New York Mets: Jenrry Mejia
Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Ike Davis is in danger of a demotion within five days or so if he does not start producing.
FIRST PITCH: For the first time since May 1-2, the Mets have a two-game winning streak.
Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61 ERA) looks to keep the roll going when he opposes Chicago Cubs right-hander Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53) at 1:05 p.m. ET today at Wrigley Field.
“Hef’s been pitching good enough,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to start putting some points on the board so these guys have something to work with.”
Saturday’s news reports:
• Ike Davis does not have many days remaining to prove he deserves to avoid a demotion, ESPNNewYork.com has learned. Davis did snap a hitless skid at 24 at-bats Friday. Andrew Brown played first base for Triple-A Las Vegas for the first time on Friday, and would seem the most likely call-up if a swap is made. Brown does have to stay in the minors for another five days before potentially returning, since he only was demoted Monday, when Rick Ankiel arrived. Zach Lutz and Josh Satin would appear less-likely alternatives. That also would appear to signal that the Mets do not want to disrupt Lucas Duda in left field, since any potential Davis absence would not be indefinite.
• Matt Harvey took the Mets’ offensive woes into his own hands, driving in the go-ahead run in the seventh after Collins passed on using a pinch hitter. Harvey improved to 5-0 and snapped a four-start streak of no-decisions as the Mets beat the Cubs, 3-2, at Wrigley Field.
Harvey became the second starting pitcher in the majors this season with a go-ahead RBI in his win in the seventh inning or later. The other: Clayton Kershaw against San Francisco on Opening Day. Harvey is the first Mets pitcher to do so since Sid Fernandez in 1993. It was only the second RBI by a Mets pitcher this season.
Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save, although Anthony Rizzo put a charge into a ball that got knocked down by the winds blowing in at Wrigley Field. Harvey and Parnell are a combined 9-0 with a 1.44 ERA; the rest of the Mets pitching staff is 7-23 with a 5.35 ERA, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Cubs third-base coach David Bell took responsibility for Darwin Barney getting thrown out at the plate in the eighth by right fielder Marlon Byrd with the would-be tying run. ”Obviously it is disappointing. It turned out it wasn't a very close play," Bell told ESPNChicago.com. "I just watched the replay again and it wasn't close. As a third-base coach you always want to make the right decision, and that clearly wasn't the right decision."
Matt Harvey relied on offspeed pitches after the first time through the Cubs lineup.
“They were coming out swinging,” Harvey said.
Harvey has allowed five hits or fewer in 15 of his first 20 career starts, the most in franchise history. Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, Randy Tate and Fernandez are tied for second (13 apiece).
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Travis d’Arnaud will be required to wear a boot and avoid placing pressure on his left foot for two more weeks, doctor Struan Coleman advised after examining the top catching prospect Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The Mets had hoped d’Arnaud would be cleared to begin weight-bearing activity after suffering a fractured first metatarsal on April 17 on a foul ball while catching.
Since d’Arnaud needs more Triple-A seasoning once he ultimately returns to play (perhaps in six weeks), he may end up no more than a September call-up to the majors at this point. Because of knee and foot injuries, d’Arnaud has played in only 79 Pacific Coast League games over two seasons.
The news was positive for Zack Wheeler yesterday. The Mets have slotted him back into Las Vegas’ rotation on Wednesday at Iowa.
Read more on d’Arnaud and Wheeler in Newsday and the Daily News.
• Cubs outfielder Scott Hairston told ESPNNewYork.com he had no hard feelings about how Sandy Alderson handled his free agency, although he questioned how much the Mets really wanted him.
• Satin had a three-run homer and Matt Fox earned the win in his organization debut as Las Vegas beat Omaha, 7-3. Jenrry Mejia allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in three innings in his first official rehab appearance with St. Lucie. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Keith Law projects the Mets will select California high school first baseman Dominic Smith with the 11th overall pick in next month’s draft.
Mookie Wilson says lay off Jordany Valdespin.
• Jose Reyes offered this to Dan Martin in the Post about Jordany Valdespin:
“I talk to Valdespin almost every day,” Reyes said. “He’s a very good friend of mine … I don’t know what’s going on over there. I don’t want to touch that. Valdespin, I support him in everything he [does] because he’s a good friend of mine. Other than that, I don’t know what’s going on over there.”
Mookie Wilson told the Daily News that Valdespin needs a chance to succeed without a bull’s-eye n his back.
“Give the kid a chance,” Wilson said. “He is a very spirited kid, very young and has a lot to learn, no question about that. But some things are being blown out of proportion. I think we need to back up and not overanalyze everything.”
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing discovers everything works on Harvey Day. … John Delcos at Mets Report asserts the Mets should demote Davis.
BIRTHDAYS: Brooklyn-born Nelson Figueroa is 39.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Would you be OK with Andrew Brown at first base? Or would you prefer Lucas Duda at first base and Brown available as an outfielder if Ike Davis’ demotion materializes?
