New York Mets: Jeremy Hefner

Morning Briefing: Back to work!

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
5:04
AM ET
SAN DIEGO

FIRST PITCH: Play ball!

After a four-day All-Star break, the Mets get back to business, trying to build on their 8-2 homestand that closed the first half.

The Amazin’s resume play against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park at 10:10 p.m. ET Friday. Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.99 ERA) opposes right-hander Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.47).


USA TODAY SportsThe Mets open the second half facing Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Odrisamer Despaigne in San Diego.


That kicks off a 10-game trip that also includes stops in Seattle and Milwaukee.

The Padres rank last in the majors in runs (279), average (.214), OBP (.273) and slugging percentage (.334). They lost consecutive 1-0 games to the Los Angeles Dodgers to close the first half. However, San Diego’s staff has a 2.08 ERA in 24 games since June 18.

Read the Mets-Padres series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

Daniel Murphy tells Marc Carig in Newsday that his agents have not had any extension talks with the Mets. Murphy, making $5.7 million this season, is eligible for arbitration a final time this winter. He is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

"I think that anybody would be willing to listen to an extension," Murphy told the newspaper. "They're not just passing out at-bats in this league. I don't know what the years or anything would look like. But at the point you come and say, 'Hey, we trust you with 600 at-bats [in each] of the next three to five years,' you're like, 'Yeah, I would like that.'”

• Former Mets GM Omar Minaya tells Mike Puma in the Post that the contribution of holdovers from his regime -- including Juan Lagares, Jacob deGrom, Murphy, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia -- does not feel like vindication.

“I don’t think that way,” said Minaya, who is currently helping oversee the Padres in an interim capacity after the firing of Josh Byrnes as general manager. “You do your job. And when teams don’t win in [New York], people’s opinions are a product of it. We felt very comfortable and believed we had a plan in place to get athletes, to get good players to the major leagues. And it’s an organization, not just one person. Part of it has been Paul DePodesta and Sandy Alderson. They are part of bringing these guys along. It’s not an individual thing.”

• In a lengthy ESPNNewYork.com article by Andrew Marchand on Mets fandom, Jonathon Niese said: “We are not filling the stadium. Where are the Mets fans when we are down-and-out? They were here in '06 and '07 when we were really good, but we have struggled and they are not coming to the stadium."

• Puma in the Post chats with Terry Collins on the eve of the second half.

On the Mets’ postseason potential, Collins said: “We’ve got 67 games to go and we’ve got 39 in our division. If we end up having a good record against our division, I think we’re going to be in the mix at the end.”

On whether key bullpen pieces are overworked, the manager said: “Hell, I won’t know that until the end of August. That last month of the season is when those guys who are in the big leagues for that first full season, some of that stuff starts to show up. The fatigue, the pressure of 145 games at that time, and you can start to see it … because their minor-league seasons would have been over and they’re still playing. So how they handle that situation will determine how that last month will go.”

Carlos Torres leads all major league relievers with 59 1/3 innings. Familia’s 45 relief appearances trail MLB co-leaders Brad Ziegler (Arizona) and Will Smith (Milwaukee) by four.

• Back from the Futures Game, Noah Syndergaard allowed seven runs in five innings as Las Vegas lost to Salt Lake, 7-6. Dustin Lawley had a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs as Binghamton beat Trenton, 8-4. Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings in the nightcap as St. Lucie split a doubleheader with Brevard County. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Ron Darling is “extremely optimistic” about the Mets, he tells Bob Raissman in the Daily News.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal asks three questions: Can the Mets continue to produce at the plate? Will the Mets wheel and deal before July 31? And will Syndergaard debut this season?

• Diamond in the Journal also revisits signing Chris Young over Nelson Cruz.

• Justin Terranova in the Post writes that the Mets can become deadline buyers.

• Matt Ehalt in the Record lists five people under scrutiny in the second half: Collins, Alderson, Travis d'Arnaud, Ruben Tejada and deGrom.

• Tim Healey at MLB.com revisits last August’s trade of Marlon Byrd, which yielded Vic Black and Dilson Herrera.

Jeremy Hefner tossed two innings in the Gulf Coast League on Thursday, in his second game since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Zack Wheeler is one of nine candidates in MLB who could demonstrate significant second-half improvement, Baseball Prospectus suggests. The site writes:

Wheeler has walked more than two batters just twice in past 11 starts (after cracking that threshold five times in his first eight games), and he entered the All-Star break with a string of three consecutive starts in which he pitched six or more innings and surrendered just a single run. He has also honed his stuff since last season, adding 0.5 mph to his fastball (which is now averaging 95.9 mph) and diversifying his pitch mix. He has doubled the frequency of his changeup, and though it is still the weakest offering in a repertoire that features a pair of plus breaking pitches, Wheeler has the potential to be dominant if he can refine el cambio. He has also kept the ball on the ground this season, upping his ground-ball rate by 10 percentage points while surrendering just seven bombs across 108.3 innings (only two homers have come since he turned 24 on May 30th), while his component stats have all trended in positive directions.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at the value of catchers framing pitches.

• Mets first-round pick Michael Conforto was in L.A. on Thursday as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. The honor went to the University of Kentucky product A.J. Reed. Conforto is due to rejoin Brooklyn on Friday and make his professional debut shortly thereafter.

• Keith Law placed four Mets prospects in his top 50 in MLB: Syndergaard at No. 16, Conforto at No. 32, Brandon Nimmo at No. 34 and Dominic Smith at No. 49. ESPN Insiders can read the commentary here.

• Friday is the MLB deadline to sign players from June’s draft. The Mets do not plan to sign any more of their remaining picks, DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com. Eleven college-bound prep players went unsigned: Luke Bonfield (21st round), Richard Moesker (23rd), Tommy Pincin (26th), Keaton McKinney (28th), Chris Glover (32nd), Brady Puckett (33rd), Jordan Hand (34th), Jonathan Teaney (35th), Garett King (36th), Tristan Gray (37th) and Kyle Dunster (38th). Bonfield and McKinney are headed to the University of Arkansas.

• The Padres have narrowed their GM search to four finalists, Scott Miller tweets: Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, MLB senior VP Kim Ng and Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Joe Torre, who finished his playing career with the Mets, turns 74. ... Minor-league pitcher Robert Gsellman is 21.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Which Mets player will take the biggest leap forward in the second half?

