New York Mets: Carlos Ruiz

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
4:29
PM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Cole Hamels (Saturday), Kyle Kendrick (Friday) and Cliff Lee (Sunday) in the second-half-opening series.
METS (41-50, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (48-48, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.33) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.68), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies are 6-3 but averaging only 3.6 runs a game since losing Ryan Howard to left knee surgery. The debridement surgery is expected to cost Howard six to eight weeks. Rookie Darin Ruf has handled first base in Howard’s absence. Ruf slugged 38 homers last season with Double-A Reading. He has reached base safely in 18 straight games at the major league level.


Michael Perez/Associated PressBen Revere suffered a broken right ankle on foul ball while batting.


• Center fielder Ben Revere underwent surgery Tuesday for a broken right ankle and also is expected to miss six to eight weeks. It is a big blow to the offense. Revere, the team’s leadoff hitter, had been hitting .305 with 22 steals. Revere suffered the injury fouling a ball off the foot. He had two screws inserted.

GM Ruben Amaro has said the Phillies will shop for a fill-in center fielder. John Mayberry Jr. has handled the position the past two games. Prospect Cesar Hernandez has moved from second base to center field in the minors to provide another option.

• First-time All-Star Domonic Brown is third in the National League with 23 homers, trailing Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (25) and Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (24). Brown’s 67 RBIs rank fourth.

Cole Hamels has a 1.57 ERA with 19 strikeouts and one walk in his last three starts.

Cliff Lee is the only active left-hander to pitch in four All-Star Games.

• The Phillies could be buyers or sellers depending upon the direction their season takes before July 31. They reached .500 on Sunday for the first time since June 7, when they were 31-31. Before the first-half-closing win, they had spent only five days at or above .500 this season. They have won five of their past six series.

Potentially on the block if things go south: centerpiece players Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and Lee as well as Delmon Young and Michael Young. Utley and Ruiz are eligible for free agency after the season. Lee is owed a combined $50 million in 2014 and ’15, and also has a $12.5 million buyout owed if a $27.5 million club option for 2016 is not exercised. Papelbon is signed at $13 million a season through 2015. He also has a vesting option at that amount for 2016.

Kyle Kendrick limited the Washington Nationals to one run in seven innings in a win in his last start, despite four errors committed by his fielders, including three by Utley.

• Since June 17, Papelbon has five blown saves in 12 chances. Manager Charlie Manuel told SiriusXM that Papelbon was dealing with occasional hip soreness. Papelbon nonetheless has reached 20 saves for the eighth straight season. That is the longest active streak in the majors and the eighth-longest in major league history. Mariano Rivera holds the record with 15 straight 20-plus save seasons, from 1997-2011.

Jimmy Rollins has gone 156 at-bats without a homer.

• Infielder John McDonald was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on June 27 for a player to be named or cash.

• Backup catcher Erik Kratz was activated from the disabled list Sunday after missing 4 weeks with a left knee injury.

• Manuel has 995 career wins. He is due to become the 59th manager in major league history to reach the 1,000-win plateau. There are seven active managers at that level: Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona, Davey Johnson, Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia and Buck Showalter.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Phillies 3

June, 21, 2013
6/21/13
10:12
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PHILADELPHIA -- Juan Lagares is starting to look like big league material.

The rookie center fielder glided backward to take away a potential tiebreaking hit from Carlos Ruiz that ended the fifth. Then, a half-inning later, the 24-year-old Lagares put the Mets in the lead for good as part of a career-high-matching three-hit night.

Final score: Mets 4, Phillies 3 on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Mets (29-41) have won four of six games on this 11-game road trip, which will include stops in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago (AL) as well as a cameo in Colorado.

Scott Rice, Carlos Torres and Bobby Parnell combined for three scoreless relief innings.

With Jeremy Hefner facing a bases-loaded, two-out jam and with the score tied at three, Lagares retreated in center field and ran down Ruiz's shot for the fifth inning's final out. Then, in the top of the sixth, Lagares gave the Mets the lead with an RBI double against Cole Hamels.

Lagares finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. He was starting for the fifth time in six games. He should continue to see playing time given his performance and a continued string of opposing left-handed pitching, including John Lannan on Sunday in Philly and Chris Sale and John Danks against the Chicago White Sox in the two-game series that follows.

Eric Young Jr. had a big game Friday, too. With the Mets trailing 3-0, Young doubled to lead off the fourth for the Mets' first hit against Hamels. Young then scored on David Wright's single. An inning later, Young evened the score at three with a two-run single.

Hamels was ultimately charged with four runs on seven hits and three walks (one intentional) in six innings. He was charged with his MLB-leading 11th loss.

As the Mets officially returned to a five-man rotation with Jonathon Niese sidelined, Hefner limited Philadelphia to three runs (two earned) on 10 hits and a walk in six innings and departed with a 4-3 lead. One of the runs was unearned because second baseman Daniel Murphy flubbed a two-out grounder in the second inning that allowed Philadelphia's third run of that frame to score.

Hefner (2-6, 3.89 ERA) won for only the second time this season. The Mets have allowed eight unearned runs to score with Hefner pitching over his past three starts.

What's next: Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.56 ERA) opposes right-hander Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.40 ERA) at 4:05 p.m. Saturday. Gee, despite battling elbow tendinitis, has a 1.53 ERA and has struck out 32 and walked four over his past four starts.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

June, 21, 2013
6/21/13
12:50
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan this weekend.
METS (28-41, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (35-38, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (2-10, 4.40), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.56) vs. RHP Jonathan Pettibone">Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.40), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (6-1, 2.16) vs. LHP John Lannan (0-1, 5.49), 1:35 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cole Hamels’ 10 losses are tied with the Angels’ Joe Blanton for the major league lead. Hamels is the first Phillie with 10 losses before the All-Star break since Kyle Abbott in 1992.

• Left-hander John Lannan faced his former club, the Washington Nationals, on Monday in his first major league start in two months. Lannan allowed two runs in five innings. He had been on the DL since an April 17 appearance at Cincinnati with a strained tendon in his right knee. The Long Beach, L.I., native signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with Philadelphia on Dec. 18.


Matt Slocum/Associated PressJonathan Papelbon blew his first two saves this season against Washington this week.


