New York Mets: Dusty Ryan

Farm report: Pill tough at plate too

August, 10, 2011
Right-hander Tyler Pill had a pair of guests in the Brooklyn Cyclones clubhouse last Thursday, on the night Dillon Gee was being honored and Gee’s No. 20 joined the minor league team’s ring of honor alongside the numbers worn by Angel Pagan, Brian Bannister and Danny Garcia.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
Tyler Pill

Justin Turner visited Pill in the Cyclones clubhouse, and introduced Pill to Gee. Pill also had met with Turner as well as Terry Collins at Dodger Stadium, during the Mets’ early July trip to L.A., after the draft. Turner played for at Cal State Fullerton with Pill’s brother Brett.

Brett, a first baseman, went on to be drafted in the seventh round in 2006 by the San Francisco Giants. He is currently hitting .318 with 23 homers in 114 games for Triple-A Fresno. His 97 RBIs actually are tied with ex-Met Mike Jacobs’ total for the Pacific Coast League lead. Turner was drafted in the same ’06 seventh round by the Cincinnati Reds, two picks before Pill in fact (204th vs. 206th overall).

Pill one-upped both. He was selected by the Mets in the fourth round this June, after hitting .323 as an outfielder and posting a 7-1 record and 2.28 ERA in 17 appearances (15 starts) during his junior season at Fullerton. The Mets selected Pill as a pitcher. Pill’s fastball sits between 89-92 mph. He also throws a curveball, changeup and cutter.

“He’s tough. He doesn’t get fazed,” Turner said. “He’s composed, I’d say similar to how Dillon is. Not a lot of stuff really gets to him.”

So far, after a cameo in the Gulf Coast League, the 21-year-old Pill has made two scoreless one-inning appearances for Brooklyn. Like with other early round draft picks such as Cory Mazzoni (second round/NC State) and Jack Leathersich (fifth round/UMass Lowell), who logged major innings in college this season, the Mets are only having Pill toss roughly one inning every five days, piggybacking another starter.

Pill, as a batter in the Cape Cod League, recalled facing Leathersich twice -- striking out and then doubling.

For Pill, the No. 3-hole hitter at Fullerton, there has been an adjustment in not picking up a bat as a professional.

“It’s a lot different,” Pill said. “I’m used to playing every day and being out there and hitting. When you’re a position player, you want to hit. So I have that ‘want’ to hit every day. I need to get over that.

“At Fullerton, I played outfield when I didn’t pitch. I hit pretty well there. My freshman year was more of like a pinch-hit year. But my sophomore and junior years, I was the three-hole batter.”

Because his brother played before him at Fullerton, Pill was around the program from a young age.

“He came to some camps at Fullerton,” Turner said. “I remember watching him hit. He could really hit. And then I found out he was a pretty good pitcher after that.”

Pill did get to face his brother and Turner when the duo returned to campus for the annual alumni game.

“I struck my brother out,” Pill said. “I actually faced Justin, too. I faced him twice. I can’t remember what he did the first at-bat. His second at-bat he got a hit off me. It was a single up the middle.”

Having a brother precede him into pro baseball has been an asset.

“I’ve picked his brain quite a bit, even the years before my junior year when I got drafted,” Pill said. “He just told me what to expect, just how different it was from college. He even told me from a pitcher’s standpoint how it will be every five days for a rotation when I throw, how I’ll be in the stands (charting teammates’ pitches), just what to expect from the fans, coaches and the everyday life of minor league baseball.”

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, Binghamton, .350; Danny Muno, Brooklyn, .333; Josh Satin, Buffalo, .330; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .324; Richard Lucas, Brooklyn, .316; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .316; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .314; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .312; Travis Taijeron, Brooklyn, .309; Luis Figueroa, Buffalo, .304.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 20; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 17; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 14.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 78; Josh Satin, Buffalo, 71; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 70; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 67; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 58.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 33; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 30; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 19; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 17; Rafael Fernandez, Savannah, 16.

ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 2.39; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 2.53; Gabriel Ynoa, GCL Mets, 2.63; Bret Mitchell, Brooklyn, 2.84; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 3.12; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 3.17; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 3.19; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 3.30; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 3.45; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 3.46.

Wins: Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 11; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 10; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 9; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 9; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 22; Dale Thayer, Buffalo, 15; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 11; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 134; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 119; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 114; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 110; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 106.

Short hops

• Brooklyn has six selections for Tuesday’s New York-Penn League All-Star game in Lowell, Mass. -- infielders Richard Lucas and Danny Muno, outfielders Travis Taijeron and Charley Thurber, right-hander Tyson Seng and left-hander T.J. Chism. Taijeron, the organization’s 18th-round pick out of Cal Poly Pomona, leads the league in slugging percentage at .566, 40 points more than runner-up Jeff Malm of Hudson Valley. Muno (eighth round/Fresno State) ranks third in the league in average at .333. Thurber (.293, 0 HR, 22 RBIs) is a 39th-round pick out of the University of Tennessee.

• Infielder Josh Satin upped his hitting streak to 15 games with Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. In 17 games since a promotion from Double-A Binghamton, Satin is hitting .353 with a homer and 11 RBIs in 68 at-bats.

• Infielder Jordany Valdespin was promoted from Binghamton to Buffalo.

• Right-hander Zack Wheeler, the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, who was acquired for Carlos Beltran, produced a solid second start with the St. Lucie Mets. Wheeler, who allowed four runs in four innings at Dunedin in his debut with the organization, tossed six scoreless innings Sunday at Charlotte. He allowed four hits, struck out seven, issued no walks and hit one batter. He also issued two wild pitches.

• Right-hander Matt Harvey, the Mets’ first-round pick last year, notched his first Double-A win Thursday at Altoona. In his past two starts, Harvey has limited Eastern League opponents to one run and seven hits in 12 innings while striking out 14 and walking three. Harvey is approaching an innings limit after throwing 96 innings in college last year at North Carolina, but the organization believes he may squeak through the remainder of the season uninterrupted, without having to be capped.

• Second baseman Reese Havens homered Friday for the first time since returning July 20 from a month-long absence for a back injury. Havens, who played every other day when he returned from the disabled list to ease back and avoid re-injury, has upped the frequency of his playing time. He started all three weekend home games against Reading.