Minors 7.17.14: Syndergaard stumbles

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
12:27
AM ET
SALT LAKE 7, LAS VEGAS 6: Noah Syndergaard, who picked up the save in Tuesday's

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Futures Game with a scoreless ninth, allowed seven earned runs in five innings in his return to the 51s. Syndergaard surrendered seven hits, including a two-run homer by Tommy Field, and issued three walks. Vegas stormed back with a five-run eighth that began with triple by Matt den Dekker and also included den Dekker getting hit by a pitch to force in a run. Vegas left the tying run at second base in the ninth when Brandon Allen grounded out. Since returning to Triple-A in mid-June, den Dekker is hitting .411 (35-for-85). Right-handers Cory Mazzoni and Rafael Montero both have joined Las Vegas after recovering from side-muscle injuries. Box

BINGHAMTON 8, TRENTON 4: Dustin Lawley launched a three-run homer in the first inning against Manny Banuelos to highlight a four-RBI game as Binghamton won its fourth

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straight. Lawley’s blast was his team-leading 17th -- and 13th since June 10. Steven Matz (3-1) allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out four in five innings. Trenton pulled within 3-2 in the third. Mason Williams and Rob Segedin had consecutive one-out singles. Brandon Nimmo bobbled the ball on the latter hit, allowing Williams to score an unearned run. The B-Mets took control with a three-run fifth. Nimmo walked and moved to second on Dilson Herrera's single. Both runners advanced on Brian Burgamy's groundout. Lawley then singled to plate Nimmo. T.J. Rivera added a sacrifice fly. The ball eluded catcher Gary Sanchez on the play, allowing Lawley to take second base. Darrell Ceciliani then singled to plate Lawley for a 6-2 lead. The lead swelled to six runs the following inning against Jairo Heredia. Xorge Carrillo doubled and moved to third on Kyle Johnson's single. Consecutive wild pitches allowed Carrillo to score and moved Johnson to third base. Johnson scored on Herrera's ensuing sacrifice fly. Trenton produced two runs in the seventh against Ryan Fraser. Randy Fontanez and Jack Leathersich each contributed a scoreless frame. Leathersich struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth. Box

BREVARD COUNTY 6, ST. LUCIE 1
ST. LUCIE 3, BREVARD COUNTY 2: After a two-hour, 32-minute delay at the start, the teams split a doubleheader. In the nightcap, Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings

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and struck out a season-high nine. He scattered four singles and walked one. The Mets got to reliever Martin Viramontes in the fifth. He walked Gilbert Gomez and Maikis De La Cruz to start the frame. He ten threw Eudy Pina’s sac bunt over the head of first baseman Alfredo Rodriguez to allow Gomez to score. Later in the inning, Jared King beat out an infield hit with the bases loaded to plate De La Cruz and make it 2-0. Pina’s sac fly in the sixth plated Gavin Cecchini to put the Mets up 3-0. Paul Sewald allowed a two-out, two-run double in the seventh to Jose Sermo. Sewald recovered to get Tyrone Taylor to fly out to end the game with the tying run on third and go-ahead run on second. In Game 1, the Manatees battered John Lannan for four runs on nine hits in four innings. That was plenty of offense for starter Tyler Wagner, who went the distance. Wagner allowed four hits. The lone run he surrendered came on a solo homer by Pina. The Manatees plated two more runs later in the game against reliever Seth Lugo. Box 1, Box 2

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ASHEVILLE 8, SAVANANH 7 (14 innings): The Gnats got a two-run homer in the top of the 14th from Matt Oberste, but Hunter Carnevale and Paul Paez combined to allow three runs in the bottom half for the walk-off loss. Oberste finished 3-for-7 with two homers, three RBIs and three runs scored. He has a 17-game hitting streak, which has lifted his season average to .321. Bret Mitchell, Dario Alvarez and Akeel Morris had combined for seven scoreless relief innings. Box

KINGSPORT 5, BURLINGTON 2: K-Mets starter Martires Arias allowed two runs (one earned) in the first inning, then contributed four scoreless frames. Relievers Bryce Beeler and Ty Williams added two scoreless innings apiece. Williams, a 35th-round pick in 2013, notched his first professional save. Oswald Caraballo and Pedro Perez had third-inning sacrifice flies as Kingsport took a 4-2 lead. Wuilmer Becerra added an eighth-inning solo homer. Box

JAMESTOWN 8, BROOKLYN 6 (10 innings): Cyclones reliever Shane Bay (0-1) allowed two runs in the top of the 10th. Amed Rosario went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs in the loss. Jhoan Urena also drove in two runs. Box

GCL METS 9, GCL CARDINALS 7: Jeremy Hefner allowed one run on two hits and struck out a batter in two innings in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery. John Mora went 5-for-5 with a double, two triples, three RBIs and two runs scored. The Mets broke a 7-all tie in the bottom of the seventh when Mora tripled and scored on Enmanuel Zabala's single. They opened a two-run lead the following inning on Mora's RBI double. Jose Medina had allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings in relief of Hefner. Alex Palsha earned his second save. Box

Compiled with team reports

Hefner continues road back

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
4:37
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- Jeremy Hefner continues to make progress as he returns from Tommy John

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surgery.

Hefner tossed two innings for the Gulf Coast League Mets on Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He allowed one run on two hits in two innings against the GCL Cardinals.

Hefner made his first game appearance since the procedure last Saturday.

He underwent surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.

Morning Briefing: Third place at break?

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
5:55
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Don’t look now, but a win on the final day of the first half would leapfrog the Mets over the Miami Marlins and put the Amazin’s in sole possession of third place for the first time since May 4.

Jacob deGrom (2-5, 3.38 ERA) opposes left-hander Brad Hand (0-1, 5.09) in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale as the Mets aim to sweep Miami.

Terry Collins plans to give Daniel Murphy off Sunday ahead of his busy All-Star break, with Eric Campbell likely to appear at second base for the first time in his major league career.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, right-hander Noah Syndergaard and catcher Kevin Plawecki will compete in the Futures Game at 5 p.m. ET at Target Field.

Sunday’s news reports:

Chris Young had a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh and Campbell had a tiebreaking pinch-hit RBI single an inning later as the Mets twice overcame two-run deficits to beat the Marlins, 5-4, Saturday at Citi Field. Murphy had a leaping two-out catch in the eighth to prevent the Marlins from taking a lead. Daisuke Matsuzaka had a career-high-matching 10 strikeouts.

Collins said the victory may be the biggest for the Mets so far this season.

