New York Mets: Aramis Ramirez

Series preview: Mets at Brewers

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
9:37
PM ET

Mike McGinnis/Getty ImagesJonathan Lucroy had a two-homer game Tuesday against Cincinnati, including a walk-off shot.
METS (48-53, third place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (57-45, first place/NL Central)

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-2, 2.92) vs. RHP Matt Garza (6-7, 4.04), 8:10 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.78) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.79), 8:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-5, 3.13) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (11-6, 3.58), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jacob deGrom (4-5, 3.01) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-1, 5.06), 2:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

Matt Garza aims to rebound after having the shortest start of his career Saturday at Washington. Garza recorded only one out while surrendering five earned runs on five hits and two walks.

• All-Star third baseman Aramis Ramirez played in his 2,000th career game Wednesday. Ramirez, 36, became the 14th active player to reach that milestone, joining Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreu, Adrian Beltre, Paul Konerko, Jason Giambi, Torii Hunter, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins. Ramirez had floated retirement as a possibility after this season, but since has resolved to continue playing in 2015. The sides have a mutual $14 million option for next season with a $4 million team buyout.

Jonathan Lucroy started the All-Star Game at catcher because of an injury to St. Louis’ Yadier Molina. Lucroy’s .312 average is tied for fifth in the National League. He had been 9-for-55 this month before a two-homer game Tuesday, which included a walk-off shot. It was his second career walk-off homer. Both have come against the Cincinnati Reds. The other: against flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman last Aug. 16.


Greg Fiume/Getty ImagesRyan Braun has an 11-game hitting streak.


• First baseman Mark Reynolds had two homers Wednesday as Milwaukee completed a sweep of the Reds. Reynolds’ 16 homers are tied for 10th in the NL, but he also has a .207 average and .300 on-base percentage.

Scooter Gennett departed Tuesday’s game with right quadriceps tightness and did not play Wednesday, although he is not considered a DL candidate. Gennett leads NL second baseman in average (.305) and slugging percentage (.481). Rickie Weeks started in his place.

• The Brewers recently mourned the loss of shortstop Jean Segura's 9-month-old son Janniel. The youngster unexpectedly passed away in the Dominican Republic on July 12. The 24-year-old Segura returned from bereavement leave on Friday.

• A 2 a.m. fire in the kitchen of a restaurant at Miller Park on Monday caused damage that has left an area of the ballpark unusable. The area includes a few escalators and elevators in left field, a concession area and meeting rooms.

Yovani Gallardo has allowed 19 runs (16 earned) on 33 hits, four walks and a hit batter in 23 1/3 innings over his past four starts.

• The Brewers have been in first place since April 5.

• Ex-Met Carlos Gomez has been selected to two straight All-Star Games.

• Right fielder Ryan Braun has an 11-game hitting streak. His 224 career homers are third on the franchise’s all-time list. Robin Yount is No. 1 at 251. Prince Fielder is second at 230. Before this season, Braun only had one career appearance in right field -- in the 2009 All-Star Game.

Francisco Rodriguez has 333 saves, which rank 12th all time. Next up is Rollie Fingers at 341. K-Rod’s All-Star selection this season was the fifth of his career. He last had been selected in 2009 as a Met.

• Since his first major league homer on July 23, 2013, Khris Davis' 27 long balls rank third among NL outfielders, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton (37) and Justin Upton (29).

Morning Briefing: Last stand for Mets?

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: If the Mets want to be relevant after the All-Star break, they better win -- if not sweep -- their next series.

The Atlanta Braves arrive at Citi Field for a four-game series having just had a nine-game winning streak snapped by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite picking up a game in the standings Sunday, the Mets still trail first-place Atlanta by 10 games (and the Washington Nationals by 9½ games) in the division.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.72 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.73) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.

The Mets were swept in three games last week at Turner Field. The Amazin’s squandered a two-run lead in the eighth inning last Monday when Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares and Eric Campbell committed errors in an unsightly frame.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden is eligible to return from the disabled list for the series opener. The Mets have a few options: They can leave Teagarden on the DL, where he officially landed with a strained left hamstring two weeks ago. They can attempt to send him to the minors, although he would need to pass through waivers and also accept the assignment. Or they can demote Anthony Recker, who has an option remaining.

Of course, Recker homered Sunday.

The Mets essentially deferred the decision when Travis d'Arnaud was promoted by placing Teagarden on the DL, even though Teagarden had been getting treatment for that seemingly manageable hamstring issue for a considerable period.

Monday’s news reports:

• The Mets placed Jonathon Niese on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain before Sunday’s game and promoted right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle. Dillon Gee is slated to be activated from the DL on Wednesday to make the start in Niese’s slot against the Braves.

Niese likely will miss only one start, since his DL stint will include the four-day All-Star break. He is eligible to return on July 20 -- the third game after the break, at San Diego.

Niese insisted he is uninjured. Still, Niese’s fastball topped out at only 86 mph in his 12-pitch start Friday against the Texas Rangers -- an outing that ended when he was struck on the “love handle” on his left side by Alex Rios’ line drive. Despite a solid 3.31 ERA, Niese’s fastball is averaging a career-low 88.6 mph this season, down from 90.2 mph in 2013.

Although the DL decision displeased Niese, even the southpaw had previously expressed hope that the All-Star break would allow his fastball to get recharged. Niese actually had wanted to come back early after Friday’s abbreviated outing and make two starts before the All-Star break.

He missed seven weeks last summer with a partial tear of his left rotator cuff.

Gee (3-1, 2.73) last pitched in the majors on May 10. He since has been on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. Gee made his final rehab start Friday with Brooklyn. He limited Aberdeen to one run on three hits and a walk and also hit a batter while striking out 10 in six innings. Gee logged 75 pitches. He then threw a bullpen session Sunday at Citi Field to further confirm his health before the Mets made the official announcement about Niese landing on the DL.

Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.


Evan Vucci/Associated PressDaniel Murphy has been selected to his first All-Star Game.


