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By Ed Coleman
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The Mets trimmed their roster down to 32 on Thursday by making six cuts, none of them surprising.
Jordany Valdespin was optioned to the minors, and the other five — lefthanded pitcher Garrett Olson, catchers Lucas May and Rob Johnson, and outfielders Matt Den Dekker and Adam Loewen — were reassigned to minor league camp.
With May and Johnson leaving, the catching tandem of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas is in place for the start of the season. Olson was being looked at as a situational lefty for the bullpen in camp, but will work as a starter at Triple Triple-A Buffalo. Dekker was ready defensively but not offensively, and Loewen struck out an incredible 20 times in 43 AB.
Rehabbing right-hander Chris Young threw a 40-pitch bullpen on Thursday — his 10th such outing already just 10 months after anterior capsule surgery on his shoulder. Young was asked why the Mets, and why he waited until now to sign a contract and come to camp.
Young has no timetable even though he appears to be ahead of schedule, and says he learned every shoulder injury is different.
This is the same surgery that Johan Santana underwent and thus far successfully returned from — so did Young and his teammate keep tabs on each other while recuperating?
It’s a week away from Opening Day and Daniel Murphy is batting .308 this spring, no surprise. But how is he doing at second base? Let’s ask manager Terry Collins.
And Jonathon Niese will have one more 50-60 pitch tuneup against the Yankees on Tuesday as he gets ready for his Game 3 of the season assignment. Collins expects a big year from his young left-hander as he adds a changeup to his fastball, cutter and nasty curve.
Mike Pelfrey followed up a good performance last time out with another on Thursday night against the Astros — 6 1/3 innings , three hits, one run, zero walks and three strikeouts. Pelfrey’s location and command is much sharper now than at the beginning of spring training.
He historically has had miserable springs, but at least finishing strong has helped to boost his confidence heading into the season.
Collins also likes seeing the one starting pitcher who was really struggling coming around.
Lefty Daniel Herrera retired both batters he faced in relief of Pelfrey. Jon Rauch followed with a scoreless inning, striking out two, and Josh Edgin continued to roll along – another scoreless inning bringing his spring total to 8 2/3 without a run and 10 strikeouts.
The Mets clobbered Houston 9-1 with a 7-run fourth inning, highlighted by a David Wright grand slam. Wright is feeling quite comfortable since coming back from his injury.
Josh Thole had a pair of hits and 2 RBI and Daniel Murphy went 2-4. Mets will travel to Jupiter and face St. Louis on Friday – Dillon Gee goes up against the Cardinals’ Opening Day starter Kyle Lohse (subbing for the ailing Chris Carpenter).
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