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Sunday, March 9, 2014
Morning Briefing: Beltran talks Mets smear

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Kris Medlen at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Tradition Field (PIX11/WOR).

Wheeler is making his second Grapefruit League start. He tossed three scoreless innings five days ago against the Houston Astros, allowing only two hits while striking out three.

Also scheduled to pitch: Carlos TorresKyle FarnsworthJose Valverde, Jack Leathersich, Jeurys Familia and Ryan Reid.

The Braves are expected to bring Evan Gattis, Andrelton Simmons and B.J. Upton on the two-hour trip from Disney.

Sunday’s news reports:


Gene J. Puskar/Associated PressCarlos Beltran says he has made peace with his Mets maligners.


• Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran’s Mets career is viewed unfairly, columnist Joel Sherman writes in the Post. Beltran still asserts he was smeared by the Mets.

“At the end of the day, [the Mets] tried to put a perception out about me in the papers,” Beltran tells Sherman. “It is what it is. I have dealt with it. I cleared the air with the people who mistreated me. I don’t wish anything bad to the Mets organization. That is in the past.

“I don’t know what they gained from what they did to me. But I know what I gained. It made me a stronger person. Look, if you are a bad guy, you are a bad guy everywhere and the people in the game know it. The people who have played with me know that is not true.”

• Noah Syndergaard walked three batters in three innings, but might have come away with a scoreless performance had second baseman Eric Young Jr. successfully fielded a two-out grounder in the second inning. Instead, the ball glanced off Young and went into right field for a two-run single and Syndergaard was charged with two runs on two hits and three strikeouts in his second career Grapefruit League start. Syndergaard topped out at 98 mph.

Matt Clark had a two-run ninth-inning double and Gonzalez Germen produced the save as the Mets rallied to beat the Tigers, 3-2, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.

Read more on Syndergaard’s outing in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and MLB.com.

• Terry Collins only intends to use EY Jr. at second base during the regular season if Daniel Murphy is unavailable due to injury. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Matt Harvey tweeted and then deleted a prediction that he would pitch in 2014. Saturday afternoon, Sandy Alderson downplayed the likelihood of Harvey appearing this season, but said “never say never.” Read more in Newsday, the Post, Daily News, Record and Star-Ledger.

• Despite Ruben Tejada committing an error and having two other misplays in Friday’s Grapefruit League game, Alderson said the shortstop is not yet under a “microscope.” Read more in Newsday.

Ike Davis (calves) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) will not be ready to play Sunday, Collins said. Read more in the Star-Ledger.


Courtesy of Wheeler familyLittle Zack Wheeler (in Braves gear) with brothers Adam (left) and Jacob (right) while growing up in Georgia.


David Wright emphasized strengthening his hamstrings during the offseason, he tells columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post.

• Kernan in the Post also features Wheeler and older brothers Adam and Jacob. A heart condition prevented Jacob from competing in athletics beyond high school, while a shoulder injury and surgery ended Adam’s career as a Yankees minor-league pitcher.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times catches up with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Harvey is pushing the envelope wanting to pitch this season. … Blogging Mets also addresses Harvey’s comments.

BIRTHDAYS: C.J. Nitkowski, who pitched in five games for the Mets in 2001 and finished his career in the minors with the organization two years ago, turns 41. He calls today’s game for WOR, including some play-by-play for the first time in his career.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

2014 Byrdak Day will happen.....in Indy ball

— Tim Byrdak (@Givemethelefty) March 9, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Should Terry Collins use Eric Young Jr. at second base sometimes in order to help get Juan Lagares in the lineup?