Hey "guy who wants to give me a public scolding about being on my cellphone in the elevator", I'm not listening because I'm busy on my phone— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) May 17, 2013
BINGHAMTON 6, PORTLAND 3: The B-Mets (23-18) cashed in on three Portland errors in a three-run ninth to stretch their season-best winning streak to five games and move within one game of first-place Portland in the Eastern Division. Richard Lucas led off the ninth against reliever Keith Couch with a slow roller to third. Michael Almanzar barehanded the grounder and fired an errant throw to first as Lucas moved to second. With Lucas as the
BRADENTON 5, ST. LUCIE 4: Jenrry Mejia allowed two runs and five hits over three innings with three walks and six strikeouts in his first start on a major league rehab
AUGUSTA 11, SAVANNAH 0: Robert Gsellman was charged with seven runs (two earned) on nine hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings. The Gnats (22-17) mustered only one hit -- a game-opening single by Yucarybert De La Cruz -- as well as three walks. Box
Compiled from team reports
FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey Day has arrived.
Matt Harvey pitches at Wrigley Field this afternoon.
Harvey’s 1.44 ERA currently ranks third in the National League, trailing the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Cardinals’ Shelby Miller (both 1.40).
Read the Mets-Cubs series preview here.
Friday’s news reports:
• Jonathon Niese rediscovered his mechanics and pitched into the eighth inning, Daniel Murphy reached base five times and the Mets snapped a six-game losing streak with a series-salvaging 5-2 win against the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium. Niese’s fastball averaged 90 mph and topped out at 93 mph.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times, Record, Journal and MLB.com.
• Ike Davis is 0-for-his-last-22, but Terry Collins says he will stick with the first baseman in the cleanup spot against a pair of Cubs right-handers. There is no promise beyond that about the batting order, although Marc Carig in Newsday writes:
Ike Davis is 0-for-his-last-22.
Davis went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts Thursday. Writes Michael Salfino in the Journal:
If this all sounds familiar, it is because it is, eerily so. Last season, through May 16, Davis's numbers were almost exactly the same -- a .167 batting average, .222 on-base percentage and .310 slugging percentage. His on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) on May 16 the past two seasons: .532 last season and .516. That makes the 26-year-old Davis the only regular first baseman since at least 1921 with an OPS under .540 through the season's first 38 games in back-to-back seasons, according to Stats LLC.
Last season, Davis rewarded the Mets' faith. From May 17 onward, he posted a .247/.334/.511 line. Davis's .846 OPS from that date forward led the team and ranked sixth among all major-league first basemen (minimum 390 at-bats). …
Only two other regulars in Mets history have posted an OPS below .540 in back-to-back seasons through 38 games: Rey Ordonez (.535 in 1997, .459 in 1998) and Doug Flynn (.457 in 1979, .511 in 1980). But those two players were Gold Glove-winning middle infielders -- not first baseman who are expected to provide pop.
Read more on Davis in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and MLB.com.
• Jordany Valdespin apologized to “several” teammates Thursday, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted. Valdespin nonetheless had an ill-advised bunt attempt in the seventh inning.
• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record suggests Wally Backman could not win with the current Mets roster. Writes Klapsich, referring to Collins’ fans comment earlier in the week:
Collins should’ve known better than to give the Wilpons an opening like that. No matter what ownership says to the contrary, they’ll need a fall guy if the Mets are doomed to play .400 ball the rest of the summer. What better candidate than someone who rips the saps who still actually pay to see the Mets?
But that’s not saying Collins deserves to be canned. Given a pass for this week’s misstep, he’s had a better year than most of his remarkably awful lineup. There’s plenty of talk, generated mostly by rogue fans, about Wally Backman arriving mid-summer to shake things up. Admittedly, it’s a seductive story line: Backman and his tightly wound clock is just the medicine these sorry Mets need. Right?
Not really. Backman would face the same obstacles that currently handcuff Collins: a nonproductive outfield, a bullpen that ranked last in the majors in almost category in May, not to mention the regression of key players such as Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and even Niese.
Klapisch also quotes a league official about the addition of Rick Ankiel saying: “That tells me [the Mets] really have no plan, they’re just going from crisis to crisis. What can Ankiel give them? I’m sorry, you just don’t belong in the big leagues when you’re striking out [35 times in 62 at-bats before being released by the Astros last week]. You have to try to be that bad.”
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth and Omaha beat Las Vegas, 5-4. Noah Syndergaard limited Brevard County to two runs in 6 2/3 innings and struck out 10, but the Manatees beat St. Lucie, 4-3. Rainy Lara tossed eight scoreless innings and Savannah beat Augusta, 6-0 in 11 innings. Jenrry Mejia starts for St. Lucie tonight. Read the full minor league recap here.
Travis d'Arnaud is due to be examined by team doctors today in Manhattan.
• Frank Francisco (elbow) has passed the 72-hour window and may be able to resume throwing.
• Bob Raissman in the Daily News suggests Mets ratings are nosediving on SNY. Word is they had a sub-1.0 rating one game this week, a startling number for New York baseball, albeit with competition from the Knicks and Rangers. Writes Raissman:
The Mets on SNY are averaging a household rating of 1.91, down 22 percent from the same point in 2012. Among men 25-54, the key demographic, the Mets are averaging a 1.05 rating, down 15 percent from 2012.
