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Morning Briefing: It's safe, Nats leave town

8/15/2014

NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Sharknado? No. Just the Washington Nationals.

After a woeful series against the D.C. ballclub, the Mets now entertain the Chicago Cubs in a four-game wraparound series at Citi Field.

Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.53 ERA) opposes left-hander Travis Wood (7-9, 4.86) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

Read the Mets-Cubs series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins ruled out Matt Harvey pitching in games in 2014 and told the ace during a phone conversation Thursday to stop pushing so hard and jeopardizing next season. “Back off,” the manager told Harvey. Collins also told Harvey not to do radio interviews during Mets games. Sandy Alderson also spoke with Harvey.

Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post writes:

He has become the 2.0 version of Manny being Manny. Oh, that is just Harvey being Harvey.

The Mets insist it is not malicious by Matt Harvey, mostly just immaturity or defiance, and they claim the defiance betrays a stubbornness and resolve that will serve him well back on the mound as an ace in New York.

This is spin greater than you will find on Harvey’s slider. Mets officials have mainly mastered the eye roll when it comes to this behavior. But there is a weariness that has set in, as well, when Harvey, say, was told he could have a few days off after enduring some knee pain during his rehab and -- next thing they knew -- he had posted an Instagram photo with his buddies vacationing in Cape Cod. During the season. Terry Collins said he talked to Harvey about how bad that looked.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper homered against Dillon Gee and the Mets were swept by the Nationals with a 4-1 loss Thursday. Washington has won 11 straight games at Citi Field -- the longest winning streak by a visiting team against the Mets in franchise history. Gee walked a batter ahead of both homers. The Mets went 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the series.

After the Mets were swept, Collins addressed the players and told them the season is not lost.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Countering a CBSSports.com report that Collins is “likely” to return as manager barring a Mets collapse, Sherman in the Post asserts Collins in Queens in 2015 is far from assured.

“I like Terry. I have a good relationship with him,” David Wright told the Daily News. “Terry has my back and I have his.”

• Mark Simon at ESPNNewYork.com has a baseball-themed Q&A with Mets fan and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

• Stephen Hayes in Newsday discusses the improvements Wheeler has made.

• A day after the Colorado Rockies announced shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will have season-ending hip surgery for a torn labrum, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is done for the season, too. Gonzalez will undergo surgery Monday to repair a left patella tendon tear, Nick Groke writes in the Denver Post.

• The Mets re-signed 40-year-old Bobby Abreu to a minor-league contract and have assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The Mets inked 16-year-old Venezuelan infielder Kenny Hernandez for a reported $1 million signing bonus.

• Sunday is the one-year anniversary of Travis d'Arnaud's major league debut, notes Joe Lemire in the Journal.

• Although Jacob deGrom feels good and expects to reenter the rotation next Saturday at Dodger Stadium, he has yet to return to a mound.

• Matt Reynolds homered twice, including a solo shot in the top of the 12th, but Chasen Bradford allowed two runs in the bottom half as Iowa beat Las Vegas, 6-5. Jayce Boyd went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in Binghamton’s 9-4 win against Erie. Beck Wheeler walked the bases loaded and forced in the winning run by hitting a batter in St. Lucie’s 9-8 walk-off loss at Fort Myers. Logan Taylor tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings as Savannah blanked Greenville, 4-0. Ivan Wilson homered twice in Kingsport’s 5-3 win against Bristol. Read the full minor-league recap here.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear makes the case for informed impatience where Met progress is concerned. ... Blogging Mets ventures into Alderson's head.

BIRTHDAYS: Oliver Perez turns 33. ... Duffy Dyer is 69. ... Kingsport Mets right-hander Gaby Almonte is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Would you be concerned about acquiring Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez given their injury histories?