New York Mets: Ike Davis
Kent Horner/Getty ImagesBobby Bonilla gets cut a check for $1.19 million on Tuesday, as he will every July 1 through 2035.
FIRST PITCH: It’s payday for Bobby Bonilla.
Back near the end of Bonilla’s playing days, the Mets agreed to pay him $1,193,248.20 annually on July 1 for 25 years, beginning in 2011.
Bonilla was owed $5.9 million when the Mets agreed to that buyout.
The agreement called for deferred payments at an 8 percent annual interest rate. At the time, Mets ownership did not mind that interest rate because their investments with Bernie Madoff were returning comfortably more than that figure.
Meanwhile, believe it or not, the Mets annually make a second payment to Bonilla, too.
CBSSports.com reported last year that Bonilla receives a separate payment for 25 years, which is the shared responsibility of the Mets and Baltimore Orioles and runs through 2028. The Mets reportedly are required to pay slightly more than half of the annual $500,000 sum, which stems from Bonilla’s original tour of duty with the Mets.
On the field Tuesday, the Mets continue their series against the Atlanta Braves. Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2, 3.23 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50) at 7:10 p.m. at Turner Field.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Frank Cashen, the architect of the ’86 Mets, died Monday in Easton, Maryland. He was 88. Cashen traded for Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter and drafted Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. “He’s the greatest GM in Mets history,” Hernandez said. “There’s no question about it.” Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Journal, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• The Mets plan to play shorthanded in Atlanta while David Wright remains active. Wright is missing the Braves series and instead is getting treatment at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for a bruised left rotator cuff. Terry Collins now expects Wright will rejoin the team and be available to play on Friday when the Mets return to Citi Field to face the Texas Rangers. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.
The Astros have involved law enforcement in investigating the breach of their private database, Evan Drellich writes in the Houston Chronicle.
“We had security in place, and when you’re talking about criminals, we just never know if we have enough,” GM Jeff Luhnow told the newspaper.
Read more in Newsday.
• Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares and Eric Campbell committed errors in a four-run eighth by the Braves as the Mets lost, 5-3, Monday at Turner Field. It marked the first three-error inning by the Mets since June 25, 2012 at Wrigley Field, when Wright, right fielder Lucas Duda and second baseman Ronny Cedeno all committed errors behind Jon Rauch. The Mets (37-46) are now a season-high-matching nine games under .500. They now trail first-place Atlanta by a season-high eight games.
Read game recaps in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Dillon Gee is expected to make one more minor-league rehab start, then return to the Mets in time to make one major league start before the All-Star break.
• Dustin Lawley homered and had four RBIs as Binghamton beat New Britain, 8-3. Eudy Pina had a go-ahead two-run triple and finished with three RBIs as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 5-2. Matt Oberste improved to 7-for-7 with two homers in his past two games as Savannah beat Rome, 8-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• The Braves have placed catcher Evan Gattis on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back. Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
BIRTHDAYS: Savannah right-hander Chris Flexen turns 20. ... Original Met Craig Anderson was born on this date in 1938.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Would you have approved of a Daniel Murphy trade that returned Jonathan Villar as at least one of the pieces?
@AdamRubinESPN the word "collapse" still gives me cold sweats— Jeremy Clarke (@Papa_Clarke) July 1, 2014
"12/16/2013, Depo asked Jeff if we would consider Villar in a Murphy deal."
DePo is, of course, Paul DePodesta. Jeff would be Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. And Villar is shortstop Jonathan Villar, now 23 years old and hitting .200 with six homers, 22 RBIs and 14 steals in 225 at-bats this season.
A Mets official, apprised of the leaked dialogue, did not dispute the accuracy.
That Murphy was available last offseason if the Mets got the right price is no industry secret. In fact, it's entirely foreseeable Murphy is traded at some point in the next 13 months -- either in July, during the winter, or at the 2015 trade deadline.
Murphy (.301/.351/.417) leads the National League in hits with 101. He also is making $5.7 million this season, is arbitration eligible one more time next offseason, then can become a free agent after the 2015 season.
There's also an early spring training inquiry about Ike Davis, floating Lucas Harrell and minor-league left-hander Alex Sogard. It reads:
"2/27/2014, JL asked PD if they woudl consider Davis for Harrell + Sogard. PD said they value Davis higher for that. He said it appears they may value Davis higher than the market does, so they are comfortable hanging on to him."
In an early offseason groundwork call, Mets assistant GM John Ricco reportedly told Houston, according to a database entry from the Astros: "JR said that they have some pressure to get better next year but have some payroll flexibility to help them do that. They are looking for corner OF help, a veteran starter, and a little bullpen help. Overall they're looking to incrementally upgrade where they can"
Deadspin first reported the existence of the data.
