Mets Spring Training 2012: Cheers And Jeers

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Mets Spring Training Review: Cheers & Jeers

The New York Mets are ready to put Spring Training behind them and kick off the 2012 regular season on Thursday against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Before the team packs up their gear and heads north, it's important to take a look at who stood out in the exhibition season and who spent the time on vacation. It's often easy to push aside Spring Training stats, but the Mets have so many problems and cannot afford a slow start out of the gate.

Here are a few players that stood out (for better or worse) along with their Spring Training stats.

Cheers!

Lucas Duda (.296 AVG, 1.001 OPS, 4 HR, 9 RBI): There is plenty of talk about David Wright and Jason Bay needing bounce back years (and they do), but "The Dude" is just as important to the Mets having any sort of offensive success. He has ripped the cover off the ball in the Spring, including an opposite field jack off Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg.

Josh Thole (.302 AVG, 7 RBI, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts, .388 OBP): No one is expecting Thole to ever tear up the league with his bat, but until (unless) his defense becomes a plus skill, he needs to hold his own. Most promising for the catcher is the patience at the plate, something he will need to continue showing when there aren't a bunch of minor leaguers on the mound.

Bobby Parnell (0.00 ERA, 12 innings, 10 strikeouts, .167 average against): We've been fooled by Parnell before, so it's understandable many Mets fans are cautious about his impressive Spring. However, this is the first time he's throwing a knuckle/curve that is helping him get his fastball by hitters.

Jeers!

Ramon Ramirez (5.25 ERA, 12 innings, 16 hits, 5 walks): Believe it or not, this seems to be par for the course with Ramirez. His numbers were even uglier last year with the San Francisco Giants (7.94 ERA) in Spring Training before turning in a solid regular season (2.62 ERA).

Frank Francisco (5.54 ERA, 13 innings, 18 hits, 4 walks): This is the most work Francisco has received in exhibition games the last three seasons and maybe that's part of what led to his ongoing knee problem. He claims he'll be ready to go on opening day and there's no cause for alarm, but there are few reasons to be confident about the Mets closer.

Jason Bay (.188 AVG, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts): The new dimensions at Citi Field aren't going to matter much for the right fielder if he can't get the ball out of the infield. Bay cannot carry this slow start into the regular season or he might never recover. His job is the first one that could be up for grabs by the end of April.

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Mets Spring Training 2012: Johan Santana Earns Opening Day Start

Just days away from opening their 2012 season, the New York Mets and manager Terry Collins revealed their Opening Day starting pitcher -- Johan Santana. The two-time Cy Young Award winner, who hasn't thrown a pitch since Sept. of '10, will start opposite of Atlanta Braves starter Tommy Hanson on Thursday, April 5 (1:10 p.m. on SNY). Santana will be making his seventh Opening Day start of his career, fifth with the Mets.

"It means everything that we have done since I had my surgery, all the way to today, has been paid off," Santana said. "We worked hard. And I'm very happy. I'm very happy that I have an opportunity to start the season from Day 1 with the team. That's something that I really was looking forward to. I'm excited about it."

The announcement came less than 24 hours after Santana tossed an intensive bullpen session on Saturday. The performance allowed Collins to proclaim Sunday morning: "You've got your pitcher for Thursday."

Collins also solidified the five-man pitching rotation, which will feature: Santana, R.A. Dickey, John Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee, respectively.

For a closer look at the projected Mets Opening Day lineup, SB Nation New York's Ryan Jones as a rudown.

For more coverage of the Mets, visit our blog Amazin' Avenue or return to this StoryStream for Spring Training updates. If you'd like more on baseball's Spring Training, check out SB Nation's Baseball Nation.

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New York Mets Roster Projection

The New York Mets will kick off the 2012 season on April 5 at Citi Field against the Atlanta Braves. With less than a week remaining before GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins have to decide who will make the trip north, there are still plenty of questions up and down the Mets roster.

Injuries will make things interesting right down to the final hours, but here is a look at how the Opening Day roster should end up and a players that could sneak into the conversation.

Starting Pitching

Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
R.A. Dickey
Dillon Gee
Jon Niese

Little wiggle room here. The recently re-signed Chris Young could eventually push someone out or turn this into a six-man rotation in order to give Santana extra rest. Like most of the team, there is little depth in the organization other than top prospects the team doesn't want to rush. If there are any injuries here, things could get ugly quickly.

Bullpen

Frank Francisco
Jon Rauch
Ramon Ramirez
Bobby Parnell
Manny Acosta
Miguel Batista
Tim Byrdak

There might be a revolving door of players closing, but most of the spots here are locked in. Daniel Herrera is knocking on the door because of Byrdak coming back from knee surgery. Byrdak is throwing again and thinks he can make it back for Opening Day. If he cannot go, Herrera will get the call. DJ Carrasco (ankle) is another name to watch the fire week of the season, as is young lefty Josh Edgin though he'll have to likely continue to prove himself in the minors.

