New York Mets: Jenrry Mejia
The result: Mejia tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, upping his streak to 13 2/3 without a run, and the New York Mets beat the defending NL champion St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 at Citi Field.
“It does bother me a little bit, I feel pain, but the last year I felt pain over there,” Mejia said, motioning toward his elbow, which was cleaned out surgically on Aug. 28. “So I go out there and do the best I can, try to throw everything for strikes.”
Mejia was selected over Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final slot in the rotation out of spring training. Despite some injury drama from a bunion, getting struck with a liner in the arm and the blister on his right middle finger, Mejia is now 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA.
In their past seven games, Mets starters have a 1.84 ERA (9 ER in 44 IP).
Mejia entered the season with two career wins, but devoted his offseason to proving he merited the starting role. Beginning in December, he alternated two-week intervals between Port St. Lucie, Fla., and the Mets’ Boca Chica complex in his native Dominican Republic.
“There was a lot of talk this winter about who it was going to be,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Jenrry put his mind to it. I got a report from the Dominican Republic last winter that he was out throwing every day, running. He got himself in great shape. Coming off that blister he had the other day, and to pitch the way he did tonight, is an outstanding job because we weren’t sure what he was going to give us. He gave us more than we expected, for sure.”
Mejia was quick to credit his infielders. He coaxed a huge double play in the fifth after walking leadoff batter Jhonny Peralta. Jon Jay sent a grounder up the middle. Ruben Tejada made a diving stop, got the ball to Daniel Murphy, who barehanded the grab and threw on to first base.
“That was pretty good,” Mejia said about his outing, “but all of my infielders helped me a lot. Tejada and Murphy, they made a couple of double plays over there. That made me feel pretty good.”
The camouflage-wearing Mets again moved over .500, improving their record to 10-9.
Mejia’s line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. He departed after consecutive two-out walks in the seventh. Scott Rice entered and induced a ground out to third base from righty-hitting pinch-hitter Shane Robinson.
After being forced from his previous outing in Phoenix after five innings because of a torn blister on his right middle finger, Mejia this time logged 94 pitches with no apparent ill effects.
Mejia personally escaped his most serious threat in the sixth. After consecutive one-out singles by Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig placed runners on the corners, Mejia retired Matt Holliday on a pop out to second base and Matt Adams on a ground out to Daniel Murphy.
In the fourth and fifth innings, Mejia had benefited from highlight-reel plays from shortstop Ruben Tejada, both on diving stops up the middle. In the latter instance, Tejada initiated a double play on a grounder by Jon Jay.
Mejia now has 25 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings.
The Mets extended the lead to 2-0 in the sixth on Travis d’Arnaud’s RBI single. That came in an inning in which the Mets benefited from Cards starter Tyler Lyons walking two batters and also committing an error. (Chris Young was thrown out trying to advance to third base on a pitch in the dirt earlier in the inning, limiting the damage.)
Bay watch: Curtis Granderson went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a hit by pitch. He is now hitless in 19 straight at-bats.
What’s next: Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71 ERA) opposes Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Wainwright is coming off a two-hit shutout against the Washington Nationals.
FIRST PITCH: With the Atlanta Braves having left town, the task gets no easier for the Mets.
The defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals now visit Citi Field for a four-game series beginning Monday.
Jenrry Mejia, confident a blister issue on his right middle finger is behind him, opposes left-hander Tyler Lyons in the 7:10 p.m. series opener. Lyons (2-0, 3.32 ERA at Triple-A Memphis) replaces Joe Kelly, who landed on the disabled list with a left-hamstring strain.
With the Mets facing a southpaw, Josh Satin figures to start at first base.
Monday’s news reports:
Abreu instead selected the Philadelphia Phillies, who ended up releasing him in March. Abreu at that point signed with the Mets and reported to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .395 (15-for-38) with four doubles, one homer and nine RBIs. With the 51s, he appeared in four games as a designated hitter and four games in right field. He otherwise pinch hit.
The Mets did not announce a corresponding move. Since Abreu is a lefty hitter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis may be the most vulnerable. The alternative would appear to be demoting Andrew Brown, who repeatedly has staved off such reassignments because of issues such as Chris Young landing on the DL and Ike Davis getting traded.
Read more in the Daily News.
