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Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Mike SteffanosTuesday, February 7, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


After a couple of days spent moving the web site, I will now slide back into doing what I really enjoy -- talking about the Mets:

Daily News: Pedro's Shoe
Roger Rubin reports that the special shoe that Pedro Martinez has been waiting for from Nike may arrive today. Or it may not. Hey, Mets news is slow this time of year. Anyway, when it does come, it will keep his toe from suffering any more damage. Rubin quotes Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti, who has recently visited Martinez in the Dominican Republic:

He's right on schedule and looking as strong as I've seen him... When Pedro left at the end of the season, his weight was down 10-12 pounds. He has put that weight back on and is in great condition. He wants to do the same things he did last year in preparation for the season, the same program.

Rubin also reports that Conti visited new setup man Jorge Julio, and that Conti and Rick Peterson have some ideas for fixing some mechanical problem's with Julio's delivery which, if successful, can fix his annoying habit of giving up lots of home runs.

New York Times: Poor Art
Murray Chass reports on former Mets' skipper Art Howe -- unable to get a new job, and dissed in the book Moneyball.

Also on New York Times: Brother, can you spare an Amphetamine?
Michael Sokolove helps us to understand how the crackdown on "greenies" will affect baseball. (Drink lots of coffee boys, it works for the rest of us...)

Mets.com: Season-long tribute to 1986 Champs
Marty Noble reports that the twentieth anniversary of the last championship Mets team will spark a year long celebration at Shea. With Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling in the television booth you already have an '86 flavor to things -- if this current team could make the playoffs, that would be a fitting tribute, too.

Also on Mets.com: Noble's Mailbag
Marty Noble has a new Mailbag up on the Mets' site. I found this exchange on Mets' pitching prospect Brian Bannister interesting:

Has Brian Bannister flown under the radar this winter because other clubs don't feel he is a good prospect, or is he a guy the Mets wanted to keep around if their rotation ever opened up? I remember hearing he had a good year in Triple-A and that he didn't fare poorly before that. How much can he help the Mets this year either in the roation, bullpen or in a trade?
-- Darien M., Astoria, N.Y.

Bannister has value. Among the Mets' Minor League pitchers, he is the most advanced and the closest to pitching in the big leagues. He is not an overpowering pitcher, so he doesn't have a particularly high ceiling, as the scouts say. But he knows how to pitch and how to win, as the scouts also say. He had a 9-4 record and 2.56 ERA in 18 starts at Double-A last season, and won four of five decisions and produced a 3.18 ERA in eight Triple-A starts.

But he hasn't yet "put Triple-A behind him," as Bobby Valentine used to say. So he remains something of a question.

People with long Mets memories liken Bannister to Bobby Jones, who won 58 games from 1994-98 and pitched a one-hit shutout against the Giants in the clinching victory of the 2000 National League Division Series. He didn't have a particularly high ceiling, either.

Sometimes what frustrates me the most about the Mets' farm system is that they seldom develop complementary type players. We've had stars like Wright and Reyes emerge, but little else. It's a large part of the reason we always have to overpay for bench players and relievers -- and why we had to suffer through months of Kaz Ishii last season.

New York Sports Day: Xavier Nady
Joe McDonald speaks with new Met Xavier Nady, whom he quotes as being excited at the thought of playing in New York:

I am excited, I never spent much time back east. It's a fun city and a great place to play baseball, so I look forward to it. ... Things happen for a reason and this is a great group of guys.

About this Blog
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I'll continue to update both sites for another week or so, then just the new. Thank you to everyone that gives a little piece of their time to read my stuff. I value that time, and will continue to try to earn it.

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