New York Mets: Daniel Murphy

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Diamondbacks 2

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
6:27
PM ET
PHOENIX -- Dillon Gee retired the first 14 batters he faced and the Mets are now above .500 for the first time this season.

Gee tossed seven scoreless innings and Anthony Recker homered and doubled as the Mets swept the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 5-2 win Wednesday at Chase Field.

After winning six of nine games on a trip to the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels and Diamondbacks, the Mets improved to 8-7 this season. They outscored Arizona 21-5 in the series.

It marked the Mets’ first sweep in Phoenix since a four-game series in 2006, when Carlos Beltran went 9-for-17 with 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored.

The reeling D-backs have lost six straight and dropped to an MLB-worst 4-14 this season.

The Mets carried a shutout bid into the ninth, in which Jose Valverde surrendered consecutive homers to Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt to open the inning, snapping a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings by Mets pitchers.

Gee did not allow a baserunner until Martin Prado’s two-out double in the fifth.

He allowed only two other hits.

One came when Gerardo Parra dropped a single in front of center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis with two outs in the sixth. Despite the D-backs trailing 3-0, Parra aggressively tried for a double with second base seemingly uncovered. However, Nieuwenhuis recovered the baseball and delivered it to Ruben Tejada, who in turn threw to Gee manning second, where he applied the tag.

The final hit against Gee came on a one-out double off the center-field wall by Goldschmidt in the seventh.

Gee managed to escape that inning unscathed. The next batter, Miguel Montero, sent a shot to the right-field wall, where Andrew Brown (2-for-5) made a stellar leaping catch. After a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, Gee then stranded Goldschmidt in scoring position with a Mark Trumbo groundout to complete his outing.

Gee’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. He threw 72 pitches (48 strikes).

This season, Gee has allowed a .375 opponent batting average from his 76th pitch onward, and Terry Collins undoubtedly sensed him fading with the D-backs squaring up balls in the seventh.

Gee tossed the fewest pitches by a Mets starter in a performance of at least seven innings since Robert Person on June 13, 1996 (7 IP, 70 pitches against St. Louis).

In the eighth, Kyle Farnsworth entered and allowed a pair of baserunners, but he got a big strikeout call on a two-seam fastball with the count full against Eric Chavez for the second out. Scott Rice then entered and retired Parra to strand two inherited D-backs.

Valverde, pitching for the first time since surrendering a game-tying, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to the Angels’ Raul Ibanez on Saturday, had plenty of wiggle room after the Mets scored two runs in the top of the ninth to open a 5-0 lead. He needed it. With the two long balls surrendered by Valverde, Mets pitchers have now allowed an MLB-high 22 homers. The D-backs are second with 21.

Recker, in only his third start this season as the backup to Travis d’Arnaud, belted his second homer. The second-inning shot against Brandon McCarthy opened the scoring.

The Mets opened a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Ike Davis walked, Brown doubled and Nieuwenhuis produced a sacrifice fly. The Mets’ third run came in the sixth, when Brown singled, Recker doubled and Gee had an RBI groundout after an intentional walk to Tejada.

The Mets tacked on ninth-inning runs on RBI singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright in a frame that also included two Arizona errors.

Welcome back: Curtis Granderson grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. It marked his first game action since bruising his left wrist, rib cage and knee in a collision with the outfield wall Monday. He is expected to return to the starting lineup Friday.

What’s next: The Mets try to duplicate their road success at Citi Field, at which they are 2-4 this season and 105-144 in four seasons under general manager Sandy Alderson.

After an off day, Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46 ERA) opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) on Friday at 7:10 p.m.

Morning Briefing: Desert awaits

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
5:45
AM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif.

FIRST PITCH: With Atlanta and Anaheim in the rearview mirror, the Mets make their final stop on a three-city road trip -- Phoenix.

Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25) in Monday’s 9:40 p.m. ET series opener at Chase Field.

The Mets are 3-3 on the trip so far and 5-7 on the season.

“We’ve kind of given a couple of games away that we should be winning,” David Wright said after Sunday’s rubber-game loss to the Los Angeles Angels. “It is tough to take positives out of that. At the end of the day we’re putting ourselves in position to win some games and need to take advantage of that. There are some improvements that we can make in a lot of different areas. But the fact that we’re putting ourselves in pretty good position to win games is a good thing this early on.”

Monday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon allowed three straight first-inning homers and was charged with a career-high nine earned runs in five innings as the Mets were routed, 14-2, in a rubber game against the Angels on Sunday afternoon. After surrendering five homers in the finale (four by Colon), the Mets now have allowed an MLB-high 21 long balls this season. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Wright and Daniel Murphy were ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Toby Basner after objecting to the strike zone too strenuously from the dugout. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Terry Collins suggested last year’s workload may be catching up with Scott Rice, who allowed two runs Sunday -- on a bases-loaded walk and wild pitch.

Chris Young went 5-for-5 with two homers and logged seven innings in center field at Fresno in his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Las Vegas. Young (right quadriceps) is due to join the Mets during the series in Arizona and be activated from the disabled list on Friday in New York when he is eligible.

• Rafael Montero held Fresno hitless until the sixth inning and Las Vegas won, 10-4. Hansel Robles tossed five scoreless innings as Binghamton blanked New Hampshire, 6-0. Domingo Tapia tossed five no-hit innings before reaching his pitch limit and departing and St. Lucie beat Fort Myers, 6-2. Savannah’s bats were quiet against rehabbing Mike Minor, but awoke after the Atlanta Braves left-hander departed en route to a 6-2 win against Rome. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• The Mets made a trade with the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, dealing minor-league catcher Blake Forsythe for future considerations.

• The Mets are offering $3.50 seats to games at Citi Field next weekend against the Braves. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

BIRTHDAYS: Kyle Farnsworth turns 38. ... Left-handed reliever prospect Chase Huchingson is 25.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should be demoted when Chris Young is activated from the disabled list on Friday?

