New York Mets: David Wright
This time, Collins is leaving behind half his players in Florida for split-squad games when the Mets face the Chicago Cubs in Las Vegas on Saturday and Sunday. And the manager laments not being able to fully watch position competitions because he will be in a different time zone from some of his players.
Worse, the initial plan had Ike Davis and Lucas Duda simultaneously playing -- one in Vegas, one in Florida. Now, neither is healthy enough to participate.
The Mets will take a four-and-a-half-hour chartered flight to Vegas that departs Friday at 2 p.m. They will fly back after Sunday’s game and plan to land in Florida about 1 a.m. the following day. Some players will be excused from reporting to the Mets’ complex for Monday’s workout because of the early morning arrival.
Collins, being politically correct, acknowledged the trip does break up the monotony of spring training, while also being less than ideal. The Las Vegas 51s are the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.
“We could do it on the other side of the state, for me,” Collins said about having a diversion from strictly facing teams within a two-hour drive of Port St. Lucie. “But I think the world of the people in Vegas.”
Said David Wright: “It’s obviously a long way to go for two games, but they tell me to go, I go.”
The veteran Mets players, who never played in Vegas as minor leaguers, likely will be shocked by the lacking facilities.
“It will get their attention,” Collins said. “It is what it is. The clubhouses are small -- smaller -- which we know. This stadium was built before the onset of strength and conditioning coaches, so the workout room is not very big. …
“It’s Vegas. It’s in the desert, so the ball is going to be flying, especially if the wind is blowing, which it’s going to be blowing. It blows every year in the spring. It could be a wild game.”
On the topic of getting a break from the spring-training monotony, Curtis Granderson proposed swapping facilities with a Cactus League team for a week.
As for the two games in Vegas, Granderson added: “I don’t think it’s a nuisance. I don’t think anybody is sitting here dreading going. I haven’t heard that, or got that sense, from anybody. A lot of guys haven’t been there. A lot of guys haven’t played there, so I think that’s going to be a fun thing for those guys. It’s only two games.
“At the same time, I think longer would probably be a little better -- not necessarily there, but wherever, getting an actual series in or seeing more than one team or something like that.”
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Mets will play two games against the Chicago Cubs this weekend in Las Vegas.
FIRST PITCH: Half the Mets are jetting out of Florida on Friday.
The Mets play split-squad games Saturday and Sunday against the Chicago Cubs in Las Vegas, with Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia getting the starts. The Mets’ chartered flight leaves midday, and also is due to include Terry Collins, David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud.
Remaining in Florida, Zack Wheeler gets the start at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Jupiter (WOR 710 AM). He opposes Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler, a product of Stony Brook University. Dillon Gee starts Saturday and Jonathon Niese starts Sunday.
Friday’s news reports:
• Collins gave Ruben Tejada a vote of confidence Thursday, telling him: “Listen, you’re the shortstop here.” Still, that is in large part a reflection of the Mets not having any other viable internal starting options. The bottom line: After Tejada committed his third error of spring training and went hitless in three at-bats to drop his Grapefruit League average to .067, the Mets may have to intensify their pursuit of an external option.
Read more on Tejada in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.
• Addressing pitching coach Dan Warthen’s use of an Asian slur and subsequent apology, Daisuke Matsuzaka said through his intrepreter: “I don’t expect our relationship to change going forward.”
Dice-K’s comment came after Matsuzaka had a strong pitching performance against the Washington Nationals and seemed to further solidify his hold on the fifth-starter role.
Jonathon Niese, meanwhile, reportedly lashed out at reporters in clubhouse concerning the Warthen topic, saying: "Stop Tweeting about our clubhouse. That ----'s got to stop,” according to a tweet from Newsday’s Anthony Rieber.
Read more on Warthen’s apology, with Matsuzaka’s reaction, in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and Star-Ledger.
• In what may have been his final 2014 Grapefruit League performance before departing for minor-league camp, Noah Syndergaard again impressed. He ultimately was charged with three runs in 3 2/3 innings, after leaving two runners on base and having Jacob deGrom serve up a three-run homer.
Rafael Montero and deGrom were getting relief looks from Collins, who noted that is how those prospects may be introduced to the big leagues at some point this season.
The Mets ultimately beat the Nats, 7-5, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday thanks to a two-run single in the ninth from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis, who likely is ticketed for the Triple-A outfield with Matt den Dekker, Cesar Puello and very possibly Andrew Brown, is hitting .304 with a homer and seven RBIs through 23 at-bats. Meanwhile, first baseman Brandon Allen departed the game in the ninth inning with a calf injury.
Read recaps of Syndergaard’s performance and the game in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Journal and MLB.com.
• With Darrelle Revis defecting to the New England Patriots, Jonathan Lehman in the Post creates an all-time list of New York athletes who changed allegiances to a bitter rival. Those with Mets ties include Darryl Strawberry and Tom Glavine.
• Read more on the Mets’ trip to Vegas in the Times. Team insiders tell ESPNNewYork.com that a major reason for the team to make the trip is the big-league team will financially profit. The Las Vegas 51s, who host the game, are the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, so there is some goodwill involved, too.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing attempts to deconstruct the tale of Stu Woo and Dan Warthen. … John Delcos at Mets Report says Tejada is likely the Opening Day shortstop because Sandy Alderson will not make a bold move.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever Josh Stinson, now with the Orioles, turns 26. ... Mets farmhand Rainy Lara is 23. Lara had a 3.76 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) with Class A St. Lucie last season.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard makes what may be his final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday, after Daisuke Matsuzaka opens the game.
FIRST PITCH: Thor's Day comes on Thursday this week, but it technically also is due to come in relief.
Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start in the 1:05 p.m. game against the Washington Nationals in Viera, opposite left-hander Ross Detwiler. Terry Collins plans to have Dice-K and Syndergaard combine to log the entire nine innings. In essence, Syndergaard will be “piggybacking” Matsuzaka with the top prospect’s own start.
Given the Mets may be doing their weekly cuts on Mondays this spring training, and given innings are becoming scarcer, this might be Syndergaard’s final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance.
“I know it’s inevitable,” Syndergaard told Dan Martin in the Post about eventually ending up in minor-league camp. “With the finances and everything, I understand it’s a game, but it’s also a business.”
In starts against the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers, the 21-year-old Syndergaard has combined to allow two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out five in five innings. He could have escaped run-free had Eric Young Jr. -- in his first action this spring training at second base -- successfully handled a two-out grounder by Steve Lombardozzi.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Pitching coach Dan Warthen apologized Wednesday night after Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo heard him use a slur once commonly used to denigrate people of Asian descent. Read more in the Journal, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.
• David Wright effusively praised the Atlanta Braves for swiftly addressing the injury to Kris Medlen by signing Ervin Santana for one year, $14.1 million. Still, Wright would not condemn his own organization’s thriftiness.
“No. 1, it was a one-year deal,” Alderson told reporters about the Braves and Santana. “And, No. 2, Atlanta has more than one loss from their starting rotation. I don’t think it has any significant bearing on us.”
The most Alderson said regarding Ruben Tejada and shortstop is: “We’ll continue to look at our other options.” Tejada is 1-for-12 with two errors in Grapefruit League play.
Read more in the Post, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.
• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles Wright, writing:
A couple of years ago, in the offseason, [Mets fan Greg] Fedak’s wife, Cheryl, was in Norfolk, Va., on business. She went to dinner and could not find a seat. Wright was there with some friends and had an open seat at his table. She sat with the group, and Wright bought her a beer.
“He’s really down to earth,” Fedak said, “a guy you can relate to.”
• John Lannan limited the Washington Nationals to two unearned runs in four innings and retired the final eight batters he faced as the Mets lost, 6-4, Wednesday at Tradition Field. Bobby Parnell’s velocity topped out at 88-89 mph in his second Grapefruit League appearance, but the closer indicated he is healthy and maintained his velocity will rise. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Carlos Torres, who had been projected to comfortably make the Opening Day roster anyway, is making the team as a reliever, Collins firmly stated.
• On Thursday, Ike Davis (calf) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) will repeat Wednesday’s outdoor activities that included batting and taking grounders -- again without running, though. Now Collins hopes both will be able to DH on the minor-league side sometime this weekend. Davis and Duda have been sidelined from games since the beginning of last week. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.
• Mookie Wilson arrived at the Mets’ complex this week and has been working as an instructor with outfielders on the minor-league side.
• Oddsmaker Bovada lists Wright as an 18-to-1 shot to win the National League MVP. That is tied with Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki for 12th-likeliest. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen is the favorite, at 6-to-1.
Bartolo Colon is a 25-to-1 shot as NL Cy Young winner. Zack Wheeler (40-to-1) and Jonathon Niese (66-to-1) also appear on that list. L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw is the favorite, at 13-to-2.
• Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes a feature about the large volume of mail players get requesting autographs.
• Michael J. Fensom discusses Tejada in the Star-Ledger.
• Former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez injured himself stepping barefoot on a cactus, Tom Haudricourt writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
• From the bloggers … MetsMinors.net speaks with Cesar Puello about moving past last season’s Biogenesis-related suspension. … Rising Apple suggests that Santana signing with the Braves should not be a license to bash the Mets. … John Delcos at Mets Report argues the importance of carrying Lannan as a second lefty in the bullpen.
BIRTHDAYS: Johan Santana, who tossed the only no-hitter in Mets history, turns 35. He recently signed a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, as he tries to return from a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
The southpaw retired the final eight batters he faced and limited the St. Louis Cardinals to two unearned runs on three hits in four innings. The Mets ultimately lost, 6-4, at Tradition Field.
Lannan surrendered a game-opening infield single to Matt Carpenter. A passed ball from Taylor Teagarden pushed Carpenter to second. He then scored on a bunt and groundout.
An inning later, Lannan surrendered a leadoff double to Stephen Piscotty. The Cards eventually loaded the bases with none out when David Wright was unable to hold Randal Grichuk’s liner and was charged with an error. Still, Lannan minimized the damage. He got Tony Cruz to ground into a run-scoring double play and struck out Pete Kozma.
“The first inning didn’t go as I planned, but sometimes it happens,” Lannan said. “After that double play I settled down and started making some good pitches.”
As for a potential relief role, Lannan added: “The possibility of it has been brought up to me, just in conversation. I started today, and I’m going to act as if I’m starting five days from now, until I’m told otherwise.”
Ouch: Kyle Farnsworth, who is not projected to make the Opening Day bullpen unless he suddenly upgrades his performance, surrendered consecutive rockets in the seventh inning. Piscotty blasted a triple off the left-field wall. One batter later, Kolten Wong delivered a two-run homer to right field as St. Louis took a 4-0 lead.
There should be an early verdict with Farnsworth. He has a March 23 “out” in his contract.
Welcome back: In his first game since injuring his right shin Friday, Daniel Murphy started at second base and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Seventh heaven: Juan Lagares delivered a two-run single against Kevin Butler with the bases loaded to pull the Mets within 4-2 in the seventh. Brandon Allen chased Butler with an ensuing RBI single that pulled the Mets within a run.
A half-inning later, however, Joel Carreño loaded the bases and then walked in a run. Jeff Walters entered and uncorked a wild pitch that made it 6-3.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis tripled and scored on Andrew Brown's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez had blanked the Mets through four innings.
Closer call: Bobby Parnell tossed a scoreless ninth inning with one walk in his second Grapefruit League appearance. His fastball sat at 88-89 mph during a 12-pitch frame.
