Santana’s Velocity Up, Wright Still Down
Random notes on the happenings in Port St. Lucie …
Johan Santana threw 65 pitches on Friday afternoon, 40 for strikes. There was nothing particularly great about the performance, but those around the team were happy to see Santana’s velocity increase a few ticks on the radar gun; he was sitting around 88 MPH with several pitches touching 90-91. I don’t really know for sure if the velocity is an indication of anything positive; I was focusing on his mechanics and saw that he’s still leading with his elbow and not really getting much rotation from his shoulder. The shoulder is the fastest joint and therefore the part of the upper body that has the most influence on velocity. Ergo, unless Santana gets his shoulder involved in the process of throwing the baseball, he’s not going to be able to throw much faster — it’s simply not possible. Further, by not externally rotating his shoulder, he’s actually causing tightness in the shoulder and forcing the elbow to work harder than it should.
On a positive note, it looked to me like Johan’s arm was occasionally more in sync with his lower half compared to his previous two outings, though it’s hard to see from only one camera angle. It’s possible that he’s working on eliminating that double clutch of his throwing hand that causes his arm to lag behind.
Another positive note from camp was news of David Wright taking grounders and tossing the baseball. Wright recently received a cortisone shot for his torn abdominal muscle, an injury that is similar to the one that his buddy Ryan Zimmerman suffered last year — and eventually required surgery. Hopefully Wright’s injury is not as serious. Not for nuthin’, but remember my paranoia regarding this injury a dozen day ago? I’m still feeling uneasy.
The Mets signed veteran minor league infielder Oswaldo Navarro in what would normally be a “so what” move, but considering all the team’s injuries, it could turn out to be more significant. The 27-year-old Navarro was at one time a fringe prospect, but has spent most of his pro career as a utility infielder, splitting his time between shortstop and second base. However, last year he played 84 games at 3B for AAA Oklahoma City, a club that was weak at the hot corner and had both Anderson Hernandez and Tommy Manzella (among others) in the middle infield. With Wright still a question mark, and both Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno dealing with minor but nagging injuries, the Mets need all the infield depth they can find.
While the Mets are stocking up on infielders, they likely won’t be acquiring any outfielders. Adam Rubin reports that the Mets will fill their final outfield / lefthanded hitting spot from within — meaning that Adam Loewen or Mike Baxter will continue their battle with one making the club. Makes sense to me — why give up assets for a 25th man for a club that has much more pressing needs? Though, I wonder if there will be a few interesting LH OF options available a week from now, as teams make final cuts a slew of non-roster invitees are expected to become available.