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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Mets morning briefing 8.23.11

By Adam Rubin

Cliff Lee and the Phillies handed the Mets a 10-0 loss Monday, dropping the Amazin's seven games under .500 for the first time since April 21. The latest defeat, the Mets' 16th in 21 games, prompted David Wright to meet with his manager after the game.

"We just can’t allow ourselves to just play out the season," Wright said upon emerging from Terry Collins' office at Citizens Bank Park. "It’s obviously a bad situation to begin with. And the last thing you want to do is just go out there and play the games for the sake of playing the games. Hopefully people realize that there’s a lot on the line going into next year, and we clean some things up and get some things going."

Tuesday's news reports:

Jose Reyes will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Binghamton. He should play three to four games before being activated from the disabled list. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.

• Collins acknowledged it's time to start making decisions with an eye toward getting players ready for 2012. To that end, Collins plans to start Lucas Duda in right field Tuesday, although Duda's semi-regular work at that position will wait until rosters expand in September, the manager added. Once rosters expand next month, the Mets ought to have corner infielder Josh Satin promoted and available to play first base. Of course, preparing for 2012 also means Bobby Parnell getting groomed for a closing role. However, when the Mets need a spot starter next week against the Marlins because of a rainout-induced doubleheader, 40-year-old Miguel Batista could be the starter rather than prospect Chris Schwinden. With Paul DePodesta watching Monday night, though, Batista appeared to do himself no favors. Batista allowed four runs on nine hits, including two homers, in 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Buffalo. Duda, by the way, intends to play winter ball in right field, very possibly with Tim Teufel-managed Caracas in Venezuela.

• Collins also acknowledged internally discussing using Mike Pelfrey as the closer in 2012, but backed off after the manager's superiors decided it would be too difficult to overcome pulling a 200-inning pitcher out of the rotation. Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger notes Jenrry Mejia is not a closer candidate next season, either. Mejia underwent Tommy John surgery in May. The timetable for recovery is generally at least 12 months, and may take longer, as evidenced by 2009 top pick Steve Matz from Long Island still not back from a May 2010 Tommy John procedure. Pitching coach Dan Warthen reiterated to McCullough a spring-training proclamation that he ultimately sees Mejia as a reliever. “I didn’t foresee him being able to go out 34 times throwing 115, 120 pitches each and every time out there without having some soreness,” Warthen said, citing the max effort in Mejia's delivery.

• Read Monday recaps from Philly in Newsday, the Record, Daily News, Times, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Team insiders continue to tell ESPNNewYork.com the home run height on the left-field wall should be eight feet next season, while there is no firm resolution on whether to make right field more hitter friendly by eliminating the "Mo Zone" crevice.

BIRTHDAYS: Julio Franco, who received a two-year contract from the Mets at age 47, turns 53. ... Catcher Ed Hearn, who went to the Kansas City Royals in the trade that brought David Cone to Flushing, turns 51. ... Outfielder Prentice Redman, who made a cameo with the Mets in 2003, is 32. He appeared in six games for Tabasco in the Mexican League this season. ... Pat Strange, who briefly pitched in relief for the Mets that same year, is 31.