16.3.06

Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans Coming Home

Now that the Puerto Ricans have lost to Cuba in the WBC and are hereinafter officially eliminated, we can finally look forward to having several Mets back in uniform, trying to look familiar, still sweaty with excitement and perhaps grey with disappointment over their WBC experience.

Carlos Beltran hit a predictable .286 in the WBC and last night included an amazing 12 pitch duel with Cuban pitcher Yunieski Maya which ended in an RBI single.

Carlos Delgado, making his appearance despite a cranky elbow, had a single in his lone at-bat keeping him perfect for the spring.

Also making their returns will be Jose Valentin, who hit .238 in 5 games and Pedro Feliciano and Ivan Moldanado (who gave up two runs in an inning's work). As we know, Juan Padilla was tragically felled by a right elbow injury that will sideline him for the season.

So, we've almost got a team...

Endy Chavez, who hit only .167 but blasted a pair of homers for Venezuela, will also be back in an outfield contest that is largely decided already. Also back will be Victor Zambrano, who appeared in two games, walked one and struck out 3 with a 3.38 ERA. Jorge Julio is on his way, visa problems aside, after a less-than-impressive WBC show wherein he appeared in four games and finished with an 8.10 ERA. Sure he struck out 5 in 4 innings work but so far, he isn't showing much in the deal for Mrs Benson.

Duaner Sanchez got ex-Met Edgardo Alfonso to fly to right to end it before 13,007 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium the other night. Sanchez of course will stay with the Dominicans because he has done so well pitching four scoreless innings so far in four relief appearances.

Also staying away from our Mets at least until the end of the weekend will be Jose Reyes, who has seen limited action behind Miguel Tejada: one hit, a run scored, and two stolen bases in 5 official at-bats.

*****

Pedro Faces Batters



With almost as much fanfare was the World Series or hell, let's say it, even the World Baseball Classic, Pedro took the mound yesterday and faced live hitters for the first time.

Well, not high quality hitters, mind you. He pitched to a pair of Class A players --outfielder Corey Coles who hit .307 for Hagerstown last season and 5'9 170 pound catcher Rafael Arroyo, the 24th round 2004 pick who oddly enough, is named after a town in Puerto Rico (well, that bit we don't know for a fact but coincidence is a funny thing...)

Anyway, Pedro essentially broke his work into three innings of 20 or so pitches.

The verdict, more or less, success and catching up.

"The way he threw today," Triple-A pitching coach Randy Niemann said, "I wouldn't put it past him (to still start on Opening Day). He didn't look like somebody just starting out. He moved the ball in and out, threw all his pitches [except for the cutter] and changed speeds. He has so many weapons in his arsenal."

Well, not to piss on anyone's parade but I'm not holding my breath on Pedro starting Opening Day. In fact, I don't care if he starts until May so long as he's healthy the rest of the season.

*****

Meanwhile, the Mets continued beating up on the hapless Nats, last night to the tune of 8-5. Five of the Mets runs came in the top of the 8th inning.

Starter Aaron Heilman matched Brian Bannister's three strikeout shutout outing but gave up three hits to Bannister's one. Let's not forget of course that this is hardly Big League stuff they are facing. Jose Vidro, Matt LeCroy and Tom Goodwin were probably the only verifiable, name-recogniseable players in the Nats batting order.

Kaz Man dazzled with another Oh for 3 performance to drop his batting average back down into the doldrums at .184.

I love this question: What To Do With Kaz?

However, I admit disappointment there is no mention of a wood chopper although comparing him to Wayne Morris was a real slap in the face.

In the RF battle, Victor Diaz hit his first homer of the Spring and X Nady was hitless in three at-bats to drop his average down to a more terrestrial .394.

*****Spitting Practice*****

The Mets will host the Braves tonight.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

U'r a crazy muthafuckah man - you need medication.