• With Jose Valverde having surrendered four homers in a three-appearance span, Terry Collins made a change at the back end of the bullpen. Kyle Farnsworth steps into the closer’s role. Farnsworth had been released by the Mets with a week to go in spring training. He was re-signed days later and assigned to Las Vegas, but never pitched there because Bobby Parnell’s injury created a vacancy in the big-league bullpen. Read more in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Curtis Granderson had a throwing error from right field Sunday that allowed a run to score. He also went 0-for-6, upping his hitless streak to 16 at-bats and dropping his average to .127. Still, Granderson ended up getting mobbed on the field by celebrating teammates after producing a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 14th. That allowed the Mets to salvage the series finale against the Braves with a 4-3 victory. The Mets (9-9) returned to .500.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, working on back-to-back days for the first time since 2004 in the Japan Series, tossed three no-hit relief innings. Valverde earned the win with a scoreless top of the 14th. Braves second baseman Dan Uggla helped by committing two errors, including failing to turn a would-be inning-ending double play on Lucas Duda in the sixth that allowed the tying run to score. The maligned bullpen tossed eight scoreless innings in relief of Zack Wheeler (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K).
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
Read more on Matsuzaka in Newsday.
Collins opted to place Daniel Murphy in the No. 4 hole over Duda. The manager cited Murphy’s .307 average in 60 career games in the cleanup spot entering Sunday. And Collins did not want to place too much pressure on Duda too soon, even though Davis has been traded and Duda should know he is unthreatened for the first-base job against right-handed pitching.
Columnist David Lennon in Newsday advocates placing Duda in the No. 4 hole now. Writes Lennon:
The Mets can't play the sensitive card with him any longer. They chose Duda over Ike Davis -- who, by the way, batted cleanup Sunday for the Pirates -- and that means trusting him to do the job.
And while we're on the subject of numbers, Duda's best offensive stats have come in the No. 4 spot. In 110 games there, Duda has a slash line of .276/.373/.453 with a home run every 25 plate appearances. So don't tell us Duda can't handle the pressure. As long as Granderson is slumping, Collins is going to have to scrape up offense from somewhere. And in this thin lineup, Duda has to become the hitter the Mets say he can be -- not look for shelter.
Read more in the Post.
• In the lone Easter Sunday minor-league game among Mets affiliates, Danny Muno, Allan Dykstra and Abreu homered and Jacob deGrom allowed three runs in five innings as Las Vegas beat El Paso, 11-4. Jeff Francoeur pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Chihuahuas. Reliever Zack Thornton, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates with a player to be named for Davis, made his organization debut. Thornton allowed a solo homer but no other damage in two innings. Read the minor-league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: Jesse Orosco turns 57. ... Jeff Keppinger is 34. ... Ronny Paulino is 33.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Colon has been dealing with back spasms, but worked out at Citi Field on Thursday, which was an off day for the team.
"[Colon] threw his long toss which he likes to do," Mets manager Terry Collins said Friday afternoon. "[He] felt great, so he’ll be there Saturday."
That being said, Collins has also instructed Daisuke Matsuzaka -- just called up from Triple-A -- to prepare as if he's starting Saturday.
"Just in case something happens, with the fact that it’s gonna be somewhat cool tomorrow," Collins said. "If Bartolo’s back stiffens up on him, then [Matsuzaka's] gotta be ready."
Jenrry Mejia, who tore open a blister on his right middle finger in his last start, was scheduled to try to throw prior to Friday night's game against the Atlanta Braves.
"We’ll see how his finger holds up today," Collins said.
If Mejia can't make his next start, scheduled for Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Matsuzaka would replace him -- if he doesn't have to replace Colon, of course.
Associated Press/USA TODAY SportsIdentical to the series at Turner Field, the Mets face Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana and David Hale this weekend in Queens.
Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96), 7:10 p.m. ET
Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64), 7:10 p.m. ET
Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.76) vs. RHP David Hale (0-0, 2.89), 1:10 p.m. ET
Braves short hops
• Jason Heyward faces Jonathon Niese for the first time since the Mets southpaw drilled the right fielder and fractured his jaw with a 90 mph fastball last Aug. 21 at Citi Field. Heyward now wears a protective flap attached to his helmet.
Heyward remains in the leadoff spot despite hitting .136 overall after an 0-for-4 performance Thursday at Philadelphia that included a pair of line-drive outs. Three of his eight hits on the season came against Zack Wheeler on April 9.
