New York Mets: Bernard Madoff

Morning Briefing: Mets teeter at .500

May, 7, 2014
May 7

FIRST PITCH: The Mets had moved a season-high four games over .500 after winning in Philly last Tuesday. Now, Zack Wheeler needs to help prevent the Mets from returning to Citi Field with a losing record to face the Phillies.

Wheeler (1-3, 5.13 ERA) opposes Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler (3-2, 2.41) in Wednesday’s 12:40 p.m. road-trip finale.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Henderson Alvarez became the first Marlins pitcher to shut out the Mets since Dontrelle Willis in 2005 as Miami won, 3-0, Tuesday night at Marlins Park. Bartolo Colon allowed three runs in seven innings and dropped to 2-5 with a 5.36 ERA. Terry Collins nonetheless said the Mets, who are 16-16 on the season, are “doing all right.”

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

• Heavily used Carlos Torres has been dealing with a lat muscle issue. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Jeremy Hefner hopes to be throwing off the slope of a mound within three weeks and hopes to return to the majors by season’s end. Read more in the Newsday and at

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post surmises that the bullpen is the Mets’ Achilles heel yet again this season. Writes Davidoff:

Sandy Alderson, in his fourth year as the Mets’ general manager, has performed enough heavy lifting to make this beleaguered franchise relevant again. Except the launch to greater heights is in peril because he and his lieutenants haven’t been able to figure out the darn bullpen.

“We’re disappointed with where we are,” Alderson said, referring to his relief corps, in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It’s not a pen that has been consistently underperforming, but it has underperformed spectacularly in certain cases. Overall, it has been inconsistent.”

• Former Mets lefty reliever Royce Ring is back with the organization as pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League club.

Jenrry Mejia must demonstrate he can navigate the middle innings of games or he may soon be bounced to the bullpen, a team insider tells

Jared Diamond in the Journal advocates the Mets using Mejia as closer. And Mejia -- despite previously expressing aversion to bullpen work -- says he would be OK with that, telling Diamond: “If they told me eighth-inning guy or ninth-inning guy, that’s going to be good to me.”

Writes Diamond:

Jenrry Mejia, who currently serves as the Mets' fifth starter, seems like a perfect candidate to close, a move that would instantly resolve a number of difficult questions surrounding the team's future. Transitioning Mejia to that role would alleviate an impending logjam in the rotation, repair the Mets' bullpen and, potentially, best leverage Mejia's skill set.

Unless the Mets' beleaguered relief corps suddenly improves, the debate about whether Mejia belongs in the bullpen will continue to burn.

"It's always in the conversation," manager Terry Collins said.

Read more on Mejia in the Star-Ledger.

• The amount the Wilpons owe as part of their Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme settlement is down to $80 million.

• Although the Mets are expected to soon expose Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero to bullpen work with Las Vegas in advance of a promotion to the big-league club for relief roles, the duo continues to be listed as starters with the 51s.

DeGrom is next scheduled to start Wednesday, with Montero starting on Friday. Alderson has said it’s “not a necessary step” that the duo first pitches in the minors in relief before coming to the majors for that role, but it may very well be the “first step.”

Of course, if Mejia flops, deGrom or Montero could end up in the big-league rotation, unless the Mets want to turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka.

“I think we are getting to the point where it’s probably weeks as opposed to months,” assistant GM John Ricco told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News for the timetable for deGrom and Montero to be contributing at the big-league level. “Ultimately that will be Sandy’s decision. But, I think we’re getting close.”

• Matsuzaka tells Mike Puma in the Post he will try a more streamlined warm-up routine. “I don’t think there are any short-term effects in throwing the amount I do,” Matsuzaka told Puma. “I don’t think it would affect me in that particular game, but the long-term effects are definitely going to take a toll on my body, so it’s something that I’ve thought about and I will definitely start making adjustments. With the weather getting warmer, my body probably doesn’t need as much to get warm, so I’m definitely going to try out a different routine.”

Mariano Rivera and Jon Stewart chatted about the Mets on “The Daily Show.”

• Darryl Strawberry’s son Jordan has committed to play college basketball at Mercer, reported.

• Jayce Boyd homered and had two doubles as part of a four-hit game, but Binghamton lost to New Hampshire, 6-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

From the bloggers … Mack’s Mets interviews Savannah outfielder Jared King.

BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Brook Fordyce, who made his big-league debut as a Met, turns 44.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the bullpen issues have been foreseeable?

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesBernard Madoff

MIAMI -- The trustee who is recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme announced Monday his fourth round of distributions of recovered funds.

And that helps the Mets' owners, the Wilpon family.

Eligible victims of the Ponzi scheme now have recovered 46.059 cents for every dollar of principal they lost in the Madoff affair.

As part of the Wilpons' settlement with the trustee, the sides stipulated that the Wilpons lost $178 million in certain Madoff funds, while making $162 million from other funds.

The Wilpons, like other victims, can deduct the 46.059 cents per dollar from their lost funds from the $162 million eventually owed to the trustee.

Here's the math:

$162 million owed, minus 46.059 percent of $178 million lost, yields the actual payback to the trustee.

So the Wilpon family, businesses and charities right now would owe the trustee $80,014,980 -- divided into two installments, and payable in 2016 and 2017.

That obligation should further decrease as the trustee recovers more funds for all victims.

Morning Briefing: Gee gets last tune-up

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26

Courtesy of Dillon GeeOpening Day starter Dillon Gee, pictured with wife Kari Ann and son Hudson, gets his final spring-training tune-up Wednesday night.

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his final spring-training tune-up when the Mets play a 6:05 p.m. game Wednesday against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee. Gee opposes Scott Feldman (WOR 710 AM).

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The Mets handed Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100,000 retention bonus Tuesday, preserving the right to send him to the minors. However, it is not as simple as suggesting Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth starter’s job. The Mets want to preserve the eligibility of Matsuzaka and Mejia to be in the rotation if the elbow issue with Jonathon Niese flares up.

