New York Mets: D.J. Carrasco

Mets morning briefing 9.14.12

September, 14, 2012
After their second winless six-game homestand of the second half and an off-day, the Mets now open a weekend series at red-hot Milwaukee. The Brewers were 12 games under .500, at 54-66, on Aug. 19. Since then, they are 18-5 and have moved to within 3½ games of St. Louis for the second wild-card berth.

Jon Niese (10-9, 3.47 ERA) opposes right-hander Mike Fiers (9-7, 3.05) in Friday's 8:10 p.m. ET opener. Jenrry Mejia starts Saturday, on the two-year anniversary of his last major league start.

Terry Collins pulled David Wright from the Mets-Brewers series finale at Citi Field after D.J. Carrasco hit Ryan Braun in May. Collins and Wright spoke with Braun at the All-Star Game and smoothed things over, but it is possible a prominent Met gets plunked this weekend.

Friday's news reports:

Dale Zanine/US Presswire
No dispute: Terry Collins will manage the Mets in 2013.

• The Post reported on Aug. 27 there was "no chance" Collins would be fired at season's end. That remains true, despite the team's freefall, according to Jon Heyman at Writes Heyman:

The only question appears to be whether Collins returns as a lame duck or is given an extension of a year or two. While Mets people indicate that isn't something currently on the frontburner, in most cases major-league managers aren't made to be brought back in lame-duck situations, so it's likely he receives a short extension. Collins is under contract to manage the Mets through next year. His option for 2013 on his original deal was picked up last winter. Collins' salary is not known but he is believed to be one of the lowest-paid managers in a major market.

Mets people especially like Collins' ability to work with their prospects, many of whom were in the minors while Collins was a minor-league executive with the team. He was originally hired by COO Jeff Wilpon and ex-GM Omar Minaya, but he is popular with the new regime as well.

• For years, the Mets have struggled to find a second lefty in the bullpen to pair with their workhorse -- first Pedro Feliciano, then Tim Byrdak. They once handed Scott Schoeneweis an ill-fated three-year, $10.8 million deal. (Schoeneweis was traded to the Diamondbacks along with $1.6 million after the second season, having compiled a 4.59 ERA as a Met.)

Now, the Mets look like they have a pair of capable southpaw relievers who came through the system: Josh Edgin and Robert Carson. So while the bullpen in general may need to be again reconstructed this offseason with Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and the injured Byrdak all free agents, the Mets actually are in decent shape as far as lefty specialists. Frank Francisco is signed for next season at $6.5 million.

Writes Marc Carig in Newsday:

At the start of this season, Josh Edgin and Robert Carson had yet to make their major league debuts. But much can change during the course of a baseball season, as evidenced by the lockers that Edgin and Carson have been assigned along the same wall in the Mets' clubhouse. In their first taste of the big leagues, the left-handers have opened eyes with their performances down the stretch. Now they are battling to keep those lockers in their names when Opening Day rolls around in 2013. "Every time I take the mound, it's an audition for next year," Carson said. "I want to be here, I want to start here. I'm trying to finish strong this year, going into the offseason to work hard, and going into spring training to try to get that job."

Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The fan from Massapequa, L.I., who jumped onto the field after Johan Santana tossed his June 1 no-hitter was sentenced Thursday to a $1,000 fine, $4,000 in penalties owed to the Mets, 100 hours of community service and a ban from Citi Field. Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.

Charles LeClaire/US Presswire
David Wright is nine hits shy of matching Ed Kranepool's career franchise record.

• Wright now has 1,409 career hits -- within nine of matching Ed Kranepool's Mets record. Wright already owns plenty of the franchise's records, including RBI, doubles and even strikeouts. He does rank third in games played with 1,244, trailing Kranepool (1,853) and Bud Harrelson (1,322). He also is No. 3 in homers at 200, trailing Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220). Wright is fifth in steals at 165, and could threaten leader Jose Reyes (370) if the third baseman remains a career-long Met.

“I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” Kranepool told Ken Belson in the Times about the hits record. “It’s not 3,000 hits. It’s 1,418.” Still, Kranepool added: "It’s going to happen to a great guy. David’s a class act. He’s a Derek Jeter of the Mets. I hope he stays around.”

John Perrotto at Baseball Prospectus advocates Wright as Comeback Player of the Year. The piece includes writers making the case for 11 different MLB candidates, including Buster Posey and Adam Wainwright. Writes Perrotto:

There were whispers in baseball circles coming into this season that Mets third baseman David Wright was an "old" 29. Front-office types and scouts wondered if Wright's body was breaking down after playing so hard through the first eight years of his major league career. Wright had his worst season last year, appearing in just 102 games because of a stress fracture in his lower back that sidelined him for nine weeks. He posted a .254/.345/.427 slash line in 447 plate appearances and barely played above replacement level as he finished at 0.6 WARP. However, Wright has looked like a spry 29-year-old this season, as he is hitting .313/.401/.497 in 588 plate appearances. Most impressive is Wright's 5.4 WARP, which ranks him fourth in the major leagues behind Mike Trout (7.8), Buster Posey (6.0) and Andrew McCutchen (5.6). That shoots a pretty big hole in the idea that Wright might be on the downhill side of his career.

• The new collective bargaining agreement calls for the top 22 percent of players with two-plus years of major league service to be eligible for arbitration, up from 17 percent. Among the Mets' first-time arbitration-eligible players should be Bobby Parnell (3 years, 132 days at season's end), Daniel Murphy (3 years, 109 days), Ike Davis (2 years, 168 days) and likely Josh Thole (2 years, 142 days). Thole should sneak in because of the change in percentage of players with two-plus years of service time who are eligible. Lucas Duda's stint in the minors should ensure he does not meet the criteria to be eligible for arbitration.

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Josh Thole should be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.

Being a "Super Two" like Davis and probably Thole does not mean they are eligible for free agency a year earlier. Players need six years of major league service. It merely means they have four arbitration years instead of three, so their salaries start climbing earlier. The agency CAA believes the cutoff for arbitration eligibility this offseason will be two years, 139 days of service (Twitter link).

Thole's salary still should be relatively modest in 2013 -- no more than $800,000 or $900,000. The Mets would be unlikely to non-tender Thole at that cost, since they already need to fill the righty-hitting catcher slot (most likely Kelly Shoppach) while not blowing their budget on the position. The likely non-tenders are Mike Pelfrey (owed $5.6875 million this season) and Andres Torres ($2.7 million). Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Shoppach told Mike Kerwick in the Record he's not re-signing imminently with the Mets. Writes Kerwick:

Shoppach said he will table any decisions until the first or second week of November. He said he wants to play and he wants to win. "Sometimes it's either-or," Shoppach said. "But you try to find a place that you can possibly do both."

• The Mets were in a comparable position to the Brewers and Phillies a few weeks back. Yet while those teams took off to get back into wild-card contention, the Mets unraveled. "We certainly were planning on ourselves being in position,” Collins told Mike Puma in the Post. “It could have easily been us, so it just tells you that one of the things you’re going to be able to talk about to your club is it doesn’t matter where you are, there’s always going to be that chance the last month could mean something and get you right back in that race.”

Paul J. Bereswill/Associated Press
R.A. Dickey is in a tight race for the Cy Young Award.

R.A. Dickey was named winner of the Branch Rickey Award from the Rotary Club of Denver for co-founding a charity that provides baseball equipment and medical supplies in South America and Central America.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News polled Cy Young voters who say it's too soon to determine who is the favorite. Voters also told Harper pitching on a losing team is not an impediment to winning the award, unlike the MVP. Writes Harper:

A knuckleballer has never won a Cy Young Award, although the Braves’ Phil Niekro finished second in 1969 to Tom Seaver, and the White Sox’ Wilbur Wood also finished second to Gaylord Perry in 1972. But voters say it’s not an issue now.

