New York Mets: David Altchek

Morning Briefing: Mets head south

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7

FIRST PITCH: The Mets spend a day off in Atlanta before opening a three-game series Tuesday against the Braves at Turner Field.

The three-city trip also takes the Mets to Anaheim and Phoenix.

With the Mets departing New York, Matt Harvey (elbow) and Chris Young (quadriceps) will shift their rehabs to the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Bartolo Colon starts Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener opposite ex-Met Aaron Harang.

The Braves will have a pregame ceremony to recognize the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron unseating Babe Ruth as MLB’s home-run king.

Monday’s news reports:

Bobby Parnell has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery now rather than first attempt a rehab program. Team doctor David Altchek is scheduled to replace the partially torn medial collateral ligament in Parnell’s right elbow on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Jose Valverde is now locked in as the closer. Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at

Jonathon Niese took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning in his return from the disabled list, but the southpaw was charged with the loss as the Cincinnati Reds avoided getting swept with a 2-1 win against the Mets on Sunday at Citi Field. Reds starter Alfredo Simon consecutively struck out Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the third inning to strand two runners in scoring position. Travis d’Arnaud, despite one deep shot to left field, remained hitless this season. He is 0-for-15. The Mets went 2-4 on the homestand. They struck out 61 times, the most in the first six games of a season in franchise history.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Newsday and Times.

• Terry Collins affirmed Lucas Duda will start Tuesday in Atlanta as the team’s commitment to him at first base -- aside from Ike Davis’ start Sunday -- continues.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post asserts the Mets ought to make a decision already. Writes Kernan:

That the Mets don’t have a final read on Duda and Davis in Year Four of the Sandy Alderson Regime is hard to comprehend. Davis has more than 1,700 plate appearances in the majors, Duda is closing in on 1,300. Make a decision and if that decision is to go with Duda, trade Davis.

“The Mets are afraid they are going to get burned on a Davis trade," a scout said at the game. “They can’t think like that. They have to have the courage of their convictions and make a trade."


• A half-inning after Jeff Walters suffered a blown save, Zach Lutz produced a walk-off RBI double as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 6-5, Sunday. Hansel Robles tossed five scoreless innings in his Double-A debut and Binghamton held on to beat Akron, 5-4. Domingo Tapia’s wild pitch allowed the lone run to score in St. Lucie’s 1-0 loss to Palm Beach. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jeff Pearlman at Bleacher Report recounts his guilt in the 15 years since the publication of a Sports Illustrated article in which he quoted John Rocker ranting about a variety of topics, including New York’s 7 train.

• Troy Renck in the Denver Post applauds Murphy’s decision to miss two games to be with his wife and newborn child.

From the bloggers ... With Niese here, Faith and Fear in Flushing notes the gang's all here. Well, for the moment.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones turns 45 ... Vinny Rottino is 34.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Jose Valverde be able to handle the closer’s role?

Morning Briefing: Niese 2-for-2 in NY trips

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesWilmer Flores is due to start at shortstop again for the Mets on Tuesday.

FIRST PITCH: Terry Collins plans to use a high percentage of his starting lineup in Tuesday’s 1:10 p.m. matchup against the Detroit Tigers (SNY).

That should include David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares, who were given Monday off from reporting to the complex. That group had rolled into Port St. Lucie about 2:30 a.m. Monday after spending the weekend playing in Las Vegas against the Chicago Cubs.

Daisuke Matsuzaka opposes left-hander Kyle Lobstein.

Wilmer Flores is scheduled to make his third 2014 Grapefruit League start at shortstop.

The Mets then have a full off-day Wednesday. When the Mets reassemble, Collins said he will ratchet up the concentration level for the final stretch of camp.

“We’ve got Wednesday off and then we’re down to 10 days,” Collins said. “We’re going to tighten things up a little bit.”

