The Franchise, T-Bone and I went to the game on Friday night - I'll try to do a recap later today. In the meantime, let's do some updates.
Ryan Church is back again, hopefully for good this time. The post-concussion symptoms seem to have abated and he's gotten off to a good start, going 3 for 7 in his first two games since returning. I would like to see Jerry Manuel be cautious with Church over the next few weeks - Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis are still hot, so you can get away with sitting Church every three or four games, especially against tougher lefties. Church's emergence this season has been nothing less than a revelation - even as Lastings Milledge continues to improve in Washington, the sting of that trade has begun to abate. Robinson Cancel was sent back to New Orleans to make room for Church - that's exactly where he belongs.
It looks like Luis Castillo's return has been delayed again; something tells me that he will "magically" be ready to play again on August 31. I want to write more about this soon, but Castillo can still be a very valuable player for this team if he's used effectively down the stretch. That means batting him eighth in the lineup and giving him plenty of rest, allowing Argenis Reyes and even Murphy to spot start once or twice a week. I know Mets fans have hated watching Castillo play this summer, but he's better than A. Reyes both offensively and defensively and will make the lineup better when he returns.
Finally, say goodbye to El Duque, whose career is almost surely over after opting to finally undergo bunion surgery this week. It's a shame - he has always been a wonderfully entertaining player to watch and he is still an effective major league starter when he's healthy. Who knew that bunions could be so debilitating?
One last thing: this roster is finally beginning to resemble exactly what a major league roster should look like. Gone are the days of three catchers, seven infielders and three outfielders - there is depth and flexibility all over the diamond and I think the Mets finally have the right mix of position players available to them. Once Castillo returns, he will need to replace Argenis Reyes or Damion Easley on the 25-man roster to make it perfect. I would send A. Reyes down and then call him back up on September 1 - the Mets can survive for a few days without a utility infielder.
Let's take a look at the active roster now:
Billy Wagner (closer) - DL
Marlon Anderson - DL