Chase Utley, who has missed a month with a right oblique strain, began a rehab assignment Wednesday with Double-A Reading. He is expected to return at some point this weekend. Kevin Frandsen has started the past four games at second base. He is hitting .350 with two RBIs and a .435 on-base percentage over his last eight games (five starts).

Carlos Ruiz was activated from the DL on Tuesday after missing four weeks with a strained right hamstring.

Jonathan Papelbon blew his first two saves of the season in a three-day span against the Nationals this week.

• Rookie Jonathan Pettibone’s rotation spot may be in jeopardy. Carlos Zambrano tossed seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He will make another minor league start Sunday, but can opt out if he is not promoted by July 1. Zambrano is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in five minor league starts over three different levels. He signed with Philadelphia on May 15. Pettibone is coming off an outing at Colorado in which he surrendered seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and a walk in three innings.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .135 with no extra-base hits in 37 at-bats over his past 10 starts.

• Third baseman Michael Young notched his 1,000th RBI on Wednesday, on a two-run homer against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. He is the 18th active player to reach that threshold.

Ben Revere has a 10-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .391. Revere has spent the past seven games in the leadoff spot.

Cliff Lee, who potentially could be traded, has a 1.97 ERA in his last nine starts and has won seven straight decisions. He is owed $25 million a season in 2014 and ’15, and has a $27.5 million club option for 2016 with a $12.5 million buyout.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 5, Mets 1

April, 28, 2013
4/28/13
4:05
PM ET


WHAT IT MEANS: Jonathon Niese showed no effects from the comebacker that struck him in the right leg. The lack of support came from teammates.

Scott Atchison allowed a pair of runners inherited from Niese to score in the seventh inning and the Philadelphia Phillies ultimately swept the light-hitting Mets with a 5-1 win Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets (10-13) completed their homestand by dropping three games under .500. Philadelphia has won nine of the past 10 games between the teams.

Niese took a scoreless effort into the fifth, when he surrendered a solo homer to Freddy Galvis that evened the score at 1. The southpaw departed with that score intact after surrendering consecutive two-out singles in the seventh to Laynce Nix and Jimmy Rollins.

With Niese's pitch count at 117, Terry Collins summoned Atchison. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel countered by inserting Ryan Howard as a pinch hitter for Kevin Frandsen.

Howard responded with a two-run double that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead. Chase Utley added an RBI single. And the Phillies had a three-run cushion.

Niese could have been out of the inning with no damage and the score still tied at 1. Although it was a challenging catch, John Buck was charged with an error for dropping a foul pop from Nix near the Phillies' dugout, which prolonged that at-bat.

The Mets mustered only three hits in the game anyway.

WHOOPS: David Wright's errorless streak ended at 77 games when he flubbed a grounder from Carlos Ruiz in the first inning while transferring the baseball from his glove to throwing hand. The now-over streak is the longest in franchise history for a third baseman.

Wright's error, preceded by a throwing error by Niese and a walk, had loaded the bases with two outs. But Niese escaped by getting Domonic Brown to tap a ball a foot in front of the plate.

Wright -- restored to the No. 3 slot after two games at cleanup -- then staked the Mets to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a single that plated Ruben Tejada, who had doubled.

COLE CASE: Cole Hamels limited the Mets to one run and two hits and departed after six innings with his pitch count at 111. Despite matching a career high with six walks, Hamels earned his first 2013 win courtesy of the three-run seventh by the Phillies.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Mets and Marlins match their young phenoms as Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez face off Monday at 7:10 p.m. in Miami. Harvey is bidding for the third 5-0 April in franchise history. He would join Pedro Martinez (2006) and Dwight Gooden (1988). The Mets are 5-0 in Harvey starts and 5-13 otherwise.

Morning briefing: Aiming for thump of Cole

April, 28, 2013
4/28/13
6:54
AM ET

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Jon Niese pitches this afternoon for the first time since getting struck in the right ankle Tuesday.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets will try to avoid getting swept as Jonathon Niese heads to the mound at 1:10 p.m. today opposite winless Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels.

Niese will be making his first start since getting nailed on the right ankle by a comebacker Tuesday off the bat of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mark Elllis.

Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 career starts against the Mets.

Terry Collins suggested outfielders Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares likely would be in the starting lineup.

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is due to be activated after serving a 25-game suspension related to amphetamines.

Sunday’s news reports:

Shaun Marcum surrendered three runs in four innings and was dissatisfied with his Mets debut. Robert Carson then served up homers to Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. in the fifth as the Met lost to the Phillies, 9-4, Saturday at Citi Field. The Mets have now lost eight of their past nine games against Philadelphia. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer and MLB.com.

• The Mets demoted Josh Edgin to clear the roster spot for Marcum. Edgin reported to Binghamton, not Las Vegas, because the offense-first Pacific Coast League is not conducive to getting on track. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.


Mike Stobe/Getty Images
John Buck has eight homers in April, matching the most ever by a Mets catcher in the month.


• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with John Buck, who homered in the ninth inning Friday. It was Buck’s eighth long ball in April, matching Mike Piazza (2001) and Todd Hundley (1996) for most by a catcher in the opening month in franchise history. The overall Mets record for April is nine homers, by Carlos Delgado (2006) and Dave Kingman (1976). Among Buck’s exchanges with Serby:

Q: You and your wife grew up together in Salt Lake City. How did you propose?

A: “I was at one of her last volleyball games [at Snow College]. They called her to the 10-foot line at a volleyball game. ... I proposed to her at the 10-foot line in her volleyball game."

Buck also notes that Harvey reminds him of Zack Greinke.

• Cody Derespina in Newsday goes inside the numbers of Buck’s April production, which has tailed off despite Friday’s long ball.

• Attendance seems to get a modest bump at Citi Field with Harvey on the mound. As for ratings on SNY, they’re 14 percent higher in games Harvey starts, according to Bob Raissman in the Daily News.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record suggests waiting a little while before erecting a statue in Harvey’s honor.

Frank Francisco and Jenrry Mejia are progressing after injuries.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests there is “no relief in sight” for the Mets.

• Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News says Marcum fit in with all the other Mets starting pitchers not named Harvey.

• Terry Collins stuck to his reconfigured lineup for a second straight day Saturday. Read more in the Post.

