New York Mets: Daniel Herrera

Morning briefing: One day until opener

March, 31, 2013
3/31/13
5:49
AM ET
SARASOTA, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have landed in New York.

They will hold a player workout today at Citi Field from noon to 2 p.m.

Tomorrow: Opening Day, with Jonathon Niese opposing San Diego Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez at 1:10 p.m.

Monday’s forecast calls for a high of 58 degrees and 10 percent chance of rain.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins has decided he will not be employing platoons. His Opening Day, and fairly stable, lineup:


Julio Cortez/Associated Press
Terry Collins says he'll go with starters Marlon Byrd and Collin Cowgill and not platoon in the outfield.


Collin Cowgill, cf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Marlon Byrd, rf
Lucas Duda, lf
John Buck, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Niese, lhp

Cowgill won the center-field job outright, although Kirk Nieuwenhuis still will be on the major league roster for a role that includes serving as a defensive replacement for Duda. Jordany Valdespin will be a bat for the bench, with strategic starts against some right-handers.

The Mets have one roster decision remaining. Zach Lutz’s Opening Day roster fate depends upon whether the Mets place Justin Turner (calf) on the DL.

Read more on the roster in Newsday and the Times.

Johan Santana has decided to undergo surgery Tuesday to again repair the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Team doctor David Altchek will perform the procedure. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Daily News, Post, Newsday and MLB.com.

Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner combined to surrender four homers and the Mets were one-hit in their spring-training finale, a 7-1 loss to the Orioles on Saturday. The Mets finished Grapefruit League play 15-15-3.

• Zack Wheeler is the Opening Day starter for Triple-A Las Vegas, on April 4 at Sacramento.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday suggests the Mets ought to have Wheeler start with the major league club and even consider a long-term deal now. Writes Lennon:

If a pitcher of his caliber can be a difference-maker now and help the Mets win immediately and give the impression that Sandy Alderson is not mailing it in this season, there is a compelling argument to start him in Flushing. If Wheeler indeed proves to be the second coming of Dwight Gooden, Alderson can get to work in the not-too-distant future on a long-term contract that makes sense for both sides.

When the Mets first signed David Wright to an extension in August 2006, they bought out three years of arbitration and four years of potential free agency with what became (with the option) a seven-year, $71 million contract. Last April, the Mets gave Jon Niese, who still was a season away from arbitration, a five-year, $25 million extension with two option years that could push the total guaranteed value to $46 million.

• Rusty Staub, who played for the NL pennant-winning ’73 Mets, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Citi Field. Staub turns 69 Monday.

• Left-hander Scott Rice, who was cut at Dodger Stadium on the eve of L.A.’s Opening Day a year ago, will make his major league debut this week with the Mets. "It's kind of funny," Rice told Marc Carig in Newsday. "Full circle. I flew into Sarasota to start my career in the minor leagues. Now, I'm flying out of Sarasota to go to the big leagues … 14 years later." Read more in the Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• In minor league camp, the Mets released major league veterans Corey Patterson, Daniel Herrera, Mike Wilson and Craig Hansen as well as former supplemental first-round pick Brad Holt, Pedro Zapata and Brandon Brown.

• On the outfield, which was mocked this offseason by everyone including the GM, Byrd told Newsday: "Embrace it. We have no reason for anyone to believe different. We have to produce to make everyone believe differently."

• Andy Martino in the Daily News chats with SNY’s Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.

From the bloggers Mets Police asks if you can tell “Game of Thrones” apart from the New York Mets.

BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Tom Hausman turns 60.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Which Met deserves the biggest cheer and bigger jeer during pregame introductions Monday?

Mets release Herrera, Patterson from minors

March, 30, 2013
3/30/13
9:34
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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Mets have released seven players from minor league camp: Brad Holt, Daniel Herrera, Craig Hansen, Mike Wilson, Corey Patterson, Pedro Zapata and Brandon Brown.

Herrera was returning from Tommy John surgery and eyed May for a return to games. Patterson is a veteran outfielder. Hansen is the former first-round pick by the Boston Red Sox out of St. John's. Holt was taken by the Mets with a supplemental first-round pick in 2008, when the organization had three of the top 33 picks and also selected Ike Davis and Reese Havens.

Morning briefing: Mets Bourn-free

February, 12, 2013
2/12/13
6:48
AM ET

Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports
Michael Bourn is headed to the Cleveland Indians.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The amazing thing about the Michael Bourn saga?

The Mets (74-88) would have had a protected pick at No. 10 -- even with the Pittsburgh Pirates getting that extra pick -- and seemingly would have landed Bourn had the Mets finished the 2012 season with one more loss. Instead, Toronto (73-89) would have been bumped from the top 10 and lost the protection of its top pick.

Chalk up another reason why the Mets should have traded Scott Hairston at last year’s trading deadline.

The bottom line: The prolonged debate about whether the Mets should have surrendered the 11th overall pick in the draft to sign the free-agent center fielder is over. They won’t. Nor will they land Bourn.


Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US Presswire
Scott Boras landed Michael Bourn a four-year, $48 million deal with Cleveland.


Although the Mets had a four-year, $48 million offer on the table, Bourn opted for a comparable deal with the Cleveland Indians.

Agent Scott Boras was unwilling to wait for the draft-pick grievance process to take an estimated two weeks. Boras feared other offers would be off the table at that point. And if the Mets did not get the pick protected through that process and walked away, Boras would be left with little leverage anywhere.

So now, as the Mets arrive at the complex today for physicals in advance of Wednesday’s first official pitchers and catchers workout, it is becoming abundantly clear their outfield in April may be: Lucas Duda in left field, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill platooning in center field, and Mike Baxter with Marlon Byrd, Andrew Brown, Brian Bixler, Zach Lutz or Justin Turner in right field.

Jon Heyman tweets the Mets now ought to try to acquire Drew Stubbs, a trade candidate in the Indians’ overcrowded outfield. Of course, Stubbs had a .213 average and .277 on base-percentage with the Cincinnati Reds last season.

Columnist Ken Davidoff offers his opinion on the Bourn saga in the Post here. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

Meanwhile, Terry Collins addresses the media at 12:30 p.m. today. Johan Santana, who reported Monday but did not speak with reporters, also could field questions Tuesday.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Turner will get reps in the outfield as the Mets search for capable options.


Elsa/Getty Images
Kirk Nieuwenhuis keeps his center field job with Michael Bourn heading to Cleveland.


As for Sandy Alderson’s quip -- when the GM was asked about his outfield during the offseason and replied, “What outfield?” -- Duda told Jared Diamond in the Wall Street Journal: “What are you going to do? Do you guys want me to go yell at Sandy?” Said Nieuwenhuis: “If you let that stuff get to you, you're in the wrong sport and you're in the wrong town.”

Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger also looks at the state of the outfield. “I feel like all the guys we have here are major league caliber players," Turner told Castillo. "Just because the numbers aren’t there from years past doesn’t mean they can’t play the game and play the game hard. So I wouldn’t discredit them at all for anything they’ve done because they haven’t had the opportunity."

Read more on the outfield in the Times and at MLB.com.

Tim Byrdak is eyeing July 1 for a return to the majors following surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.

Ruben Tejada, aware of the impending snow storm, shifted his scheduled flight last Saturday from New York to Florida to Friday at 5 a.m. He worked out at the complex Monday -- a full week ahead of the position-player report date. “It’s my work, you know?” Tejada told Marc Carig in Newsday. "You have to stay doing it the right way. That’s why I came here early to work with my teammates."

Jenrry Mejia had a visa issue and is not at Mets camp.

