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Farm report: Holt looking to knock off rust

5/19/2010

A wrist injury stalled right-hander Brad Holt’s 2010 Double-A season until April 24. Now, the organization’s second-rated pitching prospect behind Jenrry Mejia is looking to knock off the rust with Binghamton.

Holt, 23, started developing the right wrist trouble during spring training. He first noticed it when he experienced pain while trying to brace himself while sitting on a stool in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He threw a bullpen session that day anyway and was only “a little sore.”

“I don’t know if it was something I did in spring training or slept on it wrong,” Holt said. “Really, the only time I felt it was when I was swinging a bat. I haven’t picked up a bat.”

Since joining the B-Mets, Holt has made five starts. He currently has an 0-3 record and 10.95 ERA. His first three outings lasted two innings, one-third of an inning (when he allowed five runs), and then two innings again. The past two outings he’s gone four innings apiece.

With minor league field coordinator Terry Collins watching May 10, Holt did toss four scoreless innings, limiting Portland to one hit and one walk. In Holt’s most recent outing, however, he was charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks at Trenton. Four of the six runs charged to him came in the fifth inning, when he faced four batters before departing without recording an out.

“I saw him pitch probably as good as he could pitch the other day,” Collins said. “He threw all three of his pitches for strikes. His velocity was good … mostly at 92, 93 mph.”

Said Holt, who missed time last year with the B-Mets because of an ankle injury: “It’s exciting to be back. Obviously it’s better than sitting in the dugout watching games every day. I feel good. It was just the couple of weeks off that I had at the beginning of the season. I had everything going great in spring training -- every pitch I was comfortable throwing any count. Then the little setback we had, it was only precautionary. We talked about it. It got me a little out of rhythm.

“The first couple of games with the off-speed I was finding a feel for it, especially the changeup. It’s still relatively new to me. I think especially the last two outings, the changeup has been great. I’ve kind of got the feel back for it and am getting swings and misses. “

B-Mets pitching coach Mark Brewer taught Holt a new grip on his changeup during spring training, and Holt introduced it in games during his final outing of camp.

“It took a few miles off and was moving more,” Holt said.

Holt said he’s gone back to his old grip, though, temporarily until he gets settled this season. He’ll then revert back to the new teachings.

Holt was the 33rd overall choice in the 2008 draft out of UNC Wilmington, with a supplemental pick received for losing Tom Glavine as a free agent back to the Atlanta Braves. That draft also yielded Ike Davis and Reese Havens in the first round. Havens just joined Holt with the B-Mets and is converting to second base.

“Right now, the beginning of the season having the setback, I’m still getting a little bit of the rust off my arm,” Holt said. “I don’t think the velocity is where it was last year. It’ll come.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jesus Feliciano, Buffalo, .375; Wilmer Flores, Savannah, .354; Eric Campbell, St. Lucie, .344; Chris Carter, Buffalo, .336; Josh Satin, St. Lucie, .331; Mike Hessman, Buffalo, .317; Stefan Welch, St. Lucie, .308; Lucas Duda, Binghamton, .303; Russ Adams, Buffalo, .296; Juan Lagares, Savannah, .296.

Homers: Mike Hessman, Buffalo, 13; Zach Lutz, Binghamton, 8; Lucas Duda, Binghamton, 6; Chris Carter, Buffalo, 6; Nick Evans, Binghamton, 6.

RBIs: Mike Hessman, Buffalo, 45; Lucas Duda, Binghamton, 31; Wilmer Flores, Savannah, 30; Stefan Welch, St. Lucie, 30; Juan Lagares, Savannah, 28.

Steals: Emmanuel Garcia, St. Lucie, 16; Cesar Puello, Savannah, 14; Pedro Zapata, Savannah, 14; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Binghamton, 10.

ERA: Jimmy Fuller, Savannah, 1.81; Chris Schwinden, St. Lucie, 1.83; Mark Cohoon, Savannah, 1.94; Brandon Moore, Savannah, 2.11; R.A. Dickey, Buffalo, 2.23; Armando Rodriguez, Savannah, 2.55; Dylan Owen, Binghamton, 2.82; Josh Stinson, Binghamton, 3.24; Pat Misch, Buffalo, 3.30; Dillon Gee, Buffalo, 4.21.

Wins: Elmer Dessens, Buffalo, 5; Jimmy Fuller, Savannah, 5.

Saves: Manuel Alvarez, St. Lucie, 9; Elmer Dessens, Buffalo, 5; Michael Powers, Savannah, 5; John Lujan, Buffalo, 4; Roy Merritt, Binghamton, 3.

Strikeouts: Brandon Moore, Savannah, 55; Mark Cohoon, Savannah, 42; Jimmy Fuller, Savannah, 41; Dillon Gee, Buffalo, 40; Armando Rodriguez, Savannah, 38.