What’s next: Fifth-starter frontrunner Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start at 1:05 p.m. Thursday against the Washington Nationals in Viera. Noah Syndergaard follows him on the mound. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom also are on the trip. Left-hander Ross Detwiler starts for the Nats.
After all, if the mid-market Braves can find that kind of payroll flexibility to address a need within three weeks of Opening Day, why can't the Mets act as swiftly given all of their deficiencies, including at shortstop?
"My responsibility is to play third base, not decide who signs, doesn't sign," Wright told ESPNNewYork.com. "I'm not a part of the decision-making process. I'm here if the front office wants to run an idea or get a player's perspective on something. But I've said it all along: There's got to be that separation of powers.
"I think it's a great move by the Braves. Unfortunately with what happened to Medlen the other day, and I guess [Brandon] Beachy has a little something minor with him, to be able to make that type of move is a strong move from an already good team. But as far as me trying to worry about players that aren't here, I've never been one to do that. And I don't try to concern myself with it."
Wright then was asked directly: Shouldn't a New York organization be more forceful and active?
"I don't know," Wright said. "There's different schools of thought in my opinion. There's been teams that are very successful, for example the Tampa Bay Rays, with relatively low payrolls. And there have been teams that have been very successful like the Dodgers and Yankees with big payrolls. So I'm not sure there's a recipe for success.
"And I've said this a million times: It's not my money that we're spending. Of course, the fan side of me, you want to go out there and sign every free agent, because it's not my money. Like I said, I try not to concern myself with guys that aren't in this clubhouse right now."
A couple of hours later, addressing a group of New York media about Santana signing with the Braves, Wright continued to be effusive in praise.
“They’re a very successful, winning franchise,” Wright said. “And it seems like they make smart decisions. Today is no different. Unfortunately I saw Medlen go down. And to act right away and be able to get a talent like that makes them similarly strong. It’s a nice move. Like I said, they’re a very, very good organization. Moves like this just back that up. It’s a good acquisition. ... It's a luxury for one of your best starters to go down and a few days later you sign one of the premier free-agent starters that's still out there. It's a great move. They've been making great moves since I've been in the big leagues. Now this is no different."
FIRST PITCH: Jonathon Niese, who had been dispatched to New York early in camp for an MRI of his left shoulder, makes his 2014 Grapefruit League debut Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. against the St. Louis Cardinals (WOR 710 AM).
Niese tossed three innings in a controlled intrasquad game Thursday.
He should get three additional starts beyond Tuesday before drawing the Opening Day assignment on March 31 against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Niese is due to face Cards right-hander Adam Wainwright at Roger Dean Stadium.
See the Mets’ full travel list here.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Zack Wheeler tells columnist John Harper in the Daily News that his drive is similar to Matt Harvey’s, although not their demeanors.
Lightheartedly asked if the Harvey role also included dating models, Wheeler added:
“Whatever comes, we’ll see. I don’t go out that much. Last year I didn’t even go out one time in New York because I was so concentrated on what I was doing, just being called up at the time. But we’ll see. If a hot model comes along, so be it. Why not, right? …
"I’m not really 'country,'" Wheeler added about his Georgia upbringing. "Everybody thinks that. My family moved to a country-type area when I was in eighth grade, and my friends there all had lifter trucks, so I wanted one and I got one with my bonus money. But I love New York: bright lights, tall buildings, gorgeous girls. It’s great. People have perceptions about me because I don’t say that much, but they really don’t know me."
• Ike Davis has been placed in a walking boot because of a continued issue with a strained right calf. Of course, getting fitted for a walking boot back in 2011 after a collision with David Wright in Colorado contributed to ending Davis’ season, because it constricted his circulation. But this one is more loose-fitting.
Lucas Duda, meanwhile, is expected to reenter Grapefruit League action Wednesday or Thursday. Duda, who has been troubled by left hamstring tightness, hit in a cage without issue Monday.
Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and Journal.
Also sent out: left-handers Steven Matz, Jack Leathersich and Adam Kolarek, right-handers Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, John Church and Chasen Bradford, catcher Kevin Plawecki, infielders Wilfredo Tovar and Danny Muno, infielder/outfielder Dustin Lawley and outfielders Brandon Nimmo, Cesar Puello and Cory Vaughn.
Leathersich had surrendered a monster homer to Giancarlo Stanton during Monday’s Grapefruit League game.
Forty-nine players remain in camp, including the rehabbing Harvey and Jeremy Hefner.
Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
• With Scott Rice now the lone lefty reliever in camp, Terry Collins plans to give John Lannan a look in that bullpen role. Still, Lannan is scheduled to start Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game and remains in the fifth-starter’s competition with Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jenrry Mejia and, officially, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom.
• Wilmer Flores, who last started at shortstop in 2011 with Class A St. Lucie, will be in the starting lineup at that position Tuesday in Jupiter. Flores already has finished two Grapefruit League games at shortstop after starting elsewhere.
• Bartolo Colon took a scoreless effort into the fourth inning before surrendering three runs and the Mets ultimately lost to the Miami Marlins, 11-1, Monday at Tradition Field. Mets pitchers allowed 19 hits and Ruben Tejada committed an error.
In a morning “B” game, Dillon Gee tossed four scoreless innings, Mejia added two perfect frames, and Tovar and Vaughn contributed early two-run doubles against Kevin Slowey in an 8-0 win against Miami.
On Colon, columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post quotes J.P. Ricciardi saying: “When I was scouting with Oakland, I saw him one-hit the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, and he did it on a fastball and a changeup. He threw one slider in the ninth inning to [Derek] Jeter. I will never forget that. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever saw. He’d go in, go out, great changeup. That’s what I love about the guy. He’s a strike machine.’’
Writes Tyler Kepner in the Times:
Colon used his fastball for 85.5 percent of his pitches last season with Oakland, according to Fangraphs. Cleveland’s Justin Masterson was second, at 73.3 percent.
