Notes: Trachsel misses family life

Notes: Mets' Trachsel misses family life

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Three-year-old Lauren Trachsel awoke a little earlier than usual the other day and wound up in a bigger bed next to her mother. A while later, 5-year-old Brendan wanted to join them, but Lauren was sure he shouldn't.

"This is daddy's place," she explained.

Her older brother knew better, though, and set her straight.

"Daddy's at baseball, Lauren," Brendan said.

So goes life without father. The man whose had left his assigned place unoccupied was hours east of the Trachsel home in San Diego, Calif., and very much "at baseball."

Steve Trachsel would have brought everyone to Mets camp one day after Valentine's Day if Brendan's school schedule would have allowed. Instead, he left behind his heart and "daddy's place." For now, he is a different kind of missing person.

That explains why the Mets pitcher was in Charlie Samuels' clubhouse office a few weeks ago, engrossed in the telecast of the Sweden-Switzerland Olympic curling final. Most of his teammates had showered, shaved, shampooed and shipped out. Trachsel was an audience of one that day, as alone as a figure skater after a spill.

"I've got nothing else to do," he said that day.

A week later, he stayed in and cooked -- "There's a good little Italian market on Bayshore I never knew was there," he said -- as he is wont to do four or five times during his unwanted bachelor weeks.

Sometimes, Spring Training isn't so wonderful. For a single guy from the Midwest, it's one thing. For a married father of two little ones who must replace San Diego's perfection with South Florida's heat and humidity, it's not so cool.

No complaints from Trachsel. The 35-year-old pitcher, the active player with the longest Mets tenure, long ago reconciled the tradeoff. Ten years from now, when Lauren and Brendan will better understand his extended absences, he will be there every day. The family will be secure. But for now, there are holes, holes that never will be filled.

"You miss the new stuff," is Trachsel's lament.

The new words, the misspoken words, the first this, the first that. Right now, Lauren couldn't tell you how long before daddy is in "daddy's place." But she knows she'll see him after "seven more sleeps."

"The biggest thing is you don't see them learning," her father says.

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Two years ago, his children understood he was home only if his suitcase was. Now they have figured out the suitcase probably is somewhere if daddy's home. And soon they will use their suitcases to make the family whole again.

Trachsel still will be doing the cooking then, but it will be more rewarding. And chances are the March equivalent of Olympic curling won't be on any television in the Trachsel's Florida residence.

"When they're here," Trachsel says, "you won't see me hanging around."

Pedro-plus: Manager Willie Randolph acknowledged he and pitching coach Rick Peterson had discussed making contingency pitching plans for Opening Day. If Pedro Martinez can't start, Tom Glavine will. But Randolph said he still expects Martinez to pitch.

"You always have to have a fallback plan," the manager said. "It's time for [Martinez] to speed up his progress."

Martinez was to throw again on Wednesday morning.

Meaningful at-bats in March: Kaz Matsui, hitless in nine at-bats through Monday, produced a single and a two-run triple in his first two at-bats on Tuesday. He called his performance in the Mets' 7-1 victory against the Astros on Wednesday "really meaningful."

That remains to be seen. But Randolph did notice something.

"He had a nice game," Randolph said. "Maybe he's starting to feel a little comfortable. I told one of the coaches I thought Kaz had a little pep in his step. He had a nice [batting practice]."

Injury update: Xavier Nady felt tightness is his left hamstring on Monday and soreness in the muscle on Tuesday. He didn't play against the Astros and won't play on Wednesday. ... The Mets said Carlos Delgado wasn't expected to play for the Puerto Rico team on Tuesday in the World Baseball Classic and that he probably won't play in the first round because of tendinitis in his left elbow.

Minus 10: The number of players in camp was reduced by 10, to 48 -- including those involved in the World Baseball Classic -- on Tuesday, when the first cuts were made: Philip Humber, Brett Harper, Rafael Cova, Drew Butera, Jesus Flores, Aaron Hathaway, Andy Wilson, Matt Lindstrom, Jason Scobie and Jeremy Hill.

In command: Humber was delighted, not only by returning to the mound on Monday, but by the command he demonstrated in his 15-pitch comeback. Throwing for the first time since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery last summer, he hit spots.

"[Catcher] Drew [Butera] set up on the outside corner, and I hit it," Humber said as if he were a tad surprised.

Maybe, when his procedure is referred to as "Tommy John" surgery, it's because the replacement tendon put in his elbow came from Tommy John, the consummate sinker ball pitcher.

"Could be," Humber said. "All my pitchers were down."

Coming up: The Mets travel to Winter Haven to play the Indians at 1:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Yusaku Iriki starts for the Mets, followed by Heath Bell, Mitch Wylie, Juan Perez, Matt Perisho and Bartolome Fortunato. Former Met Paul Byrd starts for the Indians. Guillermo Mota, Fautso Carmona and Matt Miller follow.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.