R.A. Dickey reported to Blue Jays camp in Dunedin, Fla., writes Anthony Rieber in Newsday.

Shaun Marcum, who replaces Dickey in the rotation, is eyeing 200 innings.

“I’ve always been a big fan of his,” J.P. Ricciardi told Mike Puma in the Post. “We drafted him in the third round in Toronto -- he was a shortstop/closer in college. We ended up making him a starter and he got to the big leagues. You don’t forget the guys that compete and do well for you, and he’s been one of them. …

“You look back at [Marcum’s] numbers and he’s pitched in two hitters’ parks, Milwaukee and Toronto, plus he pitched in the American League East for a long time. So he’s got a track record behind him on top of me being able to vouch for him, so those all go hand and hand.

“He’s also a great fielder -- the guy should have won a Gold Glove. He’s going to be able to help himself with the bat. If Shaun is healthy through the year, I expect good things from him.”

Read more on Marcum at TCPalm.com.

Mike Piazza mostly avoided media during a book signing at Barnes & Noble on 5th Ave. in Manhattan on Monday. He did tell the Post regarding the Hall of Fame vote: “Definitely a little disappointed, but I was really honored [by] a lot of support, too.” Read more in the Daily News.

• Terry Collins is marveling at the early turnout at camp. “Twenty major league hitters a week early,” he noted to Andy Martino in the Daily News.

• Elena Gustines in the Times chronicles memorable Opening Days in Mets history, including April 9, 1985, when Gary Carter belted a game-winning homer in the 10th in his Mets debut.

• Lefty reliever Daniel Herrera cut his long hair and donated it to the charity Locks for Love, which provides hair to children with medical issues, Mike Kerwick writes in the Record. Herrera is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in minor league camp.

• Kerwick also profiles Zack Wheeler in the Record. Wheeler talks about his time with the San Francisco Giants, when he would quiz Sergio Romo during camps. “Me and him would sit down for 30, 45 minutes, and talk about baseball -- like the mental side of it,” Wheeler told Kerwick. “He was a great guy.”

From the bloggers … In light of Monday night's developments, Faith and Fear in Flushing concludes Bourn was just an urban myth. … Shannon from MetsPolice.com scoured YouTube and located a 1969-themed Mets calypso song that would make a good addition to the Citi Field music rotation.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets right-hander Tim Redding turns 35. … Lenny Randle, who played two seasons for the Mets in the ’70s, was born in 1949.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you upset or relieved the Mets failed to sign Michael Bourn?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

View from St. Lucie: Off to work

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
10:37
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Adam Rubin
Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy and Daniel Herrera (l to r) head off for work on Monday morning in Port St. Lucie, on the day pitchers and catchers officially reported.

Lefty Herrera eyes May return

February, 8, 2013
2/08/13
10:13
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Left-handed reliever Daniel Herrera, who made 16 appearances for the Mets in 2011, expects to be ready to pitch in games in May.

The 28-year-old Herrera, an early arrival to Port St. Lucie, is about to step on a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May.

He will not be in major league camp.

Herrera was not a free agent this past offseason. He remained under the Mets' control after making three early season relief appearances for Triple-A Buffalo last year.

Farm report: Leathersich rocketing

May, 23, 2012
5/23/12
8:30
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Left-hander Jack Leathersich owns the Division II UMass Lowell single-season strikeout record. His gaudy K totals have continued as a pro, since getting drafted in the fifth round last June.

Leathersich, who made his high-A St. Lucie debut on Tuesday night, has now fanned 66 batters in 39 1/3 pro relief innings through stops with Brooklyn, Savannah and now in the Florida State League. He has surrendered only 18 hits. Not bad for a kid who threw 85 mph as a high school senior and described himself as "tiny" back then -- 5-foot-8, 150 pounds.

Courtesy of New York MetsJack Leathersich


Leathersich's fastball now sits at 91-93 mph and tops out at 95-96 mph when he's aiming for a strikeout. He also throws a circle change as well as what he describes as a slurve -- "kind of in the middle … not really like a 12-to-6 (curveball), but not like a hard slider. It kind of comes in diagonal."

Said Leathersich: "I don’t really go out there trying to strike people out. I never really have. Getting ahead is the biggest thing for me. When I get ahead 0-1, 1-2, 0-2, I do try to put them away. I try to get them out of there. But I've been working actually a lot this year on not going so deep in the counts -- trying to get one-, two-pitch outs."

Leathersich burst onto the radar while competing in the prestigious Cape Cod League during college. He was one of only the three or four Division II players invited, by his count. That's where he picked up his nickname -- "Rocket." His Twitter handle remains @LeatherRocket.

"My buddy, Marcus Stroman -- he's going to be a top-10 pick this year, from Duke -- he just started calling me that," Leathersich said. "We were roommates. He pitched the ninth inning and I pitched the eighth normally. I don't know. It kind of just stuck."

Leathersich's best experience as a pro so far? That would have to be his Aug. 30 appearance for Brooklyn last season. The Lowell Spinners are in that league, and share a stadium with Leathersich's college program. Pitching as a pro on the field where he was a college standout, Leathersich tossed two scoreless innings, striking out the side in his first frame.

"That was crazy," Leathersich said. "That was definitely a pretty cool moment in my life. Everybody was there. I mean, everybody from my town (Beverly, Mass.), which is only a half-hour away. And everybody from Lowell, where I went to school. The place was pretty packed. It was a rush when I got called into the game."

In his Florida State League debut Tuesday, Leathersich surrendered his first professional homer. He was charged with two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out three in 2 2/3 innings.

"Anybody, I feel, who says that they don't have to work on anything is lying to you," Leathersich said. "I've definitely been working on my offspeed a lot -- changeup, curveball, throwing it in any count for a strike. That's what (Savannah pitching coach) Frank Viola and I were really working on when I was down there. He's helped me out tremendously with everything. … I'm just going to keep working on my offspeed pitches and holding runners, fielding my position and all of the stuff I had been working on in Savannah."

Organization leaders

Average: Bobby Scales, Buffalo, .339; T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .333; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .321; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, .310; Eric Campbell, Binghamton, .310; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .310; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .307; Matt Tuiasosopo, Buffalo, .301; Juan Lagares, Binghamton, .293; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, .283.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 11; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 8; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, 8; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 7.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 34; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 29; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 27; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 25; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, 25.

Steals: Luis Nieves, Savannah, 9; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 9; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, 9; Pedro Zapata, Binghamton, 8.

ERA: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 2.15; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 2.15; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 2.29; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 2.37; Alex Panteliodis, Savannah, 2.63; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 2.64; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 2.68; Jeremy Hefner, Buffalo, 2.72; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.72; Dylan Owen, Buffalo, 3.19.

Wins: Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 5.

Saves: Adrian Rosario, Binghamton, 12; Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 9; T.J. Chism, Savannah, 6; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 4.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 49; Garrett Olson, Buffalo, 49; Jeurys Familia, Buffalo, 45; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 45; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 45.

Short hops

• Infielder Danny Muno, the Mets' eighth-round pick in 2011 out of Fresno State, was suspended 50 games for a positive test for a metabolite of Drostanolone, a performance-enhancing drug, Major League Baseball announced Friday. Muno, 23, had been hitting .283 with five homers and 23 RBIs while batting leadoff and manning second base for Class A St. Lucie. Robbie Shields, a third-round pick in 2009 from Florida Southern College, has taken over at second base for the Florida State League club. Alonzo Harris Jr. has assumed the vacated leadoff spot. Since Muno's suspension, Harris is hitting .391 (9-for-23) with five runs scored in five games. That has upped the Mississippi high school product's average 38 points, to .271.

