New York Mets: Frank Francisco

Morning Briefing: Another .500 bid

April, 15, 2014

Ross D. Franklin/Associated PressTrainer Ray Ramirez and Terry Collins check out Curtis Granderson's left arm after a collision with the outfield wall in the first inning Monday.

FIRST PITCH: For the sixth time this young season, the Mets (6-7) will attempt to move back to .500 on Tuesday night.

Each other time -- with their record at 0-1, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6 -- they have lost.

Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 4.09 ERA) opposes Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 4.82) at 9:40 p.m. ET at Chase Field.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• The Mets suffered a pair of injuries to outfielders Monday. Juan Lagares pulled his right hamstring and Curtis Granderson suffered bruises to his left forearm, rib cage and knee. Lagares appears likely to land on the disabled list, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis expected to join the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas. Granderson officially is day-to-day, but may not see any action until the weekend at Citi Field at the earliest.

Lucas Duda was forced to play in the outfield for the first time since last June.

Chris Young, who has now reached base in nine of 10 plate appearances during his rehab assignment with Las Vegas, is not eligible to be activated from the DL until Friday.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at

Zack Wheeler reverted to an old delivery, limited the D-backs to two runs in 6 1/3 innings and earned his first win since last Aug. 31 as the Mets beat Arizona, 7-3, Monday at Chase Field. Carlos Torres handled the final 2 2/3 innings to earn his first big-league save. Duda finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Read more in Newsday and at

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings and Eric Campbell played shortstop for the first time in his professional career as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 5-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Matt Harvey spent Sunday watching the Knicks game alongside a model, but was allowed because it was not a scheduled rehab day in Port St. Lucie, Fla., according to a team official. Read more in the Post.

• Ex-Met Frank Francisco has signed with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.

• The Mets plan to scout free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan’s showcase for teams on Thursday, Kristie Ackert in the Daily News confirms. Hanrahan is returning from Tommy John surgery.

Ike Davis discusses his pinch-hitting role with Matt Ehalt in the Record.

• Tim Rohan in the Times recaps the Mets’ early season struggles.

Oliver Perez discusses his reinvention as a successful reliever in the Journal. “That’s really hard for anybody, when you get fired from your work,” Perez told the newspaper about getting released by the Mets in 2011, during the same spring training that Luis Castillo also was cut loose.

Chris Schwinden, released by the Mets during spring training, has signed with the independent Lancaster (Pa.) Barnstormers.

From the bloggers … Mets Police offers some thoughts on the Mets brand. … The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests it may be time for Terry Collins to shake up the lineup by dropping Daniel Murphy to No. 7 and letting Travis d'Arnaud bat second. … NY Mets Life offers it take on the Mets season thus far.

BIRTHDAYS: Jeromy Burnitz turns 45. ... Aaron Laffey is 29. ... Ricky Otero was born on this date in 1972.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you approve of Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ expected promotion to replace Juan Lagares?
Jordany Valdespin reportedly has abandoned his Dominican winter-league team during the playoffs after getting upset at getting pinch-hit for during a playoff game by Ronny Paulino. Valdespin immediately packed up his belongings and bolted the clubhouse, according to the Spanish-language report.

Valdespin, who signed a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins this offseason that does not include a major league invite, has a long history of tantrums.

Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesJordany Valdespin has experienced his share of run-ins with authority.

His final major league act as a Met was throwing a fit directed at Terry Collins in Pittsburgh and demanding to be put on the disabled list when he learned he was being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Valdespin was uninjured at the time.

There are plenty of never-publicly-told stories as well about Valdespin's brash behavior.

According to team insiders, after getting promoted to the majors for the first time in 2012, Valdespin demanded closer Frank Francisco buy the rookie suits. Now, it often is a tradition for veterans to buy call-ups one nice suit for road trips since many of the young players do not yet have big bank accounts. But demanding suits? That's not quite how it works.

Major league players already had their antennae raised about Valdespin's antics that spring training.

In a Grapefruit League game, Valdespin reached first base, then started taunting All-Star catcher Yadier Molina from the St. Louis Cardinals, telling Molina he would steal. Mets infielder Ronny Cedeno subsequently pulled Valdespin aside and told him that is not how a player who has yet to appear in the majors ought to treat an esteemed veteran. Valdespin proceeded to curse out the well-meaning Cedeno, who was so upset he no longer wanted to talk to Valdespin.

