New York Mets: Casper Wells

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

August, 25, 2013

USA TODAY SportsRyne Sandberg has replaced Charlie Manuel as Phillies manager.
METS (58-70, third place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (59-71, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.03) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.51), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Matt Harvey (9-5, 2.27) vs. RHP Ethan Martin (2-2, 6.33), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16 and named former Chicago Cubs star Ryne Sandberg the interim manager. Sandberg most recently served as Philadelphia’s third-base coach. He previously managed the organization’s Triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate for two seasons.

Manuel, 69, began managing the club in 2005 and compiled a 780-636 record. He has the most wins in franchise history, and managed the Phillies’ 2008 World Series title team. Manuel’s firing came four days after he earned his 1,000th career win, combined with a 2-season stint managing the Cleveland Indians.

Laurence Kesterson/Associated PressEx-Nat Roger Bernadina signed with the Phillies last week.

Ryan Howard appears done for the season after undergoing left knee surgery on July 10. Although Howard has resumed baseball activities, Sandberg indicated it would not be productive to try to get the first baseman in major league shape by the season’s conclusion. Michael Young primarily has played first base minus Howard.

• Rookie Ethan Martin, the 15th overall pick in the 2008 draft, was acquired at last year’s trade deadline in the deal that sent Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martin has a 6.33 ERA in five major league starts. He is coming off an outing Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he was knocked out after recording only two outs. Martin surrendered three hits, including a homer to Martin Prado, and walked three.

That game ended up lasting 18 innings. Its length prompted scheduled Sunday starter Tyler Cloyd to pitch five innings in relief Saturday, which then prompted the Phillies to bring back Roy Halladay early from the disabled list to start Sunday. Halladay had planned to pitch in another minor league rehab game after recovering from right shoulder surgery. The Phillies also used outfielder Casper Wells and infielder John McDonald as relief pitchers in the 18-inning game.

• Wells was claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 8.

• The Phillies signed outfielder Roger Bernadina on Wednesday and optioned Michael Martinez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Bernadina had batted .178 with two homers and six RBIs in 85 games with the Washington Nationals this season.

• The Phillies have won two straight series, after winning only one other series since the All-Star break.

Darin Ruf has a National League-high nine homers in August. His long ball total is the most by a Phillies rookie in a calendar month since Howard had 10 in September 2005.

John Lannan will undergo left-knee surgery. Fellow starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone also is expected to miss the remainder of the season, with rotator-cuff inflammation.

Domonic Brown departed Saturday’s game with right heel soreness. He then pinch hit on Sunday. Brown recently missed 11 games with a concussion.

Jimmy Rollins needs two homers for 200 in his career.

Morning briefing: Matt Harvey show next up

February, 24, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The Mets put their undefeated record on the line on Day 2 of the Grapefruit League season with a pair of games Sunday.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
A day after Zack Wheeler's appearance, it's Matt Harvey's turn today.

Terry Collins takes Matt Harvey and a split squad to Kissimmee to face the now-AL West-member Houston Astros. (See full travel roster here.)

Meanwhile, back at Tradition Field, devout Ohio State fan Jonathon Niese as well as Dillon Gee pitch against Fred Wilpon’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. The Wolverines won two of three games from Fordham this weekend at the Mets’ complex.

Gee will pitch in his first game since undergoing emergency surgery during last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. He already was throwing off the mound in September at Citi Field before shutting things down for the offseason, so Gee said he has zero concerns about this start.

“I feel great,” Gee said. “I feel normal. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Sunday’s news reports:

Pedro Feliciano returned to camp Saturday after an examination at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Feliciano said he has an irregular heartbeat and small “hole” in the exterior of the heart. Feliciano will wear a heart monitor and is not yet cleared to resume baseball activities. Collins said the issue potentially is serious. Sandy Alderson plans to address the issue further with media this morning. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post, Record and

• Outfielder Jamie Hoffmann also returned to camp after his initial physical required a follow-up exam in New York. Hoffmann said he was diagnosed with a non-alarming heart condition 10 years ago that routinely gets flagged when he switches teams.

