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Saturday, February 18, 2012
Mets morning briefing 2.18.12

By Adam Rubin

The Mets will keep the spring-training complex closed Saturday and Sunday, although Sandy Alderson does plan to address reporters at 11 a.m. today. Pitchers and catchers officially report Monday, with Tuesday physicals and Wednesday the first formal workout.

Saturday's news reports:

Johan Santana threw 25 pitches Friday, his first time throwing off a mound since late September/early October in Fort Myers, during the instructional league. Santana and manager Terry Collins labeled the mound work a success, although ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said Mets people expect getting even 100 to 125 innings from Santana this season "would be a bonus." Watch video of Santana discussing the session here. Read more in the Star-LedgerPostTimes, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record outlines 12 MLB storylines for 2012, including Santana's comeback bid. Writes Klapisch:

Santana long ago earned the respect of his peers for his competitiveness and willingness to pitch through pain. But now the left-hander is being asked to perform a small miracle -- return to greatness after 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.  Can he? The Mets are doomed to a last-place finish with or without a healthy Santana, so the question is no doubt moot. But his relative recovery -- say, 12-13 wins, 150 innings, no trips to the DL -- would be a rallying point for Mets fans who are starving for good news.

Keith Hernandez fondly remembered former teammate Gary Carter again Friday, telling the Post regarding Kid's toughness as a player: “I always remember his knees being iced, every single day. He was in constant pain and discomfort. You had to be inspired by that.” Hernandez cried when he learned Carter had died. "I really didn't expect it to have that overwhelming emotional effect on me," he told Newsday. "It did. It's not just a former teammate that passed away." Read more on Hernandez's relationship with Carter in the Times.

Josh Thole played for Carter with the Gulf Coast Mets in 2005 and said Kid taught him and others "how to be a man.'' Said Thole: "I was 18 years old playing my first year and Gary really emphasized on treating us like men. It didn't matter if you were 16 coming from the Dominican or if you were 22 coming from college, everybody was treated the same way. And he was so passionate about winning. He was a competitor and he wanted to win every day." Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Philadelphia lawyer Jonathan Krause, who battled leukemia as a youth, writes in the Post about Carter's impact on him in batting the cancer.

The team reportedly has yet to decide how to honor Carter.

Mark Herrmann remembers in Newsday Sunday being the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Mets reporting to St. Petersburg for spring training. Herrmann writes:

Then there was the first exhibition game, March 10 against the Cardinals at Al Lang Field. A 56-piece band performed. Commissioner Ford Frick gave a stirring speech. The Cardinals performed an 8-0 shellacking, sending many spectators to the exits early. One of them said, loudly, "Same old Mets." A day later, the Mets got their first exhibition win and their first home run, by Choo Choo Coleman, who had not learned for a month after the expansion draft that he was a Met because no one got around to telling him.

• The Daily News' spirited coverage of the clawback lawsuit by the trustee trying to recover funds  for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme continues Saturday under the headline: "Clawback suit built on shaky evidence." Fred Wilpon and family's attorneys reiterated their claims in filings late Thursday that the suit should be tossed by judge Jed S. Rakoff before it is scheduled to go to trial March 19. "The trustee offers no evidence to dispute the record presented by defendants, which demonstrates that, for good reason, defendants trusted Bernard L. Madoff until the day his fraud was disclosed and never for a moment thought that he or his brokerage, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, was engaged in a Ponzi scheme or fraud," the Wilpons' attorneys wrote in filings.

As for Noreen Harrington quitting her job after the Wilpons' fund proceeded with an investment with a Madoff fund over her concerns, which trustee Irving Picard asserts, the defense attorneys write: "She was aware that her accusations were utterly contrary to the facts known to Mr. [Saul] Katz for many years, and, when probed by Mr. Katz about her Madoff accusations, she offered no facts to support her opinion and told him she 'could be wrong.'"

TRIVIA: Who were the last Mets to hit 30 homers in a season?

(Friday's answer: Eddie Murray was the lone player inducted with Carter in the Hall of Fame class of 2003.)