This strategy would seem to have made more sense for Colon when he was young, and could throw about 100 miles per hour. But Colon turns 41 in May, and his fastball averaged 89.9 miles per hour last season. Everyone else in the top 10 in fastball percentage threw harder.
With his style of pitching, Colon is comparable to another 40-something right-hander who just left the New York stage.
“It’s like Mariano was,” said Mets outfielder Chris Young, Colon’s teammate on the A’s last season. “You know what’s coming, but it’s all about where you’re starting it and what you’re trying to accomplish with each pitch. He thinks about that when he’s on the mound. He’s accomplishing different things, moving in and out. Even though it is just the fastball most of the time, he still keeps guys off-balance somehow, and he breaks a lot of bats.”
Read more on Colon’s outing in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and MLB.com.
Read more on Gee and the “B” game in the Star-Ledger and MLB.com.
• Marc Carig in Newsday discusses the Mets’ sound baserunning last season. Writes Carig:
• According to FanGraphs, the Mets' baserunning was worth a big league-best 21.4 runs above average, or roughly two wins in the standings. Baseball Prospectus, which publishes its own version of baserunning value, also ranked the Mets No. 1 by a wide margin.
• Wally Backman interviewed in Port St. Lucie for the managerial position with Aguilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican winter league.
• Colon (Saturday) and Mejia (Sunday) are expected to start the Mets’ weekend split-squad games in Las Vegas against the Chicago Cubs. Also due on the trip: Wright, Curtis Granderson, Travis d’Arnaud, Bobby Parnell and Juan Lagares.
• Mr. Met has joined Twitter (@MrMet). Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• There will be a pregame tribute to the late Gary Carter at Olympic Stadium on March 28, with Carter’s widow Sandy on hand, when the Mets face the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of two exhibition games in Montreal, TSN’s Matthew Ross tweeted.
• New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attended a second straight Mets game Monday. He declined an interview request from ESPNNewYork.com about baseball and rooting for the Mets.
• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post lists Davis vs. Duda as among “spring training’s juiciest position battles.”
• Read a Canadian perspective on the trade that sent d'Arnaud to the Mets in the Toronto Star.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report does not predict a happy resolution for Davis and the ballclub. … NY Mets Life examines why 2014 is a vital year of the Mets.
BIRTHDAYS: Hefner, who is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, turns 28.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Colon, making his Mets debut after being slowed by a calf injury early in camp, surrendered a two-run triple to Ed Lucas for the big blow after the teams had been scoreless through three innings.
“It was meaningful,” Colon said through an interpreter about his four-inning Mets debut. “I was happy I was able to locate my pitches today and was able to pitch well.”
Colon had plenty of extra work to do in the second inning. He twice had Jake Marisnick picked off first base, but ump Jerry Meals twice called Marisnick safe. (No video replay was in effect for this spring-training game.) Reed Johnson, at the plate at the time of those safe calls, then was mistakenly ruled safe by Meals after David Wright dove and fielded his grounder and fired to first base.
Colon, a master of adding and subtracting velocity from his fastball, said he pitched against the Marlins as he would during the regular season and was not guarded against the division opponent.
“I don’t shy away from throwing what I’m going to throw normally,” Colon said. “That’s my pitch. I’m a fastball pitcher. That’s what I’m going to use. I’m going to use my best pitch.”
Asked if it was realistic to expect he could duplicate last year’s 2.65 ERA with the Oakland Athletics, Colon said: “Whatever happened last year, it already happened. I’m focusing on this coming year.”
Shortcoming: Ruben Tejada, who had three misplays and was charged with one error Friday, again had difficulty in the field. Tejada lost the baseball exchanging it from his glove to hand on a routine second-inning grounder by Marisnick for his second Grapefruit League error.
A half-inning later, Tejada did snap an 0-for-7 drought to begin exhibition play with a double down the left-field line against Brad Hand.
It’s no secret the Mets would like to upgrade at shortstop. Probably not coincidentally, the Seattle Mariners again had two scouts at Monday’s game.
Terry Collins has indicated Wilmer Flores will start a game at shortstop early this week, although it would appear unlikely Flores would demonstrate the requisite range to return to a regular role at that position.
Strike force: The Mets set a franchise record with 1,384 strikeouts last season. They may break that record this season, and even threaten the MLB single-season record (1,535 by the Houston Astros, also in 2013).
That strikeout propensity was on display Monday. After loading the bases with none out in the first inning against Hand, Curtis Granderson, Josh Satin and Travis d’Arnaud consecutively struck out -- albeit Satin on a very borderline called third strike. Hand went on to strike out five straight batters before Tejada doubled in the second inning.
Monster shot: Giancarlo Stanton produced a monster two-run homer against left-handed prospect Jack Leathersich in the seventh inning, after belting a monster shot earlier in the at-bat that went foul.
Other deep thoughts: Ryan Reid surrendered a two-run homer to Derek Dietrich in a four-run, six-hit eighth against him.
What’s next: Expected Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese makes his 2014 Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. in Jupiter, Fla. Niese had been dispatched to New York on Feb. 26 for an MRI of his pitching shoulder.
Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosBartolo Colon is scheduled to make his Mets debut at 1:10 p.m. Monday against the Marlins.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets play a doubleheader of sorts Monday.
At 9:30 a.m., Dillon Gee kicks off a “B” game against the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie. Also due to pitch in that game: Erik Goeddel, Cory Mazzoni and Jenrry Mejia.
The official Grapefruit League game begins at 1:10 p.m. at Tradition Field (SNY).
Bartolo Colon, slowed early in camp by a calf issue, makes his Mets debut. Vic Black, John Church, Jeurys Familia, Jack Leathersich, Scott Rice and Jeff Walters also are due to pitch.
Left-hander Brad Hand starts the Grapefruit League game for the Marlins.