FIRST PITCH: Season on the brink.
The Mets open a three-game series against the first-place Atlanta Braves on Monday at Turner Field now trailing the division leaders by a season-high seven games.
Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45 ERA) faces left-hander Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener.
Wheeler is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five career starts against the Braves. He is coming off a career-low two-inning start against the Oakland Athletics. Wheeler had his first career shutout in his previous start, against the Miami Marlins.
David Wright is due for a morning exam on his bruised left rotator cuff at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Terry Collins hopes the captain then will fly to Atlanta and be fit to enter the lineup, especially since the Mets face southpaws the first two games of the series -- Wood and Mike Minor.
“The guy hits .480 against left-handed pitching. I’d like to get him back in the lineup,” Collins said. “There’s a chance he won’t play. And I realize that. And that’s OK. We’ll get through it.”
The Braves are coming off their first four-game sweep in Philly in a half-century. Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.
Monday’s news reports:
• Dillon Gee allowed one run on four hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings against the Staten Island Yankees on Sunday at Coney Island. He threw 55 pitches, which was the target. The Mets have estimated that Gee will make one additional rehab start before being activated from the disabled list. “I was definitely a little erratic at first,” Gee told reporters. “I’m not going to lie, I had a little adrenaline going in this game because it was my first time out in a couple of months in front of a crowd.” Gee’s first rehab appearance had come in the Gulf Coast League, which is played on back fields at the spring-training complex. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.
• Bartolo Colon’s seven-start unbeaten streak ended in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Colon surrendered five runs in six innings, including an Ike Davis two-run single in a three-run first.
“Obviously when you put those kinds of swings on it, he was getting balls in the middle of the plate,” Collins said. “He hasn’t been hit that hard in a long time.”
The Mets went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. They were held scoreless until the ninth inning.
They lost three of four against the Pirates.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Wright in the Post, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Darrell Ceciliani scored three times and Jayce Boyd had three hits as Binghamton beat Altoona, 7-4. Michael Fulmer tossed seven scoreless innings as St. Lucie blanked Bradenton, 1-0. Matt Oberste went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and six RBIs and Champ Stuart went 4-for-4 with four runs scored as Savannah beat Rome, 15-12. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• X-rays of backup catcher Anthony Recker’s right hand were negative.
• Tim Rohan in the Times revisits the Mets trading Davis to the Pirates, which secured playing time for Lucas Duda.
• From the bloggers … NY Mets Life discusses the importance of team chemistry and the Mets new towel-waving celebration.
BIRTHDAYS: Ron Swoboda turns 70. ... Chan Ho Park is 41. ... Tony Fernandez is 52.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Do you believe David Wright will be in the lineup on Monday night?
Almost time for Bobby Bonilla’s yearly big payday! #Mets— Tyler Batiste (@TyBatiste) June 29, 2014
PITTSBURGH -- The Mets had no shortage of baserunners (and ensuing towel-waving). Driving them in proved the problem.
The Amazin’s produced 13 hits, including at least one in each of the first seven innings, but remained scoreless until the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates won, 5-2, Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Bartolo Colon suffered his first defeat since May 12 at Yankee Stadium.
The Mets (37-45) lost three of four games in Pittsburgh.
Snapped: Ex-Met Ike Davis’ two-run single highlighted a three-run first inning by the Pirates against Colon. Pedro Alvarez’s two-run homer in the fourth upped the lead to 5-0.
Colon’s final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.
Colon had been 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his past seven starts. He had not allowed more than two earned runs in any start during that span to match his longest career streak.
Nothing doing: Edinson Volquez held the Mets scoreless for six innings despite surrendering eight hits. The Mets had runners on the corners in the third inning, but Daniel Murphy struck out and Curtis Granderson flied out. They had two on and none out in the sixth, but Juan Lagares flied out and Travis d'Arnaud grounded into a double play.
After Volquez departed, Eric Young Jr. reached third base with one out in the seventh on an infield single and two-base error, but Ruben Tejada struck out and Murphy lined out.
Granderson, despite sending three balls to the outfield wall, finished the series 0-for-17.
What’s next: The Mets head to Atlanta for a three-game series. Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45 ERA) opposes left-hander Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener at Turner Field. Wheeler is coming off a career-low two-inning start against Oakland. That was preceded by his first career complete game at Miami.
FIRST PITCH: Now losers of two straight, the Mets continue their series at PNC Park on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93).
Friday’s news reports:
• Daisuke Matsuzaka surrendered a three-run homer to Gregory Polanco after shaking off catcher Travis d'Arnaud and the Mets lost to the Pirates, 5-2, Thursday. Earlier, the Pirates purposely got Ike Davis into a rundown between first and second, allowing Andrew McCutchen to trot home from third base when the Mets got inattentive.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Juan Lagares officially was activated from the disabled list Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with an infield single and two strikeouts.