“It’s an absolute non-issue,” said Tim Brown of “For me, if he spit it out of his mouth and got big league hitters out, it wouldn’t matter. It’s all about performance.”

“If anything, it might help him,” said Jerry Crasnick of, “because he’s doing something out of the ordinary. I admire what he’s done with the knuckleball.”

“It’s about results, not velocity,” said Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If the Cy Young Award were just about who has the best pitch, wouldn’t Mariano Rivera have won it by now?”

TRIVIA: Who is the last Met to win the Cy Young?

Thursday's answer: Rick Peterson and Bob Apodaca both served as pitching coach for the Brewers after working in that capacity for the Mets.

Mets morning briefing 9.13.12

September, 13, 2012
Matt Harvey struck out 10 and limited the Washington Nationals to one run after Robert Carson bailed him out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth. But Harvey suffered a hard-luck defeat in his second-to-last start of 2012 as the Mets lost to the Nats, 2-0, Wednesday night.

The Mets were swept in a six-game homestand for the second time in the second half and are now 4-21 at Citi Field since the All-Star break.

They have a day off before opening a weekend series in Milwaukee. Jon Niese (10-9, 3.47 ERA) opposes right-hander Mike Fiers (9-7, 3.05) in Friday's opener, followed by Jenrry Mejia's first major league start in two years on Saturday opposite right-hander Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.71). Chris Young (4-7, 4.39) opposes right-hander Wily Peralta (1-0, 3.46) in Sunday's finale.

Thursday's news reports:

Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Robinson Cano and Yankees only face the Mets four times in 2013.

• Major League Baseball released the Mets' full schedule Wednesday. The Subway Series is down to four games -- two games in each ballpark -- on four straight days, beginning Memorial Day at Citi Field. (Yankees manager Joe Girardi told the Post he thought the Subway Series should be an odd number, so a winner could be determined each year.) The Mets will travel to Minnesota, Chicago and Cleveland in interleague play while also hosting the White Sox, Royals and Tigers at Citi Field. Read more in the Times, Newsday and Record.

Terry Collins said he met, along with David Wright, with Ryan Braun at the All-Star Game to try to ensure there would be no retaliation for D.J. Carrasco plunking Braun during a May series at Citi Field. Collins had pulled Wright from that game to ensure Milwaukee could not get a reprisal against him before leaving Queens.

• Wright told the Daily News he supported his agents, whom he has employed since he was a teenager, despite a reported MLB/MLBPA investigation into whether they were involved in helping procure performance-enhancing drugs for players. Former client Paul Lo Duca reportedly has made that allegation. "I have known these guys since I was 18," Wright said about agents Seth and Sam Levinson. "The only thing I have to go off of is the way they have represented me the last 12 years [and] the integrity that I have seen firsthand that they have for the game. ... I talked to a few different people from the union and I have to talked to the guys over there [the Levinsons] plenty of times, just to hear their side of the story. They have been great to me. So I think they've been going through a rough time and I've made my decision that I'm going to be loyal to them."

Daniel Murphy was scratched from Wednesday's game with a stiff lower back, but pinch hit and flied out to end the game. His replacement as the starter at second base, Ronny Cedeno, was pulled in the sixth inning with a tight right hamstring. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Marc Serota/Getty Images
Zach Lutz will undergo surgery Monday to remove a broken hamate bone at the base of his left hand.

• Harvey said he needed to be more efficient with his pitches and go deeper into games. Read Wednesday game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Daily News and Times.

• September call-up Zach Lutz will undergo surgery Monday to repair a broken hamate bone in the base of his left hand. Lutz also fractured the bone earlier this season with Triple-A Buffalo. This time he will have surgery to remove the bone.

• Collins believes Jason Bay's struggles may be related to slowed reaction times caused by a pair of serious concussions suffered during the past three seasons.

Lucas Duda started at first base last night, and will continue to see playing time at the position during the season's final three weeks, presumably against southpaws at the expense of Ike Davis.

• Low-A Savannah and the Mets renewed their player-development agreement through the 2014 season.

TRIVIA: Who has served as pitching coach for the Mets and Brewers?

Wednesday's answer: Ed Kranepool (1,418) and Wright (1,409) rank Nos. 1 and 2 on the franchise's all-time hits list. No. 3 on the Mets' career list is Jose Reyes, with 1,300.

Retaliation looming in Milwaukee?

September, 12, 2012

US Presswire
David Wright and Terry Collins spoke with Ryan Braun at the All-Star Game, trying to smooth over the teams' May incident.
Back on May 15, Terry Collins pulled David Wright and Daniel Murphy the half-inning after D.J. Carrasco was ejected for plunking Ryan Braun, because the manager did not want his marquee players targeted for retribution in the 8-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

That was the finale of a two-game series. The teams meet for the first time since then this weekend at Miller Park.

So how long a memory do the Brewers have?

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Ryan Braun reacts to getting plunked as D.J. Carrasco walks off the mound after being ejected on May 15.

That remains to be seen. But Collins believes there will be no retaliation. Collins and Wright sought out Braun during the All-Star Game in Kansas City to try to smooth things over and came away satisfied the matter was resolved. Carrasco was dumped two days after the incident.

"I wanted him to know that it was not intentional what happened," Collins told about the All-Star Game conversation with Braun. "Ryan said he certainly understood why I took David out."

Wright had vehemently argued in the dugout with Collins after being removed from that game. He wanted at the time to accept being hit so that the matter did not linger.

If you recall, after the infamous Mike Piazza-Roger Clemens incidents in 2000, the Mets finally got the Rocket in the batter's box at Shea Stadium a full two season later. And Shawn Estes, who wasn't even on the Mets when the original incidents occurred, was asked to hit Clemens. He missed.

Collins, upset that Carrasco had plunked Braun because it might lead to retaliation, confronted the reliever about the incident. Carrasco swore to his manager he missed his spot. The catcher, though, had set up on the opposite side of the plate. So Collins told Carrasco that the reliever wasn't prepared to be in the majors if he missed spots by that much.

Wright on Wednesday said he had no interest in discussing the May incident and potentially inflaming things.

"It's up to them, but I'm not going to give life to something that happened months ago," Wright said.

Mets morning briefing 6.21.12

June, 21, 2012
Dillon Gee carried the Mets staff's scoreless streak to 29 innings, best in the majors this season, before surrendering an eighth-inning homer to Wilson Betemit. And despite a rocky ninth inning from Frank Francisco, which included a walk to force in a run, the closer left the bases loaded and the Mets swept the Orioles with a 4-3 win Wednesday at Citi Field.

Next up: an off-day, then a Subway Series renewal against the Yankees this weekend at Citi Field.

Jon Niese (4-3, 3.82 ERA) opposes left-hander Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.77) on Friday, followed by Chris Young (1-1, 3.06) against right-hander Ivan Nova (9-2, 4.32) on Saturday. The marquee matchup will be televised at 8:05 p.m. Sunday on ESPN, when R.A. Dickey (11-1, 2.00) opposes left-hander CC Sabathia (9-3, 3.55).

Considering the Yankees slugged eight homers in their three-game series sweep of the Mets at the Stadium, Terry Collins said he is looking forward to getting the Bombers out of their Bronx bandbox and into more spacious Citi Field.

"Our ballpark plays a little different than theirs," Collins said. "... Yankee Stadium is a great place for their team, and for the fans. There's a lot of home runs hit. They can hit them out of here, too, but it's not quite as easy as it is over there. But they can hit them. Make no mistake. They've got enough power to hit them out of any ballpark in the country."

