New York Mets: Colby Rasmus

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

May, 23, 2013
5/23/13
1:07
PM ET

USA TODAY Sports
This weekend at Citi Field, the Mets face (left to right) Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran.
METS (17-27, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (28-18, first place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 5.00) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.02), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.04) vs. LHP Mike Minor (5-2, 2.78), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-5, 6.59) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (3-1, 3.99), 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

Braves short hops

• Left fielder Justin Upton, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Jan. 24, is tied with Baltimore’s Chris Davis for the MLB lead in homers with 14. Upton became the first player in major league history to homer five times in his first five games with a team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward is hitting .304 with two RBIs in six games since returning from the disabled list Friday. Heyward underwent an appendectomy on April 22. He missed 22 games. He was hitting .121 when he landed on the DL.

• Center fielder B.J. Upton (.155, 4 HRs, 7 RBIs) snapped an 0-for-16 skid Saturday. He then homered Wednesday for the first time since April 23. He has yet to record a hit in three straight games, and will be bidding to accomplish that Friday at Citi Field.


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Evan Gattis has an MLB rookie-leading 10 homers.


• Catcher Brian McCann made his season debut May 6 after recovering from Oct. 16, 2012 shoulder surgery.

The Braves are now carrying six relievers and three catchers: McCann, rookie phenom Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird.

Gattis hit an opposite-field grand slam on a 3-0 pitch from Minnesota’s Vance Worley on Wednesday, in the catcher’s first start in eight days. He has 10 homers, which lead major league rookies, in only 122 at-bats. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has struggled to find playing time for Gattis in the three-catcher alignment. Gattis also can play first base or left field, but those are occupied.

• The Braves lost a pair of top-notch relievers to Tommy John surgery in a six-day span. Lefty Jonny Venters, who had not appeared this season, underwent the procedure last Thursday; this was his second Tommy John surgery. Fellow southpaw Eric O'Flaherty, who had held lefty batters to a .143 average this season, underwent the elbow procedure Tuesday.

Atlanta pitchers have undergone a spate of Tommy John surgeries -- seven among major leaguers in the past five years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The recipients: Peter Moylan (May 2008), Tim Hudson (August 2008), Kris Medlen (August 2010), Arodys Vizcaino (March 2012), Brandon Beachy (June 2012), Venters and O’Flaherty.

• The Braves have a 2.79 bullpen ERA, narrowly behind the San Francisco Giants (2.77) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2.78) for the MLB lead. Craig Kimbrel notched his 100th career save on May 9, becoming the second-youngest to reach that plateau (24 years, 348 days). Only ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez (24 years, 246 days) was younger.

• Since O’Flaherty landed on the DL, Triple-A closer Cory Rasmus was promoted. He's the younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus. Cory made his major league debut Wednesday. The siblings’ brother Casey is a 23-year-old catcher who is hitting .300 for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Class A Peoria affiliate.

• Beachy is set to begin a rehab assignment, so Atlanta will have to create a rotation spot soon.

• Reliever Jordan Walden (shoulder) is not eligible to be activated from the DL until after the Mets series.

• With their bullpen injuries, Atlanta signed lefty reliever Joe Beimel, 36, to a minor league contract. He also is returning from Tommy John surgery.

Andrelton Simmons is the only every-day shortstop without an error.

Dan Uggla (.182, 8 HRs, 16 RBIs) is 3-for-35 with 13 strikeouts in his last 10 starts. Ramiro Pena has started two games at second base in the past week.

Julio Teheran is coming off an outing in which he allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

• Medlen limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run (unearned) in seven innings in his last start. The Braves are 3-6 in Medlen's starts this season. Entering this year, Atlanta had won 23 straight games started by Medlen -- the most in one pitcher’s starts in major league history.

• The Braves arrive in New York off a 6-0 homestand, during which they swept the Dodgers and Twins.

