New York Mets: Anthony Recker
• Curtis Granderson will bat fourth, behind David Wright. "With Curtis behind him, they've got to make a decision," Collins said.
Collins acknowledged that Granderson wasn't THE GUY in the Yankees lineup. He only started four games in the cleanup spot for the Yankees this past season. Still, Collins said: "We're certainly hoping to have enough guys spaced out through the lineup to give him help." Collins added that Chris Young or the first baseman, likely Lucas Duda, would bat behind Granderson.
• Bobby Parnell, who underwent surgery on Sept. 10 to repair a herniated disk in his neck, will return to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins early next week. Parnell hopes to be cleared to resume full activities.
Collins noted that Parnell typically arrives in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in January. So the Mets should have an early read.
• Jenrry Mejia is "in the mix" for a rotation assignment after Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee. The issue, since Mejia has not thrown more than 108 innings in a season, is whether Mejia can pitch a full season -- even without considering an innings cap.
Of course, using Mejia merely would buy time for Noah Syndergaard or another prospect to open the season in the minors. So it may not be the biggest deal if Mejia couldn't pitch a full season.
Mejia has resumed throwing after undergoing surgery Aug. 28 to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
• "Right now" Ruben Tejada is the shortstop. Collins suggested Tejada "learned a tremendous lesson" this past season -- that baseball is 12 months, not just five or six months. Collins noted Tejada will return to fitness and nutrition camp in Michigan in January.
"You can tell when they're upset with what happened," Collins said. "Ruben Tejada was upset."
• Collins very much liked how Anthony Recker handled the backup catcher role and is comfortable with him again handling that duty in 2014, which probably will be the case.
• Sandy Alderson said earlier in the day that there is no leadoff candidate beyond Eric Young Jr., so he should be in the lineup somewhere. Collins pretty much agreed, but noted Chris Young led off in Arizona and Daniel Murphy has been a consideration in the past.
• It will be a point of emphasis in spring training for Travis d'Arnaud to shorten his swing. D'Arnaud hit .202 and had 21 strikeouts in 99 at-bats after debuting last season. "Certainly when he gets to spring training we've got some work to do," Collins said.
• Which prospects might make their debut in 2014? Collins mentioned Syndergaard (who almost definitely will open the season in the minors) as well as Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, Cory Mazzoni, Logan Verrett, Jeff Walters and Cesar Puello.
Puello was the lone position player mentioned, and Collins said he would open the season in Las Vegas coming off a Biogenesis-related suspension. Collins was unsure whether Mazzoni would be a factor in the bullpen or rotation.
• Collins suggested Wilmer Flores got faster while spending four weeks in Michigan. Is that enough to put him in consideration for a backup middle infield role that includes time at shortstop? That may be a stretch, but Collins wasn't ruling it out.
Collins noted that Flores' ankle injuries never allowed the Mets to get a good look at him at second base after his call-up. "I want to see him at the position he's going to play," Collins said about Flores at second. "... This kid is going to swing the bat."
• Mets pitchers and catchers report Feb. 15, with the first workout two days later.
Read the full Terry Collins transcript here.
Here are some recent tweets:
Off to Los Gatos for the wedding weekend! Excited to finally be Mr and Mrs w/ @KellyShepardson I guess she's gonna have to change her handle— Anthony Recker (@Anthony_Recker) October 31, 2013
Excited to go see my boys @JoshSatin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis get married next week.— Ike Davis (@Iked29) October 29, 2013
• LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.
• Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.
• David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.
• Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.
• Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.
Signed to contracts
• Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.
• David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.
• Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.
• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.
• Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.
• Daniel Murphy, second baseman. ESPNNewYork.com hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.
• Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.
• Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.
• Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.
• Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.
• Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.
• Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.
• Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.
• Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.
• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.
• Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.
• Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.
• Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.
• Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.
• Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
• Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.
• Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.
• Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.
• Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.
• Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.
• Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.
• Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.
The bad news: The Mets dropped to 32-48 at Citi Field, ensuring their worst home record since they went 28-53 in 1993.
Scott Atchison surrendered two runs, including a tiebreaking RBI single to ex-Met Carlos Gomez, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Mets, 4-2, in 10 innings Saturday.
The Mets now have played 57 extra innings this season -- three shy of matching the franchise record set in 1979 and duplicated in '85.
The Mets had pulled even at 2 in the bottom of the ninth on Eric Young Jr.'s RBI single against Donovan Hand, but David Wright grounded into a double play with runners on the corners with a chance for a walk-off win.
The Mets also wasted a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the seventh.
Record-setter: Juan Lagares produced his 14th outfield assist, extending his franchise rookie record. Lagares threw out Jonathan Lucroy trying to score from second base on Scooter Gennett’s sixth-inning single. The assist preserved a 1-all tie.
Thirteen of Lagares’ outfield assists have come as a center fielder, tying the franchise single-season record also accomplished by Del Unser (1975) and Carlos Beltran (2006), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The overall franchise record for outfield assists is 19 by Rusty Staub in 1974, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Lagares’ 14 are the most by a Met since Cliff Floyd had 15 in 2005.
Duck! Wright, in his return to the lineup after getting beaned by Johnny Hellweg on Thursday, had a pitch thrown behind his head by rookie Jimmy Nelson in the fourth inning.
Nelson, making his first major league start, walked three batters that inning alone and did not appear to know where the ball was going.
Wright had skipped Friday’s game with a swollen right thumb, which he suffered landing awkwardly after the beaning in the series opener.
Man of steal: Daniel Murphy swiped his 22nd base of the season, this time catching the Brewers napping. Murphy stole second base in the second inning with Nelson holding the baseball and the middle infielders inattentive.
Murphy has now successfully stolen 21 straight bases, matching Kevin McReynolds for the second-longest streak in franchise history without being caught. McReynolds went 21-for-21 in 1988.
Howard Johnson owns the franchise record with 26 straight successful steals in 1989.
Murphy also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. His fourth-inning sacrifice fly evened the score at 1.
It’s a draw: Neither Jean Segura nor Young, who are tied for the NL lead in steals, swiped a base Saturday. So they remain tied at 44 entering the final day of the season.
Nothing to harangue: Free-agent-to-be Aaron Harang limited Milwaukee to one run on five hits and two walks in six innings. He finished with a 3.52 ERA in four starts with the club after a cameo with Triple-A Las Vegas.
What’s next: Game No. 162. Jonathon Niese (8-8, 3.74 ERA) opposes right-hander Marco Estrada (7-4, 4.02) in the season finale. Mike Piazza will become the 27th inductee into the Mets Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony. The Mets are asking fans to be in their seats by 12:45 p.m. The game will start later than the officially listed 1:10 p.m.
Final score: San Francisco Giants 2, Mets 1.
A day after scoring four ninth-inning runs for a walk-off win, the Mets again threatened in the ninth. This time, pinch hitter Matt den Dekker walked to lead off and advanced to second on a bunt. But den Dekker was stranded there. Lucas Duda flied out and Anthony Recker struck out to end it.
The Mets nonetheless won the season series from the Giants, four games to two.
Niese surrendered two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. He departed trailing 2-1 for pinch hitter Zach Lutz in the bottom of the seventh after Omar Quintanilla blooped a two-out single into shallow left field.
Lutz walked, pushing the potential tying run to second base, but Bumgarner retired Eric Young Jr. on a groundout to shortstop to end the threat.
An inning earlier, the Mets similarly could not capitalize on an opportunity. With runners on the corners and two outs in the sixth against Bumgarner, Wilmer Flores’ hard-hit grounder back up the middle kicked off the pitcher's leg and directly to first baseman Buster Posey for the inning’s final out.
Bumgarner finished with 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He became the seventh pitcher this season with a double-digit strikeout performance against the Mets. He joined Chris Sale (13), Scott Kazmir (12), Max Scherzer (11), Tim Lincecum (11), Shelby Miller (10) and Mike Minor (10).
The Mets' lone run came on Daniel Murphy's fourth-inning single, which plated Josh Satin, who had doubled. The Amazin's had only two other hits the entire game.
Turner sighting: Justin Turner was on deck when the final out was made. It would have marked his first appearance since suffering a hamstring strain on Sept. 10.
What’s next: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3, 6.12 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (8-13, 3.48) as the Mets open a three-game weekend series at Philadelphia at 7:05 p.m. ET Friday. David Wright is expected to be in the lineup for the first time since straining his right hamstring on Aug. 2.
NEW YORK -- Heads up on the Party City Deck!
The Washington Nationals unloaded three homers against Aaron Harang and completed their second four-game sweep at Citi Field in three seasons with a 7-2 victory Thursday afternoon.
The Mets (64-81) dropped a season-worst 17 games under .500. They also fell to 2-9 in September, matching the Chicago White Sox for the majors’ worst record this month.
The Mets are one loss from clinching their fifth straight losing season.
Harang, who produced a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts with the Seattle Mariners this season, matched the record for most homers surrendered in a Mets debut. In allowing three long balls, Harang joined Steve Trachsel (2001), Brian Rose (2001) and Mike Birkbeck (1992).
The Nats outhomered the Mets 13-0 in the series.
That fell one homer shy of the franchise record for most homers against the Mets in a series in which the Amazin’s failed to go deep, according to Bob Waterman of the Elias Sports Bureau. Detroit outhomered the Mets 14-0 in a three-game series at Tiger Stadium in 1997.
Thirteen homers comfortably set the record for most homers by a visitor in a series at Citi Field. The previous record had been seven homers, by the New York Yankees (2012, in three games), Colorado Rockies (2011, four games), Philadelphia Phillies (2009, three games) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2009, four games), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The Citi Field dimensions were reconfigured before the 2012 season.
Washington won the season series 12-7.
Harang’s final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 3 HR.
Harang surrendered a first-inning solo homer to Ryan Zimmerman. Daniel Murphy answered in the bottom half with an RBI double to even the score 1-1.
Zimmerman has eight homers in his past 10 games.
