New York Mets: Jenrry Mejia

Colon on for Saturday, Mejia still TBD

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
6:34
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Bartolo Colon will be on the mound for the New York Mets on Saturday, as scheduled, barring an unforeseen setback.

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.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
7:17
PM ET

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.
METS (8-7, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (10-5, first place/NL East)

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.


Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsJason Heyward's last visit to Citi Field resulted in a broken jaw via an errant fastball from Jon Niese.


This season, Heyward is only 1-for-18 against left-handed pitching. The hit came on April 13 with a double against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez.

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.

Morning Briefing: Mets above .500

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
5:30
AM ET
PHOENIX

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.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesDaisuke Matsuzaka gestures in the visitors' dugout at Chase Field on Wednesday after rejoining the Mets.


• The Mets promoted Daisuke Matsuzaka from Triple-A to serve as a longer reliever and dropped John Lannan. Lannan had 72 hours from Wednesday’s decision to accept a demotion or declare free agency. With Lannan’s departure, Scott Rice is the lone lefty in the bullpen, but Collins said he won’t burn out the southpaw. Read more on Dice-K’s return in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record, Star-Ledger and at 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?

Collins expects no issue with Colon

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
3:33
PM ET

USA TODAY SportsJenrry Mejia (blister) and Bartolo Colon (back) both are dealing with minor medical issues.
PHOENIX -- Bartolo Colon is fully expected to start Saturday in his normal rotation spot, Terry Collins said Wednesday.

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."

Morning Briefing: Above .500?

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
5:35
AM ET
PHOENIX

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: YOU’RE UP: Will Nieuwenhuis thrive in Juan Lagares’ absence?

Mejia: Blister shouldn't derail next start

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
2:04
AM ET
PHOENIX -- Jenrry Mejia drew praise from the Arizona Diamondbacks after tossing five scoreless innings Tuesday.

“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.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 9, Diamondbacks 0

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
12:29
AM ET
PHOENIX -- The New York Mets are back where they started the season: .500.

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.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJenrry Mejia tossed five scoreless innings before departing with a blister issue.


Mejia departed with his pitch count only at 77 and the Mets leading by nine runs, because he had torn a blister on the tip of his middle finger. Blisters have been a recurring problem for Mejia.

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.

Morning Briefing: Beware any 3 AM calls

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
5:47
AM ET
ATLANTA

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?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 4

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
10:37
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Although they are now only 4-5 on the season, the New York Mets have won consecutive series against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.

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.

Morning Briefing: Mejia starts rubber match

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
5:35
AM ET
ATLANTA

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:




Zack Wheeler, returning to the scene of his big-league debut, allowed four runs in five innings and suffered his first career defeat in four decisions against the Atlanta Braves. A ninth-inning comeback fell short and the Mets lost, 4-3, Wednesday. Ervin Santana deserved some credit for tossing eight scoreless innings, but the Mets collectively are hitting .190 through eight games. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.

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?

Jenrry Mejia runs, ankle OK

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
11:17
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia, who was struck in the right ankle with a comebacker in the series opener, ran without issue on Saturday morning and appears fine, manager Terry Collins said.

"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.

Morning Briefing: TC on W: 'Needed badly'

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
5:35
AM ET

Elsa/Getty ImagesLucas Duda produces the second of two homers Friday night against Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds.
NEW YORK

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?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Reds 3

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
10:12
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda, in his first game since Terry Collins announced plans to give him an “extended look” at first base, spoke loudly with his bat.

Duda slugged a pair of two-run homers against Mike Leake and the Mets notched their first win of the season, holding on for a 4-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on a rainy Friday night at Citi Field.

Jose Valverde, filling in for injured Bobby Parnell, recorded his first save as a Met and the 287th of his career -- two shy of matching Armando Benitez for 26th all time. Valverde allowed two baserunners but escaped for his first save since June 11, 2013 with Detroit.


Elsa/Getty ImagesLucas Duda rounds the bases after his second two-run homer Friday.


Only two of Duda’s 15 homers last season came with men on base.

Duda finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a walk. It marked his fifth career multihomer game. He also scooped two bounced throws from David Wright at first base.

Oh, Jenrry! Jenrry Mejia struck out a career-high eight batters while limiting Cincinnati to one run on four hits and five walks in six innings. He threw 101 pitches, his most since also reaching that total in Triple-A on April 13, 2011.

