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By Ernie Palladino
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It has already been an interesting week at Mets and Yankees camp. Who knows what the next few days will bring?
With Brian Cashman’s brief but unsuccessful gambit to pull 40-year-old Chipper Jones out of retirement, and the discovery by Justin Verlander that the Mets indeed do have a couple of jewels in their potential Opening Day lineup, we can at least laugh as the two teams slog toward the regular season.
At least the goings-on in Florida are more entertaining than the Darrelle Revis and Victor Cruz situations. Both the Jets and the Giants would be crazy to lose these players, though the Jets seem on the verge of diving into that insanity pool as they consider the one serious offer they’ve had for the Pro Bowl cornerback.
But the Giants playing chicken with Cruz? Not a good idea, though that direct-deposit ledger is guaranteed to look a lot better even if the restricted free agent has to settle for the Giants’ one-year, first-round tender offer of $2.879 million. At worst, the kid will go elsewhere for a boatload more and the Giants are left standing with egg all over their bodies.
The opinion here is that the parties will come to a long-term deal eventually. But that’s serious stuff. It’s better to talk about what’s happening in spring training.
Some tremendous investigative reporting has revealed that there is no truth to rumors that Cashman, unsuccessful in luring Jones out of retirement, will now study up on the science of reanimation and lure Johnny Mize out of the grave. But he could be intent on signing every other Paleozoic player to solve the injury-induced power outage afflicting the Yanks.
Oh, what Cashman wouldn’t give right now to see Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira walk through the door healthy and able to swing a bat.
Speaking of swinging bats, Jordany Valdespin seemed to be doing just fine with that until his second at-bat in Monday’s exhibition against the Tigers. After taking Verlander deep to lead off the 11-0 Mets win, Valdespin squared to bunt his second time up. Verlander knew from the moment he released his 94 MPH fastball that no good could come of the situation.
Plink. Right in the Netherlands. And Valdespin isn’t even playing in the World Baseball Classic.
It seems that the rather flighty young second baseman forgot, or simply decided not to, wear his protective cup, which is pretty much standard issue for middle infielders. There are bad hops, hard slides and the like. The penalty for lapses in such judgment, as meted out by Verlander, is loss of breath for a week.
Terry Collins’ reaction? Serves ya right!
“You would think that if you’re starting at second base, you’d be smart enough to wear a cup,” Collins said.
Valdespin is lucky he didn’t come away with any plumbing problems. Now, if he can just translate his .370 spring average to the regular season, perhaps the Mets really will have a jewel in their lineup, instead of a flighty infielder who exposes his own heirlooms to the dangers of major league fastballs.
It’s been a fun week down there in Florida.
Have you had enough of spring training already? Opening Day is less than three weeks away, thankfully. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…