New York Mets: Charlie Manuel

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: Travis watch, San Diego

August, 17, 2013

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesTravis d'Arnaud is set to make his major league debut tonight.

FIRST PITCH: Travis d’Arnaud Day!

With wife Brooke Buck going into labor and John Buck leaving the team, the prized catching prospect d’Arnaud is due to make his major league debut at 8:40 p.m. ET today as the Mets look to make it three straight wins against the San Diego Padres.

D’Arnaud hit .400 (8-for-20) with one homer, four RBIs and nine walks in seven games since rejoining Triple-A Las Vegas. He had broken the first metatarsal in his left foot on a foul ball while catching for the 51s on April 17.

Sandy Alderson suggested d’Arnaud could remain in the big leagues after Buck’s three-day paternity leave expires if the prospect performs well during the cameo.

“We’re all excited to see Travis,” Terry Collins said. “Like a lot of these guys, there’s a huge buildup taking place. Some of the reports are pretty impressive when you hear about it. So I’m anxious to see him play. Of course, he’s got confidence off the charts. After he came back [from the broken foot], he’s done very, very well. He’s swinging the bat great. We’re going to take a look at him.”

D’Arnaud is due to catch Jenrry Mejia tonight. Mejia (1-2, 2.22 ERA) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (8-10, 5.80), who has the highest ERA among NL qualifiers.

Zack Wheeler raved late Friday about d’Arnaud’s ability to make a borderline pitch look like a strike.

“He receives it unbelievably,” Wheeler said. “We really didn’t get to throw all that much to each other [in Las Vegas]. I think it was three or four times, or something like that. But between that and what I saw in spring training, he can make a pitch at the bottom of the knee caps look like it’s on the top of the knee caps. It helps you out. He’s just a good catcher.”

Saturday’s news reports:

Jeremy Hefner plans to see another doctor Monday to determine if he will require Tommy John surgery. If the procedure is necessary of repair an MCL tear in his right elbow, Hefner may miss most or all of 2014. Read more in Newsday.

Marlon Byrd, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy homered as the Mets beat San Diego, 5-2, Friday night. Byrd produced his 19th long ball, one shy of matching his career high, which he achieved in 2009 with the Texas Rangers. Anthony Recker, whose playing time is above to nosedive with d’Arnaud’s arrival, went 3-for-3 with a walk in the victory. Jonathon Niese limited San Diego to one run while logging 111 pitches in six innings.

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

Wilmer Flores tested his right ankle running Friday afternoon and likely is to return to the starting lineup tonight.

• Read more on d’Arnaud’s arrival in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

• Collins expressed his sympathy after the firing of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. The two played together at Triple-A Albuquerque in 1975. Collins is in the final year of his own deal.

A Mets insider affirmed to that nothing about Collins’ fate would be announced until after the season, although internally the decision is tentatively resolved. Collins widely is expected to return for 2014. Read more on Manuel’s ouster at

• Jared Diamond in the Journal profiles Juan Lagares, whose 10 outfield assists already are two shy of matching the Mets’ rookie record, set by Tsuyoshi Shinjo in 2001. Writes Diamond:

Right fielder Marlon Byrd compared him to 10-time Gold Glover Andruw Jones, who was famous for playing an extremely shallow center field. Because Lagares has such impressive natural instincts going back on fly balls, he is able to play shallow and still retrieve long flies with ease.

"Juan plays more shallow than any other center fielder in baseball," Byrd said. "So when he's closing on balls in front of him, he's already up closer than everyone else."

• Noah Syndergaard, who arrived with d’Arnaud and Class A outfielder Wuilmer Becerra in the R.A. Dickey trade, continues to dominate Double-A. Syndergaard tossed five scoreless innings and struck out 10 as Binghamton beat New Britain, 1-0.

“I wasn’t really tallying the strikeouts I had, I was just pitching. … I just feel like I had all my pitches going for me tonight,” Syndergaard told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. “It’s a lot of fun to pitch when you’ve got the fastball, curveball, and changeup going for you.”

