces tied. Pelfrey stopped to tie his right shoe in the middle of his pivotal at-bat against Adam Dunn in the fifth inning, then struck out the Reds' slugger to leave two runners on. Asked if he took the short break to collect his thoughts, Pelfrey said it was nothing like that. "The right one just kept coming undone."

Catcher Paul Lo Duca, who just told Pelfrey to throw it right by Dunn, believes he can pitch well at this level right now. "Definitely," Lo Duca said. "He's got great stuff. It's just a matter of him getting more seasoning and more innings."

So what do you think? Is Pelfrey the answer to the Mets' pitching concerns? Or do they still need someone like Livan Hernandez to shore up the rotation?

July 18, 2006

The Return of Reyes

Jose Reyes, who had been sidelined since cutting his pinky finger on July 7, is back in tonight's lineup for your New York Mets.

July 17, 2006

What?

Just in case anyone out there really thought David Wright endorses faith healing, here's a little statement from the Mets to clear things up. Enjoy.

Joint Statement of David Wright and the New York Mets

David Wright and the New York Mets have no affiliation or association whatsoever with the event entitled 'Salvation Miracles Revival Crusade,’ and neither approve of nor endorse the event. The recent TV ad about the event was produced without authorization or approvals through an abuse of a media-newsgathering credential.

David wants to express the following: ‘I believed that I was accommodating an agency which had been authorized by the Mets. One of the greatest things about playing and living in New York is the diversity of its people and the diversity of our fans. Religion is purely a private matter and I would never endorse one religion over another. For anyone who was offended by the commercial please accept my sincere apology.’

The Mets did not and would not endorse any such event or allow their logos and trademarks be used in such a fashion. The TV spots have been pulled and will not air again. We apologize for any problems or confusion that may have been caused by this unauthorized action.

July 16, 2006

Hot in the city

So how hot is it here in Chicago? The current temperature at 3:52 p.m. is 94 degrees, but the heat index says it feels like an even 100. The organist here at Wrigley is now playing "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer and Cubs reliever Scott Eyre, showing that being hot is only a frame of mind, shagged flies during batting practice in a team parka.

Not much has changed with the Mets lineup. Jose Reyes is out again, but looks definite for Tuesday in Cincinnati. Pedro Martinez was drinking coffee for the first time in four days -- "Wish me luck," he said -- and then played long toss on the field later with Guy Conti.

What do you think -- is the extended time off for Pedro a good thing in the long run?

Pedro update: He's now having a bullpen session supervised by Guy Conti and pitching coach Rick Peterson. Earlier today, Peterson figured that Martinez would need two sessions and a simulated game before returning to the rotation, so now it appears the process has begun.

July 15, 2006

Wrigley pre-game wrap

The biggest news this afternoon is that Pedro Martinez visited the hospital Friday night to get hooked up to an IV and also had a CT scan done of his abdomen to check for an appendix problem.The test was negative -- Martinez's appendix looked fine -- but he was late arriving to Wrigley today and did not speak with reporters. The plan is now for him to skip the Cincinnati series entirely and the earliest he could start would be the following weekend at Shea, if then.

Jose Reyes is still out, Carlos Beltran is in the starting lineup despite knee tendinitis, and Endy Chvaez has replaced Xavier Nady in right.

The Mets also signed Edgardo Alfonzo to a minor-league contract. Here's the information from the team's news release:

METS SIGN FORMER MET EDGARDO ALFONZO TO A MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT

The New York Mets announced today that they have signed former Met Edgardo Alfonzo to a minor league contract. Alfonzo, who played with the Mets from 1995-2002, will join Norfolk (AAA) of the International League on Monday on the road in Indianapolis.

Edgardo was playing with the Independent League Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish in the Atlantic League. He had appeared in four games as the designated hitter after signing on July 7th. The 5-11, 210-pounder was batting .286 (4-14) with a run scored, two doubles, four RBI, three walks and one strikeout.

Alfonzo, 32, began this season with the Los Angeles Angels. In 18 games he batted .100 (5-50) with a run scored, a double, one RBI, with two walks and three strikeouts. He was released by the Angels on May 21st and signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on May 25th.

Edgardo appeared in three games at second base for New Hampshire (AA) of the Eastern League where he was 0-8 with two walks before he was recalled by Toronto.

