Friday, March 22, 2013
Mets News and Notes: Turner Back, Nieuwenhuis Back, Murphy Not, Wright Maybe?, Hefner for Santana, Niese Opening, Captain Wright
For the first time since spraining his right ankle Saturday, Justin Turner reappeared in a game. Two games, actually.
Turner had three at-bats in a minor league game, then delivered a pinch-hit single in the Grapefruit League contest.
Turner passed a pair of tests as far as his ankle. He doubled and scored from second in the minor league game, then went first-to-third on a single by Marlon Byrd while facing St. Louis.
“I didn’t feel it at all,” Turner said.
Turner and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (knee bruise) both are slated to again play in a minor league game Friday.
Nieuwenhuis went 1-for-2 with three walks but did not play the field Thursday against the Triple-A Springfield Cardinals.
Daniel Murphy (side) is not yet ready to enter a minor league game.
Jeremy Hefner, the rotation plug for Johan Santana, allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in five innings. He surrendered a fourth-inning solo homer to David Freese.
“I wasn’t as sharp as I’d like to be today,” Hefner said. “They’re a real aggressive team, so I tried to throw a few more offspeed pitches early in the count. And that kind of got me behind in the count because I wasn’t getting them over for strikes.”
Jonathon Niese officially has been named the Mets' Opening Day starter.
“This guy, as we move forward, is going to be the head of this staff,” Terry Collins said.
Said Niese: “It means a lot. I’m real excited, obviously, getting this opportunity. But I’m going to treat it as any other start, just like if I’m the fifth starter, if I’m the second, third, fourth. I’m going to prepare the same and just go out and compete.”
David Wright has been named the fourth captain in Mets history, joining Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and John Franco.
“This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so far,” Wright said. “…To be on that short list of guys that have been considered captain of this franchise is, for me, a dream come true to say the least and something I’m very, very, very proud about.”
David Wright's strained intercostal muscle on left side leaves his opening day status still questionable, but Wright remains hopeful.
Shaun Marcum downplayed what the team announced as a shoulder impingement, suggesting he would not have even advocated getting a cortisone shot had his velocity not been down in his last start.
Marcum said he now has received a cortisone shot in his shoulder each of the last three spring trainings. Last year, his spring-training shoulder issue cost him 19 days. But Marcum insisted this instance would prompt him just to miss one turn in the Grapefruit League rotation.
Marcum said he does have some flexibility and range of motion limitation -- "a little tighter than I had been prior to that" -- but "not really" any discomfort. He said an MRI showed no structural damage. He was in New York anyway, he said, shopping for houses on the off-day.
"I feel like it's part of my spring-training routine," Marcum said. "It's precautionary. I told Terry [Collins] and Sandy [Alderson] I'd rather miss three days of spring training than miss a week or two during the season. ... I feel fine. I feel strong. I do. It's just something that looking back at my last start, my velocity was down a little bit. That was the only thing. I said something to them, to the trainers. They really didn't want to do the injection. I had to kind of talk them into it."
Marcum said his goal of reaching 200 innings will not be compromised by this issue.