Grapefruit bites for Thursday
Observations from Port St. Lucie:
* Speed is plentiful in the batting order on Thursday against the Mets. Emilio Bonifacio is leading off against the Mets, followed by Cameron Maybin and Hanley Ramirez. Maybin is projected to hit first and Ramirez third.
I asked Mets broadcaster Ron Darling, a former pitcher, what speed at the first three spots does. He compared it to the 1986 St. Louis Cardinals, who at times had a speed combination of Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee atop their order.
“That scares you,” Darling said.
* Wes Helms is starting at first base and batting cleanup.
* Want another Spring Sleeper? Don’t discount Logan Morrison’s chances of making the team and playing first base. It would be a huge jump from Class A to the big leagues, but he can hit, and his defense is getting better.
* Early in spring, the home team decides whether to use the designated hitter in NL parks. The Mets wanted to because they wanted lefty starter Oliver Perez to work on his bunting. Perez actually was slotted to hit second, and the scenario worked out for New York. Leadoff batter Luis Castillo singled, stole second, and Perez dropped a sacrifice bunt, moving the runner to third.
* Robert Andino isn’t expected to play much second base, but he started there on Thursday because Alfredo Amezaga has a sore right knee. Andino made a great backhanded play up the middle to rob Jose Reyes of a hit in the third inning.
* Sean West’s sore left hip is why he was scratched from starting on Friday. The team doesn’t want West to risk anything while covering a bag. The ailment doesn’t bother him when he’s pitching.
* Ricky Nolasco will start on Saturday against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale. Josh Johnson also will pitch that day in relief, keeping both frontrunners to take the ball on Opening Day working the same day.
* Renyel Pinto threw a bullpen session Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium. The lefty missed a few days with a stomach virus.
– Joe Frisaro