02/20/11 2:03 PM EST
Mets sign three to Minor League deals
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
Feliciano, 31, made his Major League debut last season after 13 years in the Minors, hitting .231 in 54 games with the Mets. He should rejoin Fernando Martinez, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda and Jason Pridie in the outfield for Triple-A Buffalo.
Shelton, 30, is six years removed from a season in which he hit 18 home runs and slugged .510 in 107 games for the Tigers. Spending most of last season with Houston's Triple-A affiliate, Shelton hit .249 with 10 homers in 82 games.
Tsujimoto, 22, made his professional debut in the independent Golden League last season, finishing 3-2 with a 2.88 in 34 1/3 innings for Maui, striking out 48 batters and walking 13.
None of the three players received an invitation to big league camp.
Bay determined to reclaim elite status
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The worst season of Jason Bay's professional career has left him with a mission.
"More than anything, I just want to get back to the player I know that I am," Bay said after reporting to Mets camp Sunday. "I kind of lost that a little bit last year. I'm not out here to prove anybody right or wrong, just to go out there and be consistent, and be the guy that I'm supposed to be."
He's supposed to be one of the game's elite run producers, a status he simply could not attain last year. Even before a concussion robbed him of the season's final two months, Bay mustered only six home runs in his first year at Citi Field.
The park itself offers a convenient excuse. But Bay looks to David Wright for evidence that a right-handed hitter can produce strong power numbers at spacious Citi Field -- and Wright, for his part, believes that Bay can make the stadium seem even smaller.
"He's a guy that's much better at pulling the ball than me, so it's not going to matter at all for him," Wright said. "With his swing and his approach, he's so good at pulling the ball that the park's not going to make all that big of a difference for him."
The Mets must hope that much is true. With a healthy and productive Bay, they know their lineup becomes exponentially more formidable.
"If you could just -- as we stand here today -- write a lineup on paper, everyone would say, 'Hey, that's pretty good,'" Bay said. "If that lineup is the same in June or July, I think we'll be pretty good. But we've got to get there first."
Martinez looking to fulfill promise with Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Those who forget Fernando Martinez's age need only to throw a glance in his direction. Martinez, long one of the Mets' most promising prospects, looks even younger than his 22 years suggest.
But time, regardless, is growing short for Martinez, once unquestionably the organization's best position-player prospect and now a potential flameout. Battling injuries again last season, and later in winter ball, Martinez made no noticeable gains on the diamond last season. After a lengthy series of knee injuries, few scouts still consider Martinez the prodigy they once did.
"I pray about the injuries, because it's a lot of injuries," Martinez said, before offering a prediction: "I think this year, I'll have a great season."
Due to the signings of Scott Hairston and Willie Harris, the season will almost certainly begin back at Triple-A Buffalo, where, when healthy, Martinez has spent most of the past two summers. The Mets still hope to aid his development by having him play every day in the Minors, meaning it will take an injury -- or two or three -- to vault Martinez back to the big league level.
And for a player long ago penciled into the big club's 2011 outfield, that much speaks volumes.
"My assignment is hard," Martinez said. "But that's baseball."
Mets announce spring pitching schedule
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets on Sunday announced their pitching schedule for the start of the exhibition season, beginning with an intrasquad game Friday that will feature free-agent signees Tim Byrdak, D.J. Carrasco, Blaine Boyer and Taylor Tankersley on the mound.
Top prospect Jenrry Mejia will start the team's Grapefruit League opener Saturday against the Braves at Digital Domain Park. Chris Young and Oliver Perez will both make appearances Feb. 27 in Orlando, with Chris Capuano and Dillon Gee staying back to pitch in an exhibition against the University of Michigan. Mike Pelfrey, the club's Opening Day starter, will then make his spring debut Feb. 28 at home against the Nationals.