• Corner infielder Zach Lutz, who is on the 40-man roster, returned Saturday from a second concussion. Lutz has been hit with pitches in the head twice this season. In 41 games with Buffalo, he is hitting .303 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 145 at-bats.

• First baseman/DH Valentino Pascucci is tied for second in the International League with 78 RBIs. He trails Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Jorge Vazquez, who has 82.

T.J. Rivera, signed by the Mets on June 13 after going undrafted, made his Cyclones debut Sunday as a pinch-hitter at Staten Island. He then started at second base the following day. Rivera attended Lehman High School in the Bronx before playing collegiately at Troy University in Alabama. He hit .290 in 27 games with Kingsport before the reassignment to Coney Island.

• Savannah right-hander Erik Goeddel (2-2, 2.49 ERA) made his first Gnats appearance since May 23 on Sunday, tossing four scoreless innings at Charleston. Goeddel had been on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.

• Unheralded Binghamton right-hander Collin McHugh continues to open eyes. After briefly being bumped from the rotation by the return of Jeurys Familia from the disabled list, McHugh has regained a starting role. McHugh then picked up the win at Trenton on Tuesday, limiting the Thunder to one run in five innings. Instead, Tobi Stoner will piggyback starts, working a starter’s length in relief.

Jason Botts and Bubba Bell were activated from Buffalo’s disabled list with Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter’s promotions to the majors. Mike Nickeas’ demotion prompted fellow catcher Dusty Ryan to be bumped back from Buffalo to Binghamton. Nickeas is paired behind the plate with Raul Chavez with the Bisons.

• Savannah catcher Albert Cordero is hitting .352 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 142 second-half at-bats.

• Right-hander Ryan Fraser, a Memphis product, has made consecutive scoreless five-inning starts for the Sand Gnats.

Michael Fulmer, the prep right-hander from Oklahoma taken 44th overall in the draft, made his pro debut Monday, walking three in two-thirds of an inning in the Gulf Coast League in a rain.

Chin-lung Hu started consecutive weekend games at shortstop in the GCL, his first game action since being sent from Buffalo to the Mets’ Florida complex in mid-June. Hu was charged with a throwing error in his first game back. Farm director Adam Wogan said Hu did have a shoulder impingement during his prolonged time away from games, and it was not just a yip-related absence. "He feels good now," Wogan said. Hu is switch-hitting in GCL games.

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

Farm report: Vaughn sticks to baseball

August, 3, 2011
Cory Vaughn’s athletic interests have their limits.

While his father Greg played 15 seasons in the majors, the other competitive athletes in Vaughn’s family these days are his mother Michele and 17-year-old sister Genay, an aspiring Olympian. They are involved in equestrian, operating Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center in Elk Grove, Calif., and competing internationally in countries such as Germany.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Cory Vaughn

You will not find the 22-year-old outfielder Vaughn on horseback with them.

“Oh, definitely not,” Vaughn said. “Those horses are so big. I was so big when I was little, I felt like I was 20 feet in the air on top of the horse. I shied away from that and stuck to baseball.”

Baseball is working out nicely for Vaughn, a fourth-round pick last year out of Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State program.

After last year’s draft, Vaughn hit .307 with 14 homers in 72 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones and was named a New York-Penn League All-Star. This season, he hit .286 with four homers and had a .405 on-base percentage in 68 games with Savannah while again earning an All-Star selection.

After the Gnats clinched the first half, Vaughn was promoted to high-A St. Lucie. His average exceeded .313 just 10 days ago in the Florida State League, but has dipped to .250 through 35 games with a 4-for-36 rut. Vaughn has played right field with St. Lucie. That’s the position he played his freshman year at San Diego State before moving to center field.

“I feel like I almost saw guys throw harder down in Savannah, but here they have a better idea of how to approach you and get you out,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn’s healthy on-base percentage comes from walks as well as getting hit 19 times this season -- tied for fifth most in minor league baseball. He also was hit in the All-Star Game, so the actual total is 20.

“I’m not even standing on the plate,” he said. “I’m trying to have good at-bats. You’re not going to get on base every single game. You’re not going to have hits every single game. But I’ve been trying to go up there with a plan and approach, just try to work the counts a little bit, trying not to do too much -- just play the game the right way. Any way it takes I’m going to try to get on base.”

While he might have preferred to be promoted to St. Lucie earlier, Vaughn remained in low-A until fellow 2010 draft pick Matt den Dekker moved from St. Lucie to Binghamton -- and until Savannah clinched the first-half title in its South Atlantic League division. That allowed Vaughn to participate in the SAL All-Star Game in Salisbury, Md., where he homered off Roman Mendez of the Rangers organization with Vaughn’s father on hand as a spectator. His father primarily played for Milwaukee, San Diego and Tampa Bay during a major league career that spanned 1989 to 2003.

“The coach went out there and talked to him because he was a little wild,” Vaughn said about the opposing pitcher in the All-Star Game. “He was throwing probably about 96, 97ish mph. First of all, in an All-Star game, you’re not trying to get cheated at all. I go up there, and the first pitch as soon as the coach is done talking to him, a fastball up in the zone, I just took a good swing. It worked out for me that it got over the fence.”

As for his father being in attendance for the game, Vaughn added: “He tries to make it to as many as he can, but my sister is in high school in Sacramento. And my mom is doing her business with equestrian and horses. Whenever he has a chance he tries to make it out. I mean, I talk to him every night. He tries to give me my own space.”

Vaughn’s Twitter handle, by the way, is @sugarfreecv. It’s a reference to Vaughn dealing with juvenile diabetes since his youth.

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, Binghamton, .348; Richard Lucas, Brooklyn, .340; Danny Muno, Brooklyn, .333; Josh Satin, Buffalo, .329; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .318; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .317; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .315; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .306; Luis Figueroa, Buffalo, .305; Charley Thurber, Brooklyn, .302.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 19; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 16; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 14.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 75; Josh Satin, Buffalo, 70; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 67; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 65; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 56.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 31; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 28; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 19; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 16.

ERA: Rafael Montero, GCL Mets, 1.45; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 2.20; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 2.56; Erik Goeddel, GCL Mets, 2.57; Gabriel Ynoa, GCL Mets, 2.83; Bret Mitchell, Kingsport, 2.95; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.97; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 3.00; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 3.32; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 3.38.

Wins: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 10; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 10; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 9; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 8.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 21; Dale Thayer, Buffalo, 14; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 10.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 130; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 115; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 112; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 104; Gonzalez Germen, Savannah, 101.