Matsuzaka is the one who can be held off the Opening Day roster and still sub for Niese on April 6 if needed. That’s because Matsuzaka is on a minor-league contract. Once Mejia is optioned to the minors, he would be ineligible to take Niese’s start, because Mejia would by rule need to spend the first 10 days of the regular season with Las Vegas.

Incidentally, relief is off the table for Mejia.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and

Matt Harvey and the Mets have settled on a rehab plan. During the season’s first couple of months, Harvey will rehab in New York when the Mets are at home and work out in Port St. Lucie when the big-league club is away from Citi Field. Once he begins expected mound work in June, the rehab will shift nearly exclusively to the team’s Florida complex.

“Certain situations I feel strongly about and I may approach them a little bit differently,” Harvey told David Lennon in Newsday. “But I’m all about this team. I’m all about the New York Mets and I’m all about winning. I can preach that until I’m blue in the face. …

“We had kind of gone back and forth, but it was never an alarming situation. It wasn’t me trying to get my way the whole time and it wasn’t them trying to get their way the whole time, which was kind of perceived through the media. We worked out a good deal and I think everybody is happy.”

David Wright was among those counseling Harvey on the subject. Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

Wright told Harvey when he was rehabbing the fractured bone in his lower back and had to be with the team because the rehab doctor was in New York, he made sure he arrived super-early to make sure he did not take away doctor/trainer time from active players. He advised Harvey do the same, and also to mimic what he has done in March -- attend the pitchers’ meetings and be an active cheerleader and information dispenser in the dugout. The message is simple: You have to be a supporting actor at Citi, not a star of the City; a dispenser of high fives, not a staple of Page Six.

“It’s been my philosophy that I am an employee, not the employer,” Wright said. “The advice I gave him was to find common ground with the Mets. To definitely do what is best for him, but also not to lose sight that he is the employee, not the employer.”

Read more on Harvey in the Star-Ledger.

Zack Wheeler allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer to Bryce Harper, as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 7-3, Tuesday in Viera. Wheeler next faces the Nats next Thursday, in Game 3 of the regular season.

• The Associated Press calculates the Mets’ payroll at $89 million, which ranks 22nd in MLB.

• Frank Viola will require open-heart surgery next Wednesday and will be unable to serve as pitching coach at Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in Newsday and

• The Wilpons’ settlement with the trustee collecting money for victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is down to $80 million, to be paid in equal installments in 2016 and 2017.

• Sandy Alderson expects Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both to be on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Kyle Farnsworth, who is due to be re-signed by the Mets, rode the bus to Viera on Tuesday with the team despite technically not being a member of the organization.

• Ex-Met Mike Pelfrey was the victim of a practical joke by Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and teammates.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post labels the Mets among the NL’s offseason winners, writing:

They finally spent some money, even if it was only to keep the payroll flat, to acquire Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Risky outfield acquisition Chris Young has enjoyed a good spring training.

• Luis Rivera is Double-A Binghamton’s new hitting coach. He replaces Luis Natera, who was promoted to assistant hitting coach with the big-league club.

• Granderson reminisces about his first Opening Day at

• Bovada sets the following over-unders for the Mets in 2014:

David Wright -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

David Wright -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 22.5

David Wright -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 85.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 27.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 89.5

Ike Davis -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .240

Daniel Murphy -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

Daniel Murphy -- Total Stolen Bases in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 20.5

Daniel Murphy -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 70.5

Dillon Gee -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 12

Jonathon Niese -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 11.5

Bartolo Colon -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 10.5

• Jonathan Lehman in the Post has a history quiz about Mets Opening Day starting pitchers.

John Lannan is getting acclimated to a relief role, Mike Vorkunov writes in the Star-Ledger.

Omar Quintanilla appears likely to beat out Anthony Seratelli for the backup middle-infield job. But Seratelli has hopes of making his MLB debut at age 31, writes Tim Rohan in the Times.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets infielder Jose Vizcaino turns 46.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Where do you stand on the above over-unders?

Wilpons' Madoff settlement down to $80M

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesBernard Madoff

VIERA, Fla. -- The trustee recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme on Tuesday announced plans to seek court approval to make a fourth payment to victims.

And that helps the Wilpon family.

If approved by the court, victims of the Ponzi scheme will now have recovered 46.036 cents for every dollar they lost in the Madoff affair.

As part of the Wilpons' settlement with the trustee, the sides stipulated that the Wilpons lost $178 million in certain Madoff funds, while making $162 million from other funds.

The Wilpons, like other victims, can deduct the more than 46 cents per dollar from their losing funds from the $162 million eventually owed to the trustee.

Here's the math:

$162 million owed, minus 46.036% of $178 million lost, yields the actual payback to the trustee.

So the Wilpon family, businesses and charities right now would owe the trustee $80,055,920 -- divided into two installments, and payable in 2016 and 2017.

That obligation should further decrease as the trustee recovers more funds for all victims.

Morning briefing: Show fans the money

February, 14, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Fred Wilpon lit up Twitter with his address to media on Wednesday at the Mets’ spring-training complex.

Wilpon, 76, said his family is free and clear of past financial woes and Sandy Alderson will have the latitude to restore payroll to Omar Minaya-era levels (as much as $140 million to $150 million) if the market dictates it and Alderson believes it is wise.

Wilpon downplayed the impact of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme on the recent payroll swoon, suggesting the streamlining had a lot to do with the organization needing to be lean so that bank debt could be paid off.

Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post says talk is cheap. Spend and prove it. Writes Davidoff:

We will believe the Mets are once again a big-market team only when we see it. And if we don’t see it, then we will be free to question once more whether Wilpon should be running one of baseball’s jewel franchises …

Next November’s free-agent class likely will include a pair of current Yankees, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, as well as outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury. We know the outfielders would fit the Mets quite well, and though Daniel Murphy has become a modest asset, his presence shouldn’t block a Cano pursuit.

All four of these players will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time they enter the market. So there will be risk attached. Nevertheless, the Mets owe it to themselves and to their fans to seriously engage in this arena. For real. No conditional discussions. Bona fide, big-time, market-appropriate offers.

