Tag: duaner sanchez

Mets Game 7: Loss to Padres

Padres 6 Mets 5

This one should have been a slam-dunk.

The Mets were facing a Padres team of no-names, including a journeyman 32-year-old rookie pitcher last seen in the lowly Mexican League. It seemed to be a setup, a gift-wrapped easy win to top off their first ever regular season game in Citi Field. But it was not to be.

That journeyman Mexican, Walter Silva, stifled the Mets hitters for four and two-thirds, and the San Diego bullpen held the Flushing Nine scoreless over the remainder of the game to spoil the celebration.

Mike Pelfrey struggled with his footing, his control, and his ability to keep the ball inside the vast confines of Citi Field, and as a result gave the Padres an early four-run lead that they never relinquished.

Pelfrey’s third pitch of the game was drilled over the short right field porch by Jody Gerut, and San Diego scored another three in the second inning immediately after Pelfrey tumbled to the ground in the midst of his delivery (was that foreshadowing?). Adrian Gonzalez blasted the second homerun in Citi Field history to make the score 5-1, but the Mets fought back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, capped off by a David Wright 3-run homer.

However, the Padres scratched out a run in the sixth, when Pedro Feliciano balked home Luis Rodriguez with two outs. Rodriguez had reached third on a fly ball to right field that was misjudged by Ryan Church and called an error. (Personally, I thought that the official scorer was being tough on Church with that error, but whatever.) Not that it matters, but the hitter at the time of the balk, David Eckstein, eventually ripped a clean single to left field, so the run might have scored anyway.

In an evil twist of irony, former Met Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth to set up the save for another former Met, Heath Bell.

Game Notes

Bell received a loud, negative response to his pregame introduction. Sanchez received a mixed, but mostly negative response. Uncle Cliffy Floyd was honored with cheers.

When Brian Stokes came in to relieve for Mike Pelfrey in the sixth, I thought, ah, he must be the long man — he should be able to handle two innings here. Two batters, nine pitches, and one run later, he was out of the game.

Frankie Rodriguez (aka “K-Rod”) pitched the top of the ninth. I guess because the Mets have tomorrow off, and his last appearance came on Saturday.

The Mets used six pitchers in the game.

It looked like David Wright might have missed first base on his three-run homer. Can you imagine if he did, and if the first base ump caught it and called him out? That would have been a mighty ugly “first” in Citi Field — and the ump likely would not have made it out of the stadium alive.

Jody Gerut was the MVP of the game, with a homerun, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a brilliant catch in center field to rob Carlos Beltran of an extra-base hit.

While Pelfrey’s bizarre fall during his delivery was strange enough, but even stranger was the appearance of a cat that came out of nowhere and sprinted down the third base line in the middle of the game. How the heck can a feline afford a field-level seat at Citi Field?

Next Mets Game

The Mets take a day off tomorrow to think about this loss and collect their thoughts, then return to Flushing on Wednesday against the Padres again. Oliver Perez faces his original team at 7:10 PM, while former Giant Kevin Correia takes the hill for San Diego.

Get your taxes in, folks.


Padres Sign Duaner Sanchez

It didn’t take long for Duaner Sanchez to find a new home — he’s been signed to a minor-league deal by San Diego.

The pitching-starved Padres jumped on the opportunity to ink the former Mets setup man, who appeared in 66 games last year and posted a 4.32 ERA. It’s a low-risk, high-reward move for San Diego, who are relying on another former Met, Heath Bell, to be their closer after allowing all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman to jettison.

Sanchez’s velocity was frighteningly low this spring, a good 8-10 MPH less than the 92-93 needed to be effective. However, the Mets didn’t have the patience to wait for him to come around — not while he was collecting on what would’ve been a $1.675M contract.

According to the MLB report, Padres GM Kevin Towers is optimistic about Sanchez:

Towers said Sanchez’s velocity ran about 87 mph and that he has complimentary pitches that could make him the late-inning reliever the team is looking for, possibly the eighth-inning specialist to set up former Mets teammate Heath Bell.

How ironic would it be if Sanchez were able to return to form, and eventually set up games for Heath Bell? A longshot, for sure, but eerie nonetheless.


Mets ST Game 12: Johan Starts

A roundabout of comments

Johan Santana

The hits and runs don’t bother me in the least. Neither does the Dan Uggla blast. If you recall, in Johan’s first spring training start last year, the now-defunct Juan Gonzalez demolished one of his pitches into the stratosphere. No worries then, no worries now.

Johan’s fastball was riding around 90-91 in his first inning and a half, topping out at 92. That’s about right, considering that he was shut down for a while and is way behind schedule. In his last inning, he slowed to 89. Again, not a concern — it merely means he needs to build up his endurance. He was around the plate with both his fastball and his changeup, and his change was anywhere from 78-82 MPH. Perfect.

All in all, a good day for Johan. It will be tough for him to build up to 85-100 pitches by April, but so what? He looks healthy and should be at full strength by early May.

Tim Redding

Ouch. There was mild concern when Redding could manage only one out before allowing five hits and five runs against the University of Michigan. After allowing nine runs to the Nationals, I think it’s fair to say that he’s reached a new level — from “mildly concerning” to “concerning”.

“This has not been a good night for Redding” – Ralph Kiner.

His fastball started out at 86-87 MPH and sat there for most of his appearance. He had no command of the pitch, either, and was mostly wild high. When he found the plate, he caught most of it and set it up on a chest-high tee.

Like Santana, Redding was shut down for part of spring training, and is behind schedule. Unlike Santana, there wasn’t much positive to take away from this outing, other than a few sharp-breaking curveballs. Yes, he may have caught a few bad breaks that extended his first inning of work, but he also consistently fell behind hitters, and didn’t throw with any conviction or confidence. He was visibly laboring, and I’m betting that his shoulder is still barking, but he’s not going to say so. From what I understand, he’s a pretty tough character and could be pitching through pain to win a job in the rotation and to back up his early chest-pounding remarks that he was the favorite for the fifth spot.

I’m not ready to write off Redding, as he’s at least 2-3 weeks behind where he should be, and he’s likely ailing. My hope is that he doesn’t further damage his shoulder and can make a contribution of some sort in 2009.

BTW, Redding’s baseball card says he’s 6’1″ 180 lbs. but he looks closer to 225-230 to me — though it could just be the baggy uniform. Of course, weight isn’t an issue unless your performance is terrible (ask David Wells).

Tony Armas, Jr.

I felt Armas was a nice pickup last year, and would’ve been a serviceable, if unspectacular, spot starter to shuttle back and forth from AAA had he not been injured. He looked OK, hitting 88-89 with a heavy fastball that sat between knee- and belt-high, and mixing in an 83 MPH offspeed breaking ball.

Like Santana and Redding, he’s behind schedule, and like Redding, he’s looking a bit on the hefty side — though, it’s not as noticeable when you pitch a scoreless inning.

Sean Green

He looks like he’s hurting himself on every pitch. With Duaner Sanchez gone, he’s your 7th inning man.

Nick Evans

Again, Nick turns on a pitch and moshes it over the leftfield fence. He also blasted a double over the rightfielder’s head earlier in the game. He looks to me like a guy in a zone, unconscious — similar to when Mike Jacobs first came up, or when Kevin Maas made his debut with the Yankees about a hundred years ago. Can he keep it up? If he can, the Mets have to find a spot for him on the 25-man roster.

Ryan Church

Church is drilling the ball to all parts of the field. Though, I’m not sure that he’s as good a hitter as Daniel Murphy (heh heh).

Ron Darling

Ron had some nice comments during the game, including one that really stood out regarding the evaluation of a pitcher based on watching the catcher. One thing I took issue with, though, was his assertion that Duaner Sanchez needed to earn his dough and “be a crossover guy, someone able to retire both righties and lefties”. But check the stats: righties hit .268 in 123 ABs against Dirty last year, while lefties hit .200 in 100 ABs. If that’s not a crossover guy, what is?

The rest of Darling’s analysis of Sanchez was spot on, particularly the point that a guy making his salary would need to earn that by being a lights-out 7th inning guy, which he wasn’t looking like this spring.

Ricky Nolasco

The kid is finally maturing. He looked extremely sharp and ready to start the “real” games. Nolasco may be a force in 2009. No kidding.

Dan Uggla

Speaking of ready for the regular season, Uggla hit some rockets. But will he have anyone else besides Hanley Ramirez hitting around him?

Logan Morrison

This guy might be a year or two away, but he looks to me like another Adam Dunn. Who knows, he might be the guy to help Uggla and Ramirez with some pop in the middle third of the lineup. Though, supposedly another youngster named Gaby Sanchez is ahead of him at this point.

Cameron Maybin

Wow … Maybin can FLY. He reminds me of a slightly more polished Carlos Gomez circa 2007. I doubt he’ll be a star in his rookie year, but I can definitely understand why people are so excited about him. Great raw talent, and he seems to have a solid head on his shoulders.

John Lindsey

Seeing guys like this make me sad. Lindsey hit .316 with 26 HR, 36 doubles, and 100 RBI (.964 OPS) last year in AAA. In 2007, he mashed 30 HR, 32 doubles, 120 RBI, and a .317 AVG (.975 OPS). But, he was a late bloomer — 2007 was his first year above AA, and he was 30 years old. He struggled, but hung around in A ball, from age 18 to 24, and didn’t start really hitting until age 25 — but a 25-year-old dominating A ball is written off as a non-prospect. He turned 32 in January, and isn’t likely to be seen on an MLB roster this year, nor next. Hopefully he’s picked up some things in his 13 years beating the bushes, and can eventually develop into a coach or manager. I’m rooting for him.


Mets Release Duaner Sanchez

After another underwhelming outing, Duaner Sanchez was released by the New York Mets.

Sanchez topped out at only 84 MPH in a spring training game against the Orioles, allowing three hits, a walk, and two runs in one inning. He did, however, strike out two. In five appearances this spring, Sanchez spun five innings, allowing five hits, three runs, and six walks, while striking out four. His ERA is 3.60.

From Adam Rubin’s blog:

“We looked at it, really, his overall performance based upon last year to where he is now,” GM Omar Minaya said. “We really didn’t see the improvement we felt was needed to be effective in the major leagues. I thought he was improving some. We sat down and talked about it yesterday, late after the game.”

Minaya said the Mets had too many other attractive options in the bullpen. The move appears to directly help Bobby Parnell, although it could allow for a second lefthander to join Pedro Feliciano as well.

Personally, I’m not sure how this move helps Bobby Parnell, who has been getting battered around himself. If anything, it helps Rule 5 picks Darren O’Day and Rocky Cherry, as well as Brian Stokes and Connor Robertson.

Minaya also said the move was made as a favor to Sanchez, as it will be easier for him to hook on with another club now rather than later in the spring. Though, the quick release certainly doesn’t hurt the finances — by cutting him now, the Mets owe only $276,339 of his $1.6875M salary. Hmm …. that gives the Mets some payroll flexibility to sign, say, Pudge Rodriguez.

Sanchez was released because the Mets were unhappy with his lack of improvement over last season, though Minaya believed he was working hard. Minaya supposedly told Rubin that the Mets “…had too many other attractive options in the bullpen.” Well, Sanchez certainly has shown to be only a shell of his former self, but I have yet to see anyone out of the bullpen showing to be head and shoulders above Duaner. As bad as Sanchez looks in the second week of March, he did appear in 66 games last year, mostly as a 7th or 8th-inning reliever. I’m not so certain he’s so awful that he isn’t worth keeping around as a long man / mopup guy, in the hopes he can regain his velocity. Bottom line is the finances — if Sanchez’s salary was under $1M, he’d likely still be around.

Some interesting quotes by Sanchez from Rubin’s article:

“I don’t like the result,” Sanchez said after that appearance. “… I like how my arm feels and everything else. I’m not worried about the shoulder. When you get the results is when the season starts. … Last season basically was part of my rehab, if you put it that way. You’re doing rehab for a year and a half and are jumping right into the season. I got no rest or anything else. It was just part of the rehab. Did I like the results from last season? No. Definitely no. That’s not me. But I was trying to compete with what I had last year.”

As for now, Sanchez added: “My arm is not bothering me. It’s not getting sore the next day after I pitch. I feel really good. … I’m just trying to build up my arm so it can be like ’06.”

Someone will jump on Sanchez, who on a minor league deal and the MLB minimum will be worth rolling the dice to see if he can come back.


Mets ST Game 11

Luis Castillo

Luis hit a line drive into the outfield to drive in two runs. I swear, it went beyond the infield dirt, in the air. No kidding.

Brandon Knight

Knight is one of those regular joes you have to root for, but unfortunately his stuff is pretty ordinary. He’ll be nice to have waiting in AAA for depth, but let’s hope he isn’t needed for an extended period of time.

Daniel Murphy

Murphy continues to take pitches and “hit ’em where they ain’t”, slapping the ball to the opposite field.

Ryan Church

Church took out O’s shortstop Jolbert Cabrera on a double play in the 3rd. Colbert didn’t like it, and let Church know it, but the bum was standing on second base so not sure what the fuss was about. It was great to see a Mets player purposely make physical contact with an opponent, then tell the guy to kiss off afterward. Haven’t seen much of that since the Bobby V days.