Catcher

Josh Thole
Mike Nickeas

The Mets would love for Thole to prove he is worthy of being a starter at this level, but have little recourse if he doesn't. Nickeas isn't going to push him and there's no one hot on the trail in the minors. This is Thole's job for better or worse this season.

Infield

David Wright
Ike Davis
Ruben Tejada
Daniel Murphy
Justin Turner
Ronny Cedeno

The starters are locked in until Murphy's inevitable injury while trying to turn a double play. Once that happens Turner will take over, but 24-year old Jordany Valdespin has to be an option (as well as in the outfield) if he hits well at Triple-A.

Outfield

Jason Bay
Lucas Duda
Andres Torres
Mike Baxter
Scott Hairston

Both Torres and Hairson are nursing injuries, leaving plenty of question marks. Even if Hairston doesn't have a setback, is he really who the Mets pitchers want patrolling center field? Torres will be a huge upgrade from the space cadet that was Angel Pagan but he needs to recover from a strained calf. Pitcher-turned-utility player Adam Loewen is ticketed for the minors, however that changes if Torres needs to start the season on the disabled list.

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Mike Pelfrey Trade Rumors: Will Anyone Take Pelfrey Off Mets' Hands?

Is Mike Pelfrey pitching his way off the New York Mets’ roster? Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Saturday that the Mets “would like” to trade the 28-year-old right-hander, but seems to indicate that a deal would be unlikely.


Related: Yankees Spring Training StoryStream

Pelfrey went just 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA and has been brutal this spring, pitching to a 14.90 ERA and allowing 20 hits in 9.2 innings pitched. Pelfrey’s poor work and his $5.675 million contract make him difficult to trade right now. In addition, as Heyman points out, the Mets really have few options to replace Pelfrey with in the starting rotation at this point.

Pelfrey went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 2010, and the Mets hoped he would step up in 2011 and help soften the blow of losing Johan Santana for the season. Pelfrey, however, has continued to struggle leading to speculation that he and the Mets could be headed for a divorce.

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Mets Spring Training 2012 Stats: Ike Davis, Johan Santana Off To Good Starts

It seems like missing most of the 2011 season with an ankle injury and then suffering a case of what was reported to be Valley fever this spring has not affected the swing of New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis. Through eight 2012 Spring Training game Davis has four hits in 10 at-bats (.400), including a double and three RBI. A comeback season for Davis would be a huge boost to the Mets.


Related: Complete Mets Spring Training Stats

Here are some other notable Spring Training stats for the Mets, whoa re 3-5 thus far:

  • Adam Loewen, an outfielder with big-league experience with Baltimore and Toronto, is hitting .429 (6-for-14).
  • Pitcher Johan Santana has not allowed an earned run in two appearances covering 4.2 innings. Santana's comeback will be one of the big stories for the Mets this season.
  • Mike Pelfrey has had a rough beginning. In his only Spring Training appearance thus far, he surrendered six hits and four runs in 2.2 innings, an ERA of 13.50.

-- See Amazin' Avenue for complete Mets discussion and analysis

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Ike Davis Illness, David Wright Injury Updates

The New York Mets say there has been "no change" in the diagnosis of first baseman Ike Davis, whom they are treating as if he has Valley Fever despite the fact that blood tests were negative.

The team says Davis is cleared to play, and Davis said he is simply trying to avoid extreme fatigue.

"I feel great. I don't have any symptoms of it. I'm not coughing. I'm not throwing up blood. I'm not doing anything. It's not even hard to breathe. And the doctors said I could play. Just don't get really, really fatigued. So that's what we're doing. If I get really tired, I just step to the side and take a break," Davis told reporters.

Meanwhile, third baseman David Wright will miss the team's first two exhibition games due to stiffness in his left ribcage. Scott Hairston is out with a strained oblique muscle.

-- See Amazin' Avenue for complete discussion and analysis of the Mets

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Ike Davis Illness: Mets First Baseman May Have Valley Fever

According to Marty Noble of MLB.com, New York Mets first baseman, Ike Davis, has contracted an illness called 'Valley Fever', which is also called 'Desert Fever'.

Davis is not the picture of health. He has, in fact, contracted Valley or Desert Fever, a malady that can interfere with a season and even end a career.

His illness has set off no alarms in the Mets' camp. Truth be told, the diagnosis is not a topic of public discussion or much private dialouge. But there is an awareness, and, behind that, a concern.

