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Morning Briefing: Matt Harvey birthday edition

3/27/2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. --

FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey Day has extra significance on Friday in Jupiter. The New York Mets' ace will pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals on his 26th birthday.

Harvey, who is slated to throw 80 pitches, will oppose right-hander John Lackey in the 1:05 p.m. ET game.

Manager Terry Collins plans to bat Harvey eighth. Collins is considering consistently using the pitcher in that slot this season. Curtis Granderson would lead off, followed by David Wright and Lucas Duda. Juan Lagares would bat ninth in that scenario.

FRIDAY'S NEWS REPORTS:

  • General manager Sandy Alderson is engaged in trade talks with multiple teams regarding acquiring a left-handed reliever. The Mets have been particularly scouting the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers, according to ESPN.com's Mark Saxon.

  • Although Collins is seriously considering batting the pitcher eighth, the manager said Lagares' strong spring training is making it tough to decide. The other lineup configuration has Lagares leading off. Lagares is hitting .383 with three homers in Grapefruit League play. Read more in the Post, Newsday and at MLB.com.

  • Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told the Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 that it hurts to lose to the Mets, even in spring training. “It's been ingrained into our heads that you want to do better than the Mets, and they feel the same way about us, and that's what makes it a great rivalry and great competition,” Steinbrenner told the show. Read a recap of the appearance in the Daily News.

  • Matt Bowman, subbing for Jonathon Niese, tossed five scoreless innings and the Mets beat the Washington Nationals, 8-3, Thursday at Space Coast Stadium. Matt Reynolds, Lagares and Matt den Dekker homered in the victory. Wilmer Flores went 1-for-3 with a walk and played six innings at shortstop in his first game since fouling a pitch off the top of his left foot on Sunday. Read more at MLB.com.

  • Niese worked on his mechanics while pitching in a simulated game in the morning. He had been scratched from the Grapefruit League game because of the threat of inclement weather, which did not materialize. Bartolo Colon already had been scheduled to pitch in that camp game. The reason was to avoid facing the Nats, his Opening Day opponent. Read more in the Post, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Daniel Murphy, who suffered a pulled hamstring eight days ago, has resumed running.

  • Pitching coach Dan Warthen is unconcerned with Bobby Parnell's sagging spring-training velocity.

  • Although Alderson has expressed pessimism about Vic Black (shoulder) being ready for Opening Day, Warthen believes it is doable that the reliever can be available.

  • James Fanelli at DNAInfo.com writes:

    The New York Mets dramatically cut security staff at Citi Field in recent years despite concerns the moves would lead to increased response times for emergencies and fights as well as longer wait times at ticket gates, internal documents show. Budget cuts between 2009 and 2013 led management to pare down the number of security guards, security supervisors and NYPD officers during home games by roughly 29 percent, according to the documents.

    The Mets responded in a statement: “There are numerous inaccuracies as to what's been reported. While the details of our security are by their very nature confidential, the security of all who enter Citi Field is top priority.”

  • Dan Martin in the Post profiles backup catcher Johnny Monell. Monell attended Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx. His father, also named Johnny, played in the Mets organization from 1985 to 1990, rising to as high as Triple-A Tidewater.

  • NE-YO will perform a postgame concert at Citi Field on Aug. 15. The Mets previously had announced postgame concerts with The Steve Miller Band on June 27 and Heart on July 25.

  • Betting site Bovada offers some Mets over/under lines for 2015:

    Wright: .285 average, 18 1/2 homers and 79 1/2 RBIs

    Duda: 24 1/2 homers and 80 1/2 RBIs

    Granderson: 20 1/2 homers

    Michael Cuddyer: .279 average

    Murphy: .290 average

    Harvey: 11 wins, 3.05 ERA

    Jacob deGrom: 11 1/2 wins, 3.29 ERA

    Niese: 10 wins

    Colon: 101/2 wins

  • Former Mets catcher John Buck retired Thursday.

  • Andy Martino in the Daily News provides details on Kirk Nieuwenhuis' September hospitalization for an infection related to kidney stones.

  • Colon is one of seven active players who played for the Montreal Expos, Miles Wray writes at FanGraphs. The others still playing (or unsigned but not yet officially retired): Luis Ayala, Endy Chavez, Bruce Chen, Scott Downs, Maicer Izturis and Jon Rauch.

  • Jared Diamond in the Journal notes that Harvey is bucking the trend by displaying impeccable control from the get-go as he returns from Tommy John surgery.

  • Columnist Lloyd Carroll in the Queens Chronicle suggests the sky is not falling with Zack Wheeler's loss for 2015.

  • Columnist David Lennon in Newsday checks in on the renewed relationship between Granderson and hitting coach Kevin Long.

  • Matt Ehalt in the Record reviews the bench. It is projected to include Nieuwenhuis, John Mayberry Jr., Anthony Recker, Ruben Tejada and Eric Campbell, although Campbell is being challenged by Danny Muno.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report doesn't understand the “mystery” with Dillon Gee.

BIRTHDAYS: In addition to Harvey's birthday, Cuddyer turns 36, Brandon Nimmo is 22 and Monell is 29.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU'RE UP: Should the Mets bat the pitcher eighth? Or should Lagares lead off?