Short hops

• Right-hander Zack Wheeler allowed three first-inning runs, and four runs in four innings, on Monday in his Mets debut, with Class A St. Lucie. Wheeler did not issue a walk. He reverted to his high school mechanics for his final two starts in the Giants organization, and that resulted in issuing only two walks in 11 1/3 innings. Through 76 2/3 innings with San Jose, Wheeler had walked 45.

Jim Callis of Baseball America re-ranks the Mets’ top-10 prospects this way, naming Wheeler the organization’s top farmhand, followed by Matt Harvey, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, Jeurys Familia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jenrry Mejia, Cesar Puello, 44th overall pick Michael Fulmer, Jordany Valdespin and Wilmer Flores. (Mejia is not eligible for Rookie of the Year consideration going forward because he spent a half-season in the majors as a reliever.)

• Fulmer, a prep right-hander from Oklahoma, should make his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League shortly after signing for a reported $937,500. Fourth-round pick Tyler Pill from Cal State-Fullerton made his Brooklyn debut on Tuesday with a scoreless inning after two appearances in the Gulf Coast League.

• Familia returned to Binghamton’s rotation Tuesday after missing three weeks with a shoulder impingement.

Dillon Gee will be enshrined in the Brooklyn Cyclones ring of honor in a ceremony before Thursday’s New York-Penn League game. His No. 20 will be displayed in the stadium, alongside the names/numbers of outfielder Angel Pagan, right-hander Brian Bannister and second baseman Danny Garcia, who was the first Cyclone to reach the majors. While the numbers are displayed at MCU Park, they are not retired.

• 2009 top pick Steve Matz, who is progressing slowly from Tommy John surgery performed 15 months ago, has yet to throw a professional pitch in a game and is unlikely to do so this season. The former standout at Ward Melville High School on Long Island has not resumed throwing following a shutdown for micro-sized muscle tears in the left elbow area. Matz is just preparing for an offseason, with an eye toward pitching in 2012.

• Infielder Josh Satin has a 10-game hitting streak and has upped his average to .354 with one homer and 10 RBIs in 12 games since a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo. Satin mostly will play third base with the Bisons, but also will see action at second base, with limited duty at first base.

• Outfielder Fernando Martinez (.254, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 189 at-bats) returned Saturday after missing two weeks with the Bisons with a hip injury.

• St. Lucie manager Pedro Lopez will manage the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. In addition to Mets prospects, the squad also will include farmhands from Milwaukee, St. Louis, Seattle and San Diego. The Mets will determine their player contingent later this month.

• Food poisoning struck the Brooklyn Cyclones, including fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich, who has not appeared since striking out the side in an inning on July 24.

• In his latest start, Harvey narrowly remained winless since a June 26 promotion to Double-A. Harvey limited Harrisburg to one run and four hits while walking two and striking out 10, including Nationals phenom Bryce Harper twice, in seven innings Thursday. However, Harvey received a no-decision.

• Buffalo third baseman Zach Lutz, who suffered a second concussion this season after again getting hit in the head with a pitch, has resumed hitting off a tee, throwing and running. He should return to games in the near future.

Mike Nickeas’ promotion to the majors resulted in a trickle up with catchers in the minors. Dusty Ryan, who missed substantial time this season to get a meniscus tear repaired, moved from Binghamton to Buffalo. Jean Luc Blaquiere was activated from the disabled list with the B-Mets.

Juan Lagares continues to sizzle since a promotion to Double-A. After consecutive multi-hit games, Lagares has lifted his average to .409 through 44 Eastern League at-bats while displaying solid bat speed and arm strength. Lagares suffered a gruesome ankle fracture with St. Lucie in late July last year and is still not in perfect form health-wise, so Mets brass is anxious to see how he performs in 2012 when healthier.

• Right-hander Taylor Whitenton (4-2, 2.61 ERA) successfully returned to Savannah’s rotation after missing two starts with a forearm strain. He was pulled after three scoreless innings to be cautious as he eases back into action.

• UCLA product Erik Goeddel’s next start should come with Savannah for the first time since May 23. The right-hander tossed three scoreless innings Monday in the Gulf Coast League as he works back from a shoulder strain.

• Brooklyn third baseman Richard Lucas has reached base in 24 straight games. Lucas, who ranks third in the New York-Penn League with a .340 average, is a fourth-round pick out of high school in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2007 and probably merits playing at a higher level. But the Mets valued getting him regular playing time at third base, and he would have been boxed out at higher levels by St. Lucie’s Jefry Marte and Savannah’s Aderlin Rodriguez. Lucas experienced shoulder soreness during spring training and when he was ready to play, it coincided with the start of Brooklyn’s season anyway.

• Outfielder Travis Taijeron, the organization’s 18th-round pick out of Cal Poly Pomona, had five homers in a 10-game span with Brooklyn.

Chin-lung Hu, who experienced throwing yips with Buffalo, is due to begin a rehab assignment shortly in the Gulf Coast League. Hu worked on switch-hitting while inactive, but it will be his call whether he takes that into games.

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

Farm report: For Mazzoni, one and done

July, 13, 2011
Right-hander Cory Mazzoni logged 114 2/3 innings for NC State during his junior season, nearly double any other member of the Wolfpack staff. So the Mets are being guarded with their second-round pick. While Mazzoni is pitching every fifth day with the Brooklyn Cyclones, he is being limited to one inning in relief of starter Carlos Vazquez.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
Cory Mazzoni

Through two professional appearances, Mazzoni has limited opponents to one hit and two walks while striking out two in two innings.

“It’s been tough. I’m used to throwing six or seven or eight innings every week,” Mazzoni said. “And now I’m throwing one. I understand what their thinking is. It’s really not that bad. I’m getting used to it. I’m just looking forward to next year throwing a little bit more.”

The 21-year-old Mazzoni signed quickly, well ahead of the Aug. 15 deadline, receiving a reported $437,500. The reason for the swiftness?

“I got more money than I guess I could ever imagine,” Mazzoni said. “I just really wanted to play baseball. That’s something I’ve really been looking forward to for a long time. There was no reason for me to hold out. I just wanted to get started and get my feet wet and get situated.”

Mazzoni’s fastball touched 97 mph a few times in college, but he generally works in the 91-94 mph range. He also throws a curveball, slider and split-finger fastball.