Tuesday’s news reports:

Jonathon Niese now twice has been sent to New York for MRIs this spring training … and both times received favorable news. Team doctor David Altchek diagnosed Niese on Monday with elbow inflammation, but not structural damage. The southpaw was given a cortisone shot and cleared to resume throwing as soon as Wednesday.

While it appears Niese will open the season on the disabled list, that should be more of a strategic maneuver than anything. It would allow the Mets to carry an extra bench player for the first five games. The fifth starter will not be needed until April 6 against the Cincinnati Reds, and that is the date Niese would be eligible to return from the disabled list. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and

John Lannan allowed 12 of 20 batters he faced to reach and the Mets lost to the Miami Marlins, 10-7, Monday at Roger Dean Stadium. Read more in the Star-Ledger and

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda continued serving as designated hitters in minor-league games Monday without running the bases. Collins acknowledged “we’re running out of days” to get both ready for the season. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

Jose Valverde will have a role in the bullpen, writes Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger. Of course, Collins joked, Valverde will have to remember how many outs there are in an inning. He skipped over the first-base line after recording only the second out of an inning Monday.

• ESPN's Buster Olney tweets: "There is a strong sentiment within PHI organization right now that the team would be better off trading shortstop Jimmy Rollins ASAP. Jimmy Rollins, of course, cannot be traded without his consent, because he has 10-5 rights."

• Marty Noble at catches up with ex-Met Tom Glavine, who will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.

• Ex-Met Justin Turner is not a fan of anonymous quotes from Mets officials in the New York media, he tells Capital New York. Read more in the Daily News.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing recalls the greatest Opening Day Mets starter of them all and the manager who first gave him the honor. … Rising Apple says acquiring a shortstop before Opening Day is imperative.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to appear in a game for the Mets was born on this date, but Adam Levine, Queen Latifah, Grover Cleveland and Brian Scalabrine celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Ike Davis and/or Lucas Duda will open the season on the disabled list?

Morning Briefing: MRI Day for Niese

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17

USA TODAY SportsIf Jon Niese misses any significant time, two of three from Jenrry Mejia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan should be in the Opening Day rotation.

FIRST PITCH: Jonathon Niese is scheduled to have an MRI and be examined by team doctor David Altchek on Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Niese departed Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals after two innings and 35 pitches with elbow discomfort. The southpaw did not believe the injury was severe, but clearly he now is unlikely to make the Opening Day start on March 31 against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.

Terry Collins previously had indicated Bartolo Colon is the probable Opening Day starter if Niese is not available, with Dillon Gee the other consideration.

If Niese’s elbow issue is not severe, the Mets still can place him on the disabled list to open the season and backdate it nine days into spring training.

That means Niese would be eligible to return April 6 against the Cincinnati Reds, which happens to be the first day the Mets would need a fifth starter. That also would allow the Mets to carry an extra bench player (Andrew Brown or Wilmer Flores, perhaps?) or an extra bullpen arm for the first five games of the season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was the probable fifth starter before Niese’s injury anyway.

If Niese is lost beyond April 6 and the Mets need another starter, the team would need to debate John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia’s candidacies as the fill-in. Lannan otherwise should make the team in relief.

Mets officials previously have told that they do not want to continue to shift Mejia between starting and relieving. If Mejia is not in the rotation to start the year, team brass will have a serious discussion late in spring training about Mejia’s future role -- and then stick with it.

Rafael Montero is not an Opening Day rotation consideration, but will get consideration for a relief role, according to Collins. Still, unless Lannan ends up in the rotation, it is difficult to see where Montero might fit in the pen to start the season. The projected bullpen pre-Niese injury has included Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jose Valverde, Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice and Lannan.

Meanwhile, the Mets who traveled to Las Vegas were due to land in the early morning hours on Monday. Most of those players likely will be excused from an afternoon game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Lannan opposes Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez at 1:05 p.m. (WOR 710 AM).

