Amaziníly, Havens is still hanging íround
PORT ST. LUCIE ó Remember Reese Havens? Itís easy to forget he is still a Met.
Havens, 26, was the clubís second first-round draft pick in 2008, a draft that was to solidify the Metsí infield for years to come. Third baseman David Wright blasted 33 home runs that year and shortstop Jose Reyes compiled 204 hits.
The Mets were set on that side of the infield. The other side would be taken care of with a couple of college players: First baseman Ike Davis was taken with the 18th pick out of Arizona State and, four picks later, general manager Omar Minayaís Mets snagged Havens, a big-hitting middle infielder from South Carolina.
Reyes is gone. Wright is here for the duration. Davis, despite some setbacks, is fulfilling his power promise. As for Havens?
Heís still trying to find the key to staying healthy. Havens believes he may have finally found the answer this offseason. The Mets have been down this shattered glass road before and can only hope for the best while not counting on anything. Havens has played more than 61 games in a minor league season only twice. He has never hit the 100-game mark.
The road has been tortuous. As the second baseman hit line drives during batting practice Friday, manager Terry Collins told The Post: ďI know how good a player Reese Havens can be. This guy has everything it takes to be a solid major league infielder. He can hit. He can hit with power. He can hit lefties. You just have to keep him on the field.
ďLast year, he came in early, hurt his back the first day and didnít play all spring.íí
That is the story of Havensí career. Here is some of what he has been through:
ďI had a rib shaved off in 2010,íí Havens said of a painful injury, which was diagnosed as rib-tip syndrome.
His back was the issue last year.
ďI had cartilage and disc problems in my low back,íí he said. ďWhen you have back stuff, itís just about staying on top of it. Sometimes it will get you and two days later you will be all right.íí
Bad backs and baseball are a bad combination.
ďLast year,íí Havens said, ďI bent down to pick up a shirt off the ground and threw my back out, crazy stuff like that. Right now itís feeling good and Iím just trying to come to the park and focus on the day.íí
This offseason, he changed gears and worked with former high-school teammate Joey Welling, a personal trainer in South Carolina.
ďI worked really hard so I could get that back healthy,íí Havens told me. ďWe had a really good program going.íí
Havens believes he is on top of the situation because of the new routine. At Bishop England High School in Charleston, S.C., Havens played shortstop, Welling played second. They are paired up again.
ďI did a lot of flexibility training,íí Havens said. ďI did Pilates. I did functional baseball movements, I did speed work and I did a lot of core stuff. It was by far my best offseason of working out yet. I feel confident coming in.
ďI can control what I can control and thatís trying to staying on top of the [back issues] and playing baseball, everything else is out of my hands. I learned the hard way.
ďWhen youíre healthy you take for granted how your body actually works and stuff. But hey, Iím not the only one who has been through it. Iím learning how to take care of my body. Itís just like baseball, you never quit learning, but since I stepped on the field in Brooklyn [in 2008] itís been an ongoing battle with injuries.
ďIím still as confident as ever that I can still play. But I have to stay out there. Iím just grateful the Mets still have faith in me. They could have easily given up on me.íí
Their faith will be rewarded only if Reese Havens stays on the field.