Nothing makes me want Spring Training to come more than the nearly two feet of snow that was just dropped outside of my house yesterday. Knowing that pitchers and catchers are officially reporting to Port St. Lucie on Monday is encouraging, but it’s now hard for me to think that Spring is on it’s way when snow is up to the midway point on my thigh. So much for the groundhog’s prediction that winter would be ending early this year. However, he was right about an early start to Spring Training, as Adam Rubin pointed out earlier this week that Mets camp is already full of early arrivals this year.
Who is already there taking hacks at the plate and reps with the glove? David Wright has already been in Florida for almost a week, but that’s nothing new, as he usually reports earlier than he’s required to. What’s surprising is the amount of players that have joined him to get a head start on the 2013 regular season. They include: Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, Bobby Parnell (and his glorious beard), Matt Harvey, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker, Wilmer Flores, Anthony Recker, Brian Bixler, John Buck, Zach Lutz (equipped with his outfielder’s glove), Mike Baxter, Ike Davis, and Wilmer Flores, to name a few. Jonathon Niese has already reported as well, and Ruben Tejadais expected to report today, eight days before position players are required to show up.
It’s great to see so many guys getting extra work in, as it’s clear they’re determined to prove all the naysayers wrong this season. Even though we’ve been waiting anxiously for the official report date on Monday, we’ve been fortunate enough to see pitcures of men dressed in the Orange and Blue taking part in drills on the field, telling us that Spring is as close as ever right now. Like virtually every other baseball fan, I can hardly wait for camp to get underway, as I’ll finally have something to look forward to watching each day when I get home from work.
As for the rest of the Mets news recap from yesterday, Brandon Lyon passed his physical, finalizing his one-year deal to join the New York bullpen. Out of the options Sandy Alderson and company were reportedly considering (Brian Wilson, Jose Valverde, Francisco Rodriguez), Lyon was the best guy to acquire, but only because Brian Wilson wasn’t healthy enough to command a Major League contract.
Matt Harvey continues to impress everyone with his maturity and determination, as he was quoted in yesterday’s New York Post that his goal this season is to win 20 games. Although he vehemently denied any side effects to his case of Valley Fever last year, Ike Davis finally admitted that the fatigue he endured did hamper his perfomance, as he was exhausted after most days, and only told team trainers. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of season a healthy Davis will put together this year. Jordany Valdespin left a Caribbean Series game early this week, but despite some reports he left with an injury, he only suffered from cramps during the 18-inning affair.
A happy birthday goes out to Mookie Wilson, as I honored him yesterday as the off-season player of the week. Will DeBoer continued his Glory Days series by shining the spotlight on Joe Hietpas, and Michael Lecolant challenges Niese to be the team’s ace this season.