• Left-hander Josh Edgin opened enough eyes in spring training that he formally was added to camp in March after initially not receiving an invite. Now, he has not allowed an earned run in his past six relief appearances with Triple-A Buffalo. Edgin touched 95 mph with his fastball Monday, then tossed a no-hit inning with two strikeouts Tuesday against Indianapolis.

• Right-hander Collin McHugh (4-3, 2.15 ERA in nine starts) has been a bright spot in a Double-A Binghamton rotation that largely has struggled of late. He had completed at least seven innings in each of his past three outings, until that streak ended Tuesday when McHugh served up a solo homer to open the seventh inning at New Britain that broke a scoreless tie, then hit a batter with the next pitch and was ejected. "My ejection from the game tonight was completely absurd!" McHugh tweeted afterward. "I did not throw at ANYONE, nor would I consider it in a 1 run game in the 7th."

McHugh, an 18th-round pick in 2008 out of Berry College, has allowed only six earned runs in 27 1/3 innings during his past four starts. McHugh made his Double-A debut on May 31, 2011. In what is now a full year in the Eastern League, the Atlanta native has compiled a 12-5 record and 2.62 ERA in 27 appearances (25 starts).

• Right-hander Elvin Ramirez, the former Rule 5 pick returned to the Mets after spending a season on the Nationals' 40-man roster with shoulder woes, has yet to allow a run in seven Triple-A appearances. In nine scoreless innings, he has limited opponents to three hits while striking out 10, walking none and hitting one batter. Opponents are hitting .100 (3-for-30) against him. Ramirez began the season with Binghamton.

Josh Satin is 6-for-his-last-14 with eight walks during that stretch. He nearly exclusively has played first base with the Bisons.

Jordany Valdespin delivered a pinch-hit homer Saturday for Buffalo, on the day he awoke in Toronto and then was demoted to clear a roster spot for Jeremy Hefner. In two subsequent games while starting at second base, though, Valdespin went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. He committed two errors Sunday. Brad Emaus started at second base Tuesday, and Valdespin was retired as a pinch hitter.

Fernando Cabrera is 9-for-9 in save opportunities with the Bisons.

• The Mets released 22-year-old right-hander Eduardo Aldama. He went 3-5 with a 5.37 ERA at Class A Brooklyn last season.

(Read full post)

Farm report: Elvin back after DC diversion

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
3:17
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Right-hander Elvin Ramirez had opened eyes during the 2010-11 winter-ball season in his native Dominican Republic while compiling a 1.85 ERA for Gigantes del Cibao in 20 relief appearances.

So during the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings that December, while the Mets were selecting Pedro Beato from the Orioles and Brad Emaus from the Blue Jays, the Nationals were grabbing Ramirez from the Mets.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Elvin Ramirez


Ramirez, now 24, never did pitch while spending nearly a full year with the Nationals. He had developed a shoulder issue while wowing in winter ball that ultimately led to late-March 2011 shoulder surgery while temporarily Washington property.

The Nats eventually returned him to the Mets in mid-October. They could have carried him into this season with the Rule 5 provisions still in place, but chose to no longer tie up the 40-man roster spot.

So now, after a full season away from the organization, which he primarily spent rehabbing at the Nationals’ spring-training complex in Viera, Fla., Ramirez is back with the Mets and again opening eyes.

“I was in-between,” said Ramirez, who spent plenty of time with Washington pitcher and fellow Dominican Atahaulpa Severino during the lost season at the Nats’ complex. “I was hurt, so I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was waiting for whatever was going to happen.”

So far this season, Ramirez has tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings over five relief appearances for Double-A Binghamton. He has struck out a gaudy 15 Eastern League batters while surrendering three hits and five walks.

Ramirez’s velocity sat at 93-94 mph in a recent outing, still shy of the 94-96 mph he tossed pre-shoulder issue. But the results speak for themselves. And the velocity has been creeping upward since Ramirez’s first B-Mets outing, on April 6.

“One of the things I heard when he got Rule 5’d by the Nationals was that winter he was throwing extremely hard,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez said. “His fastball was up to 99, 98 mph. After the injury he suffered -- he sat out last year -- the velocity is coming back slowly. I think in spring training he was throwing 90, 92. There’s been a couple of times here where he’s topped out at 96. Some of the pitching coaches that have seen him in the past say he looks healthy, and they think his fastball is going to come back again.

“But it’s been impressive right now. He throws a fastball, slider and changeup. Right now they’re pretty good. The thing I remember of Elvin from Savannah in 2008, he had the makings of a good changeup. Now he’s got a really good changeup. And he throws it to right-handed hitters. I think that makes him real effective.”

Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .406; Bobby Scales, Buffalo, .377; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .365; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .356; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .333; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, .321; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .316; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .315; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, .294; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .291.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 6.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 15; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 15; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 14; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 12.

Steals: Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 4; Luis Nieves, Savannah, 4; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 4.

ERA: Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 1.13; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 1.23; Collin McHugh, Bighamton, 1.59; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 1.76; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 1.80; Jeremy Hefner, Buffalo, 1.96; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 1.99; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.05; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 2.05; Domingo Tapia, Savannah, 2.55.

Wins: Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 3; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 3.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 4; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 3; Josh Edgin, Buffalo, 2; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 2; Adrian Rosario, St. Lucie, 2.

Strikeouts: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 24; Jeurys Familia, Buffalo, 23; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 22; Domingo Tapia, Savannah, 20.

Short hops

Sean Ratliff, who was struck in the eye with a foul ball during spring training in 2011 off the bat of Zach Lutz, has retired. Ratliff, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford, plans to head back to school to complete his education. He underwent four surgeries last year and attempted a comeback this season with Class A St. Lucie. But the outfielder was 3-for-22 with 10 strikeouts and could not overcome the vision deficiencies.

• Left-handed reliever Daniel Herrera is due to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. The injury helped fuel the promotion of fellow lefty Josh Edgin from Binghamton to Buffalo.

Edgin, 25, impressed in spring training and officially was added to major league camp after starting on the minor league side. He struck out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut Monday at Lehigh Valley. Edgin will be exposed to different types of situations with the Bisons to ready him for the majors -- from save opportunities, to entering mid-inning for lefty-on-lefty matchups, to working two-inning appearances. The Lehigh Valley in-stadium gun, which may be slightly slow, clocked Edgin’s fastball at 92 mph in his Buffalo debut. He also showed a tight slider.

The Mets actually have two viable lefty relief options with the Bisons. Chuck James has tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, albeit with five walks.

So why was left-hander Robert Carson the one promoted to the majors Tuesday after Mike Pelfrey was placed on the DL? Well, he’s the one on the 40-man roster. And the call-up is only intended for the Marlins series, after which Carson is expected to be replaced by presumed Friday starter Chris Schwinden.

• Outfielder Dustin Martin made his Triple-A Buffalo debut Tuesday night. Martin, originally a 26th-round pick by the Mets in 2006 out of Sam Houston State, was sent to the Twins with Drew Butera when the Mets originally acquired Luis Castillo. Martin was released by Minnesota at the end of spring training in March. He hit .265 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs in 490 at-bats last season with Triple-A Rochester.

Matt Harvey possessed the best curveball of any of his Triple-A starts while limiting Syracuse to three runs on four hits and three walks in six innings Friday. Harvey, who notched his first Triple-A win, struck out Nationals phenom Bryce Harper twice and also walked him in three plate appearances.

Harper got vengeance on fellow prospect Jeurys Familia the following day, though. After Familia had retired nine straight Syracuse batters, Harper launched his first Triple-A homer. Familia nonetheless was efficient in the outing while striking out eight in a 93-pitch effort over five innings. Harper’s solo homer was the lone run allowed by Familia.

