New York Mets: Fred Wilpon

Morning Briefing: Sandy thrown under bus?

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
5:24
AM ET

Associated PressBartolo Colon makes his final start before the non-waiver trade deadline on Monday.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Bartolo Colon makes his final start before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline when the Mets return home to face the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.

Colon (9-8, 4.03 ERA) enters the start off an outing in Seattle in which he retired the game’s first 20 batters. Robinson Cano broke up the perfect-game bid in the seventh with a line single.

Colon opposes right-hander A.J. Burnett (6-9, 3.86) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener.

The Mets took four of five games in Philly when the teams last met, May 29-June 2.

Of course, the Mets won eight of 10 games on their last homestand and now have a 25-23 record at Citi Field this season. The Mets have not finished a season with a winning home record since 2010.

Colon, incidentally, likely will be eligible to be traded in August, too -- either by clearing waivers or via the Mets dealing with a team that puts in a claim. That is because he is owed $11 million in 2015, during a season in which he will turn 42 years old.

Monday’s news reports:

• After giving an interview to Willie Weinbaum at ESPN.com in which he advocated Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire getting voted into the Hall of Fame with asterisks, Tony La Russa went further during an interview published in the Daily News.


Mike Groll/Associated PressTony La Russa said he brought concerns about steroid use to Sandy Alderson during their days with the A's, but was rebuffed.


La Russa said he voiced concern to Oakland Athletics GM Sandy Alderson and the team’s ownership during that era about potential player steroid use, but nothing was done.

“I knew our programs in Oakland were 100 percent clean,” La Russa told the Daily News. “But we had our suspicions -- guys hitting stronger but not working out. I went to Sandy and ownership about this. And they told me flat off, ‘Right of privacy. It’s a collective bargaining issue.’”

Alderson told the newspaper: “I’m not going to comment on that until at least Monday” -- presumably so any comments would not detract from induction weekend.

Jacob deGrom tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his latest dominating performance and Lucas Duda slugged his fourth homer in six games as the Mets beat the Brewers, 2-0, Sunday at Miller Park to earn a split of the four-game series.

The Mets went 5-5 on their second-half-opening trip to San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee. With 57 games remaining, the Mets trail the first-place Washington Nationals by 8½ games and are seven games out in the wild card.


Mike McGinnis/Getty ImagesJacob deGrom has a 0.66 ERA over his past four starts.


DeGrom has now limited opponents to two runs in 27 1/3 innings over his past four starts -- all wins -- to even his record at 5-5. He has not allowed a homer in his last 59 innings. That is four outs shy of matching the franchise’s rookie record, set by Mark Bomback in 1980.

Duda had four of the Mets’ five homers on the entire 10-game trip, with Curtis Granderson producing the other. Duda entered Sunday with an NL-leading 24.3 percent of his at-bats this season ending with a ball deemed “hard hit,” according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Jenrry Mejia wriggled free despite allowing two baserunners in the ninth. He has now recorded a save in each of his last seven appearances. That’s the longest string of appearances with a save by a Mets reliever since Billy Wagner had a save in nine straight appearances in 2007.

The Mets posted a 5-5 trip despite failing to exceed three runs in any of the final nine games. If the Mets fail to reach four runs on Monday against the Phillies, it will become the longest streak of games producing three or fewer runs since 1981 (11 straight).

In the second half, the Mets are hitting .186 (60-for-322) and averaging 2.2 runs per game. Only the Cincinnati Reds are worse in those categories in the National League.

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

• Read more on Duda in the Post and Newsday.

Tom Glavine made multiple references to the Mets during his 17-minute induction speech in Cooperstown on Sunday.


Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY SportsTom Glavine generously mentioned the Mets during Sunday's Hall of Fame induction speech.


“To all the folks associated with the Mets organization, thank you for treating me and my family the way you did,” Glavine said. “Thank you Fred and Jeff Wilpon for the opportunity to play in New York and for providing the resources so I could experience a postseason there. To the fans of New York, thank you so much for your support and for ultimately treating me and my family with so much respect.”

Glavine singled out former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson and trainer Mike Herbst for gratitude.

“Rick, you helped me to reinvent myself, make the changes I needed to make for the latter part of my career -- which, trust me, when you were doing something for 16, 17 years, it's not an easy thing to change,” Glavine said. “But you talked me into it, you convinced me of it, and you gave me confidence to do it.”

Joe Torre also paid homage to the Mets early in his induction speech.

Torre lauded Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who was in attendance in Cooperstown, then said during in speech: “I was with the Mets a couple of years before I became manager. And then once I became manager on May 31, 1977, my first bit of duty was to trade Tom Seaver two weeks later, which wasn’t a whole lot of fun. And the last time he pitched for me -- I don’t know if you remember, Tommy -- he pitched in Houston. And when I went out to take him out of the game, he patted me on the rear end.

“I did have one accomplishment with the Mets as a player. And, again, you can’t go through life alone. Certainly in baseball, you need all the help you can get. Well, on July 21, I hit into four double plays in one game. And I just want to make sure I share the credit, because I could not have done it unless Felix Millan had hit four singles right in front of me.

“In 1977 I became manager. I want to thank the New York Mets, at the age of 36, for trusting me with their ballclub -- M. Donald Grant, chairman of the board. It was a great opportunity for me. You talk about learning. As I said, we had to make some trades a couple of weeks after I took the job. And there was a lot of learning -- young players -- but [it was] a great experience. A great experience.”

Read more on Mets references in Glavine’s speech in Newsday.

• Matt Reynolds launched a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh as Las Vegas beat Salt Lake, 6-5. Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings. Jeremy Hefner allowed three runs in three innings in his fourth minor-league start since returning from Tommy John surgery as Daytona beat St. Lucie, 4-3, in Game 1 en route to a doubleheader sweep. St. Lucie has lost eight straight. Michael Bernal went 4-for-4 with four RBIs off the bench as Brooklyn beat Lowell, 9-3. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Troy Tulowitzki may love New York, but it looks like the Bronx would be his strong preference. Tulowitzki, on the DL with the Colorado Rockies and in the Northeast to visit a doctor in Philly, swung by Yankee Stadium on Sunday to watch Derek Jeter play.

