New York Mets: Chris Carpenter

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
8:45
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright consecutively to close this week's series.
METS (14-20, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (23-13, first place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.63) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (5-1, 2.72), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-4, 5.55) vs. LHP John Gast (0-0, -.--), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-3, 8.59) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.58), 8:15 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright combined to retire 40 straight Colorado Rockies from the second batter of Friday’s game through the 13th batter Saturday. That matched the major league record for most consecutive batters retired in a series, initially set by the Texas Rangers against the Detroit Tigers on May 3-4, 1996.

The 22-year-old Miller, the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft, allowed a game-opening single to Eric Young Jr., then retired 27 straight. The following day, Wainwright had a no-hit bid end after 7 1/3 innings on a Nolan Arenado single.

Despite missing an entire season, Wainwright is tied for the second-most shutouts in the majors since 2010 (six), trailing only Cliff Lee (seven). Miller, 22, made his major league debut last Sept. 5 against the Mets with two scoreless innings.


Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP Images
John Gast makes his major league debut Tuesday in place of Jake Westbrook.


St. Louis starting pitchers had a 21-7 record and MLB-leading 2.11 ERA until Jaime Garcia modestly tarnished that by allowing five runs in six innings in a loss Sunday.

Jake Westbrook (2-1, 1.62 ERA), who had been scheduled to face the Mets, instead landed on the disabled list with right-elbow inflammation. Left-hander John Gast has been promoted from Triple-A Memphis and will start Tuesday in his major league debut in Westbrook’s place. Although not a top prospect like Michael Wacha (who is 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts with Memphis), Gast is 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in six starts for that Pacific Coast League club this season.

Lance Lynn had a personal 10-game winning streak dating to last Sept. 9 snapped with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. It had been the longest active winning streak in the majors. Lynn (24-9 in his career) has never lost consecutive games.

Yadier Molina, who ranks fourth in the NL in batting at .343, lost an 11-game hitting streak Sunday. He has started all but one game this season. However, backup Tony Cruz is expected to get one start against the Mets. Cruz’s only start so far came April 19 at Philadelphia.

Pete Kozma showed enough during spring training to beat out ex-Met Ronny Cedeno for the shortstop job in place of the injured Rafael Furcal. Kozma, a 2012 postseason hero, provides steady defense (one error so far), albeit with unexceptional range or flair.

Furcal strained an elbow ligament near the end of the 2012 regular season and missed the postseason. After visiting James Andrews during spring training, Furcal concluded he would need Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season.

Kozma had the tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the Cards’ division series, which knocked the Washington Nationals out last October.

• Second baseman Matt Carpenter never played that position in the minors. He is a natural third baseman who also played first base and the outfield with St. Louis in 2012. Fellow lefty hitter Daniel Descalso, who competed for the job in spring training, also sees some action at the position when Carpenter slides over to third base in place of David Freese.

• Left fielder Matt Holliday left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury after tripping at first base, but returned to action Sunday.

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 Sunday as his average dipped to .298. Despite reduced mobility in right field at this stage of his career, Beltran entered the series finale against Colorado hitting .345 since April 15.

Jason Motte, who had an NL-leading 42 saves last season, underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday after initially hoping to rehab and avoid the procedure. Edward Mujica is 9-for-9 in save chances.

The Cards’ bullpen still has the worst ERA in the NL, but it has dramatically improved with a shakeup that involved demoting left-hander Marc Rzepczynski on April 27 and right-hander Mitchell Boggs on May 3. Entering Sunday, when rookie Carlos Martinez surrendered three runs in relief, the Cards' bullpen had a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings since May 3.

Martinez’s fastball has averaged 96.4 mph since a promotion from Double-A Springfield 10 days ago. He is the No. 3-rated prospect in the St. Louis organization, according to Baseball America. He nearly exclusively started in the minors but is getting introduced to the majors as a reliever, which is tradition with the Cards. Pitching prospect Seth Maness, like Martinez, was promoted for bullpen use after primarily starting in the minors.

Chris Carpenter, whose career appeared in jeopardy because of nerve damage in his arm, may return this season. He threw a 75-pitch bullpen session Friday.