Thursday's news reports:

Lucas Duda was held out of Wednesday's game with a tight hamstring. Collins said Duda could have played, but caution was the right call, especially with Thursday's off-day affording a two-day break. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

Ruben Tejada's rehab tour has moved to Triple-A Buffalo. Tejada, returning from a quadriceps injury, went 0-for-4 and played a full game at shortstop Wednesday night after logging two games with Class A St. Lucie. Ronny Cedeño (calf), after five games at shortstop with Buffalo, moved to second base and went 1-for-4. Collins suggested Cedeño likely would be activated from the DL first -- very likely Friday. Ramon Ramirez (hamstring), meanwhile, is due to move to Buffalo after a pair of relief appearances on a rehab assignment with St. Lucie.

• The infielders' imminent returns from the DL impact Jordany Valdespin, notes Tom Pedulla in Newsday. Read more in the Times.

• Read game recaps in the Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and Daily News.

Brian Costa in the Journal notes the Mets are selling everything related to Johan Santana's no-hitter that's not nailed down. Costa reports Santana and the Mets are in a profit-sharing partnership in exchange for Santana only autographing no-hitter items for the team. Mets executive VP Dave Howard said 3,000 reprinted tickets from Santana's no-hitter have been sold. Cost: $50 apiece. Writes Costa:

Want a chunk of dirt from the mound that night? That'll cost you between $25 and $35, depending on whether you want a dirt keychain, a dirt box or a dirt coin. Want home plate itself? That'll cost a bit more. As of Wednesday afternoon, the top bid for it was $8,114. The fact that the Mets are selling all this -- and the fact that fans are buying or bidding on even the most trivial items -- underscores the number of ways a team can turn an iconic moment into added revenue. "Some of the prices for some of those items surprise even me," said Dave Howard, the Mets' executive vice president for business operations. "But maybe we shouldn't be surprised, because there's a 50-year-plus pent-up demand for the Mets' first no-hitter."

• Missed this recently: Juan Gonzalez in the Daily News is not a fan of the deal to revitalize the area near Citi Field, because it allegedly gives cost-free land to Fred Wilpon and his business. Writes Gonzalez:

When City Hall originally got Council’s approval for Willets Point, there was no mention of giveaways or of the Wilpons as a possible developer. Just the opposite. Back then, Bloomberg’s aides assured the Council that any taxpayer money spent on Willets Point would be recouped when the city sold the land to a developer that would be chosen later. Council was understandably skeptical. For one thing, all previous development projects always had a developer’s name attached to them when they came up for vote. This one didn’t.

• Professor emeritus Alan Nathan of the University of Illinois explains the physics behind Dickey's knuckleball.

Jason Bay has yet to be cleared to even return to Citi Field following a concussion suffered last Friday, teammates said.

Mike Piazza discussed that Hall of Fame debate -- should he represent the Mets or Dodgers? -- in an ESPYs interview. "The only reason I laugh about it is because I think it's funny people make the hat such a big deal," Piazza said. "I don't know -- it's hard to explain. I have a special affinity for the Mets fans, because that's where I spent a bulk of my time, and if I were to go in as a Met I don't think it would be something that people would have any disagreement with. I will always appreciate my years with the Dodgers coming up in that organization. Getting traded to the Mets, going to the World Series and having some amazing moments like the one you mentioned after 9/11, the Hall would probably relate those things, and I don't think that would be much of a surprise. How is that for a non-answer?" Watch video here.

Wilmer Flores headlined a flurry of promotions Wednesday, at the midpoint of minor league seasons. Flores, a third baseman, will move from St. Lucie to Binghamton along with shortstop Wilfredo Tovar and catcher Francisco Peña (son of former All-Star Tony Peña). The trickle-up includes outfielder Travis Taijeron, infielder T.J. Rivera and right-handers Rafael Montero and Jeffrey Walters moving from low-A Savannah to St. Lucie.

Zack Wheeler suffered his first defeat since April 18 -- a hard-luck loss at Akron in which he allowed two runs (one earned). However, former second-round pick Cory Mazzoni tossed a seven-inning complete game in the nightcap of the doubleheader in his Double-A debut as the B-Mets earned a split. Meanwhile, left-hander Steven Matz, the Mets' top pick in 2009, finally made his first official professional appearance after two seasons dealing with elbow issues as Kingsport lost to Princeton, 10-7. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.

• Columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News looks ahead to the Subway Series. “Losing to the Yankees is no different than losing to Colorado,” Ike Davis told Bondy. “What stings is losing to the Marlins. They’re in our division.”

• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo has landed in Brooklyn after participating in extended spring training.

D.J. Carrasco has signed with the Braves and been assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Michael Salfino in the Journal links Dickey's rise to the Knicks' Jeremy Lin and Giants' Victor Cruz.

TRIVIA: Which current Yankee has the most homers at Citi Field?

Wednesday's answer: The most recent player born in Louisiana to appear for the Mets is right-hander Josh Stinson, who was lost off waivers to the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of spring training. Stinson is pitching at Double-A Huntsville, where he is 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA and one save in 15 appearances (10 starts).

D.J. Carrasco lands with Braves

June, 20, 2012
The Braves have signed D.J. Carrasco and assigned him to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Carrasco, 35, had a 7.36 ERA in in four relief appearances with the Mets this season. He was cut loose after a May 16 game in which he surrendered a homer to Cincinnati's Todd Frazier, and a day after he irritated teammates by badly missing a target and drilling Ryan Braun with a pitch.

Carrasco was in the second season of a two-year, $2.4 million deal. The Mets remain responsible for that salary, less the prorated portion of the major league minimum if he is promoted by Atlanta.

Mets morning briefing 5.18.12

May, 18, 2012
David Wright heard "MVP" chants after delivering a tiebreaking double in what became a five-run eighth and the Mets completed an abbreviated homestand with a 9-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Wright went 2-for-2 with three walks and three runs scored, upping his average to .411.

After going 2-2 against the NL Central this week at home, the Mets donned hockey jerseys -- including Johan Santana in a Minnesota Wild jersey here -- and proceeded to Canada late Thursday afternoon. This weekend marks the Mets' first trip to Toronto since 2006. Scott Hairston likely is to DH in the opener with left-hander Ricky Romero, Justin Turner's former roommate at Cal State Fullerton, due to start for the Blue Jays tonight.

Friday's news reports:

• Wright's six game-winning RBIs are tied for the major league lead. His .411 average is the highest on or after May 17 in the majors since Chipper Jones in 2008 was hitting .414 after a June 12 game (min. 3.1 PA/team game), according to STATS LLC. Terry Collins compared Wright's early season performance to when Barry Bonds was dominating early in his career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Collins was on Jim Leyland's staff there. Wright's performance Thursday came while trying to stave off the flu. His game-deciding RBI scored Rob Johnson, who -- in his first game back from a thumb issue -- entered late in place of Mike Nickeas and bunted to get on board. Read game recaps centering on Wright's latest exploits in Newsday, the Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and Post.

Despite lacking credible threats behind him, Wright is not chasing balls out of the strike zone. Instead, he is taking walks that have bulked up his on-base percentage to a whopping .513. Writes Brian Costa in the Journal:

The frequency with which Wright has gotten on base has at least something to do with the lack of a comparable threat behind him in the Mets' lineup. Slumping first baseman Ike Davis, who had been penciled in as the Mets' cleanup hitter, has been dropped in the order. And pitchers sometimes seem content to take their chances with the likes of Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy. Wright ranks third in the National League with 24 walks. But Wright has also shown exceptional discipline, swinging at less than 19 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, more than a 6 percent drop from 2011. And he is punishing pitchers' mistakes, hitting more than 29 percent of his batted balls for line drives, an 11 percent increase from a year ago.

Writes columnist George Willis in the Post:

David Wright pulled a Michael Jordan yesterday at Citi Field. Riddled with flu-like symptoms, he riddled the Reds yesterday, continuing a torrid season that is forcing the Mets’ hand to sign him to a contract extension before it costs them a small fortune.

