By Mike Steffanos
The Mets made their final roster moves yesterday. They sent pitchers Jose Lima, Darren Oliver, Yusaku Iriki and Heath Bell to the minor-league camp -- apparently, there is still some question whether Darren Oliver and Jose Lima will accept the minor league assignments. Earlier this week, Lima indicated he wouldn't report to Norfolk, but he seems to have relented. Oliver has maintained that he will retire again rather than pitch in the minors.
Provided Victor Zambrano really does avoid going on the DL, the Mets 25-man roster looks like this:
Starting Pitching: Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel, Victor Zambrano, Brian Bannister
Bullpen: Billy Wagner (LH, closer), Aaron Heilman (RH), Duaner Sanchez (RH), Chad Bradford (RH), Jorge Julio (RH), Pedro Feliciano (LH)
Starters: (C) Paul Lo Duca, (1B) Carlos Delgado, (2B) Anderson Hernandez, (SS) Jose Reyes, (3B) David Wright, (LF) Cliff Floyd, (CF) Carlos Beltran, (RF) Xavier Nady
Bench: Catcher: Ramon Castro (R); Infielders: Chris Woodward (R), Julio Franco (R), Jose Valentin (L); Outfielders: Endy Chavez (L), Victor Diaz (R)
Kaz Matsui will start the year on the DL. When he comes back, someone will have to go. At some point the Mets might decide they need a seventh bullpen arm, which would necessitate another move. I would think that Victor Diaz and Jose Valentin would be two players most likely to be affected by these moves. Obviously, with minor league options remaining, Diaz would be the first to go.
At Mets.com, Marty Noble lists this as the batting order Willie expects to use most often:
- Jose Reyes
- Paul Lo Duca
- Carlos Beltran
- Carlos Delgado
- David Wright
- Cliff Floyd
- Xavier Nady
- Anderson Hernandez
New York Times: Final Moves
Ben Shpigel looks at the final roster moves the Mets have made, offering quotes from some of the players affected:
Victor Diaz (On making the team): I was so stressed. Every at-bat's been like the World Series for me.Shpigel also reports that Jose Lima will accept the assignment to Norfolk.
Victor Zambrano (On his tweaked hamstring): It doesn't hurt that much. We'll see.
Pedro Martinez (On finding a new suitcase in front of his locker: Whew. Guess I made the team.
Newark Star-Ledger: Lima
According to Don Burke, Jose Lima wishes to talk things over with his family before reporting to Norfolk. He has 72 hours to make a decision, and has been promised he would be the first pitcher brought up.
New York Post: Heath Bell
Mark Hale has a quote from Heath Bell, who deserved better than a return to Norfolk after a fine spring:
It's disappointing because I thought this year I was going to make Opening Day. I really didn't think I could have pitched any better. But with [Aaron] Heilman going to the bullpen and you do need a left-hander even though Heilman can get lefty guys out, they're only taking six guys [in the bullpen].
You deserve better. Hang in there, kid...
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