• Terry Collins officially labeled Eric Campbell the backup shortstop, although the manager has no intention of using him there. That also means he has no intention of pinch-hitting for Ruben Tejada since there is no bona fide backup. The Mets demoted Wilmer Flores over Kirk Nieuwenhuis to keep the bench with as many capable bats as possible, even though it left them with an infield-outfield imbalance. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Davis said facing the Mets for the second time is “totally different” and essentially devoid of emotion.
• Dillon Gee likely will need two more rehab starts before being activated from the disabled list, beginning Sunday at Brooklyn.
• Noah Syndergaard allowed five runs in four innings and Kevin Plawecki made his Triple-A debut as his batterymate as Las Vegas faced Sacramento. Cory Mazzoni pitched in the Florida State League as he works back from a lat-muscle strain suffered in the Grapefruit League finale. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles the Pirates rookie Polanco.
• Critic Phil Mushnick in the Post tackles SNY’s Keith Hernandez.
BIRTHDAYS: Jeff Conine turns 48. ... Chris Woodward is 38. ... B-Mets outfielder Brian Burgamy is 33. ... Savannah RHP Tyler Vanderheiden is 24.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
The Mets were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2, Thursday in the opener of a four-game series at PNC Park.
The Pirates manufactured a pair of runs, scoring in the third inning without a hit, then plating a run the following inning when Ike Davis got caught in a two-out rundown between first and second and Andrew McCutchen scooted home from third.
The big blow against Daisuke Matsuzaka came in the fifth, when Pittsburgh grabbed a 5-1 lead on Gregory Polanco’s three-run homer.
Matsuzaka’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.
Matsuzaka entered the start with a 2.21 ERA since Sept. 8 of last season.
Lucas Duda accounted for the opening Mets run when he tucked an opposite-field solo homer inside the left-field foul pole against Pirates starter Vance Worley in the fourth inning. It was Duda’s first career homer to the left-field corner.
Quiet night: Juan Lagares went 1-for-4 with an infield single and two strikeouts in his return from the disabled list.
Wright stuff: David Wright extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an eighth-inning RBI double. Wright has driven in a run in eight of his past nine games.
What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA), fresh off his first major league win, opposes right-hander Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93) on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Davis, traded April 18 for Zack Thornton and player-to-be-named Blake Taylor, faced the Mets at Citi Field from May 26 to 28, going 0-for-7 with a walk. (His platoon mate, righty-hitting Gaby Sanchez, inflicted the damage that series.)
Davis is hitting .254 with four homers and 19 RBIs and has a .360 on-base percentage in 58 games since the trade. He has started in the cleanup spot 24 times as a Pirate, although he now apparently has settled into the No. 6 slot.
"I've had some good weeks and some bad weeks," Davis said. "Overall, I'm playing all right. Obviously it's a better first half than most years. So if I can go out and have a good second half like I normally do, I should have a decent season."
Asked if he keeps in touch with any particular former teammates, Davis said: "Random texts here and there, but during the season it's tough. We've got jobs to do and we're on different schedules all the time. I've texted the majority of everyone once, I think. But we're on different teams and it's time to move on."
He does monitor their progress, though.
"Of course, because they're my friends," Davis said. "So I want to see them do well."
Davis remains gratified he received a mostly warm reception during last month's return to Queens.
"It was cool," Davis said. "It was a lot better than I thought, for sure."
Getty ImagesThe Mets face Vance Worley, Brandon Cumpton and Gerrit Cole in the opening three games of a series at PNC Park.
Thursday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-1, 2.68) vs. RHP Vance Worley (1-0, 1.98), 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75) vs. RHP Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (4-4, 2.78) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (6-3, 3.64), 4:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-5, 3.67) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.35), 1:35 p.m. ET
Pirates short hops
• Gerrit Cole (shoulder fatigue) returns from the disabled list to take Saturday’s start, pushing Edinson Volquez to Sunday and Jeff Locke out of the series against the Mets. Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, threw an 83-pitch simulated game spanning six innings Monday. Manager Clint Hurdle has not declared which starter will be dropped from the rotation with Cole reentering.
• Left fielder Starling Marte sat out Wednesday’s matinee against the Tampa Bay Rays. A day earlier, Marte departed the game with concussion-like symptoms after a headfirst slide into second baseman Sean Rodriguez’s knee in the fifth inning. Marte cleared a concussion test. He also suffered a swollen middle finger on his right hand and was unavailable Wednesday.
• Second baseman Neil Walker returned from the disabled list Tuesday after recovering from an appendectomy. Outfielder Jose Tabata was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear the roster spot, even though he is due roughly $9 million through 2016.
