Notes: Alomar Jr. inks Minors deal
Veteran catcher could be third family member to play for club
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Sandy Alomar Sr. played with the Mets in briefly in 1964, Robbie Alomar had an uneven tenure with the Mets in 2002 and into 2003, and now a third Alomar -- veteran catcher Sandy Jr. -- could become the third family member to play at Shea. The Mets signed "Junior" to a Minor League contract on Monday. He was expected to be in camp Tuesday.
Now 40, Alomar appeared in 27 games with the Dodgers last season before being traded to the White Sox on July 23. He batted .278 with eight doubles, one home run and 30 RBIs in 108 at-bats.
Alomar Sr. says his son, the 1990 American League Rookie of the Year with Indians, hopes to play one more season.
Alomar Jr. has played with the Padres -- while his father was coaching and Robbie was the second baseman from 1988-89, 11 seasons with the Indians, three stops with the White Sox, as well as time with the Rockies, Rangers and Dodgers.
Catcher II: The Mets are unlikely to carry a third catcher because of their need for a seven-man bullpen. The bench is likely to be limited to five players -- Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, Damion Easley and Dave Newhan.
It seems unlikely that Alomar would displace Castro, the incumbent understudy who is 10 years younger. Mike DiFelice, who has caught for the Mets the last two seasons -- 134 innings total -- is in camp as well. His projected role as the backup to the backup could be more affected by Alomar. But Alomar probably is less inclined than DiFelice to accept a Minor League assignment.
Catcher -- no mas: At some point this spring, it will dawn on Carlos Delgado that he is closer to peril than he has been in some time -- and not because fatherhood is approaching. When it does, he will come to lament the departure of Chris Woodward more than the other Mets.
Among Woodward's responsibilities in his two seasons with the Mets was to be on call in case the catchers -- whether it was Paul Lo Duca and his understudies last season or Mike Piazza and his support system in 2005 -- became incapacitated in the same game.
Reluctant as he was, Woodward was first in line to catch. He called himself the "D.E.C." -- dire emergency catcher. He played seven positions in his two seasons with the Mets, but he never caught. Nor did he catch in his six seasons with the Blue Jays. Now he is off to not-catch with the Braves, leaving a void with his most recent employer.
"Oh, I guess we could have Jose Valentin in an emergency," Willie Randolph said Monday morning. "But you don't like to have a guy who plays almost every day go back there, especially when he's never done it before."
That leaves Delgado as the fall back, or as Randolph called him, "The total last resort backup."
Delgado, of course, is marginally more a regular than Valentin, but he has played the position. He did squat for five innings in 1992 and 1993 with the Jays.
But he has not masked his resistance to membership in Kappa Delta Shinguard.
The circumstances that would have to exist for Delgado to catch again include a 22-inning game, an outbreak of stomach flu and 13 ejections after four pitching changes. And even then, Billy Wagner might be asked first.
Three-digit envy: When bullpen wannabe Ambiorix Burgos popped the catcher's mitt with his final pitch fastball Monday, Wagner was nearby -- and impressed.
"I remember doing that -- 100 [mph]," Wagner said.
Frankly speaking: Randolph said he didn't feel the need to surround Lastings Milledge with a special support group. The Mets have, however briefly, considered bringing in one person to counsel Milledge -- Frank Robinson. The Hall of Famer and former Expos/Nationals manager has a close relationship with Omar Minaya from their days with the Expos, and Minaya is aware of Milledge's admiration for Robinson.
"We talked about it a little," Minaya said on Monday. "But we have other people coming in -- not just for Lastings Milledge."
He referred to Rickey Henderson, who again is to serve as a Spring Training instructor. And the club is trying to arrange another Spring Traning appearance by Darryl Strawberry.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. Contributor Charlie Nobles added to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.