This just in: Jose Valentin is in camp and been assigned No. 99.
More details later.
Later: Looks also like Bobby Keilty is wearing No. 62. Livan Hernandez, as pointed out in the comments, is in 61.
Still more later. In the meantime, now that everyone’s in camp, photos and eyewitness reports should be rolling in — if you can help “fill the gaps” please let me know and thanks!
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.
With Cliff Floyd’s departure to Chicago, it may be interesting to see whether Willie Randolph alights in the now-vacant No. 30 or stays with the 12 he’s worn as a Met player and manager (in his playing days, 30 belonged to Mel Stottlemeyer; Willie was 30 with the MF Yankees most of his career).
Alert MBTN reader Richard informs us that Mets.com is offering the Jose Valentin jersey in No. 22 — the switch from 18 we expected following the Moises Alou signing earlier this off-season.
Hello to new arrivals and/or spring auditionees Scott Schoeneweis, Aaron Sele, Jorge Sosa and David Newhan.
While Schoeneweis falls one letter short of the all-time Met record for characters on a name plate (ISRINGHAUSEN, with 12 still leads the pack), if his form holds true the veteran loogy would become the first player in Met history to wear No. 60. We’re kind of shocked to see him get a three-year contract.
The well traveled Sele, who signed a minor-league deal, has worn 30, 34, and last year with Los Angeles, 41. Sosa, who was pretty good for the Braves in ’05 and horrendous with them last year, is yet another former No. 34. We last saw the 34 jersey on Mike Pelfrey, who just might make the starting rotation.
Newhan, often described as a Joe McEwing type, wore No. 11 with the Orioles, as McEwing had in his last years as a Met. Eleven currently belongs to reserve catcher Ramon Castro, who was re-signed recently along with Endy Chavez 10; Duaner Sanchez 50; and, to another minor-league deal, the immortal Mike DiFelice.
The Mets made a curious trade Jan. 21, sending Kris Benson 34 and his mouthy wife to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for relieverJorge Julio and pitching prospect John (Lobster) Maine. Whether this move portends a trade forBarry Zito or simply shifts the overpopulation problem from the starting rotation to the bullpen remains to be seen. Julio wore No. 50 last year with the Orioles while Maine in his brief appearances wore 61.
On Jan. 18, the Mets signed former Ham Fighter and Tokyo Giant Yusaku Iriki (You’re So Fine), who looks to compete for the longman job. Iriki wore No. 49 with the Ham Fighters and No. 20 with the Giants, research shows.
We overlooked the late December addition of lefty sidearmer Mike Venafro. He has a minor league contract and spring training invite.
Photos from the Mets Caravan revealed players in new unis including Julio Franco in 23, Paul LoDuca in 16 and Jose Valentin in 18. Newly arrived reliever Jorge Julio was wearing a jersey withno number on it. MBTN reader Rich reports: Chad Bradford appeared in No. 35, Duaner Sanchez in 40, and Mets.com is selling Bret Boone jerseys bearing No. 9.
Additional photos show Xavier Nady wearing No. 10 and Steve Schmoll in the dreaded No. 46.