If spring training is the most relaxed time of year for baseball, then the sweet spot on that ball of relaxation can be found where I am today: At a team's complex when the actual club is playing on the road.
The Mets are playing in Fort Myers today, taking on the Red Sox after playing the Twins yesterday as part of a two-game road trip. But only the secondary players (and Terry Collins and his coaches) actually slept in a hotel last night and played in both games. Most of the big-name guys played yesterday and took a bus back last night, and just spent a couple of hours working out today here at Digital Domain Park.
The guys just do their thing. A little conditioning, a little hitting and they're done by noon. It's easier to list the starters/potential starters who were actually playing in Fort Myers _ Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Luis Hernandez, Brad Emaus, Lucas Duda and Scott Hairston _ rather than name all the guys who reported to Port St. Lucie.
The player whose workout most interested the media was of course Carlos Beltran, and man, he is taking it slow. He played catch for 20 minutes, and then he worked in the batting cage for 35 minutes, taking some swings right-handed and then tracking pitches from the left side. He can't yet hit lefty because of his ailing left knee.
The left knee is feeling a little better, he said, but there's no target date to start hitting lefty, let alone play in games.
--I spoke with Luis Castillo, who could very likely soon be an ex-Met, and keep this on the down low, but I'm going to write a column on him for tomorrow's Newsday.
The bottom line: No regrets about re-signing with the Mets following the 2007 season. Some regrets about not going to Walter Reed last September.
--I meant to link to this yesterday: Awesome column by Dan Shaughnessy about Carl Yastrzemski, who works very hard to stay out of the public eye. I love the part in the column which details how the Red Sox go about getting Yaz to autograph baseballs.
--Have a great day.