Wednesday, March 29, 2006

3/29 Spring Training Notes - Big League Battles Decided

The Mets decided their position battles Tuesday: Anderson Hernandez beat out Jeff Keppinger for the starting 2B nod while Brian Bannister edged out Aaron Heilman for the fifth starter’s spot. A disappointed Heilman will start the season in the bullpen. I don’t think I would have done it the way the Mets did, but I can’t get too worked up about either move because the reasoning makes sense AND I’m not in St. Lucie watching the guys play and work out every day. So lets assume the Mets got this right for now.

The front office clearly like Hernandez’s defense and with Delgado at first, a second baseman with range sounds good to me. If he doesn’t hit at all, the Mets can always recall Keppinger. Also, when Matsui comes back, he’ll spell Hernandez. It’s a fine short-term experiment, I think. If it were me, I think I might have gone with Keppinger who possesses experience and some on-base skills, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up playing at second in Shea soon enough.

As regards the pitching staff, I think I like what the Mets were doing. Odds are the sixth guy will eventually have to make some starts. Does anyone really think that Pedro, Glavine, Trachsel and Zambrano will make every one of their scheduled starts this year? Me either. So, barring a trade, Bannister AND Heilman will end up in the rotation together. The Mets brass had to choose between the current alignment and one with Bannister in AAA, Heilman in the rotation, and someone else filling a spot in the bullpen. Believe me, Heilman will pitch his innings and be a big part of the 2006 Mets. As long as Jose Lima isn’t on the big league roster, I’m happy. Lima got torched for five runs in two innings against the Marlins Tuesday.

Tuesday, Lastings Milledge, Tike Redman, Todd Self, Sandy Martinez, Jeff Keppinger and relievers Royce Ring and Juan Perez, were all sent to the minors. Milledge and Lambin were both 0-1 against the Marlins.

Monday, Mitch Wylie refused an assignment to Norfolk and became a free agent.

The BMets have a new website up at Congratulations to Scott Brown, Robert Ford and the rest of ‘em shivering in Binghamton. It’s a sharp looking site. Also, outfielder Bobby Malek has been blogging from St. Lucie, so that’s pretty cool. Malek, who will turn 25 this summer, hit .277/.335/.386 in 116 games last year for Binghamton.

I’ll have a new website, which will be sweet, possibly by as early as my next post.