Series Preview: Mets at Blue Jays

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
10:00
AM ET
US Presswire/Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez this weekend in interleague play.
METS (21-17, third place/NL East) vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (21-18, third place/AL East)

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (2-1, 3.40) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (4-1, 3.88), 7:07 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Miguel Batista (1-1, 4.26) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (4-2, 2.22), 1:07 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-3, 5.65) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (3-3, 2.62), 1:07 p.m. ET

Blue Jays short hops

• Third baseman Brett Lawrie withdrew his appeal and began serving a four-game suspension Thursday stemming from throwing a helmet near Bill Miller, which bounced and then hit the plate umpire. With Lawrie out for the weekend series against the Mets, Toronto promoted Yan Gomes, who went 2-for-3 in his major league debut Thursday against the Yankees while starting at third base. The 24-year-old Gomes, the first Brazilian-born player to appear in the majors, was hitting .359 with five homers and 22 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas. He played high school baseball in Miami, then at the University of Tennessee and Barry University. In the minors, Gomes played 149 games at catcher, 29 at first base and 10 at third base.

John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty ImagesFormer Cardinal Colby Rasmus is in an 0-for-18 rut.


The Blue Jays demoted Adam Lind to clear the roster spot for Gomes, despite Lind being in the third season of a four-year, $18 million contract. Lind hit .305 with 35 homers and 114 RBIs with Toronto in 2009, but had only a .186 average and three homers in 118 at-bats this season.

• Right fielder Jose Bautista -- who led the majors in homers each of the past two seasons, with 54 and then 43 -- launched his 10th homer of 2012 on Thursday, against the Yankees' Phil Hughes. Bautista, despite an uncharacteristic .207 average, has five homers in his past seven games. Bautista was part of the three-team trade in July 2004 between the Mets, Pirates and Royals that landed Kris Benson in New York.

• DH/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion worked with Luis Mercedes in the Dominican Republic during the offseason to retool his swing, including keeping both hands on the bat, rather than removing the top hand on the follow-through. Mercedes previously had worked with the Yankees' Robinson Cano. The result: Encarnacion leads the Jays in homers with 13. He also ranks second in the AL in RBIs with 34, trailing only Texas' Josh Hamilton.

• Shortstop Yunel Escobar, who had been hitless in eight at-bats, returned to the lineup Thursday after sitting a day and produced singles in his first two at-bats. Eleven-time Gold Glove winner Omar Vizquel, 45, started at shortstop for the second time this season on Wednesday. Escobar was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 14, 2010, with Jo-Jo Reyes for Alex Gonzalez, Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins.

Ricky Romero and Justin Turner were college teammates for three seasons and roommates at Cal State Fullerton.

• Center fielder Colby Rasmus is mired in an 0-for-18 skid that has dropped his average to .203. He was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at last season's trading deadline with Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters for Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, Corey Patterson and Marc Rzepczynski.

• Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who made his major league debut last August, has produced a quality start in seven of eight outings this season. He tossed his first career shutout May 4 against the Angels in Anaheim.

• Toronto signed previously unemployed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor league deal. He arrived at the Jays' complex in Dunedin, Fla., Tuesday.

• Right-hander Brandon Morrow has walked a combined eight batters in his past two outings, albeit while striking out 17 in 11 innings during that span. Morrow's fastball has averaged 92.8 mph this season, down from 93.9 mph a season ago and a career-high 95.5 mph in 2008 with the Seattle Mariners while primarily working in relief.

• Closer Sergio Santos, who had 30 saves with the Chicago White Sox last season, is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Casey Janssen is 3-for-3 in save chances this month since assuming the role. Francisco Cordero struggled in the role for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL in blown saves, so the team turned to Janssen. The Mets' Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch comprised the back end of Toronto's bullpen last season.

• The Blue Jays are among the most radical defensive shifters in the majors under second-year manager John Farrell. Toronto leads the American League in errors, too.

• Second baseman Kelly Johnson was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks last Aug. 23 for John McDonald and Aaron Hill.

• Catcher J.P. Arencibia homered in consecutive games against the Yankees to increase his season total to five.