Daniel Murphy earned his first All-Star selection and is the lone Mets representative to the July 15 game at Minnesota. Murphy (.294, 7 HR, 35 RBIs) is tied with Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen and San Francisco’s Hunter Pence for second in the National League in hits with 106, trailing only Miami’s Casey McGehee (108).

David Wright and Niese were passed over for selection, although Niese would have been disqualified anyway because of the DL stint.

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez topped the second-place Wright by 338,728 votes in fan balloting. It is only the second time in the past nine years that Wright has been left out of the game. The other instance came in 2011, when Wright missed two months with a stress fracture in his lower back.

This marks the first time since 2003 that the Mets have only one All-Star selection. That year, it was Armando Benitez. This time, no Mets were selected via the fan or player ballots, so Murphy was chosen by St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who will lead the NL squad.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• The Mets scored a season-high five first-inning runs, capped by Recker’s three-run homer, and beat the Rangers, 8-4, in Sunday’s rubber game. Zack Wheeler surrendered only a solo homer to Robinson Chirinos in 6 1/3 innings. Wheeler had been winless in his last nine starts at Citi Field, going 0-6 with a 4.65 ERA since an Aug. 20, 2013 victory.

Gonzalez Germen surrendered a pair of homers in a three-run eighth, forcing Terry Collins to insert Familia to protect a three-run lead. Germen could be vulnerable Wednesday when the Mets need to clear a roster spot for Gee’s activation. The alternative presumably would be to drop the newly added Carlyle.

Texas has lost 15 of 18.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Prospects Wuilmer Becerra and Vicente Lupo were arrested by Kingsport, Tenn., police for allegedly drag racing at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

• The Brooklyn Cyclones held their “Salute to Seinfeld Night” on Saturday at MCU Park, on the 25th anniversary of the pilot episode, known as “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” having been broadcast on July 5, 1989. The festivities included players wearing puffy shirts during batting practice and a Keith Hernandez “magic loogie” bobblehead giveaway.


Courtesy of Brooklyn CyclonesFirst baseman Jeff Diehl, and the rest of the Brooklyn Cyclones, wore puffy shirts during batting practice Saturday.


ESPN’s Mark Simon back in 2010 chronicled all the Mets references on “Seinfeld,” which you can check out here. The most famous involves Hernandez’s Feb. 12, 1992 appearance, on the episode known as “The Boyfriend.” Wrote Simon:

Hernandez and Jerry become friends, with Jerry spending much of his free time worrying about how he can impress Hernandez. Hernandez and Jerry's ex-girlfriend, Elaine, date, and meet Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson (unseen) in a local restaurant. The relationship breaks up when Elaine sees that Hernandez is a cigarette smoker.

The highlight is the mystery surrounding whether Hernandez spit on Kramer and his friend Newman, after the two yelled insults at the Mets first baseman, following another game the Mets blew (based on a game "Seinfeld" creator Larry David and friends attended in 1986).

Using the same principles regarding the "magic bullet" theory in the John F. Kennedy assassination, Jerry attempts to debunk the story. In the end, it's revealed that the spitter was actually Hernandez's teammate, Roger McDowell, who was getting revenge for Newman's spilling beer on him in the bullpen.

Mike Salfino in the Journal notes “Seinfeld” actually was far more Yankees- than Mets-oriented.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed one run on six hits while striking out eight and walking none in seven innings as Las Vegas routed Albuquerque, 12-1. Wilmer Flores homered for the sixth time in his last five games. Cesar Puello homered twice in his first game since June 23. He had been sidelined with a concussion.

Chase Huchingson allowed two runs in the top of the 10th and the B-Mets lost, 10-9, after leaving the bases loaded in the bottom half despite a hit by pitch and three walks to open the frame. Jorge Rivero drove in three runs and Matt Obserte homered as Savannah beat Hickory, 8-2. Carlos Valdez and Gaither Bumgardner combined on a two-hit shutout as Binghamton blanked Abderdeen, 7-0.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests the Mets start making trades.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday acknowledges trading a pitching surplus could be shortsighted. Writes Lennon:

On paper, it's true -- the Mets have some pitching currency for the trade market. If not in the next three weeks, then certainly in the offseason. But you also can understand why Alderson might be leery of dealing from that deck. The fragile nature of pitchers, now more than ever, has made it crucial to have quantity as well as quality. If the Mets go the trade route, the pressure to pick the right chip can be cause for hesitation.

• Stephen Haynes in Newsday recaps Wheeler’s outing Sunday.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear offers an appreciation of Murphy as the perfect All-Star selection from an inherently imperfect Mets team.

BIRTHDAYS: Third base coach and '86 Met Tim Teufel turns 56. ... Andy Green, now managing Double-A Mobile in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, is 37. ... Minor-league left-hander Alex Panteliodis, a ninth-round pick in 2011 out of the University of Florida, is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets be represented by the correct All-Star selection in Minnesota on July 15?

Morning Briefing: Safe (from ax) at home

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
5:30
AM ET
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: The fan base may be calling for blood, but they are unlikely to receive it before the Mets reconvene this weekend.

Although the Mets enter Thursday’s team off-day 11 games under .500 and 10 games out of first place -- both season worsts -- no firings or releases are imminently expected, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com.

That means Terry Collins, the coaching staff and even Chris Young should be able to exhale for a day.

After completing a stretch in which they played 25 of 33 games on the road, the Mets will host the injury-decimated Texas Rangers this weekend. Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88 ERA) opposes right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-3, 3.65) in the Fourth of July series opener.


Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesTerry Collins expects David Wright back in the lineup Friday.


The Mets will have a moment of silence before Friday’s game to remember the late Frank Cashen, who served as the team’s GM from 1980 through 1991.

Collins reiterated postgame Wednesday that he expects David Wright to reenter the lineup Friday. That would come a full week after the captain was scratched from a game in Pittsburgh with what subsequently was diagnosed as a bruised left rotator cuff.

Incidentally, online voting for the All-Star Game concludes at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. In the final intermediate tally released Tuesday, Wright trailed Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez by 235,060 votes for the starting nod for the National League at the hot corner. Daniel Murphy was nowhere to be found among the second-base leaders.

