Morning Briefing: Mets look to take series


FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets will try to win a series from the Atlanta Braves for the third time this season when the two teams play Thursday night at Citi Field.

There's a chance David Wright could return to the lineup for the first time since he left Sunday's game in Los Angeles with neck spasms.

The Mets and Braves split a pair of 3-2 games the last two nights. The Mets are 7-4 in one-run games since the All-Star break, after going 13-22 in the first half.

Jonathon Niese (7-9, 3.47), who is 2-5 with a 4.63 ERA since he came off the disabled list in late July, starts for the Mets. Left-hander Mike Minor (5-8, 4.09), who has allowed just two runs in 14 2/3 innings over his last two starts, goes for the Braves.

Thursday's news reports:

-- In a game defined by the two shortstops, Andrelton Simmons was much better than Ruben Tejada, and the Braves were a run better than the Mets. Tejada committed an error that cost Zack Wheeler a run. Simmons made a spectacular play that saved the game in the eighth inning. Read game stories in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

-- It was another hitless night for Curtis Granderson, now hitting .171 with a .246 slugging percentage since the All-Star break. As columnist John Harper points out in the Daily News, Sandy Alderson was a lot more on the money in his assessment of the Mets' young talent than he was in judging last winter's free-agent market.

-- Speaking of which, Chris Young has a job. Cut by the Mets a couple of weeks back, Young has now signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees. Read more in the Post.

-- Reliever Vic Black is still out of action, but feeling better after an MRI exam revealed he has a slightly herniated disk in his neck. Black took that as very good news, and said he hopes to be pitching again soon. Read more in Newsday and the Star Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Joel Youngblood turns 63 ... Mike Torrez is 68 ... and Billy Cowan is 76.


YOU'RE UP: What would you like to see the Mets do at shortstop?