- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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Four days until Mets pitchers and catchers officially report.
Thursday's news reports:
• Pitching coach Dan Warthen arrived at the complex for the first time this spring training on Wednesday afternoon and told Dan Martin in the Post that Johan Santana is making progress. "I've been looking at video from when he's been down here recently and comparing it to video from 2008, before he got hurt," Warthen told Martin. "It's no different. Not even one percent. That's extremely important. ... I think he is more anxious than anyone. We'll probably have to pull the reins in on him again because he’ll want to do too much. ... If he's even 90 percent of what he's supposed to be, we have a legitimate chance. But he has to go out and throw, no matter what we do for him."
• David Wright took batting practice and worked out with fellow infielders Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy as well as others Wednesday. Wright talked exclusively with ESPNNewYork.com about his future with the Mets, saying there's certainly a value in spending your entire career with one organization, as his favorite player Cal Ripken did with the Baltimore Orioles.
In a group session with reporters, Wright said his back is no longer a concern. Wright also pretty much indicated that he became too pull-happy with the former dimensions at Citi Field because there was such a long distance to the wall in right-center. He hopes to now be more conscious of using the whole field, and just going with a pitch no matter where it's delivered. Read more in the Post.
• Jeff Wilpon and Dave Howard gave a private tour of the Citi Field wall changes to Wayne Coffey for the Daily News. "I think fans are going to like [the new dimensions]," Wilpon told Coffey. "People would rather see a 9-7 game than a 2-1 game, for one thing. And I think players are going to perform better, and they're going to like that, too."
ESPNNewYork.com's offseason study of the impact of the wall changes can be found here. Among its findings: Wright would have hit 13 additional homers -- nearly five per season -- had the revised dimensions been in place from Citi Field's 2009 opening. Jason Bay would have hit nine additional homers over two seasons. And that's merely plotting balls; it does not account for the psychological benefit of being less intimidated by the dimensions.
• Andrew Keh in the Times notes that a back field at the Port St. Lucie complex, which formerly had the original Citi Field dimensions, has been altered to conform to the new dimensions.
• Archbishop Molloy product Mike Baxter, who has lived in Nashville since his days at Vanderbilt, tells Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger that he did not consider signing elsewhere after clearing waivers and becoming a free agent when he was removed from the 40-man roster. "They were the front-runner immediately," Baxter told McCullough. "And that was it. Because I want to be here." Right now, Adam Loewen and Baxter are the primary lefty-hitting backup outfielder options. But GM Sandy Alderson has made it clear that is definitely a position where the team can acquire someone cut loose from another camp late in spring training.
• Ken Davidoff in Newsday looks at salary commitments by organization for 2015, to see how flexible they are. The good news? By then, the Mets are down to $0, along with eight other teams. In fact, unless some options kick in, the Mets do not even have any commitments for 2014 right now. But the two options are pretty onerous. Bay has a $17 million vesting option for '14 that kicks in at 600 plate appearances in '13, or at 500 apiece this season and in '13. Santana's $25 million option for '14 will be much harder to achieve because it requires 215 innings in '13, or 420 over the next two seasons. The bad news: If Santana does not vest, he still gets a $5.5 million buyout in addition to his $25.5 million 2013 salary -- making his earnings that year $31 million.
• The Mets planned to send a scout to watch former first-round pick Scott Kazmir throw in his native Houston on Wednesday, the Daily News reported. Kazmir, 28, made only one start for the Los Angeles Angels last season. He had a 17.02 ERA in five Triple-A starts. He also was roughed up in his lone Dominican winter league appearance.
• Terry Collins tells McCullough that Lucas Duda is a monster.
TRIVIA: Who is the career leader in RBIs against the Mets franchise?
(Wednesday's answer: The Mets have had six Canadian-born players, led by Ron Taylor with 269 games played from 1967 through 1971. The rest: Bay 218, Tim Harkness 162, Ken MacKenzie 76, Ray Daviault 36, Mike Nickeas 26 and Brian Ostrosser 4.)
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