Third Man for Fifth Spot
If you listened to my interview on Gotham Sports Radio, you already know who is my sleeper for the fifth spot in the rotation.
But if you haven’t gotten around to downloading it yet (and you should, I give away some other interesting tidbits), I’ll offer you my “dark horse” candidate for the role.
Say what you want, but the pitcher you saw in spot starts in May and July of last year was not the “real” Jason Vargas. He was definitely affected by an elbow injury, which has since been corrected thanks to the removal of a bone spur in October. The Vargas the Mets traded for threw in the 92-93 range, and the one we saw last year was only in the upper 80s.
During my visit to Port St. Lucie, I watched Vargas throw from close range … in fact, I was close enough to spit on him. From my estimation, he was definitely throwing around the 89-91 range, with good location in the bottom of the zone — he was throwing to “the strings”, which are strings set up with wooden posts at the bottom of the strike zone.
Here are some more shots of Vargas during that session.
In the windup
The follow through.
Working on the “OK” changeup grip. It’s called the “OK Change” because you do the “OK” sign with your fingers and hold the ball with your other three.
Rick Peterson watching and offering instruction.
A view from the catcher’s side, with bullpen coach Guy Conti setting up as a batter. Look closely at this photo and you’ll see another onlooker in the background, in a black pullover.
And guess who that guy in the black pullover is?
Guess I’m not the only one interested in Vargas’ road to recovery.