Also Friday: Jeyckol De Leon had four hits and three RBIs as Kingsport beat Bristol, 11-4. James Roche homered for the second straight day as Brooklyn beat Vermont, 6-4. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear thinks about rookies, strikeouts and pitch counts.

BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Skip Lockwood was born on this date in 1946.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Has your opinion of the R.A. Dickey for Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard trade changed since last December?

Collins feels badly for fired Phils skipper

August, 16, 2013

Kathy Willens/Associated PressTerry Collins and fired Phillies manager Charlie Manuel were Triple-A teammates.
SAN DIEGO --- Terry Collins said fired Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had a sharp intellect that was masked by his pronounced country accent. Manuel was replaced on an interim bases by Ryne Sandberg as Phillies manager on Friday.

"Charlie and I were teammates," Collins said, referring to their time with Triple-A Albuquerque. "He's one of my really closest friends. And I know he loved managing. And I know he loved managing in Philadelphia. And I feel terrible for him today.

"If you've been around Charlie, just because he's got that little accent to his vocabulary, he's one of the real sharp guys going, and is a tremendous talent evaluator. Again, masqueraded behind that country bumpkin stuff, he's real sharp. And I feel terrible for him today because, obviously, with what their success has been in recent years, he's had a lot to do with that.

"I'll tell you one thing about Charlie, he didn't mince words. He didn't try to be politically correct at any time. He said what was on his mind, and said it bluntly. I think, to be honest, some guys were offended by some things he said. But, for the most part, you knew where he stood on everything. The same way as a player. I mean, he was exactly the same way as a player. So I feel bad for him. I know it's tough for [GM] Ruben [Amaro]. But we all have things we've got to get through right now."

Collins, of course, is in the final year of his own contract. The expectation is he will be invited back for 2014.

Still, a team insider reiterated Friday to that while the organization has a good sense of what it plans for Collins, it will not cement any decision until after the season. With 43 games remaining, the Mets do not want to publicly resolve Collins is returning and then have an unforeseen clubhouse drama or some other event force a change in direction.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 18, 2013

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: Phillies 5, Mets 1

April, 28, 2013

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.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

April, 25, 2013

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.

Morning briefing: Wintry weekend for Mets

April, 12, 2013
FIRST PITCH: After an off-day that included trips to the Mall of America and a Minnesota Wild game while dodging snowflakes, the Mets get back to work Friday with an interleague series against the Twins -- weather-permitting.

The forecast for tonight calls for a low of 28 degrees and 30 percent chance of snow in Minneapolis.

Approximately five inches of snow fell Thursday.

Jonathon Niese (1-0, 2.13 ERA) is scheduled to face ex-Phillie Vance Worley in the series opener.

Read the series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday notes Matt Harvey has plenty of friends on the NHL’s Rangers, including Brian Boyle and Henrik Lundquist. Harvey has sought fashion advice from Lundquist. "I saw what he did the other day," Boyle told Rieber about Harvey. "Nine strikeouts, one earned? I think it's cool to kind of follow him. He's a humble guy. I hope he turns into a superstar. You really do root for a guy like that."

• Andrew Keh in the Times gets the Phillies to rave about Harvey.

Said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel: “He’s got a little bit of style like Seaver. He’s a drop-and-drive guy. He gets a lot of torque from his backside pitching off the rubber. He’s got a chance to be real good.”

Said Laynce Nix to Keh: “He’s throwing stuff that a closer comes out of the bullpen and throws for one inning. But he’s doing it for a game.”

Zach Lutz belted a grand slam and Las Vegas routed Sacramento. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Neil Best in Newsday writes about a night with SNY commentator/Sacred Heart athletic director/former major league manager Bobby Valentine.

• Read more about the frigid Minnesota weather in the Daily News.

• Mark Bowman at notes David Wright, B.J. Upton and Ryan Zimmerman were all members of the same travel team in Norfolk, Va., while in high school. And now they’re in the same division. "David talks a good game," Upton said. "But we can get in Dave's dome pretty easy. Ryan is pretty stoic.”

• Terry Collins has used four different leadoff hitters in the past five games, notes Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger.

Ike Davis was born in Minnesota while his father Ron played for the Twins, notes Mike Puma in the Post. Mike Kerwick in the Record, meanwhile, addresses Davis' slow start.

• Collins is not a fan of interleague play. Read more in the Post.

From the bloggers … To Mets Police, Thursday was the day the Mets fan base lost its mind.

BIRTHDAYS: Paul LoDuca turns 41. … D.J. Carrasco, whose last pitch in the majors came a day after he plunked Ryan Braun, turns 36. … Former Mets infielder/Brooklyn Cyclones product Danny Garcia is 33.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets be playing an interleague game in Minnesota in early April?

Mets morning briefing 5.10.12

May, 10, 2012
The Mets produced their MLB-leading 11th comeback win, rallying for a 10-6 victory Wednesday night, to sweep a three-game series in Philly for the first time since June 2006. They moved five games over .500 for the first time since July 19, 2010.

"We came in and got them at the right time and took advantage of playing hard," Terry Collins said. "If something happened, there was a mistake, we capitalized on it. It was a great trip for us. We'll enjoy it for a while and get ready for this weekend."

Thursday's news reports:

• An excerpt from my column on the sweep:

Inside a jubilant visitors’ clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, third baseman David Wright struggled to recall the New York Mets’ last three-game sweep in Philly. And if he could not come up with the date, surely none of his teammates could, either. After all, Wright is the only active player to have been a Met the last time it happened. “I was trying to remember that. In 2006, maybe?” Wright asked after the Mets posted their third straight come-from-behind victory to sweep the Phillies with a 10-6 victory Wednesday night. Yes, June 15, 2006 -- before Adam Wainwright's curveball, and “Team to Beat,” and the collapse, and the second collapse, and three losing seasons, and Bernard Madoff and, well, you get the point. (You would think Wright would have had a fighting chance at recalling it, too, since he homered in each game of that series.) Wednesday’s victory moved the Mets five games over .500 for the first time since July 19, 2010.

Read the full analysis here.

• The win came despite Dillon Gee being charged with four runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. “I was not good -- probably, by far, the worst I’ve felt all year,” Gee said. “I just had zero command. I was behind to everyone and I had no command of the curveball. It’s tough to pitch like that.” Read game recaps in the Times, Record, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News and Post.

• Phillies manager Charlie Manuel called a team meeting after getting swept by the Mets. Writes Matt Gelb in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The room was quiet now because Charlie Manuel had already delivered a loud message to his beaten team. Many of the Phillies had dressed, left their clubhouse and ventured into the wet darkness. Still in his full uniform, Cliff Lee sat with Roy Halladay and Chad Qualls. Joe Savery packed his bags for Allentown. Jimmy Rollins hopped onto a table and broke the silence. "You don't have to whisper," he said. "It's not the end of the world." Fates are not decided after 32 baseball games, but Manuel decided an intervention was required. All he had to do was watch Wednesday's 10-6 defeat to New York - 2 hours, 56 minutes of baseball that made him seethe. "And usually," Manuel said, "I stay pretty cool."

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post notes the Mets' success had a lot to do with what the Phillies did not do. Writes Davidoff:

The Phillies of 2007-11 strolled the ballpark with an arrogance, an expectation that they would win each night. The current Phillies are exemplifying that such arrogance comes from talent, rather than the talent resulting from attitude of any kind. Because these five-time defending National League East champions, playing without their injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, simply aren’t very good.

