Morning Briefing: Gee gets last tune-up

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
5:36
AM ET

Courtesy of Dillon GeeOpening Day starter Dillon Gee, pictured with wife Kari Ann and son Hudson, gets his final spring-training tune-up Wednesday night.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his final spring-training tune-up when the Mets play a 6:05 p.m. game Wednesday against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee. Gee opposes Scott Feldman (WOR 710 AM).

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The Mets handed Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100,000 retention bonus Tuesday, preserving the right to send him to the minors. However, it is not as simple as suggesting Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth starter’s job. The Mets want to preserve the eligibility of Matsuzaka and Mejia to be in the rotation if the elbow issue with Jonathon Niese flares up.

Matsuzaka is the one who can be held off the Opening Day roster and still sub for Niese on April 6 if needed. That’s because Matsuzaka is on a minor-league contract. Once Mejia is optioned to the minors, he would be ineligible to take Niese’s start, because Mejia would by rule need to spend the first 10 days of the regular season with Las Vegas.

Incidentally, relief is off the table for Mejia.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and MLB.com.

Matt Harvey and the Mets have settled on a rehab plan. During the season’s first couple of months, Harvey will rehab in New York when the Mets are at home and work out in Port St. Lucie when the big-league club is away from Citi Field. Once he begins expected mound work in June, the rehab will shift nearly exclusively to the team’s Florida complex.

“Certain situations I feel strongly about and I may approach them a little bit differently,” Harvey told David Lennon in Newsday. “But I’m all about this team. I’m all about the New York Mets and I’m all about winning. I can preach that until I’m blue in the face. …

“We had kind of gone back and forth, but it was never an alarming situation. It wasn’t me trying to get my way the whole time and it wasn’t them trying to get their way the whole time, which was kind of perceived through the media. We worked out a good deal and I think everybody is happy.”

David Wright was among those counseling Harvey on the subject. Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

Wright told Harvey when he was rehabbing the fractured bone in his lower back and had to be with the team because the rehab doctor was in New York, he made sure he arrived super-early to make sure he did not take away doctor/trainer time from active players. He advised Harvey do the same, and also to mimic what he has done in March -- attend the pitchers’ meetings and be an active cheerleader and information dispenser in the dugout. The message is simple: You have to be a supporting actor at Citi, not a star of the City; a dispenser of high fives, not a staple of Page Six.

“It’s been my philosophy that I am an employee, not the employer,” Wright said. “The advice I gave him was to find common ground with the Mets. To definitely do what is best for him, but also not to lose sight that he is the employee, not the employer.”

Read more on Harvey in the Star-Ledger.

Zack Wheeler allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer to Bryce Harper, as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 7-3, Tuesday in Viera. Wheeler next faces the Nats next Thursday, in Game 3 of the regular season.

• The Associated Press calculates the Mets’ payroll at $89 million, which ranks 22nd in MLB.

• Frank Viola will require open-heart surgery next Wednesday and will be unable to serve as pitching coach at Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in Newsday and MLB.com.

• The Wilpons’ settlement with the trustee collecting money for victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is down to $80 million, to be paid in equal installments in 2016 and 2017.

• Sandy Alderson expects Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both to be on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Kyle Farnsworth, who is due to be re-signed by the Mets, rode the bus to Viera on Tuesday with the team despite technically not being a member of the organization.

• Ex-Met Mike Pelfrey was the victim of a practical joke by Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and teammates.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post labels the Mets among the NL’s offseason winners, writing:

They finally spent some money, even if it was only to keep the payroll flat, to acquire Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Risky outfield acquisition Chris Young has enjoyed a good spring training.

• Luis Rivera is Double-A Binghamton’s new hitting coach. He replaces Luis Natera, who was promoted to assistant hitting coach with the big-league club.

• Granderson reminisces about his first Opening Day at MLB.com.

• Bovada sets the following over-unders for the Mets in 2014:

David Wright -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

David Wright -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 22.5

David Wright -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 85.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 27.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 89.5

Ike Davis -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .240

Daniel Murphy -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

Daniel Murphy -- Total Stolen Bases in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 20.5

Daniel Murphy -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 70.5

Dillon Gee -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 12

Jonathon Niese -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 11.5

Bartolo Colon -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 10.5

• Jonathan Lehman in the Post has a history quiz about Mets Opening Day starting pitchers.

John Lannan is getting acclimated to a relief role, Mike Vorkunov writes in the Star-Ledger.

Omar Quintanilla appears likely to beat out Anthony Seratelli for the backup middle-infield job. But Seratelli has hopes of making his MLB debut at age 31, writes Tim Rohan in the Times.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets infielder Jose Vizcaino turns 46.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Where do you stand on the above over-unders?
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

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.88 106 141
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .296
HRL. Duda 20
RBIL. Duda 61
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .872
ERAJ. Niese 3.24
SOZ. Wheeler 125