• Bisons right fielder Adam Loewen has been sidelined since being pulled from Friday’s game. He is wearing a boot on his right foot. The injury happened early in the season and had been nagging Loewen. The half-inning before he departed, Loewen felt discomfort tracking a ball in the right-center gap. The next half-inning, while being thrown out by Harper on a play at the plate, manager Wally Backman noticed Loewen had difficulty accelerating. Loewen, who was beaten out by Mike Baxter for the lefty-hitting backup outfield job with the Mets, was hitting .270 with three homers in 37 at-bats with the Bisons.

Dylan Owen, during a spot start Monday while Jeremy Hefner had a major league cameo, not only tossed 4 2/3 effective innings, he became the first Buffalo pitched in 18 years to homer.

Valentino Pascucci has a nine-game hitting streak and Vinny Rottino has a seven-game hitting streak with the Bisons.

Mike Nickeas is 1-for-14 this season for the Mets. And if the Mets dip to the minors to make a change at some point for Josh Thole’s complement, ex-Mariner/Padre Rob Johnson might be the alternative. Still, Johnson is hitting only .214 through 42 at-bats with the Bisons. And fellow Triple-A catcher Lucas May is hitting only .139. The Mets could scour the waiver wire, too. But with catching at a premium in MLB, it may be doubtful something attractive becomes available.

• Middle infielder Josh Rodriguez, a late spring-training pickup by the Mets after his release from the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been named the Double-A Eastern League Player of the Week. Rodriguez, 27, was the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft in December 2010 that also involved Ramirez, Beato and Emaus. He appeared in seven games for the Pirates last season. Rodriguez is hitting .365 with two homers and 10 RBIs for the B-Mets. His signing was influenced by Paul DePodesta, and with a promise of a potentially quick move to Triple-A. Rodriguez’s action at shortstop should increase with teammate Sean Kazmar landing on Binghamton’s DL with an oblique injury.

• First baseman Allan Dykstra, who arrived at the end of spring training in 2011 from the Padres in a swap for reliever Eddie Kunz, headed home to California for five weeks after fracturing his left forearm reaching for a throw from pitcher Darin Gorski. Dykstra will be limited to riding a bicycle during that span. He suffered a similar injury earlier in his career with San Diego and suffered ligament damage. The bone damage is a less difficult road back. Eric Campbell is now manning first base for the B-Mets.

• The Mets released right-hander Eric Beaulac, a ninth-round pick in 2008 out of LeMoyne (N.Y.) College.

• Outfielder Darrell Ceciliani had a short-lived return to St. Lucie’s active roster. After an 11-day absence, Ceciliani injured his hamstring retreating to catch a fly ball Sunday, in his second game back. He previously had been on the DL with a right groin injury. In his six Florida State League games this season, the former New York-Penn League batting champ is hitting .346.

• Left-hander Chase Huchingson’s dominating start to the season for St. Lucie, which included a 3-0 record and 17-inning scoreless streak, abruptly came to a halt Tuesday night when he allowed two first-inning runs against Fort Myers. Still, Huchingson’s acquisition is a success story. Scout Max Semler liked Huchingson’s arm and signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Central Arkansas in 2010 after spotting him playing outfield and pitching in an obscure summer league. Huchingson’s fastball sits between 90 and 92 mph.

• Right-handers Kyle Allen and Erik Goeddel made their season debuts for St. Lucie during the past week. Goeddel, a UCLA product, was treated slowly in readying for the season after dealing with shoulder issues last year that limited him to 15 games with Savannah. He allowed a solo homer to rehabbing Cardinal Allen Craig but no other damage in three innings, in the resumption of a suspended game. Goeddel now is expected to enter what should be a six-man St. Lucie rotation.

Cory Vaughn had an inside-the-park homer for St. Lucie. He has a .391 on-base percentage.

• Mets officials are very pleased with 20-year-old Wilfredo Tovar’s play at shortstop for St. Lucie. Compared with Ruben Tejada because both have solid instincts at the position, Tovar may have a better arm and hands.

• Right-hander Logan Verrett, the third-round pick last June out of Baylor, landed on the Savannah DL, but already was due to resume throwing.

• A pair of farmhands removed from the 40-man roster by the Mets and claimed by other organizations are off to strong starts. Fernando Martinez is hitting .294 with three homers for Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros organization. He primarily is playing left field. Right-hander Josh Stinson, claimed at the end of spring training by the Brewers, is 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA and one save at Double-A Huntsville and is now being groomed as a starter. He went a season-high 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night.

• Ex-Met Nelson Figueroa has latched on with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season

Source: Lefty Herrera's season over

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
10:58
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Mets doctors discovered a tear in Daniel Herrera's left elbow, and the southpaw will undergo Tommy John surgery, a baseball source told ESPNNewYork.com.

Herrera had remained in spring-training camp until the near-end as a hedge against Tim Byrdak not being ready for Opening Day because of March 13 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Herrera, 27, made 16 relief appearances last season and had a 1.13 ERA after joining the Mets as a player to be named in the Francisco Rodriguez trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason and remained with the organization. Herrera had tossed six innings with Triple-A Buffalo this season before the left elbow difficulty sidelined him.

Chuck James is off to a solid start at Buffalo (6.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 BB, 6 K) and would be a candidate for left-handed relief should an issue arise with Byrdak in-season or the Mets desire a second southpaw in the bullpen. Josh Edgin, who is closing at Double-A Binghamton, has the highest upside and should be in the Mets bullpen in September if not sooner.

Farm report: Peavey is EL pitcher of week

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
8:03
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Courtesy of Little League International, South Williamsport, Pa.
Binghamton Mets right-hander Greg Peavey (front row, third from left) participated in the 2000 Little League World Series. His father Tom (back right) served as coach.
Right-hander Greg Peavey’s transition to Double-A pitching has been near spotless.

Two starts.

No runs.

And the Eastern League’s pitcher of the week award.

The 23-year-old Peavey -- a sixth-round pick out of Oregon State two years ago -- has displayed solid control, too. He has walked only one batter in 10 2/3 innings. In fact, he has walked only 27 in 147 2/3 professional innings.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Greg Peavey


“Throwing strikes has always been emphasized throughout my career,” said Peavey, who possesses a low-90s fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. “Especially with my pitching repertoire, it’s built around throwing strikes. So trying to get ahead of hitters has always been very important to me.”

Peavey has been in the spotlight for a while.

Growing up in Vancouver, Wash., he was part of a Hazel Dell Little League program that reached the 2000 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

“The best part of it was the very first day,” Peavey recalled. “I remember it to this day. During the opening ceremonies, we got to meet Kevin Costner and George Brett. Getting to shake those guys’ hands, I was like, ‘Wow.’ I thought I made it, you know? I was 12.”

Peavey’s father Tom -- who once was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 68th round of the 1969 draft as a right-handed pitcher, but who did not sign -- was praised for his sportsmanship during the Little League World Series.

Entering the final game of pool play, Peavey’s Hazel Dell squad could have advanced even with a loss against Iowa because of tiebreaker rules, as long as they scored two runs or fewer. The elder Peavey would not accept advancing by throwing a game. They were beaten by the Iowa squad, 6-4. Hazel Dell instead was eliminated.

Said Peavey: “A lot of people were confused as to why we would want to do that, but that was the type of guy my dad was and the coaching staff was -- ‘This is Little League baseball. We’re going to play it straight up. We didn’t just come here to roll over. We came here to win.’ Iowa beat us, and they got to go unfortunately.”

