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  • trade kaz?

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., Feb. 23 — One by one, the players whose jobs were in absolutely no danger jogged to their infield positions on Field No. 4 Thursday morning.

    Discuss the Postseason Then followed the first two contestants in the opening stages of a reality show fit for the Mets' new TV network: "Who wants to play second base?" Bret Boone and Kazuo Matsui fielded ground balls with the starters on the first day of full-squad workouts.

    The prospects Jeff Keppinger and Anderson Hernandez loosened up on a back field. Boone and Matsui were afforded the opportunity to work out with the regulars because of their status as veteran second basemen, Manager Willie Randolph said. But, in a way, the groupings offered an early insight into the Mets' assessment of the only wide-open race in camp.

    "I can say to you: 'The job is his.' But what does that mean?" Randolph said of Matsui. "If someone comes in and plays much better, then I'm going to pick the best guy."

    Unlike in right field, where Xavier Nady holds an advantage over Victor Diaz because the Mets traded Mike Cameron to acquire him, there is no clear-cut favorite at second base. And there is also the possibility that General Manager Omar Minaya could dump Matsui, picking up most of his $8 million contract, or revisit trade talks for the Devil Rays' Julio Lugo, whom he has long coveted.

    For the moment, the race comes down to Matsui, an often-injured converted shortstop; Boone, a three-time All-Star who lost his passion for the game last season; Keppinger, a talented hitter with gap power who, after a severe knee injury last season, wants to prove that he can still play; and Hernandez, a 23-year-old who is probably still a year away.

    It is not an ideal scenario, but the early feeling is that Boone will win the job if he can prove that he can still play. Boone was one of the American League's more feared hitters when he played for Seattle from 2001 to 2004 and has captured four Gold Glove awards, but he was released by Seattle and Minnesota last summer because of ineffectiveness.

    Boone said that he had not lost any range and that regaining his swing was proving the biggest challenge. Even if Boone does not rediscover his previous form as a hitter, his defense may be enough to boost him into the lead.

    Barring a trade, the second baseman figures to bat eighth in the lineup, placing a priority on defense. And with Carlos Delgado, a mediocre defensive player, at first base, the Mets are in position to sacrifice offense for defense at second base.

    "I think baseball people know about my defense," Boone said. "If that's what's going to help my chances get back into the major leagues, then that's fine with me."

    Boone's presence may wind up motivating Matsui, who has frustrated Mets officials with his penchant for sustaining injuries. Matsui arrived in camp in excellent shape and repentant for his two disappointing seasons with the Mets. He hired a private coach to help him improve his agility and strength during the off-season, and then revealed the results during live batting practice Thursday, slamming a homer to center field off Billy Wagner, the Mets' new closer.

    "He probably just got lucky and walked in on it," Randolph said.

    It was tough to tell whether he was kidding.

    Keppinger, who was leading the International League in hitting before fracturing his knee in a contentious spiking incident last June, performed adequately during a late-season call-up in 2004, but he still ranks below Hernandez on the organization's depth chart.

    Hernandez, an outstanding defensive player, is the heir apparent to the job, but there is no reason to rush him. After batting 1 for 18 with the Mets in a brief stint last September, Hernandez flourished in the Dominican winter league, earning rookie of the year honors and batting .455 in leading Licey to the league championship.

    "I played against major leaguers all winter," Hernandez said. "I know I can play against them now."

    The ultimate arbiter, of course, is Randolph, a man who expertly played second base for 18 seasons. He will also decide who gets to play alongside Delgado, José Reyes and David Wright on Field No. 4 and at Shea Stadium.

    if a trade for lugo is the case who are we gonna give up ? cause we all know that any team isnt just gonna take kaz even if we pay half of his contract they are gonna want someone else in my opnion this is gettin outta hand with minaya trading just for the hell of trading we have what 4 guys in camp now that can play 2b not including kaz
    Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time.

    -Lou Brock-

  • #2
    I am assuming that Kaz or Boone will start the year. By mid year it could be Keppinger or Hernandez.


    • #3
      Well Kaz is hurt again. h :grouchy

      Let the competition begin!


      • #4
        I have a funny fact about Kaz :

        Before playing in the MLB , Kaz played in the elite japanese league , and we all know that there baseball is kinda different from ours but this change between leagues is the reason why Kaz isn't an elite 2nd basemen in the MLB.
        This change was that in the japanese league , if when fielding , you backhand the ball , you are considered a wuss . Since he ''obeyed'' that ''rule'' , Kaz can not backhand the ball and that makes a BIG difference in his MLB career.


        • #5
          I'm glad he's he can't take Keppinger's or Hernandez's rightful position.

          Moonlight Graham
 game, no at-bats...


          • #6
            too bad - i was expecting another opening day 1st at bat homer.


            • #7
              Kaz Hoit Again

              And we're payin this guy??


              Amazin!!! Simply Amazin!!!
              North of the Big Apple but missing Central Fla :atthepc


              • #8
                At least he is consistent. 3 spring trainings with the Mets, 3 injuries Of course when we trade him, he will become the new iron man of Baseball, and play in 1500 straight games and play up to his full potential
                "It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon playing golf." - Hank Aaron


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