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Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Mets morning briefing 7.6.11

By Adam Rubin

Carlos Beltran broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the fifth off Ted Lilly, and Jason Bay added a pair of homers later that accounted for four RBIs as the Mets blanked the Dodgers, 6-0, on Tuesday night to again move a season-high two games over .500. Mike Pelfrey worked out of repeated jams to toss six scoreless innings. He combined with Pedro Beato, Jason Isringhausen and D.J. Carrasco on the shutout.

Wednesday's news reports:

Jose Reyes took grounders and hit on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, but did not attempt to run because his strained left hamstring did not feel tremendously improved. Normally it would be a no-brainer to put Reyes on the disabled list considering there's a four-day All-Star break during that 15-day DL period. However, because the Mets resume play after the break with the Phillies, the preference may be to play with a short bench and keep Reyes active. A DL stint would make Reyes ineligible for all three games at Citi Field against Philadelphia. Read more in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.

• Even Sandy Alderson is surprised by the frequency of Terry Collins' use of Francisco Rodriguez in non-save situations, but the GM says he will not interfere. K-Rod has 32 games finished, on pace for 60. That's five more than the threshold for Rodriguez's contract to kick in at $17.5 million for 2012. Writes Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal:

No one really expected the Mets to try to deliberately prevent Rodriguez from earning this option. But no one expected manager Terry Collins to use K-Rod as liberally as he has, either. Of Rodriguez's 32 games finished, 11 have come in non-save situations. He entered Tuesday having pitched in 16 non-save situations, which was tied for the fifth-most among pitchers with at least 15 saves. "I've been a little surprised in some instances myself," general manager Sandy Alderson said, referring to how Collins has used K-Rod. "But that's his job. Am I aware of it? Yes. Do I spend my time counseling Terry on the proper care and feeding of K-Rod? No."

• In court, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's attorneys filed papers alleging the Mets are getting preferential treatment by commissioner Bud Selig, according to The Los Angeles Times. Bill Shaikin writes:

Selig's "abusive conduct" toward the Dodgers was in contrast to the "velvet-glove treatment" he afforded other teams in financial trouble, in particular the New York Mets, attorneys for McCourt wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

• The Daily News reports the Mets are shopping K-Rod as well as fellow relievers Tim Byrdak and Isringhausen. It's little secret if the Mets fade from contention, those pitchers -- and Beltran -- would be the most likely to depart. My view: Given the Mets are two games over .500, there still has to be some season to play out before dismantling.

• Beltran told reporters postgame: “It’s good that we’re winning. But at the same time, we’re playing a team that has a worse record than us. But it’s also gratifying that we’re taking advantage of that and playing good against a team that’s not having a good year.” Read game stories from the Mets' third straight win in Newsday, the Times, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Record and Post.

R.A. Dickey will test his left posterior issue by throwing a bullpen session Wednesday in an attempt to affirm he can start Friday's series opener in San Francisco opposite All-Star Ryan Vogelsong.

• Post columnist Kevin Kernan gets agent Scott Boras' reaction to Beltran making the NL All-Star squad as a backup outfielder. Boras was at Dodger Stadium, where his clients Pelfrey and Beltran had leading contributions to Tuesday's win. "When Carlos got the strength back in his legs, he was going to have a successful year," Boras told Kernan. Kernan also reveals that Pelfrey dressed up for five innings of Monday's series opener as a trainer, complete with the fanny pack.

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger looks at the futility of Mets pitchers at the plate. Writes McCullough:

At the plate, these Mets pitchers are a hapless bunch. Entering last night’s game against the Dodgers, as a group they rank last in the National League in batting average, last in on-base percentage and second-to-last in slugging percent. Their .230 on-base plus slugging percentage is nearly 190 points lower than their 2010 mark. Before R.A. Dickey slapped a single on Sunday, his teammates were in the midst of an epic 1-for-79 slump (.013). This past month, manager Terry Collins decided to act. Extra sessions of batting practice were ordered. When they hit, (hitting coach Dave) Hudgens encourages them to use short swings.

BIRTHDAYS: Former manager Willie Randolph, who was fired at 3 a.m. ET, if you recall, turns 57. He is currently Buck Showalter's bench coach with the Baltimore Orioles. Randolph took wife Gretchen to Shea Stadium on their first "real" date. His playing career ended in 1992 with the Mets. ... Ex-center fielder Lance Johnson turns 48. He played 232 games for the Mets in 1996 and '97 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs.