3/17/2004 01:13:00 PM
"ME AND THE DUKE IN A MIND MELD"
Part of my rant yesterday was that the Mets need
to look at the instruction the players are getting
in regard to stretching and keep their muscles
limber. It seem the Mets brain trust also thinks
this way as well as this quote from the Journal
News story hints:
[The Mets are talking internally about what
workout program they can put Reyes on to try to
prevent these muscle injuries. ]
Then we have Mike Piazza speaking up as a "team
leader" saying that Reyes is so valuable to the
team that he needs to know when to bust it and
when to take it down a peg:
"His health is paramount to this team," Piazza
said. "He's got to kind of strike a balance and
not do reckless things, especially in spring
training. You play hard, but you play safe.
"I've been part kidding, part serious with him. I
said, 'Hey, smarten up. Your health is important.
We need you.' It's more positive than negative.
He's a special player. He's one of the most
talented, if not the most talented player I've
ever seen. He's got to really understand that
we're looking for the long term."
Correct me if I'm wrong but I have never heard
Mike step up and make a statement like this.
Usually he gives a stock answer but this a
positive step. It just shows that Piazza is coming
into the season with a different mind set.
Hopefully he can stay healthy for the entire
"AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME....."
The race for the 5th spot in the rotation looks
like it could be a photo finish. Aaron Heilman
pitched 4 innings in a rain shorten game yesterday
and continued to impress. So far this spring
Heilman has pitched 13 innings walking 3 and
striking out 15. It's fair to say he has taken to
the teachings of Professor Rick. Grant Roberts as
well as has earned an A+ grade this spring from
the Peterson School of Pitching with 9IP 4BB 12K.
Scott Erickson has only pitched 3 innings this
spring and yesterday�s rain out of a B squad game
he was to pitch in has to hurt. When you look at
the entire staff the BB/K ratio is quite
impressive. Here�s a look at the bullpen with the
spotlight on the Geezers of Pitching:
Weathers 6IP 2BB 5K
Franco 51/3IP 1BB 8K
Stanton 4IP 0BB 2K
Then we have Kranepool Society favorite Dan
Wheeler checking in with 6IP 0BB 4K
The closer Braden Looper has struggled a bit
although through 5IP he has not given up a walk
and K�d 3. But he has also given up 10 hits and 6
earned runs in those 5IP.
Then you have the Dark Horse Division:
Botalalico 42/3 IP 1BB 0K
Moreno 7IP 0BB 6K
Botalalico has stated this is the best he�s ever
felt about his pitching since he�s been in the big
leagues, but things will have to really break
right for him to make the Mets pitching staff.
Same with Ober Moreno, who was thought to be the
closer of the future, but after a rough go as a
late season call up last year, prompted the Mets
to go after Braden Looper.
So the interesting move to be made here is if
Roberts wins the 5th spot, does Heilman stay on as
a long man in the pen or does he go back to
Norfolk as the ace of the Tides? And if that�s the
case, does that give Botalalico a spot in the pen?
This is a tough decison for The Duke, Artie and
Professor Rick to make. We still have 2 weeks to
see how this plays out.