The Mets have won seven of nine of their current homestand. With wins by division co-leaders Atlanta and Washington on Saturday, the Mets remained seven games back in the NL East.

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

• Although Matsuzaka is expected to shift to the bullpen with Jonathon Niese poised to return from the disabled list, Collins said he needs to discuss with Sandy Alderson on Sunday whether there ought to be the intermediate step of putting deGrom in the bullpen for a week or two to conserve the rookie’s innings. Alderson has said deGrom should have 185 innings in 2014. Read more in Newsday.

• Although it has not been fully announced, a source tells ESPNNewYork.com that the second-half-opening series in San Diego should be Bartolo Colon on Friday, Dillon Gee on Saturday and Zack Wheeler in the finale. That pushes Niese to the opener in Seattle, where he can deal with lefty-hitting slugger Robinson Cano.

Niese is scheduled to throw at Citi Field before Sunday’s game against the Marlins to demonstrate he is fine to return from the DL in Seattle.

Matt Harvey continues to be more and more resigned to the fact he will not pitch in the majors in 2014. Read more in the Post.

Jeremy Hefner had a perfect inning in the Gulf Coast League in his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery last Aug. 28. Taylor Teagarden (hamstring) also began a rehab assignment in that game. He only had two plate appearances as a DH before departing for a pinch runner.

• Marc Carig in Newsday profiles the All-Star-bound Murphy. Writes Carig:

Daniel Murphy is the antithesis of a star.

There is no grace in his game. There is no flash. There is no sense of ease. His value stems entirely from function, not aesthetics, and because of this, he knew long ago that his only way to the major leagues involved walking a fine line.

"I've always felt that at the point that I don't play the game with my hair on fire, I'm just not physically gifted enough to continue playing at this level," Murphy said. "So that's how I've always approached it."

• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Murphy.

• Jayce Boyd homered and had three RBIs as Binghamton beat Erie, 9-3. L.J. Mazzilli doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th as St. Lucie beat Lakeland, 5-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post compares LeBron James’ departure and return to Cleveland with the Mets’ trade and reacquisition of Tom Seaver.

• Laura Albanese in Newsday profiles Triple-A All-Star Allan Dykstra, who is not related to Lenny Dykstra.

• Stony Brook University product and new dad Tom Koehler discusses his no-decision Saturday with Mike Gavin in Newsday.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear revels in what it believes is the most scintillating Mets win of the year.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets catcher Mike Fitzgerald was born on this date in 1960.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can Jeremy Hefner be useful for the Mets later this season?

Minors 7.12.14: Mazzilli scores winner in 10

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
12:05
AM ET
ALBUQUERQUE 6, LAS VEGAS 5: The Isotopes scored three eighth-inning runs against John Church for the comeback win. Jamie Romak hit a solo homer to lead off the inning. Albuquerque tied the score on a wild pitch. Brian Cavazos-Galvez then hit a pinch-hit, two-out solo homer for the lead. Cory Vaughn finished 3-for-5 with a double and RBI in the loss. Wilmer Flores extended his hitting streak to a 17 games. Box

BINGHAMTON 9, ERIE 3: Jayce Boyd led the B-Mets with three RBIs and notched his fourth homer of the season. The B-Mets opened the scoring with a two-run third against

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Ryan Robowski. Kai Gronauer homered and Dustin Lawley produced an RBI single later in the inning. An inning later, Boyd's solo homer -- his first long ball since June 7 -- upped Binghamton’s lead to 3-0. After retiring 11 of the first 12 batters he faced, B-Mets starter Cory Mazzoni opened the door for a SeaWolves comeback with back-to-back two-out walks in the fourth. Corey Jones made him pay with a two-run double, slicing Binghamton’s lead to one. The lead disappeared in the fifth. Francisco Martinez singled off Mazzoni’s mitt and stole second. Marcus Lemon brought him home by lining a two-out single. Binghamton responded with a string of hits against reliever Slade Smith in the sixth. Travis Taijeron ultimately singled to plate Darrell Ceciliani with the go-ahead run. Binghamton turned a one-run game into a blowout by hanging five runs on reliever Jose Valdez in the ninth, highlighted by Boyd's two-run single. Mazzoni (2-0) struck out nine while allowing three runs and five hits over seven innings. Jack Leathersich and Cody Satterwhite each tossed a scoreless relief inning. Box

ST. LUCIE 5, LAKELAND 4 (10 innings): Lakeland’s Austin Green launched a game-tying solo homer against T.J. Chism with two outs and two strikes in the ninth, but the Mets

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recovered to snap their four-game losing streak. L.J. Mazzilli doubled to lead off the bottom of the 10th against Nate Fury and moved to third on Cam Maron’s single. Jared King struck out for the first out of the inning. Fury’s first pitch to Phillip Evans then bounced away from Green, the catcher, and Mazzilli slid safely into home to give the Mets a walk-off victory. Paul Sewald pitched a perfect top of the 10th to earn the win. Maikis De La Cruz had put the Mets ahead, 1-0, in the third with a single. Maron followed later that inning with a two-out, two-run single to make it 3-0. Evans belted his third homer of the season in the sixth to put the Mets up by four runs. Mets starter Luis Cessa cruised for most of the night. After Andy Dirks led off the game with a single, Cessa only allowed one more baserunner until the top of the seventh. In the seventh, Chad Wright led off with a single. Cessa rebounded to get a pop out and a strikeout, but Green extended the inning with a single. That brought up James Robbins, who launched a three-run homer to cut the Mets’ lead to 4-3. Cessa escaped further damage when Maron threw out Jared Reaves trying to steal second. Cessa struck out eight in seven innings. He allowed five hits and one walk. Beck Wheeler struck out three in 1 1/3 relief innings. Mazzilli’s leadoff double in the 10th extended his hitting streak to nine games. Box

CHARLESTON 4, SAVANNAH 1: The Dogs scored a pair of first-inning runs against Savannah starter Robert Gsellman and never looked back. Mike Ford drove in the opening run with a double and eventually scored on second baseman Jorge Rivero's error. Charleston produced its third run, and the second unearned run against Gsellman, in the third on a fielding error by shortstop Yeixon Ruiz. The Gnats committed four errors in the game. Charleston completed its scoring with a bases-loaded walk in the fourth -- one of the four walks issued by Gsellman in four innings. The Gnats scored their lone run in the third as Champ Stuart plated Ruiz with a hard-hit single to third base. Matt Oberste extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a second-inning double. Box