Thursday’s news reports:

Chris Johnson delivered a three-run double past third baseman Eric Campbell’s backhand with two outs in the first inning and the Braves completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory Wednesday. Collins said postgame that the Mets sorely missed Wright for the past week.

The Amazin’s went 1-6 on a trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Only a six-game losing streak by the Philadelphia Phillies has kept the Mets out of last place.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Journal and at MLB.com.

• Citing the team’s run differential being close to even, Sandy Alderson suggested the Mets are better than their record indicates. Alderson added that he is uninterested in trading Jonathon Niese. Overall, the direction the Mets take at the trade deadline will be dictated by how the team plays in the next 10 to 12 days, the GM added. Read more at CBSSports.com and in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Beginning Friday, the Mets will wear a patch for the remainder of the season honoring Cashen on their right sleeves, below a patch recognizing Ralph Kiner. Cashen died Monday at age 88.

• Will the Mets trade Murphy before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline?


Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesAssistant GM John Ricco indicated the Mets have not had serious recent dialogue about trading Daniel Murphy.


“We haven’t specifically talked about Dan recently,” assistant GM John Ricco told Tim Rohan in the Times. “He is one of the more valuable guys we have. He leads the league in hits. He’s settled in as one of the best second basemen in the game, certainly offensively, and is a leader on our team.”

Asked about the optics of trading Murphy, Ricco added to the newspaper: “It depends what the return is.”

• The Mets signed 11 players on the day international 16-year-olds are eligible to ink contracts: shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin, outfielder Yordin Araujo, right-handers Jhoander Chourio and Jurgen Jimenez and left-hander Daniel Guzman from Venezuela and right-handers Agustin Casilla and Jose Moreno, outfielder Claudio Geraldo, shortstop Hansel Moreno and catcher Luis Lebron from the Dominican Republic.

None ranked in the top 30 in Baseball America’s rankings.

On Romero, who turned 16 in April and received a reported $300,000 signing bonus, Paul DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com: “He’s a very solid defender at shortstop -- definitely stays at the position.”

Baseball America also forecasts the Mets will sign Venezuelan shortstop Kenny Hernandez, who is not eligible to sign until turning 16 on Aug. 13. The magazine ranks Hernandez the 13th-best international prospect and writes:

He fits better at third base or possibly second than he does at shortstop, but he stands out most at the plate with one of the sweetest swings in the class. Two of the Mets’ top signings last year -- Dominican outfielder Ricardo Cespedes and Venezuelan shortstop Luis Carpios -- were also two of the youngest players in their class. It looks like they’re ready to go that route again.

• Although the Mets have agreed to the financial terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto at the recommended $2,970,800 slot figure, the Oregon State outfielder is not yet officially on board. A source familiar with the negotiations recently told ESPNNewYork.com that no snags are expected and Conforto just wants some time to relax after the college baseball season.

Alderson told Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com about Conforto: “There are three or four [mostly] non-financial clauses that we are talking about. … I certainly expect this deal to get done.”

• Left-hander Scott Rice, on the Triple-A disabled list with an elbow injury, is traveling to New York for an MRI. He has been dealing with a nerve issue, SNY correspondent Robert Brender tweeted.

• St. Lucie rallied in the ninth to beat Charlotte, 7-6, as Gilbert Gomez doubled and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. Jon Leroux doubled and scored the tiebreaking run as Savannah beat Charleston, 7-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• The bullpen has become sturdy with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia at the back end, Jared Diamond writes in the Journal.

• Collins said he did not believe Julio Teheran’s pickoff move, which caught Eric Young Jr. on Wednesday, is legal. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Moises Alou turns 48. ... Frank Tanana is 61.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should represent the Mets at the All-Star Game?
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: How low will they go?

Jacob deGrom takes the mound on Wednesday at Turner Field trying to help the Mets avoid getting swept in the three-game series.

The Mets enter his start 10 games under .500 and nine games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves, both season worsts.

DeGrom (1-4, 3.62 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34) in the 7:10 p.m. finale.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed five runs in five innings, including a costly two-out RBI single to opposing pitcher Mike Minor, and the Mets stranded the potential tying run at third base in the fifth when Chris Young and Travis d’Arnaud were retired en route to a 5-4 loss to the Braves on Tuesday. Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy homered in the defeat.

The Mets dropped to 10-20 in one-run games.

They struck out 13 times and now have 712 Ks this season, on pace for 1,373. That would fall 11 shy of matching the franchise record, set last season.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• With online voting set to conclude at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, David Wright trails leader Aramis Ramirez of the Milwaukee Brewers by 235,060 votes for the starting nod for the National League at third base in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minnesota.

Dillon Gee’s next and potentially last minor-league rehab start will be Friday for the Brooklyn Cyclones at 6 p.m. at Coney Island. The Mets figure to bring back Gee before the All-Star break, especially given Matsuzaka’s performance Tuesday, although Terry Collins suggested the organization would at least consider waiting until afterward to activate Gee to minimize his idle time. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed five runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday with Las Vegas. Dustin Lawley had two homers in Binghamton’s 9-6 loss at New Britain. St. Lucie scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Charlotte, 6-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Even before Syndergaard’s Tuesday outing in Triple-A, Collins indicated there had been no discussion of a promotion date for the top prospect. The manager suggested there may not be a call-up at all in 2014. Read more in Newsday.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear considers Frank Cashen's accomplishments in the context of the Roman Empire. … NY Mets Life gives credit to Mets fans and The 7 Line Army.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets outfielder Angel Pagan, who just had a setback in his return from a back injury, turns 33. ... Hal Reniff, who finished his career with the Mets, was born on this date in 1938.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What will be the Mets’ final record this season?

Wright loses ground in All-Star voting

July, 1, 2014
Jul 1
3:12
PM ET
ATLANTA -- With internet polls set to close on Thursday at 11:59 p.m., David Wright continues to lose ground in All-Star balloting. The final intermediate tally at third base for the National League:

lastname
Ramirez
lastname
Wright
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, 1,790,777
Wright, Mets, 1,555,717
Pablo Sandoval, Giants, 1,406,026
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals, 1,323,021
Todd Frazier, Reds, 1,224,931

No other Mets player appears at the top five in at his position (or top 15 in the outfield).