Mazzoni had been a 26th-round pick of the Washington Nationals out of high school. The native of Evans City, Pa. -- near Pittsburgh -- had worked at Yankee Stadium and Nationals Park before that draft, but did not sign.

“The Yankees actually called me pretty early on the second day (of that draft). It just wasn’t something I was interested in,” Mazzoni said. “Washington then just drafted me to see if they could work something out.”

In retrospect, Mazzoni would not have traded the college experience.

As a sophomore, NC State reached the ACC tournament championship game. In an NCAA regional this year, with the Wolfpack facing elimination, Mazzoni earned the win, striking out 12 while limiting Georgia State to two runs and four hits in eight innings. He struck out 137 in 114 2/3 innings during his junior year -- the third-highest single-season total in school history. He walked only 29. Fifteen of his 16 starts lasted six or more innings.

“I really improved in college,” Mazzoni said. “I got a lot bigger, a lot stronger. I think I’m definitely more prepared for what I’m doing now than when I came out of high school. I don’t think it would have worked out as good as it is working out right now.”

It was assured entering this year’s regional that Mazzoni would pitch the second game. A year earlier, as a sophomore, with NC State facing elimination after dropping its regional opener against College of Charleston, the coaching staff took the calculated risk. The staff held back the ace Mazzoni for a potential third game against a more challenging opponent. Long Island’s Stony Brook University ended up beating NC State, which was ousted from the double-elimination tournament without its ace ever taking the mound. It was the first baseball regional win in Stony Brook history.

“They figured we could throw some freshmen and we’d be able to beat them, and that was our best chance to win the regional, which made sense,” Mazzoni said. “It didn’t happen to work out. And this year they pretty much told me, ‘No matter what, we’re pitching you the second game.’”

That’s ancient history now for Mazzoni, who was prepared for his New York-Penn League experience by quizzing former NC State teammate Jake Buchanan, an eighth-round pick of the Houston Astros last year, who made 14 starts for Tri-City in 2010.

“He told me what it was all about,” Mazzoni said. “I had a good idea what I was getting into.”

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .339; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .339; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .329; Nick Evans, Buffalo, .329; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .328; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .326; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .319; Brandon Brown, Brooklyn, .319; Jeff Glenn, Kingsport, .315; Gilbert Gomez, GCL Mets, .302.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15.

RBI: Josh Satin, Binghamton, 56; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 53; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 51; Val Pascucci, Buffalo, 50; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 45.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 29; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 25; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 15.

ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 1.56; Marcos Camarena, Brooklyn, 1.86; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 2.35; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 2.55; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.63; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.69; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.98; Jeff Walters, Brooklyn, 3.04; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 3.06; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 3.33.

Wins: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 8; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 8; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 7.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 18; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 8; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 8.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 106; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 100; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 96; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 86; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 81.

Short hops

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden (6-3, 3.07 ERA) is due to represent Buffalo in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Infielders Josh Satin (.326, 10 HR, 56 RBI) and Jordany Valdespin (.299, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 29 SB) and right-hander Jeurys Familia (2-2, 3.38 ERA) were selected to represent Binghamton in the Eastern League All-Star Game the same day in Manchester, N.H.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey recorded the final out of Sunday’s Futures Game in Phoenix to earn the save for the Mike Piazza-managed U.S. team. St. Lucie third baseman Jefry Marte struck out in his lone at-bat for the World team.

Miguel Batista, 40, is due to make his first start with the Mets organization on Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo against Rochester in an SNY-televised game, unless he is scratched to get a call-up to replace Francisco Rodriguez. Batista made one start apiece for the St. Louis Cardinals this season and the Washington Nationals last year, but had not regularly started since 2008 with the Seattle Mariners. His last minor league start came 11 years ago with Triple-A Omaha in the Kansas City Royals organization.

• Fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich had a resoundingly successful professional debut. Working in relief every fifth day for the Brooklyn Cyclones -- the same plan as for Mazzoni, to limit their innings -- Leathersich struck out the side Thursday against Vermont. The southpaw went 6-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) for UMass Lowell his junior season before signing. He struck out 126 and walked 27 in 89 college innings this year. Seventh-round pick Cole Frenzel made his professional debut with the Cyclones two days later. Frenzel, a first baseman from the University of Arizona, had a two-hit debut Saturday. He went 3-for-12 in the weekend series against Connecticut.

• Fellow 2011 draft pick Danny Muno (eighth round, Fresno State) returned to shortstop for Brooklyn Thursday after missing 12 days with a right ring finger injury suffered doing pregame infield drills.

Edgar Ramirez returned to action with Binghamton Saturday after completing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine. The 27-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in 10 appearances (two starts) spanning 20 innings for the B-Mets this season.

• Binghamton center fielder Matt den Dekker has lifted his average 56 points since July 4, to .235. Den Dekker has a five-game hitting streak and is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with six walks in his past eight games. He scored four times Sunday.

• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis may seek a second opinion during the All-Star break on his strained left shoulder before proceeding with surgery.

• Savannah catcher Albert Cordero is hitting .327 in 14 games since the South Atlantic League All-Star break. Add three walks and he has a .386 on-base percentage. Cordero hit .219 with a .248 on-base percentage and walked only three times in 45 games before the break.

Jose De La Torre continues to log innings as he returns from a shoulder strain. After five appearances in the Gulf Coast League, De La Torre surfaced with Brooklyn on Monday and tossed a scoreless inning, allowing one hit while striking out two. The 25-year-old right-hander had been 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in nine early season appearances with Buffalo before being shut down following a May 3 appearance at Lehigh Valley.

• Brooklyn outfielder Javier Rodriguez lost an 11-game hitting streak Monday. After opening the season with Savannah, the 2008 second-round pick from Puerto Rico has hit .287 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 94 at-bats with the Cyclones.

• Catcher Blake Forsythe’s homer on July 5 was only Savannah’s sixth at home this season, and first since April 23. The Gnats, who play at Historic Grayson Stadium, which has spacious gaps, have 32 road homers this season.

• Catcher Dusty Ryan, who returned from surgery for a meniscus tear, is hitting .261 with a homer and three RBIs in seven games with Binghamton. He has caught five games and served as DH twice.

• First baseman Sam Honeck landed on the Savannah disabled list with a concussion.

