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Monday, March 11, 2013

Mets News and Notes: Wheeler Among Cuts, Santana DL?, Francisco, Valdespin, Wright

Capt. America
Mets News and Notes:

Wheeler headlined a wave of cuts Sunday at Mets camp. Also dispatched to the minor league side: left-hander Darin Gorski, right-handers Gonzalez Germen, Collin McHugh, Elvin Ramirez and Hansel Robles, infielders Reese Havens and Wilfredo Tovar, and outfielders Juan Lagares and Cesar Puello. The Mets now have 45 players in major league camp.

Zack Wheeler came through a session throwing live batting practice without issue as he ramps up following a right oblique strain.

Wheeler threw 27 pitches, including a pair of pitch outs. The batters included ex-Cub Corey Patterson.

"It felt good, but my timing was off a little bit and stuff like that, so a lot of my pitches weren't crisp," Wheeler said at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie. "... I've only thrown two innings in a game to live batters. It's kind of different once they get up there. It's something that will come around."

Johan Santana might open the season on the disabled list and Jonathon Niese will get the Opening Day start against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field.

So the question becomes: Will Santana be ready to be activated April 7, the first time the Mets need to go to a fifth starter? Or will Jeremy Hefner plug the rotation hole for at least a few turns?

The Mets will presented Bill Parcells with an autographed Mets jersey pregame in recognition of Parcells being selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For the first time since reporting to spring training, Frank Francisco threw off a mound.

Terry Collins said the Sunday session in Port St. Lucie, Fla., appeared to go without incident.

"I actually heard he threw very well today," Collins said.

Francisco underwent surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. He had a less-than-optimal rehab program and developed elbow inflammation upon arriving in camp.

Jordany Valdespin is looking like a lock for the Opening Day roster. He entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday, this time in right field.

"He's an aggressive guy. He plays with enthusiasm," Terry Collins said. "He's got some excitement to him. He swings, and he's dangerous, because he's got some power. If he hits the ball on the ground, just like today, even though it got up the middle, he'd probably beat it out had they been playing back."

Said Valdespin: "The outfield is different, but I'm ready for any situation."

David Wright had a stellar opening round in the WBC, highlighted by a tiebreaking grand slam against Italy on Saturday. He went 5-for-11 with three walks and five RBIs in three games. All three walks and a double came in the clincher against Canada.

Team USA opens at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Miami against the Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico loser.

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