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El Duque on Schedule After Strong Start

Mike SteffanosSaturday, March 24, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Orlando Hernandez pitched six strong innings against the Cardinals Friday afternoon, and his performance should at least temporarily quiet down some of the predictions of doom for the 41-year-old Cuban right-hander. It wasn't a perfect outing, as he got away with some hanging breaking pitches early on, but he got sharper as the game went on. He also made it through 6 innings and about 95 pitches. With another spring start ahead of him, he should be ready to pitch once the real games start.

El Duque's line: 6IP, 1R, 0ER, 3H, 5K, 3BB

Jon Adkins pitched a scoreless inning in relief, and is doing a better job throwing strikes and keeping the ball down. He could still win a job with a strong final week, as he has no minor league options left.

Pedro Feliciano hasn't missed a beat from last year, and continued his terrific spring with a 1-2-3 eighth. Coming into this spring after Scott Schoeneweis was signed to the big contract Feliciano had to show that last year was no fluke. I don't think he's left any doubt about that.

Aaron Heilman came into the game in the ninth with a 2-1 lead and nailed it down for the Mets, looking pretty sharp with the changeup.

The offense was pretty quiet today, notching only 5 hits. With the Cardinals clinging to a 1-0 lead after an unearned run in the first, David Newhan drove in the tying run with a sac fly in the sixth, and Damion Easley had a 2-out base hit to plate the game winner in the eighth.

Split squads on Saturday. Chan Ho Park takes the hill against the Orioles in St. Lucie in a game that will be televised on SNY at 1 PM. Needless to say, Park is running out of time to earn a job. John Maine will start for the other squad that travels to Jupiter to face the Marlins.

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Comments (4)

El Duque looked good today. But his issue will always be health rather than preparedness. When he feels healthy, he can be a good number 2 or 3 starter. When he doesn't, well you know the rest.

I'm warming up to the idea John Delcos brought up a few days ago about making Pelfrey the 4th starter (pitching regularly) and Duque the 5th (getting more days off). It just seems to be a more logical way to handle April, allowing a key component of our starting staff more time to get and stay healthy for the rest of the year. Your thoughts?

8 days, 18 hours.

Big trade in August!... they add Pedro to the starting rotation will be like getting somebody in a trade without giving up anybody. It would be great if he comes back strong, but who would we move?

Regarding Salman's post, I could certainly go along with that plan. El Duque has pitched in nearly every capacity, except closer; missing a start now and then would probably do him more good than harm, and shouldn't affect his work.

Tell you: this team is going to be all right on the mound. The most vulnerable time will be early on, with the bullpen; if that goes smoothly I thinka lot of these writers predicting an 85-win season from the Mets are going to be very surprised.

Salman - I think El Duque will get a couple of rests during the season, either way. For what it's worth, based on what I saw I think he actually does better with more regular work. Rather than skipping starts sporadically I would just give him a couple of vacations like the one last August. I understand what you're saying, though.
Al - August is a long way off. Considering all of the injuries last year I wouldn't worry about the need to demote someone until it comes up.
dd - I agree with your take that they will be most vulnerable early on with the bullpen. I'll be interested in hearing the results of Sanchez' MRI.

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