• Right-hander Eric Beaulac, who had been out since a May 2 game with St. Lucie, was charged with five runs on one hit and four walks while recording only two outs in his return to action, in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday. Kai Gronauer, who has been out at Binghamton since May 12 with a hamstring injury, started at catcher in the GCL game.

Adam Rubin's farm report appears Wednesday's during the regular season

Farm report: Harvey looks to Futures

July, 6, 2011
Right-hander Matt Harvey’s return to his home state of Connecticut this weekend will get cut short.

Double-A Binghamton opens a series Friday at New Britain, but the 2010 first-round pick from Fitch High School in Mystic -- about a 40-minute drive from the Eastern League stadium -- is departing after the opener. Harvey will represent the Mets in Sunday’s ESPN2-televised Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, along with St. Lucie third baseman Jefry Marte.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Matt Harvey

Harvey, 22, makes his third Double-A start on Wednesday night, against Portland.

After allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks in his B-Mets debut on June 26 at Bowie, Harvey rebounded against the same opponent back in Binghamton last Friday while mostly ranging from 93-95 mph with his fastball -- “which is slightly below average for me,” Harvey said. He tossed five innings, allowing two runs, and was pulled before a callus that ripped off could become a blister.

“For some reason I went to a lot of offspeed the first game,” Harvey said about his Double-A debut. “When that happens, if you get behind using your offspeed, obviously they’re going to know the fastball is coming. (In the rematch) I just tried to keep it down and get ahead of the guys. My two-seamer was working good, and I was able to get some groundballs and just let the infielders do their jobs.”

Harvey bypassed attending the Florida State League All-Star Game so that he could pitch what turned out to be St. Lucie’s first-half division clincher two days later.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Harvey, who was charged with two runs (one earned) in six innings and received a no-decision in the 11th-inning walk-off win. “The celebration we had after the game was really cool. Being able throw and keep the team in a good place to win was something I was happy about.”

Harvey then was promoted to Double-A. He went 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 14 Class A starts to launch his career, striking out 92 while holding opponents to a .238 average in 76 innings.

Farm director Adam Wogan said the timing of Harvey’s promotion primarily was tied to his development -- that Harvey was moved to Double-A when he demonstrated improved proficiency with his changeup as well as a better rate of first-pitch strikes. He also throws a slider and a curveball. The Mets also left Harvey at that level to pitch the clinching game to experience the playoff-type atmosphere.

Harvey is highly unlikely to get a September call-up. In fact, his success may cut short his season.

He already has logged 85 2/3 innings this season. While the Mets can be slightly more liberal in how much Harvey will pitch because he was used heavily during his junior year in 2010 at the University of North Carolina, Harvey likely will be capped at about 130 innings to avoid ramping up too many innings this season.

The Mets will count the one-inning Futures Game appearance as a start -- with reasonably standard rest on both sides of the showcase appearance -- to space out Harvey’s outings. They also may pull him early from games soon and even cut short his season.

“We’re definitely on top of the inning total,” Wogan said.

Said Harvey: “I know it’s weird. A lot of people might not say it. But I feel a lot better throwing every fifth day than I did once a week (at UNC). My arm feels better. My body feels better. I’m right around 100 innings, and it feels great right now.”

Organization leaders

Average: Cam Maron, Kingsport, .375; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .372; Juan Carlos Gamboa, GCL Mets, .371; Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .348; Nick Evans, Buffalo, .323; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .322; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .320; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .319; Chad Zurcher, Kingsport, .316; Ismael Tijerina, Brooklyn, .306.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15.

RBI: Josh Satin, Binghamton, 52; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 50; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 50; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 46; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 43.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 27; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 24; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 15; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 13; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 12.

ERA: Jose De La Torre, GCL Mets, 1.23; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 1.56; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 2.33; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.38; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 2.41; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 2.73; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.78; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.79; Jeff Walters, Brooklyn, 2.89; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 2.97.

Wins: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 8; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 7.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 18; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 8; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 8; Ronny Morla, Savannah, 7.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 101; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 93; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 92; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 80; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 76.

Short hops

• Left-hander Steve Matz, the organization’s top pick (second round) two years ago, is home on Long Island. Matz, who had Tommy John surgery in May 2010, has halted throwing for the time being. He is expected to return to the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex in a week to 10 days. After being examined by Mets doctor David Altchek following elbow discomfort, Matz sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Wogan suggested neither doctor has any concern. Instead, the farm director said, the throwing interruption is a reminder that despite some pitchers returning as quickly as 11 months after Tommy John surgery, the length of recovery can be as long as 18 months, and that Matz fits into the category of a longer recovery time.

Nick Evans’ hitting streak with Triple-A Buffalo ended at 19 games with an 0-for-4 performance last Thursday. The streak matched the fifth-longest in Bisons modern history, tied with Ben Francisco (2007), Franklin Gutierrez (2007) and Karim Garcia (2002). The Buffalo record was set by Alex Ramirez in 1998 at 28 games. The other longer streaks: Ben Francisco, 25 games in 2006; Jolbert Cabrera 21 in 1998; and Tommy Shields 20 in 1990. In 220 Triple-A at-bats this season, Evans has a .323 average, which ranks sixth in the International League. Either Evans gets a call-up later this season, perhaps when rosters expand in September, and is returned to the 40-man roster, or he will be a minor league free agent at season’s end.

• Right-hander Miguel Batista, who was released by the St. Louis Cardinals, was charged with four runs while recording only one out in his Bisons debut Tuesday. He faced six batters and allowed four hits and a walk. Batista is expected to be used as a starting pitcher after the Triple-A All-Star break, when his innings count has built further. He worked in relief for the Cardinals. John Lujan, who opened the season as Double-A Binghamton’s closer, returned to the B-Mets with Batista joining Buffalo. Lujan was 1-2 with a save and 2.96 ERA in 19 appearances (one start) with Buffalo.

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden will be the Bisons’ lone representative in next Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. Since a mid-April promotion from Binghamton, Schwinden is 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts. He has allowed 67 hits and 30 walks (two intentional) in 87 2/3 innings and has not lost a decision since May 31. Buffalo hosts the Triple-A game in 2012.