• Closer Craig Kimbrel experienced shoulder soreness during an appearance Saturday and has not appeared in a game since. He threw a 15-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and “felt great,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Right-hander David Carpenter converted Monday’s save in Philadelphia. Carpenter had a 1.78 ERA in 2013.
• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons struck out for the first time this season Thursday. The strikeout, against Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett, came in Simmons’ 48th plate appearance this season. With Simmons no longer K-less, St. Louis’ Shane Robinson has the most plate appearances this season of any MLB player with no strikeouts -- a measly 10.
• Evan Gattis is hitting .588 (10-for-17) with three homers, six RBIs and a 1.765 OPS in his past four games. With Brian McCann’s defection to the Yankees, Gattis exclusively has caught this season. Gattis started 47 games in left field and four games at first base in 2013.
• Left fielder Justin Upton is the reigning NL Player of the Week. He had four homers during that period, including a two-homer game against Jenrry Mejia.
• Braves starting pitchers have an MLB-best 1.58 ERA this season. Oakland starters rank second at 2.48.
• Ervin Santana threw 20 straight strikes to open his Braves debut, against the Mets at Turner Field. He then limited the Phillies to one run on four hits while matching a career high with 11 strikeouts on Monday. Santana’s 0.64 ERA ranks second in the National League.
Santana signed for one year, $14.1 million on March 12 after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both suffered spring-training elbow injuries and ultimately required Tommy John surgery.
• Aaron Harang, who finished last season with the Mets, has the third-best ERA in the NL, at 0.96. The Braves unexpectedly dumped Freddy Garcia on March 24 and signed the 35-year-old Harang for a rotation spot. Harang took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Milwaukee in his Braves debut. Harang had been released by the Cleveland Indians late in spring training.
• Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, claimed off waivers by the Braves on April 2, was demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett six days later, during the series the Mets took two of three at Turner Field.
• Left-hander Mike Minor, on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, should be activated next week, after one more rehab start. Right-hander Gavin Floyd, signed by the Braves in December after spending seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, also is on a rehab assignment as he nears a return from Tommy John surgery.
• First baseman Freddie Freeman ranks fourth in the NL with a .389 batting average.
FIRST PITCH: After going 6-3 on their three-city trip and moving above .500 for the first time this season, the Mets take a day off before opening a 10-game homestand.
The Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins are due to visit Citi Field.
“I almost wish we didn’t have [Thursday] off because we’re playing really well,” Anthony Recker said.
Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46 ERA) opposes ex-Met Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener against the Braves.
The Mets (8-7) actually are above .500 for the first time since last April 24, when they were 10-9.
“We’ve got to pitch,” Terry Collins said. “It starts there. We’ve got to pitch.”
Thursday’s news reports:
• The Mets completed a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 5-2 victory in Wednesday’s series finale. Dillon Gee required only 72 pitches for seven scoreless innings. Recker homered and doubled and may see increased playing time at Travis d’Arnaud’s expense. Jose Valverde allowed two homers in the ninth, but Collins insisted he remains the closer.
As for moving about .500, Gee said: “We’re concentrating on winning. I didn’t even know what our record was, to be honest, going into this game.”
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Chris Young joined the Mets on Wednesday in Phoenix after three rehab games with Las Vegas. Young (quadriceps) is due to be activated from the disabled list Friday. Curtis Granderson, officially day to day with bruises to his left wrist, rib cage and knee, is expected to reenter the starting lineup Friday, too. Granderson pinch hit in the eighth inning Wednesday.
• Andrew Brown could be demoted when Young is activated from the DL on Friday, but none of the first basemen should be in jeopardy, according to Sandy Alderson. Brown, though, had a strong game Wednesday, going 2-for-5 and making a stellar catch in right field. So maybe Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be returned to Vegas instead.
• Trainers told Juan Lagares, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday, that they do not believe his right hamstring pull is severe. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Collins believes Bartolo Colon, who has been dealing with back spasms, will be able to make Saturday’s start against the Braves. Jenrry Mejia, who left Tuesday’s start with a blister issue, is due to throw a bullpen session Friday at Citi Field, but expects to make his next start, too. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.
• The Mets plan to scout free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan’s showcase for teams Thursday. Hanrahan underwent Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2013.
