Jon Niese was superb in yesterday’s loss to the Braves and we know he’ll get the ball that first day against San Diego regardless of the Mets’ refusal to acknowledge anything negative about Johan Santana, who is among their many questions.
Q: What will the Mets get, and when, from Santana?
A: Considering it had been almost two weeks since his ill-fated mound attempt to quell the negativity from the Mets and media that Santana has done any significant throwing, it is anybody’s guess. Maybe next week, maybe the week after, but he will open the season on the disabled list regardless of his rate of denial. The Mets would dearly love to trade his $31 million contract, but the fact is they’ll have to eat over $20 million to do so. Might as well let him rest and hope for the best.
Q: Will David Wright open the season on the disabled list?
A: Technically, today is the third day of the three to five Wright will have to rest. He has received a cortisone injection in his strained ribs since coming back from the World Baseball Classic. Injuries of this type often last a month, as Wright learned last spring. Maybe he would have gotten hurt just the same in a regular spring training, but that doesn’t change the fact the odds are against Opening Day.
Q: How good is Matt Harvey?
A: He’s been good this spring, but has also thrown the occasional dud. He has ten major league starts on his resume, but the expectations of a proven veteran. The other teams have scouting reports, too, so don’t be shocked if he takes some lumps early.
Q: How healthy is Dillon Gee?
A: He says he has fully recovered from surgery to repair an artery in his pitching shoulder, but has been off this spring. He could use another three or four starts to get all the rust off, but there’s not enough time.
A: Considering Marcum will not make six exhibition starts, don’t be too optimistic. At this rate, the Mets will be fortunate to get five innings from either of them. The back end of the rotation is clearly a weakness.
Q: Will Lucas Duda hit for power?
A: Let’s rephrase that: Will he substantially cut his strikeouts? He’s had a rough spring showing little of his power potential. When he hits them, he hits them far. Just not often enough.
Q: Who starts in center field?
A: Kirk Nieuwenhuis spit the bit early, and then was hurt. He was the projected starter and leadoff hitter, but now is ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Let’s hope that includes his bad habits at the plate. We’re looking at Collin Cowgill as the starter and Jordany Valdespinmaking the team. They can use Matt den Dekker’s defense, but want more from him at the plate.
Q: Will Daniel Murphy be ready?
A: Murphy had one of those “seven to ten days’’ rib injuries that has lasted a month. He played five innings of defense in a minor league game three days ago, but has been stiff since. The early word is Wednesday of this week, but we know how such projections go with the Mets. It is possible Valdespin will start at second while Justin Turner is at third Opening Day. Excited yet?
Q: What is the make-up of the bullpen?
A: Bobby Parnell is the closer and he’s taken some hits this spring. Josh Edgin is the lefty specialist, butPedro Feliciano is making a run. He’s one of several veterans hoping to extend their careers with the Mets.
Q: Will they add anybody before the end of spring training?
A: Don’t count on it.