Writes columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger:

Would it be cynical now to go back a year, and dredge up the things Fred Wilpon said about David Wright in that infamous New Yorker piece? Remember? “A really good kid,” the Mets owner said of Wright. “A very good player. Not a superstar.” Would it be cynical? Of course. Perhaps even a little bit mean-spirited. But how can you not replay that tape, with the way things are playing out so far for Wright in 2012?

• The Mets began soliciting money in order to secure All-Star tickets for the July 16, 2013 game slated for Citi Field. Season-ticket holders received an email from the club Thursday that read:

As a 2012 Mets Full Season Ticket Holder, you have the exclusive opportunity to purchase three times the number of tickets in your 2013 season ticket account for all 2013 MLB All-Star events. To qualify for this offer, simply place a $250 non-refundable per seat deposit for your 2013 Full Season account renewal by July 10, 2012 by clicking on the link below. This non-refundable per seat deposit will be applied towards your 2013 regular season invoice. 2012 Mets Full Season Ticket Holders who commit to 2013 Full Season Tickets by taking advantage of this offer by July 10, 2012 will lock in 2012 season ticket pricing for the 2013 season.

The Mets also are trying to recruit new ticket buyers with the All-Star festivities as an enticement. The club is offering the right to buy tickets to the All-Star events if you buy a 15-game plan for this season, and give a $250 deposit toward a 15-game plan for next season as well. Read those details on the team's web site here.

Sandy Alderson, who concentrated his limited available dollars on retooling the bullpen during the offseason, described the relief corps' performance as a "frustration" pregame Thursday. His comments came the morning after the Mets dumped D.J. Carrasco and promoted left-hander Robert Carson from Double-A Binghamton. Alderson added that Jenrry Mejia likely will make two starts for Double-A Binghamton (beginning Saturday) and then two more for Triple-A Buffalo in what is considered an unofficial rehab phase in his return from Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011. Collins confirmed this week that Mejia eventually should be dabbling in relief work, where he is most likely to contribute at the major league level this season. Meanwhile, Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco actually combined to toss three scoreless innings Thursday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and the Daily News.

Zack Wheeler allowed a two-run homer in the first inning but only one other hit while tossing a season-high seven innings and winning his third straight as Binghamton routed Trenton, 12-3, Thursday. At Triple-A, Vinny Rottino had a game-deciding two-run single that extended his International League hitting streak to 20 games. Rottino owns the second-longest active streak in minor league baseball, trailing only Jurickson Profar's 27-game streak with Double-A Frisco City. Read the full minor league recap here.

Dillon Gee has shed the pronounced goatee he had sported since spring training. It apparently was time to change his fortunes after allowing 11 runs in 11 innings over his past two starts. Gee, who is winless in three starts since an April 28 victory at Colorado, next pitches Sunday at Toronto opposite right-hander Henderson Alvarez.

TRIVIA: Who managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006, the last time they faced the Mets?

Thursday's answer: R.A. Dickey was the first-round pick of the Texas Rangers (18th overall) in the 1996 draft.

Mets morning briefing 5.17.12

May, 17, 2012
Johan Santana pitched well enough to win on Wednesday night, but the bullpen squandered another lead and the Mets fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-3. It was the ninth time in 20 chances this season the pen has blown a lead.

Jon Rauch took the loss for Mets, giving up three runs in the eighth, in one-third of an inning. D.J. Carrasco also gave up a homer in the eighth and was designated for assignment after the game. The Mets called up lefty reliever Robert Carson to take Carrasco's place.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Carrasco didn't help his cause by beaning Ryan Braun and subsequently getting tossed from the game in the Mets' 8-0 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday. He had a 6.11 ERA in 46 appearances with the Mets over the past two seasons.

Read more on Carrasco in the Post and the Times.

• Manager Terry Collins reiterated Wednesday that his relationship with David Wright is sound, despite Wright's anger after being pulled from Tuesday night's game after Carrasco's plunking of Braun.

Wright went 0-for-2 with two walks on Wednesday night, "dropping" his batting average to .402. Read game recaps in the Daily News, the Post, the Times, Newsday, the Star-Ledger and the Record.

• The Mets were officially announced as the hosts of the 2013 MLB All-Star Game on Wednesday, and at the news conference, owner Fred Wilpon gushed about Wright, saying the third baseman "is playing like a superstar right now."

Columnist Ken Davidoff of the Post wrote that we saw a very different Fred Wilpon on Wednesday. Read more about Wilpon's comments in the Daily News and Newsday.

• Santana has gotten a no-decision in five of his eight starts this season. He's 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA.

Read more about Santana in the Post.

• News flash -- Ike Davis actually got a hit on Wednesday night, an RBI double in the sixth inning, snapping an 0-for-16 skid. Read more in the Daily News.

Davis is still batting only .167, but don't expect him to be demoted to the minors, according to the Post.

• Reds rookie third baseman Todd Frazier had a night to remember on Wednesday, smacking two home runs, including a two-run shot in the eighth inning. Frazier is a local product -- he went to Rutgers and played on a Toms River, N.J., team that won the Little League World Series. Read more on Frazier from columnist John Harper in the Daily News.

TRIVIA: R.A. Dickey, the Mets' starter on Thursday, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996 -- in what round?

Tuesday's answer: Cincinnati's Adam Dunn and Joe Randa consecutively homered off Braden Looper on April 4, 2005 to spoil Pedro Martinez's debut as a Met.

Carrasco dumped by Mets

May, 16, 2012

Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire
D.J. Carrasco leaves the mound after a rough eighth inning Wednesday. He was designated for assignment after the game.
D.J. Carrasco got tossed by umpire Gary Darling for hitting Ryan Braun on Tuesday. A night later, after he served up a two-run homer to Todd Frazier in a 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, the Mets tossed aside Carrasco, too.

Carrasco was designated for assignment by the organization after the game. He expects to ultimately be granted free agency.

The Mets will promote left-handed reliever Robert Carson. The 23-year-old Carson (0-1, 1.84 ERA at Double-A Binghamton) had a three-day stint with the Mets last month but did not appear.

"It was pretty self-explanatory," said the struggling Carrasco, who allowed a homer Tuesday to Rickie Weeks as well before plunking Braun. "I would have done the same thing if I was the GM."

Carrasco, along with Ronny Paulino, were Sandy Alderson's first two signings as GM, at the December 2010 winter meetings. Carrasco received a two-year, $2.4 million deal. He said he believed the decision to dump him was based on lack of results, not anything regarding putting the team in a bad position by hitting Braun. He has denied intent.

The decision to hold Carrasco over the winter tied up a 40-man roster spot and forced the Mets to remove outfielder Fernando Martinez, who was lost off waivers to the Houston Astros.

"I've struggled here," said Carrasco, who had a 6.11 ERA in 46 appearances (one start) with the Mets over two seasons. "Last year was a pretty big struggle for me. I got off to a slow start now."

The bullpen overall allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings and failed to protect a 3-2 lead Wednesday. It was the latest no-decision for Johan Santana in a game he deserved better.

"Shoot, I think I've screwed him over twice at least this year," said Jon Rauch, who started Cincinnati's four-run eighth and was charged with the loss. "I've blown two of his games. It's really tough. I can't even look the guy in the eye right now."

Said Santana: "I just try to do my job. It is tough. Once I do my job and I'm out of the game, I just hope that the guys can finish it. But, again, it's out of my control. There's not much I can do. I just watch and hope that we get it done. That wasn't the case tonight. We've just got to wait for the next one and see if the results are different."

Regarding strategy, Terry Collins had been boxed into a corner with only one capable lefty in the bullpen.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Reds 6, Mets 3

May, 16, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: Poor Johan Santana. And this time, it didn’t get to Frank Francisco for the bullpen letdown to occur.