Mejia did receive a first-inning bailout from left fielder Eric Young Jr., who jumped Endy Chavez-style at the wall to take away a would-be first-inning homer from Brandon Phillips.

For the second straight game, Mejia was drilled with a comebacker. In Phillips’ next at-bat, he smoked a grounder off Mejia’s right ankle in the third. In Montreal last Friday, Mejia had been struck in the right forearm by a line drive, which resulted in inflammation and the need for X-rays, but no fracture.

Oh, pen: The maligned bullpen inherited a 4-1 lead from Mejia with three innings to play and immediately started giving it back.

John Lannan surrendered a two-out, two-run homer to Jay Bruce in the seventh as Cincinnati pulled within a run.

However, Kyle Farnsworth subsequently recorded four outs, topping out at 94 mph, to get the ball to Valverde.

The bullpen has now allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in 12 1/3 innings -- good for a 9.49 ERA.

Murphy’s flaw: Daniel Murphy committed his third error in two games since returning from paternity leave. Murphy could not handle Todd Frazier’s would-be double-play grounder in the sixth, instead resulting in two runners on base and none out with the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead. Mejia bailed out Murphy, ultimately stranding runners on the corners by striking out Leake.

Silent nights: Travis d’Arnaud and E.Y. Jr. each went 0-for-3. Each is now hitless in 12 at-bats this season.

Met his match: Speedster Billy Hamilton has been caught stealing only twice in his big-league career. Both times have been by the Mets.

Juan Centeno did the honors last season. Friday night, it was Anthony Recker, after Hamilton entered as a pinch-runner with one out in the eighth and the Mets leading by a run.

What’s next: Opening Day starters Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.40 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (0-1, 1.29) face off at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at Citi Field.

Seth Wenig/Associated PressDaniel Murphy commits the first of his two errors Thursday, after returning from paternity leave.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: After the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep on Thursday at Citi Field, Terry Collins insisted his ballclub is better than it demonstrated in the opening series.

The Mets dropped to 0-3 for the fifth time in franchise history, matching the 1962, 1963, 1964 and 2005 editions.

“We’re a lot better team defensively, we’re a lot better team offensively than we’re seeing right now,” Collins said. “It’s three days. It certainly leaves a sour taste in your mouth when you start out the season like this. But I can tell you a few teams that ended up being pretty good that got off to slow starts.”

The Mets now try to regroup against the Cincinnati Reds, who lost two of three at home to the St. Louis Cardinals to open the season.

Jenrry Mejia, who was named to the rotation over Daisuke Matsuzaka, opposes Mike Leake (17-, 3.37 ERA in 2013) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener at Citi Field.

Friday’s news reports:

• Sources say Collins plans to give Lucas Duda a prolonged look at first base beginning Friday rather than juggle playing time between Duda, Ike Davis and Josh Satin. The Mets are due to face exclusively right-handers over the next two series, negating any thought of using the righty-hitting Satin anyway. “We’ve got to see one of these guys play,” Collins said, without acknowledging which player would get the extensive look. “Then, if he doesn’t get the job done, we’ll shift gears. But we’ve got to give him ample at-bats to have a better idea.” Read more in the Post, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Daniel Murphy committed two errors at second base and felt “sluggish” in the field in his return after missing the season’s first two games on paternity leave. Murphy said he was fully justified in spending time with his wife and newborn son Noah, despite talk-radio criticism of him missing games. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.


Adam RubinChris Young landed on the disabled list Thursday.


Chris Young landed on the disabled list before Thursday’s game with a right quadriceps strain. That temporarily spared Wilmer Flores a demotion to Las Vegas with Murphy being reactivated from paternity leave. Collins indicated Flores is likely to head to Triple-A on Sunday, when the Mets plan to activate Jonathon Niese from the disabled list to face the Cincinnati Reds. Read more in the Daily News and Record.

Bobby Parnell indicated it is “50-50” whether he ends up having Tommy John surgery to address a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. Regardless, Parnell expects a relatively quick resolution so that he can avoid compromising his 2015 availability if he ultimately needs to undergo the procedure. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

• The Mets lost Thursday’s series finale, 8-2, to Washington. The Nats have won eight straight games against the Mets since last Sept. 1. Zack Wheeler expressed disappointment with allowing three runs in six innings. Of course, the bullpen allowed a one-run game to get out of hand. Overall, the underwhelming relief corps surrendered 12 runs (11 earned) in 9 1/3 innings in the three-game series. The Mets were outscored 22-4 after the first inning in the series.