Tabata had lost his playing time to Josh Harrison in right field, and then to rookie Gregory Polanco once Harrison shifted to second base to cover for Walker.
Travis Snider (.234, 4 HR, 137 ABs) started the season as the regular right fielder, but has receded to the bench.
Polanco made his major league debut June 10. He is hitting .325 with one homer, six RBIs and three steals in 65 at-bats since his promotion and has settled into the leadoff spot. His 0-for-4, two-strikeout performance Wednesday at Tampa Bay snapped a streak of reaching base in 14 straight games to begin his major league career. His 11-game hitting streak to begin his career set a Pirates franchise record. It was the longest hitting streak in the majors to begin a career since Glenn Williams had a 13-game streak with the Minnesota Twins in 2006 and the longest in the National League since Juan Pierre had a 16-game hitting streak with the Colorado Rockies in 2000.
• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s .315 average ranks fourth in the National League. He is fifth in the league in RBIs (48). Eight of his 12 homers have come this month. McCutchen is slated to be an All-Star Game starter. He has 2,461,722 votes. The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig narrowly leads NL outfielders with 2,468,376 votes. The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez is third at 2,409,860.
• Reclamation project Vance Worley is a combined 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in starts against the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins since making his Pirates debut on June 15. He was acquired from the Minnesota Twins on March 25 for cash and spent the first portion of the season in Triple-A. Worley went 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA last season with Minnesota.
FIRST PITCH: After a two-game homestand, the Mets return to the road.
The Amazin’s open a four-game series at Pittsburgh, with Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-1, 2.68 ERA) opposing right-hander Vance Worley (1-0, 1.98) at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at PNC Park. The Mets also make a stop at Atlanta during the trip.
Juan Lagares, who had been on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle on his right side, will be activated for the series opener.
The Mets optioned lightly used Wilmer Flores (.225, 1 HR, 7 RBIs) to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear the roster spot. That means Ruben Tejada will be leaned on heavily at shortstop, since the Mets do not have a bona fine backup on the major league roster.
Eric Campbell has played only two pro games at shortstop -- both this season with Vegas. David Wright fancies himself a shortstop and can be used there in a pinch, but it would be hard to foresee him ever getting a start there. (Jacob deGrom, who has a .333 average, played shortstop in college at Stetson.)
The Mets will now have seven active outfielders, if you’re liberal in your counting: Curtis Granderson, Lagares, Chris Young, Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Bobby Abreu and, at least in terms of capabilities, Campbell.
Meanwhile, the Mets will again get to catch up with Ike Davis this weekend. Davis is hitting .254 with four homers and 19 RBIs and has a .360 on-base percentage in 58 games since the trade for Zack Thornton and player-to-be-named Blake Taylor, a left-hander who made his organization debut with four scoreless innings in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday.
Thursday’s news reports:
• On the heels of his first complete game, Zack Wheeler had his shortest career start. Wheeler allowed a career-high six earned runs in two innings and the Mets had a three-game winning streak snapped with an 8-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Down by eight runs, Lucas Duda had a pinch-hit three-run homer, for his first extra-base hit against a southpaw this season. Chris Young added a two-run homer, for his first third homer in two games, calming talk of his potential release.
Wright’s streak of consecutive games with an RBI ended at a career-high-matching seven.
Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday suggests Wheeler more resembles A.J. Burnett than Matt Harvey, and Wright apparently doesn’t disagree. Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News also dissects Wheeler’s outing.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Lagares’ activation and Flores’ demotion in the Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.
• Catcher Kevin Plawecki, a supplemental first-round pick in 2012 out of Purdue, has been promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He will represent the Mets in the Futures Game in Minneapolis alongside Noah Syndergaard.
• First baseman Matt Clark asked for and was granted his release by the organization from Double-A Binghamton. Clark, 27, signed with the Mets late in the offseason after slugging 25 homers in Japan in 2013. He was hitting .297 with 10 homers and a team-high 46 RBIs with the B-Mets, but was poised to lose playing time with younger players the priority.
• The Mets announced the signings of six additional draft picks, although most had been known and/or already appeared in minor league games: right-hander Gabriel Llanes (15th round), outfielder Raphael Ramirez (18th), outfielder Tucker Tharp (30th), left-hander Kurtis Horne (31st), outfielder Arnaldo Berrios (39th) and Dale Burdick (40th). Berrios is a product of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. The Mets have signed 26 of their 39 picks.
• Andrew Beaton in the Journal tries to decode what a positive run differential and losing record means.