Morning briefing: Gee's 1st pitch since July

April, 4, 2013
4/04/13
6:37
AM ET

Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports
Dillon Gee will be on a major league mound today for the first time since July.
FIRST PITCH: Dillon Gee is set to deliver his first major league pitch since July 7, 2012 and the Mets attempt to complete a sweep of a season-opening series against left-hander Eric Stults and the San Diego Padres today at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Gee underwent emergency surgery during last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged and obstructed artery in his right shoulder that caused his pitching arm to go numb.

The procedure has restored the feeling in Gee’s pitching hand, although he still may need to be wary in extreme cold temperatures. That bears watching since the Mets play in cool climates to open the season -- New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Denver. Gee has been given nitroglycerin tablets to take to expand blood vessels in an extreme case where the cold weather starts impacting his ability to feel the baseball.

“I think I’ll be fine -- even if it’s 40, 35 [degrees],” Gee said. “It hasn’t been an issue.”

Gee did experience frigid weather once during the offseason while hunting and mostly kept his right hand in a pocket.

“It was like 20 that day, and I was still OK,” Gee said. “It would probably be more if I was sitting on the bench than pitching. I think pitching I’ll be fine, I’m so active.”

Thursday’s news reports:

Shaun Marcum is due to be examined in New York today after being unable to throw a simulated game Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Terry Collins said Marcum has significant discomfort “running from his shoulder up through his neck.”

Late in spring training, Marcum told reporters he had aborted a mound session when he had neck discomfort because he remembered what Chris Carpenter experienced with the St. Louis Cardinals and didn’t want to risk doing significant damage.

Carpenter’s issue is known as thoracic outlet syndrome, in which nerves or arteries may get compressed in the area between the collarbone and first rib. (See Mayo Clinic discussion of the issue here.) Carpenter underwent surgery last July that involved removing a rib, but he experienced continued pain this February that will cause him to miss this season and perhaps end his career.

The Mets guaranteed Marcum $4 million this season, with the opportunity to earn another $4 million in incentives. (See the contract breakdown here.)

Left-hander Aaron Laffey is expected to be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Marcum’s intended start Sunday against the Miami Marlins. Laffey, who turns 28 this month, went 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 22 appearances (16 starts) with the Toronto Blue Jays last season.

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


Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Matt Harvey tossed seven scoreless innings Wednesday.


Matt Harvey struck out 10 -- one shy of the career-high total he produced in his major league debut -- and surrendered only one hit and two walks in seven scoreless innings to earn his first career home win as the Mets beat San Diego, 8-4, Wednesday. Lucas Duda, John Buck and Ike Davis belted two-run homers against left-hander Clayton Richard, who had allowed an NL-high 31 homers in 2012.

The 19 runs produced by the Mets match the franchise record for the first two games of a season. The 1969 club against Montreal and the 1979 club at Chicago also posted that run total.

Harvey became the sixth pitcher in franchise history to toss seven-plus scoreless innings within the first two games of the season. He joined Dwight Gooden (1993), Frank Viola (1990), Jon Matlack (1976), Tom Seaver (1973) and Jerry Koosman (1968).

Harvey is the third Met to produce 10-plus strikeouts in three of his first 11 games, joining Gooden and Nolan Ryan.

His 80 strikeouts are the fourth-most by a pitcher in his first 11 games as a Met, trailing only Pedro Martinez (92), Gooden (87) and Ryan (85).

The Mets went 21-38 against southpaw starting pitchers last season, but are now 1-0 in 2013. The team got an MLB-worst five homers from its catchers a year ago (Kelly Shoppach 3, Josh Thole 1, Mike Nickeas 1).

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

Read more on Harvey from columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News, George Willis in the Post and Anthony Rieber in Newsday.


Courtesy of Las Vegas 51s
Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud form the battery as the Las Vegas 51s open their season late tonight at Sacramento.


• The Mets’ four full-season affiliates open play Thursday. The Opening Day starters: Zack Wheeler for Triple-A Las Vegas at Sacramento, Rafael Montero for Double-A Binghamton at Akron, Hansel Robles for high-A St. Lucie versus Jupiter, and Matt Bowman for low-A Savannah versus Rome. Noah Syndergaard, the highly regarded pitching prospect obtained from the Toronto Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey deal, is due to make his debut with the organization Sunday for St. Lucie.

