Inside Pitch: Pedro or Glavine?
New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez throws during a three inning simulated baseball game Sunday March 19, 2006, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
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Posted Mar 20, 2006


After throwing to hitters in a simulated game Sunday for the second time this spring, Pedro Martinez said he's hopeful of being able to work one or two innings in an exhibition game this week.

If Martinez had to pitch in a regular-season game now, he anticipated he couldn't go more than five innings. It long has been speculated he would not be the Opening Day starter, April 3, against Washington.

"It is not an issue," Martinez said. "We have a lot of pitchers, so why rush it?"

Left-hander Tom Glavine, who threw five innings in a simulated game Sunday, is on track to start Opening Day.

Martinez said he still feels discomfort in his right big toe, but it is something he will have to pitch through during the season.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • One of the minor league hitters who faced RHP Pedro Martinez in a simulated game Sunday was Jim Burt, the son of the New York Giants' former defensive tackle.

  • 2B Kaz Matsui will be lost for at least three weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. He has already begun workouts on an exercise bike. His injury gives prospect Anderson Hernandez a chance to win the job.

  • SS Jose Reyes will return from the Dominican Republic team of the World Baseball Classic and play Tuesday against Baltimore at Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

  • The Mets reassigned the following players to their minor league camp: RHPs John Maine, Henry Owens and Steve Schmoll; LHP Matt Perisho; INF Juan Tejeda and OF Julio Ramirez.

  • The Mets are off Monday.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0.00 -- RHP Brian Bannister's ERA after his first three appearances.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It will be good to get everybody back and get into a flow. We have two weeks to go. That's sufficient time to get it rolling." -- Mets manager Willie Randolph on getting the chance to field his complete lineup after two starting position players, a starting pitcher, two key relievers and two bench players return from the World Baseball Classic.

    ROSTER REPORT

    ARRIVALS: INF Julio Franco (free agent from Atlanta), 2B Jose Valentin (free agent from Chicago White Sox), C Paul Lo Duca (trade from Florida), LHP Billy Wagner (free agent from Philadelphia), 1B Carlos Delgado (trade from Florida), 1B/OF Xavier Nady (trade from San Diego), OF Endy Chavez (free agent from Philadelphia), RHP Chad Bradford (free agent from Boston), RHP Duaner Sanchez (trade from Los Angeles Dodgers), RHP Steve Schmoll (trade from Los Angeles Dodgers), 2B Bret Boone (free agent from Minnesota), RHPs Jorge Julio and John Maine (trade from Baltimore), C Bobby Estalella (minor league free agent), RHP Jeremi Gonzalez (minor league free agent), RHP Jose Santiago (minor league free agent), RHP Jose Lima (minor league free agent from Kansas City).

    DEPARTURES: C Mike Piazza (arbitration not offered, signed with San Diego), 2B Miguel Cairo (free agent, signed with Yankees), RHP Braden Looper (free agent, signed by St. Louis), RHP Roberto Hernandez (free agent, signed by Pittsburgh), C Mike DiFelice (arbitration not offered, signed with Washington), 1B Doug Mientkiewicz (free agent, signed with Kansas City), INF Jose Offerman (arbitration not offered), RHP Shingo Takatsu (arbitration not offered, OF Gerald Williams (arbitration not offered), 1B Mike Jacobs (traded to Florida), RHP Yusmeiro Petit (traded to Florida); minor league 3B Grant Psomas (traded to Florida), OF Mike Cameron (traded to San Diego), RHP Danny Graves (option declined, signed with Cleveland), INF Marlon Anderson (free agent, signed with Washington), LHP Felix Heredia (option declined, signed with Arizona), RHP Jae Seo (traded to Los Angeles Dodgers), LHP Tim Hamulack (traded to Los Angeles Dodgers), LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (released, signed with Yakult Swallows), RHP Kris Benson (traded to Baltimore).

    PROJECTED ROTATION: The Mets are built to win this season, and like most teams with a closing window, they are trying to get it done with an aging pitching staff. General manager Omar Minaya said there will be a lot of arms in spring training, but in actuality, they are unproven and under normal circumstances would be competing for a fifth starter role. RHP Aaron Heilman has the inside track at that job, following RHPs Pedro Martinez and Steve Trachsel, and LHP Tom Glavine, all 34 or older, and inconsistent RHP Victor Zambrano.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez (15-8, 2.82) pitched well enough to win 20 games in his first season with the Mets, but he didn't receive much bullpen or offensive support. Martinez's season was cut short by a right big toe injury, and he hopes a specially designed shoe will give his foot stability to push off. But the early signs in spring training weren't encouraging.

  • LHP Tom Glavine (13-13, 3.53), who will be 40 by Opening Day, enters the season 25 wins shy of 300 for his career. Glavine had a strong second half, working at least seven innings in 12 of 15 starts.

  • RHP Steve Trachsel (1-4, 4.14) made only six starts after undergoing surgery for a herniated disk. He moves up to third in the rotation following the trade of RHP Kris Benson to Baltimore.

  • RHP Victor Zambrano (7-12, 4.17) is likely to lose his slot in the rotation to RHP Aaron Heilman, and if one of the team's young arms develops, it wouldn't be a shock to see Zambrano out of the rotation all together.

  • RHP Aaron Heilman (5-3, 3.17) has the inside track on cracking the rotation because of his work out of the bullpen last season. His opportunity opened after RHP Kris Benson was traded to Baltimore.

