The Mets kicked off the Spring schedule yesterday against the Tigers, losing 4-2, but certainly the biggest positive to come from the game was how good Mike Pelfrey looked in his two innings of work. Of course, it’s the first spring game and it doesn’t mean much, but had he gotten shelled lord knows the media would be shredding him. So it should be noted that he pitched two scoreless innings against the Tigers starters, striking out one and allowing only an infield single to Magglio Ordonez.
I suspect Pelfrey is going to get 20+ starts this season, because I have no faith El Duque will stay healthy, and Pedro will need a breather of some kind at some point. If last September is a sign of the real Pelfrey, this is going to be a **** of a rotation to contend with.
A pickup I liked that a lot of people missed was the signing of Brady Clark for some outfield depth. He’s not an everyday player, but he can can hit a bit (though not for much power), draws some walks, can run a bit and play an acceptable outfield. If Ryan Church struggles against lefties, don’t be surprised to see Clark – who hit .306 with 13 homers for the Brewers in 2005 – get a platoon opportunity.
No positional starters other than Ryan Church ventured to Lakeland for the game. The Mets stay away from Port St. Lucie tomorrow when they play the Cardinals in Jupiter. Not sure what regulars will start, but on the mound it will be nice to see John Maine as well as the eagerly anticipated appearance of Duaner Sanchez, who could prove to be a huge key this season. Joe Smith is also slated to take the hill.
Scott Kazmir’s MRI came back negative, and the diagnosis is only an elbow ligament strain. Kaz believes he’ll still get the Opening Day start for the Rays.
From the I Had No Idea department, great piece here on MLB.com about a slew of former stars trying to return to the bigs after hiatuses driven by age, injury or a combination of the two. Juan Gonzalez (Cardinals), Bret Boone (Nationals), Edgardo Alfonzo (Rangers) and Hideo Nomo (Royals) have been gone more than 25 months each. Add to that list Matt Mantei (Tigers), who flat out walked away from the game after 2005, and a host of injury returns led by Mike Hampton (Braves), Kris Benson (Phillies) and Nick Johnson (Nationals). Sentiment hopes Alfonzo’s able to make it back.