New York Mets: Dan Warthen

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Diamondbacks 2

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
PHOENIX -- Dillon Gee retired the first 14 batters he faced and the Mets are now above .500 for the first time this season.

Gee tossed seven scoreless innings and Anthony Recker homered and doubled as the Mets swept the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 5-2 win Wednesday at Chase Field.

After winning six of nine games on a trip to the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels and Diamondbacks, the Mets improved to 8-7 this season. They outscored Arizona 21-5 in the series.

It marked the Mets’ first sweep in Phoenix since a four-game series in 2006, when Carlos Beltran went 9-for-17 with 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored.

The reeling D-backs have lost six straight and dropped to an MLB-worst 4-14 this season.

The Mets carried a shutout bid into the ninth, in which Jose Valverde surrendered consecutive homers to Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt to open the inning, snapping a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings by Mets pitchers.

Gee did not allow a baserunner until Martin Prado’s two-out double in the fifth.

He allowed only two other hits.

One came when Gerardo Parra dropped a single in front of center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis with two outs in the sixth. Despite the D-backs trailing 3-0, Parra aggressively tried for a double with second base seemingly uncovered. However, Nieuwenhuis recovered the baseball and delivered it to Ruben Tejada, who in turn threw to Gee manning second, where he applied the tag.

The final hit against Gee came on a one-out double off the center-field wall by Goldschmidt in the seventh.

Gee managed to escape that inning unscathed. The next batter, Miguel Montero, sent a shot to the right-field wall, where Andrew Brown (2-for-5) made a stellar leaping catch. After a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, Gee then stranded Goldschmidt in scoring position with a Mark Trumbo groundout to complete his outing.

Gee’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. He threw 72 pitches (48 strikes).

This season, Gee has allowed a .375 opponent batting average from his 76th pitch onward, and Terry Collins undoubtedly sensed him fading with the D-backs squaring up balls in the seventh.

Gee tossed the fewest pitches by a Mets starter in a performance of at least seven innings since Robert Person on June 13, 1996 (7 IP, 70 pitches against St. Louis).

In the eighth, Kyle Farnsworth entered and allowed a pair of baserunners, but he got a big strikeout call on a two-seam fastball with the count full against Eric Chavez for the second out. Scott Rice then entered and retired Parra to strand two inherited D-backs.

Valverde, pitching for the first time since surrendering a game-tying, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to the Angels’ Raul Ibanez on Saturday, had plenty of wiggle room after the Mets scored two runs in the top of the ninth to open a 5-0 lead. He needed it. With the two long balls surrendered by Valverde, Mets pitchers have now allowed an MLB-high 22 homers. The D-backs are second with 21.

Recker, in only his third start this season as the backup to Travis d’Arnaud, belted his second homer. The second-inning shot against Brandon McCarthy opened the scoring.

The Mets opened a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Ike Davis walked, Brown doubled and Nieuwenhuis produced a sacrifice fly. The Mets’ third run came in the sixth, when Brown singled, Recker doubled and Gee had an RBI groundout after an intentional walk to Tejada.

The Mets tacked on ninth-inning runs on RBI singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright in a frame that also included two Arizona errors.

Welcome back: Curtis Granderson grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. It marked his first game action since bruising his left wrist, rib cage and knee in a collision with the outfield wall Monday. He is expected to return to the starting lineup Friday.

What’s next: The Mets try to duplicate their road success at Citi Field, at which they are 2-4 this season and 105-144 in four seasons under general manager Sandy Alderson.

After an off day, Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46 ERA) opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) on Friday at 7:10 p.m.

Morning Briefing: Mets set for Strip

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Mets will play two games against the Chicago Cubs this weekend in Las Vegas.

FIRST PITCH: Half the Mets are jetting out of Florida on Friday.

The Mets play split-squad games Saturday and Sunday against the Chicago Cubs in Las Vegas, with Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia getting the starts. The Mets’ chartered flight leaves midday, and also is due to include Terry Collins, David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud.

Remaining in Florida, Zack Wheeler gets the start at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Jupiter (WOR 710 AM). He opposes Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler, a product of Stony Brook University. Dillon Gee starts Saturday and Jonathon Niese starts Sunday.

Friday’s news reports:

• Collins gave Ruben Tejada a vote of confidence Thursday, telling him: “Listen, you’re the shortstop here.” Still, that is in large part a reflection of the Mets not having any other viable internal starting options. The bottom line: After Tejada committed his third error of spring training and went hitless in three at-bats to drop his Grapefruit League average to .067, the Mets may have to intensify their pursuit of an external option.

Steven Bisig/USA TODAY SportsThe Orioles reportedly are interested in Nick Franklin, as are the Mets and Rays.

On that topic, Jon Heyman at reports the Baltimore Orioles have joined the Tampa Bay Rays and Mets in conversing with the Seattle Mariners about middle infielder Nick Franklin.

Read more on Tejada in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and

• Addressing pitching coach Dan Warthen’s use of an Asian slur and subsequent apology, Daisuke Matsuzaka said through his intrepreter: “I don’t expect our relationship to change going forward.”

Dice-K’s comment came after Matsuzaka had a strong pitching performance against the Washington Nationals and seemed to further solidify his hold on the fifth-starter role.

Jonathon Niese, meanwhile, reportedly lashed out at reporters in clubhouse concerning the Warthen topic, saying: "Stop Tweeting about our clubhouse. That ----'s got to stop,” according to a tweet from Newsday’s Anthony Rieber.

Read more on Warthen’s apology, with Matsuzaka’s reaction, in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and Star-Ledger.

• In what may have been his final 2014 Grapefruit League performance before departing for minor-league camp, Noah Syndergaard again impressed. He ultimately was charged with three runs in 3 2/3 innings, after leaving two runners on base and having Jacob deGrom serve up a three-run homer.

Rafael Montero and deGrom were getting relief looks from Collins, who noted that is how those prospects may be introduced to the big leagues at some point this season.

The Mets ultimately beat the Nats, 7-5, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday thanks to a two-run single in the ninth from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis, who likely is ticketed for the Triple-A outfield with Matt den Dekker, Cesar Puello and very possibly Andrew Brown, is hitting .304 with a homer and seven RBIs through 23 at-bats. Meanwhile, first baseman Brandon Allen departed the game in the ninth inning with a calf injury.