Read more on Wilpon’s interview in the Journal, Star-Ledger, Post, Newsday, Daily News, Record, Times and

And please join me for a 2 p.m. ET Mets chat here.

Thursday’s news reports:

Frank Francisco was unable to properly rehab from December surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow because of family circumstances. Francisco told Mike Kerwick in the Record that a grandfather died, his father had a health issue and the reliever’s son was born prematurely with complications, although the newborn’s situation has improved.

Francisco will be unable to throw a ball for two weeks. Terry Collins phoned Parnell on Tuesday night to inform him to be prepared to be the closer to open the season. Collins said Parnell may close Opening Day even if Francisco is on the active roster to start the season. Read more in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Post and

Adam Rubin
Jenrry Mejia's entry into the United States has been flagged for review.

Jenrry Mejia’s visa issue is the caused by the U.S. consulate in the Dominican Republic wanting to verify his age and identity. Alderson said he believed the scrutiny was random, not out of suspicion about Mejia. A major league source unaffiliated with the organization concurred that Mejia was not flagged over any specific concern. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Newsday and

• Alderson said the attainable fifth-year vesting option Michael Bourn received from the Cleveland Indians was something the Mets were unwilling to match. Read more in the Star-Ledger and

• The amount the Wilpons will owe the trustee in the Bernard Madoff clawback lawsuit settlement is down to $86 million -- and falling.

• Alderson acknowledged the Mets can nix Johan Santana’s participation in the World Baseball Classic. That sounds like the team’s plan, although Alderson would not explicitly say that Wednesday, presumably because it is a sensitive topic, particularly to passionate baseball fans in Venezuela. Santana also would need to have his contract insured by the WBC in order to participate, which is not a slam dunk. Read more in the Star-Ledger and

R.A. Dickey gave 60 Minutes a knuckleball tutorial Wednesday, writes Wayne Coffey in the Daily News. Tyler Kepner in the Times also visits Dickey.

• Israel and Honduras will play a socccer friendly at Citi Field on June 2, a source tells

From the bloggers ... Mets Police notes the 11th pick in the draft can yield Dave Kryznel or Andrew McCutchen. … The Eddie Kranepool Society hopes Fred Wilpon is on the level, but is skeptical.

BIRTHDAYS: Catcher Kelly Stinnett, whose two stints with the Mets were separated by a decade, turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Which free agent should the flush-wish-cash Mets most aggressively pursue next offseason: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

Wilpons' Madoff settlement down to $86M

February, 13, 2013

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Bernard Madoff

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Coincidental to Fred Wilpon's visit to the Mets' spring-training complex, the trustee recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme on Wednesday announced plans to seek court approval to make a third payment to victims.

And that helps the Wilpon family.

If approved by the court, victims of the Ponzi scheme will now have recovered 42.867 cents for every dollar they lost in the Madoff affair.

As part of the Wilpons' settlement with the trustee, the sides stipulated that the Wilpons lost $178 million in certain Madoff funds, while making $162 million from other funds.

The Wilpons, like other victims, can deduct the nearly 43 cents per dollar from their losing funds from the $162 million eventually owed to the trustee.

Here's the math:

$162 million owed, minus 42.867% of $178 million lost, yields the actual payback to the trustee.

So the Wilpon family, businesses and charities right now would owe the trustee $85,696,740 -- divided into two installments, and payable in 2016 and 2017.

That obligation should further decrease as the trustee recovers more funds for all victims.

Wilpons get good news from Madoff trustee

July, 26, 2012

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Bernard Madoff

PHOENIX -- The trustee recovering funds related to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme announced Thursday in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing that he intends to disburse another $1.5 billion to $2.4 billion to victims.

And while Fred Wilpon and family will not see any of that money, the announcement does favorably benefit them.

As part of the settlement in the one-time $1 billion lawsuit against the Mets owners, their family, business and charities, the Wilpons agreed to return $162 million in false profits made from certain accounts in the six years before Madoff was shut down.

But the settlement also allowed the Wilpons to apply for $178 million as victims for losses from other funds they owned.

Trustee Irving Picard announced Thursday that he now has collected enough money to return no less than 46 to 50 cents on every dollar lost by recognized victims, which includes the Wilpons.

So the $162 million owed by the Wilpons already can be reduced by somewhere between $81.9 million and $89 million -- which represents 46 to 50 percent of the $178 million claim as victims.

That means when the Wilpons are on the hook for equal settlement payments in four and five years, each payment now should be no larger than $40 million. And that sum should continue to decrease as Picard continues to pursue funds from net winners in the Ponzi scheme.

These Mets magic moments ...

July, 11, 2012
US Presswire/Tim FarrellJohan Santana's June 1 no-hitter certainly was cause for celebration.
Here's a ranking of 10 memorable moments from the first half of 2012, with write-ups largely as they appeared on those days.

Obviously, Johan Santana's historic no-hitter -- the first in franchise history -- ranks No. 1. So what's your next favorite?

10. FRACTURED HOPE, April 14: Broken pinkie? Idle for four days? No problem. David Wright pounced on the first pitch he saw in his return to the lineup, sending a first-inning offering from Vance Worley over the center-field wall for a 428-foot homer in his return as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-0. Wright avoided the DL and played through the fracture while unexpectedly missing minimal time.

9. BELL RUNG, April 26: Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Mets swept the Marlins. Ex-Met Heath Bell walked four of the first five batters he faced and forced in the tying run with a 13-pitch free pass to Justin Turner. Bell threw 46 pitches in the ninth.

8. OPENING ACT, April 5: Santana successfully returned after missing the 2011 season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. And the Mets again were winners on Opening Day, improving their MLB-best mark to 33-18 in season openers, thanks to an RBI single from Wright and clutch relief from Tim Byrdak only 23 days after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Mets beat the Braves, 1-0.

