Spring Notes: Turner Could Spell Murphy At Second, Official Announcement On Santana Coming

justin turner

Updated 11:00 AM – Here are the latest injury updates and other news from PSL this morning…

Justin Turner

According to Jorge Castillo of the Star Ledger, there’s a good possibility that if David Wright is ready for Opening Day and Daniel Murphy is not, Justin Turner could start at second base. In that scenario, Jordany Valdespin would start in center field instead of Collin Cowgill, with Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd at left and right.

Turner, who batted .269 with two home runs and 19 RBI last season, didn’t travel with the team to Kissimmee, Florida last night when the Mets played the Astros, but is said to be recovering

Shaun Marcum

There are some growing concerns surrounding right-hander Shaun Marcum, who was signed to replace R.A. Dickey in the rotation.  Marcum has already missed a couple of starts to strengthen his shoulder at the start of Grapefruit League play. Today, we learned that he received a cortisone injection for a right shoulder impingement at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The righthander has been scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday and he will be replaced by Jeremy Hefner instead. Sandy Alderson told reporters that the cortisone shot was “precautionary,” and Marcum is expected to resume throwing in a couple of days.

The Mets signed Marcum despite a long history of elbow and shoulder injuries. He is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA in three spring starts and it’s not clear when he will pitch in a Grapefruit League again. Collins speculated he could start again on March 26, four days before Opening day.

Johan Santana

Terry Collins will officially announce his rotation in the next day or two according to what he told beat writers this morning. The team is also going to face the music and finally announce what most have known since the start of Spring Training – that Johan Santana will open the season on the disabled list.

Santana hasn’t pitched in over two weeks and whenever he does get back on the mound he will have to be gradually stretched out which is what Spring Training is all about. The problem is that it looks like that process will not begin until after the season starts and not before.

Daniel Murphy

On Wednesday, Mets manager Terry Collins announced that Daniel Murphy is still not close to being on the field and does not expect him to be on the Opening Day lineup. Murphy continues to suffer from a strained intercostal and has not had one at-bat in a game all spring.

After appearing in a minor league game last week, in which he was not allowed to bat, he has been shutdown indefinitely. The Mets’ second baseman is still receiving treatment and complains of stiffness and soreness. Jordany Valdespin would most likely replace Murphy at second base to start the season.

David Wright

Wright has spent the last five days receiving treatment for the strained muscle in his rib cage. He says he still believes that he will be at third base for the season opener, but Wright’s has always been an optimist.

MMO beat writer John Delcos reported to us that if Wright doesn’t come back before the start of the season, and there aren’t any indications he is going to, he will be rested for two weeks before beginning baseball activities. He also said that at the time of the injury GM Sandy Alderson said Wright would rest from three to five days, however Thursday will be the seventh day.

It’s still unclear who would replace Wright at third base, but the most likely candidate seems to be Collins’ favorite Justin Turner who has been sidelined since Saturday. Another option could be Zach Lutz.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 1-for-5 in a minor-league game on Wednesday. It was his first game action since suffering a bone bruise in his left knee on March 3. Nieuwenhuis did not play in the field and was the designated hitter.

He has missed so much time this spring, that he is in danger of starting the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. Players like Valdespin, Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd have all passed him up on the depth chart and his future with the Mets is now cloudy at best.

Frank Francisco

Frank Francisco says he is progressing as he returns from elbow inflammation, but after throwing a bullpen session on Saturday he reported feeling pain. He’s told the Mets that he will not rush his comeback and wants to take his time. He reports feeling a “sting” whenever he throws his fastball.

Francisco, who is owed $6.5 million for this season, was shut down upon reporting to spring training due to elbow inflammation. He underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his right elbow in December and is coming off a season in which he produced a 5.53 ERA as the Mets closer, but was the least effective reliever in the bullpen.

There’s nobody who believes he will not begin the season on the disabled list. “I don’t know. No idea,” Francisco said when asked if he’ll be ready for Opening day.

Final Thoughts

The Shaun Marcum situation adds a new wrinkle to the Mets’ rotation concerns. Jonathon Niese has already been tabbed to be the Opening day starter and it was believed that Marcum would pitch in Game 2 against the Padres. I can’t see that happening at this point and it looks more likely to me that Matt Harvey will follow Niese in the rotation. That’s a lot of pressure to perform from the two youngest arms in the rotation who will go up against the opposition’s top of the rotation starters.

Dillon Gee got roughed up again and is still trying to comeback from serious surgery in his right arm to remove a dangerous blood clot. Jeremy Hefner will be asked to carry a heavy load as well. If the Mets were to dig deep for a replacement if Marcum isn’t ready, My best guess is that it will be Collin McHugh.

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