|They will be back in 2013|
The entire Mets coaching staff -- pitching coach Dan Warthen, hitting coach Dave Hudgens, bench coach Bob Geren, third base coach Tim Teufel, first base coach Tom Goodwin and bullpen coach Ricky Bones -- will return next season. Wally Backman, who managed the Triple-A club this season before joining the Mets in September, has yet to be presented with a 2013 role. A team source told ESPNNewYork.com that Las Vegas, the Mets' new Pacific Coast League home, may not be attractive to Backman.
Connecticut native Adam Greenberg, who was struck in the head with a pitch in his lone major league plate appearance -- on July 9, 2005 -- and subsequently developed vertigo will pinch hit for the Marlins today. He likely will face Dickey in the middle innings. The Mets will treat him like any other major league hitter.
Fred Van Dusen, the only other player in major league history to be hit with a pitch in his lone major league plate appearance and never play the field, will be on hand and throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
It appears highly unlikely Mike Pelfrey will return in 2013, but Terry Collins and Warthen wouldn't mind having him back -- as a back end of the bullpen option, perhaps. Pelfrey, who underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1, has to be cut loose in December. Otherwise, the Mets would have to pay him at least 80 percent of this year's $5.6875 million salary. Once a free agent, Pelfrey would be free to sign anywhere. And agent Scott Boras likely would try to place Pelfrey with a team to start on a one-year contract with a reasonable base salary (maybe $2 million) and performance-based incentives.
Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon joined the team in Miami along with other Mets executives, including Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco. The group will begin to solidify an offseason plan.
Warthen said the key to Dickey (20-6, 2.69 ERA) taking another leap forward this season was learning how to control the knuckleball up in the zone and using up-and-down movement in addition to side-to-side.
“The old adage is: See it low, let it go. See it high, let it fly,” Warthen said. “We’ve kind of capitalized on that thought process in keeping that knuckleball at a higher part of the zone a lot more often and getting a lot of strikeouts from it.”
“It wasn’t really an idea as much as we kind of stumbled upon it in Pittsburgh (May 22),” Dickey said about commanding the pitch up in the zone. “I figured out a mechanism to be able to keep it elevated and still take spin off of it. At least I thought I had, and was anxious to work on it in my bullpens subsequent to that outing.
“Sure enough, it seemed like we had identified something that I could do to change the elevation consistently when I wanted to. The thing about a knuckleball is a lot of times you’ll try things and it’ll do the opposite. It’s just the nature of that pitch from time to time. So when you find a way to do something and you can consistently do it with that, then you’ve found something good. From that moment on I really worked hard on it.”