Read recaps of Syndergaard’s performance and the game in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Journal and

• With Darrelle Revis defecting to the New England Patriots, Jonathan Lehman in the Post creates an all-time list of New York athletes who changed allegiances to a bitter rival. Those with Mets ties include Darryl Strawberry and Tom Glavine.

• Read more on the Mets’ trip to Vegas in the Times. Team insiders tell that a major reason for the team to make the trip is the big-league team will financially profit. The Las Vegas 51s, who host the game, are the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, so there is some goodwill involved, too.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing attempts to deconstruct the tale of Stu Woo and Dan Warthen. … John Delcos at Mets Report says Tejada is likely the Opening Day shortstop because Sandy Alderson will not make a bold move.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever Josh Stinson, now with the Orioles, turns 26. ... Mets farmhand Rainy Lara is 23. Lara had a 3.76 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) with Class A St. Lucie last season.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Terry Collins have told Ruben Tejada: “Listen, you’re the shortstop here?”

Morning Briefing: Thor's Day a relief

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard makes what may be his final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday, after Daisuke Matsuzaka opens the game.

FIRST PITCH: Thor's Day comes on Thursday this week, but it technically also is due to come in relief.

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start in the 1:05 p.m. game against the Washington Nationals in Viera, opposite left-hander Ross Detwiler. Terry Collins plans to have Dice-K and Syndergaard combine to log the entire nine innings. In essence, Syndergaard will be “piggybacking” Matsuzaka with the top prospect’s own start.

Given the Mets may be doing their weekly cuts on Mondays this spring training, and given innings are becoming scarcer, this might be Syndergaard’s final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance.

“I know it’s inevitable,” Syndergaard told Dan Martin in the Post about eventually ending up in minor-league camp. “With the finances and everything, I understand it’s a game, but it’s also a business.”

In starts against the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers, the 21-year-old Syndergaard has combined to allow two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out five in five innings. He could have escaped run-free had Eric Young Jr. -- in his first action this spring training at second base -- successfully handled a two-out grounder by Steve Lombardozzi.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen apologized Wednesday night after Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo heard him use a slur once commonly used to denigrate people of Asian descent. Read more in the Journal, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and

David Wright effusively praised the Atlanta Braves for swiftly addressing the injury to Kris Medlen by signing Ervin Santana for one year, $14.1 million. Still, Wright would not condemn his own organization’s thriftiness.

Enrique Rojas/ESPNBraves owners took one hour to approve the $14.1 million expenditure that landed Ervin Santana, GM Frank Wren told SiriusXM.

Sandy Alderson also did not care to link the Santana signing and the Mets’ situation with free-agent Stephen Drew.

“No. 1, it was a one-year deal,” Alderson told reporters about the Braves and Santana. “And, No. 2, Atlanta has more than one loss from their starting rotation. I don’t think it has any significant bearing on us.”

The most Alderson said regarding Ruben Tejada and shortstop is: “We’ll continue to look at our other options.” Tejada is 1-for-12 with two errors in Grapefruit League play.

Read more in the Post, Newsday, Record and

• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles Wright, writing:

A couple of years ago, in the offseason, [Mets fan Greg] Fedak’s wife, Cheryl, was in Norfolk, Va., on business. She went to dinner and could not find a seat. Wright was there with some friends and had an open seat at his table. She sat with the group, and Wright bought her a beer.

“He’s really down to earth,” Fedak said, “a guy you can relate to.”

John Lannan limited the Washington Nationals to two unearned runs in four innings and retired the final eight batters he faced as the Mets lost, 6-4, Wednesday at Tradition Field. Bobby Parnell’s velocity topped out at 88-89 mph in his second Grapefruit League appearance, but the closer indicated he is healthy and maintained his velocity will rise. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and

Carlos Torres, who had been projected to comfortably make the Opening Day roster anyway, is making the team as a reliever, Collins firmly stated.

• On Thursday, Ike Davis (calf) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) will repeat Wednesday’s outdoor activities that included batting and taking grounders -- again without running, though. Now Collins hopes both will be able to DH on the minor-league side sometime this weekend. Davis and Duda have been sidelined from games since the beginning of last week. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• Mookie Wilson arrived at the Mets’ complex this week and has been working as an instructor with outfielders on the minor-league side.

• Oddsmaker Bovada lists Wright as an 18-to-1 shot to win the National League MVP. That is tied with Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki for 12th-likeliest. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen is the favorite, at 6-to-1.

Bartolo Colon is a 25-to-1 shot as NL Cy Young winner. Zack Wheeler (40-to-1) and Jonathon Niese (66-to-1) also appear on that list. L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw is the favorite, at 13-to-2.

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes a feature about the large volume of mail players get requesting autographs.

• Michael J. Fensom discusses Tejada in the Star-Ledger.

• Former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez injured himself stepping barefoot on a cactus, Tom Haudricourt writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

From the bloggers … speaks with Cesar Puello about moving past last season’s Biogenesis-related suspension. … Rising Apple suggests that Santana signing with the Braves should not be a license to bash the Mets. … John Delcos at Mets Report argues the importance of carrying Lannan as a second lefty in the bullpen.

BIRTHDAYS: Johan Santana, who tossed the only no-hitter in Mets history, turns 35. He recently signed a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, as he tries to return from a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who will win the NL MVP and Cy Young?

View from St. Lucie: Harvey & Warthen

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20

Adam RubinMatt Harvey and Dan Warthen converse after Harvey participated for the first time outdoors with teammates.

Adam RubinNew Jersey native Anthony Seratelli runs during position-player warm-ups.

Adam RubinProspect Jacob deGrom throws a bullpen session Thursday.