Wright, Murph cite 'disagreement' with ump

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
7:45
PM ET

Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesDavid Wright exits the visitors' dugout after his seventh-inning ejection -- the fourth heave-ho of his career.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- David Wright and Daniel Murphy toed the line in their postgame comments about plate umpire Toby Basner, trying to limit the fine they will incur.

Their displeasure with the strike zone was nonetheless evident during Sunday’s 14-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Wright and Murphy were ejected by Basner in the seventh inning after a called third strike on teammate Travis d’Arnaud.

Seven of the Mets’ 11 strikeouts in the game were looking at third strikes.

“Did you watch our game? Everybody who watched the game knows,” Murphy said about his beef with Basner. “I don’t think I need to say anything else about it. There was a disagreement is the best way to describe it.”

Said Wright: “I’m not even going to get into that. I’m not going to get into any more trouble than I’m already in. There were some disagreements.”

Basner, a 29-year-old Triple-A call-up, had called Murphy out on strikes in the third inning and Wright out on strikes in the sixth inning.

“I think I had voiced my opinion early on a pitch I disagreed with, on a 3-2 call,” Murphy said. “Maybe he had enough. I don’t think there was any certain buzzword we had for him. We disagreed with the call he had on Travis as well.”

Said Wright: “We have each other’s back, that’s for sure. When something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us. It’s important not just being ejected or anything, but just in general, we need to have each other’s back. We do.”

Rapid Reaction: Angels 14, Mets 2

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
6:42
PM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon surrendered four homers and nine earned runs in five innings and the New York Mets lost Sunday’s rubber game to the Los Angeles Angels, 14-2.

Three of the long balls came consecutively in the first inning, by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez.

The last time a Mets pitcher allowed three straight homers? That was Johan Santana in the start after his no-hitter, when the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones consecutively went deep in the Bronx on June 8, 2012.

Hank Conger capped Sunday’s long-ball barrage with a two-run homer in the fifth. It marked the eighth extra-base hit against Colon, a career high.

Colon had tossed seven scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday to begin the trip.

Colon’s nine runs allowed were only one shy of matching his career high -- 10 runs (five earned) on April 26, 2005 as a member of the Angels. That day, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez homered three times against Colon en route to a 10-RBI game.

The Angels added two runs in the sixth against Scott Rice, who issued a bases-loaded walk and run-scoring wild pitch. John Lannan uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and surrendered a two-run homer to Ian Stewart in the eighth.

With the five-homer game by the Angels, Mets pitchers have now surrendered an MLB-high 21 homers, in 12 games.

Yer out: David Wright and Daniel Murphy were ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Toby Basner for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. A scout at the game was highly critical of Basner’s strike zone low. It was Wright’s fourth career ejection.

What’s next: The Mets head to Phoenix for the final stop on their three-city trip -- a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25) in Monday’s 9:40 p.m. ET opener.

TC preparing for 4-man rotation in outfield

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
8:34
PM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Terry Collins suggested he will rotate his primary outfielders once Chris Young is activated from the disabled list next Friday.

Young, who is headed to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin a rehab assignment, will rejoin the Mets late in the next series in Arizona and take batting practice with the club. He then will fly to New York with the team, in advance of being activated when he is eligible next weekend.

Collins will have to figure out at that point how to get enough playing time for four outfielders -- especially given how well Juan Lagares and, at least recently, Eric Young Jr. have performed.

"The hope is you can give them days off and play the other three," Collins said. "How's it going to work? I don't know yet."


Adam RubinChris Young's return from the DL next Friday should lead to a four-man rotation in the outfield.


Will Curtis Granderson be part of that rotation? That seems so, but Collins said: "Too early to know."

Granderson is batting fifth Friday for the first time this season, but Collins said he will be back in the cleanup spot Saturday. Collins insisted the motivation for placing Granderson fifth was to further separate him from No. 2 hitter Daniel Murphy, the other lefty hitter in the lineup, since the Angels only have one lefty in the bullpen.

As for Granderson's slow start (.125, 1 HR, 3 RBIs), Collins said: "A lot of it, I truly believe, is it's a new league. He sees new guys. No matter what you say, that's an adjustment that has to be made sometimes. I'll bet if you went over and talked to Albert [Pujols] about when he first went to the American League, he may say the same thing.

"I think once Curtis settles in, he's going to be fine. I'm not concerned. I thought he's had some pretty good swings lately. He's drawing some bases on balls, which means he's seeing the ball better."

First thing: Collins confirmed that both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will start Saturday, with one serving as the designated hitter, when the Mets face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver.

As for Friday, it's the righties -- Andrew Brown and Josh Satin -- at the DH and first-base spots, respectively, against left-hander Tyler Skaggs. Both are starting for only the second time this season. They entered Friday with a combined 15 plate appearances through nine games.

"They need some at-bats. Both of those guys," Collins said. "I just thought it was an opportunity today to get them both in there and we'll see how the rest of the weekend plays out."

Long night: After a night game Thursday in Atlanta, the Mets flew overnight to LAX and got to their Orange County hotel at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT.

"A character-testing day," Collins labeled it.

Welcome back: Collins managed the Angels for three seasons in the late 1990s and ultimately resigned amid a clubhouse insurrection. He said very few people remain around the Angels from those days.

Collins did say Angels third-base coach Gary DiSarcina was one of his favorite players to manage. Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Collins were minor-league teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It was a long time ago," Collins said. "I've said it many times: I'm a completely different guy than I was 15 years ago -- a lot more mellower, but what I feel is I'm a much better communicator than I was back then. If I would have done 15 years ago what I do today, I don't think we would have had some of the problems creep up which did."

What has remained the same?

"I haven't grown a god-damn inch," Collins joked.

