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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Mets morning briefing 3.15.12

By Adam Rubin

The Mets face the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, where Jose Reyes is expected to start at shortstop against his former squad. Reyes did not participate in either of the first two Grapefruit League games between the teams. R.A. Dickey starts for the Mets.

Thursday's news reports:

David Wright returned to camp Wednesday and revealed he actually had torn an abdominal muscle. Wright received an ultrasound-guided cortisone shot Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He predicted he would begin easing into activity as soon as today. He noted his return is going to be a deliberate process, from hitting off a tee, to swinging at flipped balls, to actual batting practice. Regardless, Wright predicted his Opening Day availability was not in jeopardy. Read more in the RecordNewsday, Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

Barry Meier in the Times writes about the Mets' injury track record:

When combining injuries sustained in spring training and the regular season, the Mets led all other teams in both 2008 and 2009 in the number of player days lost to injury, according to data complied by Baseball Prospectus, a sports analysis and opinion Web site. Using those same measurements, the Mets ranked sixth in 2010 before dropping down to a more respectable 12th place last year, Baseball Prospectus found. ... Measuring injuries over the 162-game season, the team ranked second in 2008, third in 2009, sixth in 2010 and ninth in 2011 in days lost to player injures, Baseball Prospectus said.

• Judge Jed S. Rakoff caught legal experts off-guard Wednesday by ruling the burden of proof in the $386 million lawsuit falls on Fred Wilpon and family, not trustee Irving Picard, who filed the lawsuit. A week after expressing skepticism Picard could prove the Wilpons acted in bad faith and with "willful blindness" with respect to their investments in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, Rakoff on Wednesday ruled the burden doesn't rest with the trustee. Instead, the Wilpons' attorneys must convince the jury by a preponderance of the evidence that the family acted in good faith.

The ruling is a win for Picard. After all, it's more difficult for a defendant to have to prove he's not guilty than being assumed innocent at the start of the trial.

Perhaps Rakoff's ruling should not have been a surprise, given Rakoff wrote last week that the trustee would have to rebut the Wilpons demonstrating good faith.

Should the trial end adversely for the Wilpons, the judge's decision could be one area their attorneys try to appeal. Picard will have grounds for appeal as well, including the judge using a "willful blindness" as opposed to "inquiry notice" ("should-have-known") standard. Picard also believes he is entitled to recover money from the six years before Madoff's arrest, not the two years at which the judge capped the recovery period.

Read more in the TimesPost and Daily News.

Dillon Gee allowed a two-run homer to Prince Fielder but no other damage in four innings. The Mets ultimately lost to the Detroit Tigers, 7-6, in 10 innings Wednesday.

• The Mets suspended bullpen catcher Eric Langill for a week without pay, three days after he was charged with driving under the influence.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey looked sharp in a minor league intrasquad game, tossing 58 of 75 pitches for strikes and registering as high as 96 mph on a radar gun. Read more in the PostRecord, Daily News and Newsday.

Steve Cohen, the only known intended purchaser of a $20 million minority share of the Mets without some existing tie to the organization, may not be able to be a partner after all. Cohen has emerged as the top candidate to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, USA Today reports. That would prevent Cohen from also having a stake in the Mets.

TRIVIA: Who has the most homers by a Mets shortstop in a single season in franchise history?

Wednesday's answer: Mets PR man Jay Horwitz is in the Fairleigh Dickinson University Hall of Fame. He served as the school's sports information director before Frank Cashen hired him with the Mets in 1980.