There's been no official diagnosis, because blood tests that Davis took a week and a half ago have yet to return. Regardless, no one is quite sure on what 'Valley' or 'Desert' Fever is.

For more coverage of the Mets, visit our blog, Amazin' Avenue. If you'd like more on baseball's spring training, check out SB Nation's Baseball Nation.

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Mets Spring Training 2012: Johan Santana Progressing Well

Soon-to-be 33-year-old, Johan Santana, pitched to live batters for the first time in five months on Thursday and the results were good, said Santana.

"I was told I was going to be challenged by those guys and I had to step up," Santana said, smiling. "Overall, it was good."

Santana is scheduled to be the New York Mets' opening day starter and will start his first spring training game on Tuesday, against the St. Louis Cardinals. Santana is expected to throw 35 pitches.

2010 was the last time Santana pitched in the bigs, when he threw 199 innings for the Mets, winning 11 games and recording 144 strikeouts. During that season Santana's average fastball was clocked at 89.4 miles per hour – down two miles per hour from his 91.4 career average. He also caused batters to swing and miss at a much lower clip than he had in previous seasons.

-- For more coverage of the Mets, visit our blog Amazin' Avenue. If you'd like more on baseball's Spring Training, check out the SB Nation's Baseball Nation.

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Mets Spring Training 2012: Chris Young's Future In Doubt

Still mired in the rehabilitation from his May shoulder surgery, Chris Young faces several questions regarding his future with the New York Mets.

The 32-year-old righty had the surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder, and he has made just eight starts over the past two seasons. According to Newsday's Kevin Davidoff, the Mets are interested in bringing back Davis, who made $1.1 million in 2011. However, a major stumbling block is still present.

Also, for a look at the Mets' 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, head over to ESPN New York. They have a short but insightful interview with the 18-year-old center fielder, as well as a longer feature on the 13th-overall pick in the draft. Nimmo's looking to spend 2012 with a full-season team, and low-A Savannah seems to be a likely destination.

"Wherever they put me is fine with me, but I'm really, really excited -- looking forward to a full season," said Nimmo, who is part of the Mets' elite-prospects camp, which began last weekend, before other minor leaguers report. "I think last year things were just going at 100 mph right after I signed. I was at one place for two weeks, another for three days, and then another for three weeks, and just never really could get settled in, you know?"

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Best Case Scenario For The 2012 New York Mets

Despite the loss of batting champ Jose Reyes, the Mets still have the pieces to rebound from a terrible 2011 season.

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Mets Spring Training 2012: Terry Collins Addresses Media; Talks Johan Santana, Lineup, Bullpen

The New York Mets 2012 Spring Training official began Monday, as pitchers and catchers were expected to report to Port St. Lucie, FL, but manager Terry Collins addressed the media for the first time early Tuesday morning and, of course, the biggest topic was the recovery of Johan Santana, who's expected to throw later in the day.

"In my mind, he'll be ready (for Opening Day)," said Collins.

Collins also talked Mets' Opening Day lineup, saying he expects new center fielder Andres Torres to be the leadoff hitter, while second baseman Daniel Murphy is expected to hit second.

However, the primary battles in Spring Training will be at catcher, between Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, and for bench play. Thole is expected to be the Opening Day starter, unless Nickeas can begin to hit on a consistent basis.

The bullpen will feature: Frank Francisco as the closer, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, lefty Tim Byrdak and Manny Acosta with two slots available.

"The crux of the message is obvious -- that we're better than people think we are," the manager said. "... It's human nature to say, 'Wow, we've got a challenge on our hands."

"If David [Wright] thought I got red in the meeting last year, wait until he sees this one."

The Mets will play their first Spring Training game on Monday, March 5 against the Washington Nationals. For a complete schedule, click here.

For more coverage of the Mets, visit our blog Amazin' Avenue. If you'd like more on baseball's Spring Training, check out the SB Nation's Baseball Nation.

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Johan Santana Injury Update: Rehabbing Pitcher Throws From Mound

Spring Training does not officially open for the New York Mets for a few days. The Mets, though, got some good news on Friday when ace left-handed pitcher Johan Santana was able to throw off a mound.

Santana missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and his return to health is critical if the Mets are to field a team that is anything other than a laughingstock in 2012.

“I feel really good,” he said. “This is something we always do. The approach that we had from the beginning was to do everything like I always do to get ready for the season and that’s, for me, about the time to get on the mound and start throwing. “I was able to throw my pitches and it felt good after that.”

Santana threw 25 pitches during the workout.

“Tomorrow definitely is an important day,” Santana said. “We’ll see how I recover from it.”

Imagine — the Mets and good news. Who knew that was possible?

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