The All-Star squads will be announced on ESPN on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

Wright overtaken in latest All-Star voting

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
7:51
PM ET

Getty ImagesAramis Ramirez now leads David Wright and Pablo Sandoval in NL All-Star balloting at third base.
JUPITER, Fla. -- David Wright has been overtaken in the latest voting at third base for the National League starter in the July 15 All-Star Game.

In-stadium voting concludes Thursday, with online voting available through through July 3.

The current voting tally at third base:

Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, 1,279,902
Wright, Mets, 1,260,895
Pablo Sandoval, Giants, 1,194,607
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals, 1,049,472
Nolan Arenado, Rockies, 1,019,161

Daniel Murphy has dropped out of the top five at second base.

Morning Briefing: Friday the 13th edition

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
5:40
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Two struggling teams meet this weekend at Citi Field.

San Diego arrives in Queens after having been swept in Philly. The Padres (28-38) have lost of eight of their last 10. They have scored an MLB-low 200 runs.

The Mets have lost eight of their last nine games and have dropped a season-worst eight games under .500.

Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.31 ERA) opposes right-hander Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.13) in the Friday the 13th series opener at 7:10 p.m.

Friday’s news reports:

Carlos Torres was charged with four runs in the 13th inning and the Mets lost Thursday’s rubber game to the Brewers, 5-1, at Citi Field. Torres was seen punching himself in his towel-draped head in the dugout after the appearance. (See video here.)


Frank Franklin II/Associated PressCarlos Torres trudges off the mound in the 13th.


The Mets (29-37) had loaded the bases with one out in the 11th (with Zack Wheeler the pinch runner at first base). That opportunity ended up going for naught. Wilmer Flores’ grounder forced out David Wright at the plate and Anthony Recker struck out looking. Recker then was ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez over objections to the strike zone. Terry Collins called Recker’s actions inexcusable because the only remaining position player on the bench at that point was backup catcher Taylor Teagarden.

The Mets used a season-high-matching 21 players in the four-hour, eight-minute game. It was the Mets’ eighth game of at least four hours this season, a major league high.

Jonathon Niese and Kyle Lohse had dueled to a 1-all draw through most of regulation. The Mets’ lone run came when center fielder Carlos Gomez had a two-base error on Daniel Murphy’s fourth-inning single and Bobby Abreu followed with a sacrifice fly. Niese was pulled with his pitch count at 97 in the eighth after Gomez’s two-out single. Niese was visibly upset with the hook and mouthed a profanity. Collins reasoned that ensuing batter Aramis Ramirez is solid against southpaws and already had homered against Niese in the second inning.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Jenrry Mejia was pulled from the game with back tightness and “a little bit of pain” after taking the mound for the 11th. Read more in the Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Curtis Granderson was held out of the starting lineup Thursday with a sore left calf. He did pinch hit in the 11th and was intentionally walked to load the bases for Flores. Wheeler pinch ran for Granderson. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• With Flores and not Ruben Tejada in the lineup, Murphy batted leadoff for the first time this season and 12th time in his career.

• The Mets and Houston Astros are tied for the longest active streak of consecutive losing seasons at five. Ken Davidoff in the Post asserts the Astros’ approach during their lean years -- a full teardown, as opposed to the Mets’ try-to-make-it-look-good tact -- has left Houston in a better position going forward. Writes Davidoff:

From Opening Day 2009 through the present, the Astros own a 343-535 record, a .391 winning percentage. In the same time period, the Mets are 403-473, .460. The Astros selected first overall in last week’s amateur draft, a record third straight year they had earned such a dishonor. In this span, the Mets gave their fans such treats as Dickey’s 2012 National League Cy Young Award, Jose Reyes’ 2011 NL batting title and Matt Harvey’s 2013 surge that culminated in him starting the All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Yet those peaks seemed to only increase the trust deficit between the Mets’ fans and their owners; Reyes and Dickey are gone and Harvey injured. Though the Mets continue to struggle to put together a quality team, the Astros look like a rising stock. They went 15-14 in May to post their first winning month since Luhnow took over baseball operations.

“I don’t think there are many teams in recent history that have tried to do what Houston’s done,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday. “In baseball, it’s usually not a recipe for success, but in this case, that’s a strategy they’ve pursued. It appears they’ve gotten through the worst of it. I applaud them for carving a strategy and sticking with it.”

• Tyler Kepner in the Times writes about the Mets’ reliance on prospects:

When you hit on almost all your top prospects, you get the San Francisco Giants, with four first-round draft picks in a seven-year span -- Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey -- becoming major contributors to multiple championship teams. But the Giants are the outlier.

The strong chance is that some of the players anointed as Met saviors will not help the team very much. The Mets must make better decisions on the major leaguers they acquire, and hope for the best from the farm, recognizing that immediate, sustained success is the exception.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes that the Mets look like trading-deadline sellers.

Matt Harvey was elected by his teammates as the Mets player representative for union matters. Read more in the Daily News.

Eric Young Jr., on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, played his first rehab game Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in a seven-inning game with Class A St. Lucie. Young’s rehab assignment is due to continue with Double-A Binghamton on Friday.


Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosFlorida State League All-Star Brandon Nimmo returned to St. Lucie's lineup on Thursday.


• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who had been sidelined since last Friday with a right wrist injury after getting hit by a pitch, returned to St. Lucie’s lineup Thursday. He manned center field in both games of a doubleheader. St. Lucie now heads into the Florida State League All-Star break. Nimmo is due to be one of the team’s seven St. Lucie representatives in Saturday’s All-Star Game in Bradenton, Fla.

• The Tom Gamboa-managed Brooklyn Cyclones open their season at 7 p.m. Friday at Staten Island. See the full roster here. Andrew Beaton in the Journal profiles the two managers: Gamboa and Baby Bombers skipper Mario Garza.