Valdespin was cut loose by the Mets last month, at the tender deadline. He had served a 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension late in the season.

Player-by-player predictions for 2014

September, 30, 2013
NEW YORK -- Here is a player-by-player primer on each Met, broken down by contract status:

Free agents

LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.

Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.

David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.

Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.

Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.

Signed to contracts

Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.

David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.

Arbitration eligible

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.

• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.

Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.

Daniel Murphy, second baseman. hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.

Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.

Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.

Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.

Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.

Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.

Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.

Under control

Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.

Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.

• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.

Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.

Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.

Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.

Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.

Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.

Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.

Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.

Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.

Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.

Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.

Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.

Francisco available for series opener

September, 20, 2013
PHILADELPHIA -- Frank Francisco, who suffered a bruised right hand six days ago when he was struck with a line drive off the bat of Miami's Logan Morrison, is back available for Friday night's series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Terry Collins said Francisco successfully threw breaking pitches in addition to his fastball before Thursday's game in New York and gave the OK that he is again ready to contribute.

Morning Briefing: Tejada's bad break

September, 19, 2013

ESPNMatt Harvey appeared on ESPN as a pitchman for Qualcomm. An appearance earlier in the day did not go very well.

FIRST PITCH: Ruben Tejada, quite literally, suffered a bad break.

Given a limited opportunity to prove he merits being the 2014 shortstop, Tejada’s audition of sorts is now over. He suffered a broken fibula in his right leg colliding with left fielder Andrew Brown while catching a pop fly in the top of the ninth during Wednesday’s 5-4 come-from-behind win against the San Francisco Giants.

Tejada, who turns 24 next month, hit .143 (3-for-21) in seven September starts after returning from a banishment to Triple-A Las Vegas. He finished the season hitting .203 overall in 208 at-bats. Sandy Alderson said it was “like pulling teeth” to get Tejada to do extra work.

Associated PressWith Ruben Tejada done for the season, Omar Quintanilla is back to being the regular shortstop.

The Mets delayed Tejada’s call-up until Sept. 10, which will leave him one day shy of three full years of major league service at season’s end. Tejada still will be first-time arbitration-eligible as a Super 2, but his salary -- if the Mets choose to retain him -- should not be that far north of the $500,000 major league minimum in 2014.

By delaying Tejada’s free agency until after the 2017 season, the Mets do make Tejada marginally more marketable in a trade.

It would be no great surprise if the Mets’ Opening Day shortstop is not currently with the organization, since Omar Quintanilla is widely considered in baseball as a backup. All-Star Jhonny Peralta, currently serving a 50-game suspension related to Biogenesis, headlines the list of free agents at the position. (Nelson Cruz, another All-Star serving a 50-game suspension, also is a pending free agent, if the Mets are not averse to the Biogenesis route for adding outfield bats.)

Meanwhile, Jonathon Niese (7-7, 3.88 ERA) opposes fellow southpaw Madison Bumgarner (12-9, 2.83) in today’s 1:10 p.m. rubber game at Citi Field.

Thursday’s news reports:

Josh Satin’s two-run single against All-Star Sergio Romo capped a four-run ninth as the Mets rallied to beat the Giants. In his major league debut, catcher Juan Centeno had two hits, including a run-scoring infield single earlier in the ninth-inning rally. The Mets, who entered the frame trailing 4-1, overcame their largest ninth-inning deficit since June 16. That day, they also had a four-run ninth, and beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ three-run homer.

Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger and

Matt Harvey publicly apologized to The Dan Patrick Show and Qualcomm on Wednesday afternoon, after his appearance that morning irked the host. Companies often pay for athletes to appear on shows, with the understanding the athlete will be given a brief opportunity to promote a product while otherwise answering topical sports questions.

When Harvey appeared with Patrick, he only wanted to talk about the wireless technology company, not his decision to forgo -- at least for now -- Tommy John surgery.

Asked about the scariness of the Tommy John surgery decision, Harvey said: “Every pitcher can relate to what’s going on. I did all of those answers yesterday. Maybe at the appropriate time we can talk about that. But obviously today’s about Qualcomm.”

Asked by an incredulous Patrick if he really did not want to talk about his elbow, Harvey added: “We can set up another call, if you’d like to, about that subject, but today we’re honoring and supporting Qualcomm.” (Watch on YouTube here.)

