Carp Shows He is Ready; Martinez Looking for an Opening
You might be surprised with the identity of the player leading the New York Mets in hits this spring with 17. It is outfielder Fernando Martinez. At this point, the 21-year-old Dominican does not have a job with Gary Matthews Jr. and Angel Pagan fighting for time in center until Carlos Beltran returns. Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur man the corners. At some point, Martinez should force his way into the picture, however.
Mets GM Omar Minaya did not say when shortstop Jose Reyes will return but said the shortstop is running and had his second good day in a row. Minaya also mentioned the possibility of a healthy Reyes batting third until Carlos Beltran returns in late April or May.
Though he was originally nestled between Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick at #5 in the Cardinals order, centerfielder Colby Rasmus was scratched due to a bruised knee that was spiked on Wednesday. The injury is not serious. Note the potential increase in value based on Rasmus’ new spot in Tony La Russa’s batting order.
Catcher Yadier Molina’s strained oblique may or may not be healed by opening day, but should not be a lingering problem.
Another sleeper, shortstop Brendan Ryan, joined Albert Pujols in homering off Mets starter John Maine, who yielded just the two runs on three hits in five innings. Maine looked considerably better than the last time I saw him this spring and was facing primarily the Cardinals starters.
After a tidy but ugly10.00 ERA in his first three spring outings, Chris Carpenter proved he is ready for the bell. He used his sinker to hold the Mets hitless for the initial four frames, finishing with one earned run on two hits and a walk in six total innings of work. Carp fanned seven Mets.
With Tout Wars / NFBC weekend looming, my Grapefruit League Reports will be taking a break until Monday. See you then!