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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Mets morning briefing 4.13.11

By Adam Rubin

The Mets and Rockies were rained out Tuesday night, and will play a single-admission doubleheader Thursday at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday night's game features last night's planned pitching matchup -- Jon Niese vs. Esmil Rogers. The team will need a spot starter no later than Sunday in Atlanta, with Dillon Gee being called up from Buffalo, or D.J. Carrasco, seemingly the logical candidates. Check the rainout ticket policy here.

The rainout news reports:

Richard Sandomir and Peter Lattman of the Times say the Mets have narrowed the list of prospective minority investors to three groups. The report focuses on billionaire hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen. It also identifies Skybridge Capital hedge-fund founder Anthony Scaramucci and 1-800-Flowers.com founder James McCann as alive in the bidding. Writes the Times regarding Cohen:

Cohen runs SAC Capital Advisors, a powerful $12 billion hedge fund headquartered in Stamford, Conn. He has posted some of the best investment performances on Wall Street, generating annualized returns of about 30 percent over nearly two decades. Over the past two years, Cohen has elevated his former low profile, speaking at conferences and stepping up his philanthropy. He also frequently shows up at art shows, where he looks to add to a world-class collection of paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. SAC has been touched by the government’s widespread crackdown into insider trading at hedge funds.

Steve Popper of the Record speaks with Mike Pelfrey about pitching without the help of sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, who passed away Feb. 28. Pelfrey and Dorfman would speak by telephone the morning after each start last season. "You know what I did, the first two starts?" Pelfrey tells Popper. "I read his book [The Mental ABC's of Pitching]. I picked up sections of his book and read parts of his book that I always would have, certain sections that we talked about, stuff that I know he would tell me after. Reading it I can see him saying that stuff as I’m reading it. Of course it’s not quite the same as hearing it. But going through it and reading it, it all made sense because it’s all stuff he had told me before." Dorfman was employed by Pelfrey's agent, Scott Boras. Boras also employs former major league pitcher Don Carman -- who went 53-54 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 major league seasons, primarily with the Phillies -- in that mental-coach role. Pelfrey did speak with him after his disastrous start in Philadelphia, when he went only two innings. But it's a slow process opening up about your life to someone unfamiliar.

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen acknowledges Bobby Parnell cannot indefinitely continue in the eighth-inning role if his struggles persist. Parnell allowed three runs in the eighth inning Monday against the Rockies, which included a misthrow to the plate and a two-run homer by Troy Tulowitzki. He has an 8.31 ERA and has allowed six hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. "If he keeps struggling in that role, we will go elsewhere," Warthen tells the Post's Dan Martin. "We'll go with the hot hand, which might be [Jason Isringhausen], Pedro Beato or D.J. Carrasco. We're looking, but nobody is jumping out. ... Bobby is either going to step up and do the job or we'll have to find someone else. Other than that, I think we'll be fine." Warthen went on to note that the Mets are missing the predictability and reliability of Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi, who are making a combined $8 million this season elsewhere.

Writes Andy Martino in the Daily News regarding Parnell:

Warthen has felt frustrated in the past with Parnell's reliance on the two-seamer, and the resulting drop in speed. Lately, though, he sees a pitcher mostly willing to throw the four-seamer, but sometimes unable to execute it. "He is probably throwing the ball as hard as he should, arm-speed wise, but the hand isn't staying behind the baseball, and thus the lesser velocity," Warthen said. "The delivery is not executing the pitch."

Sandy Alderson said he now does not expect Jason Bay (rib-cage strain) to return before April 26. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm not excited to play," fill-in Willie Harris tells Tom Rock in Newsday. "I am excited to play. But I also know my role. That's Jason Bay's spot and it's my job to fill in for him until he gets back. That's my job."

Daniel Murphy was due to start a second straight game at second base on Monday night. Terry Collins did note he was not exactly switching to a platoon between the lefty-hitting Murphy and righty-hitting Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus, who is 0-for-his-last-12. Writes David Lennon in Newsday:

Emaus is batting .167 (4-for-24) with a .286 on-base percentage and twice as many strikeouts as walks. Again, we're talking tiny sample sizes here. But the Mets are trying to win games, and right this minute, Murphy seems better equipped to help in that pursuit -- even if it's just a platoon situation. Murphy is a career .280 hitter against righthanders and also has a full season in the majors on his resume. In 2009, he played 155 games after stepping in at first base for injured Carlos Delgado, and he hit .266 with 38 doubles and 12 homers.

Carlos Delgado officially retired. Delgado had a failed comeback attempt in the minors last year with the Boston Red Sox. He had not appeared in the majors since May 10, 2009 with the Mets, when hip troubles overcame him. "He tried everything, it just didn't work out for him," Carlos Beltran tells Kimberley A. Martin in Newsday. "Of course, it makes me feel bad for him because he had some goals that he wanted to accomplish and he couldn't do it."

• Daily News columnist Filip Bondy also covers Delgado's departure, minus the part about Willie Randolph feeling undermined by Delgado in the Mets clubhouse.

• Collins says he does not want to bounce Angel Pagan, who is hitting .179, throughout the order. The manager over the weekend decided to return Pagan to the No. 2 hole where he had success last year. But Collins since has abanoned that. Partially, it's due to Pagan's struggles. But if Pagan bats second against the Rockies, it also means Collins is lining up four straight left-handed batters lower in the order when Murphy starts -- Ike Davis, Murphy, Harris and Josh Thole. That makes it too easy for Colorado manager Jim Tracy to summon a lefty specialist to try to mow down four straight batters. And Collins would have his hands tied pinch-hitting because the Mets only are playing with a four-man bench to allow for an eight-man bullpen. "It's a lot of adjustment you have to make because in every different position in the lineup, they pitch you differently," Pagan tells Newsday. "So it's a little stressful, but it's doable. I did it, I did it well and I'm willing to do it again if I have to."

Scott Cacciola of The Wall Street Journal discusses nail care with R.A. Dickey.

• Post columnist Steve Serby doesn't mince words contrasting the early 1960s Mets to the present. Writes Serby:

They were loveable losers, and New York had a National League team again. But you have learned the hard way lately that there is quite a difference between loveable losers, and losers.

BIRTHDAY: John Stephenson, who played in 162 games for the Mets from 1964 to '66, was born on this date in 1941.