After a 56-minute rain delay, Adam LaRoche went deep to left field on a replay-awarded homer in the second.
Anthony Recker’s fourth-inning RBI single made it 2-2, but Harang ultimately departed in line to lose. He surrendered his third homer, a solo shot to Wilson Ramos, in the fifth as Washington took a 3-2 lead.
With the Mets trailing 4-2, Nats reliever Craig Stammen struck out Juan Lagares to end the seventh inning and strand two in scoring position. Mets reliever Frank Francisco then surrendered two runs the following half-inning.
What’s next: The Mets welcome the Miami Marlins to Citi Field for a four-game weekend series. Jonathon Niese (6-7, 3.86 ERA) handles Friday’s 7:10 p.m. ET opener. The southpaw faces left-hander Brad Hand, a September call-up who has made three scoreless relief appearances this season.
FIRST PITCH: Don’t look now, but the Mets are about to face a not-quite-dead-yet team.
The Washington Nationals (68-65) have won eight of their past nine games and have moved to within 6½ games of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild-card spot.
Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69 ERA) opposes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (15-7, 3.32) in today’s 7:05 p.m. series opener at Nationals Park.
Zack Wheeler faces Dan Haren on Saturday, while Jonathon Niese faces Ross Ohlendorf in Sunday’s series finale.
Friday’s news reports:
Wright described the Grade 2 tear as having a six-week recovery time. He was cautioned by Philadelphia Phillies infielder Michael Young to avoid overtaxing the muscle as he works back.
Wright added that he believes the Mets will add talent this offseason. “With the money we have coming off the books this year, I expect us to go out there and make this team better,” he said. “Whether it’s through free agency, whether it’s through trades, I still believe in vision that Sandy [Alderson] has.”
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• The Mets completed their trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, announcing the acquisition of hard-throwing right-hander Vic Black after completing the waiver process. The Mets are expected to take advantage of a 72-hour reporting window to delay Black’s arrival until Sunday, the day rosters expand. Black will report directly to the majors. Read more in Newsday.
• Alderson emailed a letter to season ticket holders, addressing 2014.
• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com has a Q&A with Wheeler.
• Carlos Torres returned to the rotation and took a scoreless effort into the seventh as the Mets split a four-game series with the Phillies with an 11-3 win Thursday afternoon. Daniel Murphy matched a career high with four hits and drove in two runs. Anthony Recker, on his 30th birthday and in his first start since John Buck was traded, belted a two-run homer. Matt den Dekker went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and a steal in his major league debut.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Terry Collins essentially said he would be unable to drop Daisuke Matsuzaka from the rotation if he wanted because alternatives are lacking. The Mets may use Chris Schwinden, or another minor leaguer, as a sixth starter in September.
• Jacob deGrom is due to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, but the organization is not planning to give him a call-up. DeGrom departed his Wednesday outing with Las Vegas after two innings with shoulder tightness, but Paul DePodesta minimized the issue.
• Jorge Arangure in the Times delves into the Mets’ having two players with surnames beginning with lower-case Ds -- den Dekker and Travis d’Arnaud. The Mets will establish a new major league record next season assuming deGrom joins them in 2014. Writes Arangure:
As for the origin of his last name, d’Arnaud said that his great-great grandfather acquired it when he was adopted by a family of French origin.
A more formal explanation comes from Marcel den-Dikken, a linguistics professor at the City University of New York. “The ‘d’ is the truncated form of the preposition ‘de’ ‘of,’ he wrote in an e-mail. “So d’Arnaud is historically a name associating its bearer with a particular geographical location.”
As for den Dekker, his name is of Dutch origin and roughly translates to “the roofer.” He said his family traces its roots to Indonesia, which was long a Dutch colony, and from there to the Netherlands. Den Dekker’s father, Gerrit, was born in the Netherlands and later boarded a ship with his 10 brothers and sisters that took them to New York. Eventually, Matt den Dekker said, the family settled in San Diego.
• Read more on Murphy in the Journal.
• Dustin Lawley launched his first Triple-A homer as Las Vegas beat Colorado Springs, 10-7. Newly acquired Dilson Herrera drove in the tiebreaking run and reached base three times in his organization debut as Savannah beat Rome, 5-3. Kingsport, playoff-bound for the first time since 1996, clinched its division’s title with a 9-1 win against Bluefield. Brooklyn maintained a half-game division lead with a 2-1 win against Staten Island. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Binghamton first baseman Allan Dysktra and closer Jeff Walters have been named to the Eastern League’s end-of-season All-Star team. Savannah pitcher Gabriel Ynoa, who notched his 15th win Thursday, was named the South Atlantic’s top pitcher, while Gnats pitching coach Frank Viola was recognized on the all-league coaching staff.
BIRTHDAYS: Newest ex-Met Marlon Byrd turns 36. … The late Tug McGraw was born on this date in 1944.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
So Niese to have you here
Jonathon Niese became the second pitcher in Mets history to pitch a shutout and have three RBIs in the same game. Pete Falcone did it against the Phillies in 1981.
Niese is the fourth Mets pitcher to hit a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double, joining Tug McGraw (1974), Sid Fernandez (1990) and Al Leiter (1999). Two Mets have hit a bases-loaded triple -- Dwight Gooden (1990 and 1993) and Frank Tanana (1993). Two have also hit a grand slam -- Carlton Willey (1963) and Jack Hamilton (1967).
Niese finished August 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts. He allowed two runs and 14 hits over 22 innings in his last three starts.
There is little difference in Niese's pitch usage when comparing his performance pre- and post-DL stint, other than that he is throwing his cutter more to right-handed hitters and he has avoided the center of the plate for left-handed hitters (who are 3-for-24 against him since his return).
The one area in which you could say Niese has been fortunate is this: Right-handed hitters were 28-for-35 when hitting a line drive against him prior to his DL stint. They are 9-for-16 when hitting a liner since his return.
Another good effort for Torres
Carlos Torres continued his excellent season with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Thursday's victory. Among the keys: He retired all 14 hitters against whom he got two strikes.
Torres' ERA at home actually "jumped" to 0.92 over 29 1/3 innings pitched. He will be hard-pressed to maintain that now that he is a full-time starter, but if he somehow can, he could be the fourth Mets pitcher to throw at least 30 innings at home with an ERA below 1.00. The three who did so are Tug McGraw (1972), Duaner Sanchez (2006) and Francisco Rodriguez (2010).
Torres also extended his walk-less streak to 13 2/3 innings. He's only walked seven hitters in 55 1/3 innings in the majors this season. That's particularly remarkable considering that Torres' career minor-league walk rate is 3.70 per nine innings, and entering this season, his major-league mark was 4.9 per nine innings.
Anthony Recker became the second Mets player to homer in his birthday on the last 10 seasons, and the first to do so since Carlos Beltran homered on his 31st birthday in 2008. The last to homer and reach base at least three times, as Recker did, was Jeromy Burnitz on his 34th birthday in 2003.
Top of the order domination
Each of the first three hitters in the Mets lineup on Thursday (Young, Daniel Murphy and Andrew Brown) had multiple hits and multiple RBIs. It's unusual for the Mets to get that kind of production out of each of their top three hitters. The multi-hit, multi-RBI combo had only been done three times previously, the last coming in 2006, also against the Phillies. The hitters that day were Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca and Beltran.
Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Series
Young surpassed 30 steals for the season for the first time this week. Eric's father had nine seasons of 30 or more steals. The Youngs are the fifth father-son pair to each swipe 30 bases in a season. The others are the Alomars (Sandy Sr. and Roberto), the Bonds (Bobby and Barry), the Cruz's (Jose Sr. and Jr.) and the Wills (Maury and Bump).
Obscure Stat of the Series
Matt den Dekker became the third player in Mets history to go 0-for-5 in his major-league debut, joining John Gibbons (1984) and Tito Navarro (1993). Den Dekker also became the first Met with a stolen base in his first major-league game since Josh Thole in 2009.
And although the Mets promised to bring him back to the majors once rosters expanded in September, it looked like his playing time might be nonexistent, considering prospect Travis d'Arnaud is now the priority and John Buck looked to still be around as the mentor/backup.
Then the Mets traded Buck along with Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday and brought Recker back to the majors.
Recker again took advantage of his opportunities Thursday. He went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer, two walks and three runs scored as the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 11-3, at Citi Field.
Although Recker still is on the wrong side of the Mendoza Line -- he’s batting .198 -- he does have six homers in 111 at-bats. He also has drawn continuous praise from Terry Collins for his ability to call games and to follow pitching coach Dan Warthen’s game plan.
Not bad for a waiver claim from the Chicago Cubs last Oct. 25.
Recker, who turned 30 on Thursday, became the 14th Met to homer on his own birthday, and the first since Carlos Beltran in 2008. Mike Piazza (three), Jim Hickman (two) and Edgardo Alfonzo (two) have multiple homers on their birthdays while with the Mets.
“He’s exactly what they told me he was going to do,” Collins said about Recker. “They told me he’s got some power when we signed him. They said this guy has a chance to hit some home runs. He calls a nice game. He handles the pitching staff. He’s done a great job. I told him when we sent him down when we brought Travis up that I hope he stays around, because he fills a very good role for us.”
Because Recker will have only one year, 128 days of service time after this season, he could be under the Mets’ control for at least five more seasons. He also has an option remaining, so the Mets can send him to Triple-A Las Vegas as a capable third catching option out of spring training next year if they end up signing a veteran this offseason to back up d’Arnaud.
Sandy Alderson has been noncommittal so far about whether the Mets will bring in a veteran-type backup catcher.
“I like it here. I feel good here,” Recker said. “I’d love to stay here for as long as I can, so we’ll see.”
Asked if he thought he would get much of an opportunity to state his case the rest of this season after getting sent down Aug. 20, Recker said: “I don’t know. I didn’t really think about that. I was just hoping I would get a shot, wherever it was, whenever it was. And if I did, I was going to try to take advantage of it. I had no idea what was going to go on. I was trying not to think about anything like that. Fortunately I was able to get an opportunity. And fortunately I was able to contribute.”
