New York Mets: Chris Young

Morning Briefing: Home sweet home?

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
8:38
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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
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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

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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?

'Legitimate concerns' about Marcum

March, 26, 2013
3/26/13
8:14
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets have "legitimate concerns" about Shaun Marcum's availability for the season because of a neck issue that arose during Monday's bullpen session, pitching coach Dan Warthen said.

Marcum is only first being examined by medical personnel this morning.

The Mets are now eyeing Game 5 of the season for Marcum -- not Game 2, which had been the original intent.

Another option: using Jonathon Niese twice before Marcum would make his Mets debut in Game 6, April 7 against the Miami Marlins. That would allow the Mets to place Marcum on the DL to start the season and carry an extra reliever for nearly a full week.

Warthen said the current issue with Marcum is different than the shoulder impingement that was treated with a cortisone shot last Tuesday.

"I think everyone has legitimate concerns," Warthen said. "I mean, it's a place where we've never known it to be before. We have to have it examined and find out where we are."

One thing is certain: Marcum will not be pitching Thursday in Grapefruit League play, which had been the intent.

"Unless we have something immaculate come in," Warthen said.

The Mets are internally discussing potentially signing Chris Young, but a team insider portrayed it as not the most likely of scenarios.

Young is familiar and attractive to the organization from a pure pitching standpoint, but the question would be what would happen to him when other starting pitchers are healthy.

Young probably is only in line to command about $2 million in guaranteed money assuming he ends up a free agent in the next day.

Morning briefing: Marcum's pain in the neck

March, 26, 2013
3/26/13
6:55
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Talk about a pain in the neck.

Shaun Marcum reportedly experienced neck discomfort during a bullpen session Monday, putting his availability for the start of the season in doubt. Add in the issue with Johan Santana and potentially two-fifths of the Mets’ projected rotation may be unable to open the season with the ballclub.


Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
Chris Young is opting out with the Nats.


One potential solution to buy time for Marcum: The Mets could use a four-man rotation through the first six days of the season because of an off-day. At that point, Marcum would be eligible to return from a backdated disabled-list stint. That also conceivably would allow the Mets to carry an extra bullpen arm, with Jeurys Familia and Greg Burke both making the squad, rather than just one.

The Mets had been confident Marcum would be fine. In fact, late Monday morning, Terry Collins affirmed at Disney that Marcum was set to reenter the Grapefruit League rotation Thursday in Viera against the Washington Nationals.

One pitcher who would be available if the Mets wanted an external option: ex-Met Chris Young. He has decided to opt out of his contract with the Washington Nationals and become a free agent.

“I’m realistic that the roster is full. I understand that,” Young told The Washington Post. “We’ve talked about maybe trying to work something to where I can stay. We’re not there right now. But there’s interest from other clubs. I just have to weigh all the options and see what’s best for me and my family.”

The Mets reportedly had a scout at Monday’s Nats game that Young started.

Meanwhile, the Mets host the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. today as Jeremy Hefner opposes Adam Wainwright.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Read more on Marcum in the Daily News.

Pedro Feliciano has been informed he did not make the Opening Day roster. The club asked Feliciano to work at Triple-A Las Vegas for a month. Feliciano is weighing whether to instead declare free agency. Scouts believe Feliciano would have to pitch in the minors initially even if he signed elsewhere, so he might as well stick around. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Daily News, Post, Newsday and MLB.com.

• Mets executive VP for business Dave Howard is leaving the organization to become president of MSG Sports. Read more in the Times.

• Matt den Dekker will not require surgery on his broken right wrist.

LaTroy Hawkins, although no great surprise, has been informed he made the Mets.

Dillon Gee tossed six scoreless innings, striking out seven and allowing only two hits, and Andrew Brown, Jamie Hoffmann and Collin Cowgill homered as the Mets beat the Braves, 7-4, Monday at Disney. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

Daniel Murphy played in a minor league game for a second straight day, logging seven innings at second base and going 0-for-5 in a Triple-A game. David Wright similarly had a positive day, taking live batting practice for the second straight day. Read more in Newsday.