Presumably after getting some P.R. advice, Harvey did discuss with ESPN his decision to rehab rather than immediately undergo Tommy John surgery. Watch here.

Harvey eventually tweeted: “I’ve had a few rough outings on the mound, that was a rough outing on the radio this morning... Been an exhausting couple of days. Apologies to @DanPatrick and @Qualcomm”

The Daily News reported Harvey fired a publicist earlier this year after an ill-fated Men’s Journal article, and that this was his first time doing interviews as a paid spokesman for a company.

Read more in the Daily News, Post, Record and Newsday.

Billy Wagner, who had Tommy John surgery while with the Mets, tells Mike Puma in the Post that Harvey is delaying the inevitable. “You can get it done now and be done with it, and the rehab is not a hard rehab,” Wagner told Puma. “… When I was rehabbing at 80 or 85 percent, I couldn’t tell anything was wrong. But as soon as I let it go a little bit, there’s a big difference.”

• Richard Sandomir in the Times writes that Tommy John surgery first is paid by workers’ compensation, with the difference covered by the team.

• Terry Collins, appearing on WFAN, cited Harvey’s determination as a reason why he may very well avoid Tommy John surgery. Said Collins: “I told one of the coaches today: I would not be afraid to have someone bet me that Matt Harvey will be the Opening Day pitcher, because I think he will be.”

Collins expects David Wright (hamstring strain) to return from the disabled list this weekend in Philly. The manager also predicted Wilmer Flores would open next season in the minors if there is no defined position for him, whereas Brown and Satin could be righty-hitting major league bench pieces in 2014.

As for Daniel Murphy, Collins said he again would expect to see him at second base next season -- “not at this moment” at first base next year. The manager did allow, though, for a scenario not currently foreseeable in which Eric Young Jr. mans second base and Murphy slides over to first base. “I don’t know what the winter is going to hold,” Collins said. Of course, that latter scenario would logically involve the departures of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.

Collins noted the Mets will need to bring a veteran starting pitching hedge to camp, even if Harvey is OK in a rotation alongside Zack Wheeler, Niese and Dillon Gee. That veteran would compete with Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero among others and also serve as a safety net in case of an injury. Asked if it could be a re-signed Aaron Harang, Collins said: “We’ve got to have one of those [veteran-type] guys coming into camp. Who that is I don’t know yet.”

(Alderson, who not too long ago said he would look to sign a major starting pitcher, did a 180-degree turn Tuesday on that topic.)

Listen to Collins’ full interview here.

• Read more on Tejada’s fractured fibula in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Missed Jerry Seinfeld appearing on Tuesday’s Mets telecast? You can watch the highlights here.

At one point, Seinfeld -- a Mets fan -- mocks the publicity Dr. James Andrews is getting for examining Harvey on Monday in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

by Katherine Frey/The Washington PostDavey Johnson, as well as his Nats, wore Navy hats pregame only.

“I want to know why these doctors are getting billing now. Who the hell is this guy? He’s a big star now -- Dr. Andrews?” Seinfeld said. “Why do I got to hear about him for? … I mean, do we get free treatment out of this guy for all of these plugs? ‘I’m Dr. Andrews. I talked to Matt Harvey. I didn’t do a damn thing. Did you hear me on the broadcast? They said my name four times. I’m Dr. Andrews.’”

• Keith Olbermann scolded Major League Baseball and, to a lesser extent, the Washington Nationals over wearing “Navy” hats during batting practice, but not in-game after the shooting at the Navy Yard, blocks from the team’s ballpark.

The issue is nearly identical to the Mets -- during games on the anniversary of 9/11 -- no longer wearing the caps of New York City first-responder agencies.

MLB has licensing agreements and does not grant in-game waivers for unauthorized caps it cannot market. The Nats did not even bother to ask about wearing the Navy caps in-game this time, Olbermann suggested, because MLB’s policy is clearly established and inflexible.

Nats manager Davey Johnson responded about Olbermann (via @JamesWagnerWP): “He’s not high on my list.”

• Wheeler is at 168 2/3 innings between the majors and minors this season, and the Mets likely want to cap the rookie at no more than 180 innings. So Collins said Wednesday it is unresolved whether Wheeler’s final start will be Monday in Cincinnati, or he also will appear in the regular-season finale the following Sunday at Citi Field against the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a continued six-man rotation. Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame that day. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Travis d’Arnaud could return to the lineup today after missing a game. D’Arnaud was struck by a foul ball in the right shoulder off the bat of Hunter Pence on Tuesday. D’Arnaud has repeatedly gotten hit in the head of late as well, primarily from backswings.