NEW YORK -- Carlos Torres did quite nicely filling in for Matt Harvey.
The 30-year-old journeyman took a scoreless effort into the seventh, and the Mets earned a split of a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies with an 11-3 win Thursday afternoon.
The teams again are in a virtual tie for third place in the NL East.
Eric Young Jr. went 3-for-5 and had a three-run triple in the seventh. The three RBIs are a career high.
Catcher Anthony Recker belted a two-run homer to give the Mets a 3-0 lead in the fourth on his 30th birthday, against rookie starter Ethan Martin. It came in Recker’s first major league start in 13 days.
Recker had been demoted when John Buck returned from paternity leave, and returned once Buck was traded Tuesday to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In addition to calling Torres’ gem, Recker made a diving catch in foul territory near the home dugout to retire Roger Bernadina for the first out of the sixth.
Torres’ line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. In his first start since July 28, Torres threw 95 pitches (62 strikes). He has a 2.77 ERA this season.
Debutant: Center fielder Matt den Dekker went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his major league debut. He did reach on a fielder’s choice in the seventh, then recorded his first steal.
Den Dekker, strikeout-prone throughout his minor league career, fell one shy of matching the franchise record in a major league debut. Gary Gentry (1969), Brent Gaff (1982), Darryl Strawberry (1983), Butch Huskey (1993) and Zack Wheeler (2013) all struck out three times.
From the quirk department: With Travis d'Arnaud and den Dekker on the major league roster, the Mets are the second team in MLB history to simultaneously carry two players with surnames beginning with a lower-case “d,” according to research by ESPN’s Doug Kern. The other team: the 1988 and '89 Kansas City Royals, who carried first baseman Luis de los Santos and pitcher Jose de Jesus for two Septembers.
The Mets could set a major league record with three next year. Right-hander Jacob deGrom will not be a September call-up, but is due to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. He should be a consideration for a rotation spot in spring training.
What’s next: The Mets head out for a trip to Washington, Atlanta and Cleveland. Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69 ERA) opposes Nats right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (15-7, 3.32) in Friday’s opener in D.C.
Getty ImagesJohn Buck and Marlon Byrd are now Pirates, while second baseman Dilson Herrera joins the Mets organization.
FIRST PITCH: Where have you gone Mets-Phillies rivalry?
From the Mets finally unseating the Atlanta Braves in 2006, to the following year’s “team-to-beat” proclamation by Jimmy Rollins, the NL East seemed to revolve around New York and Philadelphia.
Now? The teams are a collective 24 games under .500 and merely jockeying for third place in the division.
And we’re left tonight with Daisuke Matsuzaka Night at Citi Field against an eight-games-under-.500 Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62 ERA).
Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00 ERA) makes his second Mets start at 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• The Mets traded Marlon Byrd, John Buck and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Class A second baseman Dilson Herrera and a player to be named. Herrera, a Futures Game participant from Colombia, will be assigned to low-A Savannah for the remainder of the season.
"Marlon Byrd is an impactful bat with significant numbers against left-handed pitching and John Buck is a strong receiver who works well with a pitching staff," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters in Pittsburgh. "Those were areas we were looking to improve upon and strengthen, and the trade also adds a couple of layers of experience to our club."
Writes ESPN’s Keith Law on Herrera:
Playing full time at age 19 in the low-Class A Sally League, Herrera has shown somewhat surprising pop, with a .156 isolated power and 41 extra-base hits in 109 games. He's got a simple, quiet approach, just loading his hands a little higher than he should, with adequate hip rotation for 15-20 homer power at his peak.
He's an above-average runner whose speed hasn't translated into baserunning value, and is presently a fringy defender at second, but should develop into an above-average glove given time and instruction. I'd call him a future everyday second baseman, a solid regular with a chance to be an above-average one.
I'm told by multiple sources that the Mets will receive another player-to-be-named who is a "solid" piece, enough to make this deal even better for New York.
(Insiders can read Law’s full trade write-up here.)
Writes columnist Dejan Kovacevic in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
I got to know Herrera a bit during the All-Star Futures Game in New York last month and loved his backstory: Orlando Covo, the Pirates' lead scout in Colombia, works by day as, of all things, the president of a bank. He moonlights because of a passion for baseball and for the Pirates, who hired him under Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo a half-decade ago.
Colombia is no baseball hotbed, but Covo and Gayo invest disproportionate energy into making it work. In the case of the prized Herrera, Covo pushed so hard that, as the kid told me, “I was wearing a Pirates cap when I was 12.”
Herrera's a quality second baseman with a live bat. As [GM Neal] Huntington put it, “The Mets did well” to get him. But the Pirates also did well to have him.
With Matt Harvey landing on the DL and the two departures via trade, the Mets promoted Matt den Dekker, Anthony Recker and Robert Carson from Triple-A Las Vegas. The lefty-hitting Den Dekker and righty-hitting Andrew Brown should combine to fill the void left by Byrd’s departure -- although den Dekker’s starts may primarily come in center field, pushing Juan Lagares to right field on those days.