In 12 contests with the Blue Jays, Edgardo hit .162 (6-37) with four runs scored, a double, four RBI, with five walks and one strikeout. He was released by the Toronto on June 12th.

Alfonzo batted .277 (102-368) with 36 runs scored, 17 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 43 RBI along with 27 walks and 34 strikeouts in 109 games in 2005 with the San Francisco Giants.

Edgardo ranks third on Mets All-Time Hit List with 1,136, seventh on the All-Time Home Run List with 120, fifth on All-Time RBI List with 538 and ninth on the All-Time Games Played List with 1,086. He hit .324 (176-544) with 40 doubles, 25 home runs and 94 RBI in 2000 and helped the Mets advance to the World Series. Alfonzo was also named to the National League All-Star team that season.

During Alfonzo’s 11-year major league career, he has batted .284 (1,532-5,385) with 777 runs scored, 282 doubles, 18 triples, 146 home runs, 744 RBI, 53 stolen bases with 596 walks and 617 strikeouts in 1,506 major league games.

July 14, 2006

Beltran out

Carlos Beltran left today's game after the top of the sixth inning because of right knee soreness. A Mets official said it was bothering him before the game as well, but it's unclear how long Beltran has felt the discomfort. Endy Chavez replaced him in centerfied for the bottom half of the inning.

Pedro in Limbo

I have to admit, I was skeptical about Pedro Martinez's stomach ailment when the Mets said he would be a no-go for his scheduled Tuesday start in Cincinnati. But after seeing him this morning in the cramped visitors clubhouse at Wrigley Field, it was obvious that Martinez had not been feeling well. Martinez figured he had lost three pounds since he first fell ill last Tuesday after eating some bad chicken in the Dominican Republic, and only now is he starting to hold down solid food.

The bottom line is that Martinez hopes to at least throw from a mound at some point this weekend, but he's starting to look doubtful for that three-game series against the Reds. The Mets already will use Mike Pelfrey for Tuesday, with Trachsel to follow Wednesday. If Martinez can't go -- and there's really no reason he should at this point -- then Tom Glavine will replace him for Thursday's finale in Cincinnati.

The good news is that Martinez's hip has responded favorably to the extended rest, but he won't know for sure until he tests it from the mound.

July 9, 2006

Fallen stars

In additon to Tom Glavine, the Mets announced after Sunday's game that Jose Reyes won't be playing in the All-Star Game either. Reyes' stitched-up finger is still a concern, and it's obvious the Mets are putting a priority on the second half of the season rather than Tuesday's exhibition. So now the Mets will have just three of their six All-Stars actually in the game -- David Wright, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran.

What do you think, Mets fans? Disappointed? Or is the promise of the playoffs this season enough to shake off this little setback?

(In response to Ironman's posting, Reyes will be attending the All-Star Game, but he will not play in any capacity. That means no pinch-hitting or pinch-running. He will walk out for the introductions, tip his cap and then watch from the bench.)

Glavine an All-Star spectator

It's official. Tom Glavine will attend Tuesday's All-Star Game, but he will not pitch in it. Check out this MLB announcement from a few minutes ago.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 9, 2006

CAPUANO ADDED TO NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER Milwaukee Brewers fourth-year left-hander Chris Capuano (10-4, 3.21 ERA, 2 SHO, 129.0 IP, 112 SO) has been added to the National League All-Star roster, it was announced today. Capuano will take the place of New York Mets left-hander Tom Glavine, who will attend the All-Star Game but is unable to pitch. This will mark Capuano’s first career All-Star Game appearance.

July 7, 2006

Goodbye, Jose Lima

OK, kids, let's not get too upset about Jose Lima's outing on Friday. Yes, the Mets should have known better, and yes, there are probably four guys on the Norfolk roster who would have done better, but organizations almost always give chances to veteran players over rookies because of the experience factor. Lima was cut after the game, and while he vowed to return again, there's probably little chance of that. His final Mets numbers, if he doesn't come back, are 0-4, 9.87. So I ask you, Mets fans, was he the worst pitcher in Mets history? If not, who was?

Pelfrey Time III

Pelfrey's starting the second game on Saturday. Remember, it's a single-admission doubleheader, with the first game on Ch. 5 at 1:20 p.m. and the second on SNY. It's supposed to be an absolutely picture-perfect weather day. Let's play two! I only wish I could be there myself.