"It’s more than I’ve ever seen, and it’s a little bit concerning," Mets bench coach Bob Geren told Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger about the beating d’Arnaud is taking.

Geren told Marc Carig in Newsday there is a “conundrum” because typically you move closer to the plate when getting hit by too many foul balls and farther away from the plate if you’re getting by backswings. And d’Arnaud is a victim of both.

Read more in the Record.

Justin Turner (hamstring) is not ready to do baseball activities. Frank Francisco (hand) also is not ready to return.

• Howard Megdal at Capital New York finds Alderson’s unwillingness to speak about the team’s 2014 payroll troubling.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing would like Howie Rose to reunite with Gary Cohen on the season’s final day.

BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Randall K. Myers turns 51.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Does Ruben Tejada deserve to be a part of the 2014 Mets?

Frank Francisco bruises hand

September, 14, 2013
NEW YORK -- Frank Francisco has a swollen right hand on the pinkie side after getting struck with a line drive off the bat of Logan Morrison in the eighth inning in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.

Francisco received X-rays. The Mets subsequently announced the injury as a bruise, not a fracture.

"That's what I thought -- it was broke for sure," said a relieved Francisco.

"It swelled up pretty fast and pretty big," Collins said.

Rapid Reaction: Marlins 3, Mets 0

September, 14, 2013
NEW YORK -- The Mets officially have a losing record for a fifth straight season.

Despite a solid pitching performance from Carlos Torres, the Miami Marlins won, 3-0, in Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday at Citi Field. The Mets suffered loss No. 82.

Five straight losing seasons is the fourth-longest streak in franchise history. The only streaks longer: seven from 1962-68 and 1977-83, and six from 1991-96.

There was another loss, too.

Frank Francisco was drilled in the right wrist with an eighth-inning line drive off the bat of Logan Morrison and immediately departed the game in apparent pain. Depending on the severity, that could end the free-agent-to-be Francisco’s Mets career.

Torres limited the Marlins to two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out a career-high eight in six innings. He also twice plunked Donovan Solano with pitches. Solano answered in the sixth with a solo homer that staked Miami to a 2-0 lead.

Back in the fourth, Torres had hit Solano with a pitch to open the inning, then walked Christian Yelich. Morrison later in the inning produced the first hit surrendered by Torres -- a two-out bloop single that scored Solano for the game’s opening run.

Meanwhile, the Mets’ bats familiarly were silent. This time, Henderson Alvarez tossed seven scoreless innings.

Matt den Dekker had two of the Mets’ four hits in the game, including a one-out double in the seventh. But Travis d’Arnaud flied out to center field to drop to 0-for-17 in his career with runners in scoring position. And with den Dekker on third base after tagging up, Omar Quintanilla grounded out on a slick fielding play by Solano at second base.

What’s next: Game 2 of a single-admission doubleheader in a half-hour. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-3, 8.00 ERA) opposes Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner (3-6, 3.43).

Morning Briefing: Voice from the grave

September, 14, 2013
FIRST PITCH: Get ready for a long day at Citi Field … and, no, that is not a slam at Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The Mets and Miami Marlins play a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 4:10 p.m.

Matsuzaka (0-3, 8.00 ERA), coming off a solid performance against the Cleveland Indians, faces right-hander Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 4.34) in Game 1.

Carlos Torres (3-4, 3.53) opposes right-hander Jacob Turner (3-6, 3.43) in the second game.

Saturday’s news reports:

Lucas Duda produced a three-run homer and Andrew Brown also went deep to lift the Mets to a 4-3 win against the Marlins on Friday night. Giancarlo Stanton homered twice for Miami. Jonathon Niese improved to 7- 7. The southpaw allowed three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. LaTroy Hawkins earned his ninth save.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and

Paul J. Bereswill/Associated PressShaun Marcum won't go away just yet.