7. CHICKEN DELIGHT, June 22: Frank Francisco labeled the Yankees "chickens" before the Subway Series opener at Citi Field. He ended up getting a save in the opener, in a 6-4 win. Things got weird, though, when Byrdak had a clubhouse attendant purchase a chicken in Chinatown for $8. Byrdak had the bird running around the Mets clubhouse. The good-luck chicken, dubbed "Little Jerry Seinfeld," eventually found a home at an upstate sanctuary.

6. RAY OF HOPE, June 12-14: The Mets answered getting swept in the Subway Series in the Bronx in resounding fashion. The Amazin’s scored 29 runs in a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, who had led the American League with a 3.40 ERA entering the series. The Mets -- who scored 11, nine and nine runs -- last posted at least nine runs in three straight games in 2006. They last did it consecutively in the same series back in 1990, when they scored 43 runs in the final three games of a four-game set against the Chicago Cubs.

Howard Smith/US Presswire
Jordany Valdespin's first major league hit was a game-deciding homer against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon on May 7.

5. PAPEL-BUMMERS, May 7 & July 5: Omir Santos … again? Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had not allowed a hit in the last 18 at-bats against him entering the series, surrendered a one-out walk to Ike Davis, two-out double to Mike Nickeas, then a three-run homer to pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Mets to a 5-2 win on May 7 at Citizens Bank Park. Then, July 5, also against Papelbon, Wright blooped in the game-winning single with two outs. It was Wright’s seventh-career game-ending hit and first since Aug. 7, 2008 (a home run). The third baseman finished with three hits -- including a homer -- and four RBIs.

4. CATCH 23, June 1: He struggled to put on his shirt in front of his locker, the pain of a crash into the left-field wall still reverberating through his left shoulder. The crash, which followed a catch that proved to be the biggest defensive play in preserving Santana's no-hitter, knocked him from the game, forcing him to watch the final innings in the training room and bringing on a litany of tests. The crash resulted in the best sore shoulder Mike Baxter has ever suffered in his 27 years. "Absolutely," Baxter said. "I'll take it any day of the week."

3. GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, March 19: The owners of the Mets settled with trustee Irving Picard for $162 million, their alleged profit from certain Ponzi scheme funds in the six years before Bernard Madoff's arrest. In reality, Fred Wilpon and family will be on the hook for only a fraction of that amount -- and will not be required to make any payments until 2016 and 2017. That's because, as part of the settlement, the Wilpons will be able to apply to the trustee to be reimbursed for $178 million in losses from certain funds.

2. ZEROES, June 13: R.A. Dickey ran his scoreless streak to a franchise-record 32 2/3 innings before Wright's ninth-inning error, a pair of passed balls from Nickeas and an RBI groundout ended the run. Dickey nonetheless passed previous record-holder Jerry Koosman (31 2/3 innings in 1973) as the Mets beat the Rays, 9-1, at the Trop. Dickey retired 22 straight batters at one point in claiming his 10th win.

1. NO-HAN: After more than a half-century and 8,020 games, Santana pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. Aided by an umpire's missed call and an incredible catch by a left fielder who grew up in Queens as a Mets fan, Santana's start is also the first no-hitter of his career. Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game that he wanted to limit Santana to a maximum of 110-115 pitches. Santana finished with a career-high 134. Afterward, an emotional Collins expressed his wariness about going after history instead of preserving Santana's long-term health.

Judge approves Madoff-Wilpon deal

May, 31, 2012
Judge Jed S. Rakoff on Thursday evening has approved the settlement agreement between Mets owner Fred Wilpon, brother-in-law Saul Katz and their family and trustee Irving Picard, who is charged with recovering money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

The formality cements previously agreed upon terms.

The family agreed to repay $162.7 million in profits from certain Madoff investments made over a six-year period. But the Wilpons will never pay anything close to that amount.

That's because the Wilpons can apply to the trustee like other victims to recover $177.6 million in losses from other Madoff investments -- and deduct whatever is recovered from the amount owed in the settlement. The Wilpons, like other victims, will not receive 100 percent of their loss claim, but they likely will recover more than half.

Read the full news story here.

Mets morning briefing 5.3.12

May, 3, 2012
Chris Schwinden lasted only four innings and served up two homers in a game for the second time on the six-game road trip. Meanwhile, Manny Acosta, who combined with Schwinden to surrender an 11-run inning in Denver, also again struggled. As a result, the Mets lost to the Astros, 8-1, Wednesday and were swept in the three-game series. The Mets finished their trip 2-4. It marked the Mets' final visit to Houston before the Astros relocate to the American League West.

"I think that series in Colorado -- and it's not an excuse, because there's a lot of teams that have to play in Colorado -- but I think that series took a lot out of us," said David Wright, who went 4-for-10 with two walks in Houston. "And then, coming here, I don't want to say we weren't prepared, because we were prepared. We just didn't match the energy and the execution that we had in Colorado. You know, we knew we were going to have some ups and downs, especially with a lot of the young guys that we have on this roster playing right now. But this is what we need to fix if we want to become the team that we think we are capable of becoming. There are way too many inconsistencies right now. It seems like we play great for a series and then poorly for a series. And we're going to have to straighten that out."

Thursday's news report:

Terry Collins offered no assurance Schwinden would remain in the rotation after a second straight underwhelming appearance in the spot vacated by Mike Pelfrey, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery Tuesday. Mets officials have an off-day Thursday to sort through the options. In Schwinden's two starts in Pelfrey's absence, the Rockies and Astros combined to score 26 runs in those games. Wright did say that Schwinden was sick.

Jeremy Hefner, who tossed three scoreless innings during the doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants on the last homestand, would be one logical alternative. Miguel Batista is in the bullpen as a long reliever/spot starter and could always take over the role, especially since the Mets are going to soon need to open a bullpen spot for D.J. Carrasco anyway. Heck, Carrasco did log three innings for Class A St. Lucie in one rehab appearance last week.

Read Wednesday game recaps in the Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Post and Daily News.

Chris Young may be ready in a month, but he is not scheduled to proceed to a minor league game for his next outing. Young threw a 75-pitch simulated game Monday. His fastball velocity was about 85 mph, according to one Mets official.

