New York Mets: Clayton Richard

Morning briefing: Gee's 1st pitch since July

April, 4, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday’s news reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Series preview: Mets vs. Padres

March, 31, 2013

Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard and Eric Stults during the season-opening series.
METS (74-88, fourth place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (76-86, fourth place/NL West)

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese (13-9, 3.40) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (11-11, 4.14), 1:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.73) vs. LHP Clayton Richard (14-14, 3.99), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.10) vs. LHP Eric Stults (8-3, 2.92), 1:10 p.m. ET

Padres short hops

Chase Headley, who finished fifth in NL MVP balloting last season and won the NL’s Gold Glove at third base, will open the season on the DL with a fractured tip of his left thumb. Logan Forsythe, who was due to fill in, is dealing with plantar fasciitis. So Cody Ransom is the Opening Day starter.

Ransom, 37, signed a minor league contract with San Diego in December. He hit a combined .220 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs in 246 at-bats with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers last season. In 2008, Ransom became the first player in Yankees history to homer in his first two plate appearances with the club.

Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images
Jedd Gyorko, who had 30 homers in the minors last season, makes his major league debut against the Mets.

• Volquez will make his third straight Opening Day start, which includes 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds. Volquez made three World Baseball Classic appearances for the victorious Dominican Republic, including notching the win against the Netherlands in the semifinals. He walked six in his final Cactus League start, but nonetheless limited the Cincinnati Reds to one run and two hits in five-plus innings.

• Rookie Jedd Gyorko, a second-round pick in 2010 from West Virginia University, will make his major league debut on Opening Day. He hit a combined .311 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs in 2012 between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. The righty-hitting Gyorko will move to third base in place of Ransom, and lefty-hitting Alexi Amarista should start at second base, Wednesday against Harvey. The diminutive Amarista has picked up the nickname "Little Ninja."

Carlos Quentin, who had two surgeries on his right knee last year, missed more than two weeks of spring training because of soreness but returned to Cactus League action Tuesday. He is poised to start in left field.

• After dropping a season-worst 22 games under .500 on June 29, the Padres produced a 48-36 record to close last season.

• First baseman Yonder Alonso set a Padres rookie record with 39 doubles last season, passing Benito Santiago’s former mark (33 in 1987).

• Shortstop Everth Cabrera became the first Padre to lead the NL in steals when he produced 44 in 2012. He was 59 for 63 in steal attempts between Triple-A and the majors. His 24 straight successful steals in the majors set a franchise record to start a season. Cabrera is the reigning Nicaraguan Pro Sports Athlete of the Year.

• The Mets reportedly turned down a swap of Daniel Murphy for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson last year.

• Right fielder Chris Denorfia twice has represented Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He hit .381 in five games in this month’s tournament for Mike Piazza’s squad.

• Center fielder Cameron Maybin hit .198 in his first 71 games and .286 over his final 76 games last season.

• Richard logged 218 2/3 innings last season, which ranked fourth in the NL. He also allowed an NL-high 31 homers.

• Closer Huston Street converted 23 of 24 save chances last season (95.8 percent). The only better conversion percentages in franchise history: Rod Beck (100 percent, 2003) and Trevor Hoffman (98.1 percent, 1998). Street signed a two-year, $14 million extension last July that includes a $7 million team option for 2015.

• A waiver claim last May from the Chicago White Sox, Stults went 7-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his final 10 starts last season.

• San Diego’s projected Opening Day lineup:

Denorfia, rf
Cabrera, ss
Quentin, lf
Alonso, 1b
Gyorko, 2b
Nick Hundley, c
Ransom, 3b
Maybin, cf
Volquez, rhp

Mets set rotation for Pads, Marlins

March, 27, 2013

Getty Images
The Mets' opening series rotation is Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets have committed to a rotation order for the season-opening homestand against the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins.

The verdict:

Vs. Padres

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese vs. RHP Edinson Volquez

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey vs. LHP Clayton Richard

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee vs. LHP Eric Stults

Vs. Marlins

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez

Saturday: Niese vs. RHP Kevin Slowey

Sunday: RHP Shaun Marcum vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco

That presumes Marcum is healthy for that start.

Mets to see two lefties in opening series

March, 27, 2013
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Upon further review, the Mets will see two southpaw starters in the opening series against the San Diego Padres.

After facing right-hander Edinson Volquez on Opening Day, the Pads announced lefties Clayton Richard and Eric Stults will start the next two games of the series.

Right-hander Jason Marquis originally had been expected to start the series finale.

The Mets were 21-38 against left-handed starting pitchers and 53-50 against right-handed starting pitchers last season.

Pads align rotation for Mets series

March, 25, 2013

Associated Press
The Mets are expected to face (l to r) Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard and Jason Marquis during the season-opening series.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The San Diego Padres have set up their rotation for their season-opening series against the New York Mets.

Right-hander Edinson Volquez starts on Opening Day, followed by left-hander Clayton Richard in Game 2 and right-hander Jason Marquis in the series finale.

The Mets have not announced their rotation beyond the opener, but the matchups are projected to be:

April 1: Jonathon Niese vs. Volquez
April 3: Shaun Marcum vs. Richard
April 4: Matt Harvey vs. Marquis

With the Mets facing a right-hander in the opener, it's possible a lineup that has David Wright and not Daniel Murphy could look like this:

Jordany Valdespin, cf
Justin Turner, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Marlon Byrd, rf
Lucas Duda, lf
John Buck, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jonathon Niese, lhp



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187