Shaun Marcum, dumped by the Mets earlier this season, did not like SNY’s highly regarded Mets team calling out Frank Francisco for hitting Jayson Werth with a pitch Thursday. In a series of tweets (and with just a few typos and other gaffes), Marcum wrote:

Yes Jason werth got hit by a pitch today, and no I wasn't there to see if anything happened before... But the guys in the New York booth are beyond clueless when it comes to knowing what goes thru the heads of the guys in that dugout!!! I even heard one of the idiots talking about Hefner, after he made a great pitch and have up a hit, talking about not knowing about Alfonso soriano's bat size. Last time I checked pitchers don't go thru th opposing teams dugout checking bat sizes. #getAclue

Let’s just say Marcum, who was released on July 23, collected more than $5 million from the Mets for a disgusting season … and wasn’t well-liked, to boot.

If Keith Hernandez had no class, he could borrow a line once directed at him and respond: “Voice from the grave.”

• Savannah won the South Atlantic League title with a 2-0 victory over Hagerstown in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Stefan Sabol provided the offense with a two-run double. Long Island native Steven Matz tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Jeurys Familia, in his fourth minor league appearance since returning from surgery to clean out his elbow, contributed a 1-2-3 eighth. Gnats pitchers did not allow a run in 27 innings at home during the postseason.

David Wright plans to run the bases full throttle today, in advance of trying to return from a Grade 2 right hamstring strain by the middle of next week. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.

Justin Turner (Grade 1 right hamstring strain) is not expected to return to the lineup at least until Tuesday.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record features Juan Lagares.

• Bob Raissman in the Daily News sees a match between the Mets and ESPN New York 98.7.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing has a story about why gloating is never a good idea. ... John Delcos at Mets Report did not like Terry Collins' candor after Thursday's loss.

BIRTHDAYS: Submarine-style reliever Chad Bradford turns 39. He last pitched in the majors in 2009 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Shaun Marcum just shut up and go away?

Nats fume, but Francisco denies intent

September, 12, 2013

Getty ImagesJayson Werth did not take kindly to being hit by a pitch from Frank Francisco.
NEW YORK -- The Washington Nationals fumed postgame Thursday after completing a four-game sweep against the Mets, with Davey Johnson telling D.C. reporters: "It's a good thing we don't see them again."

But Frank Francisco denied any purpose in plunking Jayson Werth in the back with a 3-0 pitch in the eighth after Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman opened the inning with consecutive doubles.

"It was 3-0. Obviously I can't locate my pitches," Francisco said.

Werth jawed at Francisco and umpires stepped in. The benches never cleared.

"He can say whatever he wants," Francisco said. "I was trying to locate my pitches and obviously I was all over the place."

Asked if he had any history with Werth, Francisco added: "I haven't hit a guy in two years, bro."

Werth then slid hard into Ruben Tejada at second base on Bryce Harper's subsequent fielder's choice.

Werth declined comment after the game.

One scout at Citi Field said: "Yep, it's official. Frank Francisco is a d----- bag. Almost got his shortstop's ankle broken. It was so frickin' obvious! A------ almost got Tejada killed."

Asked about endangering a teammate, Francisco said he was unaware if Werth's slide was a result of getting plunked. Still, Francisco added: "I think that's the right thing to do -- break up the double play."

Johnson added about Francisco: "He was wild. The ball was going all over the place. But I thought our guys handled it well. We didn’t overreact to it. That guy is a little goofy out there, anyway. He was looking over at our bench and chatting at our bench. It’s a good thing we don’t see them again."

Rapid Reaction: Nats 7, Mets 2

September, 12, 2013

NEW YORK -- Heads up on the Party City Deck!

The Washington Nationals unloaded three homers against Aaron Harang and completed their second four-game sweep at Citi Field in three seasons with a 7-2 victory Thursday afternoon.

The Mets (64-81) dropped a season-worst 17 games under .500. They also fell to 2-9 in September, matching the Chicago White Sox for the majors’ worst record this month.

The Mets are one loss from clinching their fifth straight losing season.

Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesAaron Harang matched a franchise record by allowing three homers in his Mets debut.

That likely will match the Houston Astros for the longest active streak of consecutive losing seasons in MLB. The Pittsburgh Pirates (20 straight losing seasons entering 2013) already have snapped their streak this year, while the Kansas City Royals (nine straight) are 77-69 and on their verge of snapping their sub-.500 run.

Harang, who produced a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts with the Seattle Mariners this season, matched the record for most homers surrendered in a Mets debut. In allowing three long balls, Harang joined Steve Trachsel (2001), Brian Rose (2001) and Mike Birkbeck (1992).

