Ouch…

The News

  • The Mets lost to the Dodgers yesterday by a score of 13 to 4 in their first Spring Training game of the season.
  • The Star-Ledger reports that the cut on Kaz Matsui’s right middle finger is improving.  Kaz is expected to take ground balls today, but will not make any throws.  Mike Piazza isn’t expected to play today as he continues to recover from a tweaked adductor muscle on Tuesday.  “I told Art (Howe) I could catch, but he told me they were going to shut me down for a couple of days to be safe,” Piazza told to the Star-Ledger.
  • “He has a dynamic personality, and it’s absolutely welcome,” Mike  Stanton told the Journal News.  “His positive attitude and his approach to the game can be contagious. What he adds on the field is a given, but he also adds a lot to the clubhouse.” 

ERA 189.00

The News

  • Today’s Mets-Dodgers game will be on ESPN.  Hideo Nomo is scheduled to start for the Dodgers.  Steve Trachsel, Grant Roberts, Dan Wheeler and Ricky Bottalico are scheduled to pitch for the Mets.

  • The Daily News reports that Kazuo Matsui asked to make the trip to Vero Beach even though he’s out a week with a lacerated finger. Art Howe has been impressed with Matsui’s team-first attitude, says the Daily News.  The manager spotted Matsui picking up balls after a fielding drill yesterday.

  • In one-third of an inning, Scott Erickson allowed four hits, two walks, and six earned runs. “Obviously I would have liked to do better,” Erickson told the Bergen Record. “Not enough strikes. Plain and simple. But it was a meaningless game.”

  • On a bright note, 23-year-old pitcher Jose Diaz, acquired from the Dodgers last season for Jeremy Burnitz, pitched a scoreless inning yesterday, striking out all three batters he faced.  Diaz’s fastball reportedly clocked in around 94 mph, according to the Star-Ledger.

  • Mike Piazza played three innings at first base in yesterday’s game.  He pounced on a line drive off the bat of Cliff Floyd and stepped on first for a double play in the first inning.  Piazza did have a throwing error, tossing the ball to first before Scott Erickson was there to cover.  The Journal News reports that Piazza slightly hurt one of his adductor muscles in his upper left leg during infield practice.  Piazza and the team did not seem overly concerned.

  • According to the the Mets’ stat gurus,  nearly 70 balls that dropped in the outfield last season would have been caught had Mike Cameron been a Met, the Daily News reports.

  • The Daily News reports that Scott Strickland threw off the mound for the first time since his Tommy John elbow surgery from last season.  Strickland hopes to return by mid-May.

  • Tatsunori Hara, the former manager of the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants and Kazuo Matsui’s idol as a player, visited Met camp yesterday. Hara believes Matsui will hit .300, 15 home runs and steal 50 bases, says the Star-Ledger.

  • Sports Illustrated previews the Mets and the National League East.

  • Lastly, Bill Madden does a wonderful job explaining the Mets current philosophy.

MetsBlog.com’s Take…
Jose Diaz, 23, touched 98 mph two years ago, ” but had no command of his pitches unless he toned down his velocity and even then struggled to throw strikes,” says Baseball America. Last year he showed better command of his splitter and has consistently threw in the low 90′s. Before joining the Mets in Class A, Diaz went 6-3, 3.12 with a 76-51 strikeout-walk ratio and .181 opponent average in 69 innings.  Rick Peterson and Art Howe have stated Diaz is far from off their radar, and is a sleeper for the fifth starter spot, currently being fought over by a countless number of pitchers…I may be a candidate, I’m not sure yet.

Diablo…

The News

  • David Wright had three hits yesterday, including a two-run homer, as the Mets played their first intrasquad game of the spring, reports the Journal News. “This is the first full game I’ve had a chance to see him. He swung it great,” Mets manager Art Howe told the paper. “That’s why we’re pretty high on him.”  Victor Diaz made two errors at third and even forgot to cover the base on one occasion, a mistake that led to another error and a run for the opposing team.

  • The Daily News tells a quick anecdote about Jose Reyes standing in a batting cage watching Braden Looper pitch.  After jumping back at a Looper fastball, Reyes turned to Mets brass behind him and said, “Diablo!”  Glavine then commented, “The kind of guy that everybody wants as their closer is the kind of guy who has the opportunity to come in and dominate, that has the kind of stuff that’s going to blow people away

Stay In Texas…Please!

The News

  • The New York Post states that if the Mets and Rangers were to strike a deal for Alfonso Soriano, Texas would want Kazmir, who was just named the sport’s 12th-best prospect by Baseball America.
  • According to the Bergen Record, Mets’ officials insist Scott Kazmir is not available for a trade, particularly in any deal involving Alfonso Soriano.  The Record claims The Mets are interested in Soriano but aren’t willing to part with Jose Reyes or Kazmir.
  • The Dallas Morning News claims sources from the Rangers say a package could be formed from the Mets’ system that would make sense to the Rangers. The problem, however, is that for the deal to make any sense to the Rangers , Reyes must be included.
  • At any rate, the Post actually claims that Mets’ interest in Soriano may be fading anyway, quoting a Mets official as describing Soriano’s fit with the Mets as a “square peg in a round hole.”
  • Lastly, according to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers GM John Hart and assistant general manager Grady Fuson insisted there have been no talks with the Mets, and the Rangers don’t seem motivated to trade Soriano.  “We’re completely happy with what we’ve got,” Hart told the Star-Telegram. “We’re not out there churning the trade waters. That’s not something that we’re interested in.
  • According to the AP, Kazuo Matsui will miss two days of workouts and at least five exhibition games after suffering a deep cut on the middle finger of his right hand yesterday.  “He’s lucky he didn’t break his finger,” Reyes told the Journal News. “The ball hit him good. It was no bad hop, it just hit him.”
  • The NY Post reports that Reyes jammed a finger on his right hand and looked shaken up after transferring the ball during double-play drills, yesterday.  Reyes insists he is fine and continued to work on the field.
  • FOX Sports reports that Mike Piazza has looked “shaky” while fielding grounders at first base.  Adding that he seems “tentative while making the soft toss to a pitcher covering first base but is making strides.”
  • The Sports Xchange believes left-hander Lenny DiNardo will eventually end up back on the Mets.  DiNardo, a Rule 5 selection, has been unable to pitch off the mound because of a sore shoulder and is one of six lefties trying to earn a place in the Red Sox bullpen.  The Red Sox must keep DiNardo on their 40-man roster all season, otherwise he returns to the Mets.
  • Lastly, the Palm Beach Post prints a great feature on Jae Seo.  It should be noted that the PBP makes habit every season of publishing outstanding, obscure features on random players.  It is a great Spring tradition from the Florida paper.