New York Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones had an early start on spring training this year. Bones was part of a group of over 40 former major leaguers that played in the 25th and final Joe DiMaggio Legends Game at Fort Lauderdale Stadium this Saturday. The 43-year-old Bones pitched three innings for the National League team, displaying the form and poise that carried him through his 11-year big league career.
Mets fans will not have to worry; Bones wasn't auditioning for a comeback. His mound appearance was in support of the weekend’s fundraising festivities. “I’ve been here for four years and it’s really something to give back to the fans,” he said. “For me, being one of the youngest [here] around the legends of baseball, it’s a pleasure for me to be a part of it.”
Bones will be returning to South Florida in a few weeks when the Mets begin spring training. Looking ahead to the start of camp, Bones was intrigued by the Mets recent acquisition of Pedro Feliciano, who led the Mets in appearances for three consecutive seasons from 2008-2010. “We’re always trying to fill some holes that need to be filled. He was the only lefty when he played for the Mets and was used a lot. I still think he can help the club.”
Despite the departure of Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Bones remained optimistic about the Mets mix of young pitching talent. “The acquisitions that we made, with the old nucleus we had, we can make this season a better season. Spring training is in two weeks and I’m really looking forward to working the young guys, as well as the veterans we have put together, [in order] to have a successful 2013.”