New York Mets: Chris Young

Yanks sign Mets castoff Chris Young

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
3:58
PM ET
The Yankees have signed Mets castoff Chris Young to a minor league deal, a baseball official confirmed.

With the minor league season coming to a close, Young likely will be insurance in case the Yankees suffer an injury at the big league level. He could be called up when the rosters expand in September.

Young, an outfielder, was signed by Mets GM Sandy Alderson for $7.25 million this winter but never panned out. Young hit just .205 with eight homers and 28 RBIs for the Mets before he was released earlier this month. The right-handed hitter turns 31 next week.

The Yankees have had injuries in their outfield. Carlos Beltran has missed extended time with an elbow injury and only recently returned to the field. Brett Gardner has been nursing an ankle problem of late. Jacoby Ellsbury is the other starting outfielder.

Ichiro Suzuki and Martin Prado also see time in the outfield.

CBS Sports first reported Young's signing.

Lagares' return raises outfield questions

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
5:35
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The plan has been for Juan Lagares to return to the New York Mets on Thursday in Pittsburgh. And that means the plan for how manager Terry Collins uses his outfielders is about to become more complicated.

"Good question," Collins said Wednesday afternoon. "Great question."

Lagares, who has missed more than three weeks with a right intercostal strain, figures to get most of the time in center field. Curtis Granderson, who has shaken off his early-season slump and is the top 10 in the majors in June OPS (1.043), will continue to play virtually every day, as well.

That leaves one spot, with Collins wanting to find at-bats for Chris Young, Eric Young Jr. and Bobby Abreu. While the Mets discussed releasing Chris Young when Lagares is activated, any chance of that happening seemingly ended when Young hit two home runs Tuesday.

"You look at what Bobby Abreu has done when he has played, it's been very, very good," Collins said. "When Eric Young is in the lineup and he gets on base, we win. And you're hoping that what Chris Young did [Tuesday] is just the start.

"I don't have an answer [for who plays], but I'm going to make sure those at-bats are divvied up. Right now, I don't know."

Lagares went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday at Double-A Binghamton, before being scratched from the Binghamton lineup on Wednesday because of a wet field. Collins said the Mets' plan for him hasn't changed. While the manager didn't come out and say that Lagares will be activated Thursday, he had indicated earlier that the plan was for him to be in the big leagues by the middle of the week.

Six things we learned from Sunday's games

May, 25, 2014
May 25
11:15
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks played six hours and 21 minutes of baseball on Sunday at Citi Field, and it ended in a draw.

The Diamondbacks won the first game 2-1. The Mets won the second game 4-2. Both teams remain in last place in their respective divisions.

Still, we learned a few things about the Mets on this long day in Queens. Here are six items, after six hours and change of action on the field:

Montero belongs here: Rafael Montero is still looking for his first major league win, but he deserves the opportunity to keep trying after striking out 10 in Game 1.

He became just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to strike out 10 or more in one of his first three starts -- Matt Harvey was the last to do so, and we all know how good Harvey turned out to be.

"This was my best, and there is better to come," Montero said.

When Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list (and he may be out longer than expected now), the Mets will have to make a decision. Neither Montero (0-2, 4.96 ERA) nor Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) have gotten a win yet, but the team's anemic offense has a lot to do with that. Why not keep 'em both in the rotation, and send Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) to the bullpen? He's not a part of the long-term future, anyway. Just a thought.

Dice-K can still start: The Mets have converted Daisuke Matsuzaka into a reliever this season but turned to him in desperation on Sunday, and he delivered.

Needing a spot starter because of the doubleheader, the Mets gave the ball to Matsuzaka in Game 2 and he gave them six innings, allowing just two runs on three hits -- striking out six, walking just one, and throwing 98 pitches despite not being stretched out in preparation.

"It tells you the kind of heart he’s got," manager Terry Collins said. "He knows we needed help, he knows our bullpen’s a little thin after what we’ve gone through this week, and he gave us a tremendous outing."

The 33-year-old Matsuzaka has now done it all for the Mets this season -- started, set up and closed. And it's not even June.

Collins shot down the notion of Matsuzaka being added to the rotation after the game, but he's been effective out of the bullpen as well -- now 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA on the season. Matsuzaka estimated he needs three days of rest before he'll be able to pitch again.

"I wanted to go and pitch as deep into the game as I could," he said. "That was the least I could have done, and I’m glad I was able to help out the team."

Mejia can pitch twice in one day: The Mets used Jenrry Mejia for an inning in each game of the doubleheader. He took the loss in the first game, but the winning run was unearned, scoring on an error by Daniel Murphy. And Mejia bounced back to record his third save of the season in the nightcap.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen called down to the bullpen early in the second game, and Mejia said he felt up to pitching again.

"I think it says a lot -- that he's healthier, he's starting to realize that he can bounce back, that he can do more than he first thought," Collins said.

Collins sounded hesitant about using Mejia in Monday's day game against the Pirates, but Mejia said he thinks he will be up for it, and seems to be embracing the closer role.

"Right now I feel pretty good," Mejia said. "Let's see how I feel tomorrow. That's my first time, pitching twice. It's unbelievable."

