As long as I was pointing out local media figures preying on what they considered to be a demanding and impatient fan base and poking the Mets with sticks to make a few headlines, I felt I should also point out that Mike Vaccaro of the Post has been providing a steady counterpoint more to my way of thinking.
I wouldn’t necessarily agree with everything in this column, but compared to what John Harper’s been shoveling this week in the News, it’s a welcome contrast and — would you believe? — perspective.
Numerically related content: Jason Bay wore 38 with the Pirates and most recently, 44 with the Red Sox. Fernando Nieve (I liked him quite a bit in his brief stay last year) owns the former at the moment while the latter went back on the market last week when the Mets declined to offer salary arbitration to disappointing signee Tim Redding.
Billy Wagner is back again with the Mets but hopefully only long enough to make a deal to get him out of my sight for good. I’m especially hoping that Omar manages to swap him to the Yankees or Phillies, both of which need a lefty in the pen and deserve the kind of rotten fate a jerk like Wagner seems to bring along with his fiery fastball.
Activating Wagner meant the Mets today released Livan Hernandez, who certainly seemed to have lost a grip on things lately but still seems a curious choice for unemployment with Tim Redding getting another astonishing stay of execution.
Has any Met free agent pitcher in their history performed as badly as Redding this year and gotten so little credit for it? It’s taken season-ending injuries to three different starting pitchers to save him thus far, and he’s still not been reinserted to the rotation. (Turns out, he has: He’s going to take Livan’s start on Saturday).
Anyway, so long No. 61. I thought you were OK. Hello, Billy. Don’t unpack too much.
Watching the Met debut of Tim Redding, who tonight will become the 860th Met of all-time.
Redding will be suited up in No. 44 — which belonged to four different guys last year, none of whom I could have told you had I not just looked it up myself, I don’t think. If you’re interested in making a guess in the comments section, go ahead, I won’t say who they are.
Redding’s accompanying lineup is a little goofy — a continuation of the stuff we saw last night where Fernando Tatis played short and Jerry Manuel, once again, made a baffling pinch-hitting call that blew up his face with the game on the line. Yet, Angel Pagan starts tonight in left while Daniel Murphy and Ryan “Doghouse” Church once again sit.
The shortstop is Ramon Martinez, called up because of a thumb injury to Alex Cora who is going onto the DL today too and Jose Reyes is still unavailable (Mackey Shillstone?). You might remember Martinez as the only Met who could buy a hit in the last week of the season last yea. He was wearing No. 22 then but with that jersey since reassigned to JJ Putz, we’ll have to wait and see what he turns up in. (Updated: He’s wearing No. 26)
Seems like only a moment ago I was praising the flexibility of this roster but this is about as stretched out as I’d like to go right now. Carlos Delgado, you may have heard, is on his way to the operating room and I can’t imagine he reappears until August or so.
Redding’s recall, by the way, meant another demotion for Nelson Figueroa — who came and went without an appearance — and a continuing tour for Ken Takahashi.
Right you are, Ken.
Stop beating on Oliver Perez, everybody.
He’s pitched terribly this year, for sure, but the next guy who smugly explains away his struggles to a “10-cent head” is gonna get it. For one thing, most jocks are thick, and being a little slow out there is a virtue sometimes, if you insist on a literal interpretation of the remark. But I think there’s more to it than that. A physical injury, particularly a non-deblilitating but bothersome one such as tendonitis, is a perfectly reasonable explanation (not to mention consistent with Dan Warthen‘s complaint that Perez showed up out of shape this year) if only Ollie were offered the same benefit of the doubt as, for example, a teammate who also appears to struggle with control and confidence and makes problems for the bullpen by failing to last too deep into games.
No, I’m not encoraging the cheap shots extend to John Maine, just pointing out that what Perez needs now is rest and the same support his teammates should expect. There is plenty more to worry about.
Like, for instance, his replacement in the rotation for now, Jonathon Niese, recalled upon Ollie’s assignment to the DL. Still wearing No. 49, Niese gave the Mets a few good outings, and a few not-so-good ones, late last season.It appears Niese will last only until the organization thinks Tim Redding is ready. In case you forgot, Redding was wearing No. 44 when a string of bad starts indicated a ten-cent head injury in St. Lucie this spring.
In other news, Casey Fossum refused a demotion to Buffalo and signed instead with the Yankees. Loser.
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.
So Tim Redding showed up today at CitiField and received a pinstriped Mets jersey with his name and No. 44 on the back.
Interesting in that it makes three Mets on the current 40-man roster who have a claim to that jersey, even though its not likely two of pretenders, Eddie Kunz or Brandon Knight, make it back right away. But a small part of us will be rooting for Knight, who is on the fast-track to McKnighthood having already burned though two numbers in just four appearances and is now poised for a third.
Knight you may recall arrived from Class AAA in late July to take a start in place of Pedro Martinez who was away on bereavement leave. (That game eventually turned into the stupid, 10-8, 14-inning loss remembered for Albert Pujols’ home run off Aaron Heilman). Knight was wearing No. 28 then. He shortly was back to New Orleans and then to the Olympics, and by the time he’d returned in September, Daniel Murphy was a sensation in the same No. 28 jersey and Kunz had made a brief appearance in No. 44, which was subsequently assigned to Knight. Mets rosters though today continue to list Knight as the possessor of 44, with Redding and Kunz listed as the everpopular —.
Thanks to astute reader Rich for pointing that out. And thanks to our friends at No No-Hitters for the assist on the new uni-number graphics, which look a million times better than the old ones wouldn’t you say?
So, Tim Redding? Wore No. 17 in Washington last season, but as the kind of guy destined to surrender the No. 5 starter duties at some point, I’m not sure he has the juice to dictate his own digit. I suppoose its possible now that Fernando Tatis does, if for some reason he’d prefer something other than 17, but that’s speculation we’re going to have to wait until spring training to test.
Welcome Abordick, Tim.
Once again, the Mystery Men:
Kunz/Knight (they both most recently wore No. 44)
Putz/H. Johnson (Putz posed in 40, but as yet isn;t listed as such on the official roster
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The Mets have to be smarting still from the beating Paul Lukas administered on Page 2 the other day. The subject? The butt-ugly sleeve patch correctly identified as the worst in baseball history,headed to their uniforms this year.
It’s not too late, Mets. Please.
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Ken Davidoff of Newsday notes that David Wright will wear No. 4, not No. 5, as part of the World Baseball Classic team this year. That’s because skipper Davey Johnson wears 5. Well, of course he does.
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