Short hops

Buffalo suffered a wave of injuries Tuesday. Center fielder Jason Pridie appears likely to join Fernando Martinez on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Catcher Josh Thole suffered a seemingly less severe leg injury tripping over a bat trying to apply a tag on a play at the plate. Shortstop Ruben Tejada left the game feeling lightheaded. Former Diamondback Andy Green took a pitch off the top of a hand. … Thole resumed catching Sunday with the Bisons after returning following a fill-in assignment at the major league level during Henry Blanco’s bereavement leave. Thole did not appear in a game with the Mets. He acknowledged he’s struggling for the first time as a minor leaguer and pressing at the plate. He did have two hits Tuesday, lifting his season average to .198. … With Shawn Riggans released, the Mets signed J.R. House from Camden in the independent Atlantic League to back up Thole with the Bisons. House, 30, appeared in 32 major league games from 2003-08 with the Pirates, Astros and Orioles. With Buffalo’s roster depleted, third catcher Tony Maccani remained with the Bisons, while fellow catcher Jean Luc Blaquiere returned to St. Lucie. Blaquiere had two homers, two doubles and four RBIs in two Triple-A games. … The Mets also added slugger Val Pascucci from Camden and assigned him to Buffalo. Pascucci served as DH during the weekend, then manned first base Monday. Pascucci had been in spring training with the Mets, but was idle for the first half because of walking pneumonia. He eventually was released near the end of camp because of a numbers crunch with roster spots. … Mike Hessman’s 45 RBIs lead all of minor league baseball, ahead of runner-up Kody Hinze’s 43 with Lexington (Astros) in the South Atlantic League. … Dylan Owen was promoted from Double-A Binghamton to Buffalo to take R.A. Dickey’s spot in the Bisons’ rotation. Owen went 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA in seven games (six starts) with the B-Mets. … Ryota Igarashi is scheduled to work Thursday and Friday for Buffalo before being activated from the disabled list. … Left-hander Pat Misch tossed a 91-pitch shutout Saturday against Norfolk. Misch is 3-0 with a 3.30 ERA. … While Bobby Parnell has the résumé to be closing at Buffalo, he’s being given a different assignment -- relief appearances ranging from two to three innings. The logic: With Francisco Rodriguez entrenched as Mets closer, any reliever called up during the season would be best served being capable of logging multiple innings. Because Buffalo’s starting pitchers had been so effective, Parnell isn’t getting as regular work as desired -- one additional reason for his control issues (13 walks in 21 2/3 innings). … Kiko Calero officially was released. But, in reality, the right-handed reliever chose to retire. The Mets granted the release so Calero is not on a restricted list should he ever decide to revive his career. … First baseman/outfielder Lucas Duda (hamstring) and catcher Omir Santos (rib) remain on the disabled list with Binghamton. … The 2008 first-round pick Havens, who had a late start to the season after suffering injuries to oblique muscles on both sides during spring training, arrived in Binghamton on Saturday to continue his transition to second base. Havens had a three-hit game in his B-Mets debut after hitting .281 with three homers in 14 games with Class A St. Lucie. … B-Mets manager Tim Teufel was excused from the weekend series against Trenton to attend the graduation of his daughter from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Hitting coach Luis Natera filled in as skipper. Binghamton was swept by Trenton in the four-game series and has lost six straight. … Right-hander Jeurys Familia, who burned his non-pitching hand cooking, returned to St. Lucie’s rotation Sunday after a three-week absence. Familia limited Daytona to one run on two hits, a walk and two wild pitches in three innings. Collins said Familia’s hand felt fine. Collins expects Familia will get his pitch count up to 75 in his next outing and potentially contribute four or five innings. … Savannah shortstop Wilmer Flores had his second 10-game hitting streak of the season snapped Monday. During the more recent streak, the 18-year-old shortstop hit .489 (22-for-45) with five doubles, a triple, two homers and nine RBIs. Flores ranks second in the South Atlantic League in average at .354, narrowly behind Lexington’s J.D. Martinez (.356). Flores’ .410 on-base percentage ranks third in the league. … Left fielder Juan Lagares has been the second-most consistent offensive producer for the Gnats, behind Flores. Lagares lost an eight-game hitting streak Tuesday, but is hitting .324 with a homer and 12 RBIs this month. Lagares, still only 21, is in his fourth straight season with Savannah. He began his career as a shortstop before moving exclusively to outfield last season. After having no homers in 47 games with the Gnats last season -- and eight in 258 career professional games -- Lagares has four long balls in 38 games this season and has been using the right-center gap. He had been slowed by assorted injuries in other seasons with the Gnats, including to his back and a wrist. … Augusta left-hander Mark Cohoon, a 12th-round pick in 2008 out of North Central Texas College, suffered his first defeat this season Monday. Cohoon (4-1, 1.94 ERA) nonetheless limited Augusta to two runs in five innings. Including Cohoon’s defeat, Savannah has been shut out three straight games -- and that includes an 18-inning game Sunday, when Armando Rodriguez contributed seven scoreless innings. … Savannah’s six extra-inning games have all come in the past two weeks. … 2009 second-round pick Steve Matz, an 18-year-old left-hander from Long Island, underwent Tommy John elbow surgery Tuesday and will miss the season.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the season