Wright's really on: The Mets are one of the poorest offensive teams in baseball, but it's certainly not David Wright's fault.

Wright went 2-for-3 and reached base four times in the first game of the doubleheader, and went 1-for-4 in the finale, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

He is batting .444 (16-for-36) during the streak, and has 36 hits in May, second-most in the National League.

Wright also made an outstanding play in the field in the second game. With the Mets leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh, the Diamondbacks had the tying run on second base with one out. Ender Inciarte hit a low foul pop to the left of the third-base line, and Wright made a beautiful sliding grab near the Diamondbacks' dugout. Well done.

Duda, Young really aren't: The Mets are going nowhere if they keep getting this kind of production from the middle of their lineup.

A day after going 0-for-4 and stranding seven runners on base, Lucas Duda went 0-for-5 and stranded eight more Sunday -- starting Game 1, and pinch-hitting in Game 2 -- and is now batting .228 on the season.

Chris Young went 0-for-3 and stranded six runners in Game 1, did not play in Game 2, and is now batting .204 on the season.

"I think mechanically I'm right where I want to be," Duda said. "But I think pitch selection obviously -- chasing balls out of the zone, taking balls that are strikes, that's kind of vice versa of what you hope to do as a baseball player at the plate. That's how it goes -- you hit rough patches, and it is what it is, and I'll come out tomorrow and hopefully knock in a few runs."

Collins said Duda will start Monday but wouldn't commit to Young yet, mentioning the possibility of giving Bobby Abreu another chance. Abreu went 2-for-3 in Game 2 on Sunday, and also drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in Game 1.

The bases loaded is a bad thing: It is for the Mets, anyway. They are now 6-for-44 (.136) with the bases loaded this season, after going 0-for-2 on Sunday.

The Mets are hitless, with zero RBIs, in their last nine at-bats with the bases juiced.

You can't make this stuff up, folks. But tomorrow's a new day.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 7, Mets 5

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
10:53
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Freddie Freeman is so good against the New York Mets, it hardly matters whether he hits the ball 40 feet or 400.

Or whether he hits it off his own foot.

The biggest play in the Mets' 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday did indeed deflect off Freeman's foot, or so it appeared on television replays. The ball ended up rolling down the third-base line, and when Mets starter Bartolo Colon threw it away down the right-field line, the Braves had two runs and a third-inning lead they would never give up.

Freeman had yet another hit against the Mets. He would finish the night with three of them, including an RBI double in the fifth inning that gave him 41 RBIs in his past 40 games against the Mets. Freeman is hitting .350 with 12 home runs in that span.

It's worth noting that Freeman hits well against everyone (his batting average this season is .413). Also worth noting is the fact that the Mets are now 2-6 at home this season, as opposed to 6-3 on the road.

To replay … or not: The new instant-replay system hasn't helped the Mets the past two nights. On Friday, it was a questionable call at first base that was followed by a "fourth out" at third base, which kept manager Terry Collins from putting in a challenge.

Then came the key play in Saturday night's game, the third-inning Freeman infield single. Television replays showed the ball might have hit Freeman's front foot, which would have made it a foul ball. Collins asked the umpires about it but was never able to put in an official challenge because the replay rules don't allow managers to challenge fair/foul calls when the ball doesn't leave the infield or was hit off the batter's foot. There was some disagreement on how conclusive the replays were, anyway.

Not so Grand: The boos at Citi Field are getting louder for Curtis Granderson, the $60 million cleanup hitter whose Mets career is off to a dreadful start. Granderson was hitless in five at-bats Saturday, dropping his average to .140 through 16 games. Worse yet, he has just four RBIs after leaving six more runners on base in this game.

More boos: Is Jose Valverde really still the Mets' closer? Valverde didn't pitch in a save situation Saturday, but the long three-run homer he allowed to Justin Upton deprived Braves closer Craig Kimbrel of a chance at a save. Valverde has allowed four home runs in his past three appearances, and the latest one looked bigger after the Mets scored two runs and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

Luke vs. Ike: The first-base competition that never was essentially ended when the Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. But minutes after Davis doubled in his first at-bat Saturday night in Pittsburgh, Lucas Duda doubled to lead off the second inning for the Mets. Davis reached base safely in his first three plate appearances for the Pirates and scored two runs. Duda ended the night 1-for-4 after just missing a go-ahead home run on an eighth-inning fly ball to the wall in right field.

Young firsts: Chris Young, who missed two weeks with a quadriceps injury, finally got his first Mets hit, a leadoff double off Ervin Santana in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, Eric Young Jr. was caught stealing for the first time this season after being successful on his first 10 tries (including one that led to the Mets' first-inning run Saturday).

The Colon show: Colon was neither as good as he was 10 days ago against the Braves (seven shutout innings) nor as bad as he was last Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels (nine runs allowed), but Colon (three earned runs in seven innings) was as entertaining as ever, especially when he came to the plate. He struck out in both at-bats Saturday, seeing six pitches and swinging violently at five of them.

On one swing in the second inning, Colon swung so hard his helmet came off. Perhaps not the best thing for a pitcher who complained last week of back spasms, but entertaining nonetheless.