• The Mets will be conservative with Wheeler’s innings, Terry Collins indicated. Still, Wheeler logged 168 2/3 innings in 2013. So approaching 200 innings, if he’s capable, would not seem outlandish. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• John Lannan, who had not pitched in a game since being outrighted by the Mets in mid-April, allowed five runs on one hit and four walks and recorded only one out in a start for Class A St. Lucie at Fort Myers on Wednesday. Octavio Acosta allowed a solo homer but no other hits in six innings as Brooklyn beat Aberdeen, 5-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Harvey expects to throw off a mound for the first time in mid-July. Read more in the Post.
• Scott Kazmir feels sympathy for Victor Zambrano. "It’s unfortunate how that went down with Victor Zambrano because I’m sure he’s a great guy," Kazmir told Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger. "He didn’t deserve all that. It was something where maybe he -- I don’t know. I don’t know what happened with the injury or anything like that, but if he would have done fine, if he would have done good with the Mets, maybe we wouldn’t even be talking about this trade. It’s just one of those things.”
BIRTHDAYS: Derek Jeter, the other captain in New York, turns 40. ... Double-A Binghamton reliever Hamilton Bennett is 26. ... Former pitcher Jason Middlebrook is 39. ... Ex-infielder Luis Hernandez is 30.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Who should play shortstop if Ruben Tejada has a day off?
And how many outfielders do we have? #Mets— WeatherTheLizard (@isabel879) June 26, 2014
FIRST PITCH: The Mets have lost 11 of 14 and are a season-worst nine games under .500.
Now, Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.14 ERA) will try to avoid the Mets getting swept at Busch Stadium when he opposes St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16) at 1:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• David Wright and Lucas Duda homered, but the Mets lost to the Cardinals, 5-2, Tuesday. Jonathon Niese surrendered five runs (three earned) in six innings. Daniel Murphy had a pair of miscues in St. Louis’ two-run sixth.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Terry Collins said it took him 75 minutes to construct Tuesday’s lineup. Wednesday’s lineup will return to the pitcher batting ninth, since Colon is hitless since 2005. Bobby Abreu also is expected to rest in the matinee after starting seven straight games. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Wright, in a prolonged slump, had two hits Tuesday, including the homer against Michael Wacha. He told reporters he’s had “sleepless nights” because of his struggles. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.
• Mike Puma in the Post writes this about Travis d’Arnaud, who has been tearing things up since he went to Las Vegas:
A club source indicated the changes to d’Arnaud’s mechanics have been minimal. The biggest adjustment is d’Arnaud’s back foot has been moved closer to the plate, allowing him to better reach outside pitches.
“He had no approach,” the source said. “He was going up there and changing his approach per pitch. He’s sticking with the same approach now about hitting. He’s focused on driving the ball through the middle. Whatever approach he takes up to the plate against a certain pitcher, he’s sticking with the plan instead of changing the plan throughout his at-bat.”
• ESPN’s Keith Law calls the Ike Davis trade for Zack Thornton and player-to-be-named Blake Taylor a fair swap. (ESPN Insiders read here.) Writes Law:
Taylor, who won't turn 19 until August, hasn't pitched this year because of a lat strain that kept him in extended spring training. When healthy, he has a fastball that's mostly 89-91 mph with some life, but he was clocked as high as 94-95 in high school. His main feature is a sharp-breaking curveball that should allow him to miss left- and right-handed bats as he fills out and adds a little velocity to the pitch.
At the time of the  draft, I had him as a potential mid-rotation starter, but still with a ton of development ahead of him. He has below-average fastball command and is in need of a changeup.
• Brian Burgamy had a grand slam and Matt Bowman tossed six scoreless innings as Binghamton beat Richmond, 5-1. St. Lucie enters the final day of the first half still alive for a postseason berth after beating Charlotte, 10-5. Corey Oswalt tossed six scoreless innings as Brooklyn beat Hudson Valley, 5-1. Savannah pitchers had a rough time at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Jose Reyes says the Mets should have reached the World Series in 2006, Howie Kussoy writes in the Post.
• From the bloggers … Blogging Mets says Curtis Granderson should not bat leadoff.
BIRTHDAYS: Felix Heredia turns 39. ... Sandy Alomar Jr. is 48. ... Ben Johnson turns 33.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Taylor, 18, will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League Mets. He was the 51st overall selection last year out of Dana Hills (Calif.) High School.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound southpaw went 0-2 with a 2.57 ERA (6 ER/21 IP) in eight games (seven starts) with the Gulf Coast League Pirates last year.
The Mets already had acquired right-handed reliever Zack Thornton in the April 18 trade.
ESPN's Keith Law wrote after last year's draft: "Lefty Blake Taylor is a two-pitch guy who has reached 94-95, has a projectable frame and can spin a curveball that's already close to average."
FIRST PITCH: Considering the Mets play better on the road than at home, they are in luck. Twenty-five of the Amazin’s next 33 games are away from Citi Field, beginning with a swing through Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.
