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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.