• Logan Verrett improved to 4-0 as Double-A Binghamton beat Akron 7-2. Rainy Lara tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in low-A Savannah’s 1-0 win against West Virginia. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Gregg Sarra in Newsday chats with St. Lucie catcher Cam Maron, who hails from Hicksville, Long Island.

R.A. Dickey faces the Yankees in the Bronx today. Read more in the Post.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing thought extended spring training continued Saturday at Citi Field … Shannon from Mets Police is watching his favorite baseball team and thinks, "I have a bad feeling about this."

BIRTHDAYS: Dillon Gee turns 27. … Jorge Sosa, who is pitching in Japan for the second straight season, is 35.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Whom should Terry Collins start in the outfield today against left-hander Cole Hamels?

Morning briefing: Marcum debuts for Mets

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
7:01
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets will need to clear a roster spot for Shaun Marcum. The candidates (l to r): Jeurys Familia, Robert Carson and Josh Edgin.
FIRST PITCH: Shaun Marcum, who signed a $4 million deal on Jan. 30 that included the opportunity to double that amount by achieving incentives, is due to make his Mets debut today as the Mets oppose the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 p.m. at Citi Field.

Marcum received injections on April 4 to calm an inflamed nerve that was causing pain in his neck and shoulder. He never appeared in an official minor league rehab game, instead pitching in extended spring training against low-level competition. Marcum threw 52 pitches in five scoreless innings Monday in Florida, then continued to toss on the side to try to up his pitch count. He likely will be capped at roughly 90 pitches today, Terry Collins indicated.

The Mets will need to make a pregame roster move, subtracting a member from the bullpen, in order to clear room for Marcum. Josh Edgin has struggled badly, although he had a 1-2-3 ninth Friday. The alternatives: Jeurys Familia or, seemingly less likely, Robert Carson. Familia tossed two scoreless innings in the series opener against Philadelphia. That workload led to speculation he may be out.

Marcum faces right-hander Jonathan Pettibone in the rookie’s second major league start.

Saturday’s news reports:

• The Mets dropped below .500 for the first time this season with a 4-0 loss to the Phillies in Friday’s series opener. Dillon Gee matched zeroes with Kyle Kendrick until the sixth, when Gee surrendered a run-scoring single to Michael Young and three-run homer to Ryan Howard. Kendrick produced a three-hit shutout. It marked the fourth time in five games the Mets mustered five hits or fewer. Perhaps recognizing the Mets like to take pitches, Kendrick threw a season-high 71 percent first-pitch strikes, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Howard, the active home run leader against the Mets with 36, now has four homers in 12 career at-bats against Gee. That is the most homers Gee has surrendered to any player. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and MLB.com.

• Collins preached patience and insisted any consideration about demoting Ike Davis is a long way away. The manager tried to compare Davis’ struggles to the woes of Matt Kemp, who arrived in Queens with the Dodgers this week homerless. Yet Kemp still was respected by the Mets as a dangerous bat, according to Collins.

"I looked at Matt Kemp’s numbers the other day," Collins said. "They weren’t very good for Matt Kemp. I’m still scared to death of him. And you can be sure that the Philadelphia Phillies, when Ike Davis gets in the batter’s box, they’re worried, because they know he’s going to get out of it."

Davis was dropped to No. 7 in Friday’s lineup and went 0-for-2 with a walk. His average dipped to .169. Read more in the Record, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Collins’ Friday lineup juggling also included Daniel Murphy moving into the No. 3 slot and David Wright to cleanup, both for the first time this season. Read more in the Times.

• Read more on Marcum’s Mets debut and the impending roster move in the Journal, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post analyzes the state of the struggling Phillies and Washington Nationals, and wonders if the Mets will make a trade if those teams stumble and the Mets end up more in contention than they thought. Writes Davidoff:

The Mets say they have the funds to add payroll during the season, and their prospect/trade chip base has grown with the development of pitchers like Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Cory Mazzoni. Will they have cause to make a move, courtesy of the Phillies and Nationals? I’d like to see it, just to learn whether the Mets would live up to their word. After a night like this, though, you wonder whether the possibility of the 2013 Mets being relevant is the true mirage.

• In a batter of young NL East phenoms, Matt Harvey is scheduled to oppose Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez on Monday in Miami. Fernandez, who limited the Mets to one run in five innings in his major league debut on April 7, had allowed nine runs in nine innings over his past two starts -- at Cincinnati and at Minnesota.

In Miami, lightning-rod owner Jeffrey Loria denied influencing which game of a doubleheader Fernandez pitched at Minnesota this week, according to Manny Navarro in the Miami Herald.

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz is due to join the Phillies on Sunday after completing a 25-game suspension for amphetamines. "It's been a little hard for me," Ruiz told John Smallwood in the Philadelphia Daily News while rehabbing with Double-A Reading. "Definitely, I would like to be with the team. I want to help the ballclub win games. But now it's just about over. I'm real close, and I can't wait to see [Sunday]. It was tough, but at the same time, you had to prepare yourself to be ready for when you came back. I'm not happy with what happened, but there was nothing I could do except work every day."


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Aaron Laffey was ineffective Friday night in the Bronx after being claimed by the Jays.


Aaron Laffey, claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays a day after being designated for assignment by the Mets, started in the Bronx on Friday night in place of Josh Johnson, who had triceps tightness. Laffey lasted only 2 2/3 innings and walked five. He was charged with two runs. Brad Lincoln inherited the bases loaded from Laffey and stranded three by striking out Ichiro Suzuki.

Richard Griffin in the Toronto Star notes Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has made a massive number of waiver claims. Writes Griffin:

The Jays have made 21 such claims since Oct. 17, 2012. That is crazy high. Here is the list: OF Scott Cousins; RH Cory Wade; RH Tyson Brummett; C Bobby Wilson; RH David Herndon; RH Chad Beck (twice); LH Scott Maine; C Eli Whiteside; RH Mickey Storey; IF Russ Canzler; RH Tommy Hottovy; 1B Lars Anderson; RH Guillermo Moscoso; RH Todd Redmond; 1B Clint Robinson; RH Alex Burnett; RH Edgar Gonzalez; 1B Mauro Gomez; OF Casper Wells and Laffey. Only eight of the 20 different claims (Beck twice) are still in the organization. Only Laffey is on the Jays’ 25-man roster. Only Laffey, Robinson, Gomez and Redmond remain on the 40-man roster.

