It’s looking an awful lot like Livan Hernandez will make the team as both its fifth starter and fifth guy ever to wear No. 61, but I’m not counting on that quite yet. It seems to me that if all these opportunities for Freddy Garcia to get torched result in his getting some arm strength back that he’ll still be getting his chances right to the end, especially with Tim Redding likely to start the year on the disabled list and Jon Niese not too impressive so far.
Anyway, I should say I’ve always admired watching Hernandez work — he’s an ox with a full repetoire, likely to throw any pitch at any count and looks like one of those guys who can nicked a few times each night but still hand over a winnable game to his mates and you ought not ask much more of a No. 5 guy.
I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little disappointed that Rocky Cherry hadn’t gotten a better shot at cracking the Met bullpen, but the good news is the Rule 5 pick from the Orioles isn’t headed back to Baltimore so fast. The O’s refused the Mets offer, and the Mets subsequently released Cherry but word is they’re trying to sign him to a new deal and stash him in Buffalo.
The Mets in the meantime are looking to audition pitcher Fernando Nieve and veteran infielder Junior Spivey whom they both acquired in recent days. Nieve is a live-armed lottery ticket snatched on a waiver claim from Houston. He’s had some arm trouble in the past but reportedly brings it in the high 90s. He wore No. 64 in a few appearances with the Astros last year.
Spivey is the former Diamondback infielder (No. 37) and a member of the Snakes’ blessed 2001 World Champs. He most recently was released by the Red Sox in spring training and played independent ball last season. The Mets.com roster doesn’t show these fellas with assigned uni numbers yet — let us know what you see.
MBTN: Live on Long Island
I’ll be speaking about the Mets, uniform numbers, the MBTN book and anything else that comes up next Wednesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bryant Library in Roslyn. I will have a few books on hand to sell ($10 cheap!) and/or sign.
The Bryant Library is located at 2 Paper Mill Rd. in Roslyn. I hope to see you there.