Sources: Coaching staff to return intact

September, 29, 2013

US Presswire
Dan Warthen, Dave Hudgens and Tim Teufel, along with the rest of the staff, all are expected to return in 2014.
NEW YORK -- Not only is Terry Collins poised to return next season on a two-year extension with a team option for 2016, the entire coaching staff is expected back next year as well, sources told

The staff:

Pitching coach: Dan Warthen

Hitting coach: Dave Hudgens

Bench coach: Bob Geren

First base coach: Tom Goodwin

Third base coach: Tim Teufel

Bullpen coach: Ricky Bones

Sandy Alderson previously has said he expects Wally Backman to be invited to return as Triple-A Las Vegas manager.

Morning Briefing: Wally outta here?

September, 6, 2013
FIRST PITCH: After an off-day, the Mets now open an interleague series tonight at Cleveland, with Zack Wheeler opposing former Mets first-round pick Scott Kazmir.

It will mark Kazmir’s first time facing his original organization.

“I guess you can say there will always be something there from it being the team that drafted me,” Kazmir told “But it just feels like so long ago. I’m just concentrating on what I have to do and not really worried about too much of the significance of the game.”

Friday’s news reports:

• Mike Puma in the Post speculates that Las Vegas manager Wally Backman could decide to leave the organization if he is not offered a spot on Terry Collins’ 2014 staff.

• Puma in the Post revisits not signing Michael Bourn, who went to Cleveland on a four-year, $48 million deal, plus a $12 million vesting option for 2017. The Mets lucked into Marlon Byrd at $700,000 after deciding not to part with a draft pick for Bourn.

Bourn is hitting .262 with five homers, 39 RBIs and 21 steals and has a .315 on-base percentage in 490 plate appearances with the Indians.

“Where we sit right now, the answer is yeah,” manager Terry Collins told Puma about ending up better off having whiffed on Bourn. “But would Michael Bourn have made a difference in April? Come on. Maybe we wouldn’t be sitting where we are right now, so it’s a difficult thing to answer, because he was a good player, and we wanted him.

“We had high hopes. Going into the winter we thought we had a healthy Johan [Santana], we knew Matt Harvey was coming. Who knows? You put [Bourn] at the top of the order with Marlon Byrd and David [Wright] in the lineup, but we didn’t get him.”

Robert Carson suffered the loss for a second straight night as Las Vegas fell in an 0-2 hole in its best-of-five series with a 5-4 loss at Salt Lake. Binghamton also faces elimination after losing at Trenton, 2-1, Thursday night. Read the full minor league recap here. looks at Juan Lagares’ outfield assists.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger discusses fielding with Lucas Duda. Writes Castillo:

A couple hours before returning to where he feels most comfortable on the baseball diamond, Lucas Duda offered a brutally honest assessment of his defensive skills.

"I don’t think I’m a major league ... let me rephrase that," Duda said Wednesday in Atlanta, catching himself to avoid having a self-deprecating evaluation become a self-damning one. "I think I’m much better at first base than I am in the outfield. I’m a big guy. I’m slow. You can just tell by looking at me -- I’m a first baseman."

• Previewing the Wheeler-Kazmir matchup, Mike Kerwick in the Record notes Dan Warthen was Kazmir’s pitching coach for part of a season at Class A St. Lucie.

• The Mets need more power in their lineup, Marc Carig writes in Newsday.

• Kristie Ackert in the Daily News profiles Eric Young Jr., who is now part of one of five father-son combinations to each produce 30 steals in a season. The others: Sandy Alomar Sr. and Roberto Alomar, Bobby and Barry Bonds, Jose Cruz Sr. and Jose Cruz Jr., and Maury and Bump Wills.

• Auto shop owners near Citi Field who are being displaced through eminent domain laws are holding a hunger strike, according to the Queens Courier. Writes Melissa Chan:

The city has been urging shops to leave in order to make way for a $3 billion project to redevelop Willets Point, which includes cleaning up 23 acres of contaminated land and eventually constructing housing units and a mega mall near Citi Field. Developers need the City Council’s final approval to move Citi Field parking to Willets Point in order to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center west of the baseball stadium.

However, the Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises did not vote on the project during a September 3 hearing and is not expected to do so this month, sources said. Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who represents the area, instead grilled city officials and developers for more answers and better relocation plans.

From the bloggers … Mark Berman at Blogging Mets looks at potential free-agent outfielders who could play at Citi Field in 2014.

BIRTHDAYS: One-time top outfield prospect Alex Escobar turns 35.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you excited Zack Wheeler and Scott Kazmir line up? Or has too much time passed to make it meaningful?

Morning Briefing: Trade deadline looms

July, 31, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Trade deadline at 4 p.m.

Mets insiders told on Tuesday that the likelihood is the deadline passes without the Mets making a deal.

"If nothing happens ... I know it's in the best interest of the organization," Terry Collins said. "We've got some young players that are here that we're trying to play. If some of the more experienced people are here tomorrow, it's because they're trying to help us. You know, we owe our fans some competition, too."

At 7:10 p.m., the Mets aim to take their third straight against the Miami Marlins. Jenrry Mejia, coming off seven scoreless innings at Nationals Park, gets his second start since a promotion. He opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez (1-1, 2.64 ERA).

Wednesday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler took a no-hit bid one out into the seventh inning and John Buck delivered a tiebreaking two-run single in the 10th as the Mets beat Miami, 4-2, Wednesday at Marlins Park.

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

• On the trade deadline, columnist Joel Sherman writes in the Post:

One Mets official described “nibbles” on players, but nothing more serious. And the Mets have decided if they cannot obtain something they feel strongly about for their future, then why trade Marlon Byrd or Bobby Parnell. Outside executives have said the best the Mets could hope for on Byrd is an interested team’s 10th-15th-best prospect because the sport still eyes Byrd with suspicion since he was terrible last year, failed a PED test and has revived in his age-35 season out of nowhere.

As for Parnell, outside executives say the return for closers is just not that strong. One cited, for example, that for Jose Veras, Detroit gave Houston Danry Vazquez, an A-ball player generally viewed as a likely fourth outfielder.

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

• Dan Warthen talks refinements to Wheeler’s mechanics with Jared Diamond in the Journal.

• Jeff Walters recorded the final four outs for his 30th save as Binghamton beat Altoona, 3-2. Cole Frenzel’s three-run double in the eighth gave Savannah the lead en route to a 9-5 win against Asheville. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Ryan Braun would be a good offseason addition for the Mets.

