Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mets News and Notes: Mets Outfield, Murphy DL?, Wright Running, Marcum Plan, Santana Staying Put

Mets News and Notes:

Sandy Alderson said there is no cavalry coming to the rescue in the outfield. That means it will be Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin in the outfield in some configuration to open the season in all likelihood, as long as Valdespin isn't pressed into infield duty by injuries.

"We're going to go with the guys we have," Alderson told Newsday about the outfield.

Terry Collins confirmed Friday that Byrd should be an everyday player, not in a platoon role, although Collins said he has not resolved how Byrd's time will be spread between right and center field.

"Due to his background ... we need to find out what he brings to the table, because he's got a track record of being a pretty good player, a pretty good offensive player," Collins said. "I want to see early enough what he can do."

The manager, who emphatically said at the start of camp that Duda would be his regular left fielder, was not quite as forceful as camp nears an end.

Asked if Duda remained the everyday left fielder, Collins only said Friday: "That's a possibility."

Terry Collins recently predicted that if Daniel Murphy did not enter a game by this weekend, it was virtually impossible for him to be ready by Opening Day.

Well, Collins said Murphy is not ready to enter a game Saturday. And it's becoming more likely Murphy opens the season on the disabled list than at second base at Citi Field on April 1.

Murphy played five innings in the field a week ago in a minor league game, but has not reentered a game since because stiffness surfaced. He has not had any spring-training at-bats. Murphy originally received a cortisone injection on his right side on Feb. 19 in New York for a strained intercostal muscle.

Collins said that Murphy did take batting practice Friday.

“We had a conversation this morning," the manager added. "He said, ‘I’ll be ready by Opening Day.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s talk about that next Wednesday or Thursday.’”

If Murphy were to land on the DL, he would only be required to miss the first five games of the season because of backdating rules, as long as he does not appear in a Grapefruit League game.

Meanwhile, the news on David Wright was somewhat more upbeat. For the first time since receiving a cortisone shot a week ago for an intercostal strain on his left side, Wright ran and fielded some grounders. He did not attempt to swing a bat.

The Mets plan to have Shaun Marcum reenter the Grapefruit League rotation Thursday against the Washington Nationals in Viera, setting up the ex-Brewer for the second game of the regular season.

Marcum received a cortisone shot in his pitching shoulder Tuesday in New York, which he portrayed as a preventative measure because of a lack of spring-training velocity and tightness. He was scratched from yesterday's Grapefruit League appearance.

The plan beyond that, assuming Marcum handles next week's activity OK, is for Marcum to pitch the second game of that Padre series, on April 3 after an off-day. Matt Harvey would pitch the following day.

Dillon Gee would then get the Miami Marlins on April 5, in the opener to that series.

The worst-kept secret finally was acknowledged by Terry Collins on Friday: Johan Santana will not be ready to break camp with the Mets.

Santana has not been on a mound since March 6 because of a lack of shoulder strength.

“He’s not where he needs to be in his long-toss program,” Collins said. “Even if it’s next week, he’s not going to open with us. He’s going to have to get himself ready. And that’s going to certainly determine on a daily basis where he’s at. But we’ll be gone. I’ll have to monitor it by the phone.”

Collins said there is zero chance Santana, even on the DL, works with the Mets in New York. He will be based at the team's Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex until he is ready.

“Absolutely stay down here,” Collins said about Santana. “We don’t have the conditions up there for him to do what he needs to do. You’ve got a rainy day, a 40-degree day. And he’s going to get nothing out of it.”

As for the short-lived and unexpected decision to return to a mound two weeks ago, Collins said: "It's hard to say it was a setback. I just think he wanted to prove his arm was OK, that his arm was healthy. Instead of trying to make sure and not let all this other stuff bother him, he got angry about it. We needed to go back to step one again. At that particular time, that was his way of making sure everybody knew his shoulder was fine, that he wasn't hurt. It's just that he wasn't ready to pitch. So now we've got to get him ready to pitch.

"As I told him: 'I don't care about yesterday. I care about what we've got to do now.' We've got to move forward here. What happened six weeks ago has absolutely no bearing on what we need to do moving forward. So let's do it right."

Of Course, Jeremy Hefner will fill the rotation spot.
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