BRISTOL 9, KINGSPORT 8: Bristol scored five first-inning runs and chased Andrew Church before he recorded an out in the second inning. Eudor Garcia went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in the loss. The K-Mets pulled within 9-8 with a two-run eighth, but they stranded the tying run in scoring position when pinch hitter Jean Rodriguez struck out. Box

CONNECTICUT 4, BROOKLYN 3: Josh Prevost issued a bases-loaded walk to Garrett Mattlage with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off loss. Michael Bernal's RBI single had given Brooklyn a 1-0 lead in the first. An inning later, Jeff Diehl doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored ahead of a throw to the plate on Joe Tuschak's groundball for a 2-0 lead. Cyclones starter Octavio Acosta retired the first 10 batters. He eventually surrendered a sacrifice fly to Joey Pankake in the fourth. The Tigers tied the score at 2 against Acosta in the seventh on consecutive doubles from Ross Kivett and Pankake. Brooklyn regained the lead in the eighth. Jhoan Urena singled and advanced to second when left fielder Rashad Brown bobbled the ball. With one out, Bernal hit a soft groundball through the right side that seemed like it would be enough to score Urena, but right fielder Ben Verlander showed that his brother isn’t the only one in the family with a strong arm. He uncorked a laser throw to the plate to retire Urena and keep the score tied. Bernal did advance to second on the throw, though. After an intentional walk to Tyler Moore, Diehl produced a go-ahead RBI single.

The 3-2 lead would be short-lived. Cyclones reliever Brad Wieck struck out the first two batters he faced, but then walked two batters and uncorked a wild pitch that placed runners on the corners. Wieck then coaxed Pankake to hit a routine grounder to third. However, Urena bounced a throw to first base, allowing the tying run to score. The Cyclones seemed prime to take the lead back in the top of the ninth, placing runners on first and third with one out. But Urena and Michael Katz struck out. Prevost retired the first batter he faced in the bottom half, but then walked two and surrendered a single to load the bases with two outs for Mattlage, who leads the New York-Penn League in walks. Box

GCL NATIONALS 4, GCL METS 3
GCL NATIONALS 4, GCL METS 3: Jeremy Hefner tossed a perfect inning in the regularly scheduled game in his first game action since Tommy John surgery. The Nats then overcame a 3-0 deficit with a four-run eighth against Alex Durham and Dan Hermann. Taylor Teagarden went 0-for-1 with a walk as a DH and was replaced by a pinch runner. Meanwhile, in the resumption of Friday's game, which had been suspended with the score tied at 3, Brent McMinn's balk plated the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the sixth. Box 1, Box 2

Compiled with team reports

Hefner perfect in first game since surgery

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
11:43
AM ET
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Hefner
NEW YORK -- Jeremy Hefner tossed a 1-2-3 inning for the Gulf Coast League Mets on Saturday morning in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It marked his first time pitching in a game since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.

Hefner aims to pitch in the majors this season.

Morning Briefing: Mets big-game hunters?

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
5:38
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have been giant slayers during their current 6-2 homestand, roughing up Yu Darvish, Julio Teheran and now Henderson Alvarez during that stretch.

That trio of pitchers continues to be ranked in the top 10 in ERA in their respective leagues despite allowing a combined 15 runs in 13 1/3 innings against the Mets.

“We go out every night and try to compete,” Terry Collins said. “No matter who is on the mound, we try to make sure that [the batters] do what we want, and that’s get a good ball to hit and try not to chase.”

The Mets look to keep rolling when they send Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.32 ERA) to the mound opposite Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.98) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.

Huey Lewis and The News perform a postgame concert at Citi Field.

Saturday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings, David Wright finished 4-for-4 with a two-run homer and Lucas Duda also had a two-run shot as the Mets won Friday’s series opener, 7-1, against the Marlins. Wheeler improved to 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five career starts against Miami. He has allowed one run and pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past three starts to head into the All-Star break on a high note.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler limited the Marlins to one run in 6 2/3 innings on Friday.


Alvarez, who had a 1.04 ERA over his previous nine starts and had dominated the Mets this season, allowed six runs in five innings.

“We’ve seen him really, really sharp,” Collins said. “He wasn’t quite as sharp tonight. That’s what you’ve got to do when you get a guy who is not on his best game -- hopefully take advantage of it.”

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

• Read more on Wheeler in the Post.

• Read more on Wright in the Star-Ledger.

• Scott Boras appears to favor a more conservative rehab plan for Matt Harvey than even Sandy Alderson and the Mets. The agent said the optimal rehab time following Tommy John surgery before entering a game is 14 to 16 months. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• First-round pick Michael Conforto officially was introduced at Citi Field on Friday. He is due to begin his pro career with the Brooklyn Cyclones, although he will be eased into games and actually will travel to Los Angeles next week because he is one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award. Read more in the Times, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Jeremy Hefner is due to pitch an inning in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday, less than 11 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.

• Left-hander Scott Rice has a bone spur in his left elbow that may require surgery to remove, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

• Matt Bowman earned his first Triple-A win and Allan Dykstra had a three-run triple as Las Vegas beat Albuquerque, 8-1, in Game 1 of a doubleheader Friday. Kingsport routed Elizabethton, 12-0, behind a combined shutout from Yoryi Nuez and Martires Arias. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Michael Salfino in the Journal writes that the Mets have the worst winning percentage in the National League in games in which they score first.

• John DeMarzo in the Post profiles former second-round pick Matt Reynolds, who has been on a tear this season with Binghamton and now Las Vegas as a middle infielder.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear soaks up some Polo Grounds memories on a very nice Citi Field night.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets left-hander Dick Rusteck was born on this date in 1941.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What is your favorite Huey Lewis song?
NEW YORK -- Jeremy Hefner is due take a major step forward Saturday.
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The 28-year-old right-hander is scheduled to pitch one inning in the Gulf Coast League. It will mark Hefner's first time in a game since before he underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.

Hefner, who re-signed with the Mets on a minor-league contract after being non-tendered in December, does expect to return to the majors this season.
NEW YORK -- The Mets received an immediate return from the Aug. 30, 2013, trade of Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pirates, with Vic Black joining the major league club for the final month of last season. The other piece acquired in that trade is thriving in the minors.

After hitting .307/.355/.410 in the first half with St. Lucie, 20-year-old middle infielder Dilson Herrera ascended to Binghamton during a wave of promotions three weeks ago. The native Colombian is hitting .329 with two homers, 13 RBIs and 10 walks in 17 games since the move to Double-A.