Little League President Stephen Keener said after Hazel Dell’s elimination, according to the local Vancouver (Wash.) Columbian: “I don’t think there has ever been a Little League manager in the history of the World Series who has more clearly demonstrated the ideals of Little League Baseball than Tom Peavey.”

Peavey, only 12 at the time, said he didn’t fully understand what his father had chosen to do until a couple of years later.

“We actually had no idea,” Peavey said. “I remember them telling us after we had lost and everything. But it didn’t really hit me until I was about 14. I didn’t really understand how the whole thing worked.”

Several thousand community members greeted the team at the Portland International Airport upon the team’s return home. They had a parade in the team’s honor the following day, with an estimated crowd exceeding 5,000.

“That was when you could come to the actual gate and could wait outside for people,” Peavey said. “There were thousands of people waiting outside for us. We rode in a limo. It was pretty incredible. It was just amazing the support that came from that city.”

Those same players went on to win the Babe Ruth World Series as 13 and 14 year olds. The latter tournament was held in Albany, N.Y.

Peavey’s father, a retired police officer, now works a desk job for the gang task force for the city of Portland. After bypassing the Expos out of high school, the elder Peavey played at Washington State University, where he suffered a shoulder injury that scuttled any second chance at a professional career.

Peavey visited Washington State during his college recruiting process, but ultimately chose Oregon State, which was coming off its second national championship. Eligible for the draft after his sophomore college season because of his age, Peavey was selected in the 32nd round by the Houston Astros but did not sign. The Mets took him the following year in the sixth round and inked him for $200,000.

Now with Double-A Binghamton, Peavey to this day signs autographs will the middle initial “S.” That’s because he liked how it looked when he practiced while being asked to sign at the Little League World Series.

“I added the middle initial,” said Peavey, whose actual full name is Gregory Scott Thomas Peavey. “And then I realized it looked kind of cool. So I stuck with it. The middle initial is still there to this day.”

Organization leaders (through Monday)

Average: Bobby Scales, Buffalo, .438; T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .419; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .360; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, .350; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .341; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .339; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .311; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, .308; Dustin Lawley, Savannah, .295.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 4; Adam Loewen, Buffalo, 3; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 3; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 3.

RBI: Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 12; Adam Loewen, Buffalo, 9; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 8.

(Read full post)

Around the minors 4.15.12

April, 15, 2012
4/15/12
9:54
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BUFFALO 10, PAWTUCKET 9 (10 innings): Jordany Valdespin's single in the bottom of the 10th scored Rob Johnson from second to give the Bisons a walk-off win. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak. Pawtucket held leads of 6-0 and 9-3, but the Bisons stormed back thanks to a big day from Adam Loewen. He drove in six runs with a pair of homers. After the PawSox broke a scoreless tie with six runs in the top of the fourth off Herd starter Matt Harvey, Loewen hit a two-run shot in the bottom half. Buffalo added a third run in the inning on one of Zach Lutz's four walks. The deficit grew to 7-3 in the fifth and 9-3 after five and a half. Loewen then launched a grand slam as part of a five-run sixth. A converted pitcher, it was Loewen's first career grand slam. The Bisons completed the comeback in the eighth. With runners on the corners and one out, pinch runner Omar Quintanilla slid hard into second base to break up a potential inning-ending double play. That set the stage for a dramatic win in the 10th. Loewen walked to lead off the inning -- his fifth time on base. Johnson's sac-bunt attempt went right back to pitcher Clayton Mortensen, who pivoted and threw to second for the force out. Although he didn't advance the runner, Johnson made up for it as he stole second on the next pitch. Valdespin followed with a line drive into right-center for the game-winning run. The win went to Fernando Cabrera, who worked two scoreless innings. Jack Egbert retired eight straight batters before Cabrera. Before the game, the Bisons placed reliever Daniel Herrera on the disabled list with a left elbow sprain. Brad Holt was summoned from Double-A Binghamton. He allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings. Josh Satin also returned to the Bisons. He was placed on the Mets' 24-hour taxi squad as backup in case David Wright couldn't go this weekend. Box

BINGHAMTON 9, PORTLAND 2: The B-Mets set season-highs with nine runs and 15 hits and earned a four-game series split. Greg Peavey fired five scoreless innings to earn his second win in two career Double-A starts. Against Portland starter Chris Balcom-Miller in the first, Matt den Dekker started the attack with his first homer of the season. Juan Lagares followed with a walk and stole second. That paid dividends when Jefry Marte singled him home. An error by Ryan Dent at second prolonged the inning, and Josh Rodriguez made Portland pay by lining an RBI single. The B-Mets tacked on two more runs in the second. Juan Centeno and Sean Kazmar began the rally with singles. Lagares' ensuing walk started a parade around the bases. Balcom-Miller’s day ended after he walked Eric Campbell to force in a run. Michael Lee entered and walked the first man he faced, Oswaldo Navarro, to kick Binghamton’s lead to five runs. Navarro had replaced Marte (hamstring tightness, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin) in the second inning. Meanwhile, Peavey has not allowed a run in the first 10 2/3 innings with the B-Mets. He allowed four hits, struck out four and issued one walk. In his final inning, he allowed a pair singles but retired the final three Sea Dogs. Binghamton added to its lead with a run on Heiker Meneses’ throwing error in the fifth and another on Navarro’s solo homer over the “Maine Monster” in the seventh. Travis Ozga lined a two-run homer to right in the ninth. It was his first home run since August 2010, when he was a member of the Savannah Sand Gnats. B-Mets reliever Armando Rodriguez took over in the sixth and cruised through three innings. The right-hander faced one over the minimum, striking out five. The Sea Dogs finally cracked the scoreboard by plating two runs on four hits against Erik Turgeon. He was replaced by Josh Edgin, who retired the only batter he faced. The B-Mets (4-5) open a three-game series in New Hampshire on Monday. Left-hander Mark Cohoon opposes right-hander Ryan Tepera. Box

ST. LUCIE 6, CHARLOTTE 4: St. Lucie took a 5-4 lead with a four-run seventh highlighted by Francisco Pena's two-run double, followed by a two-run single from Danny Muno. Ryan Fraser tossed two scoreless, no-hit innings to pick up the win in relief. Box

SAVANNAH 6, AUGUSTA 1: After posting consecutive shutouts, the Gnats took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning Sunday behind six scoreless innings from Tyler Pill. Augusta finally broke through with an unearned run against Tyson Seng, after third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez committed his seventh error of the young season. Rodriguez, Dustin Lawley and Travis Taijeron all homered for the Gnats. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 4.12.12

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
10:11
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SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE 7, BUFFALO 2: In a game that included 18 walks, Ray Kruml and Brandon Laird each had two-run doubles to power the Yankees. Three of the 10 free passes issued by Bisons pitching came around to score. Starter Chris Schwinden (1-1) issued five of the walks, in four innings. Walks to Laird and Colin Curtis in the second helped Scranton/Wilkes-Barre load the bases with one out. Ramiro Pena singled home the first Yankee run to cut into an early 2-0 Bisons advantage. Kruml followed with a double to give the Yanks a 3-2 edge. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre increased its lead with Steven Pearce's solo homer off reliever Daniel Herrera in the fifth. The Yankees scored three more times, on three hits and three walks, in the seventh. One of those hits was Laird's two-run double. While the 10 walks issued by the Bisons fell four shy of the modern-era record, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Curtis got himself in the books as only the second opponent to be issued five walks. The only other player to walk five times against the Herd was New Orlean Zephyr Todd Haney on Aug. 5, 1997. Curtis finished the game without an official at-bat. The Bisons had a chance to break the game open early but left the bases loaded in the first and second innings. Zach Lutz singled home one of the team's two runs to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Valentino Pascucci and Josh Satin each walked twice for the Bisons. Vinny Rottino drove in the Bisons' first run with a sacrifice fly. The Bisons bullpen gave up four runs after allowing five total in the first seven games. Box

