Jason Bay is scheduled to return Thursday as the Mets try to salvage the series finale against the Houston Astros with Chris Capuano on the mound. The Mets are 1-9 at Citi Field this season and have the worst record in the majors at 5-13.
Thursday's news reports:
• Major League Baseball announced it was taking control of operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Read the MLB statement here.)
Columnist Ken Davidoff in Newsday notes that Bud Selig will give Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz a lot more rope than Dodgers owner Frank McCourt because of the close relationship the Wilpons have with the commissioner.
Wondering if the Mets are next for takeover, Daily News columnist Bill Madden writes:
No one -- except the Mets owners themselves -- knows how close they are to being in the same precarious situation as McCourt. At least they are able to sell a substantial part of the team to secure the necessary capital to continue operating the Mets while they fight the $1 billion lawsuit leveled against them by Madoff trustee Irving Picard. With the ownership of the Dodgers entangled in the divorce case, McCourt can't even do that -- which presumably is what makes the Dodgers' situation more imminently critical for Selig. As one baseball executive familiar with the Dodgers' situation said Wednesday night: "Selig had no choice taking over the team." ...
He might have added that Selig can't stand McCourt and is making every effort to get him out of baseball. ... With Wilpon, however, it's just the opposite. Selig considers Wilpon a close friend and ally and, no doubt, is taking the Mets owners at their word that the $200 million they get from an investor will keep the club solvent for the foreseeable future.
• Bobby Parnell is due to have an angiogram on Thursday to determine whether there is clotting in his arm that might be causing numbness in his middle finger. The belief is that's the case, but that it can be treated with aspirin, which thins the blood. Parnell will officially land on the DL to make room for Bay. That will give Terry Collins a five-man bench for the first time since April 10, when Ryota Igarashi and Jason Isringhausen were promoted and Lucas Duda and Blaine Boyer departed, which upped the bullpen to eight members.
Finger numbness caused by clotting is not unprecedented among pitchers. Tom Glavine underwent an angiogram on Aug. 21, 2006 while with the Mets after experiencing coldness and numbness in his left ring finger. The need for surgery was ruled out in that case. A decade earlier with the Yankees, David Cone experienced finger numbness and the digits turning blue. Doctors discovered an aneurysm in Cone's shoulder after an angiogram and the right-hander required surgery.
• A day after going 4-for-4 with two homers with Class A St. Lucie, Bay completed his rehab assignment by going 1-for-3 with two walks for the Florida State League club. Contrasting last year's concussion to the rib-cage strain he suffered two days before the Mets broke camp in Port St. Lucie this year, Bay told ESPNNewYork.com:
"Maybe this is a little more frustrating because when you run into a wall you get a concussion. 'OK, hey, what happens, happens.' But to come in healthy and feeling good, then take a swing in batting practice two days before the season starts? That stunk. That was the toughest part. If it had happened at the beginning of spring, I could deal with it and move on. I keep telling people my timing is impeccable because it couldn't have happened at a worse time."
Bay has not appeared in a major league game since July 25, 2010 at Dodger Stadium.
Carlos Beltran tells Newsday about Bay's return: "That would mean I'm going to see a lot of fastballs, and that's good for everybody."
Post columnist Joel Sherman has this take on Bay being back:
For now, [Sandy] Alderson's administration is at the mercy of the mistakes enacted during the [Omar] Minaya regime. So he has had to oversee the limping exchange of Carlos Beltran from center to right. He had to release Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez with the Mets eating $18 million. He has to worry about Francisco Rodriguez finishing 55 games, which would trigger a payroll-killing $17.5 million salary for 2012. And, now, here comes Bay today; who has a chance to be yet another booby prize from the old administration. He is just a year and a month into a four-year, $66 million contract. ... All in all, Bay's signing is taking on all the earmarks of another Mets' financial disaster, especially because his contract runs through 2013.
• R.A. Dickey summed it up after the Mets again lost to the Astros on Wednesday. "We have to be honest with ourselves about what kind of team we are," the knuckleballer told reporters. "We can't just keep telling ourselves, 'We're a better team than this.' We may not be. And we've got to be honest about that and identify what we're doing wrong and do it better." Read game accounts in Newsday, the Times, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Post and Record. The Times also has more detailed Dickey comments here.
• David Wright on Thursday tries to snap an 0-for-19 drought, which matches the longest of his career. Wright also has 22 strikeouts, one shy of Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez's NL-leading 23. The third baseman tells Howard Kussoy in the Post: "Some of them have been good at-bats and the pitcher makes a good pitch with two strikes -- nothing you can really do about it. I'm feeling alright. I'm having some good at-bats, just not really much to show for it, but I think if I continue having good at-bats, the results will be there."
• Lenny Dykstra was freed on $150,000 bond. Read more here.
BIRTHDAYS: Former closer Jesse Orosco turns 54. Besides being the pitcher who closed out the 1986 NLCS and World Series, Orosco had the unusual distinction of having his win and loss totals (47-47) match his primary uniform number. ... Former Mets pitcher Randy Sterling turns 60. Sterling took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his major league debut against the Montreal Expos on Sept. 16, 1974, and ended up with a 3-2 win, his only major league victory. A future Met also debuted in that game. Gary Carter went 0-for-4 at catcher for the Expos. ... Ronny Paulino, who now takes his rehab tour to Buffalo in preparation for activation from the DL on Tuesday, turns 30. -Mark Simon