Here’s a cross-section of recent news and notes on the Mets you may have missed, including a look at what’s going on at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Jason Vargas, out with a hand injury, threw a 65-pitch simulated game Monday and is expected to toss 90 pitches in Florida over the weekend, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. Complimenting Steven Matz as the second left-handed starter the Mets have, the team eagerly awaits his return, which will not be possible until he can catch balls in his glove hand without pain or further injury. He will not need any rehab assignments as his regular throwing program continues and is not affected.
Matt Harvey was apparently saved from being traded by the Mets over the winter when Mickey Callaway intervened and nixed the idea. This, according to a report in the New York Times by James Wagner, who cites Callaway as saying this about Matt Harvey: “We want the challenge of helping this guy out. He deserves it. And when he’s good, the upside is very, very high. We knew if we let this guy go, it’s going to be hard to find another guy with the upside that this kid has.” So far, Callaway has proven once again that he has the pulse of the Mets well within his hands.
Juan Lagares has been traded by the Mets at least six or seven times and yet he still patrols centerfield for the team like few others can. On Saturday, Lagares was 1-for-3 with a walk and, more significantly, threw out Brian Goodwin at home in the second inning. Goodwin was trying to score from second on Pedro Severino’s single, but Lagares’ beat him to the plate.
Michael Conforto continues to make the Mets a different (i.e. better) team whenever he is in the lineup. Conforto turned in a monster year at the plate last season, slashing .279/.384/.555 and driving 27 balls out of the park in 440 plate appearances. Project that out over a full season and his numbers become downright scary. More significantly, though, the Mets need someone to replace David Wright as the face of their team. Full speed ahead, Conforto seems to fit the bill.
The Mets have six players 30 or older: first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, 35; third baseman Todd Frazier, 32; right fielder Jay Bruce, who will turn 31 on Tuesday; relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak, 32; starting pitcher Jason Vargas, 35; and Reyes who, at 34, is said to have received an application from AARP in the mail. It’s not a big deal, but it has cut down on their speed on the basepaths. No matter, though, as Mickey Callaway advises – just be smarter and more aggressive.
MLB Trade Rumors used to be a source of fodder for Mets fans and especially the ones we can say were “disgruntled”. No more. A scan of the page today reveals not one mention of the Mets being involved in anything regarding personnel changes. How cool would that be if it carried through the season?
Jeurys Familia gave credit to manager Mickey Callaway after he earned a five-out save to close out the Mets’ 3-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday. While the Mets remain cautious of using Familia in multiple out situations, the team and Callaway is, to their credit, paying attention to the need to get a win when a win is staring at you in the face. This is a huge change in culture for the Mets who, in another day would have taken the conservative approach in a similar situation. Of course, the positive outcome on Saturday speaks for itself, too.
Zack Wheeler has apparently accepted his fate along with the challenge of being demoted to the Mets Triple-A club in Las Vegas. Wheeler went five innings and gave up just three hits. He struck out six batters and was consistently touching 95 miles per hour with his fastball. The Mets have pulled no punches with Wheeler and they have made clear, while they maintain interest in him, they are looking for something from him as well. If this is a start, there’s even more reason for joy in Metland.
Got A Question: What is the reason ESPN for tonight’s choice for their national telecast – the Nationals or the Mets? We know the answer. ESPN is not stupid.
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