What's next: The Mets and Braves close out this three-game series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.67 ERA) starts for the Mets, while rookie right-hander David Hale (0-0, 2.89) pitches for the Braves.

Morning Briefing: Home sweet home?

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
8:38
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets are back at Citi Field on Friday night, after going 6-3 on their opening road trip of the season and enjoying an off day on Thursday.

They are above .500 for the first time since last April 24 (8-7), but must improve their play at home in order to remain relevant. The Mets were 41-40 on the road last season, but just 33-48 in Queens.

Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46) will make his third start of the season for New York. Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) is the scheduled starter for Atlanta. Harang had a brief stint with the Mets last September, going 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four starts.

The first-place Braves (10-5) have only lost one series this season -- to the Mets, who took two of three in Atlanta to begin that impressive road trip.

Friday's news reports:

Chris Young is expected to be activated and return to the Mets lineup on Friday. Young has played just one inning for the Mets this year, in the second game of the season, before landing on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury.

Curtis Granderson could also return to the lineup after suffering forearm, ribcage and knee bruises in a collision with the outfield wall in Arizona. And the Mets will have to make a corresponding roster move in order to activate Young, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Andrew Brown the two most likely candidates to be demoted.

Read more about Young's expected return in the Daily News.

• Granderson is batting just .167 this season, with one home run and four RBIs. But he is not worried about his slow start -- read more in the Record.

Eric Young Jr., on the other hand, is off to a rather good start. He is batting .255 overall, and went 6-for-12 with two walks in the series against the Diamondbacks. Better yet, he is second in the National League in both runs scored (12) and stolen bases (nine). Read more about Young Jr. in the Post and Newsday.

Josh Satin has gotten just 12 at-bats in the first 15 games of the season. He has just two hits (.167 average) and six strikeouts. Satin is one of the Mets' most confounding hitters, says the Star-Ledger.

• The Secret Service threatened to kill Mr. Met? Read more in the Daily News, Post and Star-Ledger.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear takes its time machine to the day Shea Stadium opened. ... Rising Apple suggests if the Mets want to contend, they have to make upgrades at shortstop and closer. ... Mark Berman at Blogging Mets uses baseball cards to chart the evolution of Mets uniforms.

BIRTHDAYS: Rico Brogna turns 44 today. ... Brady Clark is 41. ... Infielder Doug Flynn was born on this date in 1951.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU'RE UP: Who do you think the Mets should send down to Triple-A, in order to activate Chris Young?

Minors 4.13.14: Tapia 5 no-hit innings

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
8:26
PM ET
LAS VEGAS 10, FRESNO 4: Rafael Montero held Fresno hitless until Ydwin Villegas' leadoff double in the sixth. Montero (2-0, 2.60 ERA) eventually was charged with two runs on two hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He departed after surrendering a solo homer to Adam Duvall in the seventh. Chris Young went 5-for-5 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored in his first rehab game with the 51s. Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in two runs. Dana Eveland provided 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Duvall had a two-run homer in the ninth against Erik Goeddel to cap the scoring. Eric Campbell extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Box

BINGHAMTON 6, NEW HAMPSHIRE 0: Hansel Robles tossed five scoreless innings and the B-Mets cashed in on 10 walks to post their sixth win in seven games. The first challenge

lastname
Robles
for Robles arose in the third. After a leadoff walk to Michael Crouse, the Fisher Cats loaded the bases on consecutive one-out singles. Robles ended the threat by striking out Ryan Schimpf and inducing Brad Glenn to ground out. Binghamton scored its first run without the aid of a hit in the fourth. Following Matt Clark's leadoff walk, Aaron Sanchez hit consecutive batters and walked Travis Taijeron to force in a run. Xorge Carrillo then produced a sacrifice fly. Wilfredo Tovar made it 3-0 with an RBI single. Robles faced his final test in the fifth. Crouse started the inning with a triple. Robles hit Kenny Wilson with an 0-2 pitch and walked Schimpf to load the bases with two outs. Robles escaped the jam by striking out Brad Glenn. In the seventh, Darrell Ceciliani led off against Richard Bleier with a single. Ceciliani moved to second on a single, stole third and scampered home with Binghamton’s fourth run on a passed ball by Yusuf Carter. Cody Satterwhite took over for Robles and contributed two scoreless innings. John Church struck out the side in the eighth. Jon Velasquez closed the game with a perfect ninth. Robles (1-0) allowed four hits and struck out six to earn his first Double-A win. Clark walked five times. Ceciliani extended his season-opening hitting streak to seven games with a single in the seventh. Box