Jenrry Mejia allowed two runs in five innings for Class A St. Lucie at Brevard County on Wednesday morning in his first official minor league game since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011. Pitching coach Dan Warthen told Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger the intention is to get Mejia three more minor league starts. After that, team brass will decide whether to use Mejia as a reliever or a starter the remainder of the season. Warthen has been on the record saying he believes Mejia's future is as a reliever because a violent delivery could leave him susceptible to injury. Sandy Alderson indicated what the Mets' needs are will play a role in how to use Mejia. “We’re just trying to get him back to a competitive level, at a representative number of pitches, and commanding all of his assortment of pitches,” Alderson told McCullough. “Once we get to that point, assuming he’s pitching five or six innings a game in a starting role, he can perform either role for us.”

Paul DePodesta told during spring training to look at how the Texas Rangers have developed pitchers in explaining Mejia's future role. That seemed to suggest even back in March that Mejia could contribute at the major league level this season in the bullpen, then revert to a starting role next year if the organization wants to switch him back.

Chris Young follows Mejia in St. Lucie's starting rotation Thursday. Young, who also underwent surgery last May 16, to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder, will be starting in a minor league game for the first time since that procedure. He is scheduled to throw roughly 75 pitches.

Brian Costa in the Journal takes a look at the newly created "taxi squad" for 2012. Under old MLB guidelines, a player potentially replacing an injured major league player could not be in the clubhouse actively participating with teammates until a formal DL move was made. So players were quietly flown in and stayed at the hotel until the team decided whether to DL the injured player. Now, the secrecy and isolation is gone, and the call-up can be in the clubhouse and participate in pregame workouts with the team in uniform at the stadium for up to 24 hours before either being activated or returning to the minors.

Rob Johnson technically was on the taxi squad and in the clubhouse until Josh Thole was placed on the DL on Tuesday. Last month, during the Mets' first trip to Philly, Josh Satin was at Citizens Bank Park for a day, then shipped back to Buffalo when the Mets decided David Wright did not need a DL trip for his fractured right pinkie. Placing a player on the taxi squad also allows the Triple-A team to add a player; in the past, while the potential call-up waited in limbo, the minor league squad was forced to play shorthanded because the player still counted against its roster until activated by the parent club.

"It's lonely," R.A. Dickey told Costa about the old system, when the player was hidden at the hotel. "Nobody there would talk to you. You get a random call at random times, 'Hey, we're not going to activate you tonight. Just spend the night. We might activate you tomorrow. Beeeeeep.' It's really bizarre. You feel like an MI-6 agent."

Satin told Costa that Wright apologized to him for having to fly to Philly only to return to Triple-A without being activated. Said Satin: "David said, 'I'm really sorry I made you come out here.' I said, 'Honestly, there's nothing to be sorry about.' There's plenty of worse things to do than sit in a big-league clubhouse and watch the Mets play the Phillies."

Jeurys Familia limited Triple-A Gwinnett to one run in six innings and Buffalo won, 4-1, Wednesday. Read the full minor league recap here.

Ronny Cedeno, on the DL with a left side muscle strain, played nine innings in an extended spring training game Wednesday. He is expected back this weekend in Miami, although Collins did not commit to a Friday return because he wants to see the middle infielder compete against higher-level pitching.

• Collins believes the spate of left-handed starting pitching the Mets have seen this season is a coincidence, not teams manipulating their rotation to line up against his club. Read more in the Times.

Andres Torres is using a lighter bat than when he played for the Giants, the Daily News notes.

TRIVIA: Shane Victorino nearly played an Andres Torres sinking liner into an inside-the-park homer Wednesday, although Torres stopped at third. Which players have multiple inside-the-park homers while playing for the Mets?

Wednesday's answer: Ex-Met Omir Santos made his major league debut with the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 5, 2008.

Castillo irks another manager

March, 22, 2011
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel apparently wasn't too pleased with having to scratch Luis Castillo from Tuesday's lineup over a miscommunication over the second baseman's ETA.

Asked if he would have been in camp earlier, Manuel is quoted by ESPN's Jayson Stark: "If it was me? I'd have been here two days ago. But it's not me."

