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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Hefner: I feel for Oklahomans

By Matt Ehalt



It hasn't been an easy day for Mets starter and Moore, Okla. native Jeremy Hefner as he has processed the devastation from the tornado that hit his hometown on Monday.

"Oklahoma, there are not a lot of people that live there so there aren't many people that can say they're Oklahoman. It doesn't matter if it's a big disaster or if it's a small tornado that hits a small community, I'm still going to feel that effect," Hefner said Tuesday before the Mets faced the Reds. "I feel for them. I've been through it before and kind of know what they are going through, that type of deal."

Hefner, who attended high school and went to college in Oklahoma, lived the first 10 years of his life in Moore. For kindergarten and first grade, he attended Briarwood Elementary, one of the schools damaged by the tornado. Hefner estimated his childhood home was within a mile of the tornado's path, and said he has an older cousin who was three blocks from the tornado's general line.

The pitcher's mother informed him Monday that all his friends and family were OK, and Hefner didn't want to bombard them all with calls Tuesday out of respect for what they are enduring.

"I didn't feel the need to put any more stress on them than what they are going through. Everyone is OK and their houses are OK," Hefner said. "Really, the stress is what you feel for the other people."

NOT HYPING IT: Terry Collins won't be a boxing promoter anytime soon.

One day before the mega-pitching tilt at Citi Field, as Mets' stud Matt Harvey (5-0, 1.55 ERA) faces Cincinnati's Mat Latos (4-0, 2.91) on Wednesday, the manager didn't want to talk about the next game.

"I know [Harvey's] a story, and all through baseball people are fixed on him right now, but I'm worried about today. I got to worry about today's game," Collins said. "I can't worry about who I save for tomorrow or say to myself, 'Matt's going to give us eight tomorrow so I can burn my bullpen because they're not going to be used tomorrow.' I got to do what I have to do to win today. I'll worry about tomorrow when I get up in the morning -- if I get up in the morning."

Through Harvey's first nine starts, he's thrown 63 2/3 innings, which would put him on pace for about 225 innings this year. Last season, spanning the minors and the majors, Harvey threw 169 1/3 innings. If the team allots for a 30 percent increase in innings, that would project him for approximately 220 innings. Collins said it's too early to project where Harvey will be innings-wise in September.

LEADOFF HITTER:
Daniel Murphy is in the leadoff spot for the third straight day, although the team would prefer to have Tuesday's No. 8 hitter, Ruben Tejada, hitting there. Collins said Tejada is hitting too many fly balls this year, as he's batting .213 with no homers and 10 RBIs.

"If he was giving us the at-bats we had last year, he is the leadoff hitter," Collins said about Tejada.

WHEELER WEDNESDAY: Mets top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler is set to pitch Wednesday for Triple-A Las Vegas, a team official confirmed. Wheeler hasn't pitched since May 11 due to mild inflammation of the AC joint in his right shoulder.