Zack Wheeler wowed in his Grapefruit League debut, limiting the Washington Nationals to one hit and one walk while striking out two in two scoreless innings. Collins nonetheless reiterated that Wheeler is ticketed for the minors to open the season, regardless of Johan Santana’s situation.

“He’s very similar to Doc,” Wally Backman told columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post, referring to Dwight Gooden. “I think Doc’s breaking ball was a little bit bigger, but this kid has got, to me, real high expectations.”

Said Joe McIlvaine, a scout for the Mariners who once drafted Dwight Gooden: “Easy gas. Wheeler is very similar to [Stephen] Strasburg. He threw about as hard. He’s the same type of breaking ball. The same type of elongated body. Strasburg is a little bit stronger, but he’s a little bit older. The only differential I would say at this point is that [Wheeler’s] control is not as good as Strasburg’s. That’s the biggest difference, and that’s why he is still in the minor leagues.”

Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with man-of-few-words Wheeler. The exchange includes:

Q: Tell me about the day you were traded to the Mets.

A: I rolled out of bed, saw it on Twitter. I went downstairs, it was on ESPN.

Read more on Wheeler’s Grapefruit League debut in the Star-Ledger, Times, Post, Newsday, Daily News and

• Also in the 5-2 win against the Nats, Ruben Tejada belted a two-run homer against Strasburg, Shaun Marcum surrendered three runs in two innings and Collin Cowgill delivered a game-deciding RBI double. Read more in Newsday.

David Wright will get three more Grapefruit League starts before departing Saturday for the World Baseball Classic, Collins said. Read more in Newsday.

• The Mets signed 29-year-old first baseman Rhyne Hughes to a minor league deal. Justin Turner played with Hughes in the Baltimore Orioles organization and said the lefty hitter has power to all fields when on his game. Hughes’ career got sidetracked when the Orioles tried to expose him to right field and made him a part-time player, according to Turner.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jason Bay homered in his first plate appearance as a Mariner.

Jason Bay belted a two-run homer in his first at-bat as member of the Seattle Mariners. Bay is competing with Casper Wells for the final outfield slot. Read more in The Seattle Times and Newsday.

• Andrew Keh in the Times looks at the tradition of baseball players having offseason jobs. Collin McHugh works during the winter with a company that does fundraising for schools.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News contrasts John Buck with predecessor Josh Thole. “Josh just didn’t have a feel for calling a game,” a Mets person told Harper. “We needed somebody that was going to help make our young pitchers better.”

Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger has a Q&A with Buck about his Glove Guardian company.

• Should the Mets instruct Travis d’Arnaud to do swipe tags instead of blocking the plate in order to protect the young catcher? Mark Hale asks Paul DePodesta in the Post. “I’d say it’s to be determined,” DePodesta said.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News is critical of Wright’s agents over other clients being tied to a South Florida clinic.

• Minor league field coordinator Dicky Scott notes in the Star-Ledger that the plan is to keep prospect Wilmer Flores in the infield. “A lot of guys go to the outfield because they can really run – they’re great defenders -- and with other guys it’s because they don’t like fielding groundballs,” Scott told the newspaper. “We have a guy who has good hands, who can play multiple positions. I think we’re going to stick with that.”

• Mike Kerwick in the Record profiles pitching coach Dan Warthen, including his influence on a young Erik Hanson.

From the bloggers ... With 1986 nearly three decades in the past, Shannon from Mets Police wonders when the Mets become one of those teams that never wins. … Mets Merized looks at center-field prospect Matt den Dekker.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Eddie Murray turns 57.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What record and ERA will Matt Harvey produce in 2013?

Please use the comments section to weigh in



Bartolo Colon
14 4.02 143 190
BAD. Murphy .298
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180