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Saturday, July 16, 2011
Mets morning briefing 7.16.11

By Adam Rubin

The Mets opened the second half with a loss at Citi Field to the Phillies, which dropped the Amazin's 12 games behind the division leaders as well as 8½ games behind the Braves in the wild-card race.

Saturday's news reports:

Taylor Buchholz opened up to Patch.com of his Springfield, Pa., hometown about his depression/anxiety issues. Buchholz opens up about a May 2010 emotional breakdown in a hotel room while he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in the minors with Modesto.

“I really didn’t know what was going on,” Buchholz recalled to Joseph Santoliquito about the incident. “But when I think back on it, maybe it was a sign that the team psychologist [Ron Svetich] was there in Modesto when I broke down. I saw Svetich the day before in the clubhouse and I remember him asking me how I felt. I told him I was great. I lied to him. Then the next morning, I was showering, and I broke out into this crying fit. When I went back to the clubhouse later that day, I pulled Svetich aside.

“I literally broke down right then and let him know everything. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I’m there crying to another man. But Svetich recognized there was a problem. He was fantastic and someone that helped me get through this. At that point, I didn’t want anything to come out, because I was totally embarrassed about it. I’m a man’s man who’s supposed to be tough and not breaking down into tears for no reason. I didn’t feel like a man, I’ve been the one that’s been the rock in my relationships.”

Buchholz's agent, Dave Pasti, apprised Sandy Alderson of Buchholz's issue before signing last offseason.

Said Buchholz's wife Ashley: “He’d have such strong convulsions in the middle of the night that I used to think they were seizures. We’d watch a movie on the couch, or be lying up in bed, and he’d start crying. We like going out to eat, and he never went out. The times he did, he’d go out in sweatpants and really didn’t care what anyone thought. I know Taylor. He’s the most giving, caring person I ever met. This person wasn’t my husband. He was that different.”

Francisco Rodriguez and new agent Scott Boras waived his $17.5 million vesting option for $500,000. Instead, the sides converted it to a mutual $17.5 million option that both sides would have to approve. The Brewers will not do that, which means K-Rod will receive a $4 million buyout -- up from the original $3.5 million in his contract -- and the closer will hit the free-agent market next offseason. In the interim, the Brewers can freely use K-Rod in a closing role without regard for the games finished. "From my point of view and that of the staff, it will be nicer on us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "These things, these contracts, most of the time a manager doesn't know about them so you don't have to worry about anything. But when it's so public and I knew exactly all the numbers, it's just not comfortable." Read more in the Times and Newsday.

David Wright began a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie at Lakeland, Fla., by playing five innings at third base. Wright is expected to return Friday in Miami, when the Mets open a  series against the Marlins.  "A little rusty, and obviously I need a few more at-bats, but overall, I'm excited about how the first game went," Wright said. "So far, so good."

Carlos Beltran's days as a Met appear to be dwindling. Said Beltran: I've made it very clear to this organization that I want to finish my career here. But, at the same time, you understand that organizations have plans -- sometimes they're not plans you think of -- so like I said, I'm prepared for everything." Read more in Newsday and Daily News.

Jose Reyes ran at Citi Field. He will try to round bases on Sunday. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Jason Isringhausen would have received the first shot at closing on Friday night had the Mets held a late, narrow lead. Terry Collins indicated he will settle on one pitcher eventually, with Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato also in the mix. Izzy goes first because of his closing experience and the pressure of a packed stadium while facing the Phillies.

Mike Sielski of the Journal wonders in a world of Brian Wilson's beard and Heath Bell's sliding entrance at the All-Star Game whether Parnell is too normal to be a closer. "I try not to be weird," Parnell told Sielski. "Some of the good ones have been. I don't think it's a necessity."

Post columnist Joel Sherman notes the Mets no longer being reliant on one closer follows the major league trend. In fact, the Phillies -- because of assorted injuries -- have gone through Brad Lidge (injured all season), Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo yet only have three blown saves. Writes Sherman:

In other words, this is the model that another big-market, northeast team called the New York Mets must follow. The Phillies have built a team structurally and mentally that can navigate through one closer after another for half a season, never flinch and never make a concession in seeking a fifth straight NL East title. Terry Collins is trying to impart the same mental toughness now in this group. He met with the team after Thursday's workout to say the clubhouse would remain a no-excuse zone despite the money-centric trade of K-Rod. The Mets manager told his players opportunities, not alibis, were now available.

Read more on the closing situation in the Record and Post.

• Read game stories from the Mets' second-half-opening 7-2 loss in the Times, Star-LedgerRecord, PostDaily News and Newsday.

BIRTHDAY: Catcher Norm Sherry, who spent the bulk of his career with the Dodgers, was born in 1931. Sherry compleyed his major league career in 1963 with the Mets, hitting .136 in 63 games.