Sandy Alderson indicated the Mets’ trade activity likely was completed. The GM also reiterated that Terry Collins will be judged by more criteria than simply wins and losses.
In a humorous twist, the trade occurred hours before a Byrd T-shirt promotion at Citi Field.
With Pittsburgh, Buck will back up Russell Martin. Backup catcher Michael McKenry underwent season-ending surgery for a torn meniscus. As for Byrd, he particularly will help with outfielder Starling Marte out for a few weeks with a sprained ligament in his right hand.
Read columnist Larry Brooks’ take on the trade in the Post and news stories in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and MLB.com. Read more on Herrera in Newsday.
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post suggests the Wilpons must show Mets fans the money this offseason. Writes Vaccaro:
Does Harvey’s absence allow another mailed-in offseason?
It had better not. And the men who own the Mets had better be prepared to keep to whatever plans they had about strengthening this team, and not allowing the abyss to run to six full seasons of non-competitive baseball. The tough talk of February had better be able to stay intact by November, regardless of whether Harvey is a part of 2014 or not.
• Harvey tweeted he will be pitching next April 1, but Alderson responded there is no new information on which to base that conclusion. Harvey will get another MRI in two to three weeks, once swelling in his pitching elbow subsides, in order to determine the extent of his UCL tear and whether Tommy John surgery will be required. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Record.
• Jeremy Hefner is due to undergo Tommy John surgery today. Mets doctor David Altchek is due to perform the procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of the 2014 season.
• Jonathon Niese tossed a three-hit shutout and also produced a three-run double as the Mets blanked the Phillies, 5-0, Tuesday at Citi Field. The teams are again even for third place in the NL East. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, and MLB.com.
• David Wright should be hitting in games -- but probably not fielding -- in Port St. Lucie as soon as Sunday or Monday, Collins said. Read more in the Post.
• The Mets named right-handers Chasen Bradford and Hansel Robles, catcher Cam Maron, infielder Aderlin Rodriguez and outfielder Cory Vaughn to their Arizona Fall League contingent. Two more pitching spots will be filled later.
• Las Vegas’ rally from a four-run deficit in the ninth fell a run short in a 13-12 loss at Colorado Springs. Jeff Walters set a new Binghamton career saves record with No. 37 as the B-Mets beat Bowie, 3-2. Read the full minor league recap here.
• From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing contemplates how rosters turn over and over. … Mark Berman from Blogging Mets wonders if the Mets are partly to blame for Harvey's injury.
BIRTHDAYS: Joel Youngblood turns 62. … Mike Torrez is 67.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Rich Schultz/Getty ImagesMatt Harvey may be lost for the 2014 season with a torn UCL in his right elbow.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets had waited for three years for contracts to expire, and presumably now are poised to reenter free agency in a meaningful way at a time when the young nucleus of starting pitching is ready to contribute.
But the optimism about 2014 being the year the Mets announce their return to contention has been tempered by this sobering news: An MRI on Monday revealed Matt Harvey has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Harvey will wait two to three weeks for inflammation to subside before making a decision, but there is a distinct possibility the ace will require Tommy John surgery that would prompt him to miss most, if not all, of next season as well.
Harvey acknowledged he had been seeking treatment for forearm tightness for a month or two. Sandy Alderson indicated the organization had been satisfied the elbow ligaments were structurally sound. The GM described the injury as somewhat inevitable, suggesting even with innings caps and prudence “there’s no safe harbor” to prevent ligament tears.
Terry Collins had expressed concern throughout the season that Harvey’s full-throttle, upper-90s fastball from wire-to-wire during outings might end up costly. The manager had implored the ace to dial it back at points during games and be content with coaxing groundouts with low-90s fastballs.
So now what? Certainly resources that could have gone to bats during the offseason might need to be diverted to signing another starting pitcher. Or, perhaps, a young pitcher the Mets might have entertained trading for a bat now must be retained because of the potential loss of Harvey for the entire 2014 season.
According to J.B. Kurtz of ESPN Stats & Information, four pitchers since 2010 have landed on the disabled list with some type of UCL tear: Jose Contreras, Danny Duffy, Jorge De La Rosa and Stephen Strasburg. The quickest to return to major league action was Contreras. His absence: 11 months, 3 days.
Harvey's 0.93 WHIP would rank second in major history for an age 24 or younger season in the live-ball era (since 1920), according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only better: Denny McLain, who had a 0.91 WHIP while winning the Cy Young in 1968. Nos. 3, 4 and 5 also won Cy Youngs: Vida Blue (0.95, 1971), Roger Clemens (0.97, 1986) and Dwight Gooden (0.97, 1985). McLain, Blue and Clemens also were named league MVP.
Harvey's 95.8 mph average fastball velocity ranks first in the majors, as does his 89.7 mph slider.
For now, Carlos Torres steps into the rotation, beginning with Harvey’s next turn, in Thursday’s matinee series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Tonight, Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.51) at 7:10 in Game 2 of the four-game series.
