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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Mets morning briefing 3.13.12

By Adam Rubin

David Wright is due to return to camp today after receiving an "ultrasound-guided" cortisone shot in his troublesome left rib cage Monday in New York at his request. Meanwhile, teammate Tim Byrdak remains at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, where he will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee. He is due to miss six weeks. On the field, Carlos Beltran visits in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform to face Mike Pelfrey at 1:10 p.m. at Digital Domain Park. Johan Santana, who turns 33 today, should throw a between-starts bullpen session, too.

Tuesday's news reports:

Terry Collins said he believes/hopes Wright will resume baseball activities in the middle to end of the week. Wright was treading water with his left-rib cage issue -- experiencing soreness while neither improving nor worsening. A team official said an MRI revealed no structural damage. A frustrated Wright asked for the cortisone injection.

Sandy Alderson and Collins both said they expect to carry a left-handed reliever on the Opening Day roster, even minus Byrdak. Garrett Olson and Chuck James likely are the front runners. Daniel Herrera and Robert Carson also are in camp, but appear secondary considerations. Then there was this development Monday ...

Late last season, Paul DePodesta advised to watch left-handed reliever Josh Edgin as a rapid riser, despite Edgin not having pitched above Class A. Well, with Byrdak's surgery looming today, Edgin has been moved to major league camp. He blew a save chance in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Detroit Tigers at Lakeland, but that was after his defense betrayed him on a would-be third out. Edgin then rallied nicely the following inning against Tigers left-handed batters. He previously had recorded a pair of Grapefruit League saves while being borrowed from minor league camp, before the official transfer.

Read more on Byrdak's scheduled surgery as well as Wright's injury in the Daily NewsStar-LedgerJournalPostNewsday, Times and Record.

• Bullpen catcher Eric Langill was arrested and charged with driving under the influence with property damage, a misdemeanor, according to a St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit. Langill allegedly drove into a concrete fountain in the middle of a traffic circle, flipping the vehicle at approximately 11:25 p.m. Sunday. Read more in the Star-LedgerPost, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

• With jury selection slated to take place Monday and a 10-day civil trial to follow, several motions were filed last night in the $386 million lawsuit against Mets owner Fred Wilpon, his family and businesses. Among the more headline-grabbing items: Trustee Irving Picard's lawyers asked U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff to bar Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax from testifying on the Wilpons' behalf. Picard's legal team argued that the purpose of Koufax testifying is to influence a jury with star power rather than substance. On the Wilpons' side, Howard Megdal at Capital New York notes defense attorneys have asked the judge to bar the plaintiffs from using the term "other people's money" to describe the Wilpons' gains in the Ponzi scheme, saying that is a loaded term that could improperly influence a jury.

Lucas Duda belted a grand slam in his first game in five days and the Mets and Tigers played to a 7-7 tie in 10 innings.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News writes that Collins is trying to keep the faith:

No sooner had Collins arrived at Joker Marchant Stadium Monday than he was greeted by his old baseball buddy, Jim Leyland, who put out the welcome mat for him by fielding his "A" lineup featuring all his regulars and especially the Detroit Tigers' new twin pillars of power, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. "Geez," Collins exclaimed to Leyland in mock protest, "I thought we were friends!" In truth, Collins could probably use a good friend like Leyland right about now to unload his troubles on. For, aside from Santana’s steady progress from his career-threatening shoulder injury, most of the news coming out of the Mets camp this spring has been either bad, concerning or downright embarrassing -- and Monday was no different.

Ike Davis tells Dan Martin in the Post that he is having no ill effects from last year's ankle injury or the suspected valley fever. "I can't plan for something I don't know is going to happen," Davis told Martin. "If something happens, I'll talk to Terry, but until then, there's nothing to talk about and I'd like for there to never be a reason to."

• Left-handed pitcher John Mincone, a Huntington, Long Island, native and Half Hollow Hills East High School product, has signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Mincone, 22, was drafted in the 11th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2009 out of Suffolk Community College after an injury-plagued college career. He went 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA in six games (three starts) for Windy City in the independent Frontier League last season.

"I’ve had many high school highlights," Mincone said in this April 2010 interview. "I'd have to say that winning our league championship my senior year and winning the Paul Gibson award are up there on the list, but my best memory is from the summer after my junior year. I made the Long Island baseball team going to compete in the Empire State Games, sort of an 'Olympics' for the state of New York. Our team won the gold medal, going undefeated in the process, marking the first time in 13 years that the Long Island team won a gold medal in baseball.

"As for college, I have two major baseball highlights. When I was at James Madison University my freshman year, we won the Colonial Athletic Association Conference tournament and continued on to play in the NCAA Regionals at NC State. My best college highlight is definitely winning Region XV while at Suffolk County Community College ... and then playing in the NJCAA College World Series in Tyler, Texas.  I was named Region XV player of the year (2009) and was a named to the First Team NJCAA All-American, leading the nation with 107 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched, and an ERA of 0.98."

• Ex-Met Jason Pridie, who signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A's during the offseason, officially was suspended 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse, Major League Baseball announced.

• Left-hander C.J. Nitkowski's agent, Tom O'Connell, tells Tyler Kepner in the Times he believes the southpaw will join the Mets organization. "I feel pretty optimistic that we can come to an agreement," O’Connell told Kepner. "Hopefully this will play out in the next couple of days." Newsday previously has reported that an eventual signing is expected.

TRIVIA: What is the Mets' record for relief appearances in a season?

Monday's answer: Mike Jacobs homered in his first at-bat as a Met, which also was his first major league at-bat. He went deep on Aug. 21, 2005 off Washington's Esteban Loaiza as a pinch hitter. That staved off a demotion, and Jacobs went on to belt three more homers within three days.