For starters: Jonathon Niese likely will be capped at 105 pitches Saturday, in his second start since returning from the disabled list. Niese threw 90 pitches Sunday while limiting the Cincinnati Reds to two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

"He cruised pretty good to 90 the other day," Collins said. "So we can tack on 15, probably no more than 20 after that."

Green day: Ex-Mets outfielder Shawn Green, who lives locally, visited David Wright and the Mets in the visitors' clubhouse pregame.

Side note: Ex-Mets reliever Joe Smith, who signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Angels last offseason as a free agent, said the Mets informally floated a similar figure. But that was before the Mets had signed Granderson, and Sandy Alderson was not yet willing to commit, while the L.A. offer was already out there.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 4

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
10:37
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Although they are now only 4-5 on the season, the New York Mets have won consecutive series against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.

Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and Daniel Murphy contributed a run-scoring double an inning later as the Mets beat the Braves, 6-4, in Thursday’s rubber game at Turner Field.

Carlos Torres contributed two scoreless relief innings to earn the win. Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde each added a scoreless frame.

Eric Young Jr. went 3-for-5 with four runs scored and three steals. Murphy had three hits, a walk and three RBIs.

Oh, Jenrry: Jenrry Mejia surrendered two homers to Justin Upton and ultimately was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. He stranded two runners in scoring position in his final frame and departed with the score tied at 4.

Mejia did not receive help from Curtis Granderson in right field.

Granderson misread B.J. Upton’s fly ball to right field into a triple in the third. Freddie Freeman followed with an RBI single and Justin Upton hit his second homer, a two-run shot, with two outs in that frame.

First-base watch: Ike Davis went 0-for-3 with two walks and an RBI. Lucas Duda pinch hit in the No. 9 hole and singled.

What’s next: The Mets have a long night ahead of them. They fly across the country and are expected to land in Los Angeles about 5 a.m. Eastern/2 a.m. Pacific on Friday. Then there’s still a one-hour bus ride to their Orange County hotel.

Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50 ERA), who is traveling with the team and did not fly ahead, opposes Los Angeles Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00) in the 10:05 p.m. ET series opener.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 0

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8
10:33
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Bartolo Colon had little wiggle room for most of his outing given a lack of support from his team’s batters. So Colon did what he had to do, blanking the Atlanta Braves for seven innings.

On a night the Braves honored Hank Aaron to mark the 40th anniversary of the home run that passed Babe Ruth, the Mets ultimately spoiled the party with a 4-0 win against the Braves on Tuesday before a sellout crowd of 47,144 at Turner Field.

Colon’s final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He threw 101 pitches (70 strikes).


Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsRuben Tejada slides into home on a wild pitch for the first run of Tuesday's game.


Colon completed his outing by retiring Jason Heyward on a groundout to second base to strand two baserunners. The inning had been prolonged by Ruben Tejada’s fielding error.

Tejada nonetheless finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a walk and two runs scored.

Ex-Met Aaron Harang had limited the Amazin’s to two hits and four walks in six innings while striking out nine. The lone run against him came when Tejada walked to lead off the third and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

The Mets tacked on two runs in the seventh, when they produced four hits in that frame alone against Braves relievers.

Tejada had an RBI single against reliever Gus Schlosser. After Colon’s sac bunt, Luis Avilan entered and surrendered an RBI single to Eric Young Jr. (Young was thrown out attempting to stretch the hit into a double.)

Avilan subsequently departed after injuring himself diving out of the way of a shard on Daniel Murphy’s broken-bat single. The Braves announced Avilan had a left hamstring cramp.

Tejada also had an RBI single in the eighth against ex-Met Pedro Beato.

Snapped: Travis d’Arnaud snapped an 0-for-16 skid to begin the season with a fourth-inning single. The longest drought by a position player to begin a season as a Met remains Phil Linz, who went 0-for-25 to open the 1968 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

D’Arnaud finished 2-for-4. He doubled in the seventh on a ball that hung up a while in the air, but which dropped in left-center, between Justin Upon and B.J. Upton. He then scored on Tejada’s ensuing single as the Mets took a 2-0 lead.

Duda day: Lucas Duda, his audition having resumed after Ike Davis started Sunday, went 1-for-4. Davis grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Slumping: David Wright, batting illness, went 0-for-5 and is hitless in his past 12 at-bats.

Unbeaten: The Mets are now 2-for-2 in challenges this season. Juan Lagares, initially ruled out at first base on a groundball in the eighth, had the call overturned after Terry Collins requested a video review. The review process took three minutes.

Penultimate: Kyle Farnsworth tossed a perfect eighth. Jose Valverde completed the shutout despite allowing the first two batters to reach in the ninth and committing an error that loaded the bases with one out.

What’s next: Native Georgian Zack Wheeler, who spent the past two nights in his own home, opposes right-hander Ervin Santana at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. Santana, who signed on March 12 for $14.1 million after Atlanta lost Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen to elbow injuries, will make his Braves debut.

Morning Briefing: Mets head south

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7
5:38
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets spend a day off in Atlanta before opening a three-game series Tuesday against the Braves at Turner Field.

The three-city trip also takes the Mets to Anaheim and Phoenix.

With the Mets departing New York, Matt Harvey (elbow) and Chris Young (quadriceps) will shift their rehabs to the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Bartolo Colon starts Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener opposite ex-Met Aaron Harang.

The Braves will have a pregame ceremony to recognize the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron unseating Babe Ruth as MLB’s home-run king.

Monday’s news reports:

Bobby Parnell has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery now rather than first attempt a rehab program. Team doctor David Altchek is scheduled to replace the partially torn medial collateral ligament in Parnell’s right elbow on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Jose Valverde is now locked in as the closer. Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Jonathon Niese took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning in his return from the disabled list, but the southpaw was charged with the loss as the Cincinnati Reds avoided getting swept with a 2-1 win against the Mets on Sunday at Citi Field. Reds starter Alfredo Simon consecutively struck out Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the third inning to strand two runners in scoring position. Travis d’Arnaud, despite one deep shot to left field, remained hitless this season. He is 0-for-15. The Mets went 2-4 on the homestand. They struck out 61 times, the most in the first six games of a season in franchise history.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Newsday and Times.