Monday’s news reports:
• Sandy Alderson, in his clearest statement yet about when Matt Harvey might return, told columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post: “We’re looking to have him ready to go for 2015. There is no looking to have him ready for ’14.” Alderson’s official position remains not to close the door entirely on this season, but to paint it as highly improbable. Kernan also notes the Mets have greatly restricted Harvey’s ability to speak with the media, even when he is amenable.
Read game recaps in the Daily News and MLB.com.
• Closer Bobby Parnell had his first game appearance since last July 30. He had been eager to ramp up activity to test his recovery from Sept. 10 surgery that repaired a herniated disk in his neck. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Juan Lagares, who had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists last season, had another one Sunday. And Mets brass will have a serious decision to make within three weeks about whether Lagares or Eric Young Jr. merits the bulk of the playing time early in the season. That decision also will determine whether EY Jr. or Chris Young leads off.
Columnist John Harper in the Daily News sides with Lagares in the playing-time debate, and notes Sunday’s gunning out of Andrelton Simmons at third base only reinforces Lagares being the correct choice for center field. Writes Harper:
Above all, the play was a rather stunning reminder of how valuable Lagares’ defense in center field was last year -- and what a mistake it would be if the Mets decide he’s the odd man out in the outfield in 2014.
That’s a very real possibility, however. Terry Collins’ assessment of the outfield situation on Sunday sounded a bit ominous for Lagares.
“It’s going to be a tough call,” the manager said. “We know what Juan is defensively -- he’s as good a center fielder as there is. But we’ve gotta take a look at both sides of the baseball. We’ve gotta make sure we can do something about producing some runs. We can’t have a lot of holes [in the lineup].”
• Daniel Murphy did not play in Sunday’s Grapefruit League game. Nor did he participate in pregame drills with teammates. That is because Friday’s right-shin issue is more severe than initially portrayed. Still, Murphy should return shortly, Collins predicted. The same may not be true for Ike Davis, whose right-calf strain has not improved as hoped. Read more in the Post and Record.
• Jonathon Niese, who pitched in Thursday’s intrasquad game, is ready to make his 2014 Grapefruit League debut Tuesday, he told ESPNNewYork.com. The southpaw, who is expected to start on Opening Day, had been dispatched to New York two weeks ago for an MRI of his pitching shoulder. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Tim Rohan in the Times portrays Ruben Tejada as the shortstop by default.
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger reveals Noah Syndergaard’s (minimal) New Jersey roots. Spoiler: Syndergaard’s mother was born on a Toms River naval base while his grandfather briefly was stationed there.
• Dillon Gee tells Anthony Rieber in Newsday he is enthusiastic about being named to the advisory board of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, which tries to steer youths away from performance-enhancing drugs.
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple notes that if the Mets acquire a shortstop, it also could solve the leadoff debate. … NY Mets Life examines Johan Santana’s career with the club.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets outfielder John Cangelosi was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1963.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are the Mets a better team with Eric Young Jr. regularly in the leadoff spot or Juan Lagares regularly in center field?
Amazing how true love works. Mom just passed away, less than a month after Dad. 64 years together, now eternity! Thanks for everything Mom!!— Frank J. Viola, Jr. (@FrankViola16) March 10, 2014
FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Kris Medlen at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Tradition Field (PIX11/WOR).
Wheeler is making his second Grapefruit League start. He tossed three scoreless innings five days ago against the Houston Astros, allowing only two hits while striking out three.
Also scheduled to pitch: Carlos Torres, Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverde, Jack Leathersich, Jeurys Familia and Ryan Reid.
The Braves are expected to bring Evan Gattis, Andrelton Simmons and B.J. Upton on the two-hour trip from Disney.
Sunday’s news reports:
“At the end of the day, [the Mets] tried to put a perception out about me in the papers,” Beltran tells Sherman. “It is what it is. I have dealt with it. I cleared the air with the people who mistreated me. I don’t wish anything bad to the Mets organization. That is in the past.
“I don’t know what they gained from what they did to me. But I know what I gained. It made me a stronger person. Look, if you are a bad guy, you are a bad guy everywhere and the people in the game know it. The people who have played with me know that is not true.”
• Noah Syndergaard walked three batters in three innings, but might have come away with a scoreless performance had second baseman Eric Young Jr. successfully fielded a two-out grounder in the second inning. Instead, the ball glanced off Young and went into right field for a two-run single and Syndergaard was charged with two runs on two hits and three strikeouts in his second career Grapefruit League start. Syndergaard topped out at 98 mph.
Matt Clark had a two-run ninth-inning double and Gonzalez Germen produced the save as the Mets rallied to beat the Tigers, 3-2, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
Read more on Syndergaard’s outing in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and MLB.com.
• Terry Collins only intends to use EY Jr. at second base during the regular season if Daniel Murphy is unavailable due to injury. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Matt Harvey tweeted and then deleted a prediction that he would pitch in 2014. Saturday afternoon, Sandy Alderson downplayed the likelihood of Harvey appearing this season, but said “never say never.” Read more in Newsday, the Post, Daily News, Record and Star-Ledger.
• Despite Ruben Tejada committing an error and having two other misplays in Friday’s Grapefruit League game, Alderson said the shortstop is not yet under a “microscope.” Read more in Newsday.
• Ike Davis (calves) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) will not be ready to play Sunday, Collins said. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Kernan in the Post also features Wheeler and older brothers Adam and Jacob. A heart condition prevented Jacob from competing in athletics beyond high school, while a shoulder injury and surgery ended Adam’s career as a Yankees minor-league pitcher.
• Tyler Kepner in the Times catches up with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Harvey is pushing the envelope wanting to pitch this season. … Blogging Mets also addresses Harvey’s comments.
BIRTHDAYS: C.J. Nitkowski, who pitched in five games for the Mets in 2001 and finished his career in the minors with the organization two years ago, turns 41. He calls today’s game for WOR, including some play-by-play for the first time in his career.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should Terry Collins use Eric Young Jr. at second base sometimes in order to help get Juan Lagares in the lineup?