The Mets play a five-game series in Philly because of an April 30 rainout at Citizens Bank Park.
Zack Wheeler (1-5, 4.63 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander David Buchanan (1-0, 3.60) in Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. series opener as the Mets attempt to go 3-0 in the Lamar Johnson era. Buchanan allowed two runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his major-league debut Saturday.
Sixteen days after being struck on the top of the head with a backswing at Yankee Stadium and receiving a concussion, Travis d’Arnaud will be active. Juan Centeno has been returned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Centeno hit .238 with two RBIs in six starts.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Bartolo Colon and Jeurys Familia combined on the shutout as the Mets beat the Pirates, 5-0, Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field to complete a 4-5 homestand. Colon notched his 2,000th career strikeout by catching Ike Davis looking in the sixth. The 41-year-old Colon threw 121 pitches, his most since logging 128 with the Angels at Tampa Bay on Aug. 18, 2004.
David Wright and Lucas Duda homered. With Duda uncharacteristically having difficulty scooping balls at first base, Wright also had two errors.
Davis had a quiet return to Citi Field, going 0-7 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Duda in the Post and Daily News.
• Wright -- who may end up getting hurt by so many Mets road games during the voting period -- ranks third at third base in the initial NL All-Star voting tally released by MLB on Wednesday. Wright (278,840) trails Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (318,111) and Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez (282,843). Arenado, who is hitting .305 with six homers and 28 RBIs, broke his left middle finger on a headfirst slide into second base last Friday.
No other Mets position player appears in the top five at his position in voting (or top 15 in the outfield). Read more at MLB.com.
• The Mets labeled the report that Jeff Wilpon ordered the firing of Dave Hudgens “substantively inaccurate.” Substantively, of course, means a considerable amount. In reality, Sandy Alderson, as would be predicted, acknowledged some ownership input in that decision.
“What I try to do is evaluate what’s going on on the field and make the appropriate judgments, and that’s my responsibility,” Alderson told John DeMarzo in the Post. “I talk to ownership from time to time. I talk to Fred. I talk to Jeff, and I have a sense of what they’re thinking or what their frustrations may be. But, ultimately, I have to make a baseball decision, I guess, and that’s what this was.”
• Terry Collins says the back end of the bullpen is taking shape with Mejia, Familia and Vic Black. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Chris Young, now hitting .195, has all but lost his starting job with the Mets. He started Thursday after three straight days out of the lineup. “It’s my responsibility to swing the bat better and play better,” Young told Anthony Rieber in Newsday. “I hold myself fully accountable for that. When I do get that opportunity, I do need to take more advantage of it to where I force myself into the lineup everyday like I want to be.”
• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News sums up the Mets’ hitting-coach change this way:
Either you can hit or you can’t.
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes:
Yes, the Mets stink, but so do a lot of teams.
The key is for the Mets to stink less.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two homers and Jeff Francoeur ended up pitching a scoreless inning with a walk and hit batter for El Paso as Las Vegas won, 13-7. Starting pitcher Rainy Lara was injured on a play at the plate and Binghamton split with New Hampshire. Brandon Nimmo reentered the lineup and stole a base a day after leaving a game with a sprained ankle as St. Lucie beat Brevard County, 3-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Read more about 50 Cent’s awful ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field in the Post.
• Nick Evans is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2011, when he was a Met. The Arizona Diamondbacks promoted the 28-year-old Evans, a Phoenix native, on Thursday. The year after leaving the Mets, Evans missed most of the season with the Pirates in the minors because he shattered bones in his left hand diving to catch a foul ball. Read more in the Arizona Republic and at ArizonaSports.com.
• Denis Hamill in the Daily News writes about Wright’s monthly salute to the NYPD.
• From the bloggers … Mets Police seeks your help in crowdsourcing 41 amazin’ ideas for the Mets.
BIRTHDAYS: Long Islander Steven Matz, who has a 1.95 ERA in nine starts for St. Lucie, turns 23. … Binghamton right-hander Tyler Pill is 24.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Is playing 25 of the next 33 on the road a good or bad thing for the Mets?
@AdamRubinESPN new hitting coach doing one helluva job— Joe (@JerseyJoe1329) May 28, 2014
USA TODAY SportsThe Mets fired Dave Hudgens and released Jose Valverde late Monday, while Noah Syndergaard is headed to New York to get a forearm injury examined.
FIRST PITCH: No shortage of topics arose on Monday at Citi Field … and they mostly were negative.
On the day Ike Davis returned as a visitor, Dave Hudgens and Jose Valverde were shown the door. Also, Noah Syndergaard and Eric Young Jr. landed on disabled lists. And Jacob deGrom lifted his batting average to .800 but was deprived of his first major-league win.
What’s on tap Tuesday?
