PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. _ The Grapefruit League lidlifter (have to get lidlifter in the first paragraph) is scheduled to be played after a heavy morning rainstorm threatened a postponement. This, it will be the New York Mets (or actually the Buffalo Bisons) against the Atlanta Braves.
The Mets decided to take all their regulars out of the lineup rather risk an injury on a wet field. Heaven knows the Mets had enough injuries last season. The Braves didn’t have that luxury as they already were already on their way from their camp in Orlando when the rain started. Thus, Nate McLouth, Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar and Melky Cabrera are in the lineup and ace-in-waiting Tommy Hanson is starting against Nelson Figueroa.
The closest thing to a regular in the Mets’ lineup is Gary Matthews Jr. and Little Sarge will only be the center fielder unitl Carlos Beltran recovers from his off-season knee surgery. Mike Jacobs is the designated hitter and I suppose there is a chance he could be the opening-day first baseman.
Oh, by the way, Jason Heyward is in the Braves’ lineup and that should be fun. I’ve never seen Heyward play but if the guy looks like a superstar just by the way he walked across the clubhouse. He is already becoming legend for the home runs he has hit in batting practice this spring.
Speaking of prospects who pass the eye test, Ike Davis is playing first base for the Mets. Time will tell if he will become a star but he certainly looks the part as he, too, is an impressive physical specimen.
Meanwhile, McLouth is now wearing contact lenses and joking predicted he wil hit .450 this season since he can now actually see the ball. I asked him if he had a VORP prediction and he said 100.8. That’d be a pretty good year.
The Mets are in an upbeat mood after last year’s disastrous season. Shortstop Jose Reyes was particularly jovial Tuesday morning.
“I’m feeling great,” said Reyes, who missed the bulk of last season with a torn hamstring that eventually required surgery. “It’s great to be healthy. I feel like I’m going to have a big year and this team is going to have a big year. Last year is over. It’s in the past. It’s 2010 and we’re ready to do good things.”
The Mets will the focus of my On The Beat column tomorrow. Also, Eric Seidman’s Checking The Numbers column wil examine Mets third baseman David Wright’s loss of power last season and whether he will rebound in 2010 and I’ll chime in with Wright’s thoughts on the potential for a bounce-back season.
Check in tomorrow for news from the Pirates-Yankees game at Tampa.