“It’s a short drive from Philly,” Tulowitzki told The Denver Post. “I’m with my family. I wanted to see Jeter play one more time.”

• Terry Collins dismissed any apparent friction with Jonathon Niese, who was displeased with getting pulled after five innings Saturday.

“I love Jon and support everything he says,” Collins said. “I know he doesn’t want to come out. … Sandy Koufax told me many years ago, ‘Pitchers and managers never get along.’”

• Why did Juan Lagares slide headfirst into first base Sunday, against what his manager would prefer? “I was just trying to do something to get a hit because I don’t remember the last time I did,” Lagares told Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear isn't so nervous during ninth innings these days.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to appear in a game for the Mets was born on this date, but Soulja Boy and Manu Ginobili celebrate birthdays on July 28.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Did Tony La Russa throw Sandy Alderson under the bus?

Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesDaisuke Matsuzaka gets his second start this season on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO

FIRST PITCH: A day after a disheartening defeat, the Mets send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mound Wednesday at historic Wrigley Field.

Matsuzaka, who steps into the rotation spot formerly occupied by Rafael Montero, faces the Chicago Cubs at 8:05 p.m. ET. Matsuzaka (2-0, 2.45 ERA) opposes right-hander Edwin Jackson (3-5, 4.81).

Dice-K has pitched as a starter once this season. Facing the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 2 of a doubleheader on May, 25, he allowed two runs in six innings while logging 98 pitches.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Despite Zack Wheeler contributing 6 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday, the Mets lost to the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, on a walk-off RBI single by Nate Schierholtz against Scott Rice in the bottom of the ninth. David Wright failed to cleanly handle a grounder and turn a double play earlier in the frame, which allowed the eventual winning run to reach second base.

Josh Edgin surrendered a game-tying solo homer to Chris Coghlan in the eighth. The Mets had a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in the third and came up empty. The Amazin’s went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position during the first five innings alone.

The Mets (28-30) squandered a chance to reach .500 for the first time since May 13.

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

• The Mets plan to add Andrew Brown from Triple-A Las Vegas for Thursday’s series finale in order to restore the bench to five players. At that point, the Mets will drop a reliever. With the weekend additions of Buddy Carlyle and Dana Eveland, they currently are carrying eight in the bullpen.

• Read a feature about Eveland, including about his 2013 season as a celebrity in South Korea, from Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger.

Daniel Murphy, who received talk-radio flak for going on paternity leave at the start of the season, has been invited to the White House to participate in a summit on parental rights. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and at MLB.com.

• Wright trails leader Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies by 24,763 votes in the latest National League All-Star voting tally at third base. Murphy checks in at fifth at second base. He is 675,585 votes behind leader Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies. Read more at MLB.com.

• Keith Law’s latest mock draft continues to project the Mets selecting University of Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb with the 10th overall pick on Thursday. Law mentions NC State shortstop Trea Turner as another potential pick.

• Murphy is due to get Thursday’s series finale off.

Matt den Dekker went 2-for-5 Tuesday in his second straight chance in the leadoff role. Terry Collins said Bobby Abreu is not a consideration for that role atop the order.

Still, Jared Diamond in the Journal advocates Abreu leading off. Writes Diamond:

Despite his advanced age and diminished ability, Abreu's skill set probably still translates as an ideal leadoff hitter better than anybody else's on the roster. He sees 4.14 pitches per plate appearance, which ranks third on the team among players with at least 60 plate appearances. He chases pitches outside the strike zone just 22.7 percent of the time, the best on the team.

And when he does swing, he hits the ball hard, entering Tuesday's game against the Cubs with a .315 batting average, a .397 OBP and a .500 slugging percentage. All of those numbers lead the Mets, as does his 32.7 line-drive percentage, albeit in a minuscule sample.

Read more on den Dekker from Tim Rohan in the Times.

Dillon Gee has not picked up a baseball in 10 days, since aborting a throwing session after two tosses at Citi Field because of renewed discomfort in his strained right lat muscle. Still, Matsuzaka is not looking at his rotation spot as having any permanency.

“I see this as temporary,” Matsuzaka told Marc Carig in Newsday through an interpreter. “And I don’t want to really think of it as a long-term thing or think too deeply into it being something permanent.”

Eric Young Jr. ran outdoors Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Young is eligible to return from the disabled list when the Mets return to Citi Field on Tuesday to face the Milwaukee Brewers.

• Montero allowed three runs on six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings in his return to Triple-A as Las Vegas lost to Reno, 6-5. Matt Clark and Kevin Plawecki had four hits apiece in Binghamton’s 15-6 shellacking of Altoona. Kevin McGowan tossed 8 1/3 innings as Savannah beat Asheville, 3-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Fred Wilpon’s real-estate company is bulking up its presence in Brooklyn, Katherine Clark writes in the Daily News.

• Mike Puma in the Post and Carig in Newsday write that Vegas is finally providing talent for the Mets.

Johan Santana is a couple of rehab starts away from joining the Baltimore Orioles as he returns from a second shoulder surgery, Jonathan Lehman writes in the Post.

From the bloggers ... Blogging Mets suggests the Mets have decisions to make when everyoneis healthy.

BIRTHDAYS: Phil Linz, who finished his career with the Mets in the late ’60s, was born on this date in 1939.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should the Mets demote when Andrew Brown is activated Thursday?

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler retired 14 straight batters at one point en route to a win against the Phillies on Thursday.
PHILADELPHIA

FIRST PITCH: Don’t look now but the Mets are on a three-game winning streak, coinciding with the ascension of Lamar Johnson to hitting coach.

Rafael Montero (0-2, 4.96 ERA) opposes Philadelphia Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett (3-4, 3.51) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park.

Terry Collins indicated Bobby Abreu is expected to start in the outfield.

Friday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler struck out nine and took a scoreless effort into the seventh as the Mets won the opener of a five-game series against the Phillies, 4-1, Thursday. Jenrry Mejia struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save. Vic Black recorded four outs, three via strikeout, as the setup man as Collins finally seems to have some late-inning arms at his disposal. Wheeler had retired 14 straight until Marlon Byrd’s solo homer in the seventh on pitch No. 108 chased him.