The Nats outhomered the Mets 13-0 in the series.

That fell one homer shy of the franchise record for most homers against the Mets in a series in which the Amazin’s failed to go deep, according to Bob Waterman of the Elias Sports Bureau. Detroit outhomered the Mets 14-0 in a three-game series at Tiger Stadium in 1997.

Thirteen homers comfortably set the record for most homers by a visitor in a series at Citi Field. The previous record had been seven homers, by the New York Yankees (2012, in three games), Colorado Rockies (2011, four games), Philadelphia Phillies (2009, three games) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2009, four games), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Citi Field dimensions were reconfigured before the 2012 season.

Washington won the season series 12-7.

Harang’s final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 3 HR.

Harang surrendered a first-inning solo homer to Ryan Zimmerman. Daniel Murphy answered in the bottom half with an RBI double to even the score 1-1.

Zimmerman has eight homers in his past 10 games.

After a 56-minute rain delay, Adam LaRoche went deep to left field on a replay-awarded homer in the second.

Anthony Recker’s fourth-inning RBI single made it 2-2, but Harang ultimately departed in line to lose. He surrendered his third homer, a solo shot to Wilson Ramos, in the fifth as Washington took a 3-2 lead.

With the Mets trailing 4-2, Nats reliever Craig Stammen struck out Juan Lagares to end the seventh inning and strand two in scoring position. Mets reliever Frank Francisco then surrendered two runs the following half-inning.

What’s next: The Mets welcome the Miami Marlins to Citi Field for a four-game weekend series. Jonathon Niese (6-7, 3.86 ERA) handles Friday’s 7:10 p.m. ET opener. The southpaw faces left-hander Brad Hand, a September call-up who has made three scoreless relief appearances this season.

Rapid Reaction: Nats 6, Mets 3

September, 10, 2013
NEW YORK -- Dillon Gee’s customary dominance against the Washington Nationals did not continue Tuesday.

A day after the Nats went deep five times in the series opener, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche had solo shots over the first two innings against Gee.

Washington ultimately produced four runs against Gee and held on for a 6-3 victory. The loss dropped the Mets 15 games under .500, matching their season low-water mark.

Matt den Dekker’s two-run single in the sixth pulled the Mets within a run and knocked out Jordan Zimmermann, but the Mets got no closer. Ex-Met Scott Hairston had a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth against Tim Byrdak, after Terry Collins decided to pull Frank Francisco after two batters. Zimmermann earned his league-leading 17th win.

Gee entered the game with a 7-2 record and 2.80 ERA in 11 career starts against Washington. He already had posted an MLB-high four wins against the Nats this season.

His final line: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

A win would have allowed Gee to become only the fourth pitcher in major league history to post five wins in a season against the Washington/Montreal franchise, joining Russ Ortiz (2004), Jim Bibby (1980) and Jim Lonborg (1976).

Ouch: Justin Turner suffered a right hamstring injury rounding third base in the sixth inning on den Dekker’s double. Josh Satin replaced Turner at third base the following half-inning. The Mets later announced Turner had tightness in the hamstring.

Welcome home: In his second appearance for the Mets this season, and first game at Citi Field, Francisco allowed a single and recorded an out while facing two batters in the ninth. He then turned the ball over to Byrdak, who allowed the inherited runner to score on Hairston's homer.

What’s next: Zack Wheeler (7-4, 3.38 ERA) opposes right-hander Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Morning Briefing: Harvey update looms

September, 10, 2013
FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey has yet to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion about whether he requires Tommy John surgery, but he does plan to speak with media today, team officials say.

Harvey plans to discuss his status as he joins Jeff Wilpon, David Wright and Zack Wheeler for a Manhattan firehouse visit.

Also, Ruben Tejada is expected to join the Mets as soon as today, now that his free-agency eligibility has been delayed until after the 2017 season.

The series continues tonight at Citi Field with Dillon Gee (11-9, 3.53 ERA) opposing right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (16-8, 3.30) at 7:10.

Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsBobby Parnell requires surgery for a herniated disk.

Tuesday’s news reports:

Bobby Parnell requires surgery for a herniated disk in his neck. Parnell “should” be ready for the 2014 season, according to Terry Collins. “I’m not doing the surgery,” the manager said. Read more in the Post.