Monday’s news reports:

• Cory Vaughn homered against Adam Wainwright and finished with four RBIs as the Mets beat the Cards, 10-4, despite losing Niese to injury after 35 pitches. Ruben Tejada committed his fourth Grapefruit League error and was hitless in four at-bats, dropping his average to .091 (2-for-22). Read more on Tejada and the game against the Cards in the Post and

• Mejia and Montero allowed a combined five runs (four earned) in five innings as the Mets lost to the Chicago Cubs, 6-3, in Vegas. Juan Lagares made a dazzling catch and also threw out a runner at the plate. Flores started his second spring-training game at shortstop, with Collins pledging more action there. Brown belted a two-run homer and Zach Lutz contributed his third spring-training homer. Read more on Mejia and the Vegas game in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and

• Read more on Niese’s injury in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and

Getty ImagesThe D-backs have a pair of shortstops: Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius.

Ike Davis (calf) went 2-for-6 as a DH but did not run the bases after making contact during a minor-league game Sunday. He did run postgame. Lucas Duda (hamstring) had Sunday off. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests it might make sense to trade some of the Mets’ young pitching for offense while they’re still prospects and before they get hurt. Of course, Niese’s injury potentially means the Mets have less room to deal because they need the pitching depth. Still, Harper notes, the Arizona Diamondbacks have two shortstops, Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings, and now may need a starting pitcher with Patrick Corbin apparently headed for Tommy John surgery.

• Matt Ehalt in the Record speaks with Matt den Dekker about his solid camp. He is hitting .379 (11-for-29) in Grapefruit League play.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes Las Vegas is a tough place for prospects to pitch. As for whether the 51s will remain the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate beyond this season, when the current player-development agreement will have expired, Las Vegas president Don Logan told Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger: "I think the geography is going to come into play. If there is a team on the East Coast available it just makes more sense maybe for them. But if you’re going to be in the West, this is the best place to be, because we have tons of air access to everywhere in the country."

• How did the Mets celebrate Curtis Granderson’s 33rd birthday on Friday night in Vegas? Anthony DiComo at writes:

After a dinner at Andiamo Steakhouse, the Mets gathered around a Sigma Derby machine on the casino floor, where players could wager quarters on fake horses.

"Guys were upset they lost six dollars," Granderson recalled, laughing.

It was a way for the Mets to blow off some steam, enjoying their two-day trip to Vegas for a pair of exhibition games against the Cubs. While some members of the traveling party stuck to relaxing -- David Wright spent much of his free time watching college basketball on television -- many others dabbled in what Vegas had to offer.

BIRTHDAYS: Lagares turns 25. ... Former Mets catcher Vance Wilson is 41.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Which two pitchers should fill the Jon Niese and fifth starter’s roles assuming Niese misses a portion of the beginning of the season?

Morning Briefing: Lannan to make pitch

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1

FIRST PITCH: The Mets host the Miami Marlins at 1:10 p.m. Saturday (PIX11) as Grapefruit League play continues at Tradition Field.

Fifth-starter candidate John Lannan makes his Mets debut, opposite right-hander Kevin Slowey. Vic Black, Scott Rice, Kyle Farnsworth, Josh Edgin, Ryan Reid, John Church, Steven Matz and Cory Mazzoni also are scheduled to pitch for the Mets.

Saturday’s news reports:

Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsRafael Montero opened the Grapefruit League schedule with two perfect innings Friday.

• Not shying away from Sandy Alderson’s statement in an internal meeting, Terry Collins acknowledged he plans to give each player specific goals that collectively will get the Mets to 90 wins. Read more in the Post.

In a positive start for both first basemen, Ike Davis belted a two-run homer and Lucas Duda had a broken-bat ground-rule double and was robbed of another hit Friday against the Washington Nationals. Pitching prospects Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero tossed two perfect innings apiece, although the Mets lost, 5-4, in the ninth on a run-scoring triple against Jeff Walters. Chris Young started in left field and led off and went 1-for-2 with a strikeout in his Mets debut. Ex-Yankee Curtis Granderson went 0-for-2. Wilfredo Tovar suffered a right-hamstring injury in the seventh, but downplayed the severity.

On Montero and deGrom, Paul DePodesta told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News: “You look at the Cardinals and the Rangers in the last couple of years, they have had to bring their young pitchers up to the bullpen, because that is where there is room for them. We want to be in that type of situation, where we are bringing guys up to the bullpen in the big leagues. Maybe they are starters who will transition back to being starters later, or maybe they won’t because they have become so valuable in their role in the bullpen.” Read more on Montero and deGrom at

Read more on Davis and Duda in the Times, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

Read a recap of the Grapefruit League opener in the Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post says the Mets remind him of the Harold Ramis-penned movie “Groundhog Day.” Writes Sherman:

I was thinking of that film Friday as I entered Mets camp for what was their first spring game, but with a sense already of been there, done that. After all, there was the Flaw Firm of Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in the starting lineup beginning, what is it, Year 4 of “they need to show us what they’ve got” portion of the program? Quite frankly, none of it has been as amusing as Bill Murray.

Plus there was that never-ending backstory playing out yet again in which the Mets are selling hard that they are better than the perception offered by their competitors, the public, the media and the odds-makers.

Sherman goes on to note that Bovada, the betting site that has the Mets at 73.5 wins this season, has come within 2.5, 0.0, 0.5 and 0.5 of the Mets’ actual win total over the past four seasons.

David Wright was voted on Twitter as the #faceofmlb, beating what one Mets staffer labeled “rickroll” candidate Eric Sogard of the Oakland Athletics in the finals. “Speech!” Bobby Parnell shouted in the clubhouse upon seeing Wright enter Friday morning. Wright then jokingly said: “First of all, I’d like to thank my parents for giving me this face.”

Jonathon Niese returned to camp Friday after undergoing an MRI in New York and reiterated he had received good news from team doctor David Altchek. Niese suggested his concentration on strengthening the rotator cuff in his pitching arm during the offseason prompted him to neglect other shoulder muscles and caused an “imbalance” and weakness. He expects to resume tossing a baseball this weekend, although he will not yet return to the mound. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and

• Parnell, cautiously returning from herniated-disk surgery and briefly slowed by a left quadriceps injury, plans to throw live batting practice Saturday for the first time since arriving in camp.

• The Mets are offering $5 tickets that include a Wright T-shirt for their Friday, April 4 game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. Find more details here.

• WOR made its radio debut as the Mets’ flagship station Friday. “See, you found us. That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Howie Rose began the maiden broadcast by saying, Newsday’s Neil Best tweeted.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal writes that the Mets could break MLB’s all-time strikeout record this season. After all, the Mets added Granderson and Chris Young to a team that already set a franchise record with 1,384 Ks last season. The MLB record is 1,535, set by the 2013 Houston Astros. The previous record had been 1,529 by the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks.

• The Mets had only one player exceed 502 plate appearances and qualify for the batting title last year: Daniel Murphy, with 697. It marked only the 15th time in the majors since 1900 (albeit 12th time since 2003) that a team only had one player with enough plate appearances to qualify, Michael Salfino writes in the Journal.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Niese’s injury raises questions.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets (and Long Island Ducks) catcher Ramon Castro turns 38.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are the Mets setting themselves up to have the season viewed as a failure no matter how successful they are because of all this unrealistic 90-win chatter?

Morning Briefing: Mets-Phillies still rivalry?

August, 28, 2013

Getty ImagesJohn Buck and Marlon Byrd are now Pirates, while second baseman Dilson Herrera joins the Mets organization.

FIRST PITCH: Where have you gone Mets-Phillies rivalry?

From the Mets finally unseating the Atlanta Braves in 2006, to the following year’s “team-to-beat” proclamation by Jimmy Rollins, the NL East seemed to revolve around New York and Philadelphia.

Now? The teams are a collective 24 games under .500 and merely jockeying for third place in the division.

And we’re left tonight with Daisuke Matsuzaka Night at Citi Field against an eight-games-under-.500 Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62 ERA).

Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00 ERA) makes his second Mets start at 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The Mets traded Marlon Byrd, John Buck and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Class A second baseman Dilson Herrera and a player to be named. Herrera, a Futures Game participant from Colombia, will be assigned to low-A Savannah for the remainder of the season.

"Marlon Byrd is an impactful bat with significant numbers against left-handed pitching and John Buck is a strong receiver who works well with a pitching staff," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters in Pittsburgh. "Those were areas we were looking to improve upon and strengthen, and the trade also adds a couple of layers of experience to our club."

Writes ESPN’s Keith Law on Herrera:

Playing full time at age 19 in the low-Class A Sally League, Herrera has shown somewhat surprising pop, with a .156 isolated power and 41 extra-base hits in 109 games. He's got a simple, quiet approach, just loading his hands a little higher than he should, with adequate hip rotation for 15-20 homer power at his peak.

He's an above-average runner whose speed hasn't translated into baserunning value, and is presently a fringy defender at second, but should develop into an above-average glove given time and instruction. I'd call him a future everyday second baseman, a solid regular with a chance to be an above-average one.

I'm told by multiple sources that the Mets will receive another player-to-be-named who is a "solid" piece, enough to make this deal even better for New York.

(Insiders can read Law’s full trade write-up here.)

Writes columnist Dejan Kovacevic in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

I got to know Herrera a bit during the All-Star Futures Game in New York last month and loved his backstory: Orlando Covo, the Pirates' lead scout in Colombia, works by day as, of all things, the president of a bank. He moonlights because of a passion for baseball and for the Pirates, who hired him under Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo a half-decade ago.

Colombia is no baseball hotbed, but Covo and Gayo invest disproportionate energy into making it work. In the case of the prized Herrera, Covo pushed so hard that, as the kid told me, “I was wearing a Pirates cap when I was 12.”

Herrera's a quality second baseman with a live bat. As [GM Neal] Huntington put it, “The Mets did well” to get him. But the Pirates also did well to have him.

With Matt Harvey landing on the DL and the two departures via trade, the Mets promoted Matt den Dekker, Anthony Recker and Robert Carson from Triple-A Las Vegas. The lefty-hitting Den Dekker and righty-hitting Andrew Brown should combine to fill the void left by Byrd’s departure -- although den Dekker’s starts may primarily come in center field, pushing Juan Lagares to right field on those days.

Sandy Alderson indicated the Mets’ trade activity likely was completed. The GM also reiterated that Terry Collins will be judged by more criteria than simply wins and losses.

In a humorous twist, the trade occurred hours before a Byrd T-shirt promotion at Citi Field.

With Pittsburgh, Buck will back up Russell Martin. Backup catcher Michael McKenry underwent season-ending surgery for a torn meniscus. As for Byrd, he particularly will help with outfielder Starling Marte out for a few weeks with a sprained ligament in his right hand.

Read columnist Larry Brooks’ take on the trade in the Post and news stories in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and Read more on Herrera in Newsday.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post suggests the Wilpons must show Mets fans the money this offseason. Writes Vaccaro:

Does Harvey’s absence allow another mailed-in offseason?

It had better not. And the men who own the Mets had better be prepared to keep to whatever plans they had about strengthening this team, and not allowing the abyss to run to six full seasons of non-competitive baseball. The tough talk of February had better be able to stay intact by November, regardless of whether Harvey is a part of 2014 or not.

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsMatt Harvey tweeted that he will be pitching next April 1.

Their credibility was at stake anyway, their show-me fan base eager to see if the Wilpons’ claim of financial freedom was legitimate. It should be even more so now. The Mets have crowed about their pitching depth. But even if Harvey pitched to a 0.01 ERA next year, he already knew -- and [Zack] Wheeler learned Monday -- it hardly matters if the Mets offense remains somewhere between inept and impotent.

• Harvey tweeted he will be pitching next April 1, but Alderson responded there is no new information on which to base that conclusion. Harvey will get another MRI in two to three weeks, once swelling in his pitching elbow subsides, in order to determine the extent of his UCL tear and whether Tommy John surgery will be required. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Record.

Jeremy Hefner is due to undergo Tommy John surgery today. Mets doctor David Altchek is due to perform the procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of the 2014 season.

Jonathon Niese tossed a three-hit shutout and also produced a three-run double as the Mets blanked the Phillies, 5-0, Tuesday at Citi Field. The teams are again even for third place in the NL East. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, and

David Wright should be hitting in games -- but probably not fielding -- in Port St. Lucie as soon as Sunday or Monday, Collins said. Read more in the Post.

• The Mets named right-handers Chasen Bradford and Hansel Robles, catcher Cam Maron, infielder Aderlin Rodriguez and outfielder Cory Vaughn to their Arizona Fall League contingent. Two more pitching spots will be filled later.

• Las Vegas’ rally from a four-run deficit in the ninth fell a run short in a 13-12 loss at Colorado Springs. Jeff Walters set a new Binghamton career saves record with No. 37 as the B-Mets beat Bowie, 3-2. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing contemplates how rosters turn over and over. … Mark Berman from Blogging Mets wonders if the Mets are partly to blame for Harvey's injury.

BIRTHDAYS: Joel Youngblood turns 62. … Mike Torrez is 67.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Matt Harvey will bypass undergoing Tommy John surgery?

Mets morning briefing 9.5.12

September, 5, 2012
Matt Harvey surrendered three runs in five innings and Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless frame in his major league debut as the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1, Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

Now, R.A. Dickey bids for his 18th win as the Mets try to avoid a sweep in the series finale. Dickey opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.90) at 1:45 p.m. ET as the Mets complete a three-city trip.

Wednesday's news reports:

David Wright tells Jon Heyman at that he is "extremely optimistic" about reaching a long-term extension with the Mets this offseason.

Charles LeClaire/US Presswire
David Wright says he has "not a single complaint" as a Met.

"I've really enjoyed it here," Wright said. "... Although we haven't gotten things completely turned around, we've taken small steps in the right direction and have something to build on. ... There's not a single complaint that I have. [The Mets] drafted me as a kid. They developed me. They've given me an opportunity to make a living playing a game. There's a tremendous amount of mutual respect. They've gone above and beyond. ... My favorite player was Cal Ripken. The biggest reason for that was, I like that he stayed."

Keith Hernandez tells Richard Sandomir in the Times that his intention is to report for color-commentary duty for the Oct. 3 season finale in Miami without his signature mustache. Writes Sandomir:

Hernandez’s mustache faithfully accompanied him through nearly all of his baseball career, his guest appearances on “Seinfeld” and his singing duet with Mookie Wilson on "Put Down the Duckie" for Sesame Street. Still, he seems about to take it off, after a long season of letting it turn increasingly gray. The color has been fading longer than that but was artificially enhanced with Just for Men gel. He was, of course, a paid company endorser and a star, with Walt Frazier, of several kitschy TV commercials that suggested a better life through dyed facial hair.

In the first and most famous ad, Hernandez and Frazier played the bar-side analysts of a sad sack Mr. Graybeard being rejected by Miss Hottie. Their facial hair was blindingly dark. "No play for Mr. Gray," Frazier said, evoking his penchant for rhyming. In a commercial made in 2008 they confronted another Mr. Graybeard, Emmitt Smith. “Your beard is weird,” Hernandez told the retired Dallas Cowboys running back. But Combe Inc., which makes Just for Men, ended the campaign early this year and replaced it with one that stars a tuxedoed baby.

• Familia's major league debut began by striking out Lance Berkman with a 97 mph fastball. He then surrendered a single to Jon Jay, but immediately erased him by coaxing a double-play grounder from Matt Carpenter. Fred Lewis, 31, also made his Mets debut. He opened the ninth by grounding out to shortstop against Trevor Rosenthal. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and Record.