BIRTHDAYS: Billy Wynne, who briefly pitched for the ’67 Mets, was born on this date in 1943.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think Marlon Byrd will be a Met at 4:01 p.m.?

Morning Briefing: Wheels up in Queens

June, 30, 2013
FIRST PITCH: The only chance to catch Zack Wheeler at Citi Field before the All-Star break has arrived.

Wheeler makes his home debut when the Mets complete a three-game series with the Washington Nationals today at 1:10 p.m. He opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez. It also happens to be David Wright bobblehead day.

Courtesy of New York MetsIt's David Wright bobblehead day at Citi Field.

Wheeler tossed six scoreless innings in his major league debut on June 18 at Atlanta. Working on a full week of rest, he then surrendered four runs in 5 1/3 innings at Chicago in an interleague series.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen worked with Wheeler between starts to try to remedy the rookie’s pitch tipping. Wheeler had different arm angles for different pitches, the Mets have acknowledged.

Wheeler’s final two first-half starts will come on the road. He lines up to pitch at Milwaukee on Friday, then at San Francisco on July 10. The Giants, of course, are the team that dealt Wheeler to the Mets before the trading deadline two years ago for Carlos Beltran.

Sunday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee limited the Nationals to one run in six innings and Carlos Torres and LaTroy Hawkins combined for three scoreless relief innings as the Mets won, 5-1, Saturday at Citi Field.

Gee has a 2.48 ERA over his past six starts. He is 3-0 this season and 6-1 in his career against Washington.

The Mets are 4-3 against the Nats this season after going 4-14 in the season series last year.

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

• For the first time since May 23, Jenrry Mejia made a minor league appearance. Mejia, who has battled a forearm issue since spring training, started in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday. The 23-year-old right-hander pitched 1 2/3 innings. He was charged with three hits and two unearned runs while issuing one walk.

Jonathon Niese’s follow-up MRI will be Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. When Niese landed on the DL with a partial tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, the Mets indicated he would have a follow-up exam two weeks later to see if any healing occurred. While Niese and team officials have expressed optimism the southpaw can avoid surgery, the follow-up exam with Mets doctors this week will help make that determination.

Writes Anthony DiComo at

Niese estimated that, assuming his MRI comes up clean, he will need to rest for two to three weeks before beginning a two- to three-week rehab progression. At that point, in mid-August, he could be ready to return to the Mets. Though Niese called his initial MRI results last week "kind of scary," he believes he will be able to pitch again this season.

"I feel strong," said Niese, who is under team control through 2018 with a guaranteed contract through 2016. "I'm sure it will come up better."

Ruben Tejada, playing in his second official rehab game in the Gulf Coast League, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and logged seven innings at shortstop. He is 1-for-5 with a double through two games.

Ike Davis was ejected from Triple-A Las Vegas’ game in the third inning for arguing a called third strike. With Mike Baxter scratched with his wife due to give birth, the Mets were forced to use pitcher D.J. Mitchell in right field and shift Eric Campbell from the outfield to first base. The only position player on the bench was backup catcher Kai Gronauer.

Davis went 1-for-2 before getting tossed. He is now hitting .288 with five homers and 10 RBIs in 59 at-bats spanning 17 games with the Pacific Coast League club.

The Mets face three more straight left-handed pitchers: Gonzalez on Sunday, then Arizona Diamondbacks southpaws Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin the following two days. The Mets finally resume facing right-handed pitching on Wednesday, so that should be the next date to eye for a potential Davis return to the majors.

Terry Collins said Davis will be the everyday first baseman when he returns.

“We’re not going to bring Ike back to be platooned,” Collins said. “I can tell you that.”

Getty ImagesMatt Harvey and Zack Wheeler will face innings caps this season.

• The Mets do not like their young pitchers increasing their workload more than 30-35 innings over the previous season, which is consistent with the industry standard. So that means Matt Harvey and Wheeler both should have innings caps in 2013.

Sandy Alderson previously has identified 180 to 185 innings as Wheeler’s cap. He is at 80 innings right now between Triple-A and the majors.

Harvey logged 169 1/3 innings last year. Terry Collins told reporters Saturday the cap likely would be 215 to 220 innings -- although that seems more than the standard 30- to 35-inning jump. Harvey currently is at 117 innings. Regardless, the goal would be to moderate Harvey’s workload by giving extra days between starts or cutting short the length of outings in the second half, not ending his season early for a second straight year, Collins indicated.

"Always remember something: We are not going to hinder this kid's health by killing him now when the future is so bright,” Collins said, according to Newsday. “We are not going to jeopardize what's down the road for right now. We're not going to do it."

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post picks Harvey as the midseason NL Cy Young winner, with Clayton Kershaw the runner-up. The rest of the top five: Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee and Patrick Corbin.

• Read more on Wheeler’s home debut in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and

• Columnist Steve Serby in the Post suggests the future looks bright with Harvey and Wheeler.

• Las Vegas has successfully plugged its rotation for now even with Wheeler and Torres in the majors and Collin McHugh traded. On Friday night, Giancarlo Alvarado -- who was signed out of the Mexican League -- tossed six scoreless innings in his organization debut. Then, Jacob deGrom retired the final 15 batters he faced and limited Tacoma to one run and three hits in seven innings Saturday as the 51s beat the Rainiers, 4-1. Tim Byrdak allowed two runs on two hits, a walk and wild pitch while recording two outs in St. Lucie’s 12-2 loss to Fort Myers.

• Ex-Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur has been designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals. He was hitting .208 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 183 at-bats. Francoeur is due to earn $6.75 million this season. Read more in the Kansas City Star.

• Bud Harrelson, a two-time All-Star, reflects on those experiences with Ian Cutler in Newsday.

• The Mets and Yankees have some statistical similarities, Cody Derespina writes in Newsday.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report writes that the Mets are wasting their best asset: Harvey’s contribution.

BIRTHDAYS: ’69 Met Ron Swoboda, now a broadcaster for Triple-A New Orleans, turns 69. … Tony Fernandez is 51. … Chan Ho Park turns 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Ike Davis get the full-time first baseman’s role back upon returning?

