Spring Shorts: Byrd Could Be Mets’ Staring Right Fielder, Buck Compares Niese To Pettitte

tradition field new sign

As of Saturday, all Mets players are supposed to be in camp, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN. The three players who have yet to report are Jenrry Mejia (visa issues), Jordany Valdespin, and infielder Wilfredo Tovar. Here are some other Mets notes from Spring Training.

Marlon Byrd arrived at camp on Friday, and according to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Mets manager Terry Collins believes he can win the starting right field job outright.

“If you’re talking about a guy who’s in this camp who has a chance to make a huge difference, besides Lucas Duda, it might be Marlon Byrd,” Collins said. “This guy was one of the best players in the National League not very long ago. If he’s the same player he was in Chicago a couple of years ago, we might have found ourselves the right fielder.”

Mets new backstop John Buck says that Jon Niese reminds him of Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, mainly because of the use of his cutter reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

“I was pretty young back in the day with Houston and Pettitte was there, and the way he would pitch is very similar to that,” Buck said. “But I think Niese has a little bit more speed difference than what Pettitte had from what I can remember.”

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, spoke with Lucas Duda on his starting gig in left field and his demotion last season, which Duda says, was the lowest point in his young career thus far.

“Being sent down is probably one of the lowest points that you can have,” Duda said. “I think that you learn from that and you grow from that, hopefully, and learn what you did [wrong] and what you can do to stay. And hopefully, I did that.”

The Mets open up Grapefruit League play against the division rival Washington Nationals from Tradition Field on Saturday February 23rd, at 12:10 p.m. The game will be televised on SNY, with coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Thoughts from Joe D.

That Terry Collins is so excited about Marlon Byrd says more about what he really thinks about the outfield than anything else. All managers love experienced major leaguers in their outfield, or at least one. The Mets don’t have any, except for Marlon Byrd, which is pretty damn, freaking scary.

Collins says a lot of outlandish things at this time of the year. But I nearly fell off my chair during his first press conference this week when he put Lucas Duda just a notch below Giancarlo Stanton as the best power hitter in the National League.

I wonder how Ryan Braun, Carlos Beltran, Jay Bruce, Andrew McCutchen and teammate Ike Davis felt about that comment?

As for Lucas Duda learning something after being sent down to the minors, the players and coaches we spoke to in Buffalo last season, all told us that his attitude about it was not good at all. They said he was glum and mostly just kept to himself in the clubhouse. Nobody knew if he was mad at the Mets front office or if he was just angry at himself, but he was a sour puss the whole time he was there.

The other thing is that after he was recalled back to the Mets, on at least three occasions during his first couple of weeks back, Keith Hernandez lamented the fact that there was no change to his swing. “That’s the same Lucas Duda who struggled in the first half,” Hernandez said. “Bad swing and all.”

Duda in fact batted .234 after he returned from the minors, and his on-base, slugging percentage, and OPS was significantly worse than before he was sent down – he did not improve one bit. Additionally, he batted .249/.341/.405 in the first half and .214/.296/.348 in the second half. Not to forget that he still looked like a lumberjack with two left feet in the field.

So my questions is, what exactly did he learn from being sent down? Or more importantly, where was the evidence he learned anything at all?