Joel Carreno limited Colorado Springs to one run on three hits and three walks in seven innings and newly demoted Scott Rice tossed 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings as Las Vegas won, 3-1. Kyle Johnson, Xorge Carrillo and Rylan Sandoval each had three-hit games as Binghamton used an eight-run seventh to beat Akron, 11-3. St. Lucie swept a doubleheader against Jupiter. Cam Maron, Jairo Perez and Cole Frenzel homered in Game 1 and Aderlin Rodriguez went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs and Eudy Pina homered twice in the nightcap. Savannah swept a doubleheader from Augusta. Jonathan Leroux had a walk-off RBI double in the opener. John Gant had a seven-inning shutout in Game 2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Marc Carig in Newsday warns against writing off Travis d’Arnaud too quickly. Carig pointed to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy as an example of a catcher who took time to hit his stride in the majors.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger catches up with the ex-Met Gomez.

• Marty Noble at MLB.com places Murphy’s paternity leave and White House visit in a historical context.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear thought the Mets played a late-September game in the middle of June.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets minor-league left-hander Angel Cuan turns 23.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What can the Mets do to halt their freefall?

Series preview: Mets vs. Brewers

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
9:45
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta and Kyle Lohse during the upcoming series at Citi Field.
METS (28-35, fourth place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (38-26, first place/NL Central)

Tuesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0, 3.21) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (5-2, 4.19), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-2, 3.19) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (5-5, 3.03), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.68) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (7-2, 3.27), 7:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

• Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez has 19 saves, one shy of Sergio Romo’s MLB-leading 20 with the San Francisco Giants. K-Rod produced a four-out save Sunday as the Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1-0. It marked his first save exceeding one inning since June 9, 2011 with the Mets against Milwaukee.


Mike McGinnis/Getty ImagesFrancisco Rodriguez recorded his 323rd career save Sunday.


Rodriguez has 323 career saves, which ranks 15th all time. Next up: Roberto Hernandez at 326. K-Rod re-signed with Milwaukee on Feb. 7 for $3.25 million, with the potential to earn another $550,000 in performance bonuses. He did not pitch in the Cactus League until March 15 because he stepped on a cactus.

• Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is tied with Yasiel Puig for second in the National League with a .335 average, trailing only Troy Tulowitzki (.361). Lucroy has 23 doubles. He is on pace for 58, which would set a franchise record. Lyle Overbay had 53 doubles in 2004, during his first stint with the Brewers.

• Shortstop Jean Segura moved to the leadoff spot on May 22, with ex-Met Carlos Gomez switching to cleanup. Segura ranks second in the NL in runs scored since the change with 14. Teammate Khris Davis, a left fielder, has a league-leading 16.

Aramis Ramirez returned to the starting lineup as the DH Wednesday and then at third base Friday after spending three weeks on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Mark Reynolds played third base in Ramirez’s absence.

• After unsuccessful talks with the Mets regarding Ike Davis, the Brewers have pieced together first base this season with an ex-Yankee duo: the righty-hitting Reynolds and the lefty-hitting Overbay. They are hitting a combined .213 (66-for-310), but also have 15 homers and 45 RBIs, including Reynolds’ production at other positions. Reynolds’ 13 homers are tied for fourth in the NL.

• Right-hander Tyler Thornburg, whom the Mets reportedly sought in a potential trade for Davis during the offseason, has landed on the disabled list with right elbow soreness. Right-hander Mike Fiers was promoted from Triple-A Nashville.

Kyle Lohse had been 17-5 with a 2.80 ERA over his last 34 starts before surrendering eight runs in five innings at Pittsburgh on Friday. The ill-fated start lifted his season ERA from 2.60 to 3.27.

• Gomez is hitting .307 with 12 homers, 35 RBIs and 11 steals in 231 at-bats. The excitable Gomez served a three-game suspension in mid-May for his role in a bench-clearing brawl at Pittsburgh. He also had helped incite a brawl against the Atlanta Braves last season.

• Second baseman Rickie Weeks is batting .381 (24-for-63) since April 25.

Ryan Braun missed the final 65 games of last season after negotiating a suspension related to his Biogenesis involvement. Braun admitted via a statement last August to using a “cream and a lozenge” to rehab a 2011 injury. He has batted second in 14 of the past 15 games. He exclusively had batter third the previous three seasons. Braun is third on Milwaukee’s all-time home run list with 220, trailing Robin Yount (251) and Prince Fielder (230).

• Left-handed reliever Will Smith, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals on Dec. 5 for outfielder Norichika Aoki, has a 0.94 ERA in 32 appearances. Lefty batters are hitting .135 (5-for-37) against him this season. Fellow lefty reliever Wei-Chung Wang is the 11th Taiwanese player in MLB history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He debuted in the majors at age 21, becoming the youngest player ever to appear in the majors from that country.

Matt Garza signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Brewers on Jan. 27 after splitting the 2013 season between the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.

Morning Briefing: Mets hit the road

May, 29, 2014
May 29
7:24
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Considering the Mets play better on the road than at home, they are in luck. Twenty-five of the Amazin’s next 33 games are away from Citi Field, beginning with a swing through Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

The Mets play a five-game series in Philly because of an April 30 rainout at Citizens Bank Park.

Zack Wheeler (1-5, 4.63 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander David Buchanan (1-0, 3.60) in Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. series opener as the Mets attempt to go 3-0 in the Lamar Johnson era. Buchanan allowed two runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his major-league debut Saturday.

Sixteen days after being struck on the top of the head with a backswing at Yankee Stadium and receiving a concussion, Travis d’Arnaud will be active. Juan Centeno has been returned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Centeno hit .238 with two RBIs in six starts.

Thursday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon and Jeurys Familia combined on the shutout as the Mets beat the Pirates, 5-0, Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field to complete a 4-5 homestand. Colon notched his 2,000th career strikeout by catching Ike Davis looking in the sixth. The 41-year-old Colon threw 121 pitches, his most since logging 128 with the Angels at Tampa Bay on Aug. 18, 2004.


Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJeurys Familia had a five-out save and a hit Wednesday.