• Right-hander Jeurys Familia and infielders Josh Satin and Jordany Valdespin will represent Binghamton in the Double-A All-Star Game the same day at Manchester, N.H. Familia returned from a 15-day absence (as the Mets acted conservatively with soreness) to notch his first Double-A win Monday, against Portland. Familia tossed five scoreless innings to shave his Eastern League ERA to 3.02 in nine starts spanning 50 2/3 innings. Satin (.319) and Valdespin (.300, 27 steals) both notched their 10th homers Tuesday.

Zach Lutz (.313, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 96 at-bats) returned to Buffalo’s lineup Monday after missing nine days with a concussion, suffered when he was hit with a curveball. It’s been an unfortunate season injury-wise for the third baseman. On the DL earlier this season with a hamstring injury, Lutz was hit in the dugout by a foul ball while inactive and broke the ring finger on his non-throwing hand. Those injuries cost him a combined seven weeks.

• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.298, 6 HR, 14 RBI), already out a month with a strain of his left, non-throwing shoulder, is not making progress and may be forced to decide soon between rehab and surgery. Nieuwenhuis struggles to lift his shoulder during everyday activities and is unable to swing a bat.

• The organization is limiting the innings counts of certain June draft picks by having the college-groomed pitchers work every fifth day in relief, generally for an inning, and no more than two with Brooklyn. The plan applies to right-hander Cory Mazzoni (second round, N.C. State), left-hander Jack Leathersich (fifth round, UMass Lowell) and right-hander Randy Fontanez (27th round, South Florida). Leathersich is due to make his pro debut with the Cyclones on Thursday. Mazzoni’s outings will definitely be limited to one inning since he had a heavy workload this season with the Wolfpack, while the reins on Leathersich and Fontanez will be a little looser.

Fernando Martinez took advantage of a 72-hour window to report to Triple-A after a demotion and is expected to join Buffalo for Wednesday’s series opener at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Wogan said Martinez had a personal issue.

Ryota Igarashi’s 14 1/3 inning scoreless streak -- during which he allowed six hits in 10 appearances -- was snapped Friday. Igarashi allowed a run charged to himself, as well as a runner inherited from Mike O’Connor to score, in the ninth inning in a 2-0 loss to Lehigh Valley. Igarashi then allowed three runs in his next appearance before tossing two scoreless innings at Syracuse on Tuesday.

• Catcher Dusty Ryan, who underwent knee surgery for a meniscus tear earlier this year, was activated from Buffalo’s disabled list and assigned to Binghamton. The B-Mets have an extra game before their All-Star break compared with Buffalo, which partly fueled the temporary Double-A assignment. The B-Mets have been without catch Kai Gronaeur since he left a May 12 game with a hamstring injury.

• 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens landed on the DL with Binghamton with a lower-back strain.

• With Binghamton short available relievers last week, infielders Travis Ozga and Jose Coronado appeared in consecutive games on the mound. Neither surrendered a run. Coronado sports a Fernando Valenzuela-style delivery, turning his back completely to the plate before spinning and firing.

• Binghamton reliever Rhiner Cruz (2.70 ERA) registered 102 mph on the Bowie, Md., stadium gun. He recently has been throwing 96-97 mph with a solid slider.

• Right-handed relievers Michael Powers and Jeff Kaplan returned to St. Lucie from Binghamton. Powers had limited opponents to one run in 7 2/3 innings in four relief appearances during his latest Double-A stint. Kaplan, who has 10 saves in 15 chances with St. Lucie this season, allowed two runs in four Eastern League innings.

• Outfielder Raul Reyes has the RBIs in both of Binghamton’s walk-off wins this season.

• Brooklyn left fielder Javier Rodriguez, a second-round pick in 2008 from Puerto Rico, tied a Cyclones record with six RBIs last Thursday at Hudson Valley. Brian Harrison last year and Caleb Stewart in 2005 also drove in six.

• Third baseman Richard Lucas reached base in 13 straight games to open the season with Brooklyn before having the streak snapped Sunday.

• Brooklyn left-hander T.J. Chism has not allowed an earned run since Sept. 1, 2010. The former 32nd-round pick out of La Salle University in Philadelphia is 1-0 with three saves and has tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings for the Cyclones this season.

• St. Lucie infielder Robbie Shields has been out since June 30 with back stiffness.

• Savannah has won 11 straight games, its longest streak since becoming a Mets affiliate in 2007. First baseman Sam Honeck is doing his part. After a torrid opening two weeks of the season, Honeck hit .161 in May and .194 last month. In five July games, he’s hitting .389.

Cam Maron, a product of Hicksville High School on Long Island, who was drafted in the 34th round in 2009, is off to a quick start with Kingsport. Through 12 games, the 20-year-old catcher is hitting .375 and has a .519 on-base percentage. Athletic, Maron also received some outfield exposure before signing, but the Mets are keeping him exclusively as a catcher. He sports an advanced approach at the plate for that level of Class A ball, although he is not known for power.

Farm report: Ratliff dealing with eye injury

April, 20, 2011
The moment a foul liner struck Sean Ratliff in his right eye while he stood in the on-deck circle on a back field in Jupiter, Fla., late in spring training -- nearly fully detaching his retina and breaking six facial bones -- the Mets’ outfield prospect thought about the incident a few weeks earlier, when Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was struck by a foul ball in the dugout and ultimately lost his left eye.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Sean Ratliff suffered a nearly fully detached retina and six facial fractures when struck by a foul ball late in spring training.

“I’m very blessed that it didn’t happen that way,” says Ratliff, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford. “That was the first thing that went through my mind. I wasn’t knocked out or anything. I was on the ground. I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, this is going to happen to me too?'

"You don’t wish something like what happened to Luis Salazar happening to anybody. I was scared for a little while there that I wasn’t going to be able to see, or I wasn’t going to play again. I’m still not completely out of the woods yet with returning, or being able to play. But God has blessed me with hopefully a second chance here.”

Ratliff has undergone two surgeries so far. The first laser procedure did not hold because the retina was nearly fully torn. The second, more invasive procedure was performed last Tuesday at the University of Miami’s renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, where the 24-year-old Ratliff now travels once a week. For now, his right eye isn’t functional for everyday activities, in part because the lens has been removed in order to try to secure the retina back in place.

“My right eye is pretty cloudy,” Ratliff said. “I couldn’t do anything with it right now. I can’t drive. I can’t really do anything. It’s basically because there’s no lens on my eye. They put me completely under. I think they took the lens off my eye and went in and took all the vitreous fluid out of my eye and put in like silicon oil and some other stuff. They lasered it down again to make sure the retina held flat with my eye. It’s a far more invasive form of the same procedure, just to get my retina to stay flat.

