Reyes Has His Foot on the Pedal, Santana Opts on the Side of Caution, and Piazza Goes Global

February 27, 2009

“I believe he’s ready to take off,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s ready to take it to the next level.” Manuel was speaking about Jose Reyes who helped the Mets cruise to another power-packed win yesterday, 9-0, against the Florida Marlins. Reyes hit two homeruns, including a grand slam, and finished with six RBI.

“I told you he could be a third place hitter,” Manuel said. “You got mad at me.”

Manuel has taken some heat lately for proposing the idea of moving Reyes from the leadoff spot down to third place in the batting order. With that in mind, Manuel had nothing but compliments for one of the most coveted of his everyday players. “We feel good about where he is in his career,” Manuel said, “We feel very confident that there are a lot of things he still can do.” Gushing to the point of excess, Manuel felt compelled to mention that he likes the energy his talented shortstop brings but does not necessarily enjoy the anxiety that comes along with it.

Sticking with the topic of anxiety, Johan Santana was scratched from his first preseason start with tightness in his elbow. “It takes a little time to get loose,” Santana said. “I don’t think my elbow has anything to do with my knee.” Santana has repeatedly assured the media that his knee is fine since coming back from off-season surgery. “There’s no reason to rush,” the ace of the Mets pitching staff said, “I really have to prepare myself for April 6th.” Santana is hopeful that he will be the opening day starter when the Mets play the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza has been designated as the hitting coach for the Italian team as they compete in the World Baseball Classic which is scheduled to start March 5th. Piazza, who has spent most of his career behind the plate, will also be instructing the team’s catchers.

“There aren’t a lot of egos over there,” Piazza said. “It’s a good thing. I’m really pumped.”

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