Chris Young had a two-run homer and finished 2-for-4 to lift his average to .205.

Young, who thought his limited playing time in Oakland last season after getting off to a slow start further hindered his production, was out of the starting lineup for three straight games earlier this week. He essentially said he deserved it, though.

“I’ve been dealing with it,” Young said. “It gets to a point where, as a player, you have to hold yourself accountable. You have to understand what’s going on around you. And you have to understand we’ve got to win ballgames. I trust that when I start feeling better, I start driving the ball more, it will be more consistent [playing time]. At some point you have to take the responsibility upon yourself and go out there and have quality at-bats.”

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

• Frank Viola, who underwent open-heart surgery on April 2, plans to assume his originally intended role as Triple-A Las Vegas pitching coach next Friday. Read more in Newsday.

• The Mets continue to add vice presidents to newly created positions to bulk up their marketing and sales efforts. The club announced Thursday the hiring of Wes Engram from the Kansas City Royals as vice president of corporate partnerships sales and service. Since Dave Howard left to run MSG in March 2013, the team also has hired Lou DePaoli as chief revenue officer, Will Carafello as director of social media and Harold Kaufman as executive director of communications.


Adam RubinMatt den Dekker is one of three Mets with a lower-case "d" beginning his surname.


• With the Mets having set a major-league record for surnames beginning with a lower-case “d” -- with Travis d’Arnaud, Jacob deGrom and Matt den Dekker -- Paul Lukas at ESPN.com examines lettering on uniforms. Writes Lukas:

Three primary schools of thought have emerged from these discussions: one that believes player names on jerseys should always be all caps, period; one that loves the lowercase letters; and a compromise position that advocates for the use of small caps instead of lowercase letters.

• The Mets began a stretch on Thursday in which they play 25 of 33 games on the road. Jared Diamond in the Journal notes that no team has played more road games in a 33-game span since 1995 than the Mets will during this stretch. MLB senior VP Katy Feeney suggested the Yankees are partly responsible. Yankee Stadium needed to avoid baseball games for part of May because of NYU graduation ceremonies taking place there. That meant the Mets were home more than usual during that period, while the Yankees were away.

• D’Arnaud went 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in his first game since returning from a concussion. Collins said Mets catchers collectively need to pick up their production at the plate. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Hansel Robles allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings and Brian Burgamy had a two-run homer as Binghamton beat New Hampshire, 7-2. L.J. Mazzilli’s RBI single in the 12th plated Patrick Biondi in Savannah’s 3-2, walk-off win against Rome. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Columnist Phil Mushnick in the Post is not a fan of 50 Cent performing at Citi Field.

• Justin Terranova in the Post asks former GM Steve Phillips about the Wilpons as owners.

“Fred and Jeff desperately want to win and that part was never a question for me,” Phillips said. “There’s always this perceived notion when George Steinbrenner was alive that he always wanted to win more, but the Mets run their team as a business and they want to win. They are kind of caught in between right now of still giving young guys opportunities, while adding those veteran pieces that are necessary, too. They don’t blindly go after that without having a prudent business plan.”

BIRTHDAYS: Wheeler has another reason to celebrate besides his performance in the series opener. He turns 24.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Zack Wheeler end up being an ace after all?
WASHINGTON

FIRST PITCH: The Mets wrap up a weekend series in D.C. on Sunday, with Juan Lagares expected to be in the starting lineup for a second straight game.

Zack Wheeler (1-3, 4.53 ERA) opposes Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (2-1, 3.59) in the 1:35 p.m. rubber game.

Sunday’s news reports:


Kathy Kmonicek/Associated PressThe Post reports Saul Katz (center) want brother-in-law Fred Wilpon to sell, too.


• Josh Kosman in the Post suggests Saul Katz tried to do more than broach selling his share of the Mets. He reportedly unsuccessfully tried to convince brother-in-law Fred Wilpon to part with a controlling interest in the team. Citing “word around Major League Baseball,” Kosman writes:

Wilpon, 74, balked at the move largely because he wants to turn over the not-so-Amazin’s to his son, COO Jeff Wilpon.

Katz, 77, has children who are not interested in running the team.

Katz denied the New York Times report that he was interested in selling his stake. “I have no intention of selling my share of the Mets nor have I ever had any intention of selling my share,” Katz said.

• Lagares had a dramatic return to the lineup. He homered, had three RBIs and robbed Jayson Werth of a homer as the Mets beat the Nats, 5-2, Saturday. Jenrry Mejia converted his first major-league save, but is leery about pitching back-to-back days too soon. The Mets had lost their previous nine games against Washington. Eric Campbell produced a two-run single in his second career start. Bartolo Colon bounced back from a subpar showing against the Yankees. Colon allowed two runs in eight innings to earn his first win since April 24. Nats left-hander Gio Gonzalez allowed five runs in three innings and may have an injured shoulder.

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

• Read more on Mejia in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.

• Read more on Campbell in the Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record suggests there’s a fatal flaw with the Mets, writing:

The real problem is the organization’s stubborn insistence on long at-bats, a philosophy that’s been the norm in the big leagues for almost a decade. Extending a plate appearance to a fourth or fifth pitch theoretically increases the odds of a mistake fastball slogging through the heart of the strike zone. This allows for an ambush -- a home run -- or at least a base on balls, two of the most valued metrics in baseball today.

But the home-run-or-walk tenet only works if you can reach the fences. A fat four-seamer is a gift for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki, but the Mets have no such sluggers in their lineup.

Instead, they’re weighted down with second-tier talents like Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud and Eric Young Jr. David Wright’s home run/fly ball ratio is at career-low 4 percent, and Curtis Granderson is batting .128 with one home run in 78 at-bats at Citi Field. It hardly seemed like a coincidence that he went 4-for-8 with two home runs and five RBIs in the two games at Yankee Stadium. Clearly, Granderson felt more comfortable -- and confident -- with the smaller dimensions.


Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsIke Davis feels wanted in Pittsburgh.