Stayed tuned for more news, too. Sources said the Mets plan to promote Robert Carson, Matt den Dekker and possibly Anthony Recker today. Since only Harvey is known headed to the DL, a trade appears looming.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Columnist Ian O’Connor at ESPNNewYork.com writes about his wife’s reaction to the Harvey news.
Writes columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record:
There are a million questions trailing in his wake, starting with the Mets’ passive response to the lingering forearm tightness Harvey had been experiencing since July. Warrior that he is, Harvey downplayed the discomfort, telling his bosses it was nothing unusual, nothing more than the cost of doing business with nuclear heat.
But given the Mets’ abysmal record of managing injuries, why weren’t they proactive when it was clear Harvey wasn’t improving? There’s nothing normal about forearm tenderness that doesn’t heal. Again, Harvey ignored every warning sign, noting, “There was no shooting pain down my arm and in my hand.” But what would’ve been the downside to slipping that arm into an MRI tube?
Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:
We've witnessed the frustration, the failed signings, the collapses. Always the punch line for David Letterman. But Harvey was changing all that. In toting that microphone around Bryant Park for Fallon, the winking Harvey was in on the joke, and the Mets could laugh along with him.
So imagine how Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins felt Monday when Harvey was cruelly snatched away for this season and possibly next year.
Actually, you probably felt that way, too. All along, we've been led to believe that 2014 was the goal, the return to respectability, the start of a new era -- and a big reason for that was Harvey.
Read a Harvey column from Tyler Kepner in the Times and news stories in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Zack Wheeler surrendered a two-out, two-run triple to Cody Asche in the fourth and the Phillies beat the Mets, 2-1, Monday at Citi Field. Philadelphia took over sole possession of third place from the Mets. The Mets have lost five straight. They have scored only six runs during that span.
Wheeler’s line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. He was pulled at precisely 105 pitches, his team-imposed pitch ceiling, even though opposing pitcher Cliff Lee was due up. Lee limited the Mets to one run in eight innings. Josh Satin’s streak of reaching base ended at 29 straight starts, tied with Steve Henderson (1977) for the franchise rookie record.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Las Vegas swept a doubleheader at Colorado Springs to move closer to clinching a postseason berth. The 51s have a 3.5-game division lead with eight games remaining. Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled and scored the tiebreaking run on an error in the 10th in Game 1. Nieuwenhuis then drove in the tiebreaking run with a groundout in the nightcap victory. Recker had a two-run homer against ex-Met Hisanori Takahashi. Noah Syndergaard, who had been 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA through 10 Double-A starts, was roughed up in Binghamton’s 11-0 loss at Bowie on Monday. Syndergaard, pitching for the first time in 10 days because he was skipped a turn to limit his innings, surrendered 11 runs (nine earned), including three homers, in three innings. 2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith went 4-for-5 with a triple, walk, two RBIs and five runs scored as the GCL Mets routed the Cardinals, 18-3. Read the minor league recap here.
• Binghamton left-handed reliever Chase Huchingson has been suspended for 50 games for a second violation involving a drug of abuse, MLB announced.
• Left-hander Darin Gorski has been named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Gorski went 1-0 and allowed three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings in two starts with the B-Mets.
• From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing cannot definitively say we should have seen Harvey's injury coming. … John Delcos at Mets Report asks if there is a scapegoat.
BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Brian McRae turns 46. … Mike Maddux, who pitched for two seasons for the Mets in the mid-’90s, and the brother of Greg Maddux, is 52.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: How does Matt Harvey’s injury affect the complexion of the 2014 season in your view?
On the bright side, this should give Harvey enough time to be Batman in the next Batman / Superman movie! #betterbatmanthanbenaffleck— David Aardsma (@TheDA53) August 26, 2013
Matt Harvey to the DL would clearly be one roster move. It's unclear how the Mets would open the other roster spot or spots.
It's worth noting the waiver trade deadline is Saturday. (And Recker's potential return could signal something involving John Buck, although that's getting way ahead of the actual information available.)
Den Dekker, an expected September call-up since he needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, broke his right wrist during spring training. He joined Las Vegas on July 1 and has hit .296 with six homers, 38 RBIs and a .366 on-base percentage in 53 games. And that's with an 0-for-18 start to his Triple-A season while still getting up to speed.
Associated Press, USA TODAY SportsTim Hudson (ankle) and Jason Heyward (jaw) have suffered serious bone fractures at Citi Field in the past month.
FIRST PITCH: Aces Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer will make history this weekend.
Their matchup Saturday at Citi Field will mark the first time the All-Star Game starters have faced off at any point during that same regular season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Of course, the Mets made that possible by keeping Harvey on an extra day of rest.
Carlos Torres steps into the rotation spot vacated by Jenrry Mejia to face Detroit Tigers right-hander Doug Fister in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.
After Harvey-Scherzer Saturday at 4:05 p.m., Dillon Gee opposes Seton Hall prep product Rick Porcello in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. finale.
First, the Mets enjoy their first off-day today since Aug. 5.