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

Jeff Curry/Getty Images
Matt Harvey has one or two more starts remaining in 2012.

• Collins said postgame it was not yet resolved whether Harvey would have one or two remaining starts. The five innings logged Tuesday give him 47 1/3 in the majors and 110 with Triple-A Buffalo this season. Read more in Newsday.

Tim Byrdak is due to undergo surgery today to repair the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. That's the same surgery Johan Santana and Chris Young previously underwent. Team doctor David Altchek will perform the procedure. Byrdak's injury is career threatening, since he turns 39 next month. Byrdak also requires surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. The other knee required that procedure during spring training.

• The Mets are offering free tickets to up to three children age 12 and under with the purchase of an adult ticket to any September home game. The team announcement:

For "The Kids Go Free" ticket offer available via phone at (718) 507-TIXX and in person at the Citi Field Box Office, fans buying one regularly priced ticket will get up to three complimentary kids tickets. For the ticket offer available online at, fans may purchase a Family Four Pack that includes four tickets for the price of two. All tickets must be picked up at Citi Field the day of the game and children must be present. For more information, contact the Mets Ticket Office at (718) 507-TIXX.

• Brooklyn lost to Lowell, 9-1, Tuesday. The Cyclones must win their regular-season finale today, or have Batavia lose at least one game in its doubleheader, in order to claim the New York-Penn League wild card. St. Lucie lost its Florida State League playoff opener, 3-1, at Jupiter in a game interrupted three hours by rain. Read the full minor league recap here.

Mike Pelfrey visited his teammates in St. Louis in part to participate in the players' fantasy football draft. Pelfrey, who underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1, is likely to be nontendered in December since he is eligible for arbitration and is making $5.6875 million this season. Players must make at least 80 percent of their previous year's salary if tendered a contract, and rarely receive a salary cut. Still, Collins said he would consider Pelfrey in a bullpen role (presumably if the Mets re-signed Pelfrey for a lower salary after making him a free agent). Read more in the Post, Newsday, Times and Record.

TRIVIA: Which active player has the second-most homers against the Mets, behind Chipper Jones?

Tuesday's answer: Technically, Mike Jorgensen preceded Tony La Russa as Cardinals manager. Jorgensen completed the 1995 season after Joe Torre was fired with a 20-27 record in his fifth season at the helm.

Batista may bump Hefner from rotation

May, 30, 2012
Despite homering and picking up his first major league win Tuesday, Jeremy Hefner may not get another chance to start.

Terry Collins said he will not decide Monday's starter against the Cardinals at Citi Field until at least the weekend. A team source said it was correct to interpret that comment as an indication Miguel Batista is likely the preference rather than Hefner, assuming Batista has a successful rehab start tonight with Double-A Binghamton.

Batista was forced to depart a May 19 start at Toronto after two innings with an oblique/lower-back strain. He is eligible to return from the disabled list Monday, which coincides with when Hefner's next turn otherwise would occur.

Josh Thole is DHing and batting second for Triple-A Buffalo tonight. Sandy Alderson said he expected Thole would be activated Friday. Collins was less sure that would be the precise date, noting the Mets need to be assured Thole looks sharp at the plate before being activated. Collins insisted he had not been involved in any internal debate yet about whether Mike Nickeas or Rob Johnson might be demoted when Thole is activated.

Jason Bay's rehab tour from a fractured rib could take him to Buffalo this weekend.

• Phillies ace Roy Halladay (shoulder) sought a second opinion from Mets doctor David Altchek.

• An hour before Wednesday's game, the Mets officially placed Ronny Cedeño on the DL with a left calf strain and promoted Jordany Valdespin.

Dr. Altchek: Johan aces Amazin' comeback

April, 4, 2012
David Altchek, the doctor who performed Johan Santana's surgery, discusses the procedure and history of anterior capsule surgery exclusively with Read the full story here.



Carlos Torres
2 2.08 11 8
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18