As we’d been expecting to see, hitting coach Howard Johnson has cashiered No. 52 and returned to the No. 20 jersey he last wore as a Met player 15 years ago. Bullpen coach Guy Conti in the meantime switches from 56 to 52, allowing bullpen pitcher Juan Lopez to take 56. We hadn’t nailed down Lopez previously.
Bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello in the meantime was spotted wearing54, as noted below, and catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. has slipped into No. 90. These changes have been added to the handyclip-n-save Spring Training Roster above. Many thanks to Bryan, David, Chris and other commenters for the updates.
Big thanks also to MetsGrrl for pointing out how difficult it was to get in touch — turns out I’d mistakenly “turned off” the contact link. Duh.
Newly named coach Howard Johnson was spied at Spring Training revealing jersey No. 52 and temporarily ending some wild speculation that he’d finagle his old No. 20 from Shawn Green. The rules of the jersey game clearly pointed to this outcome — coaches don’t take jerseys from players, except when the player happens to be someone like Jeff McKnight. Then, all bets are off.
Thanks to readers Gene and Matt for pointing it out.
Also worth noting: Coach Jerry Manuel is back in No. 53, with spring training invitee Aaron Sele in 35. Manuel, you may recall, was assigned 53 last spring but switched jerseys when Chad Bradford — who’d been assigned 35 — preferred the latter. This restores at least some orderliness on the coaching bench: Sandy Alomar Sr. is still waddling around in No. 2, but the rest of the staff are nice and Rube Walkerly in the 50s — Rick Peterson 51; Hojo 52; Manuel 53; Rick Down 54; Tom Nieto 55; and Guy Conti 56.
Other sightings at Spring Training, as reported by various witnesses: Carlos Gomez in 88 and Fernando Martinez in 67. There have been several photos of recently signed ancient catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. floating around the Met but none in a jersey we’ve seen yet. Let us know if find something.
Marty Noble on the Jose Valentin/Moises Alou “controversy” (I use quotes here because I strongly suspect Valentin has more affection for 22, his number for many years, than for 18,his number for just one. But good Nobling here nonetheless:
Sometime this year, Mets left fielder Moises Alou will receive a bill, the amount of which has yet to be established. It will come from his new teammate, Jose Valentin.“I haven’t decided yet,” Valentin said. “It depends on how well he plays.”
The bill will be compensation for the uniform No. 18, which Valentin surrendered to Alou. Valentin has changed to No. 22 — worn previously by Ray Knight, Donn Clendenon, Kevin McReynolds, Al Leiter and Xavier Nady, among others — to accommodate Alou. Except for his first two games with the Pirates in 1990, when he wore No. 52, Alou has worn No. 18 throughout his career.
Alou’s uncle, Jesus, wore No. 23 with the Mets in 1975.
Only hours after Carlos Delgado and his scheming agent left the Mets high and dry came word that Omar had traded promising ex-Cyclone Ian Bladergroen for spare Red Sock first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. Minky brings an excellent glove but an average bat to his new job, but was probably the best among the consolation prizes. Mientkiewicz wore No. 16 for most of his career in Minnesota and No. 13 in Boston, but what might be most interesting is seeing whether the Mets manage to fit that unweildly last name onto the back of a jersey without dropping the leading: His 12-lettered name matches Isringhausen for the longest in Met history. Omar contends the offseason acquisition spree is all but done, but we’ll believe it when 25 men depart from St. Lucie.
Spotted at the Met Caravan this week: New manager Willie Randolph has indeed returned to his Met No. 12, as reported by MBTN reader Keith, and the photo above appears to showDanny Garcia accomodating by taking No. 1. The Met roster lists Miguel Cairo (next to Diaz) in No. 3 and reliever Dae Sung Koo (next to Brazell in the top row) in No. 60; but we haven’t confirmed either by eyewitness. We’re unsure who that guy is in the back row between Looper and Bell (DeJean?), as well as the dude on the farthest right on the top row.
Updates: The guy in No. 52 is is new bullpen coach Guy Conti, not Jerry or Charlie Manuel as we incorrectly guessed here. Thanks to readers Matt and Sean for pointing it out! Also today, we discovered that Victor Diaz has been given the more dignified No. 20 — he was a rookieish 50 last year.