• Terry Collins affirmed Lucas Duda will start Tuesday in Atlanta as the team’s commitment to him at first base -- aside from Ike Davis’ start Sunday -- continues.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post asserts the Mets ought to make a decision already. Writes Kernan:

That the Mets don’t have a final read on Duda and Davis in Year Four of the Sandy Alderson Regime is hard to comprehend. Davis has more than 1,700 plate appearances in the majors, Duda is closing in on 1,300. Make a decision and if that decision is to go with Duda, trade Davis.

“The Mets are afraid they are going to get burned on a Davis trade," a scout said at the game. “They can’t think like that. They have to have the courage of their convictions and make a trade."


Read more at MLB.com.

• A half-inning after Jeff Walters suffered a blown save, Zach Lutz produced a walk-off RBI double as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 6-5, Sunday. Hansel Robles tossed five scoreless innings in his Double-A debut and Binghamton held on to beat Akron, 5-4. Domingo Tapia’s wild pitch allowed the lone run to score in St. Lucie’s 1-0 loss to Palm Beach. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jeff Pearlman at Bleacher Report recounts his guilt in the 15 years since the publication of a Sports Illustrated article in which he quoted John Rocker ranting about a variety of topics, including New York’s 7 train.

• Troy Renck in the Denver Post applauds Murphy’s decision to miss two games to be with his wife and newborn child.

From the bloggers ... With Niese here, Faith and Fear in Flushing notes the gang's all here. Well, for the moment.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones turns 45 ... Vinny Rottino is 34.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Jose Valverde be able to handle the closer’s role?

Morning Briefing: TC on W: 'Needed badly'

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
5:35
AM ET

Elsa/Getty ImagesLucas Duda produces the second of two homers Friday night against Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his second pitching opportunity of the season when he opposes Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Gee was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.

For the Reds, Cueto surrendered a solo homer to Yadier Molina and only two other hits in seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener.

Eric Young Jr. is due to receive the Lou Brock Award as the 2013 National League steals leader before the game. The ceremony was postponed Friday because of the rainy conditions.

Saturday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins committed to giving Lucas Duda an extended look at first base. Duda then went out and hit a pair of two-run homers in the Mets’ 4-3 win against the Reds on Friday night at rainy Citi Field. Jenrry Mejia limited Cincy to one run in six innings. E.Y. Jr. took away a first-inning homer from Brandon Phillips. Anthony Recker became the second MLB player to throw out speedster Billy Hamilton on the basepaths, joining Juan Centeno last season. Jose Valverde earned his first Mets save.

“We needed it badly,” Terry Collins said about his club’s first 2014 victory, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

As for Duda getting this next stretch of games, perhaps there’s a reason, Cody Derespina in Newsday suggests. Wrote Derespina early Friday:

The Mets are due to face right-handed pitchers in their next five games: Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon of the Reds and Aaron Harang and David Hale of the Braves. Neither Davis nor Duda has faced Hale, but both have logged 24 at-bats against the other four starters.

Here’s the breakdown:

Davis is 3-for-24 against the quartet with a walk and four total bases. That’s a .125 average and .326 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Duda, however, is 9-for-24 with four walks and 16 total bases, a robust .375 average and 1.130 OPS.

Read Duda summaries and game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Record, Newsday, Times and at MLB.com.

• Read more on Recker in Newsday.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five in his Triple-A debut with Las Vegas. Making his Florida State League debut, Long Island native Steven Matz was tagged with the loss. The southpaw allowed two runs in five innings in St. Lucie’s 6-2 loss to Palm Beach. Savannah native John Gant earned the win in the Gnats’ 10-1 victory against Lakewood. Jared King had a pair of two-run triples. Gavin Cecchini produced his second professional homer. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Boomer Esiason apologized for criticizing Daniel Murphy’s decision to take paternity leave and miss the first two games of the season.

“I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that,” Esiason reportedly said on-air after initially suggesting Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section before the season. “That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do. And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into the conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”

Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• Collins explained how Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will get bullpen work at Las Vegas by May, setting up that as their potential initial big-league role.

BIRTHDAYS: Former first-round pick Lastings Milledge turns 29. Milledge is playing this season for Yakult in the Japanese Central League.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Lucas Duda still be the Mets’ starting first baseman in 10 days?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Reds 3

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
10:12
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda, in his first game since Terry Collins announced plans to give him an “extended look” at first base, spoke loudly with his bat.

Duda slugged a pair of two-run homers against Mike Leake and the Mets notched their first win of the season, holding on for a 4-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on a rainy Friday night at Citi Field.

Jose Valverde, filling in for injured Bobby Parnell, recorded his first save as a Met and the 287th of his career -- two shy of matching Armando Benitez for 26th all time. Valverde allowed two baserunners but escaped for his first save since June 11, 2013 with Detroit.


Elsa/Getty ImagesLucas Duda rounds the bases after his second two-run homer Friday.


Only two of Duda’s 15 homers last season came with men on base.

Duda finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a walk. It marked his fifth career multihomer game. He also scooped two bounced throws from David Wright at first base.

Oh, Jenrry! Jenrry Mejia struck out a career-high eight batters while limiting Cincinnati to one run on four hits and five walks in six innings. He threw 101 pitches, his most since also reaching that total in Triple-A on April 13, 2011.

Mejia did receive a first-inning bailout from left fielder Eric Young Jr., who jumped Endy Chavez-style at the wall to take away a would-be first-inning homer from Brandon Phillips.

For the second straight game, Mejia was drilled with a comebacker. In Phillips’ next at-bat, he smoked a grounder off Mejia’s right ankle in the third. In Montreal last Friday, Mejia had been struck in the right forearm by a line drive, which resulted in inflammation and the need for X-rays, but no fracture.