Colombia may not produce the same volume of talent as, say, the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. Of the 224 foreign-born players on MLB rosters on Opening Day, four hailed from Herrera’s native country: then Angel and now Pirate Ernesto Frieri, the White Sox’s Jose Quintana, Marlins’ Donovan Solano and Braves’ Julio Teheran.


Courtesy of New York MetsDilson Herrera


Herrera nonetheless said he grew up playing baseball from a young age -- 3 or 4 years old -- and particularly looked up to Colombia-born Edgar Renteria, who played for 16 seasons in the majors, through 2011.

“Colombia is a big soccer country, but I grew up and never stopped playing baseball,” Herrera said through an interpreter.

As for what he particularly admired about Renteria, Herrera added: “On the field he was a really good player, always clutch, and he always came up big for his team. But what impressed me most was how good of a person he was. That’s what I liked the most about him.”

The Pirates used Herrera exclusively at third base in the Venezuelan Summer League back in 2011, after he first signed. Pittsburgh then only used him at second base for the next two and a half seasons, until last summer’s trade. Herrera continued to exclusively play second base after joining Savannah late last season. He helped the Gnats win the 2013 South Atlantic League championship while manning that position.

This season, he is receiving his first professional exposure to shortstop. With St. Lucie, he appeared in 43 games at second base and 19 games at shortstop during the first half. With Binghamton, the split has been nearly 50/50.

“I grew up playing shortstop,” Herrera said. “With the Pirates they turned me into a second baseman. And now I feel very comfortable at second base. But I can still play shortstop.”

As for the trade that brought him to the Mets, Herrera added: “I was surprised. Obviously I wasn’t expecting it. I was sad about leaving relationships and friendships with the Pirates organization, but was happy for the opportunity. I was excited about the opportunity to come to a new organization.”

Organization leaders

Average: John Mora, GCL Mets, .409; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .358; Jairo Perez, St. Lucie, .358; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .346; Emmanuel Zabala, GCL Mets, .340; Luis Guillorme, Kingsport, .333; Jhoan Urena, Brooklyn, .315; Oswald Caraballo, Kingsport, .314; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .313; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, .312.

Homers: Andrew Brown, Vegas, 15; Dustin Lawley, Binghamton, 15; Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 14; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 12; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 11.

RBIs: Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 56; L.J. Mazzilli, St. Lucie, 52; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, 49; Aderlin Rodriguez, St. Lucie, 48; Matt Clark, Binghamton, 46.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 18; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 16; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, 15; L.J. Mazzilli, St. Lucie, 12; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 12.

ERA: Marcos Molina, Brooklyn, 0.38; Rob Whalen, GCL Mets, 1.71; Octavio Acosta, Brooklyn, 1.96; Corey Oswalt, Brooklyn, 2.08; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 2.20; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 2.25; John Gant, Savannah, 2.64; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 2.81; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 2.91; Matt Bowman, Vegas, 3.56.

Wins: John Gant, Savannah, 9; Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 8.

Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 12; Robert Coles, St. Lucie, 12; Randy Fontanez, Binghamton, 10; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 8; Vic Black, Vegas, 7.

Strikeouts: Darin Gorski, Vegas, 94; Dario Alvarez, Savannah, 86; Matt Bowman, Vegas, 82; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 82; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 82.

Short hops

Allan Dykstra has been selected to represent the Mets in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He will serve as the Pacific Coast League’s designated hitter in next Wednesday’s game at Durham, N.C.

Dykstra also will participate in Monday’s Home Run Derby. In fact, four of the six participants have passed through the Mets organization during their career. The others who will be competing in the derby: Mike Jacobs, Francisco Pena and Mike Hessman.

• Four Binghamton players were selected to the Eastern League All-Star Game: infielder Brian Burgamy, outfielder Kyle Johnson and right-handers Cody Satterwhite and Jon Velasquez. The 33-year-old Burgamy, 28-year-old Velasquez and 27-year-old Satterwhite all were signed by the Mets out of independent ball. Johnson arrived in the trade with the Angels for Collin Cowgill. The game will be played next Wednesday in Altoona, Pa. Kevin Plawecki and Matt Reynolds clearly merited selection, but already have been promoted to Triple-A.

Wilmer Flores was named PCL Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday. He became the first Las Vegas player to hit six homers in a five-game stretch since Melvin Nieves in 1994, when the club was affiliated with the Padres. Flores had league highs for the week with 13 hits, 12 runs scored and 16 RBIs.

• 2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith is hitting .439 (25-for-57) in 14 games since June 24.

• Baseball America ranked three Mets prospects in its top 50 in baseball: Noah Syndergaard at No. 19, Plawecki at No. 40 and Brandon Nimmo at No. 48. Syndergaard and Plawecki will represent the Mets in the Futures Game on Sunday at Target Field in Minnesota.

Jeremy Hefner is due to pitch one inning in a minor-league game Saturday. It will mark his first game action since Hefner underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28. Hefner had his procedure performed nearly two months earlier than Matt Harvey had his operation (Oct. 22).

Rafael Montero has thrown live batting practice and is due to enter a game this week for the first time since suffering a left oblique strain and departing a Vegas game after five pitches on June 14.

Dario Alvarez is now a two-time South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week. The 25-year-old Savannah southpaw has not allowed an earned run in his past 22 innings, which spans seven appearances. Alvarez is 6-0 with one save and a 0.87 ERA in 16 appearances (six starts) this season.

The Mets credit Alvarez’s success to cleaning up his delivery, which has improved his consistency and allowed him to throw more strikes. Alvarez had been released by the Phillies after spending three years in that organization, and the Mets’ Dominican-based scouts recommended scooping him up.

• 2013 fifth-round pick Jared King returned to action in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday after recovering from a fractured right fibula. King had been sidelined since last appearing for Savannah on May 11.

• Savannah’s winning streak ended at 11 on Tuesday afternoon when Dawrin Frias surrendered a tiebreaking ninth-inning homer to Augusta’s Ryan Jones. Savannah has produced four 11-game winning streaks since 1993, but none has reached a dozen.

Logan Taylor was due to join Savannah after three Gulf Coast League appearances. Taylor, an 11th-round pick in 2012 from East Oklahoma State College, underwent Tommy John surgery last July. He had a 2.67 ERA in seven starts for the Gnats in 2013.

• Princeton product Matt Bowman, whose delivery incorporates Tim Lincecum’s style, made his Triple-A debut Saturday. He allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 64-pitch no-decision.

