PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Usually a bullpen session, especially before spring training officially begins, is nothing to get worked up about. But in the case of these Mets, who are planning to round out their rotation with surgically repaired pitchers, every time on the mound is a reason to keep their fingers crossed.
The good news is that both of those potential starters - Chris Capuano and Chris Young - cruised through their workouts Monday under the supervision of pitching coach Dan Warthen. Capuano arrived last week in Port St. Lucie but Young had his first day in Mets gear, and he reported that his troublesome right shoulder no longer is an issue.
Young, who had shoulder surgery in August 2009, made only three starts for the Padres last season because of a strain of that shoulder. San Diego passed on its $8.5-million option for this coming year, but Young has plenty of motivation to stay healthy. He signed a one-year deal worth $1.1 million that includes an additional $3.4 million in performance bonuses based on starts and innings pitched.
"Everything in this game is earned, without a doubt," Young said. "You have to produce. That's the bottom line. I signed here because it's a great opportunity, and I feel like if I'm healthy, I can go out and compete with a lot of good pitchers in this game, and that's what I look forward to doing."
One notable difference in yesterday's bullpen session is that Young is getting more extension in his delivery toward the hitter, which he said gives the hitter less time to react. When you're 6-10 like Young, that's a significant advantage.
"Maybe it's a few inches, but I think any inch is significant," Young said. "It's just been fun this offseason to focus on pitching and mechanics versus rehabbing, which is a change for me compared to the last two years."
General manager Sandy Alderson made the rounds Monday, checking on the early arrivals and getting a feel for his first spring training in Florida. Assistant GM John Ricco already is in camp, with the other front-office lieutenants, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta, expected Tuesday, the first day pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report.