Wheeler, Warthen work to avoid big tipping

June, 27, 2013
DENVER -- Dan Warthen went to work with Zack Wheeler on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field, trying to get the rookie to avoid tipping his pitches, which became an issue against the Chicago White Sox in Wheeler’s last outing.

Wheeler won’t throw his bullpen session until Friday at Citi Field. (He always throws on the third day after his start.) But Wheeler did do some dry mechanical work without actually firing a baseball Thursday alongside Warthen.

The change involves the positioning and openness of Wheeler’s glove, according to Warthen.

“I don’t think it was that big of a deal,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to change it up a little bit and try some new things.”

Said Warthen: “A couple of things that we wanted to do to open up his glove, maybe hide his pitches a little bit more. It’s things you guys all know about. It was announced that he is tipping his pitches. So we tried to rectify that situation. Nothing more than that.”

Warthen said the change involves the setup, not really the delivery.

“Open up his glove, keep it at the waist -- kind of what we’ve done with [Jeremy] Hefner, kind of what [Adam] Wainwright does,” the pitching coach said. “Basically you open the glove, put your hand in there, instead of putting the ball in the glove. Then you can go ahead and rectify the situation pretty easily.”

Wheeler described his imminent arrival at Citi Field as a Met for the first time as no big deal. He will throw a 40- to 50-pitch bullpen session Friday, in advance of Sunday’s home debut opposite Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals.

Wheeler has been to Citi Field before, including last September to be named the Sterling Award winner as the top performer for Double-A Binghamton.

“Obviously it’s the home park back in New York,” Wheeler said. “But it’s just going to be another game.”

Morning Briefing: From snow to 90s

June, 27, 2013

Adam RubinThis was the scene as Matt Harvey threw in the snow at Coors Field in April. Now, it's supposed to be in the mid-90s.

FIRST PITCH: What a difference two months makes. The Mets make a cameo appearance in Denver today for the makeup of a postponed game from a snowy April series. The forecast: a high of 94 degrees this afternoon -- 65 degrees warmer than the last visit.

Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 3.89 ERA) opposes right-hander Tyler Chatwood (4-1, 2.22) in the 6:10 p.m. ET start.

Hefner intended to fly ahead of the Mets to Denver yesterday afternoon, to no avail. Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee did fly directly from Chicago to New York so they can be well-rested for their weekend assignments.

Eric Young Jr. makes his return to Colorado, where he played parts of five major league seasons, after originally being drafted in the 30th round in 2003 by the Rockies. He arrives with a .414 average through 29 at-bats as a Met.

“It’s going to be my first time being on the visiting side when it comes to playing against the Rockies,” Young said. “I’m sure a lot of emotion is going to be involved. But, at the same time, I’m very excited. I’ve been with the organization for nine -- almost 10 -- years, and it’s my first time going against them.”

Read the Mets-Rockies series preview here.

Thursday’s news reports:

Shaun Marcum tossed eight scoreless innings and earned his first Mets win after an 0-9 start and the Amazin’s beat the White Sox, 3-0, Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field for a split of their two-game series.

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

• Despite stellar numbers at Coors Field, David Wright is due for a day off today.

• The Mets are stalling Ike Davis’ promotion in part because of a string of lefties they continue to face, including at least two against Washington this weekend as well as a pair against Arizona to open next week.

Ruben Tejada should begin a rehab assignment later this week in the Gulf Coast League, and also will make a stop at Las Vegas before being activated from the DL. The way Omar Quintanilla has performed, including slick fielding plays Wednesday night, Tejada is not assured of being the full-time shortstop upon his return from the quadriceps injury.

• Right-handers Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard have been selected to represent the Mets in the Futures Game, which will be held at 2 p.m. on July 14 at Citi Field. Brandon Nimmo is one of five U.S. team finalists that fans can elect to the game. (Vote here.) Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo will manage the squads.

• Double-A Binghamton placed five players in the Eastern League All-Star Game: outfielder Cesar Puello, infielders Allan Dykstra and Josh Rodriguez, and right-handers Logan Verrett and Jeff Walters. The game will be played July 10 in New Britain, Conn.

• Kevin Plawecki had a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth as St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 7-4. Read the full minor league recap here.

Jonathon Niese is confident he will not need surgery for a partially torn rotator cuff, although that will be for Mets doctors to determine next week in a follow-up exam that will include another MRI.

• Terry Collins will adjust the Mets’ rotation to close the first half, if need be, to ensure Harvey can start the All-Star Game if selected. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

Zack Wheeler and Dan Warthen will work during a bullpen session today at Coors Field on eliminating pitch-tipping by the rookie. “I was totally unaware of it,” Wheeler told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “Never done it before. I haven’t seen video or anything of last night, so I really don’t know what I was doing.” Read more in the Record, Journal, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Citi Field’s All-Star Game menu was showcased Wednesday at the stadium. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

From the bloggers … Metsmertized says Wright is on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory when compared with Chipper Jones, Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg during their age-30 seasons. … John Delcos at Mets Report believes the team is rushing Wheeler. … Faith and Fear in Flushing finds the Go-Go Mets highly watchable and somewhat plausible.

BIRTHDAYS: Chris Woodward turns 37. … Jeff Conine is 47.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How should Terry Collins divvy the playing time between Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla once Tejada returns from the DL?

Warthen: Francisco, Mejia progressing

April, 27, 2013

Getty Images
Frank Francisco and Jenrry Mejia are making progress in Port St. Lucie.
Frank Francisco began an official rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie on April 17, then made one more appearance with the Florida State League club three days later.

So what's happened in the week since?

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Francisco merely skipped the club's road trip and instead continued to pitch and progress in extended spring training games.

Warthen said Francisco's velocity is "creeping up" and he now has enough arm strength to throw an effective splitter. Francisco has not pitched on consecutive days yet, which likely is a prerequisite to be activated from the season-opening DL stint.

Warthen said he did not know a precise timetable for Francisco's return from the DL, where the reliever landed for elbow inflammation, but there is a maximum 30-day rehab clock. So Francisco should be back no later than May 17.

Jenrry Mejia, working back from forearm tendinitis, is due to throw batting practice today for the first time since the injury arose during spring training.