Carlos Torres surrendered four homers and the Mets did not produce a hit against Gio Gonzalez until Zach Lutz’s leadoff single down the first-base line in the seventh as the Nats pounded the Mets, 9-0, Monday.

“I hit it off the end of the bat a little bit and it landed right on the line,” Lutz said. “Just some good luck right there. … Gio was just dominating the whole night.”

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” Gonzalez told D.C. reporters. “You’re happy you got the win. The team did great. Everybody looked alive today. It’s a sad moment when you lose a no-hitter down the line.”

Read game recaps from new beat writer Tim Rohan in the Times as well as in The Washington Post, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and

Aaron Harang will make his Mets debut Thursday, in the matinee series finale against Washington. That will push Jonathon Niese to Friday, giving him an extra day of rest.

• Wright rejoined the Mets on Monday. He still has yet to run the bases, but again resolved to return before the season ends Sept. 29. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.

Paul Chiasson/Associated Press/CPAfter the Expos left Montreal, the Canadiens raised a banner in October 2005 recognizing the baseball club's retired numbers. Gary Carter was among the attendees.

• The Mets will finish next year’s spring training at Olympic Stadium in Montreal with a pair of games against the Toronto Blue Jays. Writes Shi Davidi at

In July in Toronto, a large contingent of Expos fans staged a rally during a Blue Jays game for the second straight year meant to demonstrate the support for baseball in Montreal, and exhibition contests in their own city would serve their cause even more.

Also standing to benefit is the Montreal Baseball Project, fronted by Warren Cromartie, which is conducting a feasibility study on bringing a team back to the city permanently. A strong showing is sure to get noticed among the game’s power-brokers.

Read more in the Daily News.

• Mets season ticket holders received notification Monday that prices will remain the same in 2014.

• Savannah lost Game 1 of its best-of-five South Atlantic League championship series, 6-1, at Hagerstown. Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless inning in his third minor league appearance since surgery to clean out his right elbow. Read the full recap here.

• The Mets may end up trading Ike Davis this offseason, but they have no intention of non-tendering him, team insiders told

• Trading Frank Francisco remains a possibility, a team insider told Collins says he is not yet comfortable using Francisco on back-to-back days, because the ex-closer had not done that during his rehab assignment.

• Left-hander Scott Rice is due to undergo surgery today in Philadelphia for a sports hernia.

• Davey Johnson, 70, is making his final visit to Queens as Nats manager. Writes columnist George Vecsey in the Times:

Johnson has been around. He was a teammate of Hank Aaron’s in Atlanta and Sadaharu Oh’s in Tokyo when each of them passed Babe Ruth’s career record of 714 home runs. He won three Gold Gloves, hit 43 home runs one season, played in four World Series and was the last out of the 1969 Series, in Shea Stadium, just before the hordes almost tore the place down in ecstasy.

In 1986, he took stock of the talent and close finishes the two previous years.

“I just remember him saying we were going to win the World Series,” said Keith Hernandez, now a Mets broadcaster, and an admirer of Johnson. “I thought, ‘O.K.’ That was something I wouldn’t have done, but he put the challenge out there.”

Read more in the Record.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing explores the September of the Metropolitan soul.

BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Andrew Brown turns 29.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned about Bobby Parnell’s availability early in 2014?

Trading Frank Francisco remains on table

September, 9, 2013
NEW YORK -- The Mets did not relish bringing Frank Francisco back to the major league club this past weekend, after paying him $6.5 million this season and getting no production because of a balky elbow.

In fact, team insiders in recent weeks privately had predicted Sandy Alderson would release the ex-closer before allowing him to wear a Mets uniform again, because they were upset with Francisco's seeming lack of urgency returning to the majors.

So what happened?

With Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas abruptly eliminated from their playoff series, Francisco had nowhere left in the minors to pitch, since team officials did not feel it was right to send him to low-A Savannah, the lone remaining playoff team.

And, let's face it, the Mets are desperate for arms to finish out the season.

There also is a financial motivation, although a Mets official downplayed that role. As of today, with 21 days remaining in the regular season, Francisco remains owed $745,901.64.

It is "certainly possible" Francisco is traded soon, the official said, which would save the Mets some money. While Francisco would not be eligible for another team's postseason roster, he could help that team get there.

The Yankees would make as much sense as anyone, given the state of their bullpen.

Would the Mets do a deal with the Yankees?

