Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Morning Briefing: Mets-Phillies on tap
By Adam Rubin
FIRST PITCH: After a day off Monday, the Mets open a two-game series in Philly on Tuesday night to kick off a three-city trip. There also will be stops in Denver and Miami.
Jonathon Niese (1-2, 2.45 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (0-1, 3.00) in the 7:05 p.m. opener.
The series could help David Wright heat up. He is a .302 hitter with 19 homers in 82 career games at Citizens Bank Park.
Read the Mets-Phillies series preview here.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Juan Lagares manned center field for Las Vegas on Monday night as the Triple-A phase of his rehab assignment began. Lagares is returning from a pulled right hamstring. He figures to join the Mets sometime during the Rockies series, which begins Thursday.
• Frank Viola, who underwent open-heart surgery to address an enlarged aorta, tells the Daily News: “I was overweight. I was eating wrong. I’ve lost 19 pounds since the surgery. I have never felt as good as I do right now.” Viola had been slated to open the season as Las Vegas pitching coach before the issue was flagged during his spring-training medical screening.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post reviews who won and lost the offseason. On the Mets’ signing of Curtis Granderson, Sherman writes:
The Mets hoped Curtis Granderson could be a cleanup-hitting force behind David Wright. But he already has lost that role, and with one homer, 28 strikeouts and an NL-low .129 average, he is drawing Jason Bay comparisons. Not good.
• Travis d’Arnaud appears to be heating up after opening the season hitless in his first 16 at-bats, writes Greg Logan in Newsday. D’Arnaud is hitting .364 (8-for-22) in his past seven games.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes Mets pitchers are 0-for-41 at the plate this season. Writes Diamond:
Since at least 1974 -- as far back as Stats LLC tracks such curiosities -- no pitching staff has opened a season with a longer stretch of futility. The Atlanta Braves' pitchers started 0-for-39 in 2008 and 2011, setting the previous standard. There is, of course, a decent chance that the Mets' hitless streak to open 2014 is the worst of all time.
• The Mets arrive in Philly with a 14-11 record and soaring confidence. Read more in the Post.
• Brian Lewis in the Post notes the Mets have 24 steals and have allowed only five this season.
• The Mets are 6-0 in games started by backup catcher Anthony Recker. Michael J. Fensom catches up Recker in the Star-Ledger.
• Read more on Niese in the Daily News.
• Brandon Nimmo went 4-for-4 with a homer as St. Lucie beat Charlotte, 7-3. A day after leaving Vegas' game with a jammed finger, Wilmer Flores was able to pinch hit. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Las Vegas’ Eric Campbell was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. Campbell, an eighth-round pick in 2008 out of Boston College, hit .500 (11-for-22) with seven RBIs for the week. He played five different positions -- first base, second base, shortstop, third base and left field.
• Catcher Carlos Ruiz, whose Phillies now face the Mets, was named NL Player of the Week. Ruiz is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in his past six games.
• Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and will undergo surgery Tuesday that is expected to sideline him into July.
• From the bloggers … MetsMinors.net chats with second-base prospect Dilson Herrera.
BIRTHDAYS: Omir Santos, who once homered against Jonathon Papelbon at Fenway Park, turns 33. ... Fellow catcher Kelly Shoppach is 34. ... Minor-league pitcher Paul Paez turns 22.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: How should Terry Collins’ divide the outfield play once Juan Lagares returns?