Tim Byrdak continues to progress from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Byrdak has reached 180 feet in his long-tossing on flat ground and should be on a mound during the upcoming week for the first time since the surgery.

Pedro Feliciano, like Francisco, avoided the St. Lucie Mets' road trip and is pitching in extended spring training games, Warthen said.

Morning briefing: Johan not happy camper

March, 4, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The Mets get their first glimpse of the Atlanta Braves this afternoon as Tim Hudson and crew visit Tradition Field.

Jeremy Hefner, who might be the rotation alternative if Johan Santana cannot get ready for the start of the season, pitches for the Mets, along with Rafael Montero and Bobby Parnell.

Monday’s news reports:

• Santana was displeased with all the attention he received Sunday, a day after Sandy Alderson said he the southpaw did not come into camp in pitching shape and suggested it might be 10 days before Santana stepped onto a mound. Perhaps driven by the negative attention, pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested, Santana threw off a mound Sunday for the first time since Feb. 19. Catcher Anthony Recker set up in front of the plate to cut the distance during the light session.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Johan Santana was not a happy camper Sunday.

"What’s spring training for?" an agitated Santana asked reporters. "What’s practice? To get you better. That’s what I’m doing right now. That’s what I’m here for, and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m working on."

Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post isn’t impressed with how the Mets handled the Santana issue. Writes Sherman:

All in all, this was another Amway moment for the Mets. There was nothing technically wrong with how either party behaved -- like there is nothing technically wrong with partnering with a company that has been accused of being a pyramid scheme. It just looks terrible when this organization is trying to regain credibility that it is trustworthy and knows what it is doing.

Here were the Mets claiming to have both monitored Santana this offseason -- which Alderson said they did -- and being shocked he did so little work he was not ready to pitch at the outset.

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

Kirk Nieuwenhuis suffered a left-knee injury stealing second Sunday. Read more in the Daily News and

Dillon Gee tossed three scoreless innings in his first appearance against major leaguers since undergoing surgery at last year’s All-Star break and John Buck produced a three-run homer against his former club, but the Mets lost to the Marlins, 6-4, Sunday in Jupiter, Fla. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Newsday and

• Warthen told Mike Kerwick in the Record he hopes to have Zack Wheeler (oblique) back on a mound midweek and in a game in about seven days.

• David Lennon in Newsday notes Mike Piazza did himself little favor with his autobiography if he hoped to be honored by the Mets. Writes Lennon:

The committee for the franchise's own Hall of Fame has yet to meet on any of this year's candidates, including Piazza, but the Mets weren't thrilled by some of the catcher's comments about the club in "Long Shot." COO Jeff Wilpon, who has the last word on both the Hall of Fame's recommendations and the retired numbers, was criticized in the book as Piazza claimed Wilpon urged him to play with an injury in a spring-training game because it was a sellout. Piazza also ripped longtime media relations director Jay Horwitz, who happens to be a member of the Mets' HOF committee, for not doing a better job of shielding the team's players.

"I felt he was more loyal to the writers and the broadcasters than he was to the players," Piazza wrote.

Are a few stinging sentences enough for one of the Mets' most popular stars of the past two decades to be alienated? That depends. Piazza also declined an invitation to attend SNY's unveiling of the team's 50 greatest players last year (he was No. 6) and team officials buzzed about that dis for months. There is little -- if any -- communication these days between Piazza and the Mets, who are confused as to why he's pulled away to this degree.

• Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones has left camp to serve as the pitching coach for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

• Ken Belson in the Times takes a look at the team’s Mr. Met hats. Belson writes that teams are permitted to wear these new spring-training caps during regular-season games as well, although the Mets would not say if they planned to do so.

• Third base used to be a revolving door for the Mets. But since mid-2004, and presumably now for another eight seasons, it will belong to David Wright. So Jared Diamond in the Journal asked players who also man that position in camp what it feels like to be boxed out. The Mets are playing Wilmer Flores at second base, not third base, in Grapefruit League games -- although the in-season plan apparently remains for Flores to be used at both spots. Writes Diamond:

Since 2005, only one player has appeared in more games at any position for one team than Wright's 1,184 at third with the Mets: Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (1,197). And while Cano's impending free agency makes his future with the Yankees murky, Wright will likely be a Met for life. … That leaves any third baseman in the Mets system with two options: pray for a trade that may never come -- or find a new position.

"I can't be David Wright. I'm not trying to be David Wright," said Zach Lutz, who has played 269 minor-league games at third base over the past six seasons.

• Jeff Wilpon told Jon Heyman at he is rooting for Jason Bay to succeed in Seattle. The Mets still owe Bay $21 million this year, but they deferred $15 million of that sum.

"I wish Jason nothing but the best," Wilpon said. "He was a great teammate. He did everything he could. He put in a lot of work, and he was always at his locker. He's a stand-up guy. It just didn't work out. It was best for him and for us to part ways. If he was a jerk, maybe I'd feel differently. But he's a great person. I'll root for Jason Bay 100 times out of 100 times."

From the bloggers The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests the Mets need Santana ready in July, at the trade deadline, not on Opening Day. … Mike V's Countdown to Opening Day at Mets Police stops off at 1998. It marked the first regular-season game played in New York City in March.

BIRTHDAYS: Jack Fisher, who lost 24 games for the ’65 Mets despite a 3.94 ERA, was born in 1939.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who would you like to see step into the rotation if Johan Santana were not ready and Zack Wheeler was placed at Triple-A Las Vegas -- Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia, Collin McHugh or Aaron Laffey?

Morning briefing: Matt Harvey show next up

February, 24, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The Mets put their undefeated record on the line on Day 2 of the Grapefruit League season with a pair of games Sunday.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
A day after Zack Wheeler's appearance, it's Matt Harvey's turn today.

Terry Collins takes Matt Harvey and a split squad to Kissimmee to face the now-AL West-member Houston Astros. (See full travel roster here.)

Meanwhile, back at Tradition Field, devout Ohio State fan Jonathon Niese as well as Dillon Gee pitch against Fred Wilpon’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. The Wolverines won two of three games from Fordham this weekend at the Mets’ complex.