Ike Davis, playing in the Bronx this weekend with the Pittsburgh Pirates, said: “It’s nice to play for someone that actually wants you or thinks that you can help the team.” Davis’ Pirates visit Citi Field May 26-28. Read more in the Daily News, Newsday, Record and Star-Ledger.

• Ex-Met Kyle Farnsworth had a rough debut with the Houston Astros, surrendering two runs on two hits and two walks while recording only two outs against the Chicago White Sox.

Anthony Rieber in Newsday explains the “advance consent” agreement Farnsworth signed with the Mets. Rieber notes the Mets saved $850,000 this year by dropping Farnsworth when they did -- $750,000 in salary, plus $100,000 at the end of spring training when he was cut and then re-signed.

Read more on Farnsworth in the Houston Chronicle and Star-Ledger.

• Although Wilmer Flores started Saturday, Ruben Tejada should see most of the playing time at shortstop in the near future, Terry Collins said. Read more in Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Left-hander Pedro Feliciano’s career may not be over. The 37-year-old reliever, who made 25 appearances for the Mets last season, is working out for the St. Louis Cardinals, KSDK reports.

• Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman may be moving to the outfield when he returns from the disabled list, Adam Kilgore writes in The Washington Post.

Brandon Allen homered and Las Vegas moved 20 games over .500 with a 6-4 win against El Paso. Cody Satterwhite notched his first save in affiliated baseball in three seasons with a perfect ninth as Binghamton beat New Hampshire, 6-5. Matt Koch won his fifth straight start in St. Lucie’s 6-3 victory against Lakeland. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Michael Gray in the Post is not a fan of “ego-driven” farewell tours that require teams like the Mets to give gifts to Derek Jeter.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post notes sports allegiances often mean having to endure lean years.

• Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner are now friends, the Daily News writes.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News discusses Citi Field’s dimensions. Writes Madden:

Getting back to Citi Field, the Mets may have already chartered their course to be a pitching-driven club, but unless they figure out a way to make their ballpark more conducive for hitters, they are running the risk of turning off their fans to the kind of baseball we’re seeing way too much of out in Queens -- where the most action is the batters’ swinging and missing. In addition, their ability to lure any quality hitters is severely compromised. At least they’ve seen to it to properly honor all of their Hall of Famers, even if it’s only one.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday reviews the Mets’ closer situation.

BIRTHDAYS: Nelson Figueroa turns 40. ... St. Lucie reliever Randy Fontanez is 25. ... Colorado Rockies first base coach Eric Young Sr. is 47.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Terry Collins start Juan Lagares on Sunday at Nationals Park?

Morning Briefing: Mets again top Yanks

May, 13, 2014
May 13
8:45
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Can the New York Mets keep their Subway Series winning streak alive? Perhaps they can.

Can they top Monday night's 9-7 win over the Yankees for drama and excitement? Doubtful.

The Mets would certainly settle for a touch less drama and a few less nerves on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, when try to make it six in a row against the Yankees. Zack Wheeler (1-3, 4.35) will be the Mets' starter, with Vidal Nuno (1-0, 5.47) going for the Yankees.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Tuesday's news reports:

• The Mets trailed 4-1. They trailed 7-4. They didn't secure their win over the Yankees until Lucas Duda made a spectacular stop to start a game-ending double play. They had their first four-homer game in more than a year. It was quite a night. Read more on the game in the Post, Times, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record, Wall St. Journal and MLB.com. Read more on Duda's play in the Daily News and Newsday.

• Even before they won Monday's game, the Mets made big news by moving Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen and announcing that big prospect Rafael Montero will make his major-league debut Wednesday night against the Yankees. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record, Wall St. Journal, and MLB.com. Columnist Joel Sherman of the Post compares general manager Sandy Alderson's big move to one Steve Phillips made during the 1999 Subway Series. What does Mejia's move do to the bullpen? Read more in the Star Ledger.

• Montero debuts Wednesday, but first the Mets will have another prospect in their bullpen Tuesday night. The team announced after Monday's game that Jacob deGrom is being promoted to take the place of Gonzalez Germen, who is going on the disabled list with a virus. Read more in the Star Ledger.

• There was another big stir Monday afternoon when the Times came out with a story saying that co-owner Saul Katz, Fred Wilpon's brother-in-law, wants to sell his share of the Mets. The Mets quickly came out with a statement denying the report. Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record has sources who say there is "some truth" to the report. Meanwhile, the Post says that even if Katz did sell, the Wilpons would be able to retain control of the team. Read more in the Daily News, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record, and MLB.com.

• As Adam Rubin wrote Monday, the Mets' problems aren't the fault of Terry Collins. Alderson apparently agrees, or so he said Monday. Read more in the Post and Star Ledger.

Curtis Granderson may have created a stir that's endured with his "true New Yorkers" comment, but he enjoyed his first view from the other side of the Subway Series. Read more in the Post, Times and Newsday.

• For some Mets, this was their first taste of a Subway Series. And what a taste it was. As the Mets and Yankees have been proving since 1997, this may be the regular season, but this is no regular series. Columnist Mike Vaccaro of the Post says the Subway Series remains special. Dave Lennon in Newsday says this night wasn't easy to explain. Steve Politi in the Star Ledger tries to make sense of it. Read more about new Met Chris Young's night in the Post and MLB.com.

• The Mets hitters seemed to enjoy hitting at Yankee Stadium. Who wouldn't? Read more about their four-homer night in the Daily News, Columnist Kevin Kernan of the Post saw it as proof that the Mets play in the wrong ballpark.

• It was not a good night for Bartolo Colon. Read more in the Star Ledger and MLB.com.

• Mike Francesa is mad at the Mets, and he talked about it. Of course he did. Read more in the Daily News.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear in Flushing looks back at Monday's game. . . . The Eddie Kranepool Society believes the Mets need a manager who will challenge his players.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Valentine turns 64 today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU'RE UP: What do you think of the rebuilt Mets bullpen, with Jenrry Mejia and Jacob deGrom?

Morning Briefing: Mets teeter at .500

May, 7, 2014
May 7
5:30
AM ET
MIAMI

FIRST PITCH: The Mets had moved a season-high four games over .500 after winning in Philly last Tuesday. Now, Zack Wheeler needs to help prevent the Mets from returning to Citi Field with a losing record to face the Phillies.

