New York Mets: Dan Warthen
FIRST PITCH: After a ninth-inning meltdown capped the squandering of a five-run lead, the Mets now need a victory Monday to avoid a split of their four-game series against the last-place Philadelphia Phillies.
Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.41 ERA) opposes right-hander David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39) at 1:05 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park.
Monday’s news reports:
• Jacob deGrom will be examined in New York on Monday and has been scratched from Tuesday’s scheduled start against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field because of shoulder soreness. DeGrom does not believe the issue is serious.
Montero, who has produced two straight scoreless appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas and already has appeared at the major league level, would appear more likely among the call-up options. Sandy Alderson did not reply to an inquiry from ESPNNewYork.com.
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Jenrry Mejia revealed he has a hernia that will require surgery. He hopes to take medication and pitch with the discomfort for the remainder of the season, but it is possible he is shut down before then and undergoes the procedure sooner. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and at MLB.com.
• Mejia failed to hold a one-run lead in the ninth and the Phillies rallied for a 7-6 win against the Mets on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets suffered their 11th walk-off loss of the season. No other team has suffered more than eight, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Zack Wheeler produced a quality start, but expressed disappointment with his high pitch count (112 in six innings). Wilmer Flores' failure to throw out Ben Revere on a two-out grounder in the seventh proved costly. Terry Collins explained several managerial moves afterward, including intentionally walking Chase Utley with the count already full to get to Ryan Howard for the walk-off RBI single.
Read game recaps in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Flores in Newsday.
• Pitching coach Dan Warthen tells columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post that John Smoltz offered advice to Wheeler during a June 30-July 2 series in Atlanta, which coincided with the beginning of Wheeler’s current streak of eight straight quality starts. “I do give credit to John for a couple of comments he made to him,” Warthen told Davidoff. “[It] really pumped him up. And he’s been outstanding since.”
• Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow inflammation) is due to make a rehab start for Class A St. Lucie on Monday. Matsuzaka then should be set to return from the DL.
• Jeremy Hefner, who had a forearm issue arise as he returns from Tommy John surgery, is due to be examined in New York.
• Bobby Abreu officially has been released by the Mets.
• Logan Verrett notched his 10th win as Vegas beat Albuquerque, 7-5. Steven Matz and Randy Fontanez combined on the shutout as Binghamton blanked Harrisburg, 3-0. Stefan Sabol had a game-tying RBI triple and scored the go-ahead run on Yeixon Ruiz’s single as Savannah beat Augusta, 6-4, in a rain-shortened game. Amed Rosario had a tiebreaking two-run double in Brooklyn’s 5-2 win against Batavia. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear takes note of some unusual Met stability.
BIRTHDAYS: Double-A infielder Wilfredo Tovar turns 23. ... Right-hander John Mitchell was born on this date in 1965.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should Jenrry Mejia shut down his season now and undergo hernia surgery?
Dear Mr Mejia. I pitched with sports hernia in 2010, results will not get better because you won't be able to finish your pitches#justssayin— Tim Byrdak (@Givemethelefty) August 10, 2014
Pitching coach Dan Warthen is away from the team. His daughter is graduating from high school in Portland, Ore.
Guy Conti, who has been an extra coach on the trip, will oversee the bullpen.
"We've got to start getting some offense out of our catching position, for sure," Collins said.
Overall, Mets catchers rank 27th in the majors in average (.217), 24th in on-base percentage (.282) and 26th in slugging percentage (.339). They have driven in 16 runs, better than only the Phillies (14), Royals (13) and Dodgers (11).
D'Arnaud was hitting .196 with three homers and eight RBIs in 102 at-bats before landing on the concussion DL two weeks ago.
D'Arnaud indicated the most difficult thing during his week of concussion symptoms was dealing with noise. He was on the bench with the Mets on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's official activation. D'Arnaud went 1-for-8 with a two-run homer and caught seven innings during his rehab assignment with Double-A Binghamton. His final game for the B-Mets was cut short by rain. The game was suspended in the second inning.
