Miguel Batista tossed seven scoreless innings despite pitching with a tight groin and Daniel Murphy produced two of the Mets' three hits in a 3-1 win against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night at Citi Field. Frank Francisco recorded an oh-so-shaky save while allowing a ninth-inning run.
Tuesday's news reports:
• Terry Collins opted to keep Francisco as his closer, despite the ex-Blue Jay failing to protect ninth-inning leads twice in Miami during the weekend. Although Colllins considered having Francisco share duties with Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell and Tim Byrdak, Collins reasoned that Francisco was brought in to be the closer. The manager added that once he starts shuffling roles, if the next option does not perform, he has created a state of flux in his entire bullpen. And, Collins lightheartedly added, Byrdak would not make it through the summer with extra closing responsibilities given how much he is relied upon as a lefty specialist. Francisco allowed two hits, a walk and a run in the ninth, but was credited with a save Monday. He has allowed 22 hits and eight walks in 14 2/3 innings. Collins was poised to pull Francisco and insert Rauch if one more batter reached Monday.
• Anthony Rieber in Newsday wonders why Collins did not just leave in Parnell, who breezed to record the final two outs of the eighth. Writes Rieber:
Parnell threw all of five pitches. Too radical, I know. Can't be done when you have to honor your closer. I asked Collins before the game if he thinks a team can survive in this day and age without a designated closer, with the manager choosing his late-inning relievers based on the situation. He didn't hesitate. "Absolutely," he said. Did the Mets consider that in their discussions Monday about whether Francisco should remain the closer? "We did consider that," Collins said. "We did consider that. In our case at this particular moment, Byrdak would be dead by July."
• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post is unimpressed with the decision to leave Francisco as closer. Writes Davidoff:
Last year, the Mets left camp resolved that Brad Emaus, a Rule 5 draft selection, would be their everyday second baseman. Within just a few weeks, it became evident they bet wrong, so they designated Emaus for assignment. They scored points for dealing decisively with the issue, and ironically, Emaus is back in the Mets’ organization at Triple-A Buffalo. The Francisco situation isn’t identical to Emaus’. The Mets signed Francisco to a two-year, $12-million deal in December with the understanding he would close for them. There’s a wide gulf, however, between winter hopes and spring reality. Moreover, no one’s talking about releasing Francisco and eating all of that money. We’re discussing taking a break, a la Ross and Rachel on “Friends.” Or like when the 2011 Blue Jays flip-flopped their closer and setup man -- that would be Francisco and Jon Rauch, respectively -- in July before a Rauch injury returned the job to Francisco in late August.
• Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News wants to see the Mets revisit Parnell as closer.
• Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com echoes other reports in expressing confidence David Wright will remain a Met long term, even if a contract offer waits until next offseason. Wright is under the Mets' control through 2013, including a team option. Writes Heyman:
Mets owner Fred Wilpon may have taken an uncharacteristic and frankly shocking slap at Wright last year with his comment to The New Yorker that Wright isn't a superstar. But Wright's support among high-level Mets people generally is extremely strong. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon long has been a Wright backer, for instance. Two things you can count on: 1) Wright isn't going anywhere in trade this summer, and 2) the Mets will try to lock up Wright to a longterm deal, if not this season than this winter. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson agreed with my text to him that it would take something "extraordinary'' and "unforeseen'' for Wright to be traded this summer. Loosely translated, that means he ain't going anywhere. The only reason they give themselves even the slightest bit of opening is they understandably don't want to be seen as liars in the event something "extraordinary'' and "unforeseen'' does happen.
Wright told the Post on Monday: "There haven't been any talks. That's about it."
• In Monday's victory, Murphy extended his hitting streak to 10 games and Wright scored on a botched rundown in the eighth after reaching on a double. Wright went 1-for-3. He now is hitting .398. The Mets won a game in which they produced three hits or fewer for the first time since Aug. 27, 2010, in a 2-1 win against Nelson Figueroa and the Houston Astros. Read Monday's game recaps in the Post, Times, Record, Daily News, Newsday and Star-Ledger.
• Will Batista's groin injury be an issue? Stay tuned, although he downplayed the issue. As for why this start was better than his first since taking over for Chris Schwinden in Mike Pelfrey's slot (four runs, two earned, in 5 1/3 innings at Philadelphia), Batista said: "It takes a little time for me to get acclimated to the starting rotation."
• Arbitrator Shyam Das, who ruled in favor of Ryan Braun in the 2011 NL MVP's successful challenge to the chain of custody of a drug test, has been fired by Major League Baseball, the Associated Press reported. On the same day, MLB and the union agreed to set aside a 100-game suspension being served by Eliezer Alfonzo, whose sample was handled similarly by a collector before being shipped to the laboratory and tested.
• Jenrry Mejia allowed one run in six innings in his second minor league game with Class A St. Lucie. He allowed three hits, including a solo homer to former Mets farmhand Stefan Welch, while striking out seven and walking none. Nine of the 10 outs in play were on the ground. Chris Young goes for St. Lucie on Tuesday. Young is scripted to move to Triple-A Buffalo after that outing. It would not be unreasonable to expect Mejia to now move to a higher level, too. Mejia is working as a starting pitcher during this spurt, but it is entirely conceivable his contribution in the majors this season is in the bullpen. He is returning from May 16, 2011 Tommy John surgery.
• Jeurys Familia allowed one run on five hits in five innings in Triple-A Buffalo's 9-3 win at Charlotte. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Jason Bay (fractured rib) has been cleared to begin baseball activities for the first time since suffering the injury on April 23. He had been limited to a stationary bicycle. Collins said during Monday's pregame show that Bay "probably" assumes the bulk of left-field duty, but the manager added that he needed to find significant playing time for Kirk Nieuwenhuis as well, so how to accommodate all his outfielders will be interesting. Read more in the Record, Newsday and Star-Ledger.
TRIVIA: What college did Dillon Gee attend?
Monday's answer: Batista has eight career wins against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the most of any opponent.