New York Mets: Derek Holland

Series preview: Mets vs. Rangers

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
11:49
PM ET

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesRain in Baltimore on Thursday means Yu Darvish now faces the Mets in Friday's series opener at Citi Field.
METS (37-48, fourth place/NL East) vs. TEXAS RANGERS (37-48, fourth place/AL West)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (8-4, 2.42), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.88) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (5-5, 5.71), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.25) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch* (3-3, 3.65), 1:10 p.m. ET

* officially TBA

Rangers short hops

• With rain delaying the start by 56 minutes and threatening to interrupt Thursday’s Rangers series finale in Baltimore, manager Ron Washington decided to delay Yu Darvish’s scheduled start until Friday, pushing him into the Mets series. There never was a stoppage once the game began at Camden Yards.

Darvish, 27, has an MLB-best 11.04 strikeouts per nine innings. He ranks third in the American League in ERA at 2.42, trailing only the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (2.10) and Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka (2.27). Darvish snapped a two-start losing streak by tossing eight scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

• Texas leads the majors in uses of the DL (20) and current players on the DL (14). The absences include Prince Fielder (herniated disk), Mitch Moreland (ankle), Derek Holland (knee surgery), Jurickson Profar (shoulder), Geovany Soto (knee), Alexi Ogando (elbow), Tanner Scheppers (elbow) and Engel Beltre (fractured tibia).

Fielder, who had season-ending surgery for the neck issue on May 27, had been acquired during the offseason from the Detroit Tigers with $30 million for Ian Kinsler. Texas reportedly will recoup 50 percent of Fielder’s salary via an insurance policy that carried over from the Tigers, after a 90-day deductible period.

Soto, who underwent surgery, is due to begin a rehab assignment shortly. Beltre, an outfielder, has started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock.

• With Fielder and Moreland out, Carlos Pena has taken over at first base. He is hitless in his last 18 at-bats and 3-for-33 since joining the club. Pena, 36, originally signed a minor-league contract on June 17. He had been idle since being released by the Los Angeles Angels from spring training on March 23.

• The Rangers have lost five straight and 14 of 17. They have lost nine straight road games, their longest skid away from Arlington since 2005, when Buck Showalter managed the club during a nine-game road skid. They are 11 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2007 season at 75-87.


Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre is the one lethal weapon in Texas' decimated lineup.


Adrian Beltre hit .392 in June, the highest figure in any month of his career. The average trailed only Houston’s Jose Altuve (.411) in the American League for the month. Overall, he is hitting .335 this season, second to Altuve in the league.

Shin-Soo Choo signed a seven-year, $130 million deal with Texas on Dec. 13. He is hitting .254 with eight homers and 30 RBIs and has a .374 on-base percentage. Choo returned to the leadoff spot last Friday after two weeks in the No. 3 hole.

• The Rangers designated left-hander Joe Saunders (0-5, 6.13 ERA) for assignment on Tuesday. Miles Mikolas, who had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in December, stepped into the rotation.

• Mikolas’ promotion and insertion into the rotation pushed scheduled Wednesday starter Nick Tepesch into the Mets series … at least originally. Tepesch was due to start Friday, but has been dropped in place of Darvish. He now is the most likely candidate to start Sunday, in what is currently listed as TBA, unless he is needed in long relief before then. Tepesch has a 1.93 ERA over his past three starts. The Rangers will keep Colby Lewis on Saturday, as originally planned.

• The Rangers’ 4.62 ERA is the highest in the American League. They nonetheless have an AL-best 14 shutouts. They became the first AL team to reach that shutout total within 80 games since the 1968 Cleveland Indians, five years before the designated hitter came into effect.

• Closer Joakim Soria has allowed runs in consecutive appearances for the first time this season. He still has 17 strikeouts and one walk in his past 10 appearances. Former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz is currently pitching in Triple-A as he enters the final stages of a return from Tommy John surgery.

• Before a 3-for-4 performance Thursday at Baltimore, shortstop Elvis Andrus has been hitless in his last 10 at-bats and 5-for-his-last-30.

• Left fielder Michael Choice is hitless in his last 14 at-bats and 5-for-his-last-66.

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos has caught an MLB-high 19 would-be base stealers.

• Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller is due interview with the San Diego Padres regarding their vacant GM position.

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 morning briefing 4.2.12

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
6:47
AM ET
Facing their opening weekend opponent, the Mets will not take a starting pitcher to Disney to meet the Braves. Instead, Bobby Parnell officially gets the start as the Mets get their relievers work. Tim Hudson starts for Atlanta has he works back from November surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. Hudson will open the season on the DL.

Monday's news reports:

Terry Collins officially named Johan Santana his Opening Day starter, a day after Santana completed an intense bullpen session. It will be Santana's fourth opening game as a Met. The all-time leader is Tom Seaver, with 11 Opening Days for the franchise, followed by Dwight Gooden with eight and then Tom Glavine and now Santana at four apiece, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Santana will face Atlanta's Tommy Hanson on Thursday. R.A. Dickey opposes Jair Jurrjens in Game 2 on Saturday, followed by left-handers Jon Niese and Mike Minor in the series finale. Collins said Santana likely will be capped between 80 and 95 pitches in his April outings. The southpaw threw no more than 88 pitches in a Grapefruit League game. Santana recently received a shot of Toradol for general aches, Andy Martino reports in the Daily News. (Dickey received the anti-inflammatory medication Toradol before all of his second-half starts last season, and Mike Pelfrey has acknowledged significant use as well, so the Mets do not appear conservative in dispensing it.) Read more on Santana and the rotation in the Times, Star-Ledger, Post, Journal, Record and Newsday.

• Niese and the Mets are working out the details of a contract extension that should be comparable to the five-year, $28.5 million deal fellow left-hander Derek Holland signed with the Texas Rangers, a major league source told ESPNNewYork.com. Holland, like Niese, would not have been eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. Holland's deal includes team options, at $11 million and $11.5 million -- potentially sacrificing three years of free agency as part of the contract, if fully exercised by the club. Read more in the Journal, Newsday, Times, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Closer Frank Francisco has been bothered by a sore knee during camp and will not pitch today, Collins said. He's expected to instead pitch in Tuesday's exhibition game, the manager added. The Post's Mike Puma said Francisco limped in the players' parking lot Sunday and said he had a toe problem, although Collins said it's really the knee. Columnist John Harper in the Daily News wonders about the revamped-but thus-far uninspiring Mets bullpen.

• Collins expressed confidence center fielder Andres Torres would be with the Mets on Opening Day. That's because the manager indicated Torres likely would be in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees in Port St. Lucie. Using Torres in that game would eliminate the Mets' ability to backdate any DL stint into spring training -- meaning the organization expects Torres to be ready for Thursday's season opener. Torres being ready would push Vinny Rottino to Triple-A Buffalo.

Also Sunday, left-hander Josh Edgin's solid Grapefruit League showing, which included 10 1/3 scoreless innings, ended with the prospect being informed he is headed to Double-A Binghamton to serve as the closer. Tim Byrdak may be ready for Opening Day as he returns from March 13 surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Otherwise, Daniel Herrera temporary will be with the team, and Byrdak would be expected to be activated for Game 5.

R.A. Dickey required two stitches to his right heel after getting spiked, but the knuckleballer completed his outing and limited Detroit to one run on three hits, including a monstrous homer by Prince Fielder, in four innings. Herrera and Jon Rauch combined to be charged for eight runs in 2 1/3 innings, though, as the Mets lost to the Detroit Tigers, 9-2, on Sunday. Ike Davis' two-run homer provided one of the Mets' two hits.

• Here are 13 Mets farmhands who might appear at Citi Field in 2012.

• Versatile ex-Cub Bobby Scales signed a minor league deal with the Mets and will join Buffalo.

• Yankees writers received an intro to the Marlins' new stadium Sunday. Here's Wally Matthews' take at ESPNNewYork.com. Read more in the Times and Journal.

Jason Bay may end up being in a platoon after April if he underperforms, according to the Post. Bay is hitting .195 with no RBIs in 41 Grapefruit League at-bats. He has 13 strikeouts and 10 walks. One major issue would be with whom the righty-hitting Bay would platoon. Mike Baxter is the lefty-hitting outfielder the Mets plan to carry, and it's hard to foresee him chipping away significantly at Bay's at-bats. Perhaps if it's that dire lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be promoted. Bay's playing time will be significant to watch since a $17 million vesting option for 2014 will kick in -- raising the total value of his contract to five years and $80 million -- if Bay has 500 plate appearances apiece this season and next. If Bay does not reach that threshold, he also can trigger the vesting option with 600 plate appearances in 2013. If he falls short of both, he is entitled to a $3 million buyout on top of his $16 million salary for '13.

TRIVIA: Who started on Opening Day for the Mets in 2000?

Sunday's answer: Carlos Beltran, despite being traded with more than two months remaining in the season, led the Mets in RBI with 66.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
12 3.82 130 167
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .301
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 76
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .848
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.44
SOZ. Wheeler 155