New York Mets: Brett Butler

Mets morning briefing 4.30.12

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
1:34
AM ET
Johan Santana tossed six scoreless innings. Yet the southpaw was saddled with a no-decision because Todd Helton belted a grand slam in the eighth off Tim Byrdak. Frank Francisco blew his first save as a Met by also surrendering a game-tying homer, on a solo shot by Carlos Gonzalez in the 10th. But the Mets ultimately prevailed on Ike Davis' RBI single in the 11th to win Sunday's rubber game at Coors Field, 6-5.

Monday's news reports:

• Santana remained winless this season, despite having allowed one run or fewer in all but one of his starts. It marks the first time since his rookie season in 2000 with the Minnesota Twins that Santana has failed to be credited with a victory in any of his opening five starts of a season. Terry Collins had a logical explanation for pulling Santana at 90 pitches after six scoreless innings. Santana was working on standard rest for the first time in the regular season since undergoing Sept. 14, 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Santana also was coming off his highest pitch count since his comeback. He had tossed 105 pitches against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

• After completing a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Buffalo, Andres Torres is due to be activated from the disabled list Monday in Houston. Assistant GM John Ricco announced righty-hitting corner infielder Zach Lutz would be demoted over Jordany Valdespin to create roster room. The biggest curiosity is the outfield alignment with Torres back. Collins announced pregame that Kirk Nieuwenhuis would move to left field, a position he has never played. After the game, and after Nieuwenhuis had a highlight-reel diving catch in left-center to keep Santana's outing scoreless in the fifth, Collins wavered slightly. Torres has started 30 major league games in left field. Still, Collins indicated, Nieuwenhuis is more likely than Torres to be in left field on Monday when the Mets face Astros right-hander Bud Norris at Minute Maid Park.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger suggests the perception among a segment of fans that Torres is an inferior center fielder to Nieuwenhuis is misguided. Writes McCullough:

Torres is the more accomplished fielder. From 2009 to 2011, he ranked seventh among center fielders in Ultimate Zone Rating, an advanced metric that attempts to quantify how many runs a defender saves. During that time period, Torres saved 19.4 runs while with San Francisco. Heading into the season, scouts questioned Nieuwenhuis’ ability to handle center field full-time. But he’s performed a series of high-wire catches since becoming the team’s regular there the second game of the season.

Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

• In part to build team chemistry, Mets veterans suggested in spring training that players and staff wear western apparel during the trip from Denver to Houston. R.A. Dickey had an elaborate sheriff's outfit complete with fake gun, holster and badge. Daniel Murphy introduced pink to his cowboy ensemble. David Wright, Mike Nickeas and bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello dressed as the colorful "Three Amigos," complete with sombreros and fake mustaches. Mets players similarly plan a hockey-themed attire day for the May 18-20 interleague series at Toronto, during a trip that continues in Pittsburgh. See dress-up photos here.

• Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning visited Coors Field on Sunday. He attended the University of Tennessee along with Dickey and Helton, and is particularly friendly with the Rockies first baseman. Wright, while wearing his sombrero and fake mustache, bumped into Manning while entering the stadium in the morning, which amused the older brother of Eli. Read more in Newsday.

• Davis confessed to thinking back to his season-ending ankle injury in Denver last May 10 as he fielded a 10th-inning popup Sunday. Wright stayed out of the way this time.

Ruben Tejada had 10 hits in the three-game series and is now hitting .310. The last Met to have 10 hits in a three games series? That was Edgardo Alfonzo in 2000, also against Colorado. If Tejada has another three-hit game Monday in Houston, he will match the franchise record for consecutive three-plus-hit games. Brett Butler accomplished the feat in four straight games in 1995. Read more in Newsday.