D'Arnaud will switch to a conventional catcher's mask (with separate skull cap) now that he's back. While the mask sits slightly farther away from his face than the hockey-goaltender mask he formerly wore, slightly reducing his peripheral vision, d'Arnaud feels the conventional style is less restrictive. He received his last two concussions while wearing the hockey mask and wants to switch things up anyway.
D'Arnaud's return incidentally gives the Mets a statistical quirk. He joins Jacob deGrom and Matt den Dekker on the active roster, making the Mets the first team in MLB history with three active players with surnames beginning with a lower-case "D."
According to research by ESPN’s Doug Kern, the Kansas City Royals had two -- first baseman Luis de los Santos and pitcher Jose de Jesus -- for two Septembers (1988 and '89).
Taking the fifth: Keith Hernandez steered clear of discussing with reporters on Thursday afternoon fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens' critical comments about the SNY analysts. It was Mex's first time assigned to a game since Hudgens did the media circuit.
Bobby O: Collins plans to start Bobby Abreu on Friday against right-hander A.J. Burnett. The manager might have used Abreu in the outfield on Thursday, too -- with Chris Young on the bench -- had Phillies starter David Buchanan's numbers made it sensible. Although Buchanan is a right-hander, righty batters hit .305 against him in nine Triple-A starts this season (versus .297 for lefty batters).
Collins noted it certainly is easier to play right field at Citizens Bank Park than at Citi Field, which makes prioritizing offense easier. The manager added that he just needs to be careful about overdoing it with Abreu.
"You've just got to be careful about wearing him down," Collins said.
Con'grad'ulations: Guy Conti, who served as the Mets' bullpen coach during the Pedro Martinez era, is back with the big-league club for the three-city road trip. Conti, 72, officially will step in when bench coach Bob Geren takes a brief leave for his son's graduation from Princeton and again when Dan Warthen takes a brief leave for his daughter's high school graduation in Oregon.
Record-setting: Barring a postponement, this series in Philly will mark the first time in franchise history the Mets play five straight days in one road city.
That prompted Collins to recall his days managing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and Hawaii had a team, which spanned from 1961-87. Because of the extensive travel involved, visiting teams would go there for 10 games. Collins laughed that the visiting team would typically win the first two games and then lose the next eight because of the island's distractions.
The same danger presumably does not exist in Philly, although perhaps the Mets will have to avoid overdosing on cheesesteaks.
More seriously, Collins noted that hostilities can start to rage toward the end of a five-game series, especially if one side -- or batter -- is dominating the other side. So stay tuned to see if emotions stay in check come Monday's finale.
The Mets play 25 of their next 33 games on the road.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets swept the Arizona Diamondbacks April 14-16 in Phoenix.
Now, they look to continue their success against the National League West cellar dwellers this weekend at Citi Field.
Arizona arrives in Queens with an 18-31 record and on a three-game losing streak after getting swept in St. Louis. The D-backs already have endured six losing streaks of at least three games this season, ESPN Stats & Information notes.
Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Chase Anderson (2-0, 5.06) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.
Friday’s news reports:
• Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and the Mets salvaged the finale of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-3 win Thursday at Citi Field. Albeit benefiting from a pair of unearned runs, the Mets snapped Zack Greinke’s streak of allowing two or fewer runs in 21 straight starts -- the longest such streak in MLB history. Jenrry Mejia pitched for a second straight day for the first time since 2010 to earn his second save.
Jonathon Niese had surrendered a game-tying two-run homer to ex-Met Justin Turner in the top of the seventh. Pitching coach Dan Warthen had noticed Niese elevating his pitches that inning and had planned to go to the mound if Turner had reached base.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.
• Curtis Granderson doesn’t understand why fans boo. “I’ve always wanted to know why someone would boo, because in the next second they’ll cheer,” Granderson told Jim Baumbach in Newsday. “So which one is it? You like your team or dislike your team? You call yourself a fan and then you’ll boo? …
“I understand you’re a fan, but at the same time, you aren’t playing. I can see you getting that intense as a player or [if you] have played. But if you’re just a fan and watching, enjoy the excitement of the game that is in front of you win, lose or draw, whatever the case is.”
• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News says play the kids. Writes Harper:
It makes sense, since this team can’t be considered a contender, even at a time when parity throughout MLB has lowered the bar for such status.
Of course, it also speaks to a failure by the Mets’ brass to do more in the offseason, specifically in terms of upgrading the offense, which is why the season is careening in the wrong direction.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes two members of the bullpen, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Mejia, view themselves as starters in exile. “Looking in from the outside, it may seem that I have become more comfortable,” Matsuzaka told Diamond through an interpreter. “But, for me, it’s still a daily struggle.”
• Read more on Mejia in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.
• Travis d’Arnaud has been cleared for baseball activities as he rebounds from a concussion. Terry Collins expects d’Arnaud to have a rehab assignment before being activated from the concussion DL. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Collins has resolved to use Campbell in the middle infield, at least on occasion.
• Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has no problems with the dimensions of Citi Field.
• Dillon Gee (lat) will need to pitch in a rehab game as soon as Sunday to ensure he only misses three turns in the rotation.
• Jesse Spector in the Sporting News ranks Sandy Alderson the 23rd-best GM in baseball.
• Howard Megdal at Capital New York suggests Mets brass did not like a tweet read on-air on WOR regarding team ownership.
• TV critic Bob Raissman in the Daily News wonders which SNY analyst will lose it on-air watching the Mets.
• Alex Panteliodis earned the win in his season debut and left-handed reliever Chase Huchingson returned from a 50-game suspension in St. Lucie’s 6-4 win against Clearwater. Savannah’s Miller Diaz, Akeel Morris and Tyler Vanderheiden combined to shut out Lexington, 4-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• David Wright met with a 12-year-old afflicted with a rare skin disorder before Thursday’s game, Eli Rosenberg writes in the Daily News.
• From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear can't help but notice Yasiel Puig.
BIRTHDAYS: Vic Black, who has a 1.45 ERA and seven saves in eight chances with Las Vegas, turns 26. Black has allowed 12 hits and 17 walks (one intentional) in 18 2/3 innings.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsRafael Montero makes his second major-league start Tuesday against the Dodgers at Citi Field.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets begin a stretch of 20 games in 20 days by hosting the underachieving Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series at Citi Field.
Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.50 ERA) makes his second major-league start in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. opener. The rookie opposes right-hander Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.38).
The series also marks the return of Justin Turner as a visitor. Turner was non-tendered by the Mets on Dec. 2.
Read the Mets-Dodgers series preview here.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels, who knows the organization’s intimate secrets, has pitched a book to publishers, sources tell ESPNNewYork.com.
• Juan Lagares was in the Dominican Republic during Monday’s off-day because of a death in his family, but is expected back in time for Tuesday’s game against L.A., a team official said.
• Sandy Alderson is not ruling out another outfield-dimension adjustment to Citi Field after the season, Kristie Ackert writes in the Daily News. “That is something we might consider at the end of the season, something I am sure will be taken into consideration,” the GM said. “But right now it is not something we are talking about.”
• Mark Simon at ESPNNewYork.com dissects where David Wright’s power has gone.
• Pitching coach Dan Warthen tells Mike Puma in the Post that Montero may have been tipping pitches in his debut against the Yankees, when he allowed three runs in six innings. “I think we picked up a little something that he might be tipping, so we changed things to see if we can get that rectified,” Warthen said. “Get him back to where he was in spring training with the big glove and not giving away things, and I think we’ll see a better outing.”
• Mets pitchers are 1-for-71 on the season, with Jacob deGrom producing the lone hit. Writes Tim Rohan in the Times on that subject:
One person not amused is John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball, who suggested the futility of the Mets’ pitchers served as a vivid argument for the designated hitter in the National League.
