It has been a rocky spring for the team. Despite an unpredictable April, injuries, and roster…
Carp Finds New Challenges with New Team
Fun has been scarce for the 2007 B-Mets. As of July 5, they sit in second-to-last in the Eastern League Northern Division with a 35-47 record, 16 1/2 games back of first-place Trenton. Some of the people from St. Lucie may be the same in Binghamton, but the circumstances, and the league, are not.
"There's a saying: when it rains, it pours," said B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras. "We'll put it together before the season is over."
For Mike Carp individually, things have not gone perfectly either. The left-hander can hit: he batted .287 with 17 home runs and 88 RBI for St. Lucie last year, earning the Sterling Award as the Mets Minor League Player of the Year. This year, he had picked up where he left off, batting .267 with two home runs in 75 at-bats through May 3.
But that day, as Carp slid into second base to break up a potential double play, his hand was caught in the line of fire of New Britain shortstop Trevor Plouffe's throw to first. A broken right ring finger put him on the disabled list for a month and a half.
"I saw the ball coming at my face and it caught the tip of my finger," Carp said. "And it just destroyed my finger, split the bone right in half. It feels good now, the only time it bugs me a little bit is when I throw. It's still kind of numb, but other than that it doesn't affect my swing or anything."
Apparently not. Carp made one rehab start for St. Lucie before returning to Binghamton on June 19. He hit .292 with two home runs in his first 13 games back.
Right now, Carp's two biggest tasks are to deal with the criticism and hype that come with being a New York prospect, and to work on his fielding proficiency. Carp's build—6-foot-2, 200 pounds or so—and his open batting stance are similar to Doug Mientkiewicz's, but he is quite the opposite of an all-glove, no-stick player.
"I try to work on everything the best I can. But defense is something that's really taken over for me the last year and a half or so. I've really worked on defense, I pride myself on defense—being a good defensive first baseman as well as a good hitter,"said Carp of his defense.
For now, Carp has to focus on the B-Mets. He and the other 2006 Florida State League champions on the current Binghamton roster have shown they can win—it's a matter of finding themselves again in 2007.
"Right now we're kind of playing kind off just a little bit," he said. "One day the hitting shows up, one day the pitching shows up: you put those together we're a pretty deadly team out there."
But in the coming seasons, grander things await. In 2009, the brand new Citi Field clubhouse awaits.
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