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

Zack Wheeler -- who had been the victim of a lack of run support -- finally picked up his first Double-A win, and 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens returned from injury with a homer in his first 2012 at-bat, as Binghamton beat Erie, 7-1, Sunday. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Broadcaster Howie Rose, who skipped the weekend series in Denver, was inducted into the Nationals Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at Commack, Long Island, on Sunday. Wrote Steven Marcus in Newsday:

When he and his friends went to Shea and the Mets won, Rose recalled one of his chums yelling, "Put it in the books!'' It became Rose's signature line. Rose, who lives in Woodbury, also calls Islanders games on TV but is famously known for calling Stephane Matteau's winning goal in the second overtime for the Rangers against the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals during the 1994 run to the Stanley Cup. "I'm amazed 18 years later at how the Matteau call has endured,'' Rose said. "There are very few days when I'm in a public setting where somebody doesn't yell out 'Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!' " Rose, 58, also thanked Marv Albert for being an early mentor.

TRIVIA: Who did the Mets receive when they traded Mike Scott to the Astros on Dec. 10, 1982?

Sunday's answer: Larry Dierker won 14 career games against the Mets, the most of any Houston pitcher. Joe Niekro and Don Wilson rank second on that list with 12 career wins apiece against the Mets.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
9:34
PM ET

Howard Smith/US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Cole Hamels this weekend in Philly.
METS (4-2, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (3-3, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP R.A. Dickey (1-0, 3.00) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-0, 1.50), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jon Niese (1-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Vance Worley (0-0, 1.50), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 4.76) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 5.06), 1:35 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• First baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future. Howard was examined Tuesday by foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson in Baltimore. He developed an infection in the back of his left heel as the result of surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon. That prompted a Feb. 27 surgical procedure to address the infection. Utley has dealt with chronic knee pain and is rehabbing in Arizona.

The Phillies already have used four different first basemen in Howard’s absence -- Ty Wigginton (twice), John Mayberry Jr. (twice), Laynce Nix and Jim Thome. Thome’s start was his first at the position since June 13, 2007. Nix previously had started only six career games at first base. Rookie Freddy Galvis has started all six games at second base. Michael Martinez, a Rule 5 pick last season, who now is Phillies property, started seven games at second base last season, but has a broken right foot. Martinez suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Jim Johnson in a March 20 spring-training game.


Howard Smith/US Presswire
With Chase Utley out, rookie Freddy Galvis is manning second base for the Phillies.


Galvis, 22, became the first player to make his major league debut on Opening Day with the Phillies since shortstop Larry Bowa and second baseman Denny Doyle in 1970. He exclusively played shortstop in the minors and shifted to second base during spring training. Galvis hit a combined .278 with eight homers and 43 RBIs last season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He went 0-for-12 to start this season, before doubling in his final at-bat Monday, against Miami’s Anibal Sanchez.

Nix, 31, signed a two-year, $2.5 million contract in December. He hit .250 with 16 homers and 44 RBIs in 324 at-bats with the Washington Nationals last season.

• The Phillies had a fortuitous break in not re-signing Ryan Madson, whose agent originally believed the sides had agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal. Philadelphia quickly regrouped and landed former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon for four years, $50 million. Madson then signed with the Cincinnati Reds late on a deal that guaranteed $8.5 million for 2012. He will end up missing the season following Tommy John surgery. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro publicly stated there was never an agreement, while Madson’s agent, Scott Boras, said at the time: "We never rejected any offer from Philadelphia at four years and $44 million. We advised Philadelphia that we would agree to such a proposal. And Philadelphia decided upon hearing that to go in a different direction."

Papelbon last season became the first pitcher to have 30-plus saves in each of his first six full major league seasons. He also became the fastest to 200 saves -- in his 359th appearance. Papelbon’s new entrance music, by the way: Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box."

• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins re-signed with the organization on Dec. 17 for three years, $33 million, plus a 2015 vesting option.

• Reliever Jose Contreras, who underwent elbow surgery in September, has started a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater. Contreras is expected to work consecutive minor league games Thursday and Friday, after which he could be activated from the disabled list.

• Former Met-killer Pat Burrell plans to sign a one-day minor league contract with the Phillies next month and officially retire with the organization. Burrell is fourth all time in homers in the uniform, with 251. He will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Philadelphia’s May 19 game against the Boston Red Sox.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187