• Collins adamantly said last week that Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia are staying put at Triple-A for the majority of the season, not considerations to plug Pelfrey's rotation spot. And that's the proper call. Read my take here.

• Harvey's latest outing at Triple-A was cut short Wednesday because of a 23-minute rain delay. He tossed four innings, too short to qualify for the win in Buffalo's 5-2 victory against Syracuse. Harvey allowed two runs on three hits, two walks and three strikeouts. He threw 68 pitches (36 strikes). Newly installed Mets rules prevent a minor league starter from returning to the mound after a rain delay if he already has logged two innings. Writes Mike Harrington in the Buffalo News about the hoopla surrounding Harvey:

Harvey said he's trying to keep an even keel in preparing for each outing but is aware there's a lot more external noise in Triple-A. "You really do everything you can to not pay attention to it," Harvey said. "It's there so I'm not going to completely try to avoid it. You can bring it in a little and use it as fire to succeed and do the best I can."

"Matt just needs to throw quality start after quality start," [Wally] Backman said. "If he goes out there and does that eight or nine times in a row, it's going to make people wonder and think. But I don't think [a callup] is going to happen right now. It's still a learning process."

Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.

Tim Byrdak and Astros slugger Carlos Lee jawed during Wednesday's game.

• Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley topped Kirk Nieuwenhuis for NL Rookie of the Month. Miley faces the Mets on Friday at Citi Field.

Lucas Duda was due to return for the series finale in Houston after a two-game absence because of the flu, but the right fielder was pulled from the starting lineup shortly before the first pitch. Duda was limited to a pair of pinch-hitting appearances in the series. He walked on Monday and struck out Tuesday. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Record.

• Before his ties to the Mets, Rusty Staub originally played in Houston. Actually, the Astros first were known as the Colt .45s when Staub arrived in the majors in 1963. Staub actually will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday's Astros home game, as Houston -- like the Mets -- celebrates 50 years of baseball existence.

Here's Staub's observation as the Astros move to the American League, severing the annual home-and-home series with the Mets: “In the early years the teams were always compared -- which city was going to be better in the long run,” Staub told Roger Rubin in the Daily News about the Astros and the Mets. “The Mets went for credibility with names, but Houston looked better with a group of young players like Joe Morgan, me, Sonny Jackson and Dave Giusti. We changed owners and all of us ended up getting traded. Then the Mets changed philosophies and went young with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, and it sent them to that incredible 1969 World Series.”

Mark Winegardner in ESPN The Magazine tells the story of how Bobby Bonilla and the Mets came to strike that deal that now pays the former outfielder $1,193,248.20 per year for 25 years. He also discusses how Bonilla wondered about the security of future payments as Fred Wilpon and family went through the Bernard Madoff trials and tribulations. Writes Winegardner:

Last July, in her New York office, a financial planner by the exquisitely apt name of Jennifer Prosperino received her weekly call from a longtime client. He was a semiretired man in Florida who'd grown up evading gunfire in the South Bronx, where he'd lived in firetrap apartment buildings with junkies in the hallways. He slept with a baseball bat in his bed, dreaming of a better life. His first question for Prosperino was the one he always asked: "Am I going to be okay?" Days earlier, the client, employed part time by his former union, had received a check from the New York Mets for $1,193,248.20 -- the first of 25 annual, identical payments he is guaranteed from a club he last played for in 1999. That means Bobby Bonilla, 49, will make more money than 17 players on the Mets' Opening Day roster.

TRIVIA: Which player has the most homers in Citi Field's three seasons as a Diamondback?

Wednesday's answer: Art Howe's hitting coach with the Mets in 2003 was Denny Walling. Vern Ruhle served as the pitching coach.

Mets morning briefing 4.15.12

April, 15, 2012
David Wright went 3-for-5 with a homer in his return to the lineup with a fractured right pinkie, Jon Niese tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and the Mets blanked the Phillies, 5-0, Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets already have clinched the series win. They had been 1-7-1 in their past nine series at Philly. Mike Pelfrey opposes Cole Hamels this afternoon, with the Mets aiming for their first sweep in Philly since June 13-15, 2006.

Today is Jackie Robinson Day across MLB.

Sunday's news reports:

Terry Collins said that on Friday he believed Wright almost definitely would land on the disabled list this weekend. The Mets even flew in Josh Satin to be prepared for that seeming eventuality. Yet Wright returned to the lineup and blasted his 16th homer at Citizens Bank Park, the most by any visitor at the stadium since it opened in 2004. Read more in Newsday.

• Read game recaps in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Post, Daily News and Record.

Steven Marcus in Newsday inquires about why the Mets have retired only one player's number -- 41, for Tom Seaver. Casey Stengel's 37 and Gil Hodges' 14 as well as the universally recognized Robinson's 42 also are retired. The Mets placed Gary Carter's No. 8 on the outfield wall for this season -- appearing as it does on the patch on the Mets' uniforms.

"I think the general point of view is we don't want to get to the point where it's somewhat gratuitous and you've got dozens and dozens of people whose numbers are retired,'' Mets executive VP Dave Howard told Marcus. "Historically, from a Mets perspective, this is a very high honor. Certainly from a player standpoint, it's only been Tom Seaver. He's in a class by himself.''

Added Keith Hernandez to Marcus: "Too many teams are retiring too many numbers. They lose their import. So I'm in the camp that it should be something that is special, it shouldn't be marginalized. Who wouldn't want to have their number retired? But it's not something that I think about.''

One obvious number to consider is Mike Piazza's No. 31. Newsday's David Lennon tweeted earlier this year that the Mets are expected to retire Piazza's number after he is inducted into Cooperstown.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News discusses the ramifications of Wright's speedy return and Saturday's series-clinching win. Writes Harper:

Injuries are a delicate subject around the Mets, after all the problems they’ve had in recent years. In some cases they made matters worse by allowing the likes of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and even Wright last season, with his broken back, to play hurt, so now they tend to proceed with extreme caution. That’s why it was a bit surprising, even for Collins, to hear him say on Wednesday that he had a “gut feeling” Wright would play with his broken finger here on Friday.