Castillo did arrive a day early for Mets position-player reporting, but that did not sit well with Terry Collins, either. Collins thought Castillo should have been there earlier, like other position players, if he really wanted to demonstrate he wanted to earn the second-base job.

Read Stark's news story here.

Jerry gets chuckle at other Manuel's jab

May, 13, 2010

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel redirected sign-stealing attention to the Mets.

Jerry Manuel continued to yuck it up about the Phillies’ alleged sign stealing, and how Phillies counterpart Charlie Manuel suggested the Mets ought to be the ones investigated because of their solid home record.

“Tell him we hit .220 at home,” the Mets skipper playfully said. “So we need to stop stealing signs if that’s what we’re doing.”

Told the Mets, who are 14-8 at Citi Field, actually are hitting .267 at home (as opposed to .214 on the road) he added:

“Oh, we are? We’re killing it then.”

The Phillies were accused by the Colorado Rockies of stealing signs via binoculars in the visitors’ bullpen at Coors Field.

“I watch coaches. I watch players. I watch managers,” the Mets skipper said. “I try to pick up everything I can. I just don’t use binoculars to do it. I just watch the game.”

As for Charlie Manuel’s dig at the Mets, the Mets manager replied: “He just likes to put some spice in the rivalry.”

NO FLIP: Asked if he might consider restoring Jose Reyes to the leadoff spot and moving Angel Pagan to third, Manuel replied with a resounding no. The manager’s logic: If the approach should be the same in either slot, why would it matter so much? Reyes enters the Marlins series hitting .228 in 127 at-bats overall since returning from the disabled list.

“I’m a little stubborn with that,” Manuel acknowledged. “… If I put Pagan third and Reyes leadoff, if Reyes got hot and Pagan didn’t handle the third spot, could I flip Reyes back to third? That would be a question. And, I think, if you do that, then you’re saying there is a difference in (hitting) first and third.”

LEASH LENGTHENING: Left-hander Oliver Perez is not pitching for his rotation spot when he opposes the Marlins on Friday, Manuel insisted. Asked specifically about the possibility of reassigning Perez to the bullpen, the manager said: “I’m not even thinking about that.”

ON LEAVE: The Mets expect catcher Henry Blanco to be away from the team for the full seven days allowed on bereavement leave. Blanco is in Venezuela with his ailing mother. Blanco does not have to be reactivated until Monday in Atlanta. Josh Thole is expected to remain with the Mets through the weekend. Rod Barajas -- despite still dealing with a left index finger bruise from a botched pitchout -- has caught exclusively since Monday, with Thole yet to appear.

ON THE MEND: Right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi threw a bullpen session for pitching coach Dan Warthen at Sun Life Stadium before the Mets-Marlins opener and should be ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment. Igarashi has been on the disabled list since April 21 with a left hamstring strain. This marked his third time throwing off a mound since beginning that process Monday.

“I feel like since I’ve had that time off, my arm feels a lot looser, more relaxed,” Igarashi said through an interpreter.

Manuel expects Carlos Beltran, who began running this week, to visit the Mets in Miami this weekend, too.

ONE LINER: Jeff Francoeur popped into the dugout before Thursday’s opener and remembered the dugouts in Miami are not protected from the field. “What’s Ike going to do without a railing?” Francoeur deadpanned in front of rookie first baseman Ike Davis. Davis, of course, has flipped over the railing three times already in his young career to catch foul balls.

SECOND THOUGHT: Because slugging second baseman Dan Uggla is 1-for-19 in his career against Johan Santana, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez chose to start ex-Cardinal Brian Barden at the position instead Thursday. Of course, Uggla’s one hit off Santana happens to be a homer.



Juan Lagares
.314 1 7 8
HRL. Duda 3
RBID. Wright 10
RE. Young Jr. 14
OPSJ. Lagares .816
WC. Torres 2
ERAJ. Niese 2.84
SOB. Colon 18