• Right-hander Cory Mazzoni has moved to Double-A, which should be a temporary stop en route to Las Vegas. Mazzoni is working back from a strained lat muscle suffered when he started the Mets’ Grapefruit League finale this spring training. The 2011 second-round pick out of NC State has now appeared in three games -- one apiece in the Gulf Coast, Florida State and Eastern leagues -- since recovering.

Rob Whalen, who was off to a torrid start with Savannah until developing an infection on his hand that required surgery to clean out, logged an inning Saturday in the Gulf Coast League. It was his first appearance in a game since May 1 with the Gnats. Whalen had been 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four appearances (three starts) with Savannah before the issue arose.

Marcos Molina has tossed 19 consecutive scoreless innings for Brooklyn.

• Left-hander Kurt Horne, the Mets’ 31st-round pick out of high school in British Columbia, is due to make his professional debut Wednesday.

Alderson addresses major Mets topics

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
6:40
PM ET
NEW YORK -- GM Sandy Alderson touched on a ton of Mets-related topics during a 21-minute interview before Friday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers. Here’s a summary:

STANDING PAT?

Alderson said trade conversations so far have been limited, but that’s not surprising. He suggested talks typically do not pick up until the week before the All-Star break.

On the buyer/seller topic, Alderson said he would be “surprised” if any determination were made before the All-Star break. The Mets next have a four-game series against the first-place Atlanta Braves, which should be instructive.


Mark Humphrey/Associated PressSandy Alderson offered no indication the Mets would be overly active at the trade deadline.


Alderson did seem to intimate that no activity is the most likely scenario.

“We like the team as it’s developing,” the GM said. “That, in and of itself, would make us reluctant to move players at the deadline. Now, we’re practical as well. We’ve made deals at the deadline. And there’s no reason we’d hesitate to do that if we felt it was the right thing. But I think our team is on the right track. I don’t think we’re that far away. That would indicate some caution when it comes to the trade deadline.”

Alderson said it is “certainly our preference” to get back major league talent, or talent on the verge of breaking into the majors, in any trade. He noted, though, that makes a trade with a contender that much less likely, because buyers want to part with minor leaguers, not parts helping their club now.

The GM added that despite a surplus of starting pitching, trading it is not prudent.

“We have a number both here and at the minor-league level that we like. But it’s easy to run through that number in a hurry with injuries and poor performance,” Alderson said. “So I’m always hesitant to trade starting pitching. Now, I’m cognizant that an issue for us is offense and run production. So I’m not writing off that possibility. At the same time, what’s getting us to a higher level of performance, hopefully, and success is our pitching -- both our starting pitching and the bullpen.”

NO LIMITS FOR DEGROM

Dillon Gee will get 75 or so pitches on Friday night in a rehab start for Brooklyn. A team insider said Gee is expected to be activated from the DL after this outing, assuming there are no issues.

So who goes?

It seems fairly straightforward that Jacob deGrom will remain in the rotation and Daisuke Matsuzaka will go to the bullpen.

Alderson did not fully tip his hand, but he did acknowledge two major factors that support deGrom remaining in the rotation:

Slightly more than halfway through the season, deGrom is only at 98 innings between the majors and minors. Alderson said the Mets have allotted about 185 innings for him this season, so there’s no compelling reason to put the rookie in the bullpen to shave innings.

Furthermore, Alderson acknowledged, there is value in keeping deGrom in the rotation since he is likely to be a factor for a rotation spot in 2015, whereas that’s unlikely with Matsuzaka.

NO MOUND FOR YOU

Despite the ace's hope otherwise, Matt Harvey will not get on a mound until after the All-Star break, according to the GM.

NO MRI RESULTS FOR RICE

Scott Rice (left elbow) had an MRI this week in New York, but the results are not yet available. Rice is on Las Vegas’ DL. Alderson said there has been no suggestion at this point surgery is required. The GM added that there is no indication Rice’s subpar major league performance was linked to the current elbow condition.

HUDGENS ABSOLVED

The Mets’ hitting woes have persisted with the change in hitting coaches from Dave Hudgens to Lamar Johnson. So, Alderson concluded, it’s on the players.

“The conclusion I would draw at this stage, consistent with what I suggested at the time we made the change, is sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Alderson said. “It doesn’t mean there won’t be some change in the future that one can measure. But, at this point, we haven’t seen an uptick. I don’t think that has anything to do with L.J. It probably has more to do with the players that we have.”

ONE-RUN GAMES

Asked if he agreed with Bill Parcells’ famous line that you are what your record says you are, Alderson said: “I don’t take any exception to that. I think that’s accurate. But I think, at the same time, as you’re thinking about what to do going forward, you have to have a little bit broader perspective than that.”

Trying to clarify his remarks that the Mets are better than their 37-48 record because their run differential is only minus-6, Alderson said his point is that it demonstrates the Mets are not that far away from success and therefore should not do something rash.

“I think the important thing is not to shift focus from the won-loss record, but to keep in mind sort of the fundamentals as you go about making decisions in the future,” he said. “It’s not by any means a desire to obscure the won-loss record. It’s to make sure we don’t do something in light of the won-loss record that’s not supported by more underlying facts. ... I think we’ve been playing much closer to a .500 club. But the record is what it is. So on that basis I’m certainly disappointed.”

Alderson also cited the Mets’ 10-20 record in one-run games.

Asked why the Mets are so poor in that category, or if it’s a matter of bad fortune, Alderson replied: “I’m not sure you put a finger on it. If you look at one-run games, it can be the bullpen. It can be late-inning offense. The bullpen wasn’t a strength early in the season. It is now. The late-inning offense has been an issue for us all year. I don’t think it has anything to do with strategy or tactics or anything of that sort.”

90 WINS

Alderson knows he is getting mocked for his 90-wins goal this season, but reiterated it was intended to “change a mindset” of losing.

(Read full post)

Hefner faces first batters since surgery

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
10:52
AM ET
lastname
Hefner
NEW YORK -- Jeremy Hefner threw 20 batting-practice pitches Friday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The activity marked his first time facing batters since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28.

Hefner aims to return to the majors this season.

"A lot of fun to compete again," Hefner tweeted afterward.