• The Brooklyn Cyclones will host “Seinfeld Night” on July 5 at MCU Park. Read more in the Post.
• Rob Whalen won in his first start of the season as Savannah beat Augusta, 4-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Gary Cohen lightheartedly blamed broadcast partner Keith Hernandez for jinxing Gee’s perfect game. Hernandez had mentioned the no-no after Gee retired the game’s first 14 batters. It ended immediately afterward. Read more in the Post.
• From the bloggers … NY Mets Life examines how social media has changed the way fans interact with the game.
BIRTHDAYS: Rico Brogna turns 44. ... Brady Clark is 41. ... Infielder Doug Flynn was born on this date in 1951.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets’ winning ways continue during their upcoming homestand against the Braves, Cardinals and Marlins?
Maybe the #Mets should play every game on the road from here on out— Unisa Fofana (@uni_fof84) April 17, 2014
USA TODAY SportsJenrry Mejia (blister) and Bartolo Colon (back) both are dealing with minor medical issues.
Colon has been bothered by back spasms, but Collins said the 40-year-old pitcher pledged he would be OK for the upcoming start against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.
Meanwhile, the Mets will have a better feel for Jenrry Mejia's availability for his next start once he throws a bullpen session Friday in Queens. Mejia left his last start after 77 pitches and five scoreless innings after a blister on his right middle finger tore.
Collins said trainers are equipped to apply material that can get Mejia ready for his next start, which would be Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sandy Alderson acknowledged Daisuke Matsuzaka's promotion does provide a safety net.
"Right now we brought up Daisuke to pitch out of the pen, more or less in a long role," the GM added. "But he does give us some insurance with any of our starters."
FIRST PITCH: The Mets aim to sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks and move above .500 for the first time this season when the teams play the series finale at 3:40 p.m. ET Wednesday at Chase Field.
Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78) as the Mets attempt to complete their first series sweep in Phoenix since 2006.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Juan Lagares landed on the disabled list Tuesday with a pulled right hamstring, although Curtis Granderson remained active and labeled himself day-to-day.
The Mets promoted Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who had a big day in his season debut. Nieuwenhuis went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs and made a headfirst diving catch in right-center.
Read more on Lagares’ DL trip in the Post, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• The Mets beat the D-backs, 9-0, behind a combined shutout from Jenrry Mejia, Gonzalez Germen and Kyle Farnsworth. However, Mejia was forced to depart after five innings and 77 pitches because of a torn blister on his right middle finger. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Bartolo Colon has been dealing with a cranky bank, he exclusively told ESPNDeportes.com’s Marly Rivera. Read more in the Daily News.
• Jacob deGrom tossed seven scoreless innings as Las Vegas beat Reno, 6-3. T.J. Rivera went 3-for-5 with a double and homer as St. Lucie beat Jupiter, 11-6. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• After Chris Young hit .667 in three games in a rehab assignment with Vegas, Terry Collins expects the outfielder to rejoin the Mets on Wednesday at Chase Field and accompany the team to New York. C.Y. (quadriceps) is eligible to be activated from the DL on Friday.
• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests the Mets' endless talk of prospects gets "tiresome."
• Omar Quintanilla started for the second time in four games Tuesday, but Collins said the shortstop job still belongs to Ruben Tejada.
• Lucas Duda will not see time in the outfield with Lagares on the DL. Read more in the Record and Newsday.
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger discusses the early success of Jose Valverde and Farnsworth at the twilight of their careers.
From the bloggers … Faith and Fear enjoyed Tuesday night's romp in the desert. … NY Mets Life takes a look around the NL East.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever Ken Takahashi turns 45. ... 2013 draft pick Tyler Bashlor, selected in the 11th round out of South Georgia College, is 21.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
“He had a 94 mph cutter that was pretty filthy. And he was locating it pretty well on the outside corner,” D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock said after the Mets’ 9-0 win at Chase Field. “I took a couple of swings and felt like I was right on it, but that much movement that late is tough. It seemed like he really had good command of his fastball and that's what made him really hard.”
Of course, as is sometimes the case with Mejia, a physical issue sidetracked him.
Mejia departed at only 77 pitches because a blister ripped on his right middle finger.
Mejia suggested it should not prevent him from making his next start. Terry Collins noted that with Thursday a team day off, Mejia would get at least one extra day of rest before his next scheduled outing anyway.