That’s not good (duh). Some wins would help push these anemic ratings higher. When the Mets eventually bring Zack Wheeler to Citi Field he, like Harvey, should juice the ratings. Short of that, the idea is to at least stay relevant by any means necessary. The Mets managed to get five days of media juice out of this Valdespin thing, which really stretched the meaning of controversy.
• Baseball America reports the Mets are showing strong interest in teenage Venezuelan catcher Ali Sanchez ahead of the international free agent signing period, which begins July 2. He is projected to command slightly less than the $800,000 the Mets gave fellow Venezuelan catcher Jose Garcia two years ago. Writes BA’s Ben Badler:
Sanchez is a 16-year-old right-handed hitter who trains with Yhonson Lopez, has gone to the Dominican Republic to play in the International Prospect League and has emerged as one of the top catching prospects in Latin America behind Herrera. At 6 feet, 180 pounds, Sanchez is a good defender who receives well and has a decent arm that plays up because of his quick transfer and accuracy. At the plate, Sanchez doesn’t have a lot of power now and scouts were mixed on his bat, but some scouts think he has a chance to be a solid hitter with a contact-oriented swing.
• Ankiel said he would not consider stepping on the mound if the Mets needed to use a position player to complete a lopsided game. "No," Ankiel told Mike Kerwick in the Record, "‘cause if I ever did that and I got hurt, I’d never forgive myself."
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing contains its enthusiasm.
BIRTHDAYS: Dick Smith, a first baseman and outfielder on the ’63 and ’64 Mets, was born on this date in 1939.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Who is the best choice to start at first base: Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin, Andrew Brown or Zach Lutz?
Covering the Yankees, I write the word "injury" almost as often as I wrote the word "Picard" when covering the Mets.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) May 17, 2013
BREVARD COUNTY 4, ST. LUCIE 3: T.J. Mittelstaedt had a walk-off RBI double in the ninth against T.J. Chism. The Mets (23-15) dropped three of four games in the series. Noah
Compiled from team reports
Bill Boyce/Associated Press
Rick Ankiel made his Mets debut last night at Busch Stadium.
FIRST PITCH: Less Cowgill. More Ankiel?
Desperate for outfield production, the Mets signed strikeout-prone Rick Ankiel and will use him in a center-field platoon with Juan Lagares. Ankiel debuted last night at Busch Stadium, going 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
The signing seemed to be met by widespread dismay from Mets fans.
And this is not a slam at Ankiel.
The question becomes: If the Mets are not going to be a playoff team this season -- and who seriously thinks they are -- why not just experiment with young players? Get them experience for when the Mets again are relevant.
It doesn’t even matter which young player -- Lagares … Kirk Nieuwenhuis … Jordany Valdespin … anyone.
The Mets will counter that line of thinking by saying that Ankiel is a placeholder. And if they had someone ready to step in, they would be up, which is an indictment in itself.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The Mets, no matter the GM, have a tradition of trying to squeeze out a few wins in meaningless seasons by using the veteran at the expense of a young person playing, which leaves the prospect less prepared to contribute to brighter days.
It happened pre-Sandy Alderson, too.
Remember when Hisanori Takahashi was compiling saves late in the 2010 season after K-Rod’s family meltdown at Citi Field?
All that did was deprive Bobby Parnell of some closing experience back then and set up Takahashi for a two-year, $8 million deal that offseason as a free agent with the Los Angeles Angels.
Lagares, by the way, does start Tuesday. Dillon Gee (2-4, 5.55 ERA) will face left-hander John Gast in the southpaw’s major league debut at 8:15 p.m. ET.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Having borrowed a glove from Jonathon Niese because his had yet to find its way from Houston, Ankiel dropped a sinking liner off the bat of Ty Wigginton in the seventh inning Monday night. Wigginton eventually scored the deciding run when the Mets failed to cover home plate and the Cardinals won, 6-3, at Busch Stadium. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and MLB.com.
• The Mets optioned Andrew Brown to Las Vegas and moved Jenrry Mejia to the 60-day DL in order to clear a spot for Ankiel. Mejia will continue to pitch in the minors uninterrupted. Until early June, though, he will not count against the 40-man roster. Read more on Ankiel’s signing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Star-Ledger.
While pitching for the Red Sox last season, Scott Atchison passed on Tommy John surgery and instead let his elbow calm down for a couple of months.
• Frank Francisco was examined Monday in New York for continued elbow discomfort. He was diagnosed with a strained flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow and was advised to refrain from throwing for 72 hours. He may then attempt to resume activity. Bottom line: He is making $6.5 million this season. And he likely will not contribute anytime soon. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, who fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot four weeks ago, has an exam scheduled for Friday in New York. He hopes to be cleared to shed an immobilizing boot and begin weight-bearing activity.
• Alderson, appearing on WFAN, touched on a variety of topics:
--Alderson said he couldn’t foresee rock bottom any lower. “I’m not sure that things can devolve any further,” he said.
--He said this time of year, the only players available are generally via waiver claims and releases, as was the case with Ankiel. In other words: Don’t expect a cavalry.
“This is not the time of year when clubs, at least most clubs, are making massive changes,” Alderson said. “… At this particular juncture, there is not a lot that is available to us. Some of the players who are not playing well have to play better. It’s as simple as that.