On the field, the Mets play Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.70 ERA) scheduled to oppose right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-4, 4.37) at 7:10 p.m.
Off the field, MRIs for Syndergaard and E.Y. Jr., apparently, as well as the debut of Lamar Johnson as hitting coach.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Hudgens and Valverde lost their jobs in the aftermath of Monday’s defeat. Hudgens, who had been in his fourth season as hitting coach, will be replaced by Johnson, the organization’s minor-league hitting coordinator for the past decade.
Vic Black is due to rejoin the Mets to replace Valverde. Black has flown from Las Vegas to New York to El Paso and now back to New York in the past three days.
Read more on the Hudgens and Valverde ousters in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
Read Hudgens’ pointed comments at MLB.com and in Newsday.
• Poised for his first win after tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings and logging 122 pitches, deGrom instead was handed a no-decision when Scott Rice and Valverde failed to hold the lead. Valverde surrendered four runs over the final two innings in his last act as a Met. The Pirates ultimately beat the Mets, 5-3, on Memorial Day at Citi Field to drop the not-so-Amazin’s to 7-17 in May.
Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Syndergaard is due to be examined in New York on Tuesday because of a flexor pronator strain in his right forearm. Although the Mets downplayed the severity, the injury can be a precursor to Tommy John surgery. Syndergaard tweeted that he should be fine.
”We’re very concerned about it,” Terry Collins said. “I know a lot of guys that go to the doctor and it’s nothing. But I know some that go to the doctor and it’s an issue. So anytime you’re going in and the word ‘elbow’ shows up and you throw as hard as he does, it’s a concern.”
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Davis was greeted with polite applause in his first game back at Citi Field since the April 18 trade. He went 0-for-2 with a walk before being replaced by righty-hitting platoon mate Gaby Sanchez in the eighth.
“I didn’t get booed as much as I thought [I would],” Davis told Zach Braziller in the Post. “There was a lot of cheering. So it was really nice.”
Davis said pregame that one big difference between Pittsburgh and New York is he now does not get hitting tips from fans when he goes out for coffee in the morning.
Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Travis d’Arnaud went 0-for-4 as the DH in his second rehab game with Binghamton as he returns from a concussion. D’Arnaud is due to catch Tuesday for the B-Mets. He could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday.
• E.Y. Jr. officially landed on the DL with a right hamstring injury on Monday morning. Matt den Dekker joined the club. Den Dekker struck out to end Monday’s game after entering on a double-switch in the top of the ninth. E.Y. Jr. is due to get an MRI on Tuesday to learn the severity of his injury. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Collins suggested the Mets are being cautious with Dillon Gee, who did not feel comfortable getting on a mound Sunday because of a lingering issue with a strained lat muscle.
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post said the heat is on Sandy Alderson. Writes Kernan:
The general manager has to look in the mirror and question his performance for his part in the Mets’ terrible 7-17 May and overall 22-28 record. Owners don’t fire themselves, and that is especially true of the Wilpons -- so progress must be shown, and quickly.
Alderson’s promise of young arms must save games and jobs.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andrew Brown homered, but Las Vegas lost its sixth straight, 9-5 to Sacramento. Darin Gorski tossed a shutout in Binghamton’s 5-0 win against New Britain. Kevin McGowan extended his streak without allowing an earned run to 33 2/3 innings as Savannah won a rain-shortened game against Augusta, 2-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Amed Rosario, who signed with the Mets for $1.75 million, is headed to Savannah … for a short stay.
BIRTHDAYS: Todd Hundley, who slugged 41 homers in 1996 with the Mets, turns 45.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Can Lamar Johnson make a difference with the Mets’ hitters?
According to Dave Hudgens Mets fans have a -28 WAR this season. #Mets— Joe Pontillo (@JoePontillo) May 27, 2014
After Davis went 0-for-2 with a walk, he was replaced by righty-hitting Gaby Sanchez in the eighth when Terry Collins inserted southpaw Scott Rice to protect a two-run lead.
The bullpen surrendered five runs the rest of the way.
Sanchez homered against Rice and Jose Valverde allowed a game-tying RBI single to Jose Tabata later in the eighth.
The Pirates added three ninth-inning runs to take a 5-2 lead in the Memorial Day win at Citi Field, highlighted by Sanchez's tiebreaking single against Valverde. Two runs scored on the play, the latter courtesy of a throwing error by left fielder Curtis Granderson.
The loss dropped the Mets to 22-28. They are now 19-3 when leading after seven innings.
Valverde (1-1) was charged with four earned runs while recording only two outs. His ERA ballooned to 5.66.
Total package: Between pitching assignments, deGrom may be worthy of playing some shortstop, his original position at Stetson University.
With Terry Collins being refreshingly liberal with pitch counts of late, even for his young starters, deGrom was permitted to toss 122 pitches.