“He’s got one helluva blister,” Collins said. “He tore it up completely. … Obviously there’s a concern.”
Mejia said the blister also was an issue in Atlanta.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen was concerned pregame Tuesday, according to Mejia.
“I said, yeah, I want to pitch,” Mejia said. “He said, ‘All right, do the best you can.’ I went out and did the best I could."
Mejia, who allowed two hits and two walks, said he did not want to show the middle finger to the staff after the fourth inning Tuesday, as the issue worsened. After he completed the fifth inning, Warthen insisted he take a look.
“Dan Warthen wanted to see it,” Mejia said. “I said, ‘No, I’m good.’ I wanted to pitch. So when I was in the fifth inning and I got out, he said, ‘Let me see the finger.’ He said, ‘You’re not going to throw anymore.’ I wanted to take care of my bullpen, because I know they were a little bit tired. They said no.”
The blister is the latest health issue for Mejia, who also has dealt with a bunion on the big toe.
“I’ve had a lot of things,” Mejia said. “I had the bunion. I’ve got the blister. In Montreal I had a ball hit me in my arm. That’s a lot. But I’m going to [pitch], because the two years before I didn’t throw a lot of innings. I want to throw innings, and my arm is good.”
Jenrry Mejia tossed five scoreless innings before departing with a blister issue, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered and drove in three runs in his return to the big leagues as the Mets routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-0 Tuesday night at Chase Field.
The Mets evened their record at 7-7 after failing in their five previous attempts this season to move to .500.
At the plate, the Mets aggressively jumped on D-backs starter Bronson Arroyo. They took a 3-0 lead six batters and 14 pitches into the game, when Nieuwenhuis produced an RBI single in his first big-league at-bat since last July 26. Nieuwenhuis had been bypassed for a September call-up.
Nieuwenhuis (3-for-5) also opened the scoring in a six-run fourth against Arroyo with a two-run homer. That was the 21st homer surrendered by Arizona pitchers this season, matching the Mets staff for the most long balls allowed in the majors.
Arroyo was charged with nine runs on 10 hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings.
In center field, Nieuwenhuis did his best impression of slick-fielding Juan Lagares, the player he replaced on the roster.
In the fifth, Nieuwenhuis lunged headfirst in right-center to take away a hit from Mark Trumbo. Nieuwenhuis also ran down A.J. Pollock’s drive to the track in right-center to end the seventh.
Mejia retired the first nine D-backs batters, until issuing a leadoff walk to Gerardo Parra in the fourth. He kept a no-hit bid intact until one out in that frame, when Paul Goldschmidt singled down the third-base line.
Gonzalez Germen added three scoreless relief innings.
Guess who? Oliver Perez faced the Mets for the first time since being released by the club in spring training in 2011. Perez, who signed a two-year, $4.25 million with the D-backs, tossed two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. The lone baserunner against him came on a one-out single by Nieuwenhuis in the southpaw’s second inning of relief.
Perez had only faced the Mets twice before: in 2003 with the San Diego Padres and 2004 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
What’s next: The Mets attempt to sweep the series at Chase Field at 3:40 p.m. ET Wednesday. Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78). The Mets last produced sweeps in Phoenix in 2005 and 2006, when they went 4-0 against the D-backs in consecutive seasons.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets may be a little groggy for Friday night’s game in Anaheim.
After winning a rubber game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, the Mets flew across the country and were not due to land at LAX until about 5 a.m. ET. They then faced another hour drive to their hotel in Orange County.
Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50 ERA) starts the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels at 10:05 p.m. ET. Gee opposes left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00).
The Mets will get the use of the DH this weekend. Josh Satin is due to start one game at first base -- probably the series opener against the southpaw Skaggs, although the Mets also see left-hander C.J. Wilson on Sunday.
The Mets last visited Anaheim six years ago. It was after a June 16, 2008 victory in that series opener that the Mets fired Willie Randolph and pitching Rick Peterson at 3 a.m. ET.
Randolph had implored the Mets to fire him before getting on the plane for California if the intent was to imminently dismiss him anyway, but Mets PR people advised to wait until the team headed west rather than terminate Randolph in New York on Father’s Day.
Friday’s news reports:
• Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and Carlos Torres, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde combined to retire the final 11 Braves batters as the Mets won, 6-4, Thursday. Eric Young Jr. proved a sparkplug, going 3-for-5 with three steals and four runs scored. Jenrry Mejia allowed four runs in five innings, including a pair of homers to Justin Upton.
Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post:
They have bungled the first base situation, one of their big free agent signings -- Chris Young -- has yet to play a game and their $60 million man -- Curtis Granderson -- is struggling with a .125 average and owns 11 strikeouts in 32 at-bats. Yes, this is the tiniest of samples, but so far the sample reads: Jason Bay.
Read game recaps in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Terry Collins insisted Lucas Duda will continue to get the bulk of the playing time at first base. When the Mets face right-hander Jered Weaver on Saturday, both Duda and Ike Davis may play, with one serving as DH. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Chris Young, on the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain, played five innings in an extended spring training game Thursday in Florida. He should begin a rehab assignment soon with Triple-A Las Vegas. Young is eligible to be activated from the DL next Friday.
• Mr. Met once was threatened by the Secret Service, when President Bill Clinton visited Shea Stadium, according to a book excerpt cited in the Daily News.
• Jacob deGrom allowed one run in five innings for Las Vegas. Darin Gorski struck out 10 batters in Binghamton’s 9-1 win against New Hampshire. Jairo Perez went 5-for-6 and Bronx native T.J. Rivera had five RBIs in St. Lucie’s 13-3 win against Jupiter. Stefan Sabol, Jeff McNeil and Jared King had three RBIs apiece as Savannah beat Rome, 12-5. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Former Mets manager Jerry Manuel will help lead an initiative to increase diversity in baseball.
• From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear can't get enough Lagares.
BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets pitchers Bret Saberhagen and Wally Whitehurst turn 50. ... Bobby M. Jones is 42.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets depend on Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde at the back end of the bullpen?
86 more to go #Mets— #UFC172 (@Its__Qasim) April 11, 2014
Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and Daniel Murphy contributed a run-scoring double an inning later as the Mets beat the Braves, 6-4, in Thursday’s rubber game at Turner Field.
Carlos Torres contributed two scoreless relief innings to earn the win. Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde each added a scoreless frame.
Eric Young Jr. went 3-for-5 with four runs scored and three steals. Murphy had three hits, a walk and three RBIs.
Oh, Jenrry: Jenrry Mejia surrendered two homers to Justin Upton and ultimately was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. He stranded two runners in scoring position in his final frame and departed with the score tied at 4.
Mejia did not receive help from Curtis Granderson in right field.
Granderson misread B.J. Upton’s fly ball to right field into a triple in the third. Freddie Freeman followed with an RBI single and Justin Upton hit his second homer, a two-run shot, with two outs in that frame.
First-base watch: Ike Davis went 0-for-3 with two walks and an RBI. Lucas Duda pinch hit in the No. 9 hole and singled.
What’s next: The Mets have a long night ahead of them. They fly across the country and are expected to land in Los Angeles about 5 a.m. Eastern/2 a.m. Pacific on Friday. Then there’s still a one-hour bus ride to their Orange County hotel.
Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50 ERA), who is traveling with the team and did not fly ahead, opposes Los Angeles Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00) in the 10:05 p.m. ET series opener.
FIRST PITCH: Jenrry Mejia makes his second pitch to entrench himself in the rotation when the Mets have a rubber-game matchup with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. at Turner Field.
Mejia (1-0, 1.50 ERA) opposes right-hander David Hale (0-0, 0.00) in the series finale.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Freddie Freeman produced a two-run single in the fifth to cap the scoring against Wheeler and now has 37 RBIs in 38 games over the past three seasons against the Mets, making him the new Chipper Jones, ESPN Stats & Info’s Mark Simon writes.
• Terry Collins said Ike Davis will start at first base in Thursday’s series finale over Lucas Duda. So Duda’s audition appears to have run its course. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Juan Lagares crashed into the center-field wall on another highlight-reel catch after afterward suggested his right shoulder was uninjured.
• John Lannan, who continues to struggle, preauthorized a demotion to Triple-A the first 45 days of the season even though his MLB service time offered him protection against getting dispatched to the minors.