Oh, pen: The maligned bullpen inherited a 4-1 lead from Mejia with three innings to play and immediately started giving it back.

John Lannan surrendered a two-out, two-run homer to Jay Bruce in the seventh as Cincinnati pulled within a run.

However, Kyle Farnsworth subsequently recorded four outs, topping out at 94 mph, to get the ball to Valverde.

The bullpen has now allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in 12 1/3 innings -- good for a 9.49 ERA.

Murphy’s flaw: Daniel Murphy committed his third error in two games since returning from paternity leave. Murphy could not handle Todd Frazier’s would-be double-play grounder in the sixth, instead resulting in two runners on base and none out with the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead. Mejia bailed out Murphy, ultimately stranding runners on the corners by striking out Leake.

Silent nights: Travis d’Arnaud and E.Y. Jr. each went 0-for-3. Each is now hitless in 12 at-bats this season.

Met his match: Speedster Billy Hamilton has been caught stealing only twice in his big-league career. Both times have been by the Mets.

Juan Centeno did the honors last season. Friday night, it was Anthony Recker, after Hamilton entered as a pinch-runner with one out in the eighth and the Mets leading by a run.

What’s next: Opening Day starters Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.40 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (0-1, 1.29) face off at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at Citi Field.

Seth Wenig/Associated PressDaniel Murphy commits the first of his two errors Thursday, after returning from paternity leave.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: After the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep on Thursday at Citi Field, Terry Collins insisted his ballclub is better than it demonstrated in the opening series.

The Mets dropped to 0-3 for the fifth time in franchise history, matching the 1962, 1963, 1964 and 2005 editions.

“We’re a lot better team defensively, we’re a lot better team offensively than we’re seeing right now,” Collins said. “It’s three days. It certainly leaves a sour taste in your mouth when you start out the season like this. But I can tell you a few teams that ended up being pretty good that got off to slow starts.”

The Mets now try to regroup against the Cincinnati Reds, who lost two of three at home to the St. Louis Cardinals to open the season.

Jenrry Mejia, who was named to the rotation over Daisuke Matsuzaka, opposes Mike Leake (17-, 3.37 ERA in 2013) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener at Citi Field.

Friday’s news reports:

• Sources say Collins plans to give Lucas Duda a prolonged look at first base beginning Friday rather than juggle playing time between Duda, Ike Davis and Josh Satin. The Mets are due to face exclusively right-handers over the next two series, negating any thought of using the righty-hitting Satin anyway. “We’ve got to see one of these guys play,” Collins said, without acknowledging which player would get the extensive look. “Then, if he doesn’t get the job done, we’ll shift gears. But we’ve got to give him ample at-bats to have a better idea.” Read more in the Post, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Daniel Murphy committed two errors at second base and felt “sluggish” in the field in his return after missing the season’s first two games on paternity leave. Murphy said he was fully justified in spending time with his wife and newborn son Noah, despite talk-radio criticism of him missing games. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.


Adam RubinChris Young landed on the disabled list Thursday.


Chris Young landed on the disabled list before Thursday’s game with a right quadriceps strain. That temporarily spared Wilmer Flores a demotion to Las Vegas with Murphy being reactivated from paternity leave. Collins indicated Flores is likely to head to Triple-A on Sunday, when the Mets plan to activate Jonathon Niese from the disabled list to face the Cincinnati Reds. Read more in the Daily News and Record.

Bobby Parnell indicated it is “50-50” whether he ends up having Tommy John surgery to address a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. Regardless, Parnell expects a relatively quick resolution so that he can avoid compromising his 2015 availability if he ultimately needs to undergo the procedure. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

• The Mets lost Thursday’s series finale, 8-2, to Washington. The Nats have won eight straight games against the Mets since last Sept. 1. Zack Wheeler expressed disappointment with allowing three runs in six innings. Of course, the bullpen allowed a one-run game to get out of hand. Overall, the underwhelming relief corps surrendered 12 runs (11 earned) in 9 1/3 innings in the three-game series. The Mets were outscored 22-4 after the first inning in the series.

“It was tough. We certainly didn’t pitch as well as we hoped to, but I thought the three starters (Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and Wheeler) did a nice job, kept us in games,” Collins said. “We’ve got to come out of that bullpen and we’ve got to start throwing some strikes. When we’re successful, it’s because you make the other team swing the bat. Not that they can’t get a hit, but when you’re behind in the count, you’re going to get in trouble in this league.”

Collins added that the Mets lacking players -- Chris Young with the quadriceps injury and Murphy for the first two games for fatherhood duties -- has made things more challenging.

“We actually played very well toward the end of camp,” the manager said. “I think one of the things right now is we continue to be unable to put the team out in the field that we hoped to. … I can assure you we’re better than what we’ve seen the last three days.”

Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:

It has taken the Mets just one series into the season to be officially declared unwatchable.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Read more on Wheeler in the Post.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday suggests the Mets’ early season schedule does them no favors. Writes Rieber:

Strength of schedule often is an overlooked component in baseball and the Mets are facing a difficult opening stretch. For a team that needs a fast start, beginning with Washington-Cincinnati-at Atlanta is not helpful. That's two 2013 playoff teams and one that should have been.

The following four series aren't cakewalks, either: at Angels, at Diamondbacks, then home for the Braves and Cardinals. The Mets may be 10 games under .500 soon after Easter Sunday.

Juan Lagares hit for the “cycle” if you combine his first two games. It took him seven at-bats. That’s the quickest in the majors to start a season since Ian Kinsler took six at-bats with Texas in 2012, according to Matthew Oshinsky in the Journal. Since 1997, only Kinsler has done it quicker than Lagares.

• Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson presented Jeff Wilpon with an award before Thursday’s game recognizing the Mets’ contribution to Hurricane Sandy relief. Johnson also threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

David Wright (eighth) and Matt Harvey (15th) both checked in on the list of the most popular MLB jerseys sold since the World Series, as computed by sales on MLB’s web site.