Even if it wasn’t the manager’s intent, that put a certain pressure on his star player. If Wright couldn’t play, he would look less than tough, at least in the eyes of many fans who took Collins’ gut feeling to heart. Perhaps that’s why Wright sounded a bit defensive when he couldn’t play on Friday, repeatedly saying he couldn’t “functionally” grip or swing a bat because of the swelling in his finger. But then it felt good enough on Saturday to try it, and in a way he made his manager look like a prophet with his big day that raised his batting average to .588.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes that Wright's leadership is clear:

David Wright sent a message to his teammates yesterday: Play hard, play through pain, or go home.

Mike Kerwick in the Record says Citi Field spectators should not boo Jason Bay. Writes Kerwick:

Here's my advice to Mets fans: Shackle your venom. And give the guy some space. Was it just a coincidence that Bay hit no homers in six games at Citi Field, then blasted one during his first at-bat in a visiting park? Possibly. On Friday night, he said the first week of games was not enough to cause his shoulders to slump. But he has also admitted he hears the boos. Bay is a decent person. And most decent people sag when exposed to this degree of enmity. I can't help but think the booing, on some subconscious level, penetrates his psyche.

Bobby Parnell recorded the ensuing four outs after Niese departed, including covering the eighth inning for a second straight day. Between the Grapefruit League and regular season, Parnell has not allowed a run in 17 1/3 innings. Read more in the Record.

• Niese has carried a scoreless effort into the seventh inning in both of his outings. Read more in Newsday and the Post.

• In the court filings made late Friday regarding the settlement of the lawsuit against Fred Wilpon and family over Bernard Madoff accounts, one reason trustee Irving Picard cited for settling was the Mets owners' tight finances made getting more money via further litigation dicey. Writes Anthony M. Destefano in Newsday:

In federal court filings late Friday night, trustee Irving Picard said the "restrictive" cash flow, as well as the owners' obligations to banks that lent them money, contributed to doubts that further litigation against Fred Wilpon , Saul Katz and their partners in Sterling Equities would produce a bigger payout. "We have become satisfied that defendants' cash flow and lender covenants would not have enabled me to recover more for the [Madoff] customer fund in the foreseeable future by litigating to the point of judgment," Picard said in an affidavit. The settlement "is a practical and fair compromise" that avoided "a protracted and expensive trial and lengthy appeals," Picard explained in a statement.

Richard Sandomir in the Times also notes the trustee's language in expressing concern about collecting debt from the Wilpons.

Domingo Tapia tossed seven scoreless innings as Savannah won via shutout for the second straight day. Read the full minor league recap here.

• On the club's 50th anniversary, there is an excerpt in the Daily News about the creation of the Mets from the book, "The Mets: A 50th Anniversary Celebration," written by Andy Martino and Anthony McCarron.

TRIVIA: Johan Santana and Niese started the Mets' two shutouts at Citizens Bank Park. Which Mets pitcher started the last shutout at Veterans Stadium, the home of the Phillies through 2003?

Saturday's answer: Jason Bay's homer Friday against Cliff Lee was the outfielder's 19th long ball as a Met.

Mets morning briefing 4.14.12

April, 14, 2012
R.A. Dickey delivered his 14th straight quality start, the longest active streak in the majors, and Jason Bay and Scott Hairston went deep against Cliff Lee as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-2, Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Washington rallied on an eighth-inning homer by Xavier Nady and eventually beat Cincinnati, 2-1, in 13 innings, so the Mets (5-2) remained a half-game out of first place.

Saturday's news reports:

David Wright indicated Friday that his fractured right pinkie was too swollen to even curl around the bat. Unless there was dramatic overnight improvement, Wright appeared headed to the DL before today's 4:05 p.m. matchup between Jon Niese and Vance Worley. A team source told that Josh Satin would be expected to be activated for a bench role if Wright does, in fact, end up on the DL. Daniel Murphy, who had a difficult time on three double plays Wednesday, and who committed a game-prolonging ninth-inning error Friday, would shift to third base for the time being, with Ronny Cedeno and Justin Turner sharing second. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Post, Times and Daily News.

Josh Thole felt embarrassed by a baserunning gaffe during Friday's game. On what should have been a second-inning sacrifice bunt by Dickey, Thole -- approaching second -- inexplicably turned around and headed back to first base. He was tagged out for a double play. Read more in the Post and Record.

• Bay's two-run homer in the first inning was his first long ball since last Sept. 8, against Atlanta's Mike Minor. He had a total of one RBI entering the series between spring training and the first six games of the season. Bay had been 4-for-33 with no RBI in nine games at Citizens Bank Park as a Met. With Wright out, Bay is the Mets' best righty-hitting power threat. Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post regarding Bay:

It’s now or never for Bay and he knows it. “It’s a big time for me,’’ Bay told The Post last night after the left fielder finally came up with a big at-bat in the Mets’ 5-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Bay crushed a two-run home run to right-center in the first inning off Cliff Lee.

• Read Friday's game recaps in the Record, Star-Ledger, Post, Times, Daily News, Newsday and Journal.

• Top prospect Zack Wheeler's second Double-A start proved a marked improvement from his Binghamton Mets debut. Wheeler allowed one run and five hits while striking out nine. He did not issue any walks, but hit three batters. In his first game as a B-Met, Wheeler had allowed two runs on four hits, three walks and a hit batter in three innings. Read the full minor league recap here.

• The trustee recovering funds for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme filed the official settlement paperwork with the U.S. District Court on Friday regarding the original $1 billion civil suit against Fred Wilpon, his family and their businesses and charities. Judge Jed S. Rakoff should approve the settlement at a May 15 hearing.

Terry Collins said he may, in fact, start lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis against Cole Hamels on Sunday, rather than have a straight platoon with Hairston in center field. Collins reasoned that he does not want to have a rookie not starting two of three games in the series. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Jenrry Mejia has started to face batters as he rehabs from May 16, 2011 Tommy John surgery, while D.J. Carrasco (ankle) has resumed lightly throwing off a mound. There has not been significant progress with Pedro Beato's shoulder. And Andres Torres (calf) is not yet running.

