- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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Jon Niese takes the mound as the Washington Nationals visit Port St. Lucie to face the Mets this afternoon. Jordan Zimmermann is listed as Niese's opponent.
Wednesday's news reports:
• In a memoir that will hit bookstores Thursday entitled "Wherever I Wind Up," R.A. Dickey writes that he was the victim of sexual abuse by two different perpetrators during the summer when he was 8 years old. Dickey also writes that he considered suicide in 2006. And he discusses finding a syringe in the Texas Rangers clubhouse in 2001. There are lighter and more contemporary moments too, such as breaking into a football field last spring training so Mike Pelfrey could attempt 50-yard field goals. Listen to Dickey discuss the most sensitive topics in this podcast of a Tuesday afternoon clubhouse interview. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Times, Record, Post, Journal and Newsday.
• Sources tell ESPNNewYork.com that there is far more clarity among Opening Day roster spots. Mike Baxter is expected to beat out Adam Loewen for the lefty-hitting backup outfielder role. Mike Nickeas should be Josh Thole's backup catcher, sending Rob Johnson and Lucas May to Triple-A Buffalo alongside Loewen. And with Tim Byrdak's recovery from knee surgery being so rapid -- he is due to begin throwing off a mound today and may only miss the first four games of the season -- the Mets appear poised to put Daniel Herrera in the Opening Day bullpen as the lone southpaw. The logic is that the spot will be so short term, it might as well be someone expendable rather than a player who might get claimed off waivers or otherwise lost when Byrdak is ready. Garrett Olson is expected to work in Buffalo's rotation, very likely with Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia. And left-handed prospect Josh Edgin can get more minor league seasoning. Edgin presumably would be a fit for Double-A Binghamton, after excelling at two Class A levels last season. Read more in the Daily News.
• NBA great Magic Johnson and former Nationals and Braves president Stan Kasten have the winning bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers -- a whopping $2 billion. The relevance to the Mets: Steven Cohen, one of the three finalists, already had purchased a 4 percent share of the Mets for $20 million. Now, Cohen will not have to put that Mets stake up for sale. Meanwhile, the value of the Dodgers would appear to be good news for Fred Wilpon and family, since it suggests all MLB teams are worth even more staggering amounts. The more the team is worth, the lower the percentage of the existing debt. That, at least in an academic sense, should make it easier to borrow -- or at least make banks more patient -- since the lending institutions know there is plenty of collateral. Still, the Dodgers' price tag is not a complete apples-to-apples comparison. The sale includes some parking lots around the stadium, and the local broadcasting rights reportedly can be peddled for the 2014 season, whereas the Mets have a long-term relationship with Wilpon-owned SportsNet New York. Still, the Dodgers sale will shatter the U.S. pro sports (Miami Dolphins, $1.1 billion, 2009) and MLB (Chicago Cubs, $845 million, 2009) sale-price records.
• Lucas Duda delivered his fourth Grapefruit League homer -- and another to the opposite field -- but Freddie Freeman went deep twice off Mets relievers and the Braves beat the Mets, 7-5, on Tuesday at Digital Domain Park. David Wright played for second straight day. He is due to be off Wednesday, then play consecutive games Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Watch video highlights from Tuesday's game here. Read more in the Post, Record and Newsday.
• Scott Hairston had four plate appearances in a minor league game Tuesday and manned an inning in center field. Hairston expects to be in his first Grapefruit League game Wednesday, with a strained left oblique perhaps behind him and Opening Day realistic. Jason Bay, who was struck Sunday in the right forearm with a fastball from Washington's Stephen Strasburg, also plans to be in the lineup today. Terry Collins expressed optimism Andres Torres was making strides a week after straining his left calf muscle. Hairston would be the righty-hitting outfielder for the bench or starting center fielder, depending on Torres' readiness. Righty-hitting Vinny Rottino seemingly could slip onto the Opening Day roster if Torres weren't ready.
• Josh Satin intends to play for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round in November in Jupiter, Fla. Former major league catcher Brad Ausmus placed a call to Satin to invite him to participate. One team from that qualifying pool of Israel, France, South Africa and Spain will advance to the WBC during 2013 spring training. Ausmus also planned to place a call to Ike Davis to invite him. Satin is Jewish, and Davis' mother was raised in that religion. Ex-Mets outfielder Shawn Green as well as Gabe Kapler also are recruiting for the Israeli entry.
• Former Long Islander Bob Kolb has loaned a ticket from the first Mets home game in 1962 to the organization. The ticket will be on display at the museum at Citi Field during the club's 50th anniversary season this year, then returned to Kolb.
• Johan Santana told ESPNNewYork.com he will not face the Marlins in his final Grapefruit League tuneup Saturday. The ace thought a minor league game probably would be the assignment, but said he still needed to discuss the organization's plan with pitching coach Dan Warthen. Andy McCullough writes in the Star-Ledger that Santana could simply throw a simulated game in preparation for Opening Day against the Braves at Citi Field next Thursday afternoon.
TRIVIA: Which Met was born on an Air Force base?
Tuesday's answer: Daniel Murphy hit a game-tying pinch-hit homer last April 27 against Tyler Clippard en route to a 6-3 win at Nationals Park.