• Rafael Montero tossed six scoreless innings and Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered while going 4-for-4 in Las Vegas’ season-opening 9-2 win against Fresno. Zach Lutz added a grand slam. Bronx native T.J. Rivera’s tiebreaking grand slam helped lift St. Lucie to a 6-5 win against Palm Beach. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Noah Syndergaard makes his Triple-A debut on Friday night. Paul DePodesta confirmed to Marc Carig in Newsday that all the Vegas starters, including Syndergaard, could skip occasional rotation turns during the Pacific Coast League season and instead pitch an inning out of the bullpen on those days to limit their season innings counts.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear returned to Citi Field Thursday afternoon to find the weather vastly improved from Opening Day but the Mets not getting any better. ... MetsMinors.net chats with Allan Dykstra.

BIRTHDAYS: Eric Valent, who hit for the cycle as a Met on July 29, 2004 at Montreal, turns 37. ... The late Gil Hodges and Jim Fregosi were born on this date.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you support Terry Collins’ decision to give Lucas Duda a prolonged look at first base to sink or swim?

Murph felt 'sluggish' in field in return

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
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NEW YORK -- After missing the first two games of the season while in Florida for the birth of his son, Daniel Murphy went 1-for-3 with a walk in his season debut Thursday. But Murphy also committed a pair of errors at second base in the 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

"I felt good at the plate. Not so much in the field," Murphy said afterward. "I was a little sluggish on defense. It was frustrating."

Murphy failed to handle Denard Span's routine grounder to open the third inning. He then allowed the fourth run of the seventh inning to score when Jeurys Familia coaxed a would-be double-play ball and Murphy threw errantly to first base.

"Jeurys did a good job to get that groundball, and I cost him a couple of extra pitches," Murphy said. "That's frustrating."

Rapid Reaction: Nats 8, Mets 2

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
4:32
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NEW YORK -- Ninety wins? How about one?

Daniel Murphy committed two errors in his return from paternity leave and the bullpen torched any chance of a late comeback as the Washington Nationals completed a sweep of the Mets with an 8-2 victory Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets are 0-3 for the first time since 2005, when the “New Mets” were winless in their first five games, until Carlos Beltran had a late homer against John Smoltz that lifted Pedro Martinez to a victory in Atlanta.

The latest starting pitcher to deserve better: Zack Wheeler, who departed trailing 3-2 after six innings. Wheeler threw 114 pitches, one shy of matching his career high.

The Nats, who started Tanner Roark on short notice after co-ace Jordan Zimmermann was scratched with the flu, scored four seventh-inning runs as soon as Terry Collins went to the bullpen.

Scott Rice allowed two hits -- one a shot off his right shin -- with the only out coming on a sac bunt.

Jeurys Familia then entered and immediately walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Familia became the third Mets reliever in the series to issue a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced, joining Carlos Torres and Rice on Opening Day.

From there, Adam LaRoche had a two-run single and Ryan Zimmerman had a run-scoring single against Familia. The Nats’ final tally in the four-run frame came home when Murphy errantly threw away a would-be double-play toss to first base. Papa Murph also committed an error on Denard Span’s routine grounder to open the third inning.

Torres loaded the bases and then walked in a run in the eighth.

In the series, the Mets bullpen allowed 12 runs (11 earned) on 15 hits and seven walks in 9 1/3 innings.

There was no shortage of blame to go around. Mets hitters struck out eight times Thursday, upping their total to 39 through three games, on an early pace for the MLB single-season record. They scored a combined four runs after the first inning in the series.

Meanwhile, the first base triumvirate of Ike Davis, Josh Satin and Lucas Duda are now a combined 1-for-12 with three walks, thanks to Davis' two-out single in the ninth. Eric Young Jr. (0-for-9) and Travis d'Arnaud (0-for-9, two walks) remain hitless this season.

As for Wheeler, he allowed a second-inning solo homer to Zimmerman. Then, with the Mets leading 2-1 in the fifth, Wheeler walked leadoff batter Sandy Leon, the No. 8 hitter. Roark bunted Leon to second and Span followed with a game-tying single.

Span took second on the throw to the plate, which ought to have been cut off. He scored the go-ahead run from there on Werth’s two-out single to right-center.

Wheeler’s final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

Grandy man: Curtis Granderson snapped an 0-for-9 drought to begin his Mets career with a first-inning RBI double down the right-field line. That plated Murphy, who had advanced into scoring position when Span lost David Wright’s fly ball and had it drop in front of him in center for a single.

Juan Lagares ultimately plated Wright with a sacrifice fly as the Mets took a 2-0 first-inning lead against Roark. Roark followed with five scoreless innings.

What’s next: The Mets welcome the Cincinnati Reds to Citi Field for the weekend. Jenrry Mejia, selected over Daisuke Matsuzaka for an Opening Day rotation spot, starts opposite right-hander Mike Leake at 7:10 p.m. Friday.

Morning Briefing: Wheels up for '14 debut

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
5:44
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Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesZack Wheeler makes his season debut Thursday afternoon opposite Jordan Zimmermann.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler wanted the Opening Day start. He draws just as tough an assignment in Game 3.

In Thursday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale at Citi Field, Wheeler opposes Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, a 19-game winner in 2013.

Wheeler will be pitching after a lengthy layoff. He last appeared last Tuesday, when he allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings in a Grapefruit League game against the Nats in Viera, Fla.

Assuming Lucas Duda starts against Zimmermann, it would mark the first time in franchise history the Mets started three different first basemen in the first three games of a season.

Thursday’s news reports:

• The decision about whether Bobby Parnell needs Tommy John surgery likely will occur in about six weeks. Parnell, diagnosed with a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow, had been experiencing forearm discomfort for four or five days before informing the team postgame Monday, after suffering a blown save, Sandy Alderson said.