“It was tough. We certainly didn’t pitch as well as we hoped to, but I thought the three starters (Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and Wheeler) did a nice job, kept us in games,” Collins said. “We’ve got to come out of that bullpen and we’ve got to start throwing some strikes. When we’re successful, it’s because you make the other team swing the bat. Not that they can’t get a hit, but when you’re behind in the count, you’re going to get in trouble in this league.”

Collins added that the Mets lacking players -- Chris Young with the quadriceps injury and Murphy for the first two games for fatherhood duties -- has made things more challenging.

“We actually played very well toward the end of camp,” the manager said. “I think one of the things right now is we continue to be unable to put the team out in the field that we hoped to. … I can assure you we’re better than what we’ve seen the last three days.”

Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:

It has taken the Mets just one series into the season to be officially declared unwatchable.

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

• Read more on Wheeler in the Post.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday suggests the Mets’ early season schedule does them no favors. Writes Rieber:

Strength of schedule often is an overlooked component in baseball and the Mets are facing a difficult opening stretch. For a team that needs a fast start, beginning with Washington-Cincinnati-at Atlanta is not helpful. That's two 2013 playoff teams and one that should have been.

The following four series aren't cakewalks, either: at Angels, at Diamondbacks, then home for the Braves and Cardinals. The Mets may be 10 games under .500 soon after Easter Sunday.

Juan Lagares hit for the “cycle” if you combine his first two games. It took him seven at-bats. That’s the quickest in the majors to start a season since Ian Kinsler took six at-bats with Texas in 2012, according to Matthew Oshinsky in the Journal. Since 1997, only Kinsler has done it quicker than Lagares.

• Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson presented Jeff Wilpon with an award before Thursday’s game recognizing the Mets’ contribution to Hurricane Sandy relief. Johnson also threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

David Wright (eighth) and Matt Harvey (15th) both checked in on the list of the most popular MLB jerseys sold since the World Series, as computed by sales on MLB’s web site.

• Rafael Montero tossed six scoreless innings and Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered while going 4-for-4 in Las Vegas’ season-opening 9-2 win against Fresno. Zach Lutz added a grand slam. Bronx native T.J. Rivera’s tiebreaking grand slam helped lift St. Lucie to a 6-5 win against Palm Beach. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Noah Syndergaard makes his Triple-A debut on Friday night. Paul DePodesta confirmed to Marc Carig in Newsday that all the Vegas starters, including Syndergaard, could skip occasional rotation turns during the Pacific Coast League season and instead pitch an inning out of the bullpen on those days to limit their season innings counts.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear returned to Citi Field Thursday afternoon to find the weather vastly improved from Opening Day but the Mets not getting any better. ... MetsMinors.net chats with Allan Dykstra.

BIRTHDAYS: Eric Valent, who hit for the cycle as a Met on July 29, 2004 at Montreal, turns 37. ... The late Gil Hodges and Jim Fregosi were born on this date.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you support Terry Collins’ decision to give Lucas Duda a prolonged look at first base to sink or swim?

Morning Briefing: The day after ...

April, 1, 2014
Apr 1
5:40
AM ET

Elsa/Getty ImagesJohn Lannan reacts after serving up a three-run homer to Anthony Rendon in the 10th inning on Opening Day.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets take a pause after an Opening Day loss before regrouping for Game 2 of the season.

Bartolo Colon will make his Mets debut opposite Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday at Citi Field. Because a southpaw is starting for the Nats, righty-hitting Josh Satin is expected to start at first base.

There will be one thing to watch on the off day: Jonathon Niese is scheduled to pitch another minor-league game in Florida. This is the final tune-up hurdle for Niese, who opened the season on the disabled list. The Mets are eyeing activating Niese from the DL on Sunday.

Niese is working back after receiving a cortisone injection in his left elbow to address inflammation. He also was slowed early in camp by shoulder weakness.

Tuesday’s news reports:

Andrew Brown and Juan Lagares homered, but Bobby Parnell blew the save with two outs in the ninth and Jeurys Familia and John Lannan combined to surrender five runs an inning later in a bullpen implosion. The Mets ultimately lost to Washington, 9-7, in 10 innings in the season opener before an announced crowd of 42,442. Dillon Gee departed with a 4-3 lead and two runners on base, but received a no-decision after Carlos Torres and Scott Rice combined to throw eight straight balls and force in the tying run.

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

Read more in Gee in the Post.