BINGHAMTON 5, PORTLAND 1: The B-Mets packed five runs and five hits into their first three innings and Collin McHugh struck out a season-high six to earn his first win. Binghamton struck first against Portland starter Brock Huntzinger. Huntzinger allowed a pair of two-out walks and single to Allan Dykstra. Jefry Marte made the righty pay by lining a two-run single to left field. The two-run lead did not last. Juan Carlos Linares launched the first pitch he saw from McHugh over the center-field fence to lead off the first inning for Portland. The Sea Dogs then loaded the bases on three singles, but failed to score again. The B-Mets struck back in the third. After a pair of singles and a walk, Marte bounced into a fielder’s choice to plate Binghamton’s third run. Josh Rodriguez followed by crushing a two-run double that one-hopped the fence, giving the B-Mets a 5-1 lead. McHugh settled in after his rocky first inning. He did not face more than four batters in any of his remaining six innings. At one point, McHugh retired 10 straight Sea Dogs. He nearly completed seven innings, but a throwing error by shortstop Sean Kazmar extended the frame. A hard-hit single by Linares chased McHugh and prompted B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez to summon Elvin Ramirez. He entered and struck out Derrik Gibson to end the threat. Ramirez struck out the side in order in the eighth. Josh Edgin worked around two singles to post a scoreless. McHugh (1-1) allowed one run on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. He did not issue any walks and racked up six strikeouts. The B-Mets (3-3) continue their four-game series against the Sea Dogs on Friday night with Zack Wheeler opposing Portland left-hander Chris Hernandez. Box

PALM BEACH 3, ST. LUCIE 1: Danny Muno led off the game with a homer, but that was the lone run St. Lucie produced as its five-game winning streak ended. Robbie Shields had two of the Mets' six hits to lift his average to .471. Starter Gonzalez Germen limited Palm Beach to one run in five innings. Cesar Puello, who has been sidelined since fouling a ball off his foot in the season's second game, is expected to return to the lineup Friday. Fellow outfielder Darrell Ceciliani suffered a right-hamstring strain running to first base on his walk-off homer Monday and remains sidelined. Box

AUGUSTA 4, SAVANNAH 0: Estarlin Morel tossed three scoreless relief innings in the loss. Travis Taijeron went 1-for-2 with two walks. Box

Compiled from team reports

Farm report: Vaughn's fast start in FSL

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
1:30
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With his father, former major league outfielder Greg Vaughn, watching from the stands in Salisbury, Md., last summer, Cory Vaughn homered in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.

Then, once fellow center fielder Matt den Dekker moved from high-A St. Lucie to Double-A Binghamton -- and once Vaughn’s low-A Savannah team clinched its first-half division title -- Vaughn was promoted to St. Lucie.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Cory Vaughn


He had a subpar transition to the higher level.

Vaughn hit a modest .219 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 210 at-bats, along with two steals in five attempts in the Florida State League.

Now, though, Vaughn is repeating at that level. And with last year’s acclimation period behind him, the 22-year-old outfielder figures he should enjoy a solid first half and use that as a springboard to move onto Binghamton.

Vaughn, a fourth-round pick in 2010 out of San Diego State, where he played for Tony Gwynn, is hitting .333 with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs through five games this season with St. Lucie.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Vaughn said about last season’s adjustment period to high-A. “I wasn’t really as comfortable. I was the new guy there, different coaches. And the pitchers had a better idea of how to attack you. You had to change the game plan a little bit, and you couldn’t just go out there and try to wing it. You really had to come with an approach. It just took me a little bit to get used to that.”

Vaughn’s background is far deeper than growing up in a major league household. His father played 15 major league seasons, primarily for Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and San Diego.

Vaughn was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at 11 years old and continues to have to closely monitor his blood sugar levels, even during games. He keeps a test kit on the bench and carries a pump in his back pocket while in the outfield.

“It’s just part of it,” Vaughn said. “Basically, I just have to test my blood sugar six to seven times a day -- sometimes more during the game, because I want to make sure I’m on top of it. I have to count carbs. I go to an endocrinologist every three to six months just to make sure my hemoglobin A1c is all right, which is basically just a calculation of your blood sugar the past six months. It’s really not that bad besides just counting carbs and trying to lay off sweets here and there.

“I’m pretty used to it right now.”

Vaughn, by the way, said he is not the most successful of his siblings athletically. His 17-year-old sister Genay is an accomplished equestrian rider. Vaughn believes she may represent the United States in the Olympics in London this summer.

“She has a really good shot,” Vaughn said. “She’s 17, but she’s riding against people who are 30 and stuff.”

As for the outfield, Vaughn primarily has played right field as a professional. But this season in St. Lucie, so far he only has played left field.

“They told me they wanted me to start working into left field, because they said they want me to be able to play all the positions, which I guess helps me out in the long run,” Vaughn said. “I’ve just been taking balls in left, right, center -- a little bit here and there -- and just getting used to all the different spots.”

Organization leaders

Average: Darrell Ceciliani, St. Lucie, .444; Dustin Lawley, Savannah, .400; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .375; T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .348; Luis Nieves, Savannah, .333; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .333; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .333; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .300; Richard Lucas, St. Lucie, .294; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .267.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 3; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 2.

RBI: Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 9.

Steals: Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 4.

ERA: Daniel Herrera, Buffalo, 0.00; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 0.00; Kevin Mulvey, Binghamton, 0.00; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 0.00; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 0.00; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 0.00; Cory Mazzoni, St. Lucie, 0.00; Marcos Camarena, Savannah, 0.00; Jack Leathersich, Savannah, 0.00; Alex Panteliodis, Savannah, 0.00; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 0.00; Logan Verrett, Savannah, 0.00; Jared West, Savannah, 0.00.

Wins: Jeremy Hefner, Buffalo, 1; Dylan Owen, Buffalo, 1; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 1; Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 1; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 1; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 1; Gonzalez Germen, St. Lucie, 1; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 1; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 1; Alex Panteliodis, Savannah, 1; Carlos Vazquez, Savannah, 1; Jared West, Savannah, 1.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 2; Josh Edgin, Binghamton, 1; Daniel Herrera, Buffalo, 1.

Strikeouts: Jack Leathersich, Savannah, 9; Marcos Camarena, Savannah, 8; Darin Gorski, Binhgamton, 7; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 7; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 7.

Short hops

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey’s first two Triple-A starts had mixed results. On Opening Day for the Bisons in Pawtucket, Harvey allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks while also uncorking two wild pitches in a 95-pitch effort that lasted only 4 1/3 innings. Harvey was erratic up in the zone. That prompted a between-starts bullpen session with pitching coach Mark Brewer in which they worked to get full extension and a downward plane; Harvey had been opening up his front shoulder and the ball was coming out flat. In Triple-A start No. 2 on Tuesday night, Harvey allowed two runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out four Rochester batters in a 92-pitch effort that lasted five innings.

• Buffalo’s other highly regarded pitching prospect, Jeurys Familia, limited Pawtucket to one run on five hits and three walks while striking out four in a 95-pitch effort over 4 2/3 innings in his Triple-A debut Friday. Amped up early, Familia faced runners in scoring position in four of his five innings. Familia draws Yankees prospect Dellin Betances in the Bisons’ home opener Wednesday.