• Howard Johnson, back in baseball as the first-year hitting coach for Triple-A Tacoma (Seattle Mariners), is in Las Vegas this weekend facing Mets-affiliate Las Vegas. Regarding 51s manager Wally Backman getting a major league managerial gig, HoJo told the Las Vegas Sun: “One of these days, Wally is going to get a shot. I would love to be one of his coaches. It’s important to have people that you know and trust. We go back a long way and share a lot of the same experiences.”

• Zack Wheeler is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in five starts with Las Vegas. He has allowed 26 hits and 15 walks while striking out 28 in 23 1/3 innings. Opposing Pacific Coast League batters are hitting .283 against him.

“His velocity is good and his mechanics are good,” Sandy Alderson told columnist John Harper in the Daily News. “That’s what’s most important. And he threw well for four innings [Thursday]. We’re looking for his development as opposed to his line scores. But there’s no question it’s a big adjustment pitching in that league.”

Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Rafael Montero suffered his first 2013 loss as Binghamton was blanked by Akron, 4-0. Montero (3-1, 1.95 ERA) allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out eight. Dustin Lawley homered twice as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 5-2. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Jonathan Lehman in the Post profiles Binghamton left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich. Although he allowed two hits and a walk last night, Leathersich also struck out three in a scoreless ninth to keep his ERA at 0.00 for the season. The 2011 fifth-round pick from UMass-Lowell has 157 Ks in 95 2/3 professional innings.

• ESPN West Palm launched a weekly video segment featuring the St. Lucie Mets. Watch the first installment here.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing realizes some losses are less miserable than inevitable. … Shannon from Mets Police has some thoughts about the Mets’ efforts on social media.

BIRTHDAYS: Smithtown, Long Island’s Frank Catalanotto is 39. … Orber Moreno turns 36. … Eric Hillman is 47. … Brian Giles turns 53.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should the Mets demote/release from the bullpen to clear a roster spot for Shaun Marcum?

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
7:13
PM ET

Associated Press/USA TODAY Sports
The Mets face (l to r) Kyle Kendrick, Jonathon Pettibone and Cole Hamels this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (10-10, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (9-14, fourth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (1-3, 5.95) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 3.28), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Jonathan Pettibone (0-0, 3.38), 1:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.81) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-3, 5.40), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Jonathan Pettibone is making his second major league start Saturday. He is the son of right-hander Jay Pettibone, who started four games -- all losses -- for the Minnesota Twins in 1983, on a team that included Tim Teufel and Frank Viola. The younger Pettibone debuted Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and accomplished something his father failed to do: participate in a win. Pettibone, 22, limited the Pirates to a pair of solo homers and four other hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking none. The Phillies won, 3-2.


Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Carlos Ruiz is due to be activated Sunday after serving a season-opening 25-game suspension.


Carlos Ruiz is eligible to be activated Sunday after completing a 25-game suspension for testing positive for a banned amphetamine. Ruiz’s tune-up for activation was slowed because he was hit on his left wrist with a pitch in an extended spring training game last Friday. X-rays were negative. Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero have handled the catching in Ruiz’s absence.

Delmon Young, who signed for a guaranteed $750,000 and incentives on Jan. 22, has started a rehab assignment and is due to join the Phillies within weeks -- although not for this Mets series. He underwent right ankle surgery during the offseason. Young is the projected right fielder, although he must get acclimated. He had not played in a game there since 2007 until rehab games this week. John Mayberry Jr. has produced with Young out.

• The Phillies, who are struggling on offense, went four full games without a walk until Chase Utley got a free pass on April 19. How rare is that? In the NL, the last teams to have gone four straight games without a walk were the 2009 Arizona Diamondbacks, 1976 Montreal Expos, 1952 New York Giants and 1935 Chicago Cubs.

• Utley already has four errors.

Ryan Howard homered for only the second time this season on Wednesday, against Wandy Rodriguez. In that game, Charlie Manuel split up Utley and Howard in the lineup so opposing managers could not insert one lefty specialist to face both without seeing a righty batter in between.

• This is the deepest Cole Hamels has gone into a season without a win since 2009, when it took the southpaw until his fifth start on May 8 for a victory.

• Manuel is in the final year of a contract. He told ESPN’s Jayson Stark: "I plan to keep managing -- unless I decide all of a sudden I don't want to do it."

Said GM Ruben Amaro about the subject: “Honestly, I don't think about his situation at all. I don't think the players give two craps about it. I don't think it's even a factor, not with our guys … I don't know if a contract for the manager should be a motivating factor for any player. They should be motivated by winning. That's it."

• Center fielder Ben Revere is battling a nagging quadriceps injury. After Revere started every previous game this season, ex-Mets farmhand Ezequiel Carrera instead was inserted in the lineup Thursday afternoon.

• The Phillies have lost three in a row (with Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee pitching) and eight of 11.

• Since surrendering seven runs in four innings against the Mets on April 8, Halladay is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts. He has allowed eight hits in 21 innings over that span.

• At 9-14, the Phillies are in the midst of their worst start since 2006.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 7, 2013
4/07/13
10:09
PM ET

Getty Images/USA TODAY Sports
The Mets face (l to r) Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick this week in Philly.
METS (4-2, second place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (2-4, fourth place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (0-1, 13.50), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-1, 1.42) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (1-0, 0.00), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94), 7:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Roy Halladay’s fastball averaged 89.6 mph and he used it far less often than is customary while surrendering five runs in 3 1/3 innings in his season opener at Atlanta. The fastball velocity is down from an average of 90.6 mph last season, 92.0 mph in 2011 and 92.6 mph in 2010. Halladay dealt with shoulder issues last season. He is seeking his 200th career win Monday. He is 7-0 with a 1.78 ERA against the Mets since 2010.

• Phillies pitchers have surrendered an NL-leading 32 runs. The relief corps has allowed 10 of 11 inherited runners to score.


Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
Former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg is Philadelphia's new third-base coach.


Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have started 962 games as a middle-infield combo, second to the Yankees’ Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (1,036 games) among active double-play partners. Rollins passed Richie Ashburn on Thursday for the second-most games played in Phillies history, with No. 1,795. Mike Schmidt is the franchise leader with 2,404 games played as a Phillie.