Morning Briefing: Kaz in Queens looms

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
5:45
AM ET

Ben Margot/Associated PressScott Kazmir is coming to town this week with the Oakland Athletics.
MIAMI

FIRST PITCH: The Mets will not be home for long, but they will get to head to NYC for a few days after completing a series at Marlins Park on Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

Jonathon Niese (3-4, 2.67 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander/New Jersey native Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.60).

The Mets are off Monday, then host the Oakland Athletics in a two-game series.

Scott Kazmir will pitch in Queens on Wednesday for the first time since he infamously was traded away by the Mets on July 30, 2004. He will be opposite Zack Wheeler.

Those two pitchers actually lined up last September in Cleveland, in Kazmir’s first-ever matchup against the Mets. Kazmir tossed six scoreless innings that day, striking out 12 in an 8-1 win by the Indians.

After the two-game series against the A’s at Citi Field, the Mets ship out to Pittsburgh and Atlanta to complete a stretch in which they will have played 25 of 33 on the road.

Sunday’s news reports:

• In his eighth major league start, rookie Jacob deGrom finally earned his first career win. DeGrom tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia as the Mets shut out the Marlins, 4-0. David Wright went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Lucas Duda added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Wright has a six-game hitting streak and has driven in a run in five straight games. He is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with two homers during the mini-spurt. Mets pitchers have a 1.27 ERA in the past five games.

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

• Read more on Wright in the Daily News.


Koji Sasahara/Associated PressWould the Mets actually fork over big money for Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? That remains to be seen.


• Will the Mets open up their wallets and pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? Writes Mike Puma in the Post:

General manager Sandy Alderson said it’s too early to say if he will pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas. But Alderson clearly seems intrigued by the 23-year-old.

“A corner outfielder with power?” Alderson said, smiling.

Tomas must establish legal residency and clear hurdles with the State Department before he can sign with a club, according to Alderson.

• Terry Collins has heard that MLB will institute a must-slide rule on contested plays at the plate next season. Read more on plate collisions and the Mets’ Friday dispute in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Juan Lagares (side muscle) played a full game in center field and went 0-for-4 in his second rehab appearance in the Gulf Coast League.

Jeremy Hefner plans to throw breaking balls off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery as well as increase his fastball velocity to near-normal levels during a throwing session Sunday at Marlins Park. Hefner, who underwent the procedure last Aug. 28, expects to be available to pitch in the majors this season. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Kaja Whitehouse in the Post wonders if embattled Mets minority owner Steve Cohen will be forced to sell his investment in the club.

• “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO will do a segment featuring Darryl Strawberry on Tuesday at 10 p.m. The program visits Strawberry and his wife Tracy Boulware Strawberry in St. Louis.

The 52-year-old Strawberry is now an ordained minister and founder of a recovery center for substance-abuse users. He discusses losing his entire baseball earnings, drug addiction, two bouts with colon cancer and jail time.

Strawberry tells the program he became a heroin user after his playing career.

“It was like I was completely out of my mind, sittin' there for four or five days, smokin' crack,” he says. “Doesn't matter if you Darryl Strawberry or, you know, you the richest man on earth. When -- if you're addicted, it will take you to places that you could never imagine.”

Strawberry and his future wife met at a Narcotics Anonymous convention, according to the program. She had her demons in check. He did not.

“The clothes are just hanging off of his body. He's sitting in a chair and he's like part of the fabric in the chair. He looks like the walking dead,” Mrs. Strawberry now says. “He told me not to get involved with him. ‘Girl, you have no idea what you're gettin' yourself into.’ He said, ‘You stay with me and I'm gonna take you through.’

“There were several times where he would go out to use and he would call me on the phone and just say, ‘I’m done. I can't do it anymore. I can't get well. I just -- there's no hope for a person like me. I’m tryin’ everything. Nothin’s enough. Love is not enough.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna use tonight until I die.’

“I’m running out and I’m banging down crack-house doors and I’m pulling him outta places that I used to be in.”

The future Mrs. Strawberry resolved at that point to leave Florida and head to her native St. Louis. Recalling how she told her parents, she said: “I call them halfway into the drive, ‘Mom and Dad, I'm coming home.’ And they're ecstatic. They're happy. They're crying. And, ‘By the way … I’m bringing Darryl Strawberry with me.’”

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two homers and five runs in 6 2/3 innings with Las Vegas. Steven Matz allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings in his Double-A debut, but the B-Mets rallied for a 7-6 win against Bowie. Michael Fulmer was struck with a line drive on the left forearm and departed after three pitches in Game 1 of a doubleheader. St. Lucie lost the opener, but rebounded for a 2-0 win against Fort Myers in Game 2 behind Matt Koch’s 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Champ Stuart stole the show in the 11th as Savannah beat Greenville, 7-6. Brandon Brosher had two homers in Kingsport’s 9-5 win against Danville.

Cory Mazzoni (lat) and Luis Mateo (elbow) both pitched in their first official games since suffering injuries as the GCL Mets were blanked by the GCL Nats, 8-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Outfielder Luke Bonfield, the Mets’ 21st-round pick, tweeted he will attend the University of Arkansas rather than sign with the Mets. Dale Burdick, the 40th-round pick, tweeted he will sign with the Mets. Fifteenth-round pick Gabriel Llanes, a prep right-hander from California, signed entering the weekend, he tweeted.

Burdick, a high school shortstop selected in the final round, will receive a $150,000 signing bonus to lure him away from attending Mississippi State, Chip Cirillo writes in the Tennessean. Burdick told the newspaper the Mets originally offered $100,000, but decided to give him an extra $50,000 since they had the sum remaining after agreeing to the monetary terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto. An agreement with Conforto has not yet been announced.

• Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin explains how B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez will attempt to juggle his overcrowded roster with the addition of five highly regarded prospects from St. Lucie.

• The St. Lucie Mets have been awarded the 2015 Florida State League All-Star Game. It will be played on June 20 at Tradition Field.

• Terry Collins explained why umpire Gary Cederstrom laughed before ejecting the manager on June 11 at Citi Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear decides it could do without most of the current Mets. ... Faith and Fear also noticed the arrival of summer coincided with deGrom's arrival in the win column.

BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Ron Hodges turns 65. ... Ex-Mets outfielder Willie Harris is 36. ... Binghamton outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, who is just returning from a concussion, is 24. ... Savannah right-hander Miller Diaz (5-1, 2.40 ERA) is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is a must-slide rule at the plate sensible in Major League Baseball?