Familia recorded his first major-league hit in addition to a five-out save. Jenrry Mejia and Familia produced multi-inning saves on consecutive days against the Pirates. It marked the first time a pair of Mets had produced back-to-back saves of at least five outs apiece since Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Heilman had consecutive two-inning saves Sept. 26-27, 2005 at Philadelphia, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Six different Mets have saves his season -- more than any other team.

David Wright and Lucas Duda homered. With Duda uncharacteristically having difficulty scooping balls at first base, Wright also had two errors.

Davis had a quiet return to Citi Field, going 0-7 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Read more on Duda in the Post and Daily News.

• Wright -- who may end up getting hurt by so many Mets road games during the voting period -- ranks third at third base in the initial NL All-Star voting tally released by MLB on Wednesday. Wright (278,840) trails Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (318,111) and Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez (282,843). Arenado, who is hitting .305 with six homers and 28 RBIs, broke his left middle finger on a headfirst slide into second base last Friday.

No other Mets position player appears in the top five at his position in voting (or top 15 in the outfield). Read more at MLB.com.

• The Mets labeled the report that Jeff Wilpon ordered the firing of Dave Hudgens “substantively inaccurate.” Substantively, of course, means a considerable amount. In reality, Sandy Alderson, as would be predicted, acknowledged some ownership input in that decision.

“What I try to do is evaluate what’s going on on the field and make the appropriate judgments, and that’s my responsibility,” Alderson told John DeMarzo in the Post. “I talk to ownership from time to time. I talk to Fred. I talk to Jeff, and I have a sense of what they’re thinking or what their frustrations may be. But, ultimately, I have to make a baseball decision, I guess, and that’s what this was.”

• Terry Collins says the back end of the bullpen is taking shape with Mejia, Familia and Vic Black. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

Chris Young, now hitting .195, has all but lost his starting job with the Mets. He started Thursday after three straight days out of the lineup. “It’s my responsibility to swing the bat better and play better,” Young told Anthony Rieber in Newsday. “I hold myself fully accountable for that. When I do get that opportunity, I do need to take more advantage of it to where I force myself into the lineup everyday like I want to be.”

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News sums up the Mets’ hitting-coach change this way:

Either you can hit or you can’t.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes:

Yes, the Mets stink, but so do a lot of teams.

The key is for the Mets to stink less.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two homers and Jeff Francoeur ended up pitching a scoreless inning with a walk and hit batter for El Paso as Las Vegas won, 13-7. Starting pitcher Rainy Lara was injured on a play at the plate and Binghamton split with New Hampshire. Brandon Nimmo reentered the lineup and stole a base a day after leaving a game with a sprained ankle as St. Lucie beat Brevard County, 3-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Read more about 50 Cent’s awful ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field in the Post.

Nick Evans is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2011, when he was a Met. The Arizona Diamondbacks promoted the 28-year-old Evans, a Phoenix native, on Thursday. The year after leaving the Mets, Evans missed most of the season with the Pirates in the minors because he shattered bones in his left hand diving to catch a foul ball. Read more in the Arizona Republic and at ArizonaSports.com.

• Denis Hamill in the Daily News writes about Wright’s monthly salute to the NYPD.

From the bloggers … Mets Police seeks your help in crowdsourcing 41 amazin’ ideas for the Mets.

BIRTHDAYS: Long Islander Steven Matz, who has a 1.95 ERA in nine starts for St. Lucie, turns 23. … Binghamton right-hander Tyler Pill is 24.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is playing 25 of the next 33 on the road a good or bad thing for the Mets?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 12, Brewers 5

July, 5, 2013
7/05/13
11:42
PM ET


MILWAUKEE -- It was ugggggly, but at least the Mets won.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached base six times and produced a career-high five RBIs, Zack Wheeler completed five innings for his second major league win and Ike Davis had three hits, a walk and two RBIs in his return from exile as the Mets beat the NL Central-doormat Milwaukee Brewers 12-5 Friday night at Miller Park.

Six unearned runs were scored between the teams. And Milwaukee’s three errors only began to tell the story.

The Brewers’ unsightly missteps included:

• Starter Johnny Hellweg walking Nieuwenhuis to force in a run.

• A high throw by shortstop Jean Segura to first base while trying to complete a double play later in the first inning, which allowed Juan Lagares to safely reach and a run to score.

Norichika Aoki getting thrown out at the plate on an ill-fated double-steal attempt.

• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s error in the fourth on John Buck’s two-out grounder allowing the Mets’ seventh run to score.

Carlos Gomez, after producing an RBI double in the seventh that pulled Milwaukee within 8-4, getting thrown out attempting to make it a triple.

On the positive side, Gomez did reach over the wall to rob pinch hitter Marlon Byrd of a would-be homer.

Welcome back: Davis’ rejiggered stance turned out to be more hype than radical adjustment, but the first baseman did go 3-for-5 with a walk, two RBIs and strikeout in his first major league game since June 9.

Davis walked on four pitches in the first inning, then contributed a fluky RBI single an inning later that staked the Mets to a 3-2 lead. He sent a soft, two-out tapper to shortstop with the bases loaded for a run-scoring infield single.

He had a hard-hit single to right field in the fourth before striking out looking in the sixth. After an intentional walk to David Wright in the seventh, Davis lined out to right field. He had an RBI single in the ninth.

Growing pains: Wheeler labored, but managed to complete five innings to earn his second major league victory.

Wheeler (2-1) surrendered a pair of runs in the first, although those ended up unearned because of second baseman Daniel Murphy’s fielding error. Wheeler also surrendered a mammoth solo homer to Juan Francisco in the fourth.

But Wheeler escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth to preserve a 7-3 lead and complete his outing. Wheeler retired Jonathan Lucroy on a shallow fly ball to center that prevented a tag up, then struck out Francisco looking.

Wheeler’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. He threw 98 pitches (56 strikes).

Career fare: Nieuwenhuis (4-for-4, two walks) became the first Met to reach base six times in a nine-inning game without an error contributing since Mike Piazza on May 27, 2000.