Cincinnati scored four runs in the eighth inning to deprive Santana of another win and leave Terry Collins’ maneuvering open to second-guessing as the Mets lost to the Reds, 6-3, Wednesday at Citi Field.

Despite Bobby Parnell requiring only five pitches to strike out Zack Cozart and strand a runner in scoring position inherited from Santana to end the seventh, Collins went with Jon Rauch to start the eighth.

Rauch proceeded to allow a leadoff single to Drew Stubbs, then double to lefty-hitting Joey Votto that put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Collins alternatively could have used Parnell to face Stubbs, then gone with southpaw Tim Byrdak to try to neutralize Votto, the lone lefty hitter in Cincinnati’s starting lineup.

(With only one southpaw in the bullpen, Collins may have been holding Byrdak back for an inevitable pinch-hit opportunity by Jay Bruce. Byrdak had struck out Bruce twice in Cincinnati last year, after serving up the walk-off homer to Bruce that clinched the NL Central title for the Reds the previous year while with the Houston Astros.)

Anyway, Rauch then surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Brandon Phillips. Byrdak eventually was brought in when Bruce entered as a pinch hitter, and Bruce delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly to right field.

Collins, left with few remaining bullpen options given Ramon Ramirez tossed 2 2/3 innings the previous night once D.J. Carrasco was tossed for hitting Ryan Braun, went with Carrasco. He served up a first-pitch two-run homer to Toms River, N.J., native Todd Frazier.

Frazier, starting with Scott Rolen on the DL, also had homered the previous inning against Santana to pull Cincinnati within 3-2.

YO! Santana limited Cincinnati to two runs and six hits while walking two and striking out five in 6 2/3 innings.

ALMOST FAMOUS: Ike Davis snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth inning and Mike Nickeas followed by becoming the second Met with a successful squeeze bunt on the brief homestand as the Mets took a 3-1 lead in the sixth.

Votto, the reigning NL Gold Glove winner at first base, committed a costly error that opened the door.

With the score tied at 1, Lucas Duda opened the half-inning with a single. Daniel Murphy then sent a hard smash to Votto, who fielded the ball while on the ground. Votto wildly threw to second, allowing Duda to advance to third and Murphy to reach safely. Davis then followed with the RBI double. And Nickeas gave the Mets the 3-1 lead by joining Ronny Cedeno as this week’s successful squeeze bunters.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets complete a four-game homestand as R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.65 ERA) opposes right-hander Mat Latos (2-2, 4.54). They then don hockey apparel in a team-building exercise, grab their passports and head to Toronto for the first time since 2006.

Wright redux, captaincy; other TC tidbits

May, 16, 2012
Terry Collins reiterated Wednesday that his relationship with David Wright is sound and that the third baseman was upset at the situation, not at the manager. Collins pulled Wright from an 8-0 game for a pinch-hitter a half-inning after D.J. Carrasco was ejected for drilling Ryan Braun.

Collins said he also received an assurance from Carrasco there was nothing purposeful about hitting Braun one pitch after Rickie Weeks homered for Milwaukee. The manager said he would not have been pleased if he believed Carrasco did it on purpose.

Kathy Willens/Associated Press
David Wright grabs his bat at the end of Tuesday's 8-0 loss to Milwaukee. He was pulled in the seventh.

"I'm certainly going to believe him. I have no reason not to," Collins said. "If he did it on purpose, he put us in a bad situation. And I told him so. But I trust in what he says and I trust the way he told it, and we're putting it behind us."

Colllins said he had never been involved in a decision like that before in pulling a player to prevent him from being a target for retaliation.

"If the game was 3-3, he's hitting," Collins said about Wright. "That's just the nature of the beast. And he probably would have had to wear one for the club at that particular time. But what I didn't need was for him to get one in the middle of the back to where all of a sudden today he can't bend over, to where we lost him for two or three days."

Even though Wright and Collins had smoothed things out at the stadium, Wright texted his manager later that night just to make sure everything was OK between them.

"It's all done," Wright said.

Collins also was asked Wednesday if he has considered naming Wright the captain. The manager said he has not "recently" entertained that notion. He did consider it last offseason, but did not want to put too much on Wright's plate coming off a subpar, injured-filled 2011 season. Collins added that he never has had a captain before.

Collins said should he some day decide to name Wright captain, it merely would require passing along his desire to Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon.

"I've thought about it," Collins said. "I thought about it this winter. I thought about it. But, again, when we were going into spring training, I think we were putting him in a tough situation. He's coming off a rough year with the injury, and you've got to put up huge numbers. And I don't want him to think that he's got to somehow be the guy that takes everybody else's complaint. He's got enough on his plate to play well. I work hard every day to make sure I communicate with each and every player. And if they have things they want to complain about, they can come to me. They don't need to go to David."

Would it be awkward or ill-advised to name Wright captain before he's locked up long term?

"It might be. It might be in Sandy's case," Collins said. "I've never had one. I've never been around one. The teams that I've been around have never had a guy named the captain of a team. So I don't know all the parameters of what it would take, and if I went to Sandy and said, 'I want to do this,' if he'd say, 'You better wait until we get this guy locked up,' if that's what the case is going to be."

Also Wednesday:

• While Jenrry Mejia's next minor league outing will be Saturday as a starter for Double-A Binghamton, Collins acknowledged a relief role probably is in the offing. The reason for starting right now is so that Mejia can work on his breaking ball and other secondary pitches while throwing 80-plus pitches.

"I don't have a lot to say about it," Collins said. "I don't think that's my job. I have enough problems here. But I think down the road you'll probably see Jenrry Mejia somehow get in that bullpen."

• Collins will probably use Scott Hairston as DH on Friday in Toronto against a left-hander, Ricky Romero.

Lucas Duda took extensive groundballs at first base before batting practice. Does that mean Ike Davis could get bumped to the minors when Jason Bay returns? Collins insisted that was not the logic. The manager said now that Daniel Murphy at second base and Duda in right field have become acclimated to their new positions, he will be more inclined to move them on a double-switch to first base if that is the best defensive alignment as opposed to locking them into their new positions.

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 5.16.12

May, 16, 2012
David Wright jawed with his manager, Terry Collins, in the dugout, but insisted afterward he was upset in the heat of the moment with the situation, not at his manager. The Mets ultimately lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-0, Tuesday at soggy Citi Field. Collins pulled Wright in the bottom of the seventh along with Daniel Murphy, trying to protect the third baseman from getting drilled a half-inning after D.J. Carrasco served up a homer to Rickie Weeks, then plunked Ryan Braun with the next pitch. Wright wanted to stand in the batter's box to take the expected retaliatory blow and end the drama.

"At this level, somebody is going to get hit," Collins said about retaliation, to which the Mets skipper felt the Brewers were entitled. "And it wasn't going to be David Wright tonight. I can't control what's going to happen down the road. He's not going to get hurt in this game, in this situation, tonight."

Please join me for a Mets chat at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday here.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Before the T.C.-Wright dugout spectacle, Dillon Gee had let down the Mets. Gee served up a pair of homers to Travis Ishikawa and was charged with seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. "Mistakes that he makes are in the middle of the plate," Collins said. "I mean, when I took him out of the game, Nicky [catcher Mike Nickeas] said every mistake he made tonight they drilled."

Said Gee: "I don't know. I'm at a loss for words today. I felt good out there. I felt like I made a lot of good pitches. In my mind, I only made a couple of mistakes."

Meanwhile, Murphy extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games before departing the game.

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

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post summarizes the Wright-Collins argument this way:

Whether [the hit by pitch] was intentional or not isn’t important. Neither is the transaction of removing Wright from the game. This was: Both Collins and Wright care enough about this team and this season as it approaches the quarter pole that they were willing to fill the dugout with noise and rancor, even for a lost cause. They are a fine match, a manager who cares and a player who cares even more.

