I love baseball and watching today’s Mets game on WPIX only served to remind me of how much I really dig this game, even when the games don’t count in the standings yet.
After reading so much about Johan Santana‘s progress, what a thrill it was to see him firing strikes at will today against the Miami Marlins. Fastballs, changeups, sliders… he threw everything, but the kitchen sink and more importantly he showed good command. Heck, he even touched 90 on the scoreboard radar gun a few times. I can’t say what’s happening here right now, but it kind of feels like the first chapter of an amazing comeback story by El Gocho.
Of course I couldn’t help but notice how out of place Adam Loewen looked in centerfield today for the New York Mets.
Offensively, Loewen looks to have the kind of bat that will come in handy off the bench, but was he really as bad as he looked out there today where he made an absolute adventure out of a few routine flyballs?
Loewen, 28, had two more hits today, and is now 6 for 14 with a home run this spring and four runs scored. He’s the favorite to secure the Mets’ 5th outfielder spot, and he’s been getting a lot of playing time mostly because of injuries to Scott Hariston (Oblique) and Andres Torres (Glute).
The one-time pitcher is primarily a right fielder now, and last season he batted .306 with a .377 OBP, 17 HR and 85 RBI in 134 games in Triple-A..
The defensive struggles of Lucas Duda in right field have been a prominent issue for debate on MMO, all offseason long, and the concerns are very legitimate.
Andres Torres was brought in to shore up the outfield defense, but will he hit enough to stay at center field and more importantly can he stay healthy for an entire season?
Jason Bay has lost a step in left field, but the smaller dimensions in Citi Field should give him less ground to cover and play to his advantage.
Terry Collins said he is now very concerned about the oblique injury that has kept his 4th outfielder, Scott Hairston, on the sidelines for most of the spring.
Corner outfielder Mike Baxter has gotten a few games in centerfield this spring, but he’s played mostly first base and right field in his minor and major league career and doesn’t seem to have the range to help there if needed.
If you look toward the farm, Matt den Dekker is still at least a year removed from being an option for the Mets, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been stalled by injuries. In fact, the Mets just reported that Captain Kirk injured his oblique in batting practice this morning and is out indefinitely.
Quite honestly, if the season were to start today and Hairston were to go on the DL and Torres was to miss some time, I have no idea who the starting center fielder would be or even the 5th outfielder… Do you?
We’re very vulnerable in the outfield and given our inability to keep players off the disabled list, I feel our positional depth here might be the worst I’ve ever seen. Furthermore, I have to bring into question the timing of cutting outfielder Fernando Martinez who if nothing else could have provided the depth that is now so apparently lacking. F-Mart by the way, has not only secured a spot on the Astros’ roster, but he may even secure a starting platoon assignment if he continues to play well this spring.