David Lennon of Newsday profiles Mike Pelfrey who came to camp with a big chip on his shoulder. Pelfrey is angry at himself, Lennon says, and as the big right-hander gets ready to begin his fifth season as as a full-time starter for the Mets, Pelfrey knows all to well that unless he rediscovers that sink in his fastball, this could be his last season in Flushing.
His 2011 season was a huge letdown for the team and he knows it.
“I’m more determined not to let that happen again. Obviously, I need to have a good year or . . . I might not be back.”
That’s going to result in some changes. For one, Pelfrey doesn’t find things so funny anymore — the palm-licking, the balks, being part of whatever joke is circulating around the clubhouse.
There’s nothing humorous about getting torched for 21 homers last season, or watching opponents steal with abandon (29 in 31 attempts) behind him. Or having your first-year manager name you the ace and then pitch like anything but, finishing 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA.
Pelfrey wont be the Opening Day starter in 2012, nor will you see him slotted No. 2 or No. 3. He’s cemented himself in the No. 4 spot just ahead of Dillon Gee and he’ll have a lot of work to do before he gets back imto the good graces of Terry Collins who grew very frustrated with Pelfrey at times last season.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen said that “Pelfrey has finally decided to be a major-league pitcher.”
I guess we’ll all soon find out if that’s the truth or just another one of those Spring Training sound bites.