With spring training down to a couple of weeks after today’s loss to Minnesota, the Mets are still trying to finalize situations in right field, second base, the bullpen and in the rotation.
All of these will be filled with those players already in camp.
Carlos Beltran has been cleared to resume baseball activities, but probably won’t play until next week, which would leave a week of games until Opening Day. However, with the Mets wanting to ease him back, it’s realistic to figure he might not be ready.
Currently, he’s limited to batting practice and doesn’t know when he’ll test his knees by playing the field or running the bases.
Should Beltran open the season on the disabled list, Willie Harris would probably get the start, but manager Terry Collins could go to a platoon system with Scott Hairston.
That would make Lucas Duda the odd-man out because the Mets want him to get consistent at-bats. The way he could stick would be if Beltran were to open on the disabled list. Beltran says he’ll be ready, but the time frame suggests otherwise.
Nobody wants Luis Castillo, but he’s playing the best offensively and is not ahead of the others defensively. Castillo can turn the double play better than the others but has limited range. It’s not totally out of the question Castillo would stick if the Mets find it distasteful to eat his $6 million contract.
Luis Hernandez has emerged, perhaps as the front-runner as has been reported, primarily because nobody has stepped to the forefront. Hernandez can play the position and isn’t a liability with the bat, but it’s not as if he’s blowing away the field.
Ideally, they would have liked for Daniel Murphy to grasp the position defensively, but that hasn’t happened, especially when it comes to the double play. Murphy should still make the team as a left-handed bat off the bench.
The Mets like the potential of Brad Emaus, but he’s not hitting and hasn’t made up for it with his glove. An Emaus-Murphy platoon isn’t out of the question should the Mets not want to return the Rule 5 Emaus to Toronto.
The only sure thing at second base is the return of Justin Turner to the minor leagues because he has remaining options.
The first four are set with Mike Pelfrey, who was hit hard today, Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey and Chris Young, with Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee and Pat Misch competing for the fifth spot.
I’m betting on Capuano because of his experience. Misch has pitched well in spots when given the opportunity, but then again, has given it up as well. There’s more potential upside with a healthy Capuano.
Misch doesn’t have any remaining options, but there’s a chance he could pass through and be signed to a minor league contract.
The Mets like Gee’s potential, and he showed something at the end of last season, but he doesn’t have any remaining options.
It appears as if Jason Isringhausen will earn a spot in the bullpen, which is a nice story at age 38. Isringhausen figures to make it as a seventh-inning role because Bobby Parnell is the front-runner for the eighth-inning set-up role behind Francisco Rodriguez.
Nearly ten years his junior is Oliver Perez, who doesn’t figure to stick as a lefty specialist. Collins said he’d like to be down to 13 pitchers by March 31. Perez will get an opportunity this weekend to pitch in back-to-back games.
Perez pitched a scoreless inning yesterday, but his velocity remains topped out at 87 mph., hardly the stuff required for a specialist with spotty command.