• The matchups for the season-opening series between the Mets and San Diego Padres are intended to be Jonathon Niese vs. right-hander Edinson Volquez on Monday, followed by Marcum versus left-hander Clayton Richard on April 3 and Matt Harvey against right-hander Jason Marquis in the April 4 series finale. That is, that was the intent had Marcum not had an issue.

Ruben Tejada is hitting .085 (4-for-47) in Grapefruit League play, but Collins noted Tejada has a track record at the major league level, so the manager said he is unconcerned. Read more in the Post.

Tim Byrdak is eyeing late June for a return to the big league club from shoulder surgery.

Philly.com has an unflattering profile of Lenny Dykstra, relying on a new book. It’s not a good day for the subject when the first sentence reads:

Former Phillie Lenny Dykstra is a sexist, racist, sexual deviant and one of the biggest all-around lowlifes you'll ever come across.

At least he was identified as an ex-Phillie and not an ex-Met.

From the bloggers At Mets Police, Mike V's Countdown to Opening Day stops at Opening Night 2009, when fans wandered around their new home. … John Delcos at Mets Report examines the Santana issue.

BIRTHDAYS: Infielder Jose Vizcaino turns 45.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should the Mets place in the rotation if Shaun Marcum is injured -- Zack Wheeler, Collin McHugh, Cory Mazzoni or Aaron Laffey, or sign Chris Young?

Morning briefing: The games begin

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
6:44
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Let the games begin.

The Mets play an intrasquad game at noon today at Tradition Field (admission: $6). Scheduled to pitch: Gonzalez Germen, LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Rice, Collin McHugh, Elvin Ramirez, Greg Burke, Robert Carson, Brandon Lyon and Pedro Feliciano.

“In our particular situation, we’ve got decisions to make, I’ve got to start seeing people play,” Terry Collins said. “And I’m anxious to see them play. Yeah, I want to get started.”

Friday’s news reports:

• Union chief Michael Weiner made his annual visit to Mets camp to speak with players Thursday. Speaking with the media afterward, Weiner said about the Mets’ payroll: “Everybody would like to see the Mets as a competitive team. And it’s going to require a higher payroll.” Weiner also asserted David Wright would have received a more lucrative contract had he tested free agency. Writes Mike Puma in the Post on the Mets’ payroll comment:

A team official responded to Weiner’s criticism by saying the union chief should check the average payrolls of the last three World Series winners. The Giants (2010), Cardinals (2011) and Giants (2012) averaged about $106 million in payroll in claiming the last three world championships.

Read more on Weiner’s visit in Newsday, the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Times, Record and MLB.com.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Ron Darling Bobblehead Day is coming to Citi Field on April 21.


Jenrry Mejia is due to land Friday morning and be at camp by midday now that his visa issue is resolved. Dan Warthen and Wally Backman both project Mejia as a future reliever, but the right-hander will be a starting pitcher again this year … for now. Read more at MLB.com.

• The Mets announced their full 2013 promotional schedule, which includes five bobblehead giveaways: Ron Darling (April 21), John Franco (May 25), Wright (June 30), Dwight Gooden (July 21) and Tom Seaver (Aug. 25).

• Bobby Valentine reportedly will be the next athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. Read more in the Connecticut Post.

• Ex-Met Chris Young signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. Read more in The Washington Post.

• Mets farmhand Francisco Pena will play for his father Tony Pena on the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic.

• Grantland is not a fan of the Mets’ outfield. On that topic, columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post found humor that Bobby Bonilla, who is getting $1.2 million annually from the Mets in deferred payments, visited the club on Thursday. Writes Vaccaro:

The highest-paid outfielder in the room wears a green polo shirt, blue slacks, white cross-trainers and about 40 or so pounds from his last listed playing weight. Retirement seems to be agreeing with Bobby Bo, who last played for the Mets in 1999 (both baseball and, somewhat more famously, clubhouse cards) and who last played for anyone in 2001 and now works for the Players’ Association.