ST. LUCIE 6, FORT MYERS 2: Domingo Tapia tossed five innings of no-hit ball before

lastname
Tapia
being removed with the bid intact because he had reached 85 pitches. Reliever Seth Lugo surrendered the first hit, when Jorge Polanco singled with one out in the sixth. Tapia walked two and struck out two in earning his first win. The Mets roughed up Mason Melotakis in the first. Gilbert Gomez singled to score Brandon Nimmo. Eudy Pina then hit a grounder to the shortstop Polanco, who booted the ball, allowing T.J. Rivera to score. Albert Cordero made it 3-0 on a sac fly. Gomez homered against Melotakis in the third. The Mets made it 6-0 with two more runs in the fourth. The big hit came on a two-out RBI double by Aderlin Rodriguez. Lugo surrendered two runs in the sixth. The Miracle put two runners on with two outs in the ninth, but Randy Fontanez entered and struck out Niko Goodrum to end the game. Leadoff hitter Dilson Herrera went 4-for-5. Nimmo, who doubled in the sixth, has hit safely in nine of 10 games. Box

SAVANNAH 6, ROME 2: The Gnats were held to one hit through five innings against rehabbing Braves left-hander Mike Minor, but unleashed six runs over the final two innings. The R-Braves took the lead for the first time all series when a ground-rule double by Joey Meneses plated Reed Harper in the first inning. Gnats starter Chris Flexen then settled down and logged 6 1/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one. Dominic Smith had a single and Victor Cruzado walked for the only baserunners against Minor. The Braves took a shutout bid into the eighth. Patrick Biondi then led off with a triple against Andy Ubiera. Next, Gavin Cecchini singled home Biondi, who now leads the South Atlantic League with 10 runs scored. After Jeff McNeil's sacrifice bunt and L.J. Mazzilli's groundout, Jared King walked to put runners on first and second. League slugging leader Stefan Sabol (.741) then doubled both runners home to give the Gnats a 3-2 lead. The Gnats added three runs in the ninth against Race Parmenter, highlighted by McNeil’s first professional homer. McNeil now leads the league in extra-base hits with seven. Reliever Akeel Morris earned his first win of the season after pitching the final 2 2/3 innings. He had three strikeouts and now has a league-leading 18.90 strikeouts per nine innings. Box

Compiled with team reports

'Bad dream' for Young, new Mets

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
12:03
AM ET
NEW YORK -- The season is just two games old. There's no reason to get too upset.

"It's like a bad dream," Chris Young said Wednesday night.

OK, so the year could have gotten off to a better start for the Mets. Especially for the new Mets.

Young's assessment, delivered in the wake of the Mets' second straight loss to the Nationals, a 5-1 defeat, referred only to his own problems with a troublesome right quadriceps injury and not to the team's two-games-in predicament. But if the first two games of the season haven't been a team-wide nightmare, they haven't exactly been good.

[+] EnlargeGranderson
AP Photo/Kathy KmonicekCurtis Granderson has gone hitless in nine at-bats for his new club.
Young, the new left fielder, has yet to come to the plate, has been able to play just one inning in the field and could be headed to the disabled list. Curtis Granderson, the new $60 million right fielder, is hitless in nine at-bats, with five strikeouts, and has already heard boos from the Citi Field fans.

The Mets also have bullpen questions, after putting closer Bobby Parnell on the disabled list with what could be a season-ending elbow injury, but it was the lack of offense (and lack of contact) that became a bigger focus in the season's second game, as the Mets dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 2005.

The Mets had just three hits and didn't score a run after the first inning. They had just one at-bat with a runner in scoring position after the first inning and just two for the game.

And on the heels of striking out 18 times on Opening Day, the Mets fanned 13 times on Wednesday. The 31 strikeouts are the most ever by a Mets team in the first two games of a season, and the Mets became just the second big league team ever (joining the 111-loss 2013 Astros) to strike out 13 or more times in two straight games to start a season.

"Certainly, we've got to do a better job of putting the ball in play," manager Terry Collins said.

Collins offered up the changing-leagues excuse for Granderson, although to his credit, Granderson rejected that as an explanation. It wasn't too valid on Wednesday, anyway, since Granderson had 16 prior at-bats against Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (he was just 2-for-16).

"[Changing leagues] is something that has been done, and I can do it," Granderson said. "It's two games in. There are going to be a lot of at-bats over the course of a season."

Young's situation is a greater immediate concern for the Mets. He suffered the quad injury last Saturday in Montreal, but after what amounted to three days off (Young didn't play on Opening Day), Wednesday was a true setback. He ran during the afternoon and was cleared to play, but when he went after a ball in the outfield in the first inning, he felt the quad grab.

At the end of the inning, he told Collins he couldn't run, and he was replaced.

While Young said he still hopes to avoid the DL, the Mets might decide they have no choice but to put him there.

"All I can do is try to get right as soon as possible," Young said.

He's not right. The Mets, two games in, are not right.

And if it's not yet a nightmare start, it's not good.

Young leaves game with tight quad

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
8:15
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Left fielder Chris Young, who missed the Mets' opening day game because of a right quadriceps strain, couldn't make it through the first inning of Game 2.

Young wasn't moving well in the outfield, was replaced by Andrew Brown when the second inning began, and now could be headed to the disabled list.

Young, a free-agent signing last winter, suffered the injury over the weekend in the final spring training games in Montreal.

The Mets are playing with an extra position player, because they don't need to activate Jonathon Niese until his Sunday start against the Reds. Brown figured to be sent down to make room for Niese, but Young's injury will likely save him a spot on the roster.

Mejia has forearm bruise, to get X-rays

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
9:21
PM ET

Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SportsJenrry Mejia was forced from Friday's game after getting struck with a line drive in the right forearm.
MONTREAL -- Jenrry Mejia’s final bid for a rotation spot ended with a knockout Friday night at Olympic Stadium.

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins’ liner struck Mejia in the right forearm to open the bottom of the fifth inning. After a visit from Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez, Mejia slowly walked off the mound.

Mejia departed for a local hospital as the game ended to get X-rays.

The forearm issue raises questions about whether Mejia will be available to take a potential start next Friday against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field.

“I’ll tell you one thing: When I walked out there, I don’t think I’ve seen a lump on a guy’s arm come up so fast,” Collins said. “He got it pretty good.”

Collins appeared to suggest pregame Friday that Mejia was headed for the Game 4 start against the Reds, with Daisuke Matsuzaka being held back for a potential start two days later as a hedge against Jonathon Niese not being ready to return from a season-opening DL trip.

Now, if Mejia is unavailable, Matsuzaka likely would start Game 4 and John Lannan would be the hedge against Niese being unavailable.

“One thing we’re very, very lucky to have right now is some depth,” Collins said. “We’ve got Lannan stretched out if we need a guy, obviously Dice-K tomorrow. The best thing is Jon Niese felt great today. He threw 45 ... from 90 feet -- no discomfort -- after pitching yesterday. So it looks like he’s going to make that [minor-league] start on the 1st [of April] and get to 90 pitches or so.”

Mejia had been forced from his previous start after five innings because of discomfort with a bunion on the outside of his right big toe.

Until Mejia was forced to depart his final 2014 exhibition appearance, he had limited the Blue Jays to a fourth-inning solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Combining this performance with his Grapefruit League showing, Mejia produced a 2.70 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.

The Mets ultimately lost Friday’s game, 5-4, on a walk-off single by Ricardo Nanita against Bobby Parnell.

Chris Young contributed a two-run double against left-hander Mark Buehrle in the top of the fourth to open the game’s scoring. Daniel Murphy had a run-scoring double an inning later that staked the Mets to a 3-1 lead.

In the seventh, Travis d’Arnaud staked the Mets to a 4-2 lead with a solo homer against Long Island native Marcus Stroman. D’Arnaud had been acquired from the Blue Jays with Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey.

Gonzalez Germen surrendered a game-tying two-run single to Edwin Encarnacion a half-inning later.

On his struggling relievers, Collins said: “At this particular time I think you’d probably wish the bullpen would come in and pound the strike zone. But one of the things we certainly know is that there are good arms down there. Bobby threw the ball hard tonight, which was good, but the command was not where he’s used to throwing it. We’ve got two days. We’ve got to get them in there and get them some work and get ready for Monday.”

The game drew an announced crowd of 46,121. That marked the largest crowd at Olympic Stadium for MLB since Opening Day in 2000, when 51,249 came to watch the Expos face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I’ve been here when the crowds are like that. I know what it’s like. I was here in ’94,” Collins said. “… I thought it was great for the city of Montreal. I thought it was great for baseball. I really did. Both teams really responded to it. In a game like this, usually guys this late in spring training are looking for ways to get out of a lineup. And tonight they wanted to stay in the lineup because of the fans.”

What’s next: The Mets play their final 2014 exhibition game at 1:10 p.m. Saturday, also against the Jays at Olympic Stadium. Matsuzaka opposes right-hander Brandon Morrow.

Where does Granderson best fit?

December, 10, 2013
12/10/13
10:00
AM ET
Curtis GrandersonAP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackCurtis Granderson's Mets cap fit fine on Tuesday. How will he fit in the Mets' lineup?
The key to the Mets signing of Curtis Granderson may come down to how they position him, both at bat and in the field.

What do we mean?

At the plate: Where to hit him?
There will be a variety of ideas on where Granderson hits in the Mets lineup and there will likely be a strong push for him to bat in the No. 4 or No. 5 spots.

But it might be worth giving consideration to Granderson batting second, which could mean David Wright protecting him instead of the other way around.

The chart on the right provides Granderson's numbers when hitting second versus when he hits elsewhere in his two best seasons with the Yankees (he only hit second in one game in 2013). He thrived hitting in front of Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez in 2011, and Mark Teixeira in 2012.

In sum, Granderson's slashline (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) was .261/.356/.540 in nearly 800 at-bats when hitting second and .217/.313/.483 in about 400 at-bats when hitting elsewhere over those two seasons.

Three points with that:

1) Granderson fared better against both left and right-handed pitching in the No. 2 spot in that stretch (he was .257/.340/.533 in 257 at-bats as a No. 2 hitter against lefties), so pitcher-handedness would not be a deterrent to hitting him there.

2) It's worth noting that Granderson's line-drive rate was 20.5 percent as a No. 2 hitter, about four percentage points higher than in the other lineup spots.

3) Granderson does not hit into double plays often. He hit into a double play in about seven percent of at-bats in the No. 2 spot in double-play situations in 2011 and 2012 (situations in which first base was occupied with less than two outs). The average No. 2 hitter hits into one in about 11 percent of his at-bats in double play situations.