2014 Byrdak Day will happen.....in Indy ball— Tim Byrdak (@Givemethelefty) March 9, 2014
Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard faces the Detroit Tigers on Saturday in Lakeland, Fla.
FIRST PITCH: It’s Noah Syndergaard Day!
Coming off a performance against the Atlanta Braves in which he tossed two scoreless innings and blew three straight fastballs by Evan Gattis, Syndergaard gets on the early bus to Lakeland, Fla., to face the Detroit Tigers on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.
Also scheduled to pitch for the Mets: Joel Carrreño, John Church, Jacob deGrom, Gonzalez Germen, Adam Kolarek and Jeff Walters. (See the full travel list here.)
Left-hander Drew Smyly is due to start for the Tigers.
Saturday’s news reports:
• David Wright made his 2014 Grapefruit League debut Friday, going 0-for-3 and grounding into a double play against the St. Louis Cardinals. Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell had consecutive two-out RBI singles in the bottom of the ninth to pull the Mets even in what ended in a 5-all tie.
Daniel Murphy initially appeared to injure himself on an aggressive slide into second base, but indicated afterward he merely suffered a scraped right shin. Ruben Tejada, in his first game since returning from a hamstring injury, looked shaky in the field with three misplays, including one charged as an error. Murphy and Andrew Brown also committed errors.
Read recaps of Wright’s exhibition debut and Friday’s Grapefruit League result in the Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post was not impressed with the Mets’ fielding Friday. Writes Kernan:
Tejada, who has had a hamstring issue cost him a week of playing time, did not move well on Friday and continues to be a major problem for the Mets. Stephen Drew’s value appears to be rising, but the Mets seemingly are not going to go there as Scott Boras’ shortstop remains on ice.
• The Mets got their first taste of instant replay Friday. Terry Collins said he would be aggressive challenging during the season because the media scrutiny would be intense if a big inning occurred after a close call went unchallenged. Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and Star-Ledger.
• Terry Collins affirmed postgame that Flores will get a start at shortstop early next week.
• Bobby Parnell and Bartolo Colon both officially are listed to make their 2014 Grapefruit League debuts Monday.
• Mike Piazza completed his week as a guest instructor. Travis d’Arnaud tells Mike Puma in the Post the message from Piazza to him mostly was about mental approach at the plate. “Just taking your hits -- not trying to pull off and hit a home run every time,” d’Arnaud said about what Piazza imparted. “When things go bad, just go back to the basics, wait for your pitch and just make good contact.”
• Seth Everett officially has been named the pregame and postgame host for Mets radio broadcasts on WOR.
• Marty Noble at MLB.com writes about Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola advocating the changeup as a weapon in a pitching arsenal.
• Wright tells the Daily News he is pleased Curtis Granderson will hit behind him.
The Cardinals, incidentally, played a pronounced shift on Granderson on Friday. Asked if he had seen that defensive alignment much in recent years, Granderson said: "It's a mix. Some teams do. Some won't."
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear reflects on the fleeting moment in 2012 when the Mets rotation included R.A. Dickey, Matt Harvey and Johan Santana, and how none of them is part of the team’s 2014 plans. … John Delcos at Mets Report writes about the easing in of Wright into games this spring training.
BIRTHDAYS: Willard Hunter, who pitched for the original ’62 Mets, was born on this date in 1934 in Newark, N.J.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Wright was buzzed up and in by the first pitch he saw from hard-throwing right-hander Carlos Martinez. He ultimately grounded out to shortstop twice and also hit into a 5-4-3 double play. He received no chances at third base.
“It’s the first game,” Wright said. “Everything feels a little awkward. It doesn't help all that much that the first guy you face is throwing 97 mph.”
Murphy’s hold-your-breath moment came when he tried to break up Wright’s fourth-inning, double-play grounder. Murphy slid late and directly into Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong. Murphy then hobbled off the field but remained in the game and portrayed the issue afterward as simply a scraped right shin.
“I ran into a truck,” Murphy said. “He’s strong. I went in there to break up two, and he didn't move. I was surprised. I asked him if he was all right. It should have been the other way around.”
Asked if Murphy should be scaling back his aggressiveness in a spring training game and save such slides for the regular season, Collins said, “He only knows one way to play. And that’s why he’s a good player.”
It was a rough day for Mets fielders, with errors charged to Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Andrew Brown, among countless other misplays.
In fact, Tejada failed on three makeable plays. In the first inning, Matt Holliday’s grounder bounced off the shortstop and into the outfield for a run-scoring single charged to Daisuke Matsuzaka. Later, the Cardinals’ final run scored when Tejada failed to handle a hard smash from Wang in his vicinity. That play was scored a single.
Tejada, who had been dealing with a left-hamstring injury, was playing in his first Grapefruit League game since last Friday.
“Those are plays you've seen all those guys make before,” Collins said.
Matsuzaka and John Lannan, the primary fifth-starter contenders, each allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings. Matsuzaka surrendered six hits. Lannan surrendered three.
“There were a few unlucky hits that dropped in,” Dice-K said through his interpreter. “In general, I think I was able to accomplish what I wanted to today.”
Matsuzaka said his slider was better than his previous outing, but his location “was a little bit of a problem.”
Lannan said, “The first inning was kind of rough, second inning was a little bit better. I still have room to improve.” The southpaw was disappointed with his slider and said his fastball seemed to have less life in this appearance.
The young pitchers performed much better.
Rafael Montero was poised to pitch two perfect innings until Brown dropped the would-be final out of the sixth. An unearned run eventually scored when Wong’s smash got through Tejada.
Steven Matz, ticketed for Class A St. Lucie to open the season, allowed a single and a walk but rallied to strand both runners with three straight strikeouts in the seventh.
Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless ninth.
Wilfredo Tovar finished the game at shortstop in his first action since suffering a hamstring injury Feb. 28.
The game included one failed replay challenge and some comedy in the clubhouse.
Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler and Jeremy Hefner were given a walkie-talkie and assigned to watch SNY in the clubhouse. They were instructed to radio to Bob Geren in the dugout if any plays ought to be challenged.
The problem? On a close call at second base in which Eric Young Jr. was called out attempting a steal, SNY never showed a replay before going to commercial. So the Mets passed on challenging. (In-season, the Mets will have several angles available immediately on a feed and will not be reliant on telecasts.)
“We didn’t miss it!” Gee playfully protested. “SNY went right to commercial.”
The Cardinals did challenge an eighth-inning call but failed to get it overturned because Flores had successfully blocked second base and applied a tag.
Collins, by the way, confirmed Flores is scheduled to start at shortstop in the next few days. The manager also wants to use Flores at third base, reasoning that if Flores is going to make the team, he needs to be able to play all the infield positions.
As for Flores’ ninth-inning RBI single during the game-tying rally, Collins said, “That’s what he’s done his whole minor league career. He drives in runs.”
What's next: Noah Syndergaard opposes the Tigers on Saturday in Lakeland.
Jeff Roberson/Associated PressDavid Wright is due to play in his first 2014 Grapefruit League game Friday.
FIRST PITCH: It’s time for David Wright to enter Grapefruit League play.
Wright and Daniel Murphy, held out the first week of exhibition play to attempt to reduce their risk of becoming injured during spring training, are expected to start on Friday as the Mets host the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. at Tradition Field (SNY).
John Lannan, originally scheduled to start Thursday’s rained-out game against the Houston Astros, pitches Friday in relief as part of a revised pitching schedule. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rafael Montero and Steven Matz also are due to pitch.
Right-hander Carlos Martinez starts for St. Louis.
Friday’s news reports:
• Several Mets pitchers made progress in their returns from injuries Thursday, during a three-inning simulated game at Tradition Field. Bobby Parnell pitched in a game-like setting for the first time since last July 30. Expected Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese had his first game-like action since being sent to New York for an MRI of his pitching shoulder and called it a “great step forward.” And Bartolo Colon tossed three innings after nursing a calf injury early in camp. Colon pronounced himself ready to pitch Monday in an actual exhibition game.
Read more on Niese, Parnell and Colon and the intrasquad game in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and Newsday.
• The banged-up position players are healing more slowly. Ike Davis batted during the simulated game but did not run. Davis, who believes he originally injured himself in the weightroom, suggested his cranky calves need more time to recover. Ruben Tejada (hamstring) also batted but did not run Thursday, but suggested afterward he was ready to appear in Friday’s game against St. Louis. Lucas Duda did not participate Thursday. He also is suffering from a hamstring issue. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Read more on Wright’s impending 2014 Grapefruit League debut in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Seth Everett will be named the pregame and postgame host for Mets radio broadcasts on WOR, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
• The man charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly threatening the Mets via Twitter has applied for a program that may result in the charges being dismissed.
• New Fox Sports analyst Harold Reynolds tells the Post the Mets aren’t winning 90 games this season.
• Mookie Wilson’s “bromance” with Bill Buckner is covered in the Post.
• Michael Salfino in the Journal has a statistical comparison of Noah Syndergaard and Dwight Gooden entering their rookie seasons (Gooden entering 1984).
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple advocates trading a young pitcher – the big three excluded – for a shortstop. … NY Mets Life discusses instant replay.
BIRTHDAYS: Joel Carreño, a reliever in Mets camp who has 22 career appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays, turns 27. ... Jeff Kent, who received 15.2 percent of the vote in his initial year on the Hall of Fame ballot, is 46.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Nice sunset tonight pic.twitter.com/VoT4XqgSzd— Zack Wheeler (@Wheelerpro45) March 6, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Was it wise to have David Wright and Daniel Murphy skip the first week of Grapefruit League play?
@MattHarvey33 the ladies love it— Zack Wheeler (@Wheelerpro45) March 7, 2014
Terry Collins had held Daniel Murphy and Wright out of the first week of exhibition games to attempt to minimize the risk of injury. Both have been beset by side-muscle injuries in camp in recent years. Murphy also is expected to face the Cards in his first official exhibition appearance.
"Spring training is so long. It's really for the pitchers' benefit, to get them stretched out," Wright said. "Terry approached me even during the offseason and kind of told me, 'Don't be surprised if in spring training I slow you down a little bit and push you back.
"I felt like I got good work in. I felt I'm a lot more prepared now than I have been in recent spring trainings to enter games, and I think I'll get a little more out of it. As I've mentioned before, I wouldn't be able to get the [pregame preparation] work in if I were playing in the games. I faced some of the minor-league pitchers this past week. I faced Bobby a few times. And then on top of that I get a chance to go work on things that I think are beneficial to me.
"The last couple of years I've had the abdominal/oblique injuries. So to kind of slow it up this year, to kind of take those baby steps before ramping it up, I think helps me out. On top of that, I've really missed, I think, three-quarters of spring training the last two years, and I've felt like I've been prepared to start the season."
FIRST PITCH: It’s a tripleheader for the Mets on Thursday.
The Mets send a pair of squads to Kissimmee, Fla., to face the Houston Astros. At 10 a.m. in a “B” game, Logan Verrett, Vic Black, Jack Leathersich and Erik Goeddel are scheduled to pitch.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of action crammed into three innings in a structured intrasquad game on a back field at the Mets’ complex, which will not be open to the public. Now at 10 a.m., Bartolo Colon, Jonathon Niese and Bobby Parnell have their first game action of spring training.
Colon was slowed early in camp by a calf issue. Niese had to be dispatched to New York for an MRI of his shoulder (which came back not alarming). Parnell, returning deliberately from herniated-disk surgery anyway, has a lingering quadriceps issue, too. This will be his first game-type action since last July 30.