• Ex-Mets left-hander Darren Oliver has limited opponents to a .182 average. He has struck out 11 and walked one in 13 innings spanning 15 relief appearances.

Matchups

Niese vs. Jays (career: never faced)
Kelly Johnson .400, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Ben Francisco .250, 4 BB, 3 K, 17 PA
Yunel Escobar .000, 4 BB, 6 PA
Jeff Mathis .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Batista vs. Jays (career: 3-2, 1.70 ERA)
Adam Lind .667, 1 RBI, 6 PA
Rajai Davis .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Omar Vizquel .417, 1 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K, 30 PA
Ben Francisco .250, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K, 8 PA
Jose Bautista .222, 1 BB, 3 K, 10 PA
Jeff Mathis .200, 1 RBI, 1 K, 8 PA
Edwin Encarnacion .000, 2 K, 4 PA
Kelly Johnson .000, 1 BB, 2 PA
Yunel Escobar .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Gee vs. Jays (career: never faced)
Kelly Johnson .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Ben Francisco .000, 1 PA

Romero vs. Mets (career: never faced)
Rob Johnson 1.000, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 6 PA
Justin Turner 1.000, 2 RBI, 1 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 6 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 3 PA

Morrow vs. Mets (career: 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .667, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Andres Torres .333, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 3 PA

Alvarez vs. Mets (career: never faced)

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Rogers Centre, June 23-25, 2006 (AP game recaps)

Mets 6, Jays 1: Tom Glavine became baseball's first 11-game winner, David Wright hit a three-run homer and New York set a club record with its ninth straight road victory. Lastings Milledge also homered for the Mets, and Glavine (11-2) pitched seven strong innings to win his ninth consecutive decision. But it might have been a costly victory because setup man Duaner Sanchez, a key member of New York's stellar bullpen, left after only two pitches with a pinched nerve in his neck. Carlos Delgado went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game against his former team. Delgado, Toronto's career leader in home runs and RBIs, left as a free agent two years ago after the club didn't offer him a multiyear contract. Xavier Nady hit an RBI triple with two outs in the first. Wright gave New York 4-0 lead in the third with his 18th homer, a shot to left off starter Casey Janssen (5-6).

Jays 7, Mets 4: Vernon Wells homered twice and the Blue Jays ended the Mets' franchise-record nine-game road winning streak. Wells hit a three-run homer in the second off Orlando Hernandez (4-7) and a solo shot off Heath Bell in the seventh for his fifth multi-homer game of the season. Toronto's center fielder went 2-for-4, raising his average to .321. Staked to a 6-0 lead in the second, Toronto ace Roy Halladay (9-2) allowed four runs and 10 hits, while striking out four and walking none in 7 1/3 innings. The Mets loaded the bases in the eighth, but reliever Justin Speier got Jose Valentin to pop out and Xavier Nady to strike out swinging to end the threat. B.J. Ryan pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances. Jose Reyes tripled and went 4-for-5 for the Mets. He has a 12-game hitting streak and is 28-for-52 (.538). Hernandez (4-7) was forced to leave his start early in the second inning after the Mets were charged with two trips to the mound. Pitching coach Rick Peterson went out to the mound in the inning and manager Willie Randolph made a trip after Hernandez almost ignited a bench-clearing brawl by throwing a pitch high and tight to Troy Glaus after Wells hit his three-run homer a pitch before.

Mets 7, Jays 4: Jose Reyes had four hits again, including a leadoff homer, and Carlos Beltran hit a three-run shot off Josh Towers (1-9). The streaking Reyes went 4-for-5 for the second consecutive game and the third time in five days. He extended his hitting streak to 13 games and is on a 32-for-57 (.561) tear that's raised his batting average from .246 to .302. It was his fifth game this season with at least four hits, tying Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki for tops in the major leagues. Reyes also got his big league-leading 34th stolen base and scored twice. Steve Trachsel (6-4) won his fourth straight start, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked three. Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.