Jon Switzer

Remains unimpressive. However, he has inspired me to begin throwing with my left hand.

Josh Thole

He looks like Daniel Murphy’s prodigy with that open stance and patient approach.

Duaner Sanchez

Duaner’s fastball is still floating in the 83-85-MPH range. If he’s still around there come April, I can see him getting released, then re-signed, as no one else is likely to take a chance on him. His desperation has led to throwing a rinky-dink slider. Sad times for Sanchez. Though, I wonder if his velocity can be regained with a mechanical tweak … it looks to me like his hips are opening before his arm whips around — in other words, his arm is a little “slow” to catch up to his hip explosion. Either he needs to increase his arm speed, or he needs to find a way to retard the opening of his hips, possibly by lengthening his stride.

John Franco

Nice to see Johnny teaching the changeup and sans his guido mustache. He still sounds like a guido, but what can you expect from a kid from Brooklyn?

Koji Uehara

The Japanese import has pretty good stuff. He won’t dominate in the AL East, but he shouldn’t embarrass himself. And for the record, his name is not pronounced “ooey-hara”, as the Mets announcers referred to him; it’s “ooh-way-ha-rah”.

Bobby Kielty

Continues to smoke the ball. He mashed a line-drive double in a pinch-hitting role against George Sherrill in the fourth.

Casey Fossum

Fossum continues to throw at all kinds of speeds from 64 MPH to 91 MPH, yet gets hit like the batters know what’s coming. Hmmm ….. maybe that’s the problem?

Nick Evans

Nick FINALLY turned on one and jerked it way over the left field fence. Yes, it’s nice he can go to the opposite field, but it’ll be even nicer if he can mash the ball over the wall like that more often. This had to be the display of power we’d heard about but hadn’t seen at the big league level.

Rene Rivera

Yes, Rivera also hit a bomb. I’d still rather have Pudge Rodriguez.


Mets Spring Training Game 5

Johan Santana

He didn’t pitch in the game, but he pitched before the game without discomfort, which was big news. Earlier in the day, it was reported that Santana would be traveling to New York for an MRI due to elbow soreness and forearm tightness. After his 35-pitch bullpen session — when he reportedly was throwing “about 80%” — the trip was canceled.

There’s a blizzard here in the northeast, so not traveling to NYC makes sense. However, why in the world was Johan throwing a day before he was supposed to be getting an MRI? I hope I’m wrong, but this is like Ryan Church all over again.

John Maine

Clearly, neither Maine nor the Mets did anything to correct the flaw in John’s mechanics that caused his shoulder injury. He’s still carrying the ball back behind his shoulder, breaking his hands at his right hip, and in turn opening up too early and throwing the ball to a spot up and in to a RH hitter / up and away to a LH hitter. To spot the ball in any other place requires a significant adjustment in release point and/or arm angle. In other words, his command will again be inconsistent and he’ll continue to have problems finishing off hitters. All those two-strike foul balls are going to continue not because he doesn’t have an “out” pitch, as has been repeated ad nauseam, but because he can’t put the ball where he wants to, when he needs to.

J.J. Putz

Putz broke 89 MPH only once during his one inning outing, which was underwhelming. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since it was his first appearance of the spring. However, Putz is supposed to be a major power arm, a guy who should be throwing in the mid-90s. We saw neither that power heater nor the jaw-dropping deuce. I’m not panicking, since Billy Wagner would routinely be “only” in the low 90s in the spring through most of May before getting up to his usual 96-97. But there is that slight hint of concern that Putz was struggling to break 90 MPH.

Duaner Sanchez

If Putz’s velocity was a minor concern, then Duaner’s 85-MPH fastball was downright shocking. Like Putz though, it was Sanchez’s first appearance of the spring, so we can give him the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, he was throwing at speeds that resembled a hitter’s ideal BP session.

Soft Hands

Keith Hernandez said, “…you can’t teach soft hands or good hands. If you have bad hands, you’re stuck with them.”

I respectfully disagree. See Mattingly, Don. As a young buck in the early 1980s he was a bat without a position because of an iron glove that was glaring even when hidden in left field. Once he set his mind to playing first base, he became not only a Gold Glove winner but considered among the greatest fielding first basemen of all-time — ironically, his defensive skills were often compared to Keith’s.

I will give Keith this: it’s rare for a fielder to suddenly “discover” soft hands, especially once he’s reached his twenties. But the condition can be changed if the player is committed.