Mets morning briefing 5.19.11

Jon Niese tossed seven scoreless innings and the Mets pulled even with the Nationals in the standings by beating Washington 3-0 in the rain at Citi Field on Wednesday.

Thursday's news reports:

Terry Collins may soon place Jason Bay in the No. 2 slot in the lineup. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Post and Record.

Angel Pagan began a rehab assignment Wednesday night with St. Lucie. He went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk and played center field for seven innings. Collins expects Pagan to play three additional games with the Florida State League club before being activated. Read more in Newsday.

• Read game stories from Wednesday 3-0 victory in the Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Post, Daily News and Newsday.

Andy McCullough discusses the beaning of Justin Turner in the College World Series while at Cal State Fullerton. Turner was so recognizable near his campus after that incident, he even dyed his red hair in hopes to going unnoticed (which you can read about here, in the write-up I did after Turner was first promoted to the Mets last season). Writes McCullough:

The baseball struck him flush in his face on his left cheek. His cleat wedged into the dirt as he crumpled to the ground. In the process, he broke his ankle. Blood smeared his batting gloves. While his leg throbbed, doctors examined his face. “Even when I got the hospital, they did all the CT scans, MRI stuff,” Turner said. “And they were about to send me out. And I was like, ‘Dude, what about my ankle?’ ”

• Daily News columnist Filip Bondy discusses Wednesday's soggy playing conditions, writing:

Then Wednesday night, the Mets decided to play the game and handed off responsibility to the umps once the lineup cards were exchanged. The rain poured down intensely at times, yet radar reports convinced the umpires that if they ordered the tarp brought out, it might never come off. "If this is about the weather, you can take it up with the commissioner's office," umpire Bill Miller said after the game, through a messenger. Was it right they played this game at all? Certainly not, although the players had fewer complaints than you'd imagine. The Nationals, for the most part, said they were given the same opportunities as the home team.

• Nats right-hander Livan Hernandez tries to continue his recent success against the Mets in Thursday's matinee. Writes Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal:

Since the Mets released him in August 2009, Hernandez has become a Mets-killer. In six starts against them, he has posted a 1.96 ERA, allowing just 1.09 walks and hits per inning. Against the rest of the league over that span, he has a 4.27 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.

Oliver Perez's scheduled debut with the Nats' Double-A affiliate, Harrisburg, was rained out Wednesday and instead is scheduled for Thursday. Nats GM Mike Rizzo told the Post: "His velocity's increased since we've gotten him. When we got him he was in the low 80s, I think he's in the mid-to-upper 80s, and touching 90. We want to see where he's at in his rehabilitation. We want to see where his arm slot is, where his velocity is, where his stuff is. That's what we've been working on down in spring training. He's had flashes of having good major league stuff, and then he'll relapse into having just OK stuff. We want to see consistency of delivery, holding his delivery together, consistency of command, and the consistency of his velocity and stuff with his other pitches."

BIRTHDAY: Ex-Mets reliever Turk Wendell turns 44. Wendell, whose first name is actually Steven, had a 3.34 ERA as a middle reliever in five seasons with the Mets from 1997 to 2001, often extricating himself from difficult situations with timely outs. Wendell tied Dennis Cook’s then-club record with 21 holds in 1999, a mark that since has since been surpassed (due to reliever specialization) six times. -Mark Simon