Hefner progressing toward 2014 return

June, 21, 2014
Jun 21
3:32
PM ET
MIAMI -- Right-hander Jeremy Hefner indicated Saturday that he is on track to pitch in the major leagues in 2014, assuming the Mets have a role for him.

lastname
Hefner
"If there's a need here, and they want me here, I can foresee that," Hefner said.

Hefner underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

He is visiting the Mets this weekend in Miami and plans to throw off the mound for the fourth time since the procedure on Sunday.

This latest mound session will be eventful for Hefner. He will throw breaking balls off a mound for the first time. He also will increase the intensity of his fastball to about 90 to 95 percent of capacity. In the previous sessions, the catcher moved closer, so Hefner was not required to throw 60 feet, six inches.

"That will be a test of how the ligament feels, and how it responds on Monday and Tuesday," Hefner said. "It's a big step. Every day is a big step."
NEW YORK -- Jeremy Hefner threw 15 pitches off a mound on Tuesday morning for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last Aug. 28. Dillon Gee gave him a standing ovation afterward, according to Jon Santucci of the St. Lucie News. Hefner next is scheduled to throw 20 pitches Saturday, he told Santucci.


Morning Briefing: Back to work

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets will attempt to avoid their first seven-game losing streak since the first month Terry Collins was on the job in 2011 when they host the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.

Although the Mets could have skipped Daisuke Matsuzaka’s start and used a four-man rotation this turn because of Monday’s off-day, the Amazin’s will proceed with Matsuzaka (2-0, 3.21 ERA) opening the series. He opposes right-hander Marco Estrada (5-2, 4.19).

Read the Mets-Brewers series preview here.

Tuesday’s news reports:


Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsHow hot is Terry Collins' seat? It depends which publication you read.


• Mike Puma in the Post writes that Collins’ managerial seat is “sizzling,” while Kristie Ackert in the Daily News reports the manager is “not yet on the hot seat.”

Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post:

My sense is the Mets, who begin a critical homestand Tuesday night against National League Central-leading Milwaukee, would rather keep Terry Collins at least through the duration of the 2014 season. Likewise, I don’t see the Mets players quitting on Collins. If anything, they’re trying too hard to alleviate the pressure.

Which is why it makes sense to give Collins more rope before removing him from his office.

Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:

You wonder what [Sandy] Alderson or anyone can do to make this team better and give Mets fans at least some hope.

They’ve already fired the hitting coach, which changed nothing. If the team continues to lose like this, Terry Collins’ job could be on the line -- although, that, too, would be nothing more than a “need-a-scapegoat” firing, unless you feel it’s fair to blame all the wild pitches, failure to turn double plays, baserunning blunders, etc. on the manager.

Daniel Murphy visited the White House on Monday’s off-day to take part in the Working Families Summit. Murphy had received talk-radio flak for going on paternity leave to be present for the birth of his first child. Read more in the Times and Star-Ledger.

David Wright has overtaken Nolan Arenado for first place among National League third basemen in the latest voting tally released by MLB for the 2014 All-Star Game. Wright has a 92,718-vote lead over the slick-fielding-but-injured Rockie. Read more in the Daily News and at MLB.com.

Travis d’Arnaud’s demotion resonated with Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada, both of whom have suffered the same fate, writes Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger. "You go down there and it’s more like a humbling," Duda told Vorkunov. "It humbles you. You kind of -- not sulk -- but those first two, three days, you kind of feel bad for yourself. At least I did. ‘Poor me. Why?’ Then when you look at it, it kind of fuels you." Read more in the Daily News.

• Michael Salfino in the Journal writes that, statistically, things do not bode well for d’Arnaud having a bright career. Writes Salfino:

Since 1930, only eight catchers have seen their OPS after their age-25 season improve at least 100 points compared to before, according to Stats, LLC. (A minimum of 250 plate appearances were required through age 25 and 3,000 after, indicating sustained success.)

Of that group, the biggest gainer is familiar to Mets fans. Todd Hundley managed only a .626 OPS through age 25, then improved that by nearly 200 points for the balance of his career. That included a 41-homer season in 1996, one of four post-age-25 seasons for Hundley with at least 24 homers.

Jeremy Hefner plans to make roughly 15 throws off a mound on Tuesday. Those will mark his first tosses off a mound since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.

• Marc Carig in Newsday details the Mets’ hitting woes during their six-game losing streak.

Gonzalez Germen inherited two runners with two outs in the sixth and coaxed a groundout from the lone batter he faced in what should be his final rehab appearance with Class A St. Lucie.

• Relief prospect Jeff Walters, who is on the 40-man roster, has a torn UCL in his pitching elbow.

• ESPN’s Keith Law breaks down NL teams’ drafts here (ESPN Insider content). In one part of his Mets review, Law writes:

Eudor Garcia-Pacheco (Round 4) is a third baseman out of El Paso Community College who just turned 20 a few weeks ago; he'll move to first in pro ball but has very quick, strong hands, and power from the left side. Righty Josh Prevost (Round 5) had just 73 innings pitched in total over his first three years at Seton Hall, but threw 116 this year and walked only 20 men, sitting 91-94 with some downhill plane (you'd hope so, since he's 6-foot-8) and an above-average slider in the 79-83 mph range. Tyler Moore (Round 6) of LSU is a solid college catcher but probably a backup in the majors. Dash Winningham (8th round) can't run, which is just a shame.

Their late flier was on Iowa righty Keaton McKinney (Round 28), a strong commit to Arkansas but well worth a seven-figure bonus if the Mets have room for it, and they should have some extra coin left over given the signable guys they took after round three.

Rafael Montero allowed six runs (one earned) in three innings in his second start since returning to Triple-A. Zach Lutz committed two errors behind him and also homered as the 51s lost to Colorado Springs, 11-5. Las Vegas has lost 17 of 22. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Eric Young Jr. (hamstring) will attempt to run the bases on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, the Daily News reports.

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy believes he knows why Zack Wheeler hit Hunter Pence with a pitch Sunday but would not reveal his logic, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman tweets.

John Lannan, who dealt with a personal matter for seven weeks, has rejoined the organization.

• Triple-A outfielder Cesar Puello is interviewed at MetsMinors.

• SNY announced it will televise a slate of “limited-commercial” games beginning Thursday.

BIRTHDAYS: Hofstra product/YES commentator Ken Singleton, who began his major league career with the Mets, turns 67. ... St. Lucie infielder Jairo Perez is 26.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets leave the manager and coaching staff intact?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
8 4.12 95 126
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .288
HRL. Duda 14
RBID. Wright 50
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .829
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112