• At Yankee Stadium with the Los Angeles Angels, Jason Isringhausen expressed appreciation to the Mets for reviving his career, and suggested he wanted to re-sign with the organization for 2012. “I wanted to come back,” Isringhausen told Dan Martin in the Post. “We talked to Sandy [Alderson] and he said to call him before I went anywhere. But, by the time I got the deal here, they had already brought all those guys in. ... I’m still thankful they gave me the chance. And Sandy called to wish me luck. But I’m glad I wound up here and I think we have a chance to win.”

Ken Belson and Mary Pilon in the Times look into the use of Toradol in sports. Mets pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Dickey repeatedly have used the drug before starts, and Johan Santana used it at least once late in spring training. Write Belson and Pilon:

Toradol, a brand name for ketorolac, is among a family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Doctors put it in the same class as ibuprofen (like Advil) and Alevel. But unlike those drugs, Toradol can be injected, as well as taken orally, and can act more quickly. It is most commonly used in emergency rooms and post-operation wards to help patients manage short-term inflammation and pain, but athletes are turning to it to deal with inflammation and pain.

The use of Toradol, which is made by a number of drug manufacturers, was at the center of a lawsuit filed in December by a dozen retired N.F.L. players who said the league and its teams repeatedly and indiscriminately administered the drug before and during games, thus worsening injuries like concussions. (The league disputed the claims.) The suit claimed that the use of Toradol was rampant in the N.F.L., with players lining up in their locker rooms before games to receive injections, a process the players called a cattle call. According to the complaint, no warnings were given and there was “no distinguishing between different medical conditions of the players, and regardless of whether the player had an injury of any kind.”

TRIVIA: How many homers has Bay hit as a Met, through Friday?

Friday's answer: When Cole Hamels lost consecutive 1-0 starts to the Mets in August 2010, he opposed Santana and Dickey.

Trustee files settlement papers with court

April, 13, 2012
The trustee trying to recover funds on behalf of victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme filed his final paperwork Friday in U.S. District court related to the settlement of the lawsuit.

Essentially, Fred Wilpon and family agreed to repay $162 million in profits made in the six years before Madoff's arrest from certain funds. However, that amount will be reduced by money the Wilpons lost from other funds. The Wilpons will put in a claim for $178 million in losses, and should get a sizable percentage back from Picard like any other victim.

The settlement should be approved May 15.

Here's the press release from Irving Picard's camp:

Summary/highlights of the Settlement:

  • The Settlement Agreement represents a good faith, complete and final settlement between the two parties. It is a practical and fair compromise of complex litigation issues and avoids a protracted and expensive trial and lengthy appeals. The settlement is in the best interests of the BLMIS Customer Fund and the BLMIS customers with allowed claims – who were defrauded by the Madoff Ponzi scheme – who will ultimately receive distributions of recovered monies from the Customer Fund.
  • The Agreement enables the BLMIS Customer Fund to recoup six years (2002 through 2008) of fictitious profits of $162,000,000 and enables the SIPA Trustee to increase the fund of customer property (the Customer Fund) by $162 million.
  • The settlement payment schedule – details of which are fully outlined in the Agreement – is structured to make the settlement fully collectable, and creates a way to work around the restrictive issues faced by the Defendants that include constricted cash flow and lender covenant issues. The Trustee believes that without a solution such as this settlement presents, he would not have been able to recover more for the BLMIS Customer Fund by litigating to the point of judgment.
  • The Trustee’s financial due diligence confirmed the basis for the settlement and the representations made by the Katz et al. Defendants.
  • The Defendants’ allowed claims of approximately $178 million (BLMIS accounts in which the Defendants had deposited more money than they had withdrawn – their “net loser” accounts) will be unconditionally assigned to the Trustee. Any payments against the allowed claims that the Defendants are assigning to the Trustee will reduce the amount owed by the Defendants and will be added to the Customer Fund. If the settlement has not been fully satisfied in three years, Katz et al. Defendants must each pay their respective remainder of the settlement amount. If any of the Defendants are unable to do so, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon will be personally responsible for any shortfall up to $29 million.
  • The Katz et al. Defendants agree to withdraw their petition for a writ of certiorari filed with the United States Supreme Court from the Second Circuit Net Equity Order and also agree not to pursue or join any other litigation involving the Trustee or SIPC arising out of or relating to the BLMIS liquidation. The termination of such litigation will help speed additional distributions to BLMIS customers with allowed claims.

A hearing for approval of the settlement before the District Court for the Southern District of New York has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 4:00 p.m.

Dickey's contemporary tidbits

March, 27, 2012
R.A. Dickey talks extensively about his upbringing and life influences in his memoir, but he includes plenty of contemporary moments, too.

• Dickey recalls David Wright and Mike Pelfrey betting last spring training that Pelfrey could not kick a 50-yard field goal. Pelfrey and Dickey found a football field, with the aim of practicing for the challenge. The field was locked, so the duo hopped a fence. Pelfrey went on to nail a couple field goals from 50 yards, but his shin hurt so much from booting the football that Pelfrey could barely press the gas pedal on his vehicle during the ride home. Dickey convinced Pelfrey to call off the actual challenge with Wright to prevent really injuring himself.

• Dickey has a funny story about Alex Rodriguez. He is recalling a one-hit shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies while with the Mets, and flashes back to his previous career shutout -- with the Texas Rangers against Detroit. After that game, A-Rod congratulated Dickey and said, "You have me to thank for that. ... I called every pitch from shortstop" by relaying the signs to catcher Einar Diaz. The next game, Dickey recalled, he gave up six runs against the Royals and asked A-Rod afterward about his contribution. "No, I didn't call the pitches tonight," A-Rod replied.