"Why wouldn't we work something out with them?" the Mets official said.

Morning Briefing: Welcome home

September, 9, 2013
FIRST PITCH: The Mets return home for 11 games, beginning with a series against the Washington Nationals.

Carlos Torres (3-3, 2.89 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.49) in tonight’s 7:10 opener.

The Nats (73-69) are on the precipice of being KO’d from postseason contention. They trail the Atlanta Braves by 12 games in the division and the Cincinnati Reds by eight games for the second wild-card spot with only 20 games remaining.

Monday’s news reports:

Elsa/Associated PressMatt Harvey is headed to see Dr. James Andrews.

Matt Harvey is due to see Dr. James Andrews this week for a second opinion regarding whether he will require Tommy John surgery. Sandy Alderson stated as early as the initial press conference that Harvey likely would seek a second opinion, and likely with Andrews. The second opinion signals Harvey already has been reexamined by Mets doctors. Alderson’s tone consistently has suggested that he expects Tommy John surgery will be required for the torn ulnar collateral ligament. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

Frank Francisco, who coaxed a double play and earned the win in his first major league action this season on Sunday, says he legitimately was injured. Francisco pointed to receiving Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and cited a flexor pronator muscle tear in his elbow as an indication he had a real issue.

“I got nothing to be ashamed of because I know how hard I’ve worked,” Francisco told reporters. “I’m a fighter. I never stopped, and I don’t do it just to make everybody happy. I do it for myself, and to be satisfied with me -- because besides baseball and everything, I’ve got three children, a wife, I have my family back in the Dominican and all those people depend on me.”

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Outfielder Mike Baxter, right-hander Aaron Harang and catcher Juan Centeno officially were promoted for today’s series opener.

Ruben Tejada’s promotion apparently will wait. If the Mets stall promoting Tejada, they will delay his free-agency eligibility from after the 2016 season until after the 2017 season. A Tuesday call-up would give Tejada two years, 171 days of service time at the end of the season. Credit for a full MLB season comes at 172 days.

Harang, 35 , went 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts with the Seattle Mariners this season. He made two appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas, including allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings against Salt Lake on Saturday as the Los Angeles Angels affiliate eliminated the 51s in Game 4 of their Pacific Coast League series. Harang’s services are needed with the Mets having a doubleheader on Saturday against the Miami Marlins, and with Zack Wheeler facing an innings limit.

Centeno, 23, hit .305 with no homers and 28 RBIs in 213 at-bats with the 51s this season. He was a 32nd-round pick out of high school in Puerto Rico back in 2007 and needed to be added to the 40-man roster or he would have become a minor league free agent this offseason. (That free-agency eligibility if he is not added to the 40 also is true for fellow Triple-A catcher Francisco Pena, the son of five-time All-Star Tony Pena, who has not been called up.)

David Wright should be with the Mets today, although he is not game-ready. Wright was due to return to New York because activity had all but ceased at the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex.

Eric Young Jr.’s ninth-inning double against Chris Perez plated Matt den Dekker with the tiebreaking run and the Mets avoided getting swept in Cleveland with a 2-1 win against the Indians on Sunday. Daisuke Matsuzaka took a scoreless effort into the sixth and ultimately was charged with one run in 5 2/3 innings.

Read game recaps in the Post, Times, Star-Ledger and

• Low-A Savannah, the lone Mets affiliate still in the postseason, opens its best-of-five South Atlantic League championship series tonight at Hagerstown, a Nationals affiliate.

BIRTHDAYS: Player-turned-producer Todd Zeile is 48. … Mike Hampton, who loves the schools in Colorado, and whose defection from the Mets provided the draft pick used for Wright, turns 41. … Kazuhisa Ishii is 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should David Wright still be trying to return this season? Or should he just shut it down?

Francisco says he wasn't dogging it

September, 8, 2013
Frank Francisco told reporters in Cleveland on Sunday that he received platelet rich plasma therapy for a partially torn flexor pronator in his right elbow, refuting suggestions that he dogged his comeback from surgery last December to remove a bone spur.

"There's been a lot of talking. There's nothing I can do to change people's minds," Francisco said, according to media reports. "... If I went for a cortisone shot, why would they give me a PRP if nothing was wrong with my arm? So that explains something to you."

PRP involves taking a person's blood, spinning it to get a high concentration of platelets, then injecting it into a troublesome area.



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187