As you likely already know, Jeff Conine is now a Met, coming from the Reds in return for Port St. Lucie starting shortstop Jose Castro and outfielder Sean Henry. Henry is an overaged (22) A-ball player, and Castro is a younger, less-skilled version of Anderson Hernandez — good field, no hit.
In addition, Ricky Ledee has retired, for undisclosed reasons. Strange, unless the Mets informed him he would not be a September callup — something you’d almost bank on considering Willie Randolph’s unfounded fascination for Ledee.
To fill Ledee’s spot on the New Orleans roster, the Mets signed Luis Matos, most recently of the Baltimore Orioles. Matos was the O’s starting centerfielder until Corey Patterson showed up. This year he was playing in AAA in the Pirates’ organization and batting .257 at Indianapolis. As recently as 2005 he batted .280 for Baltimore in 389 at-bats, and hit .303 back in 2003. However, he has never shown any power whatsoever, his above-average speed has diminished with age, and he’s never been considered a contact hitter. In addition, his defense was only average — it’s a wonder he was a starting outfielder for a Major League team.
Damion Easley will be out for “at least a month”. Don’t figure on him returning — even in the postseason. Tough break, as his versatility and pop made him an ideal bench guy.
Pedro Martinez threw 72 pitches and had a strong outing in his third start at Port St. Lucie. He’s expected to pitch again this coming weekend. As before, I beg you to contain your excitement. Understand that when he extends to 100 pitches, it doesn’t mean he’s ready for MLB — it only means he has the strength to throw 100 pitches. Think of him as being in spring training right now — and arriving two weeks before everyone else. It’s around February 15th for him right now; in other words, he could need at least another six weeks to be ready for a Major League game. Of course, Pedro and the Mets will pretend he’s more advanced than that, and it’s not impossible to think he’ll make a start in a New York Mets uniform by mid-September. Just don’t expect miracles.
Chip Ambres hit two homers last night in a loss for the New Orleans Zephyrs. Dave Williams pitched six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks in that game. Joe Smith, however pitched a scoreless inning to reduce his ERA to 2.22. Chad Hermansen, recently signed by N’Awlins, has a hit in all 12 of his games as a Zephyr.