• Dickey reveals that after being Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya's first cut in 2010 spring training from big league camp, he called David Lipscomb University to inquire about the process of completing his English degree, which he had started pursuing at the University of Tennessee before being drafted in the first round by the Texas Rangers. Dickey's thought was to finish his degree so he could become an English teacher. Dickey never followed through by submitting his UT transcript and application to Lipscomb. And after a quick start with Triple-A Buffalo, including retiring 27 straight outs in one game after a leadoff hit, he found himself in the big leagues by May.

• Dickey discusses relocating his family to the vacated house of Shawn Green after his call-up and a hotel stay. The power got cut off shortly thereafter, and Dickey and family decided to live by candlelight for five days.

• Reflecting on spring training 2011, when the then-$1 billion lawsuit against Mets owners originally came to full light related to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, Dickey said the players mostly were insulated from the storyline. Still, he notes, there was occasional gallows humor among the players, including punchlines such as: "Maybe we'll be staying at Motel 6s on the road this year. ... I hope they didn't have our per diem money with Bernie. ... Is it true David Wright's going to be piloting our charter?"

• The Madoff humor appears a few pages later, too, when Dickey is talking about applying a solvent called Tring to a broken fingernail during a game. He writes: "I can dab on Trind until Bernie Madoff gets out of jail and it's not going to address the central issue: the broken nail is too short to allow me to grip my knuckleball." The kicker is that Theresa Corderi, the team's popular cook -- after the nail severely splits a few days later -- takes Dickey to a nearby Korean nail salon to get acrylic applied. Cost: $7. The knuckleballer, in full uniform, returns 10 minutes before a game and ultimately is able to make his next start.

• When Dickey tears a band of tissue in the bottom of his foot last season at Wrigley Field, he intentionally minimized the pain to team doctor Jonathan Deland, then takes a shot of Toradol in the backside before all of his starts the remainder of the season. Dickey said he always advises young pitchers to avoid the DL at all costs, since your replacement can be your successor.

Mets morning briefing 3.22.12

March, 22, 2012
R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start for the Mets this afternoon against the Astros, followed by Fernando Cabrera, Jon Rauch, Chris Schwinden and Frank Francisco. Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as well as Rhiner Cruz, the hard-throwing Rule 5 pick from the Mets, are due to pitch for Houston. Cruz, 25, has a 19.29 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances in Astros camp and may be returned to the Mets before Opening Day, although he is coming off a scoreless inning against the Miami Marlins.

Thursdays, by the day, typically are cut days from major league camp. And Ike Davis celebrates his 25th birthday.

Thursday's news reports:

Johan Santana took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals and continued to suggest he will be ready to take the ball Opening Day at Citi Field, on April 5 against the Atlanta Braves. A scout said Santana was sitting at 88 mph with his fastball. Still, that proved enough. David Freese twice struck out on pitches -- one a slider, the other a changeup -- that prompted him to lose his bat into foul territory down the third-base line. "He's not throwing 95, but he's a guy who knows how to pitch," Freese told Anthony Rieber in Newsday. "When he makes pitches, he's going to be effective and he's going to win games for sure." Watch video of Santana discussing his 69-pitch outing here. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Times.

• Forbes valued the Mets at $719 million, a 4 percent decline from the previous year. Mets officials annually dispute the accuracy of the rankings.

• Top prospect Zack Wheeler suffered a sprained left ankle climbing stairs Sunday, a team official said. Wheeler minimized the injury, but he will miss a minor league start. Read more in Newsday.

• Convicted swindler Bernard Madoff expressed disappointment to author Diane Henriques that one-time close friend Fred Wilpon settled the lawsuit brought against the Mets owner by trustee Irving Picard.

Jordany Valdespin had a ninth-inning homer to tie the game, but left-hander Garrett Olson allowed a runner inherited on third from Miguel Batista to score the following half-inning and the Mets lost to the Cardinals, 2-1.

Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson in the Times report that the 12 minority shares totaling $240 million that were infused into the Mets came from a handful of sources. The newspaper reported that in addition to a $25 million repayment to Major League Baseball and $40 million repayment to satisfy a bridge loan from Bank of America, $75 million of the infusion was used to pay down other bank debt that had totaled about $400 million. Write Sandomir and Belson:

Ultimately, the Mets’ owners bought three of those shares -- the first two, Wilpon said recently, and a third more recently -- and Time Warner Cable and Comcast, who are partners in SNY, bought two shares each to help the team steady its finances. In exchange, they extended certain elements of their network deals. Another share was bought by Robert W. Pittman and Kenneth B. Lerer, two media moguls. A ninth share was purchased by the hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen, who is in the midst of trying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. If he succeeds, he will have to sell his stake in the Mets. The identities of the remaining three new shareholders are not publicly known.

• Will this week's financial resolutions prompt the Mets to spend freely next offseason and beyond? Sandy Alderson was not making any such prediction when he spoke Tuesday. The GM merely said it would more so allow for the possibility to pursue a desired free agent. David Wright told Mark Cannizzaro in the Post: “What we have is what we’ve got, and that’s what we need not be worried about, not what could happen. Time will tell as far as that goes. There’s no sense in worrying about who’s not here and what could have been or what might happen. These are the guys we have and we need to make this work.’’

Mike Puma in the Post reports Mike Pelfrey has dealt with a high-ankle sprain for much of camp. Pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested to Puma that the ankle was a significant reason why Pelfrey pitched out of the stretch exclusively in his first Grapefruit League start -- and why his velocity was hovering around 87 mph until the right-hander aired it out and gave up eight runs in his most recent start, against the Houston Astros. “The ankle sprain is why he was out of the stretch all this time and the velocity was what it was,” Warthen said. “This was the best he felt, over against Houston.” Said Pelfrey: "It's not bad."

TRIVIA: Which player currently in Mets major league camp represented Italy in the most-recent World Baseball Classic?

Wednesday's answer: Adam Loewen is the earliest-selected draft pick in Mets camp. He was taken fourth overall, as a pitcher by the Baltimore Orioles, in 2002 out of Fraser Valley Christian High School in British Columbia.



Bartolo Colon
14 4.02 143 190
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 83
RD. Murphy 75
OPSL. Duda .827
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173