Busy day for the Mets today. This was a tough game to evaluate, because El Duque got hit a ton, but said he felt healthy, threw all his pitches (even an eephus!), and pronounced himself happy with the outing. Hernandez is listed as 38 but is actually, as close as anyone can tell, 41, and this was his first start of the spring, because he had been suffering neck pain due to arthritis (seriously). In the second inning, he got hit in the leg with a comebacker, but insisted he was fine — in fact, he couldn’t say for sure which leg had been hit. Helpfully, though, he narrowed it down to “right… or left.”
After the game Willie Randolph said that he’d sent Duaner Sanchez –a terrific reliever last season until a cab accident forced him into surgery — home for the day because he’d been showing up late to practice. Hmm. I never understood what sending someone home was meant to accomplish in these situations, but I guess it’s an attention-getter, especially now that it’s been announced in the press. Also, a locker room like the Mets’ can exert some major peer pressure as far as that sort of thing goes. Personally I can’t help sympathizing with latecomers, because I have a tendency to be tardy myself, though this week I’ve successfully dragged myself out of bed before dawn every day.
The good news is that Mike Pelfrey pitched extremely well, again, and Willie Randolph was – by his standards – gushing: “I thought he was outstanding. He threw the ball great today… it’s exciting to watch him pitch.” I can’t remember Randolph being that effusive very often; usually, knowing how these things play in the media, he’s careful to temper his praise and keep expectations modest. It’s awfully tempting to imagine him in the rotation. But if we’re going to write off El Duque’s start because it’s just spring, I suppose we should take Pelfrey’s with a grain of salt too.
Finally, today the Mets made their first cuts, sending 14 players over to minor league spring training, where they will no doubt regale their teammates with tales of life in the bigs; that leaves 47 players in camp.
And here I was about to complain about the lack of news in Metsville…