By Mike Steffanos
In Newsday, David Lennon cites manager Willie Randolph that in the event Carlos Beltran goes on the DL Friday, Lastings Milledge could possibly be called up as a replacement. As recently as a couple of days ago, this was something the team was supposedly not even considering.
I've been on record as someone who is in favor of this move, as bringing Victor Diaz up would not solve the problem of having someone else on the roster besides Endy Chavez who is capable of playing CF. Having said that, I do understand that the fact that Milledge isn't on the 40-man roster is a large obstacle to bringing him up. Milledge would have to be added to the 40-man in order to be eligible for call-up, and there's not a lot of dead weight on it right now. Since removing a player currently on the 40-man would expose him to waivers and quite likely mean losing him to another team, this is not an easy call.
If you look at the 40-man for players who are currently not on the 25-man active roster, we see pitchers Heath Bell, Bartolome Fortunato, Anderson Garcia, Philip Humber, Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Henry Owens, Mike Pelfrey, Juan Perez, Royce Ring, Steve Schmoll and Alay Soler. (Juan Padilla, on the 60-day DL, doesn't count against the 40.) None of these would likely survive waivers and stay with the team. As for the position players, you have Anderson Hernandez, Jeff Keppinger and Victor Diaz. None of them would pass through waivers, either.
So as much as I think Milledge would be the best choice as a replacement for Beltran -- the only real choice in my mind -- I understand that Omar and Willie have a difficult choice here. Not only do they have to question whether Milledge is ready for the challenge, they have to decide if it's worth it to lose a player when Beltran will return to the team fairly quickly.
Daily News: Zambrano will pitch against the Braves
According to Adam Rubin, the Mets will not use the off day Thursday to skip Victor Zambrano's start against the Braves this weekend. Rubin cites GM Omar Minaya that although Zambrano will not be allowed to keep pitching poorly indefinitely, the Mets' desire to keep Aaron Heilman in their strong bullpen somewhat limits their options.
Rubin also reports that 2004 first round draft pick Phil Humber pitched in an intersquad game in St. Lucie yesterday. Humber will pitch in 2 more intersquad games and, if all goes well, will be cleared to pitch in extended spring training games. Rubin quotes Humber, who is pleased with his progress:
It's nice to pitch to hitters and have defense behind you. My arm has been 100% for a month or a month and a half.
Daily News: Close to a Stadium Deal
Michael Saul reports that the City Council is expected to approve the stadium deal for both the Mets and Yankees tomorrow.