Wheeler (1-3, 5.13 ERA) opposes Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler (3-2, 2.41) in Wednesday’s 12:40 p.m. road-trip finale.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Henderson Alvarez became the first Marlins pitcher to shut out the Mets since Dontrelle Willis in 2005 as Miami won, 3-0, Tuesday night at Marlins Park. Bartolo Colon allowed three runs in seven innings and dropped to 2-5 with a 5.36 ERA. Terry Collins nonetheless said the Mets, who are 16-16 on the season, are “doing all right.”

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

• Heavily used Carlos Torres has been dealing with a lat muscle issue. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Jeremy Hefner hopes to be throwing off the slope of a mound within three weeks and hopes to return to the majors by season’s end. Read more in the Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post surmises that the bullpen is the Mets’ Achilles heel yet again this season. Writes Davidoff:

Sandy Alderson, in his fourth year as the Mets’ general manager, has performed enough heavy lifting to make this beleaguered franchise relevant again. Except the launch to greater heights is in peril because he and his lieutenants haven’t been able to figure out the darn bullpen.

“We’re disappointed with where we are,” Alderson said, referring to his relief corps, in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It’s not a pen that has been consistently underperforming, but it has underperformed spectacularly in certain cases. Overall, it has been inconsistent.”

• Former Mets lefty reliever Royce Ring is back with the organization as pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League club.

Jenrry Mejia must demonstrate he can navigate the middle innings of games or he may soon be bounced to the bullpen, a team insider tells ESPNNewYork.com.

Jared Diamond in the Journal advocates the Mets using Mejia as closer. And Mejia -- despite previously expressing aversion to bullpen work -- says he would be OK with that, telling Diamond: “If they told me eighth-inning guy or ninth-inning guy, that’s going to be good to me.”

Writes Diamond:

Jenrry Mejia, who currently serves as the Mets' fifth starter, seems like a perfect candidate to close, a move that would instantly resolve a number of difficult questions surrounding the team's future. Transitioning Mejia to that role would alleviate an impending logjam in the rotation, repair the Mets' bullpen and, potentially, best leverage Mejia's skill set.

Unless the Mets' beleaguered relief corps suddenly improves, the debate about whether Mejia belongs in the bullpen will continue to burn.

"It's always in the conversation," manager Terry Collins said.

Read more on Mejia in the Star-Ledger.

• The amount the Wilpons owe as part of their Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme settlement is down to $80 million.

• Although the Mets are expected to soon expose Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero to bullpen work with Las Vegas in advance of a promotion to the big-league club for relief roles, the duo continues to be listed as starters with the 51s.

DeGrom is next scheduled to start Wednesday, with Montero starting on Friday. Alderson has said it’s “not a necessary step” that the duo first pitches in the minors in relief before coming to the majors for that role, but it may very well be the “first step.”

Of course, if Mejia flops, deGrom or Montero could end up in the big-league rotation, unless the Mets want to turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka.

“I think we are getting to the point where it’s probably weeks as opposed to months,” assistant GM John Ricco told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News for the timetable for deGrom and Montero to be contributing at the big-league level. “Ultimately that will be Sandy’s decision. But, I think we’re getting close.”

• Matsuzaka tells Mike Puma in the Post he will try a more streamlined warm-up routine. “I don’t think there are any short-term effects in throwing the amount I do,” Matsuzaka told Puma. “I don’t think it would affect me in that particular game, but the long-term effects are definitely going to take a toll on my body, so it’s something that I’ve thought about and I will definitely start making adjustments. With the weather getting warmer, my body probably doesn’t need as much to get warm, so I’m definitely going to try out a different routine.”

Mariano Rivera and Jon Stewart chatted about the Mets on “The Daily Show.”

• Darryl Strawberry’s son Jordan has committed to play college basketball at Mercer, TheRecruitScoop.com reported.

• Jayce Boyd homered and had two doubles as part of a four-hit game, but Binghamton lost to New Hampshire, 6-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

From the bloggers … Mack’s Mets interviews Savannah outfielder Jared King.

BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Brook Fordyce, who made his big-league debut as a Met, turns 44.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the bullpen issues have been foreseeable?

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesBernard Madoff


MIAMI -- The trustee who is recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme announced Monday his fourth round of distributions of recovered funds.

And that helps the Mets' owners, the Wilpon family.

Eligible victims of the Ponzi scheme now have recovered 46.059 cents for every dollar of principal they lost in the Madoff affair.

As part of the Wilpons' settlement with the trustee, the sides stipulated that the Wilpons lost $178 million in certain Madoff funds, while making $162 million from other funds.

The Wilpons, like other victims, can deduct the 46.059 cents per dollar from their lost funds from the $162 million eventually owed to the trustee.

Here's the math:

$162 million owed, minus 46.059 percent of $178 million lost, yields the actual payback to the trustee.

So the Wilpon family, businesses and charities right now would owe the trustee $80,014,980 -- divided into two installments, and payable in 2016 and 2017.

That obligation should further decrease as the trustee recovers more funds for all victims.

Morning Briefing: Gee gets last tune-up

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
5:36
AM ET

Courtesy of Dillon GeeOpening Day starter Dillon Gee, pictured with wife Kari Ann and son Hudson, gets his final spring-training tune-up Wednesday night.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his final spring-training tune-up when the Mets play a 6:05 p.m. game Wednesday against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee. Gee opposes Scott Feldman (WOR 710 AM).

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The Mets handed Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100,000 retention bonus Tuesday, preserving the right to send him to the minors. However, it is not as simple as suggesting Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth starter’s job. The Mets want to preserve the eligibility of Matsuzaka and Mejia to be in the rotation if the elbow issue with Jonathon Niese flares up.

Matsuzaka is the one who can be held off the Opening Day roster and still sub for Niese on April 6 if needed. That’s because Matsuzaka is on a minor-league contract. Once Mejia is optioned to the minors, he would be ineligible to take Niese’s start, because Mejia would by rule need to spend the first 10 days of the regular season with Las Vegas.

Incidentally, relief is off the table for Mejia.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and MLB.com.