Ankiel, 33, is starting in center field and batting seventh against his original team, the St. Louis Cardinals, on Monday night. He becomes the sixth player to start in that position for the Mets this season.
"Obviously I've played here in Busch Stadium quite a bit, so it's kind of ironic the first game back is here in St. Louis," Ankiel said.
Ankiel was released by the Houston Astros four days ago after hitting .194 with five homers, 11 RBIs and 35 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. He has missed on 42 percent of his swings this season -- the worst rate in MLB, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Rick Ankiel speaks with the media after arriving Monday at Busch Stadium.
Mets outfielders currently have a collective .222 batting average and .299 on-base percentage -- both ranked 14th in the National League. The 1965 Mets outfield, the worst in franchise history in those two categories, finished with a .223 batting average and .284 OBP.
Manager Terry Collins said the lefty-hitting Ankiel and righty-hitting rookie Juan Lagares will platoon in center field. That's a blow to Jordany Valdespin, whom Collins said may play some second base if Daniel Murphy continues to struggle.
Outfielder Andrew Brown was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas and right-hander Jenrry Mejia was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear room for Ankiel.
The Mets hope a change of scenery will help Ankiel, as it did at least initially with catcher John Buck.
Ankiel, presented with a handful of number options, chose No. 16. He was a fan of Dwight Gooden while growing up in Port St. Lucie, Fla. -- the Mets' spring-training home.
"I was a big Doc Gooden fan when I was younger, so even being able to wear 16 is cool," Ankiel said. "It's exciting. I asked what numbers were available. There weren't that many. When 16 was one of them, it was a done deal right away."
Ankiel has not received his equipment yet, so he borrowed left-handed reliever Scott Rice's glove and spikes and other items from various new teammates.
"All my stuff got stuck in Houston," Ankiel said. "I don't know what happened with the mail there or whatever, but we're on a borrow program tonight. Hopefully whatever stuff I borrow has some hits in it."
Ankiel said the contact with the Mets began two days ago.
Asked if he thought he would get another chance in the majors after being released by Houston, Ankiel said: "You don't know. You really don't know. I figured I would. I was hoping I would. And I did."
Courtesy of New York Mets
Cousins Olivia Nuzzo and Stephanie Giangrande show off the winning entry in the revival of Banner Day last May.
Edgardo Alfonzo, Kevin Burkhardt and 92.3 NOW morning-show host Ty Bentli will serve as judges.
Weather-permitting at 1:10 p.m., Jonathon Niese (2-3, 4.66 ERA) opposes left-hander Francisco Liriano, who is making his Pittsburgh Pirates debut after fracturing the humerus bone in his non-pitching arm on Christmas Day. Niese recently has been dealing with a back issue.
All eyes will be on the minors, too. Zack Wheeler tries to post a third straight solid start for Triple-A Las Vegas when he faces Albuquerque at 10:05 p.m. ET.
Terry Collins, by the way, says it’s the front office’s call -- not his -- about when the top prospect is promoted. (The front office is undoubtedly cognizant of not wanting to give Wheeler an extra year of arbitration, so the call-up may very well wait until June.)
Jenrry Mejia’s road back to the majors also continues today. Mejia, shut down in spring training with forearm tendinitis, starts for Class A St. Lucie.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Shaun Marcum failed to complete five innings for the third straight start. The ex-Brewer was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings as the Mets lost to the Pirates, 7-3, Friday night. Marcum also took a liner off his left thumb. X-rays were negative.
Shaun Marcum has failed to complete five innings in any of his three Mets starts.
Said David Wright about the team’s continued hitting woes after the Mets went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position Friday: “I think guys are pressing probably a little bit, and rightfully so. Everybody wants to be that guy that gets that big hit to break the spell. But in doing so you put a little too much pressure on yourself sometimes.”
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Times, Record, Newsday, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Journal and MLB.com.
• Wright fouled a ball off the inside of his left knee. He hopes to be available to play today. Read more at MLB.com.
• Jeurys Familia is suffering from biceps tenditinis. That may prompt the Mets to activate Frank Francisco without another minor league appearance, with Familia potentially landing on the disabled list.
• On the timetable for Wheeler’s promotion, Anthony McCarron writes in the Daily News:
So here’s hoping, for their own sake, the Mets judge Wheeler’s next few weeks wisely. They can’t react to the lethargic crowds at Citi Field -- there was an announced attendance of 25,123 Friday, and the Mets started the day ninth in the NL in attendance -- by sending for Wheeler. Night after night, regardless of a few Mike Baxter walk-offs, some decent relief showings and Matt Harvey’s magic, we’re learning how difficult this season is likely to be for the Mets.
They don’t score much anymore, as Collins noted when he said, “We aren’t giving them much room to wiggle, on the mound.” They have outfield issues and they need to fix Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada. They are 4-9 in their last 13 games.
In other words, what’s the rush? Wheeler may help save the Mets, but that really feels like a 2014 narrative, not one from this season.
Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post says Wheeler "can't get here fast enough."
