With opening day in plain sight, Mets anxious to pack up and depart St. Lucie

As quickly as Spring Training arrived, it has all but departed.

The Mets are winding down their Spring Training schedule in the Sunshine State as they prepare to fly up to the chilly Northeast. Considering how disastrous the team became with injuries in 2009, the Mets need to be thankful that their core players suffered no long-term setbacks this Spring.

Jose Reyes was arguably the most unlucky member of the team this Spring, as he fell victim to a Thyroid problem which forced him to cease baseball activities for two weeks. Reyes will likely not be dressing up for Opening Day, but fans should be happy that he’ll be ready shortly thereafter and should be fine going into the season.

Carlos Beltran will not be able to join the team until several weeks into the season due to his emergency surgery in the off-season, but he should have no problem returning to action by May and will likely be a determining factor in how the Mets fare this year. Moving to left field, newcomer Jason Bay looked good this Spring. Bay will be returning to the National League for the first time since he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Daniel Murphy, who was the leading candidate to win the first base job, fell to an injury today that will sideline him for several weeks. This news personally excited me because it paves the way for proven veteran Mike Jacobs to give his best shot. Jacobs has had great seasons with the Marlins when he hit over 30 home runs, but a lackluster season last year with the Royals led many baseball experts to believe he lost a step. Nevertheless, he is not old and has been there, done that. This gives anyone reason to believe that he could re-emerge as a top player.

The Mets seem to be in decent shape offensively but the pitching staff has many questions surrounding it. The starting rotation includes a group of young pitchers that had a lot of promise in recent years but began to disappoint shortly thereafter. John Maine has been plagued with injuries, Mike Pelfrey has had mental issues, Oliver Perez is far too inconsistent, and Jon Niese is a bit young and inexperienced. Obviously, Johan Santana is one constant that the Mets can rely on throughout the season and through the remainder of his Mets career.

In the bullpen, the Mets have several options to go with and this will all change throughout the season. Promising youngster Jenrry Mejia has shown that he has what it takes to pitch in the Big Leagues, while setup man Pedro Feliciano has proved himself in recent years and probably could carry this team whenever needed. Closer Franscisco Rodriguez had a bit of an off year last year but also didn’t get much work in. He saved only half the games he saved in 2008, which is a sign that the Mets better hope for some closer wins so that he can make his way into the game as often as possible. Rodriguez is known for producing best when he is not on too much rest.

As all of the positions become solidified, the sun at Spring Training will begin to set. The Mets will have say goodbye to the Palm Trees in St. Lucie and prepare for some chilly days in the Northeast at CitiField.

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