• Neil Best in Newsday chats with SNY analyst Bobby Ojeda.

• Collins has good reason to be concerned about the Mets’ baserunning the past two seasons, Jared Diamond notes in the Journal. Writes Diamond:

Their runners went from first base to third base on singles just 25.2 percent of the time last season, which ranked 23rd in baseball. They finished dead last in a statistic the website Baseball-Reference calls "bases taken," which counts the number of bases teams advance on, among other things, fly balls, wild pitches and passed balls. Those elements of baserunning have less to do with pure speed than they do instincts and hustle.

Frank Francisco will begin tossing a baseball Monday after suffering elbow inflammation early in camp, Collins confirmed. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

John Buck offers his take on the various starting pitchers to Anthony DiComo at MLB.com. On Jonathon Niese, Buck said: "I like his cutter. It's something that wasn't really in my mind when I faced him on the other side. But now that I've seen a lot more film and concentrated on that aspect, and [hearing] him talk about how that makes him feel comfortable … it stuck out to me."

Steve Moore/Associated PressIke Davis
• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger profiles Ike Davis, who had an extremely slow start in 2012 en route to a 32-homer season. "Every time you come back from an injury and you don’t do very well for a long period of time, you’re like, ‘Did I lose what I once had?’” Davis told Castillo. "You start second-guessing yourself. Then, obviously, I started feeling better and I said, ‘OK, I can do this again. I didn’t lose my talent or lose my skill.’”

• On Sunday against the University of Michigan, Dillon Gee will pitch in his first game since undergoing emergency surgery at last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. Gee did get on a bullpen mound in September at Citi Field to allay concerns. “I accomplished what I wanted to last year, and that was to be able to come here with some peace of mind,” Gee told Andrew Keh in the Times. “Now I feel like I’m ready to compete again.”

Said Warthen to Keh: “His delivery is a little bit awkward, a little bit rusty, and his command isn’t where he wants it. But his hand feels good, his arm feels good and he can actually feel the baseball out of his hand. He’ll iron out a couple of delivery issues, and we’ll be right where he needs to be.”

• Collins said left-hander Josh Edgin worked on a sinker during the offseason that should make him more effective against righty hitters. Lefties hit .164 and righties hit .263 against Edgin during his rookie season. Read more in the Post.

• Feliciano, who pitches in today’s intrasquad game, tells Kristie Ackert in the Daily News about his shoulder: “I am ready now, ready to pitch. There is nothing there. It is strong. It’s stronger than it was before, because before the surgery and after, I have to work on it. I pitched in Puerto Rico in winter ball and I am ready to go.”

• Wright tells columnist John Harper in the Daily News he is “looking to become a better leader.”

Lucas Duda will receive heavy playing time early in Grapefruit League play because he is working on a new stance, Collins said. Mike Kerwick in the Record speaks with Duda about the challenge of playing the outfield for a natural first baseman.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear in Flushing makes the case for retiring Nos. 31 and 17 -- and quasi-retiring some other significant digits. … Mets Police would like to see a TV show in which Howie Rose interviews ex-Mets. … Contributors to Rising Apple predict which Mets player is most likely to break out in 2013.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever J.J. Putz turns 36.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Jenrry Mejia be a starter or reliever?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

Ex-Met Young inks minors deal with Nats

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
5:44
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Right-hander Chris Young, who remained a free agent as camps opened, has signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals.

Young, 33, went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts with the Mets last season after returning from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.

Young becomes one of a bevy of extra starting pitchers the Nats have assembled beyond projected starters Stephen Strasburg, Dan Haren, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler.

Young would probably lead a field of other contenders should there be an injury. That group includes fellow Princeton product Ross Ohlendorf as well as Zach Duke.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

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

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