Johnny Benchwarmer

We should know for sure how things shake out soon, but thought I’d forward a few ideas on the bench in case they’d like to check with me first.

Raul Casanova, wearing No. 30, looks like he’s going to start the year as the backup catcher to Brian Schneider. I don’t mind this. Casanova’s not as bad hitter and he switch hits. Ramon Castro has missed large parts of the last two seasons with back injuries and will miss the start of this year. I like my scrubeenos more reliable than Castro’s been, and hope for the sake of competition, and for the sake of having a lousy hitter as our No. 1 catcher, that Casanova makes his case.

I thought when Olmedo Seanz was canned the righthanded-hitting reserve job would go to Jose Valentin, but he’s hurt and may retire. Instead the Mets appear to be wavering between veterans Brady Clark 93 and – surprise! – Fernando Tatis. With Angel Pagan likely to be the starter in left while Moises Alou heals, and Endy Chavez the all-around defensive replacement, it may very well be Tatis, whose outfield experience is weak but who could also serve as a 3rd base and 1st base reserve. Tatis seems to be have been given a better chance than I’d anticipated given a dignified uni number (17) and fact he’s from early-90s Texas Ranger stock — USDA Prime as Omar is concerned.

Marlon Anderson (2B, 1B, corner OF) and Damion Easley (the only emergency shortstop) are the collective veteran lefty-righty pinch hitting tamdem. Let’s hope they survive the season unscathed.

* Pat Jordan fulfills the fantasy of every journalist who ever dealt with a difficult subject byblasting Jose Canseco out of the park. What a shot!

* I’ll be appearing with co-author Matthew Silverman at a book signing Saturday April 5, 3 p.m., at the Barnes & Noble in Bayside Queens.

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