Because the tear is in a thicker part of the ligament than, say, Matt Harvey’s tear, doctors believe it is possible Parnell can avoid surgery. He will begin a throwing program in two weeks and see if he is able to ramp up activity over the following month without discomfort.

Jose Valverde is the closer in Parnell’s absence, Terry Collins said. Alderson said the Mets are not seeking outside help right now, such as free-agent Joel Hanrahan.

In a month, Alderson said, the Mets also will consider reinforcements from Triple-A -- which happens to be a timeframe that would delay free agency by a year for those prospects. Noah Sydnergaard is off the table for relief work at the major-league level, but Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom are candidates. Alderson indicated that beginning in May, members of the Triple-A rotation likely would skip turns and pitch an inning in the bullpen anyway with Las Vegas to offset strict innings caps.

Read columnist Ken Davidoff’s take in the Post and columnist Anthony Rieber’s take in Newsday.

Read news stories on Parnell and the closer’s situation in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Newsday and Star-Ledger.


Adam RubinFrank Viola underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday at New York Presbyterian.


• Frank Viola underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday at New York Presbyterian and will be in the intensive-care unit for 48 hours. Alderson indicated Viola would like to fulfill his planned role as Triple-A pitching coach this season, but doctors will need to sign off for that to occur. Read more in the Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• The Nationals broke a tie against debuting Bartolo Colon with fifth-inning solo homers from Ian Desmond and opposing starter Gio Gonzalez en route to a 5-1 win Wednesday. The Mets are 0-2 for the first time since 2005. Colon threw 110 pitches -- more than all but one of his starts last season with the Oakland Athletics.

The Mets have now struck out 31 times. That is a modern-day MLB record for the first two games of a season, topping last year’s Houston Astros 28 Ks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Houston went on to set an MLB record for most strikeouts in a season, with 1,535 -- which is an average of 9.5 per game.

Curtis Granderson, hitless in nine at-bats as a Met and starting to receive jeers, has contributed five of those Mets Ks.

Ruben Tejada gave himself up and was thrown out at the plate during Wednesday’s loss, leading Collins to suggest the shortstop was confused about the plate-collision rules.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

Daniel Murphy, whose absence for paternity leave created a stir on talk radio, is due to rejoin the Mets for Thursday’s matinee. Alderson labeled it “appropriate” for a father to spend time with his newborn and wife. It also is a collectively bargained right to miss up to three days on paternity leave.

Murphy’s son Noah actually had been due April 15. The family always planned for wife Tori to give birth in Florida, where her mother is a nurse.

Murphy, by the way, played in 161 games last season -- a total he already now cannot duplicate this year.

Coincidentally, Jimmy Rollins began paternity leave Wednesday with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Read more on the talk-radio objections to paternity leave in the Post, Daily News, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

Jonathon Niese rejoined the Mets on Wednesday in advance of being activated from the disabled list for Sunday’s start against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. Niese likely will be capped at 95 pitches in his first start. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Chris Young’s delayed Mets debut lasted only one inning Wednesday. C.Y., who missed Opening Day with a strained right quadriceps, had the muscle bark in the first inning and departed before even getting one at-bat. He called the start to his Mets career “a bad dream.” Andrew Brown, who had a three-run homer in Game 1, replaced him in left field.

Brown might have been slated to be demoted to Triple-A on Sunday morning when Niese is activated from the DL. Now, if C.Y. goes on the DL, Brown likely would stick around. Assuming C.Y. goes on the DL immediately, Wilmer Flores -- here for Murphy’s paternity leave -- could stick around with the big-league club until Niese is activated. Otherwise, Flores likely is ticketed for Vegas on Thursday morning.

Read more in the Daily News, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• The Mets do not intend for newly signed Bobby Abreu to play first base while with Triple-A Las Vegas. Alderson said Abreu, who played winter ball for hitting coach Dave Hudgens in Venezuela, could end up helping the big-league club as a lefty bat for the bench. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Right-handed reliever Ryan Reid was removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Las Vegas to clear a spot for the addition of Kyle Farnsworth. Reid, a waiver claim by the Mets during the offseason from the Pittsburgh Pirates, had a 10.50 ERA and .444 opponent batting average in six Grapefruit League innings.

• Collins may want Eric Young Jr. leading off, but it was Juan Lagares atop the order and Wilmer Flores at second base with E.Y. Jr. on the bench Wednesday. The reason, according to Collins, was E.Y. Jr. being hitless in eight career at-bats against Gonzalez. Collins apparently wants to stick with Chris Young in the middle of the order, hitting behind Granderson and not leading off. Lagares has produced two straight multi-hit games.

• Mets minor-league seasons begin Thursday. Montero starts for Las Vegas at 10:05 p.m. ET against Fresno. Darin Gorski starts for Binghamton at 6:35 p.m. against Akron. Gabriel Ynoa starts for St. Lucie at 6:30 p.m. against Palm Beach. Robert Gsellman starts for Savannah at 7:05 p.m. against Lakewood.

Read comments from Syndergaard on pitching in the Pacific Coast League in the Las Vegas Sun.

Read a position-by-position breakdown of the Double-A B-Mets in the Press & Sun-Bulletin.

• Lenny Dykstra is suing Los Angeles County, alleging he was beaten by deputies while in jail, the Associated Press writes.

• Jorge Arangure in the Times examines what protocols were in place to determine whether Bryce Harper should have remained in the game Opening Day after being kneed in the head during a slide.

BIRTHDAYS: Rod Gaspar, who appeared in 118 games for the world-champion ’69 Mets, was born on this date in 1946.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets consider putting Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom in the big-league bullpen right now?

Farm report: Nimmo finds St. Lucie

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
9:00
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2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo had no shortage of role models while training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this winter. His workout partners included National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, All-Star Pedro Alvarez and Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront.

