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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Mets morning briefing 9.7.11

By Adam Rubin

Bobby Parnell blew the save, but Nick Evans provided a go-ahead RBI for the third time in the game in the 12th, lifting the Mets to a 7-4 win against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

The Mets wrap of the series, their final ever at Sun Life Stadium, at 5:10 p.m., Wednesday. The Marlins move to a new stadium with a retractable roof in Miami's Little Havana next season.

Wednesday's news reports:

• The Wall Street Journal determined the Mets have paid $107.2 million to players on the disabled list since the start of the 2009 season, the highest in the majors. The sum is $47 million more than the runner-up Detroit Tigers and more than double 24 other teams, according to the report. "You only have a certain amount of payroll," Sandy Alderson told the Journal's Brian Costa. "And to have a substantial part of your payroll, whatever that payroll is, absorbed by players not performing is a major factor in success or failure." Writes Costa:

The injuries of the last three years are likely to have some effect on the way the Mets' roster is constructed in the years ahead. Putting aside the larger question of whether the Mets can even afford to be major players in the free-agent market anytime soon, they'll likely be more averse to the risk inherent in pricey, long-term contracts anyway. And that's not just because ownership has been burned by bad deals in the recent past. "It needs to be taken into consideration by the baseball department as well as ownership," Alderson said. "I think you become more risk sensitive and assign value accordingly and not ignore the risk when assessing value."

Terry Collins was decisive over the weekend when Parnell blew a save in saying the right-hander would continue to get the closing opportunities. Collins reasoned it would send a bad message to commit and then decommit. Plus, the Mets are trying to gauge Parnell's worthiness for the role in 2012. After Tuesday's blown save, Collins said he will meet with Parnell on Wednesday, and it certainly seemed like the save opportunities will be shared, at least until Parnell works out some kinks.

• Evans became the third player in franchise history to have three tiebreaking RBIs in the same game, joining Mike Piazza and Jason Phillips. Evans is making the most out of his regular duty at first base. He has started 12 of the past 13 games -- the lone exception Sunday in D.C. when Josh Satin made his major league debut. Read game summaries in the Times, Record, Star-Ledger and Post.

Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana looks better than he did while pitching in major league games last year before undergoing Sept. 14, 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his  left shoulder. Santana will pitch in a minor league playoff game Friday -- with St. Lucie if it has a game that day. Otherwise, Santana will travel to Savannah, Ga., to play in the South Atlantic League postseason. Santana's throwing program will be halted by Nov. 1, according to Warthen. Santana then will resume activity after Jan. 1 with a program leading into spring training. The ace expects next spring training to be like any other pitcher's structure. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Record, Newsday and Daily News.

Chris Schwinden, Valentino Pascucci and Mike Baxter joined the Mets on Tuesday after Triple-A Buffalo's season ended. Left-hander Mike O'Connor was designated for assignment (removed from the 40-man roster) to clear a space. Schwinden is scheduled to start Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Watch Schwinden discuss his promotion here. Pascucci is one of 20 players who represented the Expos in the majors who still are active. Read more on Schwinden in the Daily News.

• St. Lucie rallied to win the opener of its best-of-three Florida State League playoff series at Bradenton on Monday night. Brooklyn, which was hosting Staten Island in Game 1 of the New York-Penn League playoffs, was rained out. Both series are on the schedule for Wednesday night, as is Savannah's South Atlantic League opener.

David Wright was named National League Player of the Week.

Jose Reyes had two extra-inning hits and inched ahead of Milwaukee's Ryan Braun for the National League's top average -- .334 to .333. The Mets have never had a batting champion. (Read about near-misses here.) Writes Andrew Keh in the Times:

For a team that has battled hard this season but is still under .500, it would add some distinction to a long, challenging and often frustrating campaign. “If it happens, I mean, it’s great, because not too many people have the opportunity to win a batting title in the big leagues,” Reyes said before Tuesday’s game. Reyes said that his troublesome left hamstring had given him more than enough to occupy his mind this season. On top of that, he said, he has come to realize as he has grown older that allowing himself to think about his individual statistics -- he is always among the leaders in triples and stolen bases -- had usually hampered his performance on the field.

Lucas Duda, who was content slapping the ball to the opposite field for the first several weeks after his promotion, now is driving the baseball and regularly producing homers. He has nine long balls in 2011, beginning with a July 23 shot against then-Marlins closer Leo Nunez that traveled 447 feet, the longest at Sun Life Stadium this season, according to Newsday's David Lennon. "I think when you first come in, you try to do too much to impress people, overswing and stuff like that," Duda told Lennon. "Once that happened, and I got the opportunity to play every day, that's when I started to relax, be myself and go from there."

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Isringhausen turns 39. ... Former Mets reliever Brian Stokes is 32. ... Ex-utility player David Newhan is 38. His father Ross Newhan is a former sports writer for The Los Angeles Times.