By Ed Coleman
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Things calmed down a bit at Mets camp on Tuesday after a whirlwind Monday which featured Fred Wilpon’s mini-press conference and manager Terry Collins’ address to the full team prior to the first official full-squad workout.
Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis continued to scorch the baseball in batting practice. Duda clobbering moon shots over any fence that’s standing.
Collins spoke about why Duda has become a more accomplished hitter.
Dillon Gee threw BP on Tuesday, he’ll pitch in the first of three intrasquad games that start Friday, and he’ll also take the ball for the exhibition opener on Monday night against the Nationals in Port St. Lucie. At the end of June last season, Gee was 8-1 and on the cusp of being selected to the All-Star game. But he hit the proverbial wall in his first full season of play and finished 13-6 with an ERA of almost 4.50.
Collins wants Gee to get stronger, which he has, and to pace himself better in order to withstand the rigors of a very long season.
Collins also commented on his likely leadoff hitter, center fielder Andres Torres, and what he needs to see from him this year.
Top draft choice Matt Harvey also threw BP and was a bit inconsistent, but still impressive. He had a very good breaking ball, but his fastball was at times all over the place, one of them plunking Duda at one point. Catcher Mike Nickeas had some words for the youngster after his session.
R.A. Dickey has been watching Harvey closely, and likes what he sees.
Speaking of the Dickster, his knuckleball has been “on” in the early going, something which has eluded him in the early portions of past spring trainings, so he’s quite pleased.
Johan Santana had his schedule tweaked a bit. Originally set to throw his first live BP on Friday, Santana long-tossed on Tuesday and now will face live hitters on Thursday. He’ll probably follow that with a light bullpen on Saturday, and then be ready for his first game action on Tuesday against the Cardinals.
It’s early, but Santana remains on target for Opening Day.
The only knuckleballer that has made an Opening Day start that I can recall is Charlie Hough, who did it for the expansion Florida Marlins. If Santana cannot go when the Mets face the Braves at Citi Field in April, the honor would likely go to Dickey — but he would rather step aside for the real No. 1.
Intrasquad games coming up on the weekend – Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
C U soon
Mets fans, do you expect big things from Duda and Gee this season? Sound off below…