Read my take here. Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News also opines on the topic.

• Mayor Michael Bloomberg, MLB commissioner Bud Selig and Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon will participate in a ceremony at City Hall during which the 2013 All-Star Game officially will be awarded to Citi Field. The long-planned event was delayed in being announced for months as MLB worked out contracts with the Javits Convention Center for a fan fest as well as logistics such as NYPD staffing costs for a midtown parade of All-Stars and Central Park concert. You can watch the official announcement live at 11:30 a.m. on the city's web site here. Read more in Newsday, the Times, Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Collins told Anthony McCarron in the Daily News that Jason Bay "absolutely" will get his left-field job back when he returns from the DL after dealing with a fractured rib. Collins acknowledged the challenge will be finding playing time for Kirk Nieuwenhuis as well, but the manager will make it work. “He didn’t come here to be an extra player," Collins told McCarron about Bay. Nieuwenhuis went 0-for-3 Tuesday. He is hitting .294 with two homers, 12 RBIs, 14 walks and 39 strikeouts in 119 at-bats.

Josh Thole was examined Tuesday at Citi Field and expected to imminently gain clearance to begin athletic activities. The catcher said he should learn the results of a concussion test Wednesday. Thole, who suffered what may be the fourth concussion of his professional career nine days ago in a plate collision with Ty Wigginton, said his headaches ended Friday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

Jenrry Mejia and Chris Young are slated to move to Triple-A Buffalo to continue their returns from surgeries that both were performed on May 16, 2011. Mejia soon should be exposed to relief work to gauge his ability to contribute at the major league level in that capacity, an organization source told Young was due to pitch for Class A St. Lucie on Tuesday night, but the game was rained out. He presumably will pitch Wednesday morning for the Florida State League club before moving to Triple-A.

• A special screening of the Andres Torres-centered documentary "Gigante," about the center fielder's battle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, will be held at NYU School of Medicine (550 First Ave.) on May 31 at 7 p.m. The free event is open to the public, but preregistration is mandatory at

• Wright was noncommittal on his receptiveness to discussing a contract in-season if the Mets approached his representatives.

Brian Costa in the Journal profiles sudden pinch-hitter-extraordinaire/local product Mike Baxter. Baxter is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with five RBIs as a pinch hitter this season, including a sixth-inning double Tuesday. The contribution also includes a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth inning Friday at Marlins Park.

Plenty of players have found success in pinch-hit roles, but they tend to be veterans who were starters at one point. Baxter, 27, entered Tuesday with just 58 games of major-league experience and just 10 career starts. "Mike is becoming really good at it in a short window," said Mets third-base coach Tim Teufel, who had 192 pinch-hit appearances during his 11-year major-league career. "Usually for a young player, it takes time. He's taken to the role. He's found a way." The Mets' depth was a perceived weakness going into the season. But despite several injuries, they entered Tuesday with a 20-15 record, thanks in part to some unexpected contributions from players at the fringes of the roster. Players like Baxter.

Michael Salfino in the Journal looks at the Mets' patience at the plate under hitting coach Dave Hudgens. Among the relevant stats: Through Monday, the Mets had seen the most pitches per plate appearance in MLB (3.98), according to Stats LLC, better than runner-up Oakland (3.97) and No. 3 Arizona (3.94). Writes Salfino:

The epitome of the Mets desire to work counts as much as possible, though, is their place as the only team in baseball yet to swing at a 3-0 pitch (70 opportunities). That's widely regarded as the optimal hitter's count. But the Mets clearly don't want to help pitchers work their way out of trouble. New York's patient approach seems to be organization-wide. A spate of injuries have seen four opening day starters head to the disabled list, but replacements Justin Turner (4.22 pitches per plate appearance), Mike Baxter (4.23) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (4.22) have actually improved the Mets average.

• Baseball America projects the Mets taking Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th overall pick in the draft next month. The magazine also says the Mets have been "strongly linked" to Texas high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins and Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha.

Brandon Brown had three RBIs and Dustin Lawley homered as Savannah held on for a 4-3 win at Charleston. Read Tuesday's full minor league recap here.

• Collins is not a fan of prescribed roles in the bullpen, but the manager said pregame Tuesday that he needs to accept it as part of the evolution of the game. “Guys are here to do certain jobs,” Collins said. “That’s what they’re paid for. That’s what they prepare for. I mean, you have pitchers in the game today who don’t even go to the bullpen until the sixth inning. They’re not even out there. They’re doing stuff in the clubhouse. They’re stretching. They’re getting rubdowns. That’s the way it is and you have to adjust. I don’t have to like it, but I have to accept it.” Writes columnist Mark Bradley in the Star-Ledger:

No one could have blamed Collins if he took a match and some gasoline to his bullpen roles after Francisco blew the lead twice last weekend in Miami, which was potentially damaging to the psyche of his entire team. And when Francisco got into trouble in the ninth inning on Monday, and the fans were letting him hear it, you wondered, was Collins willing to let another one get away? “The one thing I don’t want to do is turn our bullpen inside out because we have a couple of blown saves,” Collins said. “Everybody has blown saves. But if you start changing everybody’s roles, then all of the sudden it’s very uncomfortable for some guys.” And then Collins repeated, “That’s something I’ve come to accept.”

Johan Santana and Chris Capuano appear on columnist Bob Klapisch's list of 10 early season MLB surprises in the Record. Writes Klapisch on Santana:

You don’t dominate hitters with an 88-mph fastball without brains and guts, both of which are still Santana’s most precious currencies. His arm has been rebuilt by surgeons, who couldn’t restore the left-hander’s 94-mph heater of his prime. Still, Santana is so good, he’s averaging more than a strikeout an inning. It’s hard to believe Santana was on the DL for the entire 2011 season. Put it this way: The 2.92 ERA isn’t just surprising, it’s magic.

• SNY will televise its "Yearbook" show for the 1962 season for the first time on Thursday at 8 p.m., Ken Belson writes in the Times. Writes Belson:

To sports fans, the show, which is called “1962 Yearbook,” is a wonderful example of how sports was covered a half-century ago, complete with fawning announcers, eager players and a lack of whiz-bang technology that predominates on sports networks these days. “They were trying to generate interest and enthusiasm among the fans,” said Gary Morgenstern, senior vice president for programming at SNY, said of the show and others that would follow. “They weren’t terribly successful, so it was about getting people to fall in love with the team.” The tapes were discovered in 2008, when the Mets were cleaning out Shea Stadium and moving to Citi Field. The video was not meant to be shown on television. Rather, it was to be used by the team’s sales staff to drum up ticket sales in the off-season.

Miguel Batista remains on target for his next start, despite dealing with a groin issue while tossing seven scoreless innings Monday. He is due to pitch at Toronto on Saturday.

• Mets players already were wearing hockey jerseys in the clubhouse Tuesday, in preparation for a dress-up en route to Toronto after Thursday's homestand finale. Mike Kerwick in the Record spotted R.A. Dickey in a Predators jersey (he lives in Nashville), the Whitestone native Baxter wearing a Rangers jersey, and Nieuwenhuis -- a Denver-area product -- wearing an Avalanche jersey.

TRIVIA: Who hit the homers off Braden Looper to spoil Pedro Martinez's Mets debut in Cincinnati on Opening Day in 2005?

Monday's answer: Gee attended the University of Texas-Arlington.

TC protects Wright; Carrasco denies intent

May, 15, 2012
Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesRyan Braun reacts to getting plunked as D.J. Carrasco walks off the mound after being ejected.
Terry Collins fully admitted pulling David Wright as well as Daniel Murphy the half-inning after D.J. Carrasco was ejected for plunking Ryan Braun because the manager did not want his marquee players as targets for retribution in the 8-0 loss to Milwaukee.

