After dropping their first game of the World Baseball Classic to Mexico on Friday, Team USA bounced back with a 6-2 victory over the Italians. This sets up a win-or-go-home game for the Americans, as they take on Team Canada this afternoon at 4pm. They had to come from behind to get this victory, and it was a five-run fifth inning that sealed the deal to put USA in the win column, thanks to a big blast by David Wright.
The Mets third baseman collected two hits against Italy, but the biggest blow came in the fifth, as he launched a grand slam into the left centerfield seats to put them ahead for good, coasting the rest of the ballgame. Wright continues his hot hitting since leaving Port St. Lucie for Arizona, as he’s hitting .444 in two official games, while also collecting three more hits in two WBC warm-ups. It would be great to see Team USA beat Canada today and advance to the second round; you would think with the lineup they have, they’d be one of the favorites to win the tournament, so it would be a huge disappointment to watch this “Dream Team” get sent home packing earlier than anticipated.
Terry Collins and the Mets are beginning to make some cuts in camp, as Adam Rubin reports that there are now 45 players left following the latest round. Of the ten players that got sent down to the minors, the most notable was Zack Wheeler. Obviously, the oblique strain that kept him from staying in the Grapefruit League rotation was the main reason why he didn’t have a longer stay, but it won’t be long before we feel his presnce in the Big Leauges. The other players sent with Wheeler were: Darin Gorski, Gonzalez German, Collin McHugh, Elvin Ramirez, Hansel Robles, Reese Havens, Wilfredo Tovar, Juan Lagares, and Cesar Puello. With McHugh getting sent down, that leaves Jeremy Hefner and Jenrry Mejia as the two left to compete for Johan Santana‘s rotation spot, if he starts the year on the disabled list.
Speaking of the devil, I mentioned yesterday that Santana didn’t paricipate in a team workout before their game against the Astros, and it was because the southpaw was indoors trying to increase his shoulder flexibility with extra treatment. Rubin reports this is not necessarily a setback, but Collins didn’t seem too confident to see Santana take the mound Thursday against the Detroit Tigers. Missing that start would mean he definitely won’t pitch on Opening Day, as he would need at least three starts to be ready. We’ll see soon exactly how much this arm “fatigue” will continue to affect Johan moving forward. For now, he’s been advised to go at his own pace.
Before David Wright helped Team USA to the victory last night, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were big contributors in New York’s 9-6 victory over the Houston Astros at Tradition Field. Jeremy Hefner looked impressive in his start, as now the ball is in Mejia’s court to show the coaching staff if he’s up for some competition. You can get the Rising Apple recap right here. Rich Sparago is lucky enough to spend some time watching our beloved Mets while in Florida on a business trip, and he was able to give us an up-close look at this year’s options for the bullpen.
Marlon Byrd, RF
Justin Turner, 2B
Collin Cowgill, CF
Lucas Duda, DH
Andrew Brown, LF
Brandon Hicks, 3B
Zach Lutz, 1B
Omar Quintanilla, SS