• Third baseman Michael Young was acquired from the Texas Rangers in December for right-handers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla.

• Center fielder Ben Revere was acquired from the Minnesota Twins in December for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May. Revere has played 166 straight error-free games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Revere has 1,092 career plate appearances without a homer -- the most among active players. The next 35 on that list are pitchers.

• Opening Day starter Cole Hamels, whom the Mets do not face, is 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA.

• First baseman Ryan Howard is hitting .167 with no homers and eight strikeouts in 24 at-bats. He has yet to produce an extra-base hit through six games.

• Backup outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Indians last Tuesday, originally was signed by the Mets out of Venezuela. He was part of the three-team trade on Dec. 11, 2008 that landed J.J. Putz and Sean Green in Flushing.

Cliff Lee -- who was winless until a July 4 victory at Citi Field last season, and who went 6-9 overall in 2012 despite a 3.16 ERA -- is off to a more favorable start this season. Lee tossed eight scoreless innings at Atlanta on Thursday, limiting the Braves to two hits and no walks while striking out eight. Lee’s victory snapped Atlanta’s streak of winning 23 straight games started by Kris Medlen. Lee has made 18 straight starts of six-plus innings with one or fewer walks. That is a modern-era record, topping the 14 straight by Christy Mathewson (1908) and Greg Maddux (1997).

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz is serving a 25-game MLB suspension to open the season after testing positive for the stimulant Adderall. Fill-in Erik Kratz caught 40 percent of would-be base stealers last season.

• The Phillies overhauled Charlie Manuel’s coaching staff. The newcomers: third base coach Ryne Sandberg, hitting coach Steve Henderson, assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner and bullpen coach Rod Nichols.

Delmon Young, who signed with the Phillies in January, is playing in extended spring training games. He underwent ankle surgery in November.

• The Phillies’ primary batting order is:

Revere, cf
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Young, 3b
Domonic Brown, lf
John Mayberry Jr. (RH)/Laynce Nix (LH), rf
Kratz, c

Phillies minus catcher for April

November, 27, 2012
11/27/12
4:47
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Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was suspended 25 games Tuesday after testing positive for amphetamines, MLB announced.

Barring a rainout prolonging the ban, Ruiz should be eligible to return to action April 28, against the Mets at Citi Field. The Mets and Phillies will have played five games at that point.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
8:59
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US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Cliff Lee, Tyler Cloyd and Cole Hamels at Citi Field.
METS (66-80, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (73-74, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP R.A. Dickey (18-5, 2.88) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (5-7, 3.36), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 4.99) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (15-6, 3.06), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Philadelphia, which catapulted back into the wild-card race after being 10 games under .500 thanks to 15 wins in a 19-game stretch, then proceeded to lose three of four during the weekend at lowly Houston. The Phillies (73-74) are now four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (77-70) for the second wild-card slot. The Los Angeles Dodgers (76-71), Milwaukee Brewers (74-72) and Pittsburgh Pirates (73-72) also are ahead in the standings.


Ken Babbitt/Associated Press
September call-up Darin Ruf produced 38 homers at Double-A Reading this season.


• All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz returned Sept. 9 after missing more than a month with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. Ruiz should start every other day down the stretch because the foot is not 100 percent.

• Third baseman Placido Polanco is on the DL with lower-back inflammation and is unlikely to return this season. Kevin Frandsen primarily has handled the position in Polanco’s absence -- although Michael Martinez started seven straight games last week because Frandsen is playing through pain from a stress fracture in his left shin, which resulted from fouling a ball off himself.

Ryan Howard is four homers shy of 300. Chase Utley needs two homers for 200.

• First baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf made his major league debut Friday as a pinch hitter at Houston. Ruf, who does not really have a position, produced 38 homers at Double-A Reading this season, including 20 in August. The long ball total led all of minor league baseball in 2012 and topped Howard’s Reading-record 37, set in 2004. Ruf, a 20th-round pick in 2009 out of Creighton, is expected to see some action in left field for the Phillies.

• Since the trades of Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants, lefty-hitting Juan Pierre and righty-hitting Ty Wigginton have shared left field, John Mayberry Jr. has manned center and Domonic Brown primarily has handled right field. Pierre is due to be a free agent after the season. Mayberry is hitting .347 with four homers and 18 RBIs in his past 27 games.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citizens Bank Park, Aug. 28-30 (AP game recaps)

Mets 9, Phillies 5 (10 innings): Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking double during a four-run 10th inning and Kelly Shoppach added a two-run homer. Shoppach hit a tying double in the eighth and then connected off B.J. Rosenberg (0-2) to finish a triple shy of the cycle. Mike Baxter also hit a two-run shot. More

Mets 3, Phillies 2: Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer and Matt Harvey had another sharp outing. Duda, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo three days earlier, also made an excellent catch in left field to preserve the lead and even stole a base. Harvey (3-3) allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six in 6 1/3 innings. He also had an RBI single. Tyler Cloyd (0-1) was decent in his major league debut filling in for Cole Hamels, who was scratched from the start because of a gastrointestinal illness. Cloyd allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. More

Phillies 3, Mets 2: Kyle Kendrick (8-9) allowed solo homers in the first two innings to Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston, but did not permit another run before leaving with two outs in the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 30th save as the Phillies avoided a three-game sweep. Jimmy Rollins was pulled for the start of the seventh inning. He failed to run hard on a dropped popup that could have put him on second base. He stole second base, then was caught in a rundown on a grounder and was tagged out. More

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
10:30
AM ET

US Presswire
The Phillies conceded 2012 with the trades of (l to r) Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Jim Thome.
METS (59-69, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-67, third place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (3-7, 4.33) vs. RHP Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jon Niese (10-7, 3.51) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12), 1:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies’ five-year run as division champs will come to an end. Philadelphia’s dismantling included trading:

Aug. 3: Right-hander Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ryan O’Sullivan.

July 31: Center fielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom and a player to be named or cash.

July 31: Right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for Nate Schierholtz, Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph.


Benny Sieu/US Presswire
Cole Hamels committed to the Phillies long term, signing a six-year, $144 million extension.


July 1: Right-hander Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees for a player to be named or cash.

June 30: First baseman Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon.