Matt Harvey and the Mets have settled on a rehab plan. During the season’s first couple of months, Harvey will rehab in New York when the Mets are at home and work out in Port St. Lucie when the big-league club is away from Citi Field. Once he begins expected mound work in June, the rehab will shift nearly exclusively to the team’s Florida complex.

“Certain situations I feel strongly about and I may approach them a little bit differently,” Harvey told David Lennon in Newsday. “But I’m all about this team. I’m all about the New York Mets and I’m all about winning. I can preach that until I’m blue in the face. …

“We had kind of gone back and forth, but it was never an alarming situation. It wasn’t me trying to get my way the whole time and it wasn’t them trying to get their way the whole time, which was kind of perceived through the media. We worked out a good deal and I think everybody is happy.”

David Wright was among those counseling Harvey on the subject. Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

Wright told Harvey when he was rehabbing the fractured bone in his lower back and had to be with the team because the rehab doctor was in New York, he made sure he arrived super-early to make sure he did not take away doctor/trainer time from active players. He advised Harvey do the same, and also to mimic what he has done in March -- attend the pitchers’ meetings and be an active cheerleader and information dispenser in the dugout. The message is simple: You have to be a supporting actor at Citi, not a star of the City; a dispenser of high fives, not a staple of Page Six.

“It’s been my philosophy that I am an employee, not the employer,” Wright said. “The advice I gave him was to find common ground with the Mets. To definitely do what is best for him, but also not to lose sight that he is the employee, not the employer.”

Read more on Harvey in the Star-Ledger.

Zack Wheeler allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer to Bryce Harper, as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 7-3, Tuesday in Viera. Wheeler next faces the Nats next Thursday, in Game 3 of the regular season.

• The Associated Press calculates the Mets’ payroll at $89 million, which ranks 22nd in MLB.

• Frank Viola will require open-heart surgery next Wednesday and will be unable to serve as pitching coach at Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in Newsday and MLB.com.

• The Wilpons’ settlement with the trustee collecting money for victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is down to $80 million, to be paid in equal installments in 2016 and 2017.

• Sandy Alderson expects Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both to be on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Kyle Farnsworth, who is due to be re-signed by the Mets, rode the bus to Viera on Tuesday with the team despite technically not being a member of the organization.

• Ex-Met Mike Pelfrey was the victim of a practical joke by Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and teammates.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post labels the Mets among the NL’s offseason winners, writing:

They finally spent some money, even if it was only to keep the payroll flat, to acquire Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Risky outfield acquisition Chris Young has enjoyed a good spring training.

• Luis Rivera is Double-A Binghamton’s new hitting coach. He replaces Luis Natera, who was promoted to assistant hitting coach with the big-league club.

• Granderson reminisces about his first Opening Day at MLB.com.

• Bovada sets the following over-unders for the Mets in 2014:

David Wright -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

David Wright -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 22.5

David Wright -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 85.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 27.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 89.5

Ike Davis -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .240

Daniel Murphy -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

Daniel Murphy -- Total Stolen Bases in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 20.5

Daniel Murphy -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 70.5

Dillon Gee -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 12

Jonathon Niese -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 11.5

Bartolo Colon -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 10.5

• Jonathan Lehman in the Post has a history quiz about Mets Opening Day starting pitchers.

John Lannan is getting acclimated to a relief role, Mike Vorkunov writes in the Star-Ledger.

Omar Quintanilla appears likely to beat out Anthony Seratelli for the backup middle-infield job. But Seratelli has hopes of making his MLB debut at age 31, writes Tim Rohan in the Times.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets infielder Jose Vizcaino turns 46.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Where do you stand on the above over-unders?

Wilpons' Madoff settlement down to $80M

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
5:02
PM ET

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesBernard Madoff


VIERA, Fla. -- The trustee recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme on Tuesday announced plans to seek court approval to make a fourth payment to victims.

And that helps the Wilpon family.

If approved by the court, victims of the Ponzi scheme will now have recovered 46.036 cents for every dollar they lost in the Madoff affair.

As part of the Wilpons' settlement with the trustee, the sides stipulated that the Wilpons lost $178 million in certain Madoff funds, while making $162 million from other funds.

The Wilpons, like other victims, can deduct the more than 46 cents per dollar from their losing funds from the $162 million eventually owed to the trustee.

Here's the math:

$162 million owed, minus 46.036% of $178 million lost, yields the actual payback to the trustee.

So the Wilpon family, businesses and charities right now would owe the trustee $80,055,920 -- divided into two installments, and payable in 2016 and 2017.

That obligation should further decrease as the trustee recovers more funds for all victims.

Morning Briefing: Colon set to debut

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
6:41
AM ET

Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosBartolo Colon is scheduled to make his Mets debut at 1:10 p.m. Monday against the Marlins.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

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.


Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsBraves starter Kris Medlen was forced from Sunday's game with a right forearm strain. He will be further examined Monday.


• Despite dissatisfaction with his performance, Zack Wheeler contributed three scoreless innings against the Braves on Sunday. The Mets went on to beat Atlanta, 8-2, thanks to seven unearned runs in the eighth. Braves starter Kris Medlen was forced to leave the game in the fourth inning with a strained right forearm, raising serious concerns for the former Tommy John surgery recipient.

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].”


Adam RubinNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Mets fan, watches Sunday's Mets-Braves game with Fred Wilpon.


• New Jersey governor Chris Christie attended Sunday’s game, wearing a Princeton University shirt and sitting in a suite with Fred Wilpon. Christie visited the clubhouse afterward with Wilpon. The stop included a lengthy chat with David Wright, then a meeting with Terry Collins. The governor later ended up at a nearby bowling alley, a tourist named Tim Byrdak tweeted. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

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?

View from St. Lucie: Christie and Fred

March, 9, 2014
Mar 9
2:41
PM ET

Adam RubinFred Wilpon welcomes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Tradition Field for Sunday's Mets-Braves game. Christie declined to speak with media, citing that he is on vacation, a Mets spokesman said.

View from St. Lucie: Princeton-Michigan

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
12:18
PM ET

Adam RubinFred Wilpon, a big University of Michigan baseball booster, addresses Wolverines players before Friday's game against Princeton at the Mets' complex.


