Morning Briefing: Media training day!

February, 25, 2014
Feb 25
6:36
AM ET

Adam RubinIke Davis barked at a New York Post beat writer in the clubhouse on Monday.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Coincidentally, the Mets have a media-training seminar on Tuesday morning for players. Then, they head outdoors for another day of full-squad workouts.

There are three days until Friday’s 1:10 p.m. Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.

Tuesday’s news reports:


Adam RubinA source was quoted in the Post as being unimpressed with Ruben Tejada's physique.


• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post quotes an anonymous source as being unimpressed with Ruben Tejada’s new physique after the shortstop spent two offseason tours at a Plymouth, Mich., nutrition and fitness camp. “He pretty much looks the same,” the source told Kernan.

• After the Post reported Ike Davis failed to disclose a lingering injury last season, the first baseman shot back at the reporter Monday morning in the clubhouse in view of teammates and other media. Davis then privately had another exchange with the reporter in the afternoon in the players’ parking lot. Davis insisted he was not making an excuse for his poor play. Terry Collins, caught off guard by the report, said “everything would have been better off had [Davis] said something” last season.

“It’s a fine line, but nobody wants to come out of the game,” David Wright told MLB.com. “Being as competitive as most of us are, you try to battle your way through nagging things. There’s very few times over the course of the season where you go out there and say, ‘You know what? Something’s not bothering me.’ It’s just a matter of being smart enough to know what you can and can’t play through.”

Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:

Ike Davis, as a first baseman for the Mets, doesn't get to tell us what’s a story or not. We decide that. It’s part of our job description, along with asking questions, taking notes and obsessively checking Twitter.

But when it comes to the way Davis is portrayed in the media, he steers the ship by how he performs or what he says. Play well, and Davis is described as the second coming of Keith Hernandez. Hit .205 and wind up demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, as he did last season, and you get to the place we all were at early Monday morning.

Read columnist John Harper’s take in the Daily News.

Read more on Davis in the Journal, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

• Bill Brink in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Pirates potentially will use an Andrew Lambo-Gaby Sanchez platoon, but remain in the market for a first baseman. Brink lists Seattle’s Justin Smoak, Toronto’s Adam Lind and Texas’ Mitch Moreland as trade alternatives to Davis. Free-agent Kendrys Morales is possible, too, although that would cost Pittsburgh its first-round pick.

• A Mets insider told ESPNNewYork.com that middle infielder Nick Franklin is on the team’s radar and predicted talks should pick up with the Seattle Mariners in the next few weeks. Franklin still has six seasons under control before free agency -- the first three seasons at or close to the MLB minimum salary. Read more in Newsday and the Post.

• In preparation for an intrasquad game Thursday, and facing the Atlanta Braves at Disney next Monday in his Grapefruit League debut, Noah Syndergaard threw two innings of live batting practice Monday.

• After consulting with the outfielder, Collins now plans to give Curtis Granderson plenty of Grapefruit League at-bats. Originally, Collins planned to have Granderson ease into exhibition play, which the manager still plans to do with Wright and Daniel Murphy. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post and MLB.com.

• Free-agent Stephen Drew could hold out until after June’s draft, Foxsports.com reports. The team that signed him at that point reportedly would no longer be responsible for forfeiting a draft pick. Read more in the Daily News.

• Columnist Bob Raissman in the Daily News writes this about Sandy Alderson:

It’s time for his honeymoon to finally end. He’s a smart, at times condescending, guy, granted a hardball doctorate by baseball’s boss scribes. If there’s any heat in his future Alderson can take it. He’ll just explain things away anyway he wants to.

Like the Nelson Cruz situation. The money was available to sign him, right?

Listening to, and reading Alderson’s laundry list of excuses after Cruz was signed by the Orioles for a year at $8 mil was comical. The media sucked up Alderson’s lines -- his defense of signing Chris Young -- like a giant Hoover. Alderson told them Cruz’s asking price in November was too high when he signed Young for $7.25 million. “This is not a gee-whiz, if-only-we’d-waited moment,” Alderson told boss scribes in Port St. Lucie.

• Tim Rohan in the Times has a positive review of prospect Rafael Montero. “If you wanted to teach mechanics, he would have it,” pitching coach Dan Warthen told Rohan.

Josh Satin should get regular playing time against southpaws at first base regardless of whether the lefty-hitting Davis or Lucas Duda emerges as the primary player at that position.

• Michael Salfino in the Journal reviews some Duda statistics. Writes Salfino:

Duda’s big problem is that he lets the first pitch pass without a swing 83.7 percent of the time, the highest rate on the Mets last year. (The league average is 72.9 percent.) Davis, by contrast, took 64.9 percent of first pitches, the fewest among returning Mets hitters. Taking first pitches at a high rate seems to make little sense given that National League pitchers threw strikes on 61 percent of these offerings last year.

• MLB and the Players’ Association adopted a compromise blocking-the-plate rule for 2014. There is no must-slide mandate. And a catcher can still block the plate if the ball arrives first. Regardless of the ultimate rule, Sandy Alderson already had said Mets catchers will be instructed to allow a lane for the runner in order to avoid collisions and injury.

Matt Harvey threw on flat ground Monday for the second time since Tommy John surgery.

• Infielder Chase d’Arnaud, the brother of Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud, was designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chase, 27, primarily plays shortstop.

• A camp for top Mets prospects opened Monday at the team’s complex. Check out the full roster here.

• Lefty prospect Steven Matz had surgery to clean out a knee in October.

From the bloggers … At Mets Police, Shannon finds a “59th anniversary” Mets cap available for sale. … John Delcos at Mets Report doesn’t believe players will disclose injuries, no matter Collins’ desire

BIRTHDAYS: Former Chicago Cubs GM Ed Lynch, who pitched for the Mets for seven seasons, turns 58.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets acquire via trade or waivers claim the brother of Travis d’Arnaud, a shortstop who was designated for assignment by the Pirates?
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
.284 7 38 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 16
RBIL. Duda 51
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .850
WB. Colon 9
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112