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01/09/2006 3:01 PM ET
Carter takes over St. Lucie Mets
Hall of Famer replaces former Mets teammate Tim Teufel
Gary Carter (far right) at Spring Training last season with former Mets (l-r) Mookie Wilson, Tim Teufel and Darryl Strawberry.  (LM Otero/AP)

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Gary Carter has been adamant about achieving his goal of becoming a Major League manager and on Monday the Mets helped him take another step toward achieving that objective when the club officially named his as the manager of their Florida State League affiliate.

Carter replaces Tim Teufel, a fellow member of the 1986 World Champion Mets, who was not retained after two seasons in St. Lucie after going 66-68. This will be Carter's second year as a manager within the organization. The Hall of Famer guided the Gulf Coast Mets to a 37-16 mark a year ago and a berth in the league championship series.

"The Mets have given me a great opportunity," said Carter as the Mets opened their three-day mini-camp at The Tradition Field complex. "I'm very grateful and thankful for that, and I'm going to do everything I can to try and get there [the Major Leagues]. And if it does happen in a couple of years, fine. I feel I have the experience and knowledge to do the job even though they have guys in place now who are deserving. If it does happen, that will be a great day.

"For now, I'm looking forward to being part of the community here and having another successful season. The Florida State League is known to be one of the best Minor Leagues. And it's a great developmental league."

Carter announced that Nelson Silverio, who served on his coaching staff last year and spent two seasons as the parent club's bullpen coach and catching instructor, will serve as his first base and hitting coach. Former Major League pitcher Ricky Bones was named pitching coach.

Teufel, who also managed the Mets' New York-Penn League affiliate in Brooklyn in 2003, is planning on taking a year off from baseball.

Return to action: Hard-throwing Matt Lindstrom says he's ready for Spring Training after having recovered from a stress fracture in his right arm. The break was discovered in October when the club flew him to New York for a bone scan after he continued to experience pain while throwing during the Arizona Fall League.

Lindstrom, who has reached 100 on the gun, pitched in pain for much of 2005 and assumes that he suffered the injury early in the season.

"I was still able to throw the ball hard, but my control was all messed up because of it," Lindstrom said. "Now I'm just looking forward to throwing without pain. I can't wait. I want to prove to the club that they didn't make a mistake by putting me on the roster. I want to show that I can produce, and I think I can."

Lindstrom, who'll turn 26 next month, was 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 35 games (10 starts) for Double-A Binghamton last season. But he was 1-1 with a 3.56 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings after moving to the bullpen full-time in the middle of June.

"Sometimes I didn't want to pitch because my arm hurt," Lindstrom said. "I was scared because I wanted to stay healthy, and sometimes I didn't want to throw because of that. I had the same problem in '04 and we treated it with stim and ice and that worked. I thought this was the same problem but it escalated too fast.

"And then in the Fall League, I'm throwing 98, 99, 100 but my arm hurt. So I took some time off, and the rest was really good."

Soler impressing: New York's roving Minor League pitching instructor Rick Waits was raving Monday morning about Cuban pitcher Alay Soler, who may figure prominently into the club's Major League plans this season. Soler was 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in eight games (six starts) for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Waits saw him pitch twice and came away impressed.

"Boy, he looked terrific," Waits said. "I saw him early on and he was just getting going but he looked good. I think his greatest asset is competitiveness on the mound. He is such a fierce competitor. He has real good command of his fastball, and he has an excellent slider.

"When I played and coached over in Italy, we played the Cuban National Team a couple of times a year and I always remember that they were great. The pitchers all had good arms, but they knew how to pitch. Soler is like that; he knows how to pitch and has a lot to offer. I think he can start or come out of the 'pen. His stuff warrants him going either way."

Waits also singled out reliever Rafael Cova, who at one time was under contract to the Phillies. The 22-year-old right-hander touches the mid to high 90s on the gun and has done well in the difficult Venezuelan League after a solid first season in U.S. pro ball. Cova had a 3.65 ERA through 15 games (12 1/3 innings) for the Magallanes, striking out 11 and walking 11. He was 5-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 24 games (five starts) for Class A Hagerstown this season, fanning 61 in 62 2/3 innings.

"He's a setup-closer kind of guy whom we converted to the 'pen," Waits said. "He's ready to come alive. I don't know where he's going to start next season, but I'm real excited about this kid. He's a big, strong kid with a great arm. There is some tough competition down there, but he's done well. I've been excited about him for a while."

This and that: Former first-round pick Phil Humber threw on Monday from flat ground at 90 feet, though he isn't pitching. He said he hasn't experienced any pain or trouble but added that he wasn't about to push his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

"I could probably throw as hard as I want to, but I have to follow the program," he said. "So, I'm throwing just as hard as I have to reach the distance. I missed a lot of time last year so it's good to get back here this week in the swing of things."

Kevin T. Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.