• Jordany Valdespin admired his solo homer in the ninth. Collins said there is nothing he can do about it anymore. Meanwhile, as Mother’s Day approaches, Anthony DiComo at MLB.com writes that Valdespin’s major league earnings have allowed him to tell his mother to quit working as a housemaid in their native Dominican Republic.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests the Mets may be approaching the point at which they have to decide whether Davis or Lucas Duda plays first base … and trade the other.
• Read more on Liriano joining the Pirates in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• Darrell Ceciliani went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs as Binghamton responded a day later to getting no-hit with a rain-shortened 8-4 win against Harrisburg. St. Lucie starter Domingo Tapia landed on the DL after burning his non-pitching hand. Beck Wheeler suffered the loss in relief as Rome beat Savannah, 3-2. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Jorge Arangure in the Times and Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger write about Mike Baxter’s success as a pinch hitter -- and his attacking approach as compared with his patience as a starter. Baxter, unused Friday, is 5-for-9 as a pinch hitter this season and produced his first two walk-off hits this week.
• Justin Turner started over slumping Daniel Murphy at second base Friday. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests the Mets should not think about signing arbitration-eligible Ike Davis to a multiyear deal. … Faith and Fear in Flushing frets over what to do when you can't get 3G or 4G but you want to know what's up with Dillon Gee. … Metsmerized points out the uncanny similarities between Matt Harvey and Tom Seaver and suggests younger fans can now feel what it must have been like when Seaver first came up.
BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Walt Terrell, whose Dec. 7, 1984 trade to the Detroit Tigers brought Howard Johnson to Flushing, turns 55.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Even if he is not the closer, can Frank Francisco be useful to the Mets?
You don't have to guess at Jordany Valdespin's twitter handle. twitter.com/Jay_HorwitzPR/…— Jay Horwitz (@Jay_HorwitzPR) May 10, 2013
BINGHAMTON 8, HARRISBURG 4 (seven innings): One night after being no-hit, the B-Mets scored eight runs in the first two innings en route to a rain-shortened victory. After Harrisburg scored a run on an Anthony Rendon double in the top half of the first, Binghamton came out swinging against Harrisburg starter Caleb Clay. Darrell Ceciliani led off with a single and Danny Muno followed with a two-run homer. Josh Rodriguez then was hit by a pitch. Rodriguez moved to third on Allan Dykstra’s single and scored on a double play. Binghamton batted around in the second, scoring five more times. Ceciliani had a two-run triple. After Rodriguez singled him home, reliever Matt Swynenberg entered. Dykstra welcomed him with a two-run homer to push the lead to 8-1. B-Mets starter Erik Goeddel ran into trouble in the fourth. He gave up consecutive doubles to Ricky Hague and Swynenberg as Harrisburg cut the deficit to 8-4. Goeddel’s night ended after five innings. He allowed four runs on six hits and picked up his third victory. Adam Kolarek threw a perfect sixth. Jack Leathersich recorded two outs in the seventh before the rain came and ended the game. Box
PALM BEACH 7, ST. LUCIE 3: Dustin Lawley went 3-for-4, scored twice and had two RBIs,
ROME 3, SAVANNAH 2: Beck Wheeler (0-1) surrendered the tiebreaking run in the eighth as Jose Peraza singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Levi Hyams’ single. Hyams’ slow bouncer up the middle squirted off the glove of Savannah second baseman Yucarybert De La Cruz and into center field. The Braves (19-13) moved within a game of the Gnats (20-12) for first place in the Southern Division. Savannah never led. In the third, Jayce Boyd doubled home De La Cruz to even the score at 1. In the sixth, Kevin Plawecki doubled up the left-center gap to score Boyd and even the score at 2. Savannah starter Rainy Lara allowed two runs (one earned) in seven innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. Box
Compiled from team reports
Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Mike Baxter received a whipped-cream pie to the face from Justin Turner after delivering a walk-off RBI.
Friday’s news reports:
• Mike Baxter for the second time in three days delivered a walk-off RBI single, this time against Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli, and the Mets won 3-2 at Citi Field on Thursday night. The Mets’ last three home wins have come in walk-off fashion.
Marlon Byrd greets Mike Baxter after Baxter's game-winning hit.
“He gets better jumps and routes to balls than Matt,” one Mets official said, contrasting Lagares with Matt den Dekker. “He makes it look easier. Matt makes up for his not-so-good jumps with his speed. But Juan is much better than people think.”
Dillon Gee took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning, when he loaded the bases and departed.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and MLB.com.
• Wally Backman believes Zack Wheeler could be promoted to the majors “after a couple of more starts.”
• In a memoir on sale next month, Dwight Gooden details an all-night cocaine party that caused him to miss the parade down the Canyon of Heroes celebrating the Mets’ 1986 championship. Read more in the Post and Daily News.
• The Double-A Binghamton Mets were no-hit by Washington Nationals farmhands Paul Demny and Ian Krol. Meanwhile, St. Lucie right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in December, limited Palm Beach to one run in a career-high-matching seven innings in a 17-1 rout. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News speculates about the Mets’ 2013-14 offseason pursuit of an outfielder. Writes Harper:
One, in particular, I’ve heard multiple times this week is Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds’ center fielder and leadoff hitter, who will be one of the more attractive free-agent outfielders available next winter.
“I’d bet on him being a Met next season,” one major league exec with past ties to GM Sandy Alderson said on Thursday. “He’s a high on-base percentage guy, which is what Sandy wants, and he’s a really good hitter. If they’re going to sign a free-agent outfielder, it’s going to be a pretty thin outfield class. I don’t really think Choo can play center field long term, and his power won’t play like it does in Cincinnati’s ballpark, but he’s a clutch hitter who would be a major upgrade for the Mets.”
Plenty of people getting bloody noses like Matt Harvey.
Richard Lebowitz, an associate professor of otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said he "can't go a week" without seeing a patient suffering from nosebleeds. The dry, cold air Harvey experienced in Denver only made things worse.
"There is a collection of blood vessels right in front of the nose, and it takes just a little bit of trauma to open them up," Lebowitz said. "Then there's nothing there between him and his jersey." …
He said people suffering from nosebleeds can have the offending blood vessel cauterized, which will almost always fix the problem. Short of that, Harvey will need to wait until it heals -- and potentially deal with more nosebleeds.
"It's not going to take much to get it to open up and bleed again," Lebowitz said.
• Jonathon Niese said Thursday he felt a little knot in his back after his last start, but suggested it no longer is an issue and he is fine to take the mound Saturday. Read more at MLB.com.
• Jeurys Familia was unavailable Thursday with a sore right elbow, he told Mike Puma in the Post.
• Frank Francisco likely will pitch at a higher level in the minors than St. Lucie, where he has been working, before being activated from the DL within a week. Francisco is unlikely to unseat Parnell as closer -- not in the near-term anyway. Read more in Newsday, the Daily News and Times.
• Pedro Feliciano is on the St. Lucie DL with a strain of food poisoning known as ciguatera.
• Jenrry Mejia, who was shut down with forearm tendinitis during spring training, is ready to pitch for St. Lucie as Saturday’s starter.
• Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud is scheduled for an exam on his fractured left foot next Friday in New York.
• Ike Davis did not start Thursday, but did have a key RBI double off the bench that gave the Mets a short-lived lead in the seventh. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Read more on Gee’s outing in the Post.
• Justin Terranova in the Post speaks with Howie Rose about splitting his time between calling the Islanders and Mets.
• The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is offering grants to New York-area youth baseball and softball organizations that were directly affected by Superstorm Sandy. Get more details and apply here.
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple notes the Mets are on pace to turn a ton of double plays this season.
BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Pete Schourek turns 44. … Craig Brazell, who teamed with Victor Diaz to help prevent the Cubs from a postseason berth in 2004, is 33. He played from 2009-12 for Hanshin in Japan.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: What date do you think Zack Wheeler will be promoted?
Gonna try to convince my wife that going to see Matt Harvey pitch on Sunday would be a great Mother's Day present ;-)#Mets— Tony V (@1AngryItalian) May 10, 2013
Mejia already has appeared in extended spring training and could be assigned to Class A St. Lucie as soon as this weekend, Paul DePodesta said.
UPDATE: Mejia is expected to start for St. Lucie on Saturday.
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Jon Niese pitches this afternoon for the first time since getting struck in the right ankle Tuesday.
Niese will be making his first start since getting nailed on the right ankle by a comebacker Tuesday off the bat of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mark Elllis.
Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 career starts against the Mets.
Terry Collins suggested outfielders Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares likely would be in the starting lineup.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is due to be activated after serving a 25-game suspension related to amphetamines.
Sunday’s news reports:
• Shaun Marcum surrendered three runs in four innings and was dissatisfied with his Mets debut. Robert Carson then served up homers to Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. in the fifth as the Met lost to the Phillies, 9-4, Saturday at Citi Field. The Mets have now lost eight of their past nine games against Philadelphia. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer and MLB.com.
• The Mets demoted Josh Edgin to clear the roster spot for Marcum. Edgin reported to Binghamton, not Las Vegas, because the offense-first Pacific Coast League is not conducive to getting on track. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
John Buck has eight homers in April, matching the most ever by a Mets catcher in the month.
Q: You and your wife grew up together in Salt Lake City. How did you propose?
A: “I was at one of her last volleyball games [at Snow College]. They called her to the 10-foot line at a volleyball game. ... I proposed to her at the 10-foot line in her volleyball game."
Buck also notes that Harvey reminds him of Zack Greinke.
• Cody Derespina in Newsday goes inside the numbers of Buck’s April production, which has tailed off despite Friday’s long ball.
• Attendance seems to get a modest bump at Citi Field with Harvey on the mound. As for ratings on SNY, they’re 14 percent higher in games Harvey starts, according to Bob Raissman in the Daily News.
• Mike Kerwick in the Record suggests waiting a little while before erecting a statue in Harvey’s honor.
• Frank Francisco and Jenrry Mejia are progressing after injuries.
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests there is “no relief in sight” for the Mets.
• Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News says Marcum fit in with all the other Mets starting pitchers not named Harvey.
• Terry Collins stuck to his reconfigured lineup for a second straight day Saturday. Read more in the Post.