Collins said the Brewers had every right to retaliate, and figured they would go after his star, Wright, who was due to lead off the next half-inning. The manager added that plate umpire Gary Darling had every right to eject Carrasco.

Wright persistently argued in the dugout with Collins about being removed from the game, but said afterward he loved his manager and was merely upset with the situation. Wright wanted to take any retaliatory blow for the team.

"He wasn't getting hurt," Collins said about his reason for pulling Wright, who was 2-for-2 to up his average to .408. "I'm not accusing anybody of the possibility of retaliation. But I don't blame the umpires for doing what they did. I don't blame the other team for any perception they had of what happened. But I've got news for you: In this game, there are unwritten rules. And one of the unwritten rules is you hit my guy, I'm hitting your guy.

"They're not hitting my guy tonight. I'm not exposing him to being hit. He said, 'If anybody gets hit, I want it to be me.' I said, 'I'm sorry, it isn't going to be you.' They're not going to hit Jordany Valdespin. But if they're going to retaliate, they're going to hit David Wright. And that ain't happening tonight. ...

"And I'm not saying they were going to hurt him. Believe me, I'm not accusing them of anything. I just know what might have taken place. And I was trying to avoid it."

Said Wright: "Terry's the manager, and I've got all the respect in the world for Terry. I try to go to battle for Terry every day. He's got to make the move that he thinks is best for the team, and he obviously did that. Whether I agree with it or disagree with it, I respect him. I've loved playing for him the short amount of time that we've had together. And I've got all the respect in the world for Terry specifically.

"You get caught up in the moment. Things probably looked a lot worse than they really were and we go on from here. Terry and I have no issue. It's one of those things, like I said, in the heat of the moment it probably looked worse than it really was. ...

"I guess my thinking at the time was Ryan gets hit and then I go up there and get hit and then everything is settled."

Carrasco, incidentally, denied intent in hitting Braun with the first pitch after Rickie Weeks' homer. Wright said it would be handled inside the clubhouse whether Carrasco actually meant to hit Braun, since it put the third baseman in a perilous spot.

"I was just trying to throw a sinker in first pitch and it got away from me and hit him," Carrasco insisted.

As for the ejection, Carrasco added: "It was a really quick decision. There was not even like a time to read my emotion or take into account the score of the game or the situation there that I was there to throw a few innings out of the bullpen. I'm not trying to get tossed out of the game two or three hitters into the game."

Carrasco didn't think there was a heightened sensitivity to Braun being hit because of beating a 50-game MLB suspension. The umpire made it clear to Carrasco that he was ejected for hitting Braun a pitch after Weeks' homer. Braun has been hit an NL-high five times. Braun declined to comment to Milwaukee reporters.

"I think it was more the fact that there was a home run hit and then a guy was hit right after that," Carrasco said about Darling's motivation. "I told [the umpire] I wasn't trying to hit him right there. It's a seven-, eight-run game, and I'm trying to throw some innings. I'm not trying to hit a guy and get thrown out. He didn't feel that way. He thought it was a retaliation kind of deal for a home run hit. But I don't play that way."

Said Wright about Carrasco's action and the motivation: "That's something that we'll take care of in here. It's not something I'm going to get into right now. But it'll be taken care of. I think it's one thing when the emotion of the game is there and things are said. And it's another thing after you get a few hours or sleep on it and figure it out the next day. ... I'm not sure why he got hit. I don't know."

Wright is playing with a broken right pinkie. He also was infamously beaned by Matt Cain in 2009.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said about plunking Braun: "I didn't like it, and I don't understand it."

Asked about Collins pulling his stars, Roenicke added: "It was interesting what that was showing."

Collins noted there may not have been retaliation because the umpire had given a warning. Any retaliation would have fallen on Zack Greinke, who was working on a shutout. What would have happened if Wright stayed in the game to face Greinke?

“It made sense,” Greinke said about Collins' move. “I don’t know what would have happened if he stayed in. They don’t want anyone important to get hurt, just like we don’t want someone important getting hurt. That’s kind of the main thing.”

The Mets and Brewers don't meet again until Sept. 14-16 in Milwaukee.

Wright said he regretted venting in the dugout to Collins.

"I was up first that inning, so I didn't have the luxury -- I probably should have picked a better spot for it," Wright said. "But in the heat of the moment, like I said, I was up first and was ready to get my stuff on and Terry kind of got me at a moment where I was upset with the situation and got me at a moment that I was pretty hot. It wasn't directed at Terry at all. I talked to him a handful of times after it happened and we made it very clear -- or I made it very clear to him -- that was not directed at him or the coaching staff whatsoever."

Rapid Reaction: Brewers 8, Mets 0

May, 15, 2012

WHAT IT MEANS: Dillon Gee allowed seven runs for the second time this season. And the Mets’ attempt to climb six games over .500 came up short for the third time in a week. The Mets lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-0, on a wet Tuesday night at Citi Field as David Wright stewed about being pulled from the game.

Gee was chased with one out in the sixth and the Mets trailing 7-0 after serving up a three-run homer to Travis Ishikawa -- the ex-Giant’s second long ball in two innings and his third, fourth and career-high fifth RBIs of the game.

Gee’s ERA swelled to 5.65.

Gee (2-3) also allowed seven runs against the San Francisco Giants on April 23. His career high for runs allowed was eight against the Philadelphia Phillies in a 10-0 loss on Aug. 22, 2011.

Zack Greinke tossed seven scoreless innings for Milwaukee.

D.J. FIASCO: Tasked with logging innings with a lopsided deficit to protect the rest of the bullpen, D.J. Carrasco lasted all of three batters. Rickie Weeks launched a one-out homer to left field off Carrasco in the seventh to snap an 0-for-21 rut. Carrasco then plunked Ryan Braun on the arm with the next pitch -- either (1) unintentionally, (2) because of the homer, or (3) because of Braun beating a drug suspension. Carrasco was ejected by plate umpire Gary Darling. Braun has been hit by an NL-high five pitches this season, matching last year's total. Two of the plunkings came in Milwaukee's previous series, against the rival Chicago Cubs.

Ramon Ramirez logged the final 2-2/3 innings.

SIT AND STEW: Terry Collins pulled Wright for pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin the half-inning after Carrasco’s ejection, and Wright was shown on TV expressing displeasure with his manager for the decision to remove him.

It was not immediately clear whether Collins was motivated by fearing retribution for the Braun plunking since the two-game series was ending, or simply wanted to get Wright out of the game with an 8-0 deficit and wet weather. Collins recently said Wright would need a break during a 20-games-in-20-days stretch.

Wright went 2-for-2 to lift his average to .408 before departing.

NEW CITI JACKS: Ishikawa’s second homer would not have been a long ball under the old Citi Field dimensions. Opponents now lead 5-4 in homers that benefited from the revised dimensions.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Cincinnati Reds visit Citi Field for a two-game series. Johan Santana (1-2, 2.92 ERA) opposes right-hander Mike Leake (0-5, 7.11) in Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 10, Phillies 6

May, 9, 2012

WHAT IT MEANS: They’re the comeback kings.

For the MLB-leading 11th time this season, the Mets produced a comeback victory. It lifted them to a 10-6 win Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park and their first sweep of a three-game series in Philly since June 2006.

The Mets (18-13) moved five games over .500 for the first time since July 19, 2010, when they were 49-44.

The reeling Phillies, at 14-18, dropped four games under .500 for the first time since May 9, 2007 -- exactly five years ago. (Don’t look up how that season turned out in the NL East.)

The Mets had rallied from a 2-0 deficit in Monday’s series opener, then a 4-0 deficit Tuesday for victories. This time, they trailed 4-2 after six innings.