“They’re saying it’ll come back along further through the rehab. Just given time, it will get back to as good as it can. In six months I go back in and have another surgery.”

That means this baseball season is over before it started.

“That’s more or less what it sounds like -- this year is kind of toast,” Ratliff said. “They sounded pretty hopeful when I talked to them [Monday] that everything would be back to normal, or good-enough eyesight, to where I can hopefully keep playing. My vision in my right eye was at 20/60 [Monday], which was better than when they saw me after the surgery. So just hopefully it keeps progressing.”

Before the incident, Ratliff had 20/15 vision in the eye while using a contact lens. He hopes once the prosthetic lens is inserted later this year, and with the help of a contact lens, he can get there again, although there is no guarantee.

“From what [the doctor] has told me, it’s one of those things where it was a pretty severe injury,” said Ratliff, who hit .317 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs in 281 at-bats with Double-A Binghamton after a mid-year promotion from Class A St. Lucie last year. “It’s rare to have in guys my age because it’s usually trauma-related. It’s usually a heavy impact type of injury. … If everything goes the way it’s supposed to, it’ll go back to as close to normal as they can get it.”

As for the facial fractures, doctors originally contemplated inserting plates. They opted against it, which turned out to be a good thing, according to Ratliff. It would have complicated the second surgery. The belief is that the bones will eventually heal on their own because of the high blood flow in that area of the body.

The ball that struck Ratliff came off the bat of Buffalo third baseman Zach Lutz.

“I’ve kept in touch with Zach quite a bit,” Ratliff said. “He was pretty shaken up by the whole thing. I just kept telling him, ‘There’s nothing you can do about it. In baseball, it’s one of those accidents, you don’t ever want to see it, but at some point it’s bound to happen. There’s nothing you can do about it.’ He just needs to keep playing and keep swinging the bat and do what he has to do and I’ll get back on my horse when I get back on it.”

Organization leaders

Average: Sam Honeck, Savannah, .457; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Buffalo, .349; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .333; Jefry Marte, St. Lucie, .318; Justin Turner, Buffalo, .300; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, .294; Cory Vaughn, Savannah, .286; Kai Gronauer, Binghamton, .280; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .270; Albert Cordero, Savannah, .258.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 3; Jason Pridie, Buffalo, 3; Jason Bay, St. Lucie, 2; Javier Rodriguez, Savannah, 2; Josh Satin, Binghamton, 2.

RBI: Sam Honeck, Savannah, 11; Josh Satin, Binghamton, 8; Cory Vaughn, Savannah, 7; Stefan Welch, St. Lucie, 7.

Steals: Robbie Shields, Savannah, 5; Lorenzo Scott, Binghamton, 4; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 4.

ERA: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 0.00; Brad Holt, Binghamton, 0.00; Jeurys Familia, St. Lucie, 0.48; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 0.75; Robert Carson, Binghamton, 0.90; Jenrry Mejia, Buffalo, 0.98; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 1.74; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 2.08; Yohan Almonte, Savannah, 2.25; Scott Moviel, St. Lucie, 2.70.

Wins: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 3l; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 2; Jose De La Torre, Buffalo, 2; Scott Moviel, St. Lucie, 2.

Saves: Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 5; John Lujan, Binghamton, 3, Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 2; Josh Edgin, Savannah, 2.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 20; Jeurys Familia, St. Lucie, 17; Jenrry Mejia, Buffalo, 17; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 14; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 14.

Short hops

• Several Mets pitching prospects have continued their hot starts. That includes 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey, who allowed an unearned run and no other damage while limiting Fort Myers to two hits in five innings Sunday. That performance ran Harvey’s streak without allowing an earned run to open his career to 16 innings, during which he has struck out 20. Harvey was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. Teammate Jeurys Familia also is putting up numbers, with two runs (one earned) and six hits allowed in 18 2/3 innings spanning three starts.

• Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lutz are off to quick starts at Triple-A Buffalo. A third-round pick in 2008 out of Azusa Pacific, Nieuwenhuis extended his hitting streak to nine games by going 3-for-6 in Tuesday’s doubleheader against Rochester. He is hitting .349, with a .451 on-base percentage. Lutz, a fifth-round pick in ’07 who played for his father at Alvernia (Pa.) College, actually lost a seven-game hitting streak in Game 2 of the doubleheader when he was retired as a pinch-hitter. He is hitting .333 in 36 at-bats.

• Buffalo catcher Dusty Ryan, who got a late start to the season because of a concussion suffered when he was hit by a pitch late in spring training, needs surgery to repair meniscus cartilage. Ryan has twice before undergone the knee procedure since 2009. He sustained the re-injury blocking a baseball and is expected to miss two months. For the very short term, Salomon Manriquez will back up Raul Chavez with Buffalo in place of Ryan. Ronny Paulino (anemia) is expected to soon take his rehab assignment from Class A St. Lucie to the Bisons before being activated from the disabled list Tuesday, when the Mets open a series at Washington. Once Paulino is activated with the Mets, Mike Nickeas should head to Buffalo and handle the primary catching responsibilities.

• Outfielder Fernando Martinez should return from a right hamstring strain soon. Martinez, who hit .313 in four games for Buffalo before being shut down with the injury, has resumed hitting and is ready to start running.

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden, a 22nd-round pick in 2008 from Fresno Pacific University, had a positive Triple-A debut. After logging three innings over two relief appearances with Double-A Binghamton, Schwinden was promoted to the Bisons, who were short arms with Pat Misch promoted and Boof Bonser requiring Tommy John surgery. Schwinden proceeded to limit Pawtucket to one run on two hits and three walks while striking out nine in five innings. He received a no-decision in a 2-1, 10-inning loss. Farm director Adam Wogan said Schwinden had been stretched out during spring training, with the expectation he would step into Binghamton’s rotation once Josh Stinson had a few starts in the Double-A rotation and was promoted to Buffalo. Stinson, it turned out, made his first 2011 start for Buffalo a day later to fill the other rotation void. He was charged with six runs in four innings and the loss at Pawtucket.

• Bonser underwent the ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow Tuesday in New York.