• Logan Verrett improved to 4-0 as Double-A Binghamton beat Akron 7-2. Rainy Lara tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in low-A Savannah’s 1-0 win against West Virginia. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Gregg Sarra in Newsday chats with St. Lucie catcher Cam Maron, who hails from Hicksville, Long Island.
• R.A. Dickey faces the Yankees in the Bronx today. Read more in the Post.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing thought extended spring training continued Saturday at Citi Field … Shannon from Mets Police is watching his favorite baseball team and thinks, "I have a bad feeling about this."
BIRTHDAYS: Dillon Gee turns 27. … Jorge Sosa, who is pitching in Japan for the second straight season, is 35.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Frank Francisco and Jenrry Mejia are making progress in Port St. Lucie.
So what's happened in the week since?
Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Francisco merely skipped the club's road trip and instead continued to pitch and progress in extended spring training games.
Warthen said Francisco's velocity is "creeping up" and he now has enough arm strength to throw an effective splitter. Francisco has not pitched on consecutive days yet, which likely is a prerequisite to be activated from the season-opening DL stint.
Warthen said he did not know a precise timetable for Francisco's return from the DL, where the reliever landed for elbow inflammation, but there is a maximum 30-day rehab clock. So Francisco should be back no later than May 17.
• Jenrry Mejia, working back from forearm tendinitis, is due to throw batting practice today for the first time since the injury arose during spring training.
• Tim Byrdak continues to progress from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Byrdak has reached 180 feet in his long-tossing on flat ground and should be on a mound during the upcoming week for the first time since the surgery.
• Pedro Feliciano, like Francisco, avoided the St. Lucie Mets' road trip and is pitching in extended spring training games, Warthen said.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Jonathon Niese, who reached base in all three of his plate appearances, greets John Buck after the catcher scored Monday.
Six Mets had two-hit games, including newcomers Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Cowgill, plus pitcher Jonathon Niese.
The Mets improved their Opening Day winning percentage to an MLB-best .654 (34-18).
Terry Collins thought winning on Day 1 was important to try to establish credibility with fans.
The Mets take today off, then send Matt Harvey to the mound Wednesday night against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard.
A pair of intended members of the Mets’ rotation will have important events during today’s off-day, though.
Johan Santana undergoes surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder for the second time.
In Port St. Lucie, Shaun Marcum will throw in a controlled game in which he tosses 75 pitches, spread evenly over five innings.
Marcum suffered from a shoulder impingement and neck discomfort during spring training, although he officially was placed on the DL by the team with biceps tendinitis. The Mets hope to activate Marcum for Sunday’s homestand finale against the Miami Marlins. Otherwise, Aaron Laffey is a candidate to be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and make the start.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Read game recaps in the Times, Daily News Record, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Cowgill became the first Met to hit a grand slam in his debut with the franchise. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post and Times.
• Niese became the 22nd different Mets pitcher to start on Opening Day. In addition to reaching base in all three of his plate appearances, the southpaw limited the Padres to two runs in 6 2/3 innings to earn the win. Read more in the Post and Newsday.
• Ruben Tejada, after hitting .096 in spring training, drove in the first run of the season with a second-inning double off Edinson Volquez that scored Buck from first base. Read more in Newsday and the Post.
• David Wright continued his streak of producing at least one hit in every Opening Day game in which he has participated. He also stole two bases Monday. Wright was introduced by Howie Rose during the pregame ceremony as the fourth captain in franchise history. Read more in the Record, Post and Newsday.
• Former Long Island Ducks left-hander Scott Rice made his major league debut with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts. Rice (31 years, 192 days old) became the second-oldest U.S.-born player to make his major league debut with the Mets. Only Shawn Gilbert (32 years, 82 days) in 1997 was older. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Post and Newsday.
• Overall, the retooled bullpen tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings, notes Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger.
• Frank Francisco (elbow), Jenrry Mejia (forearm), Marcum and Santana officially were placed on the disabled list.
• The Mets generously announced Monday’s crowd as a sellout of 41,053, despite pockets of empty seats visible. The team said another 1,000 tickets -- not counted in the attendance total -- were given away to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Read more in Newsday.
• Dwight Gooden, who attended the Mets opener, told Neil Best in Newsday: "I'm not sold on the bullpen yet, but I like the starting pitching. And the offense, I think, can be average. It's going to be a long shot this year, obviously. A lot of things need to go their way. They have to be healthy, some guys have to play better than expectations. And you have to hope for injuries from the other teams in the division, unfortunately."
• New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a devout Mets fan, attended Monday’s Mets-Padres game, notes Mike Lupica in the Daily News.
• Columnist Steve Politi in the Star-Ledger and Mike Vaccaro in the Post say Day 1 gave Mets fans hope. Johnette Howard at ESPNNewYork.com, Tyler Kepner in the Times and Tim Smith in the Daily News also review the positive day.
• Ike Davis went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. “The streak continues,” Davis told Mike Puma in the Post. “Maybe I’m nervous or jitters or swinging too hard. I still have never gotten a hit on Opening Day.”
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing frames Opening Day as the other side of "to be continued..." … Shannon from Mets Police congratulates the Mets on announcing a sold-out stadium, but is befuddled by the pictures of empty seats he took.