• Middle infielder Jordany Valdespin would appear a consideration for second-base duty at the major league level if David Wright lands on the DL with a fractured pinkie and Daniel Murphy shifts to third base. For now, though, Valdespin has continued to get a crash course in center field. Since Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ promotion to the majors to fill Andres Torres’ roster spot, Valdespin has now started four straight games in center field for Buffalo. He has tracked down the routine balls and has not yet been challenged. Assuming major league needs with Wright’s injury do not alter the plan, the goal is to expose Valdespin to center field four to five games a week, with his other starts primarily at second base.

• Outfielder Sean Ratliff, who was struck in the right eye with a foul ball in a Triple-A game late in spring training in 2011, may be nearing the resumption of his stalled career. Ratliff, who remained behind in Port St. Lucie when Double-A Binghamton broke camp, has been working out with the St. Lucie Mets, testing his vision wearing contact lenses while tracking fly balls under the lights at night. He may get into a Florida State League game soon. Ratliff, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford, hit a combined .298 with 21 homers and 80 RBIs in 503 at-bats between St. Lucie and Binghamton in 2010. He has undergone four eye surgeries since the spring-training accident.

• 2011 fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich, the left-handed reliever who struck out 26 in 12 1/3 innings with Brooklyn last season after the draft, continues to accumulate Ks. The UMass-Lowell product leads the organization with nine strikeouts, which have come in five innings over two relief appearances with Savannah.

(Read full post)

Around the minors 4.8.12

April, 8, 2012
4/08/12
6:13
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BUFFALO 5, ROCHESTER 3: Valentino Pascucci's solo homer in the eighth put Buffalo up for good. The victory was the Bisons' third straight. Pascucci had 21 homers for the Bisons a season ago and got this campaign started right with a long ball on Opening Night in Pawtucket. On Sunday, with the score tied at 3 in the eighth, Pascucci crushed a 2-2 pitch from reliever Casey Fein to center field. It was Pascucci's 40th long ball with the Bisons. He becomes the 12th player to reach that milestone in the team's modern era. Buffalo also used the long ball to get an early lead. Trailing 1-0, Adam Loewen and Matt Tuiasosopo hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth for a 3-1 advantage. Rochester tied the score with two runs in sixth inning, but that was the only time it threatened against Bisons starter Jeremy Hefner (1-0). In his Herd debut, Hefner worked seven innings and struck out four. With Fernando Cabrera earning saves on Friday and Saturday night, Bisons manager Wally Backman turned to lefty Daniel Herrera to close Sunday's victory. Herrera struck out a pair over the final two innings. The last time the Bisons got back-to-back home runs was July 20, 2011 in Syracuse, with Pascucci and Jason Botts combining for the honors. With Herrera's two scoreless innings, the Bisons bullpen has now started the season with 14 scoreless frames. Bobby Scales had two more hits. He drove in the team's final run with an RBI single in the ninth. Box

AUGUSTA 8, SAVANNAH 5: Augusta scored five unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come from behind and split the season-opening four-game series. Savannah third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez delivered a three-run homer for the second straight day. Rodriguez has nine RBIs. Down 3-1, the Gnats put together a three-run fifth. Cam Maron led off with a walk, DH Brian Harrison singled and then Rodriguez lofted the three-run shot over the left-field wall. Savannah added a run in the sixth on Maron's sacrifice fly to build a 5-3 lead. The GreenJackets scored three times in the top of the seventh off the Savannah bullpen. Jose Cuevas, who tied Friday’s score with a two-run single in the ninth off reliever Estarlin Morel, doubled in two runs Sunday off Morel, putting Augusta in the lead. The GreenJackets tacked on two more runs in the eighth. Savannah reliever Carlos Vazquez, who allowed two walks and a single in the seventh, was charged with his first loss. The game began as a duel between two hard throwing young right-handers -- Domingo Tapia for Savannah and Kyle Crick for Augusta. Crick lasted just 3 2/3 innings, walking three and hitting two batters, but gave up only one run on three hits. Tapia lasted five innings, fanning three and walking one. He was touched for three runs on four hits. The Gnats begin a three-game series Monday, when the Rome Braves visit. Savannah will send right-hander Tyler Pill to the hill against left-hander Carlos Perez. Box

Compiled from team reports

Mets morning briefing 4.4.12

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
1:38
AM ET
Only hours remain in spring training for the Mets. The Amazin's complete their Grapefruit League schedule against Andy Pettitte and the Yankees at noon today in Tampa, then fly home. Next up: Johan Santana versus Tommy Hanson on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.

Check back at ESPNNewYork.com later today for a revealing feature on Santana, ESPN Stats & Information's Mark Simon looking at upcoming Mets statistical milestones, scouts breaking down the Mets pitching staff and an in-depth series preview with Atlanta Braves info.

Wednesday's news reports:

• After all the talk about potential DL trips, it turns out the only players landing there apparently will be Pedro Beato (shoulder) and D.J. Carrasco (ankle). Closer Frank Francisco, lefty specialist Tim Byrdak and center fielder Andres Torres all are ready to break camp with the team. Francisco threw a bullpen session Tuesday, two days after receiving a cortisone shot in his ailing left knee. The closer said he is pain-free, despite some residual inflammation. Sandy Alderson acknowledged the issue could linger -- "especially for a guy who weighs 260 pounds," the GM told reporters.

Byrdak recorded three outs in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game, exactly three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Torres, who had resumed game action during the weekend on the minor league side, had two plate appearances Tuesday in his first Grapefruit League game since March 20, when he suffered a strained left calf. He singled against Ivan Nova and was hit by a pitch. Read more on the positive health resolutions in the Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Daily News, Post and Newsday.

• As a result of the trio's health, Vinny Rottino and Daniel Herrera have been dispatched to Buffalo. The Mets also had held back Kirk Nieuwenhuis in Port St. Lucie after the center-field prospect's Triple-A teammates had departed, but Nieuwenhuis was cleared by late Monday to head north to join the Mets' top minor league affiliate.

• Because the three players avoided the disabled list, the Mets will only need to clear two 40-man roster spots -- for backup lefty-hitting outfielder Mike Baxter and spot starter/long reliever Miguel Batista.

Ike Davis hit a walk-off homer and the Mets beat the Yankees, 7-6, Tuesday in the first spring-training meeting between the clubs in Port St. Lucie since 1995. Mike Pelfrey limited the Yankees to a Nick Swisher solo homer and one other hit while striking out five and walking none in four innings. Read more in Newsday, the Times, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Swisher reminisced to David Waldstein in the Times about growing up at the Mets' spring-training complex. Writes Waldstein:

From age 8, when his father, the former major leaguer Steve Swisher, was a minor league manager with the Mets and later a coach with the big-league club, Swisher was a fixture at the Mets’ spring training. There were the days when he won $100 off Todd Hundley, joked around with the eccentric Bill Pulsipher and took what he estimated were a million swings on the back fields. Returning here Tuesday as a 31-year-old Yankees right fielder brought back a stream of memories for Swisher, who celebrated his return by hitting a home run in a 7-6 loss to the Mets in the same park where he used to shag fly balls as a youngster.

Paul DePodesta, who oversees the Mets' farm system and amateur scouting, participated in a chat at Baseball Prospectus. DePodesta addressed the new collective bargaining agreement, which will restrict Mets spending on draft picks. He also discussed left-handed prospect Josh Edgin's future, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo (who will participate in extended spring training rather than break camp with full-season Savannah), the plan to give Jordany Valdespin limited exposure to center field while keeping him primarily in the middle infield, the elimination of the Mets' Gulf Coast League team, and under-the radar-prospects. On that last subject, DePodesta identified Domingo Tapia and Rafael Montero as legit prospects not getting hype. "Both guys have a chance to emerge as our next group of top-tier potential major league starting pitchers," DePodesta predicted. "They have power stuff. Tapia routinely touched 100 mph last summer. And both pound the strike zone."

