Notes: MASH unit stays home
Road lineup full of prospects as many starters deal with injuries
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Talk about "Meet The Mets." The fans who on Friday flocked here certainly needed to be introduced to the AnonyMets, who came to play the Indians in Chain of Lakes Park.The "regular" Mets were chained to Port St. Lucie by various bumps and bruises, as manager Willie Randolph hummed another chorus of "Thank goodness it's early March." Some teams have units which mash. The Mets have a M*A*S*H unit. Forget their baseball cards; they need get-well cards. Through one-third of their Grapefruit League schedule, the Mets' projected starting lineup has a total of 60 at-bats. The eight expected starters are hitting .183, haven't yet hit a home run and have driven in four runs. But they take a whipping and keep on winning: Friday's 8-6 victory over the Indians was the Mets' sixth straight. Still, when the Mets now take the field, instead of the conventional ("Now playing right field ...") they line up according to (this is also your injury update du jour): Not playing first base is Carlos Delgado (impinged right hip), who did a little in-cage hitting Thursday and could get in a game this weekend, but is on a take-it-easy schedule. Not playing left field is Moises Alou, who underwent successful hernia surgery on Thursday in New York and is projected to begin therapy by riding a bicycle within a week; any baseball activity is four-to-six weeks away. Not playing right field is Ryan Church, still prone to dizzy spells and other symptoms of the Grade 2 concussion he suffered in a on-field collision last Saturday. Not catching is Brian Schneider (strained right hamstring). Not playing the outfield is Endy Chavez (right hamstring and ankle). Also not playing, waiting for the go-ahead while completing rehab from offseason surgeries are center fielder Carlos Beltran (knees), second baseman Luis Castillo (right knee) and starting pitcher Orlando Hernandez (right foot).
AnonyMets rule: With the Indians fielding most of their regular lineup, one of baseball's sacred laws -- always expect the unexpected -- was obeyed as the Mets rang up their sixth straight win.Leading the Mets' 12-hit attack was Angel Pagan, who came in already leading National League clubs with 12 hits and added a 2-for-4 day to puff his average to .438. Acquired from the Cubs in a January Minor League deal, the 26-year-old outfielder is beginning to command attention for a bench role. The switch-hitter batted .264 in Chicago last season, with 16 of his 39 hits going for extra bases. Pagan may be taking advantage of a good opportunity: With Alou not expected to even resume baseball stuff until perhaps the end of April, the Mets will need some help in left. "He's having a great spring," Randolph said after the game. "He's a good athlete and can run, steal some bases. But we've got a long way to go." Many happy returns: Randolph may have enough healthy bodies to field a semblance of a big league team Saturday when the Mets play the Marlins (1:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV and Channel 11). Chavez and Damion Easley expect to play for the first time this spring, and Schneider, Marlon Anderson anticipate returning to active duty. Duaner Sanchez, idle since Feb. 29, is scheduled to pitch.
Snip, snip: The Mets' first camp moves of the spring dropped a baker's dozen of players into their Minor League camp. Nine of the affected were pitchers, including right-hander Juan Padilla, who appeared in 24 games with the Mets in 2005 and now is making his way back from elbow surgery last April. Sent to the Minors camp, where they will eventually get their marching orders for the start of the season, were right-handers Robert Parnell, Eddie Kunz, Andy Cavazos, Brant Rustich, Ivan Maldonado and Padilla; left-handers Jonathan Niese and Ryan Cullen; catchers Salomon Manriquez and Mike Nickeas; infielder Anderson Machado and outfielder Ben Johnson. In addition, lefty Adam Bostick was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League.
In (shin)guarded condition: Minor league catcher Sean McCraw, standing in a area seemingly protected by the batting cage, nonetheless was struck in the shin by a batted ball that probably would have damaged his leg if not for a shinguard. The impact startled all who witnessed it, including Church.
"I think I feel another concussion," Church said.
Up next: It's ill-timed, given their injuries-depleted ranks, but the Mets will see their first split-squad action of the spring on Saturday. At least all the players ready for game-action won't have trouble finding playing time, as New York hosts Florida in Port St. Lucie (1:10 p.m.) and travels to Ft. Lauderdale to meet the Orioles (1:05 p.m.). Mike Pelfrey starts at home, Niese on the road.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.