July 6, 2006

Pelfrey Time II

This is a reprint of David Lennon’s Newsday article from Feb. 25 on Mike Pelfrey. Thought you might like to learn a little bit more about the talented young man you’re going to meet on Saturday:

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The featured attraction Friday, in the (excused) absence of Pedro Martinez, was the 22-year-old kid most likely to replace him.
Although it's way too early to anoint Mike Pelfrey the next No. 1 starter for the Mets, there's not a pitcher in the organization who comes close, and the buzz he created around the batting cage was like spring training's version of a Hollywood premiere.
This was a VIP-only event. When word circulated that Pelfrey was getting ready to throw his first session of live batting practice, the collection of front-office members scattered around the complex flocked directly to the spot where the 6-7 righthander was warming up behind a safety screen.
On a back field usually reserved for a B-list crowd of relief pitchers, owner Fred Wilpon was perched in the prime location right behind the cage, flanked by his son Jeff, the Mets' chief operating officer, and general manager Omar Minaya.
Manager Willie Randolph and pitching coach Rick Peterson put in a rare cameo - it's not often they wander over to watch a prospect - and most of the high-ranking decision-makers also were in attendance.
As Peterson would say later, "Today was the day we got to open the package."
What they saw surprised them. Even with both Wilpons staring at him, Pelfrey was unfazed by the attention, and he cycled through a four-pitch repertoire that had the minor-league hitters baffled.
Pelfrey threw two-seam and four-seam fastballs, and judging by his effort, he guessed the speed to be somewhere in the low 90s. He also worked in a circle changeup and tinkered with a pitch that Pelfrey said can be either a slider or curve, depending on his release point.
Whatever he threw, the result was pretty much the same. But one of the few pitches put in play was a sharp grounder that Pelfrey reached for with his bare right hand before pulling it back. Understandably, there was a slight gasp from the gallery.
When the session was over, Randolph let out an excited whoop. Just about everyone was laughing, almost giddy at what they had just witnessed.
When the Wilpons were asked for their opinions, both broke into wide smiles before conferring with Minaya about the new phenom in their midst. Pelfrey had just passed his first audition - without even realizing the magnitude of what he had done. "I just try to ignore it," he said of the VIP crowd, "and worry about my next pitch."
Whenever Pelfrey wasn't pleased with a particular pitch, he'd slap his right thigh repeatedly as a reminder of what went wrong. That happened only once or twice, and the problem, however minute, was fixed quickly.
"I'm out there correcting myself all the time," Pelfrey said. "I'm just constantly telling myself over and over again about the adjustments I need to make."
If anyone knows precocious talent, it's Peterson, who counseled Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson as each made the leap from prospect to star with the A's. "It's obvious that he's got great stuff," Peterson said. "That's why he was the [team's] No. 1 draft pick [in 2005]. But to see the way he handled himself, that really demonstrates his ability to focus."
Pelfrey likely will begin the season at Class A St. Lucie, but his rise through the minors could be rapid. Minaya isn't against promoting players quickly. In Montreal, he had Chad Cordero closing games for the Expos in August after being drafted out of college that June.
"When I'm ready," Pelfrey said, "the Mets will let me know."

Pelfrey Time

As I'm sure you're aware by now, Mike Pelfrey will make his major-league debut on Saturday. What are your expectations, Mets fans? How do you think he'll do? And how many of you will now buy tickets so you can see him in person? Talk amongst yourselves.

July 5, 2006

El Duque or fluke?

Just like his age, which could be anywhere from 36 to 43, the long-term value of Orlando Hernandez to the Mets is open to debate. On the surface, beating the Pirates, as El Duque did Wednesday night, should not be considered any great accomplishment. Pittsburgh is, after all, a pitiful team with 29 wins. But Hernandez was masterful at changing speeds, and that has always been his most devastating skill. He also held the Yankees to two runs over seven innings last Friday in the Bronx, and wound up the hard-luck loser.

But there are other times when Hernandez has looked every bit his age, which still is old, no matter which number you go with. He bombed out in Toronto after a crazy 1 2/3 innings in which he hit three batters and had to be removed when manager Willie Randolph, trying to avoid a brawl, was charged with a second visit on his peacekeeping mission.

So what do you think? Can Hernandez be counted on for the second half and into the playoffs, where he can channel the El Duque of Octobers past? Or was last night merely a benefit of facing a weak team at the right time?

