Sandy Alderson said on Thursday night that he expects Francisco Rodriguez to report to spring training 100 percent healthy. K-Rod had surgery in mid-August to repair a torn right thumb ligament. He made a handful of appearances out of the bullpen of his Venezuelan winter-league team, Tiburones de La Guaira, in the offseason.
“At this stage I don’t expect any issues with him coming into camp, I don’t expect any limitations,” Alderson said Thursday night at the Police Athletic League's 18th annual Sportsnite at Cipriani Restaurant. “I expect that he’ll be 100%. Anything can happen over the course of an offseason but right now we don’t have any expectation that he’ll be limited in any way.”
Alderson said trainer Ray Ramirez has checked in with K-Rod periodically throughout the offseason to monitor the health of his thumb.
Rodriguez has a vesting option in his contract that states if he finished 55 games in 2011, the Mets will pay him $17.5 million in 2012.
“From my standpoint, I hope he gets 55 saves. And if he does that probably indicates a successful season for the Mets,” Alderson said.
A few other notes from Thursday’s event, which honored Alderson and Mets manager Terry Collins:
• Collins said enigmatic left-hander Oliver Perez will enter camp as a starting pitcher, but the manager added that Perez could be used as a situational reliever. It all depends on what he shows in spring training.
Collins worked with Perez during his minor-league rehab stint last year. He said Perez worked hard during his stint in the minors and the manager acknowledged that he needed to help the lefty regain his confidence in 2011. (Still, it's likely Perez ultimately is cut in spring training.)
“I have an idea what his mindset is like. We’ve got to rebuild the confidence,” Collins said. “But he’s not the only guy on this team. That will start with not only Ollie, but with a lot of other guys.”
• Collins said he wouldn’t allow starter Chris Capuano to start in spring training until he proved he was 100 percent healthy. Capuano is coming off of Tommy John surgery. He signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with the Mets in early January in which he could earn $3 million in incentives.
• Collins has spoken to a few of his regulars. The manager said Jason Bay is “ready to go” and “excited.” He said Carlos Beltran told him his surgically repaired knee "feels good." Collins reports that Luis Castillo is working with a trainer in Miami to strengthen his legs and Jose Reyes told the manager he is in “the best shape of his life.”
Collins plans to return to Port St. Lucie on Saturday.