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Mets Must Find a Way with Less Pedro

Mike SteffanosSunday, March 5, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

We are hearing the first murmurings that Pedro Martinez may miss his opening day start and predictably, angst among Mets fans is on the rise. It's a sure thing that the two afternoon dopes on WFAN will beat on this news pretty hard, as accentuating the negative to bait Mets fans is one of their favorite activities. Certainly, I don't look on this as a good thing, but perhaps it points out an important fact to us: maybe it's unreasonable to expect 200 innings out of Pedro over these next three years of his contract.

I know that the doomsayers will point to this as a reason for the Mets to fall short in 2006. Maybe they will, or maybe Rick Peterson and his staff take the other guys and get enough out of them to make up for a Pedro who may only contribute 25 starts or so. Maybe being a little extra careful with Pedro early in the year will ensure that he's there late when things really matter.

No one ever accused me of being an excessively optimistic person. I have at least the normal amount of northeastern pessimism. I almost feel Pollyannaish compared to many Mets fans lately, however. It seems like the better the Mets get the more negative a lot of Mets fans get -- really unhealthy negativity, too, that obsesses over any perceived weakness and glosses over any of the team's strengths. Then the WFAN crew just beats on this, Kaz Matsui, Willie's decision making, the Seo and Benson trades, etc. Everyone ignores or quickly glosses over whatever positives exist -- to the point where at times is sounds more like we're talking about a potential 90-loss team rather than a true playoff contender.

It's funny, but Atlanta has so many more issues than the Mets this season, but everyone just expects them to overcome their issues, while at the same time expecting the Mets to be buried by theirs. Along with shockingly poor hygiene, there is a can-do attitude down in Atlanta that would be useful here. The problem with this, of course, is that the Mets history doesn't support optimism, and media types feed on this. Personally, I really do feel that things are changing for the Mets, and I do think that a can-do attitude is replacing that defeatist spirit of the past. I believe this change in the organization to be every bit as important as the players they are adding.

Unfortunately, looking at positives isn't good for radio ratings, especially when you have a pair of clowns that enjoy baiting Mets fans. Maybe we'd all be better served by turning off our radios, but that's another subject for another day.

Newsday: Pedro might miss opening day
David Lennon reports that it's looking less likely that Pedro will be ready to take the ball April 3, quoting Martinez himself on the possibility:

As of now, I'm not a question -- as of now. But I still have [to pitch] batting practice. I still have a few more bullpens. I still have to play long toss. There's a lot of things that could happen in the period of time. We're going to wait and see what happens. As of now, I'm counting on pitching Opening Day. If I don't, I'll pitch on the fifth day. It will be my spot, I guarantee you that. I'll have one spot in the rotation.

Gotham Baseball: More Pedro
Mike McGann reports on Pedro Martinez' outing today. Despite growing indications that Pedro might not be ready to open the season, McGann quotes Martinez that he's making progress:

I just want to get comfortable first and actually work my way through it not really try to do anything. I wasn't sure when to push it or what to expect, now I know what to expect. Hopefully, I'll be able to start mixing and working on locations and get everything together and see how it goes.

Daily News: More Toe
Adam Rubin offers a rather impressive chronology of Pedro's toe problems.

New York Times: Anderson Hernandez shines
Ben Shpigel reports on Anderson Hernandez' fine game against the Nationals yesterday. Even though Hernandez was playing shortstop in the absence of Jose Reyes, it's only a matter of time before he joins with Reyes to form the Mets double play combination for the next several years.

Mets.com: Cliff likes the DH
Marty Noble reports that Cliff Floyd is the rare player that enjoys being a DH. Cliff's contract is up at the end of the season, and though he wouldn't mind staying in New York, he does see the advantage at this stage of his career in hooking up with an American League team.

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