Jerry Manuel Pushes Right Buttons In Spring

danny perezContributor IFebruary 26, 2009

Not going by the book, he causes a stir by deciding that it may be a good idea to bat Luis Castillo lead-off and move Reyes down to the three spot. Then he puts Mets hitters through these marathon ‘gangster’ hitting drills where they’re swinging at curve ball after curve ball till they start looking straight and another where they have to hit opposite field on every pitch.

Then he bats Oliver Perez second to assure the pitcher an at bat.

Jerry Manuel’s unorthodox coaching has raised eyebrows and some questions marks. But so far, positive results are beginning to show.

What’s next, a catching drill where Mets catchers get 50 attempts each at throwing out base stealers consecutively?

In 2 games in the lead-off spot, Castillo is 3 for 5, with 2 walks, and 4 RBI. Most importantly is that he reaches base five times. Reyes, in only one game so far in the three hole, goes 2 for 4, with 2 home runs one of which was a grand slam, and 6 RBI.

Countless guys have gone opposite field, including Delgado twice today. On the SNY telecast, after Delgado’s second opposite hit of the day, Gary Cohen reminds the viewers that the “opposite field parade continues”.

With Perez scheduled to pitch only two innings today, Manuel bats him second in the lineup so he can at least get one shot at a bunt in a real game situation. Perez did just that, moving Castillo over to second on a sweet sacrifice bunt in the first inning, accomplishing what Manuel set out for him to do.

Not sure I’ve ever seen a pitcher bat in any position other than the 8 or 9 spot in the order. It’s these little things Jerry is trying to instill on the Mets.

Little things that make good teams great.

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