• Left-hander Cole Hamels agreed to a six-year, $144 million extension on July 25, after the Phillies explored trades.

• Philadelphia swept the Nationals in a three-game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Cliff Lee had been winless in his past 12 home starts (0-6) before limiting Washington to one run in seven innings. The ex-Dodger Lindblom notched his first career save with closer Jonathan Papelbon having worked the previous three days.

• Left fielder Juan Pierre stole his 586th base Sunday, tying Maury Wills for 19th on MLB’s all-time list. Pierre is the majors’ active leader in steals.

• Outfielder Domonic Brown has missed two straight games with a sore left knee. Brown had started 22 straight games since a promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which coincided with the trades of Victorino and Pence. Brown initially started in left field, then in right field once the ex-Giant Schierholtz suffered a broken right big toe. Schierholtz began a rehab assignment Sunday. He is not expected to rejoin the Phillies until after the series against the Mets. John Mayberry Jr. has taken over for Victorino in center field.

• Despite being activated from the disabled list last Monday, Placido Polanco has started only two games in the past week because of continued lower-back inflammation. Kevin Frandsen has subbed for Polanco at third base.

• Journeyman Erik Kratz, 32, is the Phillies’ primary catch, with rookie Steven Lerud -- who has yet to make his major league debut -- the backup. Lerud has played in only nine career games above the Double-A level. Ex-Met Brian Schneider landed on the disabled list Friday with a strained left hamstring. He joined Carlos Ruiz (foot) on the DL.

• Right-handed reliever Phillippe Aumont, who had been the centerpiece of the deal that sent Lee to Seattle in December 2009, made his major league debut Thursday.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citi Field, July 3-5 (AP game recaps)

Mets 11, Phillies 1: Jon Niese had a two-run single to back his fine performance on the mound and David Wright hit a three-run homer. Niese (7-3) pitched a season-high eight innings and gave up three hits, one a homer to Carlos Ruiz. His hit in the second inning put New York up for good in front of 42,516, the highest attendance in the four-year history of Citi Field. Ruben Tejada had an RBI single among his three hits. He put on a show at shortstop, too. Daniel Murphy finished a homer short of the cycle, doubled twice, drove in four runs and made a leaping catch and diving stop at second base. Tejada led off the game with an 11-pitch out and it rarely got much easier for Vance Worley (4-5) and Philadelphia's bullpen. More

Phillies 9, Mets 2: Cliff Lee finally posted his first victory of the season and Philadelphia hit three late homers. Lee (1-5) had gone a puzzling 13 starts this year without a victory. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive home runs in the seventh inning against Chris Young as the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Ty Wigginton's two-run homer in the ninth against Jeremy Hefner capped the surge. More

Mets 6, Phillies 5: David Wright singled off Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Mets to a comeback that preserved R.A. Dickey's 11-game winning streak. Josh Thole prevented a run in the eighth when he held on to the ball despite being barreled over at home plate. Daniel Murphy lined a shot off Papelbon's leg for the tying run with two outs in the ninth, setting the stage for Wright. Cole Hamels outlasted Dickey in a matchup of All-Stars that fizzled from the start. More

Mets morning briefing 7.11.12

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
5:55
AM ET

After the NL All-Stars beat their AL counterparts Tuesday in Kansas City, Citi Field now officially is on the clock for the 2013 All-Star Game.

The Mets reassemble to hold an afternoon workout Thursday in Atlanta. Today, Jason Bay (concussion) and Frank Francisco (oblique) may begin rehab assignments with Class A St. Lucie at Tampa.

The Triple-A and Double-A All-Star Games also will be held today. Matt Harvey is due to pitch second for the International League All-Stars in Buffalo in the Triple-A contest.

R.A. Dickey is due to appear with David Letterman tonight. Dickey tweeted: "I'm bringing a mask and [Josh] Thole's glove in case he wants to catch a few. Fun!!"

Wednesday's news reports:

Dillon Gee remains hospitalized after doctors discovered hand numbness and coldness was being caused by a blood clot in his pitching shoulder. A catheter was used to break up the clot, the Mets announced. Gee will remain hospitalized for a couple of days to ensure the immediate danger is behind him.

"My concern is obviously what the rehabilitation time is going to be," Terry Collins told reporters in Kansas City. "Is he going to miss a month? Is he going to miss two months? Is he going to miss the rest of the season? So we can start to move forward with whatever move we need to make."

The Mets placed Gee, who had been scheduled to start Friday's second-half opener, on the disabled list. Instead, Chris Young is now scheduled to start Friday in Atlanta, followed by Dickey on Saturday. Johan Santana will test his balky right ankle Thursday during a Mets workout at Turner Field, after which it should be determined whether he faces the Braves on Sunday or the Nationals in D.C. on Tuesday. Jon Niese will get the other start. The Mets can go back to Young on Wednesday in Washington if he feels capable, delaying the use of a fifth starter until as late as July 21 against the Dodgers at Citi Field. Ultimately, though, Collins said Miguel Batista will handle Gee's role for now. Collins said he did not want to promote Harvey before he is ready and put him in a position to fail.

The Mets will promote a reliever to take Gee's roster spot. Lefty Josh Edgin appears a logical choice, since Sandy Alderson has said he is due to be promoted soon anyway. Collins said team officials likely will convene Wednesday to discuss who should get the call-up. Robert Carson would be an alternative.

Teammates expressed concern for Gee. Justin Turner tweeted: Appreciate all the concern for Gee, we are worried too. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers

Gee's medical troubles hit home with Bobby Parnell. Parnell experienced numbness/tingling in his fingers last April, but had a relatively minor issue compared with his teammate Gee. Parnell merely was prescribed baby aspirin after undergoing an angiogram. He never required surgery to break up a clot. "It's scary, Parnell told Anthony DiComo at MLB.com. "Not knowing what's going on inside your body is the worst part. Not being able to control it is the worst part."

Dr. Sharif Ellozy, a vascular expert and associate professor of surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital, told ESPNNewYork.com the length of Gee's absence may be contingent upon whether there is damage to the artery in the shoulder. "The fact that he's a pitcher and that it was in the arm that he was pitching from, you suspect there may be some injury [with the artery] where it goes between the clavicle and the first rib in that arm," Ellozy said. "How soon he'll be able to return depends on what they find."

Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesR.A. Dickey allowed a pair of baserunners, but tossed a scoreless inning in his first All-Star Game.
Writes Brian Costa in the Journal:

Dr. Lawrence Gardner, the acting co-director of hematology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said arterial clots are generally more serious than those found in veins because they can restrict the flow of blood to muscles and vital organs. The fact that doctors had to insert a catheter, rather than merely putting Gee on blood thinners, indicates that it was more than just a minor issue, Gardner said. According to Collins, doctors are trying to determine how much shoulder damage the clot caused. "His hand was ice cold," Collins said. "No blood flow in there."

The seriousness of blood clots among pitchers has varied widely. Mets reliever Bobby Parnell went on the DL with a clot in his right middle finger last season, and though it required only blood thinners to treat, he still was out more than a month. Detroit Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman missed the last four months of the 2008 season after doctors found a clot in a vein in his pitching shoulder. And he continued to have shoulder problems in 2009.

Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times, Daily News, Record and Post.

• Dickey eventually entered the All-Star Game in the sixth and surrendered a hit and plunked a batter, but he coaxed a double-play grounder from Miguel Cabrera and escaped the inning unscathed in what ended as an 8-0 NL victory. Carlos Ruiz, who caught Dickey, got through the knuckleball receiving fine while using Thole's oversized mitt. David Wright, meanwhile, replaced Pablo Sandoval and went 0-for-2. Collins, who was a coach on Tony La Russa's staff, made a ninth-inning pitching change. Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.

• Union chief Michael Weiner confirmed Tuesday that interleague matchups between natural rivals -- including the Mets and Yankees -- will be limited to three or four games a season going forward, not six. The exception will be in years when, for instance, the AL East and NL East line up to play. In those seasons, a six-game, home-and-home slate will still be played. Read more in Newsday.

• After being claimed off waivers four times in a five-week span, most recently by the Mets from the Yankees last week, Chris Schwinden finally cleared waivers. So he is now officially with Triple-A Buffalo as a non-40 man roster player.

• Savannah, the organization's lone minor league affiliate in action Tuesday, blanked Delmarva 2-0 behind a complete game from 2011 third-round pick Logan Verrett. Read the minor league recap here.

Mike Sielski in the Journal speaks with 19-year-old Brandon Nimmo, the Mets' first-round pick in 2011, who is playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones. On Mike Trout and Bryce Harper being in the majors at his age, Nimmo said: "Even though I think I'm a great athlete and I'm good at baseball, those guys are different, and I have to realize that. For normal high-school guys, it takes four years or so. Twenty-three years old in the majors, you're still young."

TRIVIA: Who did Pedro Martinez oppose in Atlanta, in his second start as a Met in 2005?

Tuesday's answer: Although it has not been formally announced, MLB plans to award the 2014 All-Star Game to the Minnesota Twins.

Dickey-Ruiz combo works, Wright quiet

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:13
PM ET


R.A. Dickey surrendered a leadoff single to Mike Trout upon entering with an eight-run lead in the sixth inning, and Trout swiped second base, but the 37-year-old knuckleballer eventually stranded the Angels phenom to post a scoreless frame in his first All-Star Game appearance.

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz got through the inning unscathed as well, although Dickey told reporters in Kansas City afterward that Ruiz on one knuckleball "looked like he was catching with chopsticks."

Dickey struck out Mark Trumbo and hit Paul Konerko with a pitch before coaxing a 6-4-3 double play from Miguel Cabrera to post the scoreless frame and preserve the NL's eight-run lead.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Dickey said about his knuckleball: "I didn't throw many super-duper ones."

David Wright went 0-for-2. After Pablo Sandoval contributed a three-run triple in the first inning, Wright eventually entered at third base. He grounded into a fielder's choice in the fifth against Jered Weaver and struck out looking against Ryan Cook in the seventh.

Matt Cain, who started over Dickey for the NL, tossed two scoreless innings.

Terry Collins, a coach on Tony La Russa's staff, made a ninth-inning pitching change to get some air time.

Mets morning briefing 7.10.12

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
8:15
AM ET
Three days until the Mets resume game action Friday in Atlanta ...

Tuesday's news reports:

• San Francisco's Matt Cain was announced as the NL's starting pitcher for tonight's All-Star Game by skipper Tony La Russa, not R.A. Dickey. Instead, Dickey's entrance should coincide with backup catcher Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies entering the All-Star Game, according to Terry Collins. La Russa pledged he would use Dickey, and that it would be during the first half of the game. La Russa selected Carlos Gonzalez as the NL's designated hitter, so David Wright and Chipper Jones will be the reserve third basemen behind San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval.

"Well, I'm not going to break down in tears over it," Dickey dryly told New York reporters. "But, at the same time, I'm a competitor. I want to pitch. I want to start. I feel like I had a good-enough first half to be considered. But I'm not the boss. I don't have to necessarily agree with it, but I certainly have to respect it. That's the way it is. I think that might be one of my bigger disappointments because I really felt like it would have been a neat thing for the New York Mets organization and the fan base. Having shared so much of this story with them, I felt like that would have been a neat culmination or apex to the story."

Columnist John Harper in the Daily News faults the silly this-game-counts mantra for the decision to snub Dickey, which was a lost opportunity for MLB to tell -- and market -- the knuckleballer's story. Writes Harper:

But I blame Bud Selig for screwing this up, as well. His insistence on making the All-Star Game count for home-field advantage in the World Series, a ridiculous idea from the start, is surely what sent La Russa into Bill Belichik mode, preparing for his one-game return to baseball as if designing a game plan for a Super Bowl. If the game were still merely a showcase for baseball’s best players, with nothing at stake but league pride, I’m convinced La Russa would have given Dickey the start Tuesday night, rather than Matt Cain. It’s not as if he doesn’t understand the national appeal of Dickey’s story, or wouldn’t enjoy rewarding the perseverance of a 37-year-old pitcher who endured years as a journeyman before turning himself into a knuckleball star.


Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Snubbed R.A. Dickey finally gets to chat with NL skipper Tony La Russa during the team's Monday afternoon workout in Kansas City.