Adam RubinPrinceton senior Bobby Geren, son of Mets bench coach Bob Geren, takes BP Friday. Bobby's brother Brett also plays for the Tigers.

Morning Briefing: Off to Jupiter

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
6:39
AM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressDaisuke Matsuzaka makes his first Grapefruit League start as a Met on Sunday against the Cardinals.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: After two home losses to open Grapefruit League play, the Mets head south on I-95 to Jupiter to face the St. Louis Cardinals.

Fifth-starter frontrunner Daisuke Matsuzaka opposes right-hander Michael Wacha in the 1:05 p.m. game.

WOR 710 AM will broadcast the game, with Josh Lewin joined by former Mets GM Steve Phillips on the call. Phillips will handle three WOR games this week.

Eric Young Jr., held out for the first two exhibition games with a side-muscle issue, took batting practice Saturday against Bobby Parnell and is scheduled to make the trip. Due to pitch for the Mets after Dice-K: Jeurys Familia, Jose Valverde, Steven Matz, Carlos Torres, Joel Carreño and Jack Leathersich. (See the full travel list here.)

Matz, from Stony Brook on Long Island, was electric in Thursday’s intrasquad game. He flashed a 94-96 mph fastball and sharp slider that impressed the few scouts in attendance.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Pitching for the first time since undergoing surgery on a muscle in his left leg last Aug. 28, John Lannan tossed two scoreless innings in his Mets debut. Lucas Duda provided a solo homer and committed an error at first base as the Mets dropped their second straight game, 9-1 to the Miami Marlins at Tradition Field.

Veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth’s fastball sat at only 86-88 mph and he allowed a solo homer to Austin Barnes. Josh Edgin’s velocity also sagged and his arm angle was lower in than in past years, leading scouts to worry about him, too, as he allowed five runs (three earned).

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


Jeff Roberson/Associated PressBobby Parnell faced batters Saturday for the first time since herniated-disk surgery.


• Parnell threw batting practice Saturday, marking his first time facing batters since undergoing surgery on Sept. 10 to repair a herniated disk in his neck. Parnell still has a lingering left quadriceps strain, but the Mets plan to have the closer as well as Bartolo Colon (calf) and Jonathon Niese (shoulder) pitch in a “B” game on Thursday against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee. Read more in the Times, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.

• The Mets are projected to have the seventh-lowest payroll in the majors.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post suggests Mets owner Fred Wilpon and Knicks owner James Dolan trade teams. Writes Vaccaro:

Imagine: James Dolan never has been shy about opening his checkbook. Many’s the day when a Knicks fan has found himself saying, “If only there were no salary cap in the NBA.” Well, there’s no salary cap in MLB. Even the most fervent Dolanaphobe has to concede this much: The man will spend money. If Dolan owned the Mets they wouldn’t have had to worry about Stephen Drew because he would’ve signed Jose Reyes to a 10-year contract.

The Wilpons? Put it this way: The first time they looked at the NBA’s collective-bargaining agreement they would get good and giddy and look at each other with big smiles and say: “Wait, there’s a limit to how much money you can spend? If you don’t keep yourself under the salary cap you can be in trouble?”

• 2012 third-round pick Matt Koch threw batting practice Saturday on a back field -- his first time facing batters since getting struck with a line drive last August with low-A Savannah and getting hospitalized for three days.

• Here are Oscar predictions, courtesy of the Mets:

David Wright: Wolf of Wall Street. “It’s based on a true story. Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio were amazing.”

Travis d’Arnaud: Captain Phillips. “It reminded me of my grandfather, who also was a captain of cargo ships. Tom Hanks played a great role.”

Ike Davis: Gravity. “I saw it in an IMAX theater and it really felt like you were in space.”

Curtis Granderson: Captain Phillips “Any time you have Tom Hanks, you know it’s going to be a great performance. It was based on a true story. You really felt like you were part of the action.”

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger profiles Juan Lagares, who grew up playing softball and still uses the larger ball during offseason training to strengthen his throwing arm. Lagares began in the Mets organization as a shortstop. But he committed 40 errors in 82 games at the position in 2007 with Savannah and two seasons later pretty much had fully transitioned to the outfield.

• David Lennon in Newsday addresses whether Granderson’s transition from hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium to pitcher-friendly Citi Field will result in the same struggles Jason Bay endured coming to the Queens ballpark.

“Some of it kind of gets blown out of proportion. It’s still a big park, and there are times when you feel like you should be rewarded, and it gets frustrating,” Wright told Lennon. “But it's not like I think to myself, ‘Oh, God, this is changing the type of player I am.’

“Were there times it stunk to hit there? Of course. But as far as saying it changed players’ careers or didn’t allow players to be the type of players they were before, that’s nonsense. I think Jason would be the first one to tell you that it was some inconsistencies, some poor play, some injuries that just kind of spiraled out of control for him.”

• Tyler Kepner in the Times catches up with LaTroy Hawkins, who left the Mets as a free agent for a $2.5 million offer from the Colorado Rockies. Kepner notes that with Mariano Rivera’s retirement, Hawkins’ 943 games pitched make him MLB’s active leader. He debuted on April 29, 1995. Writes Kepner:

Only 15 pitchers have worked 1,000 games. It is a more exclusive club than 300 wins, 500 homers or 3,000 hits. Hawkins has never made an All-Star team, never led the league in any category except earned runs in 1999. But he is about to earn his way in.

• Triple-A Las Vegas manager Wally Backman tells Mike Puma in the Post that he spoke with two teams during the offseason about coaching in the majors but received no offers.

• A fan initiative to name three left-field sections at Citi Field “Kiner’s Korner” is chronicled in the Post. The Mets have committed to wearing a patch this season and also will have the microphone-themed emblem displayed on the outfield wall, as they did two years ago after Gary Carter’s passing.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes the Mets are considerably behind the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, and are more akin to the Miami Marlins. Writes Sherman:

Here is the real worrisome factor for the Mets: Does anyone see that condition changing any year soon? The Nationals and Braves already are what the Mets are trying to become.

• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Chris Young. Among the exchanges, Serby gets Young’s reaction to the Mets signing him over Nelson Cruz.