Gee will pitch in his first game since undergoing emergency surgery during last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. He already was throwing off the mound in September at Citi Field before shutting things down for the offseason, so Gee said he has zero concerns about this start.

“I feel great,” Gee said. “I feel normal. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Sunday’s news reports:

Pedro Feliciano returned to camp Saturday after an examination at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Feliciano said he has an irregular heartbeat and small “hole” in the exterior of the heart. Feliciano will wear a heart monitor and is not yet cleared to resume baseball activities. Collins said the issue potentially is serious. Sandy Alderson plans to address the issue further with media this morning. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post, Record and

• Outfielder Jamie Hoffmann also returned to camp after his initial physical required a follow-up exam in New York. Hoffmann said he was diagnosed with a non-alarming heart condition 10 years ago that routinely gets flagged when he switches teams.

Zack Wheeler wowed in his Grapefruit League debut, limiting the Washington Nationals to one hit and one walk while striking out two in two scoreless innings. Collins nonetheless reiterated that Wheeler is ticketed for the minors to open the season, regardless of Johan Santana’s situation.

“He’s very similar to Doc,” Wally Backman told columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post, referring to Dwight Gooden. “I think Doc’s breaking ball was a little bit bigger, but this kid has got, to me, real high expectations.”

Said Joe McIlvaine, a scout for the Mariners who once drafted Dwight Gooden: “Easy gas. Wheeler is very similar to [Stephen] Strasburg. He threw about as hard. He’s the same type of breaking ball. The same type of elongated body. Strasburg is a little bit stronger, but he’s a little bit older. The only differential I would say at this point is that [Wheeler’s] control is not as good as Strasburg’s. That’s the biggest difference, and that’s why he is still in the minor leagues.”

Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with man-of-few-words Wheeler. The exchange includes:

Q: Tell me about the day you were traded to the Mets.

A: I rolled out of bed, saw it on Twitter. I went downstairs, it was on ESPN.

Read more on Wheeler’s Grapefruit League debut in the Star-Ledger, Times, Post, Newsday, Daily News and

• Also in the 5-2 win against the Nats, Ruben Tejada belted a two-run homer against Strasburg, Shaun Marcum surrendered three runs in two innings and Collin Cowgill delivered a game-deciding RBI double. Read more in Newsday.

David Wright will get three more Grapefruit League starts before departing Saturday for the World Baseball Classic, Collins said. Read more in Newsday.

• The Mets signed 29-year-old first baseman Rhyne Hughes to a minor league deal. Justin Turner played with Hughes in the Baltimore Orioles organization and said the lefty hitter has power to all fields when on his game. Hughes’ career got sidetracked when the Orioles tried to expose him to right field and made him a part-time player, according to Turner.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jason Bay homered in his first plate appearance as a Mariner.

Jason Bay belted a two-run homer in his first at-bat as member of the Seattle Mariners. Bay is competing with Casper Wells for the final outfield slot. Read more in The Seattle Times and Newsday.

• Andrew Keh in the Times looks at the tradition of baseball players having offseason jobs. Collin McHugh works during the winter with a company that does fundraising for schools.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News contrasts John Buck with predecessor Josh Thole. “Josh just didn’t have a feel for calling a game,” a Mets person told Harper. “We needed somebody that was going to help make our young pitchers better.”

Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger has a Q&A with Buck about his Glove Guardian company.

• Should the Mets instruct Travis d’Arnaud to do swipe tags instead of blocking the plate in order to protect the young catcher? Mark Hale asks Paul DePodesta in the Post. “I’d say it’s to be determined,” DePodesta said.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News is critical of Wright’s agents over other clients being tied to a South Florida clinic.

• Minor league field coordinator Dicky Scott notes in the Star-Ledger that the plan is to keep prospect Wilmer Flores in the infield. “A lot of guys go to the outfield because they can really run – they’re great defenders -- and with other guys it’s because they don’t like fielding groundballs,” Scott told the newspaper. “We have a guy who has good hands, who can play multiple positions. I think we’re going to stick with that.”

• Mike Kerwick in the Record profiles pitching coach Dan Warthen, including his influence on a young Erik Hanson.

From the bloggers ... With 1986 nearly three decades in the past, Shannon from Mets Police wonders when the Mets become one of those teams that never wins. … Mets Merized looks at center-field prospect Matt den Dekker.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Eddie Murray turns 57.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What record and ERA will Matt Harvey produce in 2013?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

Feliciano, absent hard feelings, returns

February, 12, 2013
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Pedro Feliciano returned to the spring-training complex he called home through 2010 this week and could not be happier.

“I feel like I’ve never been out -- like my old family,” said Feliciano, who signed a minor league contract to return to the Mets three weeks ago. “We had some other options. It never crossed my mind that I was going to get back here. But I’m here. I think it would be the perfect place to come back in and show the people I’m ready. I think I’m ready, like the old Feliciano.”

Feliciano defected from the Mets to the Yankees after setting a franchise single-season relief record in 2010 with 92 appearances.

He underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on Sept. 8, 2011. He never appeared in a major league game in pinstripes while collecting $8 million over two seasons.

Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen recommended the Mets re-sign Feliciano.

And Terry Collins acknowledged Tuesday that Feliciano has a leg up to join Josh Edgin as the left-handers in the Mets’ bullpen if he looks anything like he did during his first tour of duty with the ballclub.

“Certainly I think he’s got a leg up to face that left-handed hitter,” Collins said. “He’s done it. He’s made a career doing it. He’s done a great job doing it. If there’s still something in the arm to continue to get that done, obviously he’s got to be that guy that you can use nightly to face one guy.”

Feliciano, 36, made seven relief appearances in the Puerto Rico winter league with Ponce this offseason. He had a 1.23 ERA while allowing two hits, one walk and one hit batsman in 7 1/3 innings. Lefty batters were 0-for-8 against him.

“I heard our scouts down there had him at the mid-80s, and I wanted to give him another chance,” Warthen said. “If he can throw like he did for us before, then he’s a valuable asset.”

Said Feliciano: “When I started in Puerto Rico, I was like 85. But, at the end, I was throwing harder. No one told me [precisely], but it feels good.”