BIRTHDAYS: Hisanori Takahashi turns 38. … Al Weis was born on Long Island on this date in 1938.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Does your opinion of the Mets’ potential change because of their Opening Day showing?
I wonder if @adamrubinespn still thinks we're only getting 66 W's this year?— Real Edwin (@thereal_edwin) April 1, 2013
Santana is due to undergo surgery Tuesday for a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder and will be lost for the season.
Francisco is having a slow return from December surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
Marcum is expected to be activated for Game 6 of the season, after dealing with shoulder and neck discomfort. He officially was listed on the DL with biceps tendinitis, which had not previously been mentioned by the club.
Mejia has experienced forearm tendinitis.
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Jeremy Hefner hits the ground after being struck in the right elbow with a fourth-inning comebacker Tuesday.
FIRST PITCH: Under the Tradition Field lights tonight, Jonathon Niese gets his final tune-up for the April 1 opener against the San Diego Padres.
Niese, who likely will be restricted to 50 or so pitches, faces Houston Astros right-hander Edgar Gonzalez in the 6:05 p.m. game.
Wednesday’s news reports:
Aaron Laffey is expected to sub for Shaun Marcum in the rotation.
The Mets are unlikely to pursue a starting pitcher from outside the organization -- Chris Young or otherwise -- a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com. Sandy Alderson did watch Young’s final start with the Washington Nationals on Monday night, before Young officially opted out, according to Newsday.
Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal, Times, Daily News, Post and Newsday.
• Jeremy Hefner was struck on the right elbow by a sharp one-hop comebacker off the bat of Carlos Beltran, but X-rays were negative.
• In his first game since the World Baseball Classic on March 12, David Wright went 1-for-5 in a pair of minor league games while DHing. He plans to again play in a minor league game Thursday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post and MLB.com.
• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com speaks with Alderson.
"My goal, ultimately, is for a lot of Mets fans to be happy with where we are -- not where we're going, but where we are," Alderson told DiComo. “… Are there things I would have done differently? Absolutely. In this business, you have to keep in mind that you're not going to be right every time. But you have to be right often enough so that the team is successful. We haven't been right often enough. …
"Many fans are not conditioned to think long term, and you would expect that to be especially true in New York. I don't know if this is a majority or a minority, but I've actually found from day to day that a lot of people have bought into what we're doing. That does not mean that the average Mets fan has unlimited patience. But my sense is that they have some understanding, at least, of what we're trying to do."
• Pedro Feliciano, after failing to make the Opening Day roster, has decided to remain with the Mets organization. Read more in the Times and Post.
• In need of roster spots, the Mets have alerted other teams they will trade non-core prospects currently on their 40-man roster. The Mets’ 40-man roster stands at 39 since Brandon Hicks was removed. The Mets are expected to need to add Scott Atchison, Marlon Byrd, LaTroy Hawkins, Laffey and Omar Quintanilla.
• Third base coach Tim Teufel’s son Shawn, a left-handed pitcher, has signed a minor league deal with the Mets.
• After Hefner’s departure from Tuesday’s game, Mets farmhands imploded on the mound and the Cardinals beat the Mets, 11-4, at Tradition Field. Lucas Duda homered during a 3-for-4, four-RBI day. A pocket of Mets fans chanted “Overrated” at Yadier Molina. The Cards catcher responded by belting a two-run homer against minor leaguer Randy Fontanez, who faced seven batters and failed to record an out.
On the overrated chant that preceded Molina’s homer, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The pitch before I said, 'They're just making him mad enough that he's going to hit a homer.' I said, 'He may give them a gesture when he crosses home plate.' I didn't say what gesture. He was going to acknowledge them. He handled it with much more class than I did, because I looked up there (at the fans chanting). I love that stuff. There are certain guys that you bring the best out in them when you try stuff like that. I saw that one coming."
• Duda and hitting coach Dave Hudgens met halfway in their spring-training adjustments to his swing, Marc Carig writes in Newsday.
• The Mets will offer a free ticket to you on your birthday this season. Just show a valid form of ID (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc.) at a Citi Field ticket window on your birthday, provided it is a home-game day (subject to availability). Birthdays falling on the April 1 opener, May 27-28 Subway Series and games after Sept. 29 are not eligible. If your birthday falls on those dates, during the winter or when the Mets play a road game, you are eligible for a free birthday ticket April 3-4, April 23-25 or Sept. 13-15.
• Matt den Dekker will need to wear a cast on his fractured right wrist for six weeks.
• Jenrry Mejia was examined in New York and diagnosed with forearm tendinitis. He will be idle for two weeks.
• From the bloggers … Shannon from Mets Police is going to miss writing about Dave Howard. … The Eddie Kranepool Society also weighs in on Howard’s move from Mets executive VP to MSG Sports chief. … Rising Apple has a preview of the 1973 season, as if the season had yet to be played. … John Delcos at Mets Report also talks ’73.
BIRTHDAYS: Matt Harvey turns 24. … 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo turns 20.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are the Mets making the right call with Aaron Laffey poised to plug Shaun Marcum’s spot in the rotation?
Welcome to the world Turner Dewitt!! 7lbs 10oz and 21 1/4 inches long!— Josh Edgin (@joshedgin37) March 27, 2013