Mike Pelfrey: The Opening Day Starter
When he introduced Mike Pelfrey to the children at Citi Field Kids Day on Wednesday, Terry Collins said that Mike will be the Opening Day starter. Everyone was taken aback since I believe this was the first time Collins had said that.
Like the other players, Pelfrey is eager to begin spring training and looks forwards to the challenge of starting Opening Day against Josh Johnson of the Marlins.
He commented on the improvement he has seen in Josh Thole. Pelfrey said Thole is easy to work with and works hard at receiving the ball.
Throughout the entire interview, Pelfrey was somewhat of a comedian in a few instances. The first bout came when we talked about Collins.
“He has some energy,” said Pelfrey. “We were in the cafeteria, and he already started talking about relays and backing up bases and stuff like that, and I was like, ‘This guy’s ready to go.’ It gets the adrenaline flowing because he’s prepared and very excited.”
Pelfrey emphasized the little things as a major key to success. For pitchers, that includes getting bunts down to move up runners when need be.
Surprisingly, Pelfrey said he was the only pitcher to hit a few times during this offseason.
“I actually hit twice this offseason and broke a bat both times,” said Pelfrey.
Pelfrey joked that he used to compete with John Maine when it came to hitting ever since Maine hit a home run in 2007.
“I was actually going to try to compete with Dickey, but he hit .250 so that’s a little out of my range,” said Pelfrey. “I’ll have to shoot for somebody else.”
Pelfrey is excited that Dan Warthen will be coming back this year. They seemed to have connected well last season.
“Going into last year, everybody said that the pitching would be the big question mark, and I thought it ended up being the strength,” said Pelfrey. “We exceeded anybody’s expectations. I expect us to be towards the top in the National League. Dan is probably the best communicator I’ve ever been around. Whether it’s good, whether it’s bad, he lets you know.”
This was a bold prediction by Pelfrey about being near the top in the NL, especially if the Phillies and Giants have anything to say. But I’m glad he has confidence because that’s where success begins.
“Obviously, we’re a ton better with Johan healthy and in the rotation,” said Pelfrey. “There’s nothing you can do about that now. We’re going to move on. We’ll hold the fort down and go out there and give the team a chance to win every night. When he gets back, he might be that trade deadline acquisition that can get us over the top.”
He was ecstatic about the signings of Chris Young and Chris Capuano. He had great things to say about each pitcher.
“I think the Chris Capuano signing went under the radar,” said Pelfrey. “I think that guy’s going to be great.”
If you think Mike Pelfrey looks big on TV, he is even bigger in person. Now, imagine a man three inches taller than Pelfrey, and you have Chris Young.
“Chris Young had some very, very good years in San Diego,” said Pelfrey. “I don’t know what the question mark is if he’s healthy.”
Pelfrey plans on picking Young’s brain during spring training. Young’s release point measures at roughly 7’2”, so Pelfrey can learn to improve his own release point based on Young.
Big Pelf seems ready to avoid the mid-season slump and really elevate his game to the next level. We’ll be ready to go Opening Day, and expect Pelfrey to be as well.
About the Author: Jim Mancari
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He recently earned a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Click my name to view my personal website.
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