• David Wright entered Wednesday fighting the flu and hitless in 12 at-bats, but he participated in early batting practice and then went 2-for-4. Read more in the Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Noah Syndergaard allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings with Triple-A Las Vegas. Princeton product Matt Bowman earned the win in his Double-A debut. St. Lucie snapped a four-game losing skid as well as a 23-inning scoreless drought with a 5-2 win against Jupiter. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes the Mets have a difficult early schedule. Writes Diamond:
The Mets' opponents in their first 22 games this season posted a combined winning percentage of .552 in 2013. The stretch includes six games against the National League East champion Atlanta Braves (96-66), four against the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) and three against the NL wild card-winning Cincinnati Reds (90-72).
Only this weekend’s road series against the Los Angeles Angels (78-84) seems to offer the Mets some semblance of a break.
Since the league expanded to 30 teams in 1998, only 10 teams have endured a more grueling 22-game gauntlet to open a season than the 2014 Mets, using this measure.
• The Braves accidentally lit an American flag on fire during Tuesday’s Hank Aaron pregame ceremony, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear bridges the gap from Aaron to Bartolo Colon.
BIRTHDAYS: 2012 fourth-round pick Branden Kaupe turns 20. ... Fellow farmhand Edioglis Villasmil is 22.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: What can be done to address the Mets’ hitting woes?
Out of hospital. Thanks again for everyone's prayers and well-wishes. Time to get in rehab mode. Will be back on field in near future!— Frank J. Viola, Jr. (@FrankViola16) April 9, 2014
"That was a good indication nothing's wrong," Collins said.
Mejia limited the Cincinnati Reds to one run in six innings in his season debut. The Mets already list Mejia as Thursday's starter in Atlanta.
Elsa/Getty ImagesLucas Duda produces the second of two homers Friday night against Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds.
FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his second pitching opportunity of the season when he opposes Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field.
Gee was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.
For the Reds, Cueto surrendered a solo homer to Yadier Molina and only two other hits in seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener.
Eric Young Jr. is due to receive the Lou Brock Award as the 2013 National League steals leader before the game. The ceremony was postponed Friday because of the rainy conditions.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Terry Collins committed to giving Lucas Duda an extended look at first base. Duda then went out and hit a pair of two-run homers in the Mets’ 4-3 win against the Reds on Friday night at rainy Citi Field. Jenrry Mejia limited Cincy to one run in six innings. E.Y. Jr. took away a first-inning homer from Brandon Phillips. Anthony Recker became the second MLB player to throw out speedster Billy Hamilton on the basepaths, joining Juan Centeno last season. Jose Valverde earned his first Mets save.
“We needed it badly,” Terry Collins said about his club’s first 2014 victory, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
As for Duda getting this next stretch of games, perhaps there’s a reason, Cody Derespina in Newsday suggests. Wrote Derespina early Friday:
The Mets are due to face right-handed pitchers in their next five games: Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon of the Reds and Aaron Harang and David Hale of the Braves. Neither Davis nor Duda has faced Hale, but both have logged 24 at-bats against the other four starters.
Here’s the breakdown:
Davis is 3-for-24 against the quartet with a walk and four total bases. That’s a .125 average and .326 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Duda, however, is 9-for-24 with four walks and 16 total bases, a robust .375 average and 1.130 OPS.
Read Duda summaries and game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Record, Newsday, Times and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Recker in Newsday.
• Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five in his Triple-A debut with Las Vegas. Making his Florida State League debut, Long Island native Steven Matz was tagged with the loss. The southpaw allowed two runs in five innings in St. Lucie’s 6-2 loss to Palm Beach. Savannah native John Gant earned the win in the Gnats’ 10-1 victory against Lakewood. Jared King had a pair of two-run triples. Gavin Cecchini produced his second professional homer. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Boomer Esiason apologized for criticizing Daniel Murphy’s decision to take paternity leave and miss the first two games of the season.
“I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that,” Esiason reportedly said on-air after initially suggesting Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section before the season. “That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do. And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into the conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”
Read more in the Post and Daily News.
• Collins explained how Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will get bullpen work at Las Vegas by May, setting up that as their potential initial big-league role.
BIRTHDAYS: Former first-round pick Lastings Milledge turns 29. Milledge is playing this season for Yakult in the Japanese Central League.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Will Lucas Duda still be the Mets’ starting first baseman in 10 days?
David Wright is really committed to that New Kids on the Block walk-up song, huh? #Mets— Thomas Wilkinson (@RosenblattsBoss) April 5, 2014