Pedro still on hold

Surprise! Pedro Martinez did not pick up a baseball today, or even leave the clubhouse for that matter, and that means the Mets will not decide on his fate until tomorrow. Given Pedro's history, however, here's what I think: Martinez will go on the disabled list, allowing the Mets to call up Mike Pelfrey for a start this weekend, and he'll be ready to go after the All-Star break. It just makes the most sense. Why rush Martinez and his balky hip back for one start against the Marlins? He can definitely use the rest, and with the Mets holding a 10 1/2 game lead, they have that luxury.

In other news, David Wright has the night off tonight -- Chris Woodward is starting at third base -- and Cliff Floyd, cobwebs and all after Tuesday's mild concussion, is in left.

July 4, 2006

Closing Time

Billy Wagner became the 20th pitcher and third lefthander to reach 300 saves on Tuesday. The other two lefthanders were former Mets John Franco (424) and Randy Myers (347).
Which leads us to today's quiz. Obviously, Wagner hasn't been around here long enough, but who do you think the Mets' best closer ever was? Franco? Myers? Jesse Orosco? Tug McGraw? Armando Benitez? Tell us what you think.

The Other Pedro Speaks Out

In case you missed it, Pedro Feliciano ripped Mets management after Monday’s loss. Feliciano was upset he had to pitch 1 1/3 innings in the 11-1 blowout after pitching two innings the night before. Or he could have been upset he gave up six hits and three runs in those 1 1/3 innings. Either way, Feliciano criticized manager Willie Randolph’s decision to pinch hit for Darren Oliver in the sixth inning with the Mets trailing 3-1.
Here’s what he said:
“I don’t know why they pinch hit. [Oliver] is the long reliever. He has to [pitch] like three at least. They say the bullpen’s tired, so let him go three or four. I don’t know who messed up, but somebody messed up.”
Ouch. Randolph might be willing to listen to criticism from one Pedro, but this isn’t the one. This is what Randolph had to say about it before Tuesday’s game:
“I’ll have a little conversation with him later on about that. After a game, he’s frustrated, whatever, and said some things I was a little surprised at. We’ll talk about it later.”
Asked if he ever said something like that when he was a player, Randolph said:
“That’s not my style. I understand sometimes when players get frustrated or whatever. I’ve been on winners all my life and that’s not what they do. I’ll talk to him about it and see what he was thinking or feeling. We’ll talk about it.”

July 3, 2006

The P Word

Heard the p-word last night after the Mets’ 11-1 loss to the Pirates. Willie Randolph said, “I’m not worried. Never see me worried. Never see me panic.” Cliff Floyd said, “Ain’t nobody panicking.”
How about it, Mets fans? Anybody panicking yet?

Surprise, Surprise

There were many surprises and a few surprised people in the Mets clubhouse before last night’s game with the Pirates.
The first surprise was the presence of John Maine, who was seated in front of a locker that once belonged to Jose Lima, among others. Maine was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but would soon change into a uniform so he could start the game.
That surprised Darren Oliver, who had left Yankee Stadium early Monday morning thinking he was going to be the starting pitcher. Manager Willie Randolph had held Oliver out of Sunday’s 16-7 loss to the Yankees, even though Alay Soler couldn’t get through the third inning and the situation screamed for a long reliever.
Randolph said he simply changed his mind overnight and decided to start Maine instead of Oliver in the spot left vacant by Pedro Martinez’s sore right hip. It would really be a surprise if Martinez took the mound before the All-Star break, but Randolph left the door open for his ace to start this weekend.
“It all depends on when Pedro feels right,” Randolph said. “There’s a possibility that we might shut him down [until after the break], but right now, just let him get his treatment, throw a light side and he’ll let me know in the next couple of days how he feels.”
That’s something that Soler apparently didn’t do. Randolph learned yesterday Soler had been dealing with a sore right calf for “a couple of weeks,” according to coach/translator Juan Lopez.
That was a surprise to Randolph, who said he didn’t know anything was bothering the Cuban righthander.
It’s the third time this season a Mets pitcher has apparently not informed the manager about an injury. The first was Victor Zambrano, who was pitching with a sore elbow and is out for the season after Tommy John surgery; the second was Maine, who pitched with an inflamed middle finger in his Mets debut on May 2, went on the disabled list soon after and only made it back to the majors last night. Surprisingly.

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