PEN PALTRY: After Cliff Lee departed at 84 pitches in his first outing since returning from the disabled list, the Mets rallied with a three-run seventh against reliever Kyle Kendrick. The first five batters reached, then Andres Torres delivered a run-scoring groundout to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis opened the frame with a walk. Justin Turner and Ike Davis consecutively doubled. Rob Johnson walked to load the bases. Then Kendrick plunked pinch hitter Lucas Duda to force in the tying run and set up Torres’ at-bat.

It marked the Phillies’ fifth blown save in their past 10 games.

Kendrick remained in for the eighth and surrendered a leadoff double to David Wright, then broken-bat RBI double to Scott Hairston as the Mets claimed a two-run lead. Later that inning, after Hunter Pence dropped a routine fly ball in right field, Davis launched a mammoth three-run homer off the façade of the second deck in right field against Jose Contreras to give the Mets a 9-4 cushion. It was Davis’ first long ball since April 18, against Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens.

The Phillies had taken a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth while chasing Dillon Gee on a tiebreaking double by Freddy Galvis and RBI single by Laynce Nix.

HEY THERE MR.: D.J. Carrasco pitched the ninth in his first 2012 appearance with the Mets. He allowed one run.

WHAT’S NEXT: A day off at South Beach for the Mets on Thursday. The Amazin’s then open a weekend series against Jose Reyes and the Marlins on Friday -- their first glimpse at Miami’s new stadium. The opener, which features southpaws Johan Santana and Mark Buehrle, is the 8,000th regular-season game in Mets history. And, presumably, the 8,000th game in franchise history without a no-hitter. Reyes went 1-for-12 during the series at Citi Field.

Mets morning briefing 5.7.12

May, 7, 2012
R.A. Dickey took a scoreless effort into the ninth inning before surrendering a leadoff walk to Gerardo Parra and RBI double to Justin Upton. From there, Tim Byrdak and then Frank Francisco entered to complete a 3-1 rubber-game victory Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field.

Monday's news reports:

Ruben Tejada tumbled approaching first base on a fourth-inning bunt single and was forced to leave Sunday's game. The Mets announced Tejada had suffered a strained right quadriceps, even before Tejada had completed an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery. (The Post described the MRI as looking "not good.") Terry Collins also expressed concern with Tejada's right eye after the shortstop went face first into the ground after getting tripped up at first base. Justin Turner completed the game at shortstop, and Collins suggested he could accept using Turner at the position with David Wright as the backup until Ronny Cedeno returns. Cedeno (side muscle strain) now is eligible to be activated from the disabled list, but is not expected to be ready until later in the week.

Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire
Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez check on Ruben Tejada on Sunday. Tejada left the game.

Yet regardless of Collins' outward expression of confidence, Turner does not have the range to play shortstop in the majors. The Mets are bringing Jordany Valdespin to Philadelphia as part of a taxi squad. He would be activated to man shortstop assuming Tejada lands on the disabled list, which seems like the highly likely scenario. Valdespin, who was demoted after Saturday's game when the Mets activated D.J. Carrasco, cannot return without spending 10 days in the minors unless he is replacing a player who lands on the DL. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Record and Newsday.

• Dickey matched the longest outing by a Mets pitcher this season, and thought he had a chance at a no-hitter based on his early knuckleball quality. He slammed the rosin bag when he was removed because he wanted the complete game. (Mike Pelfrey also went eight innings April 21 against San Francisco, in what may have been Pelfrey's final appearance as a Met.) Read game recaps in the Times, Record, Newsday, Post, Journal, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

Chris Young is due to pitch in his first official minor league game Thursday with Class A St. Lucie, which plays at Brevard County at 6:35 p.m. Young is returning from May 16, 2011 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder. That is the same procedure Johan Santana underwent eight months earlier.

Ike Davis, who is now hitless in his last 10 at-bats and hitting .168 after going 0-for-2 with a walk Sunday, told Jon Heyman at "Let's be honest, it's a tough game. I'm working my butt off every day. Everyone wants a quick fix, but let's be honest, I'm not going to go from .170 to .300 in a day.''

Daniel Murphy, batting in the No. 5 hole for a second straight game, contributed a two-run single in the first inning. He went 7-for-12 in the series against Arizona. "I actually believe in the middle of the order is where he belongs, in that fifth spot," Collins said. "I really do. I've hit him second because I think he gets on base. Right now, we're looking for someone that can swing the bat to drive some runs in. When Ike starts swinging the way we know he can, Murph will probably move back up to No. 2. But right now, I just think we got to kind of spread out our guys that are swinging the bats." Read more in Newsday.

Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The conversation includes this exchange about Nieuwenhuis' high school nickname, Bonesaw:

Q: What is up with the “Bonesaw” chants?

A: In high school I played basketball, and I wasn’t the best basketball player, just kinda banged around a little bit ... kinda passed and rebounded and fouled and played defense. We had a student section [the Blue Crew] that was pretty big for a student section even though we didn’t have a big school. I was a junior and a bunch of the seniors thought “Bonesaw” was a cool nickname and they gave it to me.

Jason Bay's fractured rib remains sore, so he is not yet beginning the baseball activities that would be a prerequisite to being activated from the disabled list. Bay also is dealing with the flu.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News writes this assessment of the Mets:

Aside from David Wright and Murphy, the Mets lineup doesn’t overwhelm you -- but then what National League lineup does? -- and so it comes down to what it always does, pitching, and on days like Sunday when Dickey limits the opposition to just three hits and one run over eight-plus innings, the Mets look more than respectable. So far this season, Mets starters have pitched six or more innings 18 times and, not surprisingly, their record is 13-5 in those games. Dickey is the leader with five of his starts going six or more innings. “The pitching’s what’s carried us,” Terry Collins asserted, “and in games like this it’s allowed us to use the bullpen the way it’s supposed to be used.”

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes this take:

Things could go downhill quickly for the Mets. But for now they are holding on. “I personally think we’re a fun team to watch, and a lot of good things can happen,’’ catcher Josh Thole told The Post after driving in one of the three runs with a fourth-inning single. The other two were driven in by Daniel Murphy. In a fascinating scene three hours before the game, Murphy was offering some hitting tips to Thole in front of Thole’s locker. “When I walk down the street, people are saying, ‘Hey, keep going, you guys are playing hard,’ ” Thole said. “You appreciate hearing that, and when you show the fans that you care and have passion, that’s all they are asking for.’’

Paul DePodesta is profiled in the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper at his alma mater. Writes Scott A. Sherman:

After an injured shoulder suffered at the end of the following spring left him effectively unable to throw, DePodesta soon realized his baseball career was over. He decided to solely focus on football—where he only needed to catch—and played his senior year in 1994 under current Crimson coach Tim Murphy, who had just arrived from the University of Cincinnati. “Depo was not the most talented kid on the team, but he was a smart, tough, high-character guy,” Murphy recalls.

Often, it was DePodesta’s brain that stood out most quickly to his teammates. “He was a great guy, very friendly and very helpful in teaching the young guys,” Colby Skelton ’98, a fellow receiver on the squad, wrote in an email. “Not to mention extremely bright.” DePodesta did his best to ensure people were aware of that intelligence, often wearing a button-down shirt, khaki pants, and glasses (rather than his preferred contact lenses) around campus so people did not view him as “a dumb jock.”

Josh Rodriguez's single in the bottom of the ninth scored Pedro Zapata and lifted Binghamton to a 2-1, walk-off win against Harrisburg on Sunday. Read the full minor league recap here.

TRIVIA: Who was the first Phillies pitcher to serve up a homer to Wright in the third baseman's career? (Hint: He's now a closer.)

Sunday's answer: (Jersey) Bobby M. Jones once referred to his manager, Bobby Valentine, as a "joke."



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