I'll admit: The sample is modest in size and the differential could be attributable to any number of things.

But it's food for thought given that the Mets want to make Granderson as comfortable as possible in his start with the team.

In the field: Where to position him?
When talking about where the Mets will position Granderson defensively, it's a two-fold question:

At what position do you play him? And how do you play him at that position?

Though it seems likely that the Mets would put Granderson in left field, Juan Lagares in center field and Chris Young in right field, don't set that in stone just yet.

Per advanced metrics Lagares has the best range and arm ratings of the three. Young rates way ahead of Granderson in range (at least when it comes to center field), but a little behind him in terms of throwing arm ability.

So the Mets have a couple of decisions to ponder heading into spring training. They could play Granderson in left and Young in right if they want to prioritize Young's ability to cover ground, which seems logical. Or they could play Young in left and Granderson in right if they feel Granderson can make up the difference from Young in range with his arm.

Or they could put Young in center, if they feel that playing him in center and Lagares in right is a better combo than the other way around.

The other thing to remember with Granderson with regards to his defense is that he had a history of playing a very shallow centerfield with the Yankees. The component of Defensive Runs Saved that measures the ability to turn batted balls into outs rated Granderson consistently poor at fielding balls hit to the deepest parts of the ballpark.

The Mets positioned their outfielders deep last season, particularly Eric Young Jr. in left field, figuring it was easier for him to use his speed coming in on a ball than going back for one. The payoff was that Young's defensive metrics changed from negative with the Rockies to positive with the Mets and Young wound up a Gold Glove finalist.

It will be worth watching to see if the Mets take the same approach with Granderson.

Inside the numbers: Chris Young

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
3:19
PM ET
What kind of a player is Chris Young? Let’s try to answer that by looking at his numbers.

At the plate
Young is a career .235 hitter. His batting average rates fifth-lowest among the 136 players whom Baseball-Reference.com deems active, who have at least 3,000 at-bats. His .200 batting average in 2013 also ranked fifth-worst among those with at least 300 at-bats. (He had 335.) There are a couple of things Young does that will frustrate Mets fans. One is that he strikes out a lot. He had 93 whiffs in 335 at-bats last season and has had five seasons of at least 130 strikeouts.

The other is that he hits a lot of fly balls and pop ups. When Young has hit the ball over the past three seasons, it has been a fly ball or line drive 70 percent of the time, the highest rate in the sport.

But Young does two things as a hitter that would seem to be appealing to Mets management. One is that he hits for power, with four seasons of at least 20 home runs. And the kind of power that should survive Citi Field.

Of his 12 home runs last season, six were termed "no doubters," by Hittrackeronline.com, meaning the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence.

That was tied for the most such homers on the Athletics (and surprisingly were twice as many as Home Run Derby champ Yoenis Cespedes).

Young’s other positive trait is his walk rate. He’s walked in 11 percent of his plate appearances over the last three seasons, a rate that ranks in the top 20 percent among major-league hitters. Not surprisingly given the strikeout and walk numbers, he rates in the top 20 percent of hitters in terms of pitches per plate appearance in that span as well.

In the field
Young’s history as a defender is up and down. The ups are better than the downs, but the downs are more recent.

In 2010 and 2011, Young combined for 38 Defensive Runs Saved in center field, which ranked sixth-best in baseball and second-best among those at the position, trailing only Austin Jackson’s 42 for the Detroit Tigers. Young’s run saving came in the form of corralling fly balls, particularly those hit to the deepest parts of center field.

His arm has historically rated from average to below average, only ranking above average in one year.

Young had seven Defensive Runs Saved in 2012, but dropped to -6 last season with the Athletics, due to the combination of a poor throwing arm rating and less success at catching deep fly balls.

If the Mets do put Young in a corner spot, it won’t be new ground, but it’s not something with which he has a lot of experience. Only 39 of his 903 career starts in the outfield have come in left or right field.

On the bases
Young is a fair to decent base stealer with 122 career stolen bases, a 76 percent success rate and three seasons with at least 20 steals, the most recent coming when he swiped 22 in 2011. The one knock would be that he’s only 32-for-47 (68 percent) when trying to steal second over the past three seasons.

Young has occasionally had issues with straying too far off a base. He was picked off six times in 2007 and seven in 2011, but only once in the last two seasons.

He also takes extra bases on hits at a very good rate, which fits in well on this team. Over the past two seasons, he was on first base when a double was hit 10 times and scored on eight of them. He also scored on 10 of the 12 singles hit while he was on second base. Those both are small samples, but they rate high-end.

The overall package
Young has ranged from a 0-WAR player (a bench player) to a 5.5 WAR player (a borderline All-Star), with the latter numbers being largely due to his defensive success and durability. (He played 156 games in each of the two seasons in which he was a 5-WAR or better.)

Neither of those two things has been a part of his last two years, in which he was a 2-WAR player and a 0-WAR player. That’s what made him affordable.

