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Sunday, April 3, 2011
Mets morning briefing 4.3.11

By Adam Rubin

R.A. Dickey opposes Javier Vazquez in the rubber game in Miami. The Mets will then fly to New York. A day later, they will bus to Philadelphia in advance of Tuesday's series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

Sunday's news reports:

• Dickey tells the Times' David Waldstein he plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January, when he will fly to Tanzania. The expedition also should include former Twins teammate Kevin Slowey, bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello and Mets physical therapist John Zajac. Dickey's contract prevents rock-climbing, but Kilimanjaro supposedly is more of a gradual ascent. Writes Waldstein:

Ever since Dickey read “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway as an 11th grader in Tennessee, the snow-capped mountain on the border of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa has captivated him. Now, with his recent success as a pitcher, he has the means and visibility to take on this latest challenge. The story by Hemingway, which depicts the agony of a failed writer suffering from gangrene as he and his wife await help at the foot of Kilimanjaro, is at the core of Dickey’s interest in the mountain. But he was also intrigued by documentaries about Mount Everest and the feature film “K2,” about climbing the second-highest peak in the world.

• Newsday's David Lennon focuses his game recap on David Wright. Writes Lennon:

For better or worse, the fortunes of David Wright and the Mets are intertwined. There is no separating the two, even as the names change around him. Jose Reyes has one foot out the door. Carlos Beltran is playing on two bad knees. Jason Bay is on the disabled list. That leaves Wright with the Mets mostly on his shoulders, and last night at Sun Life Stadium, he proved capable of leading them to a tumultuous 6-4 victory over the Marlins in 10 innings.

• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro also looks at Wright's role, noting: It isn't easy being the face of a franchise that's the butt of so much derision.

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger notes Francisco Rodriguez threw a lot of curveballs when the pitch called for a fastball during his blown save Saturday. “Surprising?” pitching coach Dan Warthen tells McCullough. “It was, a little bit. But I’m not worried.”

• Read other game recaps in the Record, Post and Daily News.

• Lennon notes how a simple decision like pinch-hitting for Francisco Rodriguez after his blown save and using Blaine Boyer in the 10th inning has ramifications as far as K-Rods $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 that is based on games finished.

• The Post's Steve Serby does a Q&A with the '86 Mets in broadcasting -- Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Bob Ojeda.

Q: Terry Collins? Ojeda: He let his players know, “I’m the firewall between you and the GM. I’m the firewall between you and a lot of the ire of the fans if that’s gonna come our way.” He went out of his way to talk to each and every guy. . . . Terry’s door is open and his mind is open and his thought process is open. He’s invested in each guy. It would make me feel like, “This manager’s got my back.” . . . I’m a Terry Collins fan. He just seems very legitimate to me. It’s not an act. “Here’s what I think, here’s what I feel, you deal with it.” I like that.

• Newsday takes a look at Brad Emaus winning the second-base job. "He's not going to be Orlando Hudson when it comes to range," infield coach Chip Hale tells the newspaper. "He's average. But he turns a double play as well as anybody."

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff offers this about Saturday's winTechnically, the Mets endured only a two-game losing streak; they lost the final game of 2010 and the 2011 opener. But the organization endured so much pain in that time span -- and that's even counting the hiring of general manager Sandy Alderson on the positive side of the ledger -- that it might as well have been a 200-game slide.

• The Times has the relevant exchange between Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Warthen about Pedro Feliciano's overuse/abuse:

“He was abused,” Cashman said. “It’s a thin market when you’re looking for lefties, and he’s one of the better ones out there. But you don’t typically go after a guy who’s been used like that. The use pattern was abusive.” Dan Warthen, the Mets’ pitching coach, had a simple question when he learned of Cashman’s remarks: “They didn’t know that when they signed him?”

• Daily News columnist Filip Bondy writes the joke's on the Yankees in signing Feliciano, and for a change the Mets come out looking good at the expense of their crosstown rivals.

• As for Feliciano's actual injury, it's behind his left shoulder. "The concern is based on the MRI," Cashman said, according to the Post's Brian Costello. "The [Mets'] use pattern was abusive, but the MRI itself shows what he's got. That leads us to believe all of this is resolvable and it's not a major issue. It's just a timing issue."

Carlos Beltran is due to sit Sunday. Terry Collins explains, via the Daily News: "What I want to do is, when I put him out there I want to make sure he can give me what I saw [Friday] night. I don't want to put him in a situation where he has trouble going after a ball because his knees were bothering him, or overdo it so that I lose him for a month. If I lose him for a couple of days, I'll buy that. I can handle that. But I want to make sure I pace myself to the point where I know that on a given day he's out there four days a week ... or five days a week. The one thing I don't want to do is push the envelope too early."

• Wright gave Collins two cigars to celebrate his first managerial victory since 1999, according to the Post's Mike Puma. That reminds me of the story of Willie Randolph having to wait until Game No. 6 for his first victory as Mets manager and to smoke a cigar he had to carry out each day for nearly a week. You may recall Pedro Martinez's gem on Opening Day in 2005 was spoiled when Braden Looper allowed two homers in the ninth. The Mets came back to Shea Stadium 1-5, and only because Beltran had a late two-run homer off John Smoltz and Pedro had a gem in a 2-1 win in the opening trip's finale.

BIRTHDAYS: Catcher/outfielder Hawk Taylor, who played four season for the Mets in the 1960s, was born on this date in 1939.