Feliciano incredibly ranks 15th in the majors in relief appearances among left-handers over the past five MLB seasons, even though he has not appeared in a major league game the past two years. Still, Feliciano does not link making 86, 88 and 92 appearances in consecutive seasons with the Mets with his subsequent shoulder surgery.

“No, no, no,” Feliciano said. “I think it just happened one day. I never had a problem with my arm. Just one day I felt it.”

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 10.2.12

October, 2, 2012
MIAMI -- Jeurys Familia allowed only one hit in four scoreless innings in his first major league start, but the rookie walked six batters. The Mets ended up losing Monday's series opener, 3-2, to the Miami Marlins. Ramon Ramirez surrendered a tiebreaking RBI double to Rob Brantly in the eighth.

Tonight, R.A. Dickey bids for his 21st win and makes his final case for the Cy Young Award. Dickey opposes rookie right-hander Jacob Turner at 7:10 p.m. Only three other pitchers in franchise history have reached the 21-win plateau. Tom Seaver had 25 wins in 1969, 22 in 1975 and 21 in 1972. Dwight Gooden had 24 in 1985. Jerry Koosman had 21 in 1976.

Tuesday's news reports:

David Goldman/Associated Press
Dan Warthen and the rest of the coaching staff will return in 2013.

• The entire Mets coaching staff -- pitching coach Dan Warthen, hitting coach Dave Hudgens, bench coach Bob Geren, third base coach Tim Teufel, first base coach Tom Goodwin and bullpen coach Ricky Bones -- will return next season. Wally Backman, who managed the Triple-A club this season before joining the Mets in September, has yet to be presented with a 2013 role. A team source told that Las Vegas, the Mets' new Pacific Coast League home, may not be attractive to Backman. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Record, Post, Daily News, Newsday and Journal.

• Connecticut native Adam Greenberg, who was struck in the head with a pitch in his lone major league plate appearance -- on July 9, 2005 -- and subsequently developed vertigo will pinch hit for the Marlins today. He likely will face Dickey in the middle innings. The Mets will treat him like any other major league hitter.

Fred Van Dusen, the only other player in major league history to be hit with a pitch in his lone major league plate appearance and never play the field, will be on hand and throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Writes Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald about Van Dusen attending:

Van Dusen couldn’t be happier. “It’s a good human-interest story,’’ said Van Dusen, who has never met Greenberg or spoken with him. “It’s a positive thing, and a lot of people who don’t understand baseball, they’ll applaud it greatly."

Van Dusen was 18 when he was called up by the Philadelphia Phillies late in the 1955 season. Now 75, retired and living in Tennessee, Van Dusen said he spent about a month on the Phillies bench before he was finally given a chance to play. It was on Sept. 11 of that season, in the ninth inning of a game against the Milwaukee Braves, that Van Dusen was sent in to pinch-hit. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, and with Milwaukee’s Henry Aaron and Eddie Mathews looking on from the field for the Braves, Van Dusen was hit by a Humberto Robinson pitch. Van Dusen took his base and was left standing at first when the inning ended. Though considered to be a top prospect, Van Dusen would not play again in another major-league game.

Read more on Greenberg in the Post.

• It appears highly unlikely Mike Pelfrey will return in 2013, but Terry Collins and Warthen wouldn't mind having him back -- as a back end of the bullpen option, perhaps. Pelfrey, who underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1, has to be cut loose in December. Otherwise, the Mets would have to pay him at least 80 percent of this year's $5.6875 million salary. Once a free agent, Pelfrey would be free to sign anywhere. And agent Scott Boras likely would try to place Pelfrey with a team to start on a one-year contract with a reasonable base salary (maybe $2 million) and performance-based incentives.

• Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon joined the team in Miami along with other Mets executives, including Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco. The group will begin to solidify an offseason plan.

• Warthen said the key to Dickey (20-6, 2.69 ERA) taking another leap forward this season was learning how to control the knuckleball up in the zone and using up-and-down movement in addition to side-to-side.

Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
R.A. Dickey bids for his 21st win tonight.

“The old adage is: See it low, let it go. See it high, let it fly,” Warthen said. “We’ve kind of capitalized on that thought process in keeping that knuckleball at a higher part of the zone a lot more often and getting a lot of strikeouts from it.”

“It wasn’t really an idea as much as we kind of stumbled upon it in Pittsburgh (May 22),” Dickey said about commanding the pitch up in the zone. “I figured out a mechanism to be able to keep it elevated and still take spin off of it. At least I thought I had, and was anxious to work on it in my bullpens subsequent to that outing.

“Sure enough, it seemed like we had identified something that I could do to change the elevation consistently when I wanted to. The thing about a knuckleball is a lot of times you’ll try things and it’ll do the opposite. It’s just the nature of that pitch from time to time. So when you find a way to do something and you can consistently do it with that, then you’ve found something good. From that moment on I really worked hard on it.”

Read more on Dickey's Cy Young bid in the Record.

• The proposed Major League Soccer stadium at Flushing Meadows Corona Park adjacent to Citi Field, which would house an expansion team, has community opposition. Writes Clare Trapasso in the Daily News:

Major League Soccer officials previously said they were looking to build a 25,000-seat stadium on eight acres at the Fountains of Industry site in the park. That estimate later ballooned to up to 13 acres. But officials insisted that they are committed to finding replacement park land. “We are in the process of starting conversations with community leaders to identify parcels,” MLS spokeswoman Risa Heller said in a statement. “MLS is also committed to replacing and upgrading existing community soccer fields as well.”

TRIVIA: Of the 11 ballparks that opened since 2001, Marlins Park this season has produced the worst attendance. Which new ballpark did it displace with that distinction?

Monday's answer: Jose Reyes entered the final series leading the Marlins in steals with 38, but not by much. Emilio Bonifacio swiped 30 before his season ended Aug. 21 with a right knee injury.



David Wright
.284 1 12 9
HRL. Duda 4
RBID. Wright 12
RE. Young Jr. 16
OPSL. Duda .850
WJ. Mejia 3
ERAJ. Mejia 1.99
SOJ. Mejia 25