Sunday, March 19, 2006

Musings of Spring (with apologies to David Pinto)

The injury to Kaz Matsui prompts considerations for the Mets. As it appears to be an isolated MCL sprain without cartilage involvement, it won't require surgery. But one of the problems with MCL sprained is that you just have to let them heal. There's no way to hurry that process along. And the Mets have made it known there's going to be a period of non-baseball activity for three weeks. This is necessary to protect the stability of the knee. Three weeks takes us into the season, so it makes sense for Matsui to remain in Florida and play his way back into shape with the St. Lucie club. By this time though, the Mets will certainly have a much better feel for what Anderson Hernandez can do. If it looks like the kid has the goods they won't ship him out and Matsui's fate will be sealed. As he'll most likely be batting 8th, there will be no pressure offensively, and if it looks like the Mets can develop another young player at the major league level, they will do so.............Despite all things that can be considered worse case scenarios, it looks like Pedro Martinez is doing well. I have to hand it to Ray Ramirez, Mike Herbst, Guy Conti and Rick Peterson for the way they've moved him along. Knowing that the adjustment of his toe needs to be gradual, they smartly eased Martinez throwing schedule based on this. Its all been about gently increasing the range of motion of the toe in a manner in which there have been no set-backs. Its not a problem at all that Martinez is behind in his throwing schedule. I really don't think he needs as much as other pitchers. Instead of March, I'll take the innings in September-and hopefully, October.....................Lastings Millage has been a hit man, and is clearly developing as a player. Expect him to get better this season, but don't expect him in April. For one, the Mets will want a free year of sorts of controlling his contract and keeping him ineligible for arbitration. With Victor Diaz having a good spring along with Xavier Nady another corner outfielder won't be needed just yet. Both Nady and Diaz can play first if Carlos Delgado's elbow somehow doesn't come along. Randolph won't want to go with Julio Franco as an every day player. So Milledge won't be needed just yet. But his performance this spring will give him confidence that he can play at the big league level...................Randolph won't need five starters in April. Unless Martinez is unable to go, expect few surprises. This includes Brain Bannister not going north. Tom Glavine, Steve Tracshel, and Aaron Heilman will get the other starts behind Martinez. Victor Zambrano is behind these three right now. But with others impressing thus far as well (see Jose Lima, Yusaku Iriki, Mike Pelfrey, along with Bannister) the potential for a trade is there. I fully expect Omar Minaya to bring in another starter sometime during the season. If Billy Beane is willing to trade Barry Zito, expect Minaya to put forth the same effort he did for Manny Ramirez last summer...................If we are to believe Greg Prince at Faith and Fear in Flushing and I do, it looks like the Gary Cohen-Keith Hernandez team will be a star tandem. Lets just hope SNY will be seen in the New York area..................I'm planning on going to Port St. Lucie next weekend. Its my spring break. I'm going down to try and hook-up with some of the 86 Mets to spend some time with them for my upcoming book. Yes, of course I'll be doing some blogging..........So its Cuba against Japan Monday night for the World Baseball Classic. Big league quality telecast appeared to bring the games of teams like Mexico, Korea and Cuba to, well, major league level. They belong. And maybe somehow baseball is becoming a world game much like basketball and soccer. Odd how only our Women's National Soccer Team has been the only one of late to perform at a championship level. Shame on the International Olympic Committee for dropping baseball and softball. Can someone say Anti-American? Anyway, doesn't it seem though that's its somehow appropriate for Japan and Cuba to be in this final as the importance of baseball to these two country's collective psyches has always been palpable. And far past what it is here.


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