Scherzer, by the way, is only the fifth pitcher in major league history to win at least 18 of his first 19 decisions of a season -- as a starter or reliever. He joins Rube Marquard (1912 New York Giants, 19-0), Roger Clemens (2001 Yankees, 18-1), Roy Face (1959 Pittsburgh Pirates, 18-1) and Don Newcombe (1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, 18-1).
Thursday’s news reports:
• Jason Heyward suffered two fractures to his jaw when he was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Jonathon Niese in the sixth inning Wednesday. Heyward is due to undergo surgery in Atlanta on Thursday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.
It marked the second time this season the Mets had dealt a serious injury to a key member of the Braves at Citi Field. Tim Hudson fractured his right ankle covering first base when Eric Young Jr. stepped on him on July 24.
"He never lost consciousness," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters afterward about Heyward. "Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys.
“It’s not the ballpark. It's just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere.”
Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post and Newsday.
Daniel Murphy was ejected for barking at Layne about the Freeman call as Johnson rounded the bases. Terry Collins subsequently returned to the field to argue and was tossed, too. Major League Baseball intends to institute manager challenges next season that would have reversed such a call.
Niese had allowed one run in seven innings in a no-decision. Atlanta evened the score at 1 in the sixth when Niese briefly unraveled after drilling Heyward with two outs. The southpaw subsequently surrendered singles to Andrelton Simmons and Freeman.
The Mets have now played 52 extra innings this season, eight shy of matching the franchise record, set in 1979 and duplicated in 1985.
Juan Lagares recorded his 11th outfield assist, pulling even with Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Gonzalez for the major league lead. Lagares has the most outfield assists by a rookie since Rocco Baldelli had 15 with Tampa Bay in 2003.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Journal and MLB.com.
• Frank Francisco resurfaced in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday. Francisco surrendered a solo homer to minor league veteran Ben Lasater. He otherwise struck out two in one inning against the GCL Marlins in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It marked Francisco’s first official minor league game action since July 15.
Unless the Mets can get Francisco to the major league level in the next nine days and trade him while he would be eligible for another team’s playoff roster, it clearly would be plausible for them to release the former closer soon. After all, why give him a September opportunity to set up a free-agent deal elsewhere this offeason?
Francisco, making $6.5 million as part of an expiring two-year, $12 million deal, has not appeared with the Mets this season. He seemingly underwent a benign surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.
• Jeremy Hefner will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday, but believes he is headed for Tommy John surgery to address a partially torn medial collateral ligament. The surgery, which has a typical 12-month recovery time, would sideline Hefner for most if not all of the 2014 season. Hefner also needs bone spurs removed. Read more in the Times, Daily News, Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Brian Costa notes in the Journal that he willingly preferred to attend Citi Field rather than Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Writes Costa:
But as the Mets slog through what's left of another forgettable season in relative obscurity, a window of opportunity is opening. The emergence of their best young players is coinciding with the devolution of the Yankees into an abject spectacle, like the Bronx Zoo Yankees of the 1970s minus the championship.
You'd be a fool to write the Yankees off entirely. Entering Thursday, they'd won eight of their last 10 games. But the odds are not in their favor. Based on the team's run differential and remaining schedule, the website coolstandings.com gave the Yankees a mere 11 percent chance of making the playoffs entering Thursday. And with no top young talent on the immediate horizon, 2014 looks as murky as ever.
For the first time in a long time, it looks entirely possible that the Mets will be a better team than the Yankees a year from today.
“We mixed some older guys in, myself included, and we jelled well," Dykstra told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "It’s just a good camaraderie in the clubhouse and that really reflects on the field.”
Eric Campbell had a walk-off single in the 11th as Las Vegas rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Fresno, 8-7, and improve to 72-57. Demoted Anthony Recker made his 51s debut with an eighth-inning groundout as a pinch hitter.
Domingo Tapia allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings as St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach, 7-0. Kyle Johnson extended his hitting streak to 16 games. St. Lucie earlier had won the resumption of Tuesday’s suspended game, 6-4. Robbie Shields had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh.
After St. Lucie's doubleheader, outfielder/third baseman Dustin Lawley (.259, 25 HR, 90 RBIs) was named Florida State League player of the year. Bronx-raised infielder T.J. Rivera and right-hander Matt Bowman also were named to the FSL postseason All-Star team.
Estarlin Morel threw a walk-off wild pitch as Savannah lost at Kannapolis, 4-3. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a walk and now has a .406 average (26-for-64) in August.
• From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing has seen enough of the Braves.
BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Darrin Jackson is 50. … Ray Burris was born on this date in 1950.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned for the Mets being the target for retribution when they play at Turner Field from Sept 2-4, given the injuries to Jason Heyward and Tim Hudson?
Damn J-hey. I'm super pissed. Next car I see with #mets tag on it I'm gonna take a big ol dump on their hood.— Don Payne (@bringdapayne1) August 21, 2013
7:00 PM ET Montreal NY Islanders 7:00 PM ET Tampa Bay New Jersey
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