The batters, primarily minor leaguers, should also include David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and maybe Ruben Tejada.
Terry Collins kept Wright and Murphy out of the first week of Grapefruit League games to ease them into action and guard against injury. Each should make his first official spring-training start Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Port St. Lucie. Davis (calves) and Tejada (hamstring) both have been dealing with injuries.
Lucas Duda (hamstring) is not ready to participate, Collins added.
Thursday’s news reports:
• The Mets were swept in split-squad games, losing in Viera, 11-5, to the Washington Nationals and losing, 5-2, in 10 innings in Port St. Lucie to the Miami Marlins. Jenrry Mejia -- who may get bullpen consideration late in camp, but who for now is eyeing the fifth-starter role -- allowed one unearned run in two innings against the Nats. Cory Mazzoni was tagged for seven runs in the eighth in that loss. Facing Miami’s Jose Fernandez and Washington’s Gio Gonzalez, the Mets went scoreless for a combined 5 1/3 innings against the aces. Gonzalez Germen allowed three 10th-inning runs after Matt den Dekker’s sacrifice fly tied the score in the bottom of the ninth.
Read more on Mejia in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Record and Newsday.
• Collins understands he could use a backup shortstop with some offensive capability, so the manager wondered aloud if Wilmer Flores could serve in that role. Still, it seems very tentatively more like that Anthony Seratelli gets that nod over Flores or Omar Quintanilla, at least with the roster as presently constituted.
Anthony DiComo at MLB.com profiles Seratelli’s long route to the Mets, including the emotional loss of his father in 2011 in an auto accident.
Read more on Seratelli in the Star-Ledger.
• Collins is considering batting his pitcher eighth on occasion. Columnist Joel Sherman tackles that topic in the Post. Sherman also suggests that Juan Lagares will make the team at least as a bench player, although the columnist asserts there ought to be consideration to sending Lagares to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a friend of Stephen Drew labeled it “very slim” to Sherman that the free-agent shortstop lands with the Mets.
• Murphy tells the Daily News about the conflict between the team’s offensive philosophy and his own mindset: “I struggle with thinking that a walk is a win. I struggle with that, because I look at a walk as, ‘I didn’t get a hit.’ And so what I’m trying to really, really learn is that 0-for-2 with two walks, that is a win. But I don’t always view it like that.”
• After pitching a perfect ninth inning at Tradition Field against the Marlins on Wednesday, Jose Valverde told Mike Puma in the Post about trying to make the club: “For me, every year I try to compete like a minor-league guy -- always. All my life, what I’ve done in spring training is like I’ve never played in the big leagues. The first day in Arizona, Houston, Detroit and now with the Mets, that was my mindset all the time -- ‘It’s my first spring training.’”
• Parking prices are rising at Citi Field, Mets Police reports. After charging $20 last season, the new posted rates for cars are $22 for the regular season, $25 for the postseason, $30 for special events and $22 for the U.S. Open.
• Matt Harvey will earn a base salary of $547,000 in 2014 -- $47,000 above the MLB minimum -- plus another $60,000 in bonuses, according to the Associated Press.
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post asks original Generation K member Jason Isringhausen about the Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard trio. “Three guys coming up, there’s a lot of expectation,” Izzy, a guest instructor with the Cardinals, told Kernan. “But, with us, there were a lot of injuries. So hopefully these kids stay injury-free and they are able to pitch for 20 years. That would be great. That’s what everybody wants. The reality is you got to take care of these kids.’’
• Read more on the plan for Mets players returning to Grapefruit League play from injuries in the Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal questions whether Duda’s fractured wrist during the 2012-13 offseason impacted his performance a year ago.
• Frank Viola’s son Frank III, who has tried to revive his career as a knuckleball pitcher, has signed a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays after a successful tryout, the former Cy Young winner tweeted. The younger Viola, a right-hander, is 29 years old.
• Tim Rohan in the Times profiles Mets farmhand L.J. Mazzilli, the son of Lee Mazzilli. L.J. was assigned No. 13 in minor-league camp, which his father wore from 1986 through ’89 with the Mets. L.J. has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so he needs to be extra vigilant concentrating in the field, Rohan writes.
• Matz is profiled in the Post. The Long Island native is expected to open the season in Class A St. Lucie’s rotation, with a potential jump to Double-A Binghamton for the second half.
• Chris McShane at Amazin’ Avenue interviews Paul DePodesta.
• The Binghamton Mets will host a “Welcome Home” dinner for the Double-A club on April 2 at the DoubleTree in Binghamton. Tickets for the event/autograph session are $25. Call 607-723-METS or purchase at the NYSEG Stadium ticket office.
• From the bloggers … The Eddie Kranepool Society addresses WOR’s Mets radio booth still being in flux. … Faith and Fear hears spring training is the cure for the common winter. … John Delcos at Mets Report wonders why there are so many tight muscles in camp.
BIRTHDAYS: No player to appear for the Mets was born on this date, but Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Arnold, Alan Greenspan and Michelangelo celebrate birthdays today.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
The logic? David Wright, as the No. 3 hitter, then would have more chances to drive in runs.
In essence, Wright would be ensured of batting in the first inning. Then, after the pitcher's slot, Wright would become the cleanup hitter.
Collins recently spoke with Tony La Russa about the idea, he told Sherman, since La Russa used that strategy with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I think both [Wright and Curtis Granderson] are RBI guys,” Collins told Sherman. “My thought is: How do we get them more RBI chances and also give David, in particular, chances to drive in runs. It is a possibility I might try. I don’t know that I will, but I might.”
Said La Russa: “When you have a guy like David Wright, it is worth considering. I liked it. You want to protect your best hitter as best as possible, and this is a way.”
Final St. John's 74 Providence 79 Final Seton Hall 64 3 Villanova 63 Final Rutgers 31 5 Louisville 92 Final Fordham 74 Dayton 87
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