“When the D.H. was instituted in 1973, I hated it,” he said. “I’m a traditionalist. But watching National League pitchers being unable to lay down a bunt, and preferring to strike out rather than hit into a double play -- this is not baseball. This is not baseball as we grew up with it, when pitchers had some competence at the plate.”
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post doesn’t mind Citi Field -- dimensions and all. Writes Vaccaro:
There are many things the Mets don’t do well, and don’t do right. You can categorize them any way you like: alphabetically, numerically, fiscally. The Mets, in many ways, are the home office of bad ideas done badly.
But their ballpark isn’t one of them.
Their ballpark, in fact, grows on you the more the years pass. In a time of rampant stadium and arena additions around here, in fact, you could certainly argue that Citi Field is the best of the bunch, at least from an aesthetic standpoint.
• With Travis d’Arnaud on the seven-day concussion DL at least for one final day, Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at the perils of being a catcher. He notes that since the concussion DL was created in 2011, 17 of the 40 players placed on it have been catchers -- 42.5 percent.
• Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner, both rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, could throw off mounds for the first time since their procedures during the first week of June, Marc Carig writes in Newsday. The duo should advance to throwing on flat ground at 150 feet soon, up from 120 feet. Harvey previously has mentioned June 10 as a tentative target date for his initial mound session.
• Hansel Robles tossed six scoreless innings and Matt Clark had a three-run homer as Binghamton won Game 1 of a doubleheader against Portland, 5-0. Dilson Herrera drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th as St. Lucie beat Lakeland, 5-4. Kevin McGowan and Paul Paez combined on the shutout as Savannah blanked Charleston, 6-0. Both first-round picks with Savannah, Gavin Cecchini (hand) and Dominic Smith (foot), are banged up. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Puma in the Post quotes a talent evaluator saying about Noah Syndergaard: “He needs more time. His stuff is better than [Zack] Wheeler’s, but his fastball command has been way too inconsistent. You would be afraid of some real big innings if you brought him to the majors.”
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post says the Mets need to cut out the nonsense and concentrate on winning.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal profiles minor-league outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who was selected by the Mets with the 13th overall pick in 2011. With the next pick, the Miami Marlins selected Jose Fernandez. “He got picked. It happened to be the pick right after me,” Nimmo said. “There’s no escaping that. You face the fact that Jose Fernandez is an amazing baseball player, an amazing talent." Nimmo, 21, is hitting .333 with two homers, 19 RBIs and a .463 on-base percentage in 44 games with St. Lucie.
• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com answers readers’ Mets questions.
• Zach Braziller in the Post discusses 55-year-old Julio Franco’s “comeback” with Mike Marshall, the manager of the independent Fort Worth Cats.
• Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger reviews the Mets’ growing pains.
• From the bloggers … The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests Terry Collins does not like to be questioned. … Blogging Mets has its own theory on the increase of Tommy John surgeries.
BIRTHDAYS: Savannah right-hander Ricky Knapp turns 22. ... Former Mets infielder Wilson Valdez is 36.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should the NL just adopt the DH so Mets pitchers don’t have to hit?
@AdamRubinESPN Come to Citi Field, and see some really good opposing players on the field, and our best players on the bench!— Brian Mangan (@brianpmangan) May 19, 2014
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.
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.
Read more on Tejada in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.
• 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 MLB.com.
• 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 ESPNNewYork.com 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:
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 MLB.com.
• 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.
“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 MLB.com.
• 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 MLB.com.
• 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 … MetsMinors.net 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:
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.
Dan Warthen, Dave Hudgens and Tim Teufel, along with the rest of the staff, all are expected to return in 2014.
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.
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 ESPNNewYork.com. “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.
• Fangraphs.com 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:
FIRST PITCH: Trade deadline at 4 p.m.
Mets insiders told ESPNNewYork.com 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 MLB.com.
• 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:
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.
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 MLB.com.
• 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 MLB.com:
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.”
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 MLB.com.
• 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?
These Yankees are awful...The #Mets on the other hand had a great game.— Sohali (@sohali2012) June 30, 2013
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.”
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 MLB.com.
• 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: