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Friday, March 01, 2013

Mets News and Notes: Valdespin in RF?, Murphy Update, Feliciano Update, Wheeler Update, Mets Concerts, Byrdak

Mets News and Notes:

Jordany Valdespin, who singled in each of his first two at-bats Thursday and is off to a quick start in the Grapefruit League with a .455 average, will get a look in the outfield soon, Terry Collins said.

Daniel Murphy (strained muscle on right side) is about a week from entering Grapefruit League action, at which point Collins plans to look at Valdespin in the outfield. Valdespin's early Grapefruit League action has come at second base.

Valdespin is coming off a Caribbean Series in which he played right field.

The Mets likely can only carry three lefty-hitting outfielders, so Valdespin probably would have to displace Kirk Nieuwenhuis to make the Opening Day roster as an outfielder, since Lucas Duda as the left fielder and Mike Baxter as a role player/right fielder seem pretty solid.

Nieuwenhuis, who started in left field, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in Thursday's 4-4 tie against the Washington Nationals. He is hitless in 12 at-bats, with six strikeouts, since opening Grapefruit League play with a single.

Pedro Feliciano, who has been cleared to resume baseball activities with the stipulation he wears a heart monitor, has been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition known as left ventricular noncompaction that should not affect his ability to pitch, his agent indicated.

Feliciano received the diagnosis Wednesday at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. He underwent an electrocardiograph, echocardiogram and a cardiovascular MRI.

"I am ready to return to spring training with my team," Feliciano said in a statement released through his agent's PR firm. "I will attend to my ailment that was discovered during a routine checkup and not because of pain, but I can honestly say it will not keep me up at night. I will be on top of my condition, but it will not stop me from playing baseball."

Feliciano does not have a hole in his heart, which he previously indicated might be the case.

"This was not true," he said. "It was not clear from the start, and it was too early to really determine a prognosis. I had a heartbeat irregularity and that is why the Mets organization sent me to get additional testing to obtain a final diagnosis.”

Pitcher Zack Wheeler's absence from game action with a mild strain of his right oblique muscle may be only about a week.

Manager Terry Collins told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday afternoon that Wheeler's injury is "not very bad."

The hope is to get Wheeler back on a bullpen mound in five days, with the top prospect pitching in a game again three days after that session.

Wheeler was scratched from Wednesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals after injuring himself swinging in a batting cage pregame.

"He's feeling better today," Collins said. "He actually did some motion exercises where they kind of triggered a spot. Where he throws, he doesn't feel it -- when he makes that movement. It's the movement in the opposite direction where he can sense it. So [trainer] Ray [Ramirez] said hopefully in three to five days we'll have a real good read on where he's at. If it's fine, he can at least get a bullpen in and we'll monitor where he is from there."

The Mets have announced four postgame Citi Field concerts for the 2013 season:
Nas July 19th

• Foreigner, June 14, Chicago Cubs

• Nas, July 19, Philadelphia Phillies

• O.A.R., Aug. 2, Kansas City Royals

• Third Eye Blind, Aug. 23, Detroit Tigers

Tim Byrdak, who underwent surgery in August to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, is due to return to camp Friday.

Byrdak checked in at the start of camp before being dispatched back home to continue his rehab.

He currently is throwing at 90 feet on flat ground. After being evaluated by Mets personnel, Byrdak should increase to 120 feet. The southpaw hopes to make it onto a mound before teammates break camp.

Byrdak, who re-signed on a minor league deal, expects to contribute to the Mets in the second half.

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