Mets fans are familiar with Young’s abilities. They resemble those of Mike Cameron, who played for the team in 2004 and 2005, and who shifted to right field in his second year to accommodate Carlos Beltran (which didn’t work out so well, with both getting injured in a collision in 2005).

Cameron rates as Young’s second-most similar player through age 29, per Bill James’ Similarity Scores. At age 30, Cameron had 18 homers, 17 steals and won a Gold Glove with the Mariners.

If the Mets get anything close to that from Young in 2014, they’ll feel pretty good about their acquisition.

OF Young reaches agreement with Mets

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
9:44
AM ET

Beck DiefenbachChris Young is coming on board with the Mets, pending a physical.
Outfielder Chris Young has reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Mets that is worth $7.25 million, sources told ESPN.

Young's physical is scheduled for next week, so there will be no formal announcement today.

The 30-year-old outfielder spent seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks before going to the Oakland Athletics in a three-team trade last offsesason that involved Heath Bell and Cliff Pennington.

Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 335 at-bats last season with Oakland. He had a career-high 32 homers in his first full major league season, in 2007 with Arizona.

He has appeared in 905 games in center field, 26 games in right field and 24 games in left field in his major league career.

The hope is that Juan Lagares hits enough to play center field, pushing Young to a corner. But Young would be capable of stepping into center field if Lagares proves unable to handle major league pitching.

Currently, the Mets’ outfield alignment is Eric Young Jr. in left field, Lagares in center field and Chris Young in right field. But the Mets still hope to add another outfielder via free agency or trade, which would push Eric Young Jr. to a fourth-outfielder role, or second base if Daniel Murphy gets traded.

The Mets have been linked to free-agent Nelson Cruz, but his salary demands exceed the Mets’ appetite, according to a source. The Mets also have had dialogue with the Milwaukee Brewers about a trade that could send Ike Davis for an outfielder, although a Mets official recently insisted there has been zero dialogue about Ryan Braun.

'Young guy' Byrdak a September call-up

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
7:17
PM ET
WASHINGTON -- The comedic Tim Byrdak bounced into visitors’ clubhouse at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon and jokingly proclaimed: “Prospect in the house!”

“Young guy,” reliever Scott Atchison replied to the 39-year-old Byrdak.

Less than a year after undergoing surgery on Sept. 6, 2012 to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, Byrdak returned Sunday, displacing Robert Carson as a lefty specialist.


Adam RubinTim Byrdak has returned less than a year after shoulder surgery.


Byrdak expressed gratitude to the Mets for allowing him to work back from the surgery for most of the season at the team’s Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex. He also expressed relief at returning to the majors.

When Byrdak initially underwent the procedure, which is uncommon for pitchers, he was unsure whether it would achieve anything more than allowing him to toss a baseball with his sons.

“Last year, when I left, it was hard -- tears in my eyes -- because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Byrdak said. “There was a chance -- there was a really good, strong chance -- that I was never going to ever get back to this level.

“I remember laying in an MRI tube as my wife and kids were flying into New York, and getting the news as they were landing that the capsule was torn. It was very emotional looking at the possible end. To be able to come back here is great.”

Byrdak worked his way through the minor league circuit, appearing in the Gulf Coast League, Florida State League and then with Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. Lefty batters were 3-for-12 with four walks against him in Triple-A.

Byrdak’s velocity has been erratic, and he is unlikely to be used for more than one to two lefty batters.

He has touched 87 mph, but generally sits at 85 mph. He will dip to as low as 83 mph in some outings. That is similar to the fluctuations Pedro Feliciano has experienced as he returns from a different type of shoulder surgery. Byrdak figures next season will be better.

Byrdak is one of only a dozen or so pitchers to undergo the surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule. Johan Santana has now undergone it twice. Ex-Met Chris Young also had it performed.

A talk with Young this summer allowed Byrdak to take leaps forward in his recovery, the southpaw suggested.

Byrdak had been warming up with teammates before Class A St. Lucie games at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. And the muscle would drift back to tightness by the time he was summoned that night from the bullpen. He eventually modified the routine to warm up closer to the game. He kept himself loose until he pitched in relief.

“I wish I would have talked to him sooner,” Byrdak said about Young. “If I would have done that, I may have been up here earlier. I don’t know.”

Byrdak kept a journal of his comeback activities to try to help pitchers who need to rehab from that surgery in the future. After all, the rehab protocols are still being written, unlike with the well-established Tommy John surgery.

“It’s been an interesting road to say the least,” Byrdak said. “Three-hour bus rides in Port St. Lucie, to the 4 a.m. travel in Vegas, and stuff like that. It’s good to be back and see the guys I’ve been with for a couple of years.

“In the back of your mind you’re hoping this moment was possible. My hat goes off to the Mets and the organization and to Sandy [Alderson] and to Jeff [Wilpon] to give me every opportunity to come back, to utilize the facilities to get everything where it needs to be to come back and do this.”

No momentum toward signing Chris Young

April, 4, 2013
4/04/13
11:08
AM ET

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
Chris Young remains a free agent, but the Mets are not showing interest.


Despite the Mets losing Johan Santana for the season and Shaun Marcum getting examined today for a pain in his neck and shoulder, the Mets continue to refrain from pursuing Chris Young, a major league source told ESPNNewYork.com.

