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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Mets morning briefing 6.28.11

By Adam Rubin

After a team off-day Monday, the Mets open an interleague series at American League Central leader Detroit. Read the series preview here.

Tuesday's news reports:

• Even those in the know are surprised Carlos Beltran has been able to play more games than any other Met while batting .278, only four points below his career mark. Writes David Waldstein in the Times:

Those figures are more impressive considering that the doctor who performed the (January 2010) operation told the Mets he could not believe Beltran was even able to play. He added that in the future Beltran might be able to play only three or four days a week, and never in a day game after a night game. But a year and a half later, Beltran has become the most durable Met. “I’m just so happy that everything has worked out,” Beltran said.

Beltran told Waldstein about the bone bruise diagnosis: “It wasn’t like I wanted to have the operation. But when I met with the doctor in New York, the team doctor, he told me there was nothing he could do for me. The team doctor is saying there is nothing he can do for you. I was thinking: ‘Well, that’s the end of my career? I’m not going to play baseball anymore?’ No, no. Come on, man. For a bone bruise? I’m not going to be able to play this game anymore? I wasn’t going to give up. I felt that I needed to search for the best doctor in the world, and (agent) Scott (Boras) was able to find the doctors, and thank God I feel good.”

Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal notes the Mets make up for their lack of long balls with speed on the basepaths. Statistically, they're the best on the bases in baseball by at least one measure. (The Mets' 78 percent success rate in steals is tied for third-best in the majors.) Writes Costa:

The analytics company Baseball Info Solutions measures each team's overall contribution on the basepaths by looking at its success in three areas: stolen bases, avoiding double plays and taking extra bases while avoiding being thrown out. By adding extra baserunning advances and steals, subtracting for baserunning outs and unsuccessful steal attempts and comparing the total to the major-league average, BIS calculates each team's net gain on the basepaths. Entering Monday, the Mets led the majors with a +60 net gain. By contrast, they have hit only 10 home runs since May 22, the fewest in the majors over that span. Through Sunday, only four teams had fewer than the Mets' 47 home runs this season.

Jeff Roberts in the Record also discusses how the Mets use speed to overcome their deficiency with homers.

Bud Collins, the 92-year-old father of Terry Collins, will travel from Midland, Mich., to attend the Mets-Tigers series. Collins expects two busloads of people from his hometown, writes Mike Puma in the Post. “The team is doing OK for having all the injuries and the quality of their players,” Bud Collins told Puma. “They’ve got some good players and then they’ve got some mediocre players. That’s just my opinion.”

• Newsday's David Lennon looks at the pros and cons of trading Jose Reyes in-season. The summary ... Pros: getting a prospect in return, preparing for 2012 life without him by getting Ruben Tejada time at the position, and a fresh start for organization. Cons: He's irreplaceable, clubhouse sees organization is giving up on season and he's unlikley to re-sign with Mets once he plays somewhere else.

Prince Fielder could sign with the Mets as a free agent, his father Cecil Fielder told the Daily News. "I don't think the Yankees are gonna get him," Fielder said. "But I think if everything goes well on the other side, the Mets are one of those teams that if they get that situation all squared away, they could get him." Of course, there are two major problems: The Mets won't have big money to spend on free agents. And first base is one position where they actually are set with a cost-effective player in Ike Davis, who will not even be arbitration-eligible until after the 2012 season.

Andy Martino of the Daily News profiles 8-1 Dillon Gee, who would have attempted to be a firefighter in Fort Worth like his father Kevin if the Mets had not selected him in the 21st round out of Texas-Arlington.

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff says Fred Wilpon and family owe a thank-you note to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Writes Davidoff:

The Wilpons (and Saul Katz) have been publicly crushed here in New York -- deservedly so, IMO. But think of how much more space they'd be occupying in the yakosphere (trademark Neil Best ) if not for McCourt's legendarily kooky travails. 

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger looks at the switch-hitting Reyes' performance from his natural right side (.295, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 88 at-bats) versus the left side (.358, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 243 at-bats) this season. Writes McCullough:

Perhaps the disparity is a product of coincidence: Reyes has faced lefties only 96 times this season, compared to 263 plate appearances against righties. But to Reyes, the scarcity of southpaws heightens the difficulty. “Sometimes you get a stretch where you only face right-handed pitching,” Reyes said. “You forget about your right side. That’s when you get in trouble.”

• July 31 really isn't the trading deadline. The explanation is here.

Gary Carter is halfway through radiation treatments for malignant brain tumors. He also is dealing with walking pneumonia.

• Rangers president Nolan Ryan dismissed having interest in acquiring Francisco Rodriguez or Beltran.

BIRTHDAY: Former outfielder Richard Hidalgo turns 36. Hidalgo holds the Mets record for consecutive games with a home run. He went deep in five straight games in 2004, after arriving in a trade with the Houston Astros for pitchers David Weathers and Jeremy Griffiths. -Mark Simon