Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Mets morning briefing 5.30.12
By Adam Rubin
Jeremy Hefner became the first Met to deliver his first homer and earn his first major league win in the same game and the Mets beat the Phillies, 6-3, Tuesday at Citi Field.
Cliff Lee and Dillon Gee now face off in tonight's 7:10 p.m. rubber game -- the finale of a 20-games-in-20-days stretch for the Mets. Before the series finale, the NFL Giants' 2012 draft class, including first-round pick David Wilson from Virginia Tech, will visit Citi Field and be recognized on the field.
Wednesday's news reports:
• Sandy Alderson said he will engage the agents for David Wright in-season about the possibility of retaining the third baseman long term. The Mets have a $16 million option on Wright for 2013 -- really a net of $15 million, since there otherwise is a $1 million buyout. So Wright is not in danger of imminently becoming a free agent regardless. Read more at CBSSports.com and in the Star-Ledger, Post, Daily News and Record.
• Justin Turner, speaking with reporters for the first time since suffering Monday's right-ankle sprain, said he felt fortunate the injury was not more serious. Turner was wearing a boot. He also had crutches, but was not using them. Turner officially landed on the DL on Tuesday as part of a flurry of roster moves. The Mets also designated reliever Manny Acosta for assignment. They promoted Omar Quintanilla to start at shortstop as well as right-hander Chris Schwinden.
• Quintanilla matched a career high with three hits and also scored twice in his Mets debut, while Scott Hairston delivered the knockout blow to Phillies starter Joe Blanton with a pinch-hit two-run homer. Frank Francisco converted his 14th save, tying him for the National League lead. Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Daily News, Newsday and Philadelphia Inquirer.
• Josh Thole, nearing a return to the Mets from a concussion, is slated to DH for Triple-A Buffalo tonight and catch Chris Young on Thursday morning with the Bisons. Thole then is expected to be activated Friday. The Mets could ever-so-briefly carry three bona fide catchers, but eventually they likely will have to make a choice of whom to retain at the major league level between Rob Johnson and Mike Nickeas. Either can be demoted without being exposed to waivers.
• The news is not as positive for Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) as is the case with Thole. Alderson said the shortstop, who was examined by team doctors Tuesday in Manhattan, will remain in New York getting treatment at least through Friday. Meanwhile, Jason Bay is only DHing in Port St. Lucie. The organization is taking it slowly with Bay (fractured rib) and has not yet allowed him to play the outfield, Terry Collins said.
• Miguel Batista's intended rehab start Tuesday with Double-A Binghamton was rained out at Reading. That outing is now scheduled for Wednesday, pushing top prospect Zack Wheeler back another day in the rotation to Thursday with the B-Mets. Batista (oblique/lower-back strain) is eligible to be activated from the DL Monday, which happens to be the next time Hefner's turn comes up. But given Hefner's generally positive performance Wednesday, it may be more logical to instead return Batista to the bullpen at that point.
• Read an injury recap in the Times.
• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post sizes up the NL East this way, writing:
The Phillies, five-time defending champions, endured a rough day, placing future Hall of Famer Roy Halladay on the 15-disabled list with a strain of his right latissimus dorsi. They take pride in shrugging off injuries, and manager Charlie Manuel noted his teams always post a better record in the second half. In nine full seasons, only the 2001 Indians defied that trend. Nevertheless, the Phillies will be particularly challenged with Halladay, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley all on the disabled list. The Mets probably have the least talent among the five NL East teams, and that’s why most industry folks don’t see them sustaining this run. The Nationals and Braves join the Phillies in being riddled by injuries, though, and remember, the extra wild card opens up this pennant race like none before. Fairy-tale nights occur for every team, good and bad. Fairy-tale seasons are far more rare.
• Here's columnist Tim Smith's take in the Daily News.
• Hairston now has a team-high six homers, including one in each of his past three games. Read more in the Post.
• Matt Harvey allowed one run and three hits in six innings in Buffalo's 3-1 win against Columbus. Pedro Beato pitched a scoreless relief inning as his rehab assignment nears a conclusion. Beato is eligible to be activated from the 60-day DL on Sunday. Read Tuesday's full minor league recap here.
• R.A. Dickey was named NL Player of the Week on Tuesday. He limited the Pirates and Padres to a combined one run in 14 1/3 innings while posting a pair of wins. Dickey had tweeted earlier in the day that dental concerns were on his mind, too. "Got my first cavity in 37 years," the knuckleballer wrote. "Need a root canal in it to boot. Too much red velvet cake." Andrew Keh in the Times covered a pregame Q&A that Dickey had with fans who paid to attend at Citi Field.
• The Yankees love their ex-Mets. The Bombers just claimed Ryota Igarashi off waivers from the Blue Jays and assigned him to Triple-A. Read more in the Record.
• Former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson discussed the intricate data-based system the organization developed in 2004 to offer insights into opponent tendencies.
• The Phillies have major health issues. Roy Halladay was diagnosed with a right shoulder strain and joined Ryan Howard and Chase Utley on the disabled list. Read more in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Times and Post.
• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record chronicles reliever Jack Egbert's three-year journey back to the majors, which included the Rutherford, NJ., native undergoing Tommy John surgery and at least contemplating retirement. Writes Klapisch:
He spent the summer of 2010 with a cast on his arm, thinking about Plan B, which he’d never really considered. “I had a year left at (Rutgers) in criminal justice,” Egbert said. “But honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to do.” Family and friends urged him to hang in there. Everyone meant well, but what else could they say to a baseball lifer who was on the bullet train to 30, with a bad arm and no job? Egbert could’ve hooked on with an independent team like the Newark Bears or New Jersey Jackals. But he knew that was the equivalent of buying a Power Ball ticket at 11:59 -- good luck waiting for the fates to be generous. The rehab took a full year, but, incredibly, the Mets called before spring training a few months ago.
• The Mets have out-homered opponents 8-7 in long balls that only would have been out with the new Citi Field dimensions. "It's not a band box," hitting coach Dave Hudgens told Brian Costa in the Journal about the stadium's revised configuration. "It's not Cincinnati. It's not Philadelphia. It's not Yankee Stadium. It's still a legitimate baseball field. You have to hit the ball good to get it out of here. Guys aren't going to hit jam shots to right field like at Yankee Stadium. That's just not going to happen."
TRIVIA: Besides Hefner, who was the only Mets pitcher to homer in his debut season in the majors? (Hint: Think 1996.)
Tuesday's answer: Ex-Mets Brian Schneider and Ty Wigginton played in Monday's game for the Phillies.