Mets morning briefing 4.23.12

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
7:24
AM ET
Sunday's game was rained out, prompting a single-admission doubleheader between the Mets and Giants at 4:10 p.m. Monday. Spot starter Miguel Batista opposes Tim Lincecum in Game 1. Sunday's starter Dillon Gee pitches Game 2 opposite Madison Bumgarner. The Tom Seaver bobblehead giveaway has been rescheduled for May 5.

Monday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson on WNBC on Sunday night said regarding David Wright's contract status (the Mets hold a 2013 option): "We've said, look, let's play out at least part of this season and see where we are. But I, honestly, at this point cannot foresee David playing elsewhere."

That will cost money, though. Considered a comp, Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman agreed to a six-year, $100 million extension Feb. 26. The deal is on top of the combined $26 million he was due to earn between this season and 2013. The Nats have a team option for 2020. Wright is 21 months older than Zimmerman.

As for Jose Reyes' Tuesday return, Alderson said about the shortstop's departure on a six-year, $106 million contract: "I was disappointed. I wasn't surprised. In fact, I was a little bit surprised about the weakness of the market for Jose, because really the Marlins were not only the strongest suitor, but in some ways the only suitor. It would have been nice to keep Jose. He's clearly a different type of player, a very dynamic player, exciting, crowd-pleasing type of player. But that's baseball. That's life. We have to move on. He certainly has. We'll welcome him back [Tuesday], but hopefully we can beat the Marlins."

The GM added about the expected crowd reception: "It's interesting. I think there will be a mixed reaction. On the one hand, he was homegrown. He'd been with the Mets for a long time, had a great season last year. On the other hand, he left. And Mets fans are like fans in most places. If somebody leaves, they don't always maintain the same affections. So it will be interesting to see what happens.

"And, of course, we're giving him a little bit of a video tribute [Tuesday], which is typical for a lot of players that leave the Mets and come back. If people don't want to watch it, they can avert their eyes or what have you. But I think it's fitting. I think it's the least we can do for Jose coming back."

Chocolate might be nice, too.

Of course, it's worth nothing, mitigating the fact that Reyes left is the fact the Mets never made a bona fide offer to keep him.

Johan Santana will now pitch Tuesday, rather than Monday -- a full week after recording only four outs at Turner Field against the Braves in his shortest career start. The Mets needed a spot start either Monday or Friday anyway, since they have six games in five days. The 41-year-old Batista's last start was a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati in last season's finale. Santana threw two bullpen sessions since his abbreviated last start, so the extra day helps. It also moves him into the Marlins series, and Santana has a 1.47 career ERA against Miami. It also bumps Mike Pelfrey from the Marlins series (5.20 ERA against Miami) to the Rockies series, on Friday in Denver. Pelfrey has a 3.06 ERA career ERA against Colorado, despite that 2009 game at Coors Field in which he went for a jog in the parking lot after getting knocked out early. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Record, Post and Daily News.

Terry Collins said Frank Francisco will remain the closer, despite allowing runs in each of his past four appearances. Francisco told reporters he worked with pitching coach Dan Warthen to avoid his front shoulder flying open during his delivery. That flaw typically can expose the ball earlier to hitters and flatten pitches. Collins, who met with Francisco on Sunday, said the closer insisted the knee troubles from late in spring training are not an issue. Read more in the Times, Record, Newsday, Post and Star-Ledger.

Jeurys Familia surrendered Bryce Harper's first Triple-A homer but no other damage while striking out eight in five innings as Buffalo split a doubleheader at Syracuse on Sunday. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Pelfrey, who was the Mets' first-round pick in 2005, the season after Philip Humber was chosen by the organization in the first round, at one point was a close friend of Humber's in the minor leagues. Pelfrey told John Jeansonne in Newsday about Humber's perfect game with the White Sox: "I saw his interview afterward. He was pretty humble. That's the kind of guy he is. I heard him say he didn't think he was dominant. When you retire 27 [in a row], you're dominant."

Writes Joshua Robinson in the Journal:

Pelfrey had known of Humber in college -- after all, Humber's Rice Owls had eliminated Pelfrey's Wichita State in the 2003 NCAA baseball tournament. He remembered him throwing in the neighborhood of 88 mph. On Saturday, he saw him hitting the low- to mid-90s and working in a slider. "After Tommy John, I think that he learned how to pitch," Pelfrey said, referring to Humber's 2005 elbow surgery. "Now that his velocity's back, with that curveball, the changeup, and his slider, he's going to have a great year."

Read more in the Times.

Pelfrey, by the way, predicts the Mets franchise will eventually get a no-hitter. Only the Padres and Mets are devoid of that achievement. The Mets are at 7,982 games and counting. "Obviously, a lot of luck is involved in that," Pelfrey told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. "It’s not easy to get through one inning let alone nine. But I think one day it’s gonna happen. I can’t tell you when, but it’s gonna happen eventually.”

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News says the Mets have a better rotation than the Yankees' cast. Writes Madden:

The Mets’ rotation of Santana, Jonathon Niese, Dickey, Pelfrey and Dillon Gee has an ERA of 3.48 with 83 hits, 69 strikeouts and 26 walks over 80 innings and 14 starts. The Yanks have a 5.84 ERA with 107 hits allowed, 77 strikeouts and 23 walks over 81 2/3 innings and 15 starts by the quintet of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, [Hiroki] Kuroda and [Freddy] Garcia. And as much as we despise the “quality start” stat (six or more innings, three or fewer runs), it has become a fact of life in baseball and, in this case, further illustrates the Mets’ superiority over the Yankee starters so far. Even without Santana having gone beyond five innings, the Mets’ starters have eight quality starts out of 14 as opposed to the Yankees’ five out of 15.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post says a successful team begins with a successful rotation. “That starter sends a sense of confidence throughout the club,’’ Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Kernan. “They’re the guys that keep you in the ballgame and give you the chance to win and you get that consistently and it does change the mentality of the club. They know every day they are going to have the chance to win with the guy on the hill. I saw how it changed here. Their confidence grows. They say, ‘You know what, we’re good, we can play with anybody because that guy is going to keep us in the ballgame. If we can figure a way to get enough runs, we’ll win the game.’’’

TRIVIA: Seaver pitched for only one minor league club during his Hall of Fame career. Name the team.

Sunday's answer: Along with Humber taken third overall by the Mets, two other Rice pitchers were selected in the first round in 2004 -- Jeff Niemann fourth overall by Tampa Bay and Wade Townsend eighth overall by Baltimore. Townsend did not sign, and was selected in the same No. 8 position by the Rays the following year.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.301 9 53 73
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 76
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .824
WB. Colon 12
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.45
SOZ. Wheeler 163