Read more on Brown and Lagares in the Post and Star-Ledger.

Read more on the bullpen’s struggles in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Daniel Murphy missed Opening Day because his wife Tori was giving birth to the couple’s first child, son Noah, in Florida on Monday. Chris Young was out of the starting lineup because of a quadriceps strain. Meanwhile, several players were dealing with the flu, including Ike Davis, who was late taking the field for the first pitch because of what the first baseman described as an illness. Read more in the Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Michael Salfino in the Journal was unimpressed with the Mets’ Opening Day lineup minus Murphy and C.Y. Writes Salfino:

With second baseman Daniel Murphy and center fielder Chris Young both sidelined for the team's 9-7 loss on Monday, the Mets were forced to start a patchwork lineup on the very first day of the season -- one that combined for a .689 on-base plus slugging percentage last year. That’s the ninth-worst prior-year OPS for an opening-day lineup in team history and the worst since 1983, when the Mets finished 68-94.

Even if Murphy and Young had been in the lineup, it would have raised the Mets' prior-year OPS to .703, still the worst since 1984, according to Stats LLC.

• The Mets signed 40-year-old Bobby Abreu and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Daily News and Newsday.


Jeff Roberson/Associated PressSandy Alderson says 90 wins is not a guarantee.


• Sandy Alderson said his 90-wins mantra is a goal, not a guarantee.

Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post:

Do these Mets have the talent to win 90?

“Let me put it this way,” a most skeptical scout, who has followed the Mets all spring, said before the first pitch. “Would this team be happy with 80 wins? I think they’d sign up for that right now.”

Writes columnist Tara Sullivan in the Record:

If Alderson really believes this is a 90-win team, he should have done more to fill the roster with 90-win players. He should have plugged the leaks in his middle infield instead of settling on Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada. He should have signed a reliable power-hitting first baseman, instead waging a war of mediocrity between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. He should have revamped a bullpen he admitted was the weakest leak last season, instead of relying on the likes of Carlos Torres (one four-pitch RBI walk), Scott Rice (one four-pitch RBI walk), Bobby Parnell (blown save) and Jeurys Familia (losing pitcher of record).

Instead, he framed the season with a stark delineation of success or failure, a hard number that feels like a setup, particularly for embattled manager Terry Collins.

Writes a more supportive columnist, Dave D’Alessandro in the Star-Ledger:

But the pummeling Alderson has taken since his remarks were leaked 35 days ago raises another question (not the one about his meds): Since when did it become a bad thing to set high standards?

Because it shouldn’t be a bad thing. Not if it is a clear-eyed-and-sober affirmation, rather than something pulled out of Jim Dolan’s Easter bonnet.

Read other 90-win-mantra recaps in the Times, Daily News, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was booed at Citi Field while throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• The pregame festivities included a tribute to the late Ralph Kiner, the legendary broadcaster and Hall of Fame player. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

• Jim Kelly, who helps scout upcoming Mets opponents by video, will travel with the Mets and serve as the person deciding whether to challenge umpires’ calls.

Jenrry Mejia remains on track to start Friday against the Cincinnati Reds after having his right forearm examined by a team doctor. Mejia had been struck by a liner Friday in Montreal.

• The Nats suffered a pair of injuries Monday. Catcher Wilson Ramos received a left hand injury and will see a specialist Tuesday. Bryce Harper, meanwhile, had a headache but apparently passed a concussion test after his slide into second base resulted in his head getting whacked by Eric Young Jr.’s leg.

Curtis Granderson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his Mets debut. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

• Duda saw late action at first base Monday after Davis was double-switched out of the game. For now, Davis, Duda and Satin all will see time -- although Alderson noted the Mets will need to drop a position player, first baseman or otherwise, this weekend when Niese is activated from the DL. Read more in the Post.

• Washington lost the first-ever video-review challenge at Citi Field, in the 10th inning on a play Danny Espinosa apparently correctly was ruled out at first base. Read more in the Post.

From the bloggers … Blogging Mets reflects on a disappointing Opening Day.

BIRTHDAYS: The new father Murphy turns 29. ... Rusty Staub is 70.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets shake up their bullpen before Game 2 on Wednesday?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Juan Lagares
BA HR RBI R
.314 1 7 8
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 3
RBID. Wright 10
RE. Young Jr. 14
OPSJ. Lagares .816
WC. Torres 2
ERAJ. Niese 2.84
SOB. Colon 18

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