February 12, 2007

Mets Gearing Up

Marty Noble at Mets.com writes about the Mets entering Spring Training and getting ready for the 2007 Grapefruit League:

Gone is Steve Trachsel, the wine aficionado, after six Mets seasons. But Tom Glavine, a bottle of the finest, did re-sign after all that hand-wringing. Chad Bradford and his distinctive delivery departed, but Orlando Hernandez will be there again with his unique delivery, for the first time in Port St. Lucie. Brian Bannister, a compelling story last March, is gone as well, his role as foremost rookie wannabe to be taken by Mike Pelfrey, the plebe most likely to be in the starting rotation seven weeks from now when the Mets resume their pursuit of World Series rings.

The sameness of the generic Spring Training can be a comfort. The differences can be refreshing.

"It's going to be a fun, interesting spring," general manager Omar Minaya said Thursday. Later, he extended his vision: "And a fun, interesting season."

Before the Mets begin their 162-game trek to October, they play a 34-game -- three split-squad dates included -- exhibition-game schedule that leads them to the night of April 1 and Major League Baseball's 2007 premiere, in St. Louis. They will begin their '07 against the team that put a premature end to their '06. Before that game, the Mets and the defending World Series champions play four March games in Florida. And before the first of those, the Mets play the defending American League champion Tigers in their first February game -- Feb. 28 in Port St. Lucie.

Glavine, who might have been up near Disney World with the Braves after a four-year absence, instead will be back for his fifth Mets camp. His private Fantasyland includes the 300th victory of his career and return to the World Series in what probably will be his last go-round. Hernandez, unfamiliar with all "Port St. Lonesome" can provide, will be bring his unique leg kick and workout regimen to the east coast of Florida.

Pelfrey, fellow rookie Philip Humber and six others will begin competing for the vacancies in the rotation created by the absence of Trachsel and -- for all intents and purposes -- Pedro Martinez, who is not expected back from surgery on his right rotator cuff until August. And Duaner Sanchez, as much a patient for the moment as he is a pitcher, will begin to reclaim his place is the bullpen work force.

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