FIRST PITCH: The Mets will not face Jose Fernandez in Miami. He is on the shelf for the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last month.Mark Cunningham/Getty Images
The Mets face Marlins top prospect Andrew Heaney in his major league debut Thursday.
Instead, the Mets will see Marlins top prospect Andrew Heaney in Thursday’s series opener. The southpaw makes his major league debut at 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park opposite Zack Wheeler (2-7, 4.38 ERA).
Dillon Gee is due to be in Miami to throw for staff as a prelude to entering a minor-league rehab game. Gee landed on the disabled list May 11 with a strained right lat muscle.
Read the Mets-Marlins series preview here.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Bartolo Colon produced a hit for the first time in nine years and scored for the first time in a dozen years. He also tossed eight solid innings as the Mets snapped an eight-game road losing streak with a 3-2 win Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Terry Collins pulled Colon at 86 pitches. The Mets then barely held on as Dana Eveland relieved Jenrry Mejia and retired Matt Adams to notch his first save since 2005.
2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo was among five St. Lucie players promoted to Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday.
• After St. Lucie fell a game short of the first-half title in its Florida State League division, the organization promoted Brandon Nimmo, Steven Matz, Dilson Herrera, Randy Fontanez and T.J. Rivera to Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday. Read more in Newsday.
The second wild card seduces 6 1/2 games away, but the worst record in the NL slaps with reality just 2 1/2 games away. And, after leaving St. Louis, the Mets play four at Miami, two vs. Oakland (owners of the AL’s best record), and then head right back on the road for four at suddenly hot Pittsburgh and three at Atlanta.
That takes them to July 4 and -- unless there is another U-turn toward success -- even the second wild card could be a pipe dream by Independence Day.
Should that be the case, I will stick to my call to act boldly, but (forgive the flip-flopping) in the opposite direction. The Mets at that point will need to make Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese available in trades. Daniel Murphy, too.
• The Mets signed Dominican shortstop Cecilio Aybar for $251,100, Baseball America reports. The magazine notes that Aybar had “previously been declared ineligible to sign by Major League Baseball for using a false age and identity.” Writes Ben Badler:
In April 2013, Aybar confessed to MLB that he had been using his younger brother’s identity in an elaborate fraud scheme, though hardly a unique one. Aybar now presents himself as a 20-year-old born Nov. 23, 1993. Sources told Baseball America that school and hospital records were altered to try to eliminate any record of Cecilio Aybar, while his younger brother had false identifying papers created for him since the older brother was using his identity to try out for teams. After Aybar’s confession, MLB declared Aybar ineligible to sign until April 26, 2014.
Few seemed surprised that Aybar turned out to be older, given his advanced physical tool set, which remains intriguing. At 6 feet, 165 pounds, Aybar is a 70 runner on the 20-80 scale, has a plus arm and is an excellent athlete. The rest of his game remains raw, and even with his more advanced age, his lack of experience is evident in his inconsistent hitting and overall feel for the game, though he’s made progress with his defense over the past year.
• Juan Lagares (side muscle) reportedly played in a simulated game Wednesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
• Greg Peavey tossed eight innings and Binghamton beat Richmond, 6-1. St. Lucie was rained out and lost its first-half division title when Fort Myers won. Brooklyn beat Hudson Valley in 10 innings on Tyler Moore’s sacrifice fly. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• From the bloggers … NY Mets Life examines Mets first-round pick Michael Conforto.
BIRTHDAYS: Jacob deGrom turns 26. ... Collin McHugh, who appears to have turned a corner in his career with the Houston Astros, is 27. ... Las Vegas right-hander Logan Verrett is 24. ... Ex-Met Bruce Chen is 37. ... Former first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who just managed Fort Myers to a first-half title Wednesday by a game over St. Lucie, is 40.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Today was the worst day because I probably missed my only chance ever to see Bartolo Colon run the bases. #Mets
— Jessica DeMattia (@jessicabrooke5) June 19, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Should Bartolo Colon bat eighth?