By Ed Coleman
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The good vibes engendered by the settlement of the Madoff lawsuit Monday continued at Mets camp on Tuesday. The cloud that had long encased the organization in doom and gloom had seemingly lifted, and manager Terry Collins felt quite pleased for the principals involved.
Mets G.M. Sandy Alderson also could see that things were a little bit brighter after Monday’s surprising deal.
Alderson felt that there were two keys to the settlement.
The G.M. also believed that the Madoff litigation both did and did not affect the way that the Mets operated.
Alderson also said that the way that the off-season progressed was almost like a perfect storm of negativity.
So what does it mean for now? Well, the settlement doesn’t really affect the team itself as presently constituted at the moment.
And what is the best-case scenario for the Mets moving forward, Sandy?
As for the players, David Wright said the biggest effect in the clubhouse after the suit was settled was an obvious one.
Ownership has taken the brunt of negative public opinion recently as far as the fortunes of the team go, but Wright says that everyone is culpabale, not just ownership.
And as Wright looked around the spring clubhouse, he realized that there would not be a lot of help coming at the moment.
On the field, the Mets came back after their one-day break and snapped their 9-game spring losing streak, shutting out the Nationals 2-0. Dillon Gee was the biggest reason. Matched up against phenom Stephen Strasburg, Gee went 5 2/3 innings, giving up just three hits, walking one and striking out four.
And the results have been impressive. In four spring starts, Gee has pitched to a 3.07 ERA while striking out 12 and walking only three. It’s certainly caught the manager’s attention.
The Mets also received shutout innings from 3 of their core bullpen guys – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Bobby Parnell. Francisco was still an adventure, giving up two hits and a walk, but Parnell had a couple of strikeouts and has thrown 5 1/3 scoreless with 6 punchouts.
Lucas Duda homered off Strasburg and Ike Davis had an RBI single for the Met runs. But the night wasn’t without injury drama, the latest casualty being centerfielder Andres Torres. Torres hurt his calf making a catch for the final out of the 2nd inning, and said afterward he still wasn’t sure exactly what happened.
Collins is hoping that it’s just a couple of days on the shelf for Torres, but the way things have gone this spring for the Mets, he’s not sure.
Collins is not taking any chances though. Mike Baxter will play centerfield on Wednesday against the Cardinals, and Jason Bay and even infielder Jordany Valdespin will probably get some innings there. Valdespin continues to hang around and has opened some eyes this spring, hitting .346 and playing solid defense.
Wednesday is the next test for Johan Santana as well. Things have progressed nicely for the Met ace thus far, and Collins was asked what he expects from Santana when he faces St. Louis in Jupiter.
Jake Westbrook goes for the Cardinals. Tim Byrdak will begin throwing on Friday as he recuperates from last week’s knee surgery.
C U soon
Now that the Mets have at least some of their finances in order are you more optimistic about the season?