NFL prospects trained alongside too, including Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

“Cutch doesn’t act like an NL MVP at all,” Nimmo said. “He’s a very down-to-earth guy. He’s very much like [Curtis] Granderson, where any questions that I had he would answer them, and anything that I needed he would come right to me and be honest with me. It was just awesome to be around that kind of guy and understand what kind of work ethic will get you there.”

The 21-year-old Nimmo arrived at IMG weighing 187 pounds. He departed at 207, which he believed translated into success while in big-league camp during spring training. Albeit in a small sample size, Nimmo hit .429 (3-for-7) with an RBI and two walks in Grapefruit League play.


Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosBrandon Nimmo


“They put 20 pounds on me,” said Nimmo, a 6-foot-3 outfielder from Wyoming. “And it was really good muscle. None of it was bad weight. I had a nutritionist watching what I was eating. We just did it the right way. And I felt like that was what I needed. I felt like I needed to move on and train a little bit more like a professional. Obviously now you see the results of that physically.”

Nimmo hit .273 with two homers, 40 RBIs and 10 steals and had a .397 on-base percentage in 480 plate appearances with low-A Savannah in 2013. Yet it was an uneven, complicated season.

Nimmo was hitting .444 two weeks into last season, but all of a sudden went into a nosedive, including going hitless in 20 at-bats over five games before disappearing from the Gnats lineup for a month.

Nimmo suffered a hand injury that resulted in a dislocated joint and partial tear of a couple of ligaments. The problem: The injury went undetected by an MRI taken in Savannah. So Nimmo resumed playing in late May and the issue lingered the whole season. He eventually was checked out by Mets doctors in New York and the full extent of the injury was discovered.

“It was a situation where we got the MRI done in Savannah, and it happens where nothing showed up, so I played the rest of the season with it,” Nimmo said. “I let the people know afterward it still wasn’t all the way there. I went to New York and that’s when we found out everything that happened. And we went to Cleveland, too, and saw a pretty good hand doctor there, Dr. Thomas Graham. He said, ‘It isn’t going to change things. You don’t need surgery. They’ve already repaired themselves. You’re just going to have to get it stronger.’ And, actually, we took a couple of months off.”

Nimmo insisted he did not want to use the hand injury as an excuse for his season.

“I came back because I wanted to play,” he insisted. “And we felt like nothing was really wrong there. The one thing I noticed was I never fouled so many balls straight back. I didn’t quite have my top hand on top of it. It happens. You’ve got to learn how to play with injuries sometimes. It just was a learning experience for me.”

The Gnats won the South Atlantic League title, so Nimmo did participate in a championship. But his first-half teammates and friends, including Kevin Plawecki and Jayce Boyd, had received midseason promotions to high-A St. Lucie while Nimmo was snubbed.

“With how I started I felt like I should have left earlier,” said Nimmo, who opens this season in the Florida State League. “But I didn’t play the way that I was supposed to after that point. After April, I didn’t deserve a promotion. So it’s nothing against the Mets. I was mad at myself for not playing better. I feel like if I would have played at my best, maybe I could have got to St. Lucie. But I didn’t. I didn’t play my best. And so I needed to learn more in Savannah. And then I got to win a championship with them. It ended up working out well.

“Kevin is one of my best friends. Me and him compete. And Jayce is one of my best friends out here, too. We really thrived off of each other and really got a lot of information from each other. So obviously those two leaving, yeah, I was upset with myself about not being there. I just took it as I needed to get better. And I felt like I finished the season well.”

What’s on Nimmo’s agenda to learn? He spent spring training working on covering more ground in the outfield, including putting his head down when a ball is clearly over his head and taking the first three strides full throttle before trying to locate the baseball. Offensively, being able to hit the curveball with two strikes is one thing to hone.

Nimmo, by the way, is fully aware of who was taken with the pick immediately after him in 2011. After the Mets selected Nimmo 13th overall, the Marlins used the next pick on now-reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez out of high school in Tampa.

Nimmo said there was not extra pressure on him because of Fernandez’s achievements. He noted he has been facing Bryce Harper since the Nat was on a travel team for 9-year-olds out of Denver called the Rocky Mountain Steel.

“He was 6-2, 185 when we were 12 years old. I mean, he was a beast,” Nimmo said about Harper.

As for the Mets picking him over Fernandez, Nimmo opined: “If everybody knew how it was going to turn out, I think he probably would have went No. 1 overall. There were 12 other teams that passed on him, too. But I can’t put any pressure on me. I played against Harper since I was 9 years old. I played those guys. There’s nothing that I can do. I’m myself. I just have to control what I can control and just go out there and have fun.

“It’s the way it is. They’re very talented. Very talented. And they learned the game a little bit quicker than I did. I don’t feel like I’m going to be anywhere behind them. I think I’m going to be playing against them one day and on the same playing field, but it just took me a little bit longer. I hope to face [Fernandez] 1,000 more times, hopefully in the big leagues. We’ll see how it goes. But no more pressure. I’ll just be myself and play.”

2013 organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .330; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .329; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .314; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .305; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .304; Dominic Smith, Kingsport, .301; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .299; Jeyckol De Leon, Kingsport, .298; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .293.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 26; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 23; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 21; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 96; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 83; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 82.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 31; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 25; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 21.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.87; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.03; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.09; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.58; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.72; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.78; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.85; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.89; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 3.06.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 15; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Vegas, 38; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 20; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 19; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 150; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 133; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 132; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 125; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 124.

Short hops

• Right-hander Cory Mazzoni, who strained his right triceps in the Grapefruit League finale, remained in Port St. Lucie when Triple-A Las Vegas players broke camp. The injury is considered “nothing significant” and Mazzoni is unlikely to miss much time, a Mets official suggested. Still, Mazzoni is due for a follow-up appointment with team doctors in New York.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Juan Lagares
BA HR RBI R
.314 1 7 8
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSL. Duda .841
WC. Torres 2
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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