Writes Kevin Kernan in the Post:

Plain and simple, the Mets got hosed. Manager-for-a-day Tony La Russa chose to be a knucklehead by choosing Giants ace Matt Cain over the Mets’ R.A. Dickey to start tonight for the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. The former Cardinals manager never discussed the situation with Dickey before making the decision. Dickey is tied for the league lead in wins in his storybook season, but La Russa made it an all-Giants battery with Cain throwing to Buster Posey, saying he wanted to “reward Matt Cain for a career of excellence.’’

Derek Jeter told Kernan: “I looked kind of foolish when I faced him at Citi Field. I’m happy he’s not starting.’’

Brian Costa in the Journal looks at the history of catchers handling the knuckleball in the All-Star Game, which is one reason why Tim Wakefield went unused when he was selected in 2009 and Phil Niekro similarly did not get into the game his final two selections. Writes Costa:

Consider the fate of the last man to catch the pitch in the All-Star Game. In 1986, Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman came off the bench in the eighth inning with Texas Rangers knuckleballer Charlie Hough on the mound. In one humiliating sequence, Gedman allowed a runner to advance to third base on a wild pitch; dropped a third-strike knuckleball to allow the runner to score and the batter to reach first; and then dropped another third strike before tagging the batter out. Another run scored before American League manager Dick Howser mercifully pulled Hough from the game, which the AL barely held on to win, 3-2.

For years after, Gedman refused to even play catch with a teammate who wanted to toy around with a knuckleball. And even today, his nightmarish All-Star appearance remains a sore subject. "I'm sensitive about it, because it's a reminder of the time I failed -- and failed miserably," said Gedman, now the hitting coach for the Class A Salem (Va.) Red Sox. "I did the best I could. It just wasn't very good."

Columnist David Lennon in Newsday polled American League players and asked if they would prefer facing Cain or Dickey. Wrote Lennon: It was no question. Every one preferred to hit against Cain.

Read more in from Ken Davidoff in the Post as well as in the Daily News, Newsday, Times and Journal.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger looks at Wright's resurgent season, which got off on the wrong foot with a rib-cage injury in spring training, then a broken pinkie that threatened to land him on the disabled list in April. “I don’t think I’m as bad as I was last year,” Wright told McCullough. “It’s tough to say I’m as good as I am this year. It’s probably somewhere in between. I have to keep that in perspective. I didn’t all of a sudden find some magic potion, and think I can do this for the rest of my career. You’ve got to take advantage of when you’ve hit a hot streak. And we’ve been fortunate enough that in this lineup, this year, I’ve been able to do that.”

Writes Mike Kerwick in the Record in a profile of Wright:

There are plenty of moments that still bring him joy. On June 18, before a 5-0 win over the Orioles, Wright was playing catch on the field with members of Hofstra’s softball team. One of the college’s pitchers was throwing fastballs. Wright politely requested changeups. And last week, after a night game, the Mets were putting on a postgame fireworks show. Wright grabbed some food and headed for the door. He walked out of the clubhouse to watch the fireworks.

Valentino Pascucci won the Triple-A Home Run Derby on Monday night before a crowd of 17,244 in Buffalo, beating Charlotte's Dan Johnson of the Chicago White Sox organization in the finals. Buffalo hosts the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, with Matt Harvey, Pascucci and closer Fernando Cabrera due to represent the Bisons/Mets. “He’s a big dude and he was bombing them 400 plus over the net,” the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, who won the celebrity derby, told Mike Harrington in the Buffalo News about Pascucci. “That was cool to see.”

• Brooklyn players Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Plawecki, Phillip Evans and Paul Sewald recorded a segment at the Coney Island ballpark showing MTV's Lenay Dunn how to play baseball. View a photo here.

• Former phenom Scott Kazmir is trying to make a comeback with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League, in the southpaw's native Texas. Kazmir auditioned for the Mets during spring training but went unsigned. Writes Joshua Siegel in the Houston Chronicle:

The past two years have not been easy on Kazmir as he suffered a drop in his velocity and confidence. In 2010, he saw his ERA balloon to 5.94 and, after one horrific outing in 2011, he found himself pitching in extended spring training and the minors. After going 0-5 for the Angels’ Class AAA affiliate and allowing 30 runs in 151D3 innings, the Angels let him go despite owing him $14.5 million. Kazmir said that during his time in the minors it was a coin flip whether he would be able to get the ball over the plate. “I mean when you go out there and you struggle like I did, it’s tough to have confidence. It really is,” he said. “Today being able to do what I did, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” On Sunday, Kazmir’s fastball was in the low 90s and topped out at 95 mph.

• Left-hander Steven Matz, the organization's top draft pick in 2009, tossed six scoreless innings, but the bullpen squandered a 6-0 lead in Kingsport's loss. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Kerwick in the Record reviews the Mets at the midway point.

Mike Puma in the Post offers grades. Wright gets an A. Jason Bay gets a D.

Richard Sandomir in the Times reviews devout Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld talking about his admiration for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and the "Who's on First?" routine. Writes Sandomir:

Seinfeld's fascination with Abbott and Costello began in the 1960s when he started to watch reruns of the comedy team’s syndicated TV series. He plucked some of what he admired for his own series: a short routine to open each episode; playing the Abbott-like straight man to the other characters, and emphasizing the physical differences between Kramer’s lean physique and Newman’s porcine one. And George Costanza’s middle name, Louis, paid homage to Costello. Seinfeld said he experienced a “Who’s on First?” moment in an episode, “The Package,” in which Kramer says the Postal Service will take a write-off if Jerry files a fraudulent claim that his stereo was damaged during delivery.

TRIVIA: Citi Field will host the 2013 All-Star Game. Where is the 2014 game due to be played?

Monday's answer: Darryl Strawberry was the youngest Met ever to have a plate appearance in an All-Star Game. He was 22 years, 120 days old on July 10, 1984 when he went 1-for-2 as the starting right fielder for the NL at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Dickey, Ruiz will enter together

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
6:24
PM ET
R.A. Dickey and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will enter the All-Star Game at the same point to maximize their opportunity to get acclimated, Terry Collins said, according to Post columnist Ken Davidoff's tweet.

Ruiz told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb he caught a knuckleballer, Jared Fernandez, in the minors back in 2005.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Juan Lagares
BA HR RBI R
.314 1 7 8
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
WC. Torres 2
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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