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Pedro, Ramon, and Duaner

Mike SteffanosMonday, March 17, 2008
By Mike Steffanos


I mentioned a couple of days ago that spring training was starting to wear thin for me. Gratitude that they're playing baseball again has been replaced by impatience for the season to get going. Watching Pedro Martinez pitch against the Tigers yesterday, however, felt more like an event than just another spring exhibition. He still has some work to do to get ready for the season, but the Pedro I saw yesterday bore a strong resemblance to the Pedro who came over and dominated the National League in 2005.

If Pedro can make 27-30 starts and stay relatively healthy it's hard to see him not having a very successful return to action. In a spring that seems very much focused on bad news, watching Pedro work yesterday was the equivalent of a warm summer breeze caressing the battered psyche of us Mets fans.

Of course, the Mets will have to be careful with Pedro all season. Even if he manages to avoid any setbacks they should still be judicious with the extra rest and even skipping a turn occasionally. Having Pedro all season would be of incalculable value to this team, far beyond what he gives them in wins and losses.

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Ramon Castro is getting an MRI on his tight hamstring, and I can't help but think back to an ongoing discussion for the last couple of years. Many fans believe the Mets should just give Castro the starting catching job, based on his terrific offense as the backup. The problem is that Ramon can't stay healthy. In the past couple of seasons, whenever he's had to take on full time duty he has gotten hurt. This year hasn't even started and Ramon can't stay on the field.

I love this guy for both his offense and his sense of humor, but it will be interesting to see how many games he is able to play this season. In a perfect world I'd like to see him get the bulk of the time against lefties and also some starts against righties -- something like 40% of the playing time. I have a feeling, though, that if it played out that way he'd be on the DL by May. Even as strictly the backup, if Ramon has another season where he misses significant time, I can't help but wonder if the Mets might not look for a more durable number two catcher. I wish he would just survive the season intact and make this line of thinking moot.

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Duaner Sanchez made his fourth appearance of the spring today. With 2 weeks left before opening day it's hard to see him coming north with the team. Forget pitching back to back games right now, he has needed multiple days off between appearances. With the other options the Mets have, that's the way they should play it. I honestly think they should go slow and build up that arm strength before he tries to get major league hitters out.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Right on Mike,They definintely need to watch Pedro but it is his walk year and I personally think he will leave everything he has out on the field because he wants one more payday before he rides off in the sunset. As far as sanchez goes, he is getting hit and looks at times scared out there as he seems to be a little rusty as expected. Start the season without him and let him take his time. I truely believe we can survive early without him and when he's ready it will be like making a trade. I can't believe how bad smith looks. Wonder if he's tipping his pitches? Oh well, we're still banged up with no help on the horizon. Omar must think Delgado and Co. will come around. I just think we will struggle to score runs without some offense from the outfield and I really don't see enough consistently on the corners.

William - I don't the Mets offense will be quite as powerful as it was in 2006 and at times last year. If they bring a little more intensity to the table and play smart they could offset that. As for Smith, it seems like a complete loss of confidence to me.

Ramon Castro gets hurt when he runs! solution, just hit homeruns and jog around the bases. Marlon Anderson is not the fix @1st, if Delgado goes down. El Duqes is milking it! just put him aside till June or July, he will be ready then.

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