Series preview: Mets vs. Nationals

April, 9, 2012
4/09/12
7:30
AM ET

US Presswire
Edwin Jackson makes his Nats debut Monday against the Mets, followed by Ross Detwiler on Tuesday and Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday.
METS (3-0, first place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2-1, second place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Mike Pelfrey vs. RHP Edwin Jackson, 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee vs. LHP Ross Detwiler, 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Johan Santana (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 1.29), 1:10 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

Ross Detwiler claimed the fifth-starter’s job over fellow southpaw John Lannan, in the spot available because Chien-Ming Wang strained his left hamstring March 15. Lannan, assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, asked GM Mike Rizzo for a trade after the decision, then sent an email to beat reporters the following day acknowledging the request. After Wang suffered the injury, manager Davey Johnson had said Lannan would be the fifth starter. Lannan is due to earn $5 million this season. The Nats are only expected to trade Lannan if they get something of consequence in return, since they will need starting pitching depth during the season. Detwiler’s spring-training ERA was 3.06, to Lannan’s 5.14. The Nats did not think Lannan would be comfortable in the bullpen, so they sent him to Syracuse and instead carried Craig Stammen in a major league relief role.

• Cleanup hitter Michael Morse is expected to be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. He homered Friday, during a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, as he returns from a right lat muscle tear. After coming to New York on Saturday for preplanned treatment, Morse returned to the Eastern League club Sunday to continue a rehab assignment. Bergen Catholic product Mark DeRosa started in left field the first two games of the season, while ex-Met Xavier Nady manned the position Sunday. DeRosa was signed at winter meetings to fill the void after Chris Marrero suffered a hamstring injury in winter ball in November that will sideline him the first half of the season. DeRosa has undergone three wrist surgeries in past two years, but appears healthy now. Nady signed in mid-March after being jobless.


Rob Grabowski/US Presswire
With Drew Storen on the DL, ex-Phillie Brad Lidge picked up the save on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.


Jayson Werth is expected to play center field against left-handed pitchers, with Nady manning right field. Primarily the right fielder, Werth is due to make $13 million in 2012, in the second season of a seven-year, $126 million deal. He hit .232 with 20 homers, 58 RBIs and 19 steals in his first season with the Nats.

Roger Bernadina has started in center field the first three games against right-handers, while fellow lefty-hitting outfielder Rick Ankiel opens the season on the disabled list with quadriceps tightness. Ankiel, who originally re-signed with the Nats on a minor league deal, will earn $1.25 million this season. He has started a rehab assignment, but is not eligible to be activated until Saturday.

Chad Tracy spent last season in Japan, where he hit only .235 with one homer and 19 RBIs in 149 at-bats with Hiroshima. Tracy has been big off the bench so far. After making the Opening Day roster because of Ankiel’s quadriceps injury, Tracy already twice has delivered successful pinch hits -- including a two-run, go-ahead single in the eighth Saturday against Carlos Marmol, who was attempting a four-out save.

Stephen Strasburg started Opening Day and limited the Cubs to one run and five hits while striking out five and walking one in seven innings. Strasburg breezed through the first two innings, requiring only 14 pitches. He ultimately received a no-decision. The Nats have pledged to cap Strasburg’s innings at 160 this season after he missed most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, although playoff contention would test that commitment.

Drew Storen, who recorded 43 saves last year, opened the season on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Brad Lidge, who signed a one-year, $1 million deal, and flame-throwing Henry Rodriguez will close in Storen’s absence. Lidge, 35, picked up the save on Opening Day at Wrigley Field -- only the ex-Phillie’s second save since Sept. 27, 2010. The Nats have an ultra-deep bullpen. Rodriguez has been clocked at 101 mph, with a 94 mph changeup. Set-up man Tyler Clippard (3-0, 1.83 ERA in 2011) earned an All-Star invitation last season.

• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman agreed to a six-year, $100 million extension Feb. 26. The deal is on top of the combined $26 million he was due to earn between this season and 2013. The Nats have a team option for 2020.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 54 75
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 83
RD. Murphy 75
OPSL. Duda .827
WB. Colon 14
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173