Friday, April 12, 2013
Pelf has no 'hate' for Mets, is 'fan'
By Adam Rubin
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Pelfrey had lunch Thursday with David Wright and Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello. He then joined them for an afternoon card game with Jonathon Niese.
Pelfrey, the Mets' first-round pick in 2005, who was non-tendered in December and subsequently signed with the Minnesota Twins, misses the friendships he built over seven-plus years with the organization. He does find it a breath of fresh air, though, to be out of the New York spotlight. He said light-heartedly that he can now even play cards in the clubhouse without creating an uproar.
"New York is all I've ever known," Pelfrey said. "This is completely different over here. I think it's a good different in the sense it's more low key. I don't talk to 30 media guys every day. It's kind of refreshing. I made the comment to somebody that we got to spring training and it might have been 10 days in and nobody had talked to me yet. I said, 'This is kind of nice.' I wasn't really used to that.
"Being from Wichita, Kansas, you had guys who had always written good things about you. So I was a guy that kind of read everything. I guess it kind of hardens you, because sometimes negative things get written [in New York]. It teaches you to stop paying attention to all that stuff. ... If you're going to win, like they say, there's no greater place to win than in New York. But if you're going to fail, there's no worse place to fail. Unfortunately for me I had a little more failure than I would have liked."
Pelfrey is not scheduled to pitch this weekend. He said he had no burning desire to face his former club anyway.
"It would have been cool, and I could talk stuff if things went well," Pelfrey said. "But there's not any hate on my end. It's not like I want to get revenge at those guys or anything like that. I'm a fan of the Mets. I want them to do well. I hope we kick their butt for the next three days, but for their other 159 games I hope they win. I follow them and I root for them. The hardest thing about leaving them, I think, is the relationships that you build with people."
Pelfrey underwent Tommy John surgery last May 1, so he has made a rapid recovery. He pitched into the sixth inning and did not allow an earned run in his Twins debut, against the Detroit Tigers. But Tuesday he was knocked out after two innings against the Kansas City Royals.
"This game is weird," Pelfrey said. "I had a lot better stuff, I thought, in the second outing than I did the first, and I got my butt handed to me. I feel good. Everybody always says command is the last thing to come. I feel my command is as good as it's ever been. I'm pretty pleased where I'm at for a little over 11 months."
Pelfrey's best memory of his Mets tenure? It actually did not directly involve him.
"Maybe getting called up in '06 and those guys clinching," Pelfrey said. "I didn't necessarily go out there and spray champagne all over everybody because I didn't really contribute a whole lot. But being there for that, that was a pretty cool experience."
After making $5.7 million with the Mets last season and being arbitration-eligible, Pelfrey knew he was due to be non-tendered in December.
"I think there's always a sense of being disappointed. Any time," Pelfrey said. "But I really appreciated the fact that Sandy [Alderson] actually called me and told me personally instead of having to read it on TV or hear it from my agent. ... It's a business, and I knew it was going to come. So it wasn't a total shock."
He concluded about his Mets tenure: "If I could have gone out and won every game, I would have done that. No, I didn't necessarily work out the way that some people envisioned, or the fans envisioned, or I even envisioned. Or the organization. But I don't necessarily regret it because I know off the field I busted my tail and I gave everything I had."