DePodesta added that while the organization is committed to building from within, they also realize they need to strategically add capable free agents. "It's awfully difficult to build a championship-caliber club just with your own minor league players (though the Rockies basically did)," DePodesta said. "But if we can build up a core, and we absolutely believe we can and we will, then we will have plenty of capacity to make strategic free-agent or even trade decisions."

On top prospect Zack Wheeler, DePodesta said: "Like most young pitchers with big stuff, it's just a matter of consistency. He has a major league repertoire right now. In fact, it's better than most major league starters. The difference is simply how consistently he's able to make the ball go where he wants and do what he wants. He's making progress and isn't far off, and we'll see stretches this year when he's locked in and looking like a big leaguer."

DePodesta said his children have selected Lucas Duda as the player most likely to pick up the Linsanity mantle.

• Read ESPNNewYork.com's position-by-position analysis of the Mets, including scout comment.

Matt Harvey will start Buffalo's opener Thursday at Pawtucket. He will be followed in the Bisons' rotation by Jeurys Familia, Chris Schwinden, Jeremy Hefner and Garrett Olson. "It's a huge honor," Harvey told Mike Harrington at the Buffalo News' Bisons blog. "I wasn't sure going into spring training exactly where I was going to start [between Buffalo and Binghamton]. Wally [Backman] told me the whole time I had a good chance of going with him. As soon as they told me, I was extremely honored and happy."

Double-A Binghamton, which opens at home, will have Collin McHugh on the mound Thursday, in Game 1. Lynn Worthy profiles the B-Mets in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Wheeler, Edgin, Juan Lagares, Matt den Dekker and Darin Gorski highlight the Double-A roster.

See the full minor league roster assignments here.

• The Mets will have a group seating/party area between the old and new left-field walls at Citi Field, with ticket prices ranging from $100 to $200 per person and including food and drink. Meanwhile, executive VP Dave Howard acknowledged Tuesday that Opening Day is not yet sold out. Read more in the Times, Post and Newsday.

Rhiner Cruz, the hard-throwing right-hander plucked from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings, has made the Opening Day roster of the Astros. Cruz will need to stick with Houston at the major league level for the full season in order to officially become Houston property.

• Among Post baseball writers, Ken Davidoff and Mike Vaccaro predict the Mets finishing fourth in the NL East, ahead of the Braves. George King, Mike Puma, Joel Sherman, Kevin Kernan and Dan Martin pick the Mets for the basement.

Kernan has a National League preview. Kernan's Mets comment: "Offense will be fine if Wright is healthy because Ike Davis and Lucas Duda can crush, but this is a transitional season. Not enough pitching. Looking forward to seeing Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia join the rotation and watching Zack Wheeler grow."

Sherman has these Mets predictions in a 2012 crystal ball column:

Johan Santana needs two DL stints to survive just a 15-start season, but uses his savvy to go 8-5 with a 3.58 ERA when he does pitch. Jon Niese’s command and maturity catch up to his competitiveness and stuff, allowing him to become a 15-game winner with an ERA in the threes. Andres Torres tanks and the Mets turn to Matt den Dekker, who proves to be Devon White Lite: Long legs and a long swing leading to ace defense, bunches of strikeouts and some lefty pop. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda each top 30 homers, but Davis does it with Gold Glove contention defense while Duda is so troublesome in right the Mets are forced to consider whether he can play there long term. The same goes for Daniel Murphy as a definitely-can-hit, but-can’t-field second baseman.

Frank Francisco’s knee issues and inability to deal with the running game leads to Terry Collins going with a hot-hand approach at closer and no Met recording more than 18 saves. Ruben Tejada is not Jose Reyes, but he proves himself an everyday major league shortstop by making all the plays defensively while maintaining a good on-base percentage in the .350 range. David Wright is helped by the shortened Citi Field fences and rebounds to a .285, 24-homer season, but nothing helps Jason Bay, who finishes with just 10 homers.

Here's Puma's Mets preview. And here's Davidoff wondering if New York could become a Mets town again.

Andy Martino in the Daily News writes Jon Niese's deal will be close to the five-year, $28.5 million guarantee the Texas Rangers gave to left-hander Derek Holland, but "not necessarily quite that lucrative."

Omar Minaya, now a lieutenant to GM Josh Byrnes in San Diego, tells Christian Red in the Daily News that Ruben Tejada will be a capable alternative to Jose Reyes. “He’ll surprise you,” Minaya told Red. “Listen, you’re not going to replace Jose. But I don’t think Ruben is of that mindset. Ruben is a fine shortstop. He’s a young kid who can throw, catch, who is going to hit the ball into the gap. He’s a well-rounded baseball player.”

• Columnist John Harper writes in the Daily News the Mets really could use the Yankees' Brett Gardner. Meanwhile, he quotes Alderson on the lack of Yankees first-team players who attended the game in Port St. Lucie as saying: “That’s an issue for Major League Baseball, not for us. But I don’t know whether Yankees fans are happy to see a Yankee uniform or would prefer to see somebody recognizable in the uniform.”

TRIVIA: Who has been the only player other than Reyes to bat leadoff for the Mets on Opening Day since 2005?

Tuesday's answer: Schwinden led Buffalo in strikeouts last season with 134, in 145 2/3 innings.

Mets 7, Yanks 6: Ike walks off

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
6:25
PM ET

Adam Rubin
Ike Davis heads to a team bus to leave spring training in Port St. Lucie after belting a walk-off homer Tuesday.
The Yankees made their first visit to Port St. Lucie since 1995, and Tim Byrdak and Andres Torres made their returns to Grapefruit League action, as the Mets essentially fielded their Opening Day lineup for the first time all spring training.

Ike Davis provided the heroics, launching a deep walk-off homer to center off Mark Montgomery as the Mets beat the Yankees, 7-6, Tuesday before a record crowd for spring-training baseball in Port St. Lucie of 7,644.

“Oooh, that was way back,” Josh Thole said after watching on TV from the clubhouse as Davis crushed Montgomery’s offering.

Said Justin Turner: “That ball still hasn’t landed.”

Terry Collins was thrilled he was able to field his regular lineup (plus Scott Hairston at DH) for the first time all spring training -- Torres, followed by Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Davis, Jason Bay and Lucas Duda, then Thole and Ruben Tejada after the Hairston DH spot that won’t exist come Thursday.

The manager, earlier in the day, also watched closer Frank Francisco successfully throw a bullpen session to test his gimpy left knee, which had required a cortisone shot Sunday.

“We’re very pleased,” Collins said. “Frankie had a good pen. He said the knee is still a little irritated, but he said he’s fine. He could pitch with it.

“There were smiles on all the coaches’ faces today that we finally ran our team on the field. As a matter of fact, we like to post the lineup early, and we couldn’t even do that until we got all the things in place this morning -- talking to the trainers, talking to the players. Sandy [Alderson] and I met [about] the ramifications if something should happen, what were we going to do. But about 9:30 we finally came up with the lineup.”

After the game, the Mets bused to Tampa. They will play the Yankees in the final 2012 Grapefruit League game. Collins said he will use his full lineup for a couple of innings in Wednesday’s spring-training finale.

Mike Pelfrey had a strong final tune-up for Game 4 of the regular season, against the Washington Nationals on April 9. Pelfrey limited the Yankees to one run on two hits while striking out five and walking none in four innings. The lone damage came on a homer by Nick Swisher.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180