El Duque is back... err... sort of
El Duque had a nice rehab start last night with the St. Lucie Mets, going five innings and allowing three hits, one walk and two runs while striking out six. St. Lucie is the Mets' High-A affiliate in the Florida State League (FSL) and is three big stepping stones from the big leagues. El Duque has clearly established himself as a big leaguer, but the poor chumps on the Vero Beach Devil Rays* are something considerably short of major league caliber. It may not be much, and Hernandez is supposed to dominate inferior competition, but it's still far more encouraging than had he been blown out by a bunch of kids with a paucity of professional experience.
* Yes, apparently the Vero Beach Devil Rays were allowed to keep their pagan name while their MLB counterpart caved to big religion** and cleansed themselves of their demonic leanings.
** May not have been actual reason. The organization ostensibly changed their name, logo and team colors to get a "fresh start". That's fine; there's no room in baseball for half-assed unbelief. I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my Satan worshipping baseball teams fa-laming.
Mike Hampton sucks at staying healthy
I'm beginning to think he just doesn't want to pitch anymore. Ham-bone was scratched before his scheduled start against the Pirates last night because of a strained left pec. I love Mike Hampton. He was mostly terrific for the Mets throughout the 2000 season and he was an absolute stud in the NLCS against the Cardinals. He was also kind enough to leave the Mets for the clear skies and superior schools of Colorado, leaving the Mets with a lousy sandwich pick they wasted on some bum. Hampton as done practically doodily-squat since then, turning in a decent year for the Braves in 2003 and otherwise pitching either horribly or infrequently or both. Anyway, thanks, Mike.
The end of an era?
According to The Big Lead, crumbum and hater of anything newfangled Murray Chass is a whisker away from finalizing a buyout with The Grey Lady. While this is certainly good news, part of me will miss the old coot. In celebration of Chass's long history of shaking his fist at things and chasing kids off of his lawn, take some time to read everything FJM has ever written about the guy.
Also at The Big Lead is a neat interview with Keith Law, just a bright, regular guy who wrote for Baseball Prospectus and then landed a gig in Toronto's front office. Definitely worth a read.
More of me, this time in audio form
The guys at Aceman & the Kwass were kind enough to ask me on their BlogTalkRadio show last night. The two hosts are big Mets fans and we had a good time chatting about all things orange-n-blue. I'm something of a live interview neophyte so I encourage you to give it a listen and let me know what you think. All comments and criticisms are appreciated. Gracias.