He staked the Mets to a 1-0 lead in the first when Hellweg walked him with the bases loaded. An inning later, the Mets grabbed a 5-2 lead on Nieuwenhuis’ two-run single through the right side of the infield. Nieuwenhuis also had an RBI single in the fourth. He added an RBI triple in the ninth.

What’s next: Ex-Brewer Shaun Marcum, who dealt with tingling in the fingers on his pitching hand during his last start, faces his former employer Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET. Marcum (1-9, 5.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78).

Series preview: Mets at Brewers

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
11:53
PM ET

USA TODAY Spors/Associated Press/Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Johnny Hellweg, Yovani Gallardo and tentatively Wily Peralta this weekend.
METS (35-47, fourth place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (34-50, fifth place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-1, 5.06) vs. RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-1, 20.25), 8:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-9, 5.03) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (3-6, 3.54) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (5-9, 5.27), 2:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

Wily Peralta was forced to leave Tuesday’s start against the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning with a left hamstring strain. He is questionable to make Sunday’s start. Fellow starting pitcher Marco Estrada already has been on the DL for nearly a month with a left hamstring strain. If Peralta is not able to make the start, right-hander Tyler Thornburg, the Brewers’ top prospect, who currently is working out of the bullpen, is a candidate to fill in.

• Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez has taken over the closer role from Jim Henderson. Manager Ron Roenicke told Milwaukee reporters the decision was performance-based and not intended to showcase K-Rod before the July 31 trade deadline, although Rodriguez clearly is a trade candidate. Rodriguez has a 0.92 ERA and has recorded seven saves. That included the 300th save of his career, which made him the 25th pitcher in major league history to reach that plateau. K-Rod joined the Brewers on May 16, four weeks after signing with the organization. His contract calls for a prorated portion of a $2 million base salary.


Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesEx-Met Carlos Gomez leads the NL in WAR.


• Center fielder Carlos Gomez signed a three-year, $24 million extension in March. After earning $4.3 million this year, he will receive $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016. Gomez was traded by the Mets to the Minnesota Twins in the Johan Santana deal. He recently missed a week with a sprained left shoulder, which he suffered crashing into the outfield wall. Gomez’s 4.8 WAR leads the NL. David Wright ranks second at 4.7.

• Left fielder Ryan Braun, who is on the disabled list with an inflamed nerve between the thumb and index finger in his right hand, has started swinging a bat. He potentially could return before the All-Star break.

Jean Segura, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels along with Johnny Hellweg for Zack Greinke before last year’s trade deadline, leads the National League in hits. He ranks third in NL All-Star balloting at shortstop. The only major leaguers with 10-plus homers and 20-plus steals this season are Segura and Mike Trout.

Juan Francisco was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on June 3 for Double-A left-hander Thomas Keeling. A natural third baseman, the Brewers nearly exclusively have used Francisco at first base, although he did play third base Thursday and commit two errors. His only previous pro experience at first base was three games in 2010 in Triple-A with the Cincinnati Reds.

• Hellweg, a 6-foot-9 rookie, allowed seven runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings in his major league debut last Friday. He then appeared once in relief. Kyle Lohse jumped ahead in the rotation because Lohse’s June 30 start lasted only 1 2/3 innings before a rain delay ended his outing. Hellweg touched 102 mph in a Triple-A game earlier this season.

Yovani Gallardo was charged with a season-high eight runs against Nats in his last start. That is as many earned runs as Gallardo surrendered in five June outings. The three-inning outing was his shortest since April 27, 2012. Gallardo, although signed for next season, is a trade candidate.

Jonathan Lucroy’s 40 RBIs as a catcher rank second in the NL at that position, trailing only St. Louis’ Yadier Molina.

Corey Hart, who has not appeared this season, needs left knee surgery that will sideline him the entire year. He had undergone surgery in January on his right knee. Hart is eligible for free agency after the season. He is one of three Brewers first basemen who have season-ending injuries. The others: Mat Gamel (torn ACL suffered during spring training) and Taylor Green (hip surgery).

• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has required sporadic days off for a left knee issue. He twice has sprained the knee this season.

• The Brewers have drawn the fewest walks in the majors.

• Second baseman Rickie Weeks hit .355 with five homers in June.

• Former closer John Axford has not surrendered a run in his last 23 appearances. Axford reportedly is drawing trade interest.

Series preview: Mets vs. Brewers

May, 13, 2012
5/13/12
9:30
PM ET

Associated Press/Getty Images
The Mets face Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke during a two-game miniseries at Citi Field.
METS (19-15, third place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (15-19, fourth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Miguel Batista (0-1, 5.89) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-3, 5.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-2, 4.78) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

• 2011 MVP Ryan Braun has nine homers since April 21, the most in the National League since that date. St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran, who again went deep Sunday, is second during that span with eight long balls. Braun successfully contested a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test by challenging the chain of custody of his sample. He has received mixed fan reaction on the road this season -- vociferous booing, for instance, in Atlanta and a rather tame response in San Francisco.

Rickie Weeks suffered a painfully bruised left hand/wrist injury when he was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Cubs reliever Lendy Castillo in the 13th inning Friday -- the second time he was plunked in that game. X-rays were negative, but the Brewers are waiting for swelling to subside to retest him for a possible hairline fracture. Weeks is not on the DL, but may miss both games of the Mets series. Edwin Maysonet started at second base Saturday in Weeks’ place and belted a grand slam after an intentional walk to Travis Ishikawa. Brooks Conrad manned second base Sunday with Maysonet at shortstop so that Cesar Izturis could have a day off, but the Mets may see Maysonet both games at second base.


Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Ryan Braun has received a mixed reaction from fans on the road since successfully combatting a suspension.


• The Brewers actually are without three-quarters of their original infield. The other two absentees are not returning this season.

Mat Gamel, the successor to Prince Fielder at first base, was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez also is out for the season after suffering the identical injury. Ishikawa and Taylor Green, with limited Conrad, now are sharing first base. Milwaukee recently spoke with unsigned Derrek Lee, but could not reach terms on a contract. The defensively oriented Izturis has taken over at shortstop.