Mike Piazza will have a cameo performing in the Miami City Ballet.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes the Mets stuck with Ruben Tejada despite a poor spring training.

From the bloggers Mets Police asks if Howie Rose still has his Mercury Mets jersey.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Gil Hodges was born on this date in 1924. … Eric Valent, who hit for the cycle with the Mets in 2004, is 36. … Jim Fregosi, now a special assistant for the Atlanta Braves, turns 71. … Longtime Cardinals second baseman Tommy Herr, who played for the Mets late in his career, turns 57.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would you rather watch today’s Mets-Padres game, Zack Wheeler throwing to Travis d’Arnaud in Sacramento … or Mike Piazza when he performs with the Miami City Ballet?

Toxicology report -- bad MLB contracts

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:18
AM ET

US Presswire
Vernon Wells, Juan Uribe and Chone Figgins (l to r) are among the bloated contracts around Major League Baseball.
The Mets’ first task this offseason regarding Jason Bay, and for that matter Johan Santana, likely should be to see if any team has trade interest. A swap appears unlikely, though, even discounting the no-trade clause each possesses.

After all, Bay is hitting .155 with eight homers in 187 at-bats. And he is owed $19 million next season including a 2014 buyout, making it a toxic contract.

Similarly, Santana -- despite the June 1 no-hitter -- finishes the season on the DL after allowing six-plus runs in each of his final five starts. Santana is owed $31 million next season including a ’14 buyout.

Still, if the Mets were to find another team with toxic contracts to swap, who is logical? With the help of reporters around baseball, here’s a look …

THEY’VE GOT POTENTIAL

Angels: “Oh, you've come to the right place,” our friend who covers the Angels says. “The Angels have the deadest of dead weight -- Vernon Wells. The Angels are paying Wells $21 million this year to be their fourth outfielder. They owe him $21 million more in 2013 and again in 2014.”

Blue Jays: Left fielder/first baseman Adam Lind (.240, 10 HR, 40 RBIs) is owed $5 million in 2013. With buyouts of option years, the minimum owed is $7 million. “He cleared waivers at one point this season and the Blue Jays would love to get rid of his contract -- even though it's unlikely that can happen,” a team observer said.

Braves: Second baseman Dan Uggla (.215, 19 HR, 73 RBIs) is owed $39 million over the next three seasons.

Cubs: Alfonso Soriano ($18 million apiece in 2013 and ’14) and Carlos Marmol ($9.8 million next season) are the remaining sizable contracts.

Dodgers: The Dodgers inherited Carl Crawford ($102.5 million through 2017) and Josh Beckett ($31.5 million through 2014) while acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but both should contribute. The least-productive contract: Juan Uribe, who finally pinch hit Sunday after going unused for nearly a month. Uribe, with one year remaining, is still owed $8 million.

Mariners: Left fielder Chone Figgins (.183, 2 HR, 11 RBIs) is owed $8 million next season. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (.258, 4 HR, 14 RBIs) is owed $7.5 million in 2013 with a buyout of the following season. Says one observer: “Gutierrez has been hurt or sick for most of his deal and might produce if ever healthy. Figgins is literally dead weight.” Bay does live in the offseason in Seattle. And the combined $15.5 million owed to those two are close to Bay's $19 million.

Marlins: Heath Bell has two years, $18 million guaranteed remaining. He also has a $9 million option for 2015 based on games finished -- 55 the previous season or 100 combined in 2013 and '14. (The Mets have been down that route before.)

Pirates: Clint Barmes is signed for 2013 at $5.5 million. He's hitting .228/.266/.325 with eight homers.

Red Sox: John Lackey (12-12, 6.41 ERA) has two years left for a combined $30.5 million, with a 2015 club option at the major league minimum because of a preexisting elbow injury.

Twins: Nick Blackburn (4-9, 7.39 ERA) and middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- both relegated to the minors -- are under contract for 2013 and “practically sunken cost.” Blackburn is owed $5.5 million. Nishioka is owed $3.25 million including a 2014 buyout. The Twins likely would never trade Joe Mauer, despite him being owed $23 million annually through 2018.

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez to Flushing? Don't hold your breath. Still, A-Rod is owed $114 million over the next five seasons. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia could emerge as bad contracts, with $90 million over four seasons and $119 million over five seasons owed, respectively.

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

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