“All I can do as a player is do the best that I can, and that’s the only thing that I can focus on,” Young said. “If I start focusing on what other players are out there, what other teams did, things like that can drive yourself crazy. There’s a lot of great players out there. Everybody gets different contracts and different opportunities with different teams, and as a player all you can do is go with whatever situation you feel is best for you, and that’s what I did.

“I’m excited to be here as a Met, and I’m gonna do everything that I can to the best of my abilities to help this team win.”

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Chase d’Arnaud, the brother of Travis, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis with that organization.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing is impressed by how mellifluous the Mets sound this spring.

BIRTHDAYS: Seattle Mariners infielder Nick Franklin, who isn’t a Met just yet, turns 23.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would you prefer the Dolans or Wilpons as Mets owner?

Morning Briefing: Sandy: 90 wins for Mets

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
6:28
AM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressSandy Alderson reportedly told staffers the Mets can, and should, win 90 games.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Let the games begin!

The Mets will stage a midday intrasquad game Thursday, in advance of Friday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals. (UPDATE: The intrasquad game may be moved to 10:15 a.m. to get ahead of predicted inclement weather.)

Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia are due to start opposite each other and log two innings apiece in the intrasquad game. Also scheduled to pitch Thursday: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jose Valverde, Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia and Joel Carreño.

Terry Collins said Torres will be stretched out like a spot starter/long reliever, building up starter’s innings.

David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy will not play in the intrasquad game, according to Collins.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson told staffers in an internal meeting that the Mets can win 90 games in 2014, columnist John Harper reports in the Daily News. Writes Harper:

Yes, 90.

And, according to people who were in the room, after Alderson’s decree prompted discussion about how to best maximize the Mets’ assets, owner Fred Wilpon chimed in at one point with his own pointed assessment.

“We better win 90,” he said, according to a source.

What, Matt Harvey’s elbow surgery was just a cruel practical joke of some kind, and he’s secretly preparing for Opening Day?

Otherwise the idea sounds preposterous, right? A Las Vegas sports book, Bovada, on Wednesday released its over/under proposition bets, and it put the number for the Mets at 73.5.


Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsJon Niese is headed to New York for an MRI of his shoulder.


Jonathon Niese is headed to New York for an MRI of his shoulder after experiencing pain, which Collins says is actually in the triceps. The southpaw told ESPNNewYork.com he wanted an MRI of the shoulder for peace of mind after missing two months last season with a rotator-cuff strain.

Bartolo Colon (calf) and Eric Young Jr. (side) also have injuries, while Matt den Dekker is briefly limited with a stomach ailment.

The Mets have planned for Niese to start on Opening Day, followed by Colon and Dillon Gee against the Nats in Game Nos. 2 and 3 of the regular season, but that is subject to those pitchers’ health.

Read columnist Kevin Kernan’s take on Niese’s injury in the Post. Read news stories in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

Ruben Tejada is the shortstop “at this moment,” Collins said, but Wilmer Flores will get legitimate consideration and Seattle’s Nick Franklin is on the Mets’ radar. Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, meanwhile, says it is quiet on the trade front for his extra shortstop, whether that’s Chris Owings or Didi Gregorius.

As for any criticism about his fitness or otherwise, Tejada told Marc Carig in Newsday: “I don’t really pay attention, you know? Because I did my best in the offseason so I could come here with really good positive energy. Mentally, I’m good, so I’m not listening to anybody about that.”

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

• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com profiles Syndergaard, who did not physically mature and get on scouts’ radar until his senior year of high school. He ultimately was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 38th overall pick in 2010.

“This wasn't a guy who was famous before the spring of his senior year,” Paul DePodesta told DiComo. “He sort of emerged on the scene. He didn’t go into the year with a whole lot of hype, and that’s probably one of the reasons why he lasted to where he did in the draft.”

Said David Walden, Syndergaard’s high school coach: “There were a bunch of scouts down here who got in a lot of trouble.”

• Bovada sets the over/under for Mets wins at 73.5. Read more in the Post.

• Sharknado 2 stars are filming at Citi Field. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal reviews the honeymoons of the five Mets who got married during the offseason -- Anthony Recker (French Polynesia), Josh Satin (Thailand), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Hawaii), Zach Lutz (none), Wright (none).

Wright tells Diamond: “I’m very routine-based. I’ve done the same routine for 15 years of playing baseball now, so I like to stick to that routine. I'm sure we will do something in the future, but there’s nothing really planned yet. For me, getting married over the holidays, my routine starts come Jan. 1, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall behind that.”

As for the eventual honeymoon spot, Wright adds: “We travel so much during the season that the last thing I want to do during the winter is hop on a plane for a long time. There are a lot of places I’d like to go, though. I’ve never been to Europe. She did such a good job planning the wedding, she can pick where she wants to go.”

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests the Mets are not comfortable with Tejada at shortstop, no matter what they say publicly.

BIRTHDAYS: Jersey native Anthony Seratelli, in camp with the Mets, turns 31. … Former Mets (and longtime Braves) pitcher Pete Smith was born on this date in 1966.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets win 90 games?

Report: Mets lost $10M; loan avoids default

February, 22, 2014
Feb 22
6:25
AM ET
The Wilpon family, weeks away from owing a $250 million payment on an expiring loan, now has the refinancing fully in place, the Post reported.

The report says the Mets lost $10 million in 2013, but may now turn a profit this season with the payroll equivalent and an extra $25 million in national TV revenue being distributed by MLB. That is, if there is not a further attendance drag now that there is not the carrot of an All-Star Game at Citi Field to entice ticket purchases.

Writes Josh Kosman:

Until recently, [Fred] Wilpon and [Saul] Katz didn’t know if the banks, as part of the re-fi, were going to insist the owners pay down some of the loan to get the deal done. That didn’t happen. But had the talks taken a bad turn and a cash payment been demanded, it was not clear the owners had the money.

Wilpon and Katz lost much of their fortune in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

The new five-year loan is priced at Libor plus 3.25 percent, the source said. Bank of America is the lead arranger.

Major League Baseball still needs to approve the loan. The final closing is likely two-to-three weeks away, the source said.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187