• Closer John Axford’s streak of consecutive saves ended Friday at 49 with a blown save against the Cubs. Axford was not around after that game to discuss his outing. His wife Nicole unexpectedly had gone into labor, and he left this playful note for reporters: "I put my wife into contractions with my performance tonight! The streak is over so now you can talk about it. The luck I’ve had in the past didn’t show up tonight! All I can do is start another streak and keep my head up! Cliché ... cliché ... cliché ... another cliché. Gotta go! Love, Ax."

Francisco Rodriguez is 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA through 17 appearances, but his numbers actually have been skewed by three bad outings; otherwise, he largely has produced in an eighth-inning role, albeit with his familiar tendency to allow baserunners. K-Rod produced his first save as a Brewer on April 10 at Wrigley Field. He had been offered arbitration last offseason with Milwaukee trying to get draft-pick compensation for him signing elsewhere. But with the closer market congested, Rodriguez accepted the arbitration offer and returned for this season for a guaranteed $8 million.

• The Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez to a three-year, $36 deal as a free agent to succeed Fielder in the cleanup spot, but the ex-Cub is hitting only .230 with two homers and 19 RBIs through 126 at-bats.

• Milwaukee brass has tabled extension talks with Zack Greinke, who is due to be a free agent after the season. The shelving of talks came shortly after Matt Cain signed a five-year, $112 million extension to remain with the San Francisco Giants. Greinke, who formerly acted as his own representative, has hired agent Casey Close to handle the negotiations.

• GM Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke received contract extensions last week. Melvin, who also gained the title president of baseball operations, was extended through 2015. Roenicke’s deal now goes through ’14, with a team option for the following season.

• Ex-Met Carlos Gomez has landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. He is due to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Wisconsin. Lefty hitters Norichika Aoki and Nyjer Morgan have shared center-field duties -- with Aoki starting against southpaws and the struggling Morgan (.200, no RBIs) against righties. Aoki joined the Brewers from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, where he was a .329 career hitter and won Central League batting titles in 2005, ’07 and ’10.

Yovani Gallardo’s season totals look a whole lot better if you subtract a pair of starts against the Cardinals. He is 0-2 with a 22.24 ERA (14 ER in 5.2 IP) against St. Louis this season. Against others, he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA.

• Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was batting .333 as a catcher (29-for-87) before going hitless Sunday in four at-bats. That average matched Carlos Ruiz’s for tops in the NL at that position. Overally, Lucroy now is hitting .326.

• Milwaukee has bunted in a run an MLB-leading five times this season.

Matchups

Batista vs. Brewers (career: 1-0, 2.72 ERA)
Jonathan Lucroy .500, 1 RBI, 2 PA
Rickie Weeks .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Travis Ishikawa .333, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 4 PA
Cesar Izturis .222, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 28 PA
Aramis Ramirez .143, 2 BB, 16 PA
Ryan Braun .000, 2 K, 4 PA
Brooks Conrad .000, 1 PA

Gee vs. Brewers (career: 0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Corey Hart .333, 3 PA
Rickie Weeks .250, 2 K, 4 PA
Jonathan Lucroy .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Ryan Braun .000, 1 BB, 3 PA
Aramis Ramirez .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Nyjer Morgan .000, 3 PA

Gallardo vs. Mets (career: 2-2, 3.47 ERA)
Lucas Duda .500, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Mike Nickeas .500, 1 K, 2 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
Ronny Cedeno .300, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
David Wright .214, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 16 PA
Daniel Murphy .167, 1 RBI, 3 K, 6 PA
Justin Turner .167, 2 K, 6 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 BB, 2 K, 6 PA

Greinke vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 6.43 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .300, 1 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 2 PA

Last series results

Milwaukee won, 3-0, at Citi Field, Aug. 19-21, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Brewers 6, Mets 1: The Mets became the first team in major league history to lose the opening game in their first 10 homestands of a season, STATS LLC said. Prince Fielder hit a pair of RBI singles and later confronted Mets reliever Tim Byrdak in a late dustup that caused the benches and bullpens to empty. Shaun Marcum pitched the Brewers to their 20th win in 23 games. They closed out this testy victory at 12:51 a.m. Fielder already was 2-for-2 with two walks when he came up in the eighth. Byrdak's first pitch was a fastball at Fielder's chest that backed him away from the plate. Fielder grounded out on the next pitch, then took a sudden right turn after hitting first base, curling back to intercept Byrdak on the way to the dugout. Terry Collins, Josh Thole and plate umpire Angel Campos intervened to prevent any escalation. Order was quickly restored. Brewers reliever Frankie De La Cruz plunked Mike Baxter in the ninth, without incident. Ryan Braun wasn't around at the end. He looked at strike three in the third inning, loitered in the batter's box and was eventually ejected by Campos. Marcum (11-3) improved to 4-0 in nine starts since losing at Yankee Stadium on June 29. He allowed one run in seven innings.

Brewers 11, Mets 9: Prince Fielder hit a long home run early and a key single in the ninth inning, spoiling the Mets' chances of a win against former closer Francisco Rodriguez. Casey McGehee followed Fielder's tying hit with a two-run single off Manny Acosta, capping a four-run rally. The Brewers blew a late 7-1 lead, but came back after Angel Pagan hit a two-run homer off Rodriguez (5-2) in the eighth. Mets reliever Jason Isringhausen (3-3) couldn't get an out in the ninth and left after a bases-loaded walk. Fielder, Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt all homered for the Brewers, who have won eight of their last nine games. John Axford pitched the ninth for his 37th save.

Brewers 6, Mets 2: Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run on a botched potential double-play grounder in the eighth and Yovani Gallardo shut down the Mets for seven innings, leading Milwaukee to its first series sweep in New York. Casey McGehee homered off R.A. Dickey in the fourth and Ryan Braun had three hits, an RBI and scored twice after stealing bases for the Brewers. Gallardo (14-8) gave up six hits in the finale to match a career high for wins.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
11 3.85 125 161
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .297
HRL. Duda 22
RBIL. Duda 66
RD. Murphy 69
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 145