Young opted out with the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training after producing a 2.25 ERA in 16 Grapefruit League innings.

Jeremy Hefner has plugged into Santana's rotation spot, while Aaron Laffey is expected to be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas for Sunday's start against the Miami Marlins in place of Marcum.

UPDATE: Chris Young has signed a minor league deal with the Nationals.

Morning briefing: Injuries, but no Wheeler

March, 27, 2013
3/27/13
5:44
AM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Jeremy Hefner hits the ground after being struck in the right elbow with a fourth-inning comebacker Tuesday.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Under the Tradition Field lights tonight, Jonathon Niese gets his final tune-up for the April 1 opener against the San Diego Padres.

Niese, who likely will be restricted to 50 or so pitches, faces Houston Astros right-hander Edgar Gonzalez in the 6:05 p.m. game.

Wednesday’s news reports:


Douglas Jones/USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Laffey is expected to sub for Shaun Marcum in the rotation.


Aaron Laffey is poised to be the Mets’ fifth starter, with Shaun Marcum expected to open the season on the disabled list with a shoulder and now a neck issue. Zack Wheeler is not a consideration and will head to Triple-A Las Vegas to open the season, Terry Collins said.

The Mets are unlikely to pursue a starting pitcher from outside the organization -- Chris Young or otherwise -- a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com. Sandy Alderson did watch Young’s final start with the Washington Nationals on Monday night, before Young officially opted out, according to Newsday.

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

Jeremy Hefner was struck on the right elbow by a sharp one-hop comebacker off the bat of Carlos Beltran, but X-rays were negative.

• In his first game since the World Baseball Classic on March 12, David Wright went 1-for-5 in a pair of minor league games while DHing. He plans to again play in a minor league game Thursday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post and MLB.com.

• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com speaks with Alderson.

"My goal, ultimately, is for a lot of Mets fans to be happy with where we are -- not where we're going, but where we are," Alderson told DiComo. “… Are there things I would have done differently? Absolutely. In this business, you have to keep in mind that you're not going to be right every time. But you have to be right often enough so that the team is successful. We haven't been right often enough. …

"Many fans are not conditioned to think long term, and you would expect that to be especially true in New York. I don't know if this is a majority or a minority, but I've actually found from day to day that a lot of people have bought into what we're doing. That does not mean that the average Mets fan has unlimited patience. But my sense is that they have some understanding, at least, of what we're trying to do."

Pedro Feliciano, after failing to make the Opening Day roster, has decided to remain with the Mets organization. Read more in the Times and Post.

• In need of roster spots, the Mets have alerted other teams they will trade non-core prospects currently on their 40-man roster. The Mets’ 40-man roster stands at 39 since Brandon Hicks was removed. The Mets are expected to need to add Scott Atchison, Marlon Byrd, LaTroy Hawkins, Laffey and Omar Quintanilla.

• Third base coach Tim Teufel’s son Shawn, a left-handed pitcher, has signed a minor league deal with the Mets.

• After Hefner’s departure from Tuesday’s game, Mets farmhands imploded on the mound and the Cardinals beat the Mets, 11-4, at Tradition Field. Lucas Duda homered during a 3-for-4, four-RBI day. A pocket of Mets fans chanted “Overrated” at Yadier Molina. The Cards catcher responded by belting a two-run homer against minor leaguer Randy Fontanez, who faced seven batters and failed to record an out.

On the overrated chant that preceded Molina’s homer, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The pitch before I said, 'They're just making him mad enough that he's going to hit a homer.' I said, 'He may give them a gesture when he crosses home plate.' I didn't say what gesture. He was going to acknowledge them. He handled it with much more class than I did, because I looked up there (at the fans chanting). I love that stuff. There are certain guys that you bring the best out in them when you try stuff like that. I saw that one coming."

• Duda and hitting coach Dave Hudgens met halfway in their spring-training adjustments to his swing, Marc Carig writes in Newsday.

• The Mets will offer a free ticket to you on your birthday this season. Just show a valid form of ID (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc.) at a Citi Field ticket window on your birthday, provided it is a home-game day (subject to availability). Birthdays falling on the April 1 opener, May 27-28 Subway Series and games after Sept. 29 are not eligible. If your birthday falls on those dates, during the winter or when the Mets play a road game, you are eligible for a free birthday ticket April 3-4, April 23-25 or Sept. 13-15.

• Matt den Dekker will need to wear a cast on his fractured right wrist for six weeks.

Jenrry Mejia was examined in New York and diagnosed with forearm tendinitis. He will be idle for two weeks.

From the bloggers … Shannon from Mets Police is going to miss writing about Dave Howard. … The Eddie Kranepool Society also weighs in on Howard’s move from Mets executive VP to MSG Sports chief. … Rising Apple has a preview of the 1973 season, as if the season had yet to be played. … John Delcos at Mets Report also talks ’73.

BIRTHDAYS: Matt Harvey turns 24. … 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo turns 20.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are the Mets making the right call with Aaron Laffey poised to plug Shaun Marcum’s spot in the rotation?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

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