    PROJECTED BULLPEN: The Mets' bullpen is simply better after adding closer Billy Wagner, a hired gun who brings a 95-plus mph heater and 38 saves from Philadelphia. However, a closer is often as good as his setup men, because if they can't bring the game to him, there is no chance at a save. With the rotation suspect, the Mets also brought in RHPs Duaner Sanchez, Jorge Julio, Chad Bradford and Steve Schmoll.

  • LHP Billy Wagner could arguably be the most dominant closer the Mets have ever had. He has the heater to be lights-out in the ninth inning and throughout his career has always been able to handle the pressure. However, there is always the New York factor.

  • RHP Duaner Sanchez came over from Los Angeles and figures to be manager Willie Randolph's eighth-inning setup man. Seventy-one strikeouts in 82 innings with the Dodgers last year says he has the stuff to do it.

  • RHP Jorge Julio was Baltimore's closer two year ago, a setup man last season and now is slotted in for the seventh inning with the Mets. He still has a power arm, which is why general manager Omar Minaya was willing to take the chance by dealing RHP Kris Benson.

  • RHP Chad Bradford brings a submarine style to the bullpen. Injuries limited him to only 31 appearances last season with Boston.

  • RHP Yusaku Iriki comes over from Japan with the standard pitches but no major league experience.

  • RHP John Maine came over from Baltimore with RHP Jorge Julio in the trade for RHP Kris Benson. The Mets and Orioles talked about Julio-for-Benson for two months until the Orioles agreed to add Maine.

    PROJECTED LINEUP: Spring training opens with only two positions considered open, and even those appear to be predictable -- Xavier Nady and Victor Diaz in right field and just about anybody to take over for Kaz Matsui at second base. Nady is expected to win the right field job, and Matsui probably can keep his job with a good spring. The Mets are set everywhere else, and from No. 3 through 6 in the lineup -- with CF Carlos Beltran, 1B Carlos Delgado, 3B David Wright and LF Cliff Floyd -- they have four sluggers with 30-homer and 100-RBI potential.

  • SS Jose Reyes (.273, seven homers, 58 RBIs) brings speed, a strong glove and tremendous potential to the table. Reyes has had problems staying healthy, but when he's sound, he can do a lot of things.

  • C Paul Lo Duca (.283, 6, 57) is no Mike Piazza, but then again, Piazza was no Piazza last year, either. The Mets like Lo Duca batting second because he can protect Jose Reyes with his bat control and can get on base for the RBI men.

  • CF Carlos Beltran (.266, 16, 78) had the first-year New York jitters last summer but vows he'll be fine. Beltran is a solid player, but the truth is he hasn't had a $100 million track record. It is time for him to earn the money.

  • 1B Carlos Delgado (.301, 33, 115) rejected the Mets after the 2004 season to sign with Florida, but general manager Omar Minaya was persistent and took advantage of the Marlins' fire sale. Delgado shouldn't be flustered on the New York stage and figures to be the Mets' most powerful left-handed threat since Darryl Strawberry.

  • 3B David Wright (.306, 27, 102) is a star now who is only getting better. Traditionally, third base has always been a black hole for the Mets -- save Howard Johnson in the mid-1980s -- but Wright gives them a star with long-term potential.

  • LF Cliff Floyd (.273, 34, 98) seems to always surface in trade rumors, but the Mets would be foolish to part with his bat and the power he provides, not only in protecting 3B David Wright, but as a threat in the bottom third of the order.

  • RF Xavier Nady (.261, 13, 41) came over in the trade that sent CF Mike Cameron to San Diego. Nady was set to play first base until the Mets traded for Carlos Delgado.

  • 2B Kaz Matsui (.255, 3, 24) has been the subject of trade talks all winter, but the Mets found no takers. Not only has Matsui not played well, but he has not played much -- only 87 games last year and 114 in 2004 because of injuries.

    PROJECTED RESERVES: The Mets are more legitimate contenders this year than last because they've done a lot to bolster their bench, which didn't give them much last year.

  • INF Julio Franco, 47, came over from Atlanta and gives the Mets instant bench credibility. The man can still hit, as evidenced by a .275 average with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 233 at-bats last year.

  • INF Jose Valentin is a switch-hitter and could get a chance to move out Kaz Matsui at second base.

  • OF Victor Diaz was penciled in to start in right field before the trade for 1B Carlos Delgado, which figures to move Xavier Nady to right field. Diaz hit 12 homers in only 89 games last year, so there's pop in his bat.

  • INF/OF Chris Woodward can play shortstop, second, third and left field. His .283 average indicates he's not an automatic out.

    TOP ROOKIES: The Mets don't have too many position questions, and with Carlos Beltran anchored in center field, their best prospect, Lastings Milledge, probably will open the season in the minor leagues. Anderson Hernandez played well at both Triple-A and Double-A and will get a shot to unseat Kaz Matsui at second base.

  • OF Lastings Milledge is a five-tool player Boston kept asking for when the Mets were interested in OF Manny Ramirez. The Mets wisely said no. He's likely to open the season at Triple-A because they don't want him to languish on the bench. He hit .337 last year at Double-A Binghamton.

  • 2B Anderson Hernandez will get a chance to beat out Kaz Matsui but will also get competition from veterans Jose Valentin and Bret Boone. Hernandez hit .326 in 66 games at Double-A Binghamton and .303 in 66 games at Triple-A Norfolk.

    SPRING FOCUS: How far the Mets go this year will be determined by their pitching -- whether their aging rotation stays healthy and if the influx of arms to the bullpen is productive.

    MEDICAL WATCH: RHP Pedro Martinez's inflamed big right toe is the most pertinent medical issue. Martinez will be wearing a specially designed shoe to alleviate the pressure on his foot during his delivery. It looks more and more as if he might not be ready by Opening Day.


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