DeGrom departed after issuing his fifth walk -- to Neil Walker in the seventh, which advanced Travis Snider to second base. Jeurys Familia, who had appeared in both games on Sunday’s doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then struck out reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen looking to strand both runners inherited from deGrom and preserve a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates had loaded the bases in the first inning, but deGrom coaxed Russell Martin into an inning-ending double play. An inning later, deGrom allowed a single and walk to open the frame but stranded both runners.
His pitch count was at 47 after two innings, but deGrom became efficient. His final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. He threw 122 pitches (67 strikes) and departed leading 2-0.
The 122 pitches were the most by a Mets pitcher within his first three major-league appearances since Bill Pulsipher tossed 131 and then 122 in June 1995.
Collins has been less conservative of late with pitch counts. Zack Wheeler has thrown 118 in two of his past three starts. Rafael Montero threw 113 on Sunday.
As for his bat, deGrom’s two-out single in the fifth against Brandon Cumpton ignited the Mets to open the scoring. Juan Lagares followed with a walk. Daniel Murphy then laced a two-run single to right field.
Well, it was a two-run single after a replay review.
Lagares had attempted to score all the way from first on Murphy’s single after right fielder Josh Harrison’s throw eluded third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Lagares initially was ruled out by plate umpire Laz Diaz. However, the umpires initiated a review of whether catcher Russell Martin illegally blocked the plate -- the Rule 7.13 adopted this year to prevent horrific collisions and injuries like the one that occurred with San Francisco’s Buster Posey.
The video review ultimately determined Martin had blocked the plate, Lagares was ruled safe, and the Mets took a 2-0 lead.
It was not the first time this year a runner had been awarded home because a catcher blocked the plate. On April 19, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado was ruled safe because, after a review, Carlos Ruiz was determined to have blocked the plate.
Meanwhile, with singles in each of his two at-bats against Cumpton, deGrom is now 4-for-5 this season. He became the first pitcher in franchise history with a hit in each of his first three career games. Include position players and deGrom still is the first Met since Victor Diaz in 2004 to hit safely in each of his first three major-league games.
DeGrom has four of the six hits by Mets pitchers this season. He had snapped the pitchers’ 0-for-64 drought to begin the season with a hit in his May 15 debut.
Snapped: Lucas Duda snapped the longest active streak in the majors of innings pitched without allowing a homer with his leadoff blast in the bottom of the ninth against Mark Melancon. Melancon had tossed 86 homer-free innings.
Debutant: Matt den Dekker entered on a double-switch in the ninth for his first major-league action in 2014. He struck out to end the game.
What’s next: Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.70 ERA) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-4, 4.37) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Asked what he likes about Pittsburgh better than New York, Davis suggested it was the ability to not think about baseball away from the ballpark.
“Maybe going to get coffee and I don’t get hitting tips. Maybe that’s the best thing,” Davis said Monday morning, before the Pirates opened a three-game series against the Mets. “… I don’t have to think about my stance at 9 in the morning.”
Davis suggested the 24/7 microscope, as epitomized by getting batting tips from fans as he bought coffee in the city, was not overwhelming.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say that’s the reason I did bad, though. I actually had some good times here. I actually played well, except I couldn’t find my swing earlier in seasons and it kind of steamrolled on me. But once I did I played pretty well. It just took me longer than I should have.”
Davis is hitting .303 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 99 at-bats since the trade. Lucas Duda, meanwhile, is hitting .208 with two homers and 11 RBIs since April 18.
Davis said there have not been major technical adjustments. He worked on not bending his leg as much, but that was initiated by him.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who played parts of three seasons with the Mets in the 1980s, agreed the less-intense scrutiny in Pittsburgh can be beneficial to a player.
“I played in Cincinnati. I played in Kansas City. That definitely can be part of it,” Hurdle said. “It’s media light. The players don’t have the media challenges you have in L.A. and in New York. There’s not that level of competition for a story or an angle.”
Said Davis: “I found my swing a little earlier this year. Who knows if it’s going to last the whole year? But I’m going to keep working on it. Usually when I somewhat click I usually stay pretty well. And I just clicked a little earlier.”
Davis believes the greeting from Mets fans will be “a lot of boos,” but he may be mistaken.
He said he actually will enjoy the return since it is his first experience playing against a former team.
“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting,” Davis said. “I’ve never done it. I like doing stuff that’s new.”
Still, he insisted he has nothing to prove this series.
“Just because it’s the Mets I don’t want to hit it 800 feet,” Davis said.
He concluded about the trade: "It’s been positive, for sure. The fans wanted a new beginning at first base here. And Duda is a good player. It’s been positive for both of us -- him obviously getting to play the majority of the time and the same for me.”