• Misch, who was designated for assignment after pitching two innings in relief of D.J. Carrasco in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader in Atlanta, may find out if he has cleared waivers for a second time in three weeks on Wednesday. Misch has the right to declare free agency. But he already agreed once to report to Buffalo -- after failing to make the team out of spring training.

Michael Fisher took off at the plate during first baseman Allan Dykstra’s one-week stint on the disabled list for a sprained left ankle. A former sixth-round pick of the Atlanta Braves out of Georgia Tech who signed as a minor league free agent before the 2010 season, the 26-year-old Fisher stepped in at Double-A Binghamton and hit .389 with one homer and three RBIs in five games. Dykstra, acquired from the San Diego Padres at the end of spring training for right-handed reliever Eddie Kunz, returned from the DL on Monday. Fisher should still get at-bats, since he is capable of playing second base and even manned shortstop in college and early in his professional career.

John Lujan has converted consecutive saves for Binghamton after the bullpen blew four straight opportunities.

• Blocked by a logjam of outfielders in Triple-A, even with Martinez temporarily on the disabled list, 31-year-old Jesus Feliciano is making the best of everyday playing time with Binghamton. Feliciano, who hit .339 with Buffalo last season and appeared in 54 games for the Mets in 2010, has consecutive multi-hit games out of the leadoff spot for Wally Backman’s B-Mets.

• No offense to Paulino, but the development staff likely will not shed a tear when the catcher moves to Buffalo on his rehab tour, then the majors. Then, Francisco Pena and Juan Centeno will be able to get regular playing time again behind the plate with St. Lucie. Despite Paulino’s presence, the 21-year-old Centeno nonetheless recorded consecutive walk-off RBIs, on Friday and Saturday. A solid catch-and-throw guy who is listed at 5-foot-9, 172 pounds, Wogan describes Centeno as an “intelligent catcher who works great with pitchers.” Drafted in the 32nd round in 2007 out of Puerto Rico, Centeno finally took off offensively last year at Brooklyn, hitting .371 with one homer and 10 RBIs in 32 games. Pena, the son of former major league All-Star Tony Pena, should get the larger share of the starts at catcher for St. Lucie.

• St. Lucie’s nine-game winning streak, which was snapped Monday, matched the longest in that Florida State League club’s history.

• Tulane product Sam Honeck, who had a gruesome ankle injury last year in a plate collision while playing with Savannah, continues to tear up the South Atlantic League in his return to the Sand Gnats. The first baseman had a .500 average through 42 at-bats until finally being cooled off Tuesday, when Lexington held him hitless in four at-bats and snapped Honeck’s eight-game hitting streak. Honeck’s .457 average is tops in the SAL, leading runner-up Chris Wallace of Lexington (.409) and Bryce Massanari of Asheville (.405).

• Wogan suggested the numbers from sixth-round pick Greg Peavey’s Monday outing with Savannah were a little misleading because of infield hits, bunts and flairs. Peavey did not have pinpoint command and was charged with two runs on seven hits in four innings for Savannah against Greenville. Peavey is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three professional starts.

• 2010 New York-Penn League batting champ Darrell Ceciliani should be reactivated from the disabled list within days. He suffered a right hamstring strain with Savannah while approaching first base last Tuesday. In the interim, Cory Vaughn shifted from left field to center field, where he manned 14 games last season with Brooklyn. That has afforded Alonzo Harris -- who is learning left field this season to take advantage of his speed after primarily being a second baseman -- to regularly play for the past week in the outfield. Joe Bonfe, who served as Brooklyn’s third baseman last season while hitting .326 in the New York-Penn League, got his first professional start in right field on Monday for the Sand Gnats.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the season

Farm report: Holt back in control

April, 13, 2011
The weight of a disastrous 2010 season had been lifted from right-hander Brad Holt’s shoulders even before he threw his first pitch this year.

The 33rd overall pick in the draft three years ago out of UNC Wilmington, Holt went a combined 3-14 with an 8.34 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) between Double-A Binghamton and then Class A St. Lucie after a demotion last season. His control problems included 79 walks and 17 hit batters in 95 innings.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Brad Holt

But team officials swore Holt had started to make strides at the team’s fall instructional league. Then, Holt’s Arizona Fall League performance was positive enough that he actually was selected to the AFL’s Rising Stars all-star game (although he eventually was scratched because of bone spurs in his right elbow that have since quieted).

By the time the 24-year-old Holt took the mound for his first 2011 start on Saturday at Akron -- at a site where he allowed five runs and recorded only one out last April before being pulled -- Holt’s confidence mostly had been restored.

“I think the weight was kind of lifted more toward the end of instructs and in Arizona,” Holt said. “Once I came into spring training I wasn’t really too worried about the upcoming season. I felt really confident in being back on track and having whatever was causing the bad year to not be there.”

Still, it did not hurt that Holt validated the renewed enthusiasm with a positive showing last weekend against Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate. Holt limited Akron to three hits and two walks while striking out three in five scoreless innings. Rehabbing major league Grady Sizemore went 0-for-2 with a walk against Holt.

“My start there last year at the beginning of the season, it didn’t go very well,” Holt said. “I had that a little bit in the back of my head. But I was confident that nothing was going to change from the Fall League and spring training.”

The problem in 2010?

“I think last year was just his command and just his maturity level on the mound,” said Mike Nickeas, who caught Holt with Binghamton last season. “When something negative happened to him, he had a tendency to get down. From what I saw in the spring, and from what I hear from the guys who have spoken with him, he’s made those adjustments and he’s throwing the ball really well.”

Holt acknowledged he even threw balls to the backstop last year. He labeled it a “mental year.”

“I wasn’t throwing strikes last year,” Holt said. “Right now pitching in general is coming together for me. I’m learning when to use pitches, how to set up hitters the way I want. In order to do that, location is a huge part obviously. I think it’s just using all four of my pitches. Now that I have the cutter, that’s opened up a few more doors as far as how to attack a hitter. They stayed on me in spring training about using my changeup. It’s become a really good pitch. My changeup has developed a lot. I used it a good bit in my start. I’m just mixing up my pitches and not staying so much fastball/curveball the whole time. I’m giving hitters more to look at.”

Organization leaders

Average: Sam Honeck, Savannah, .412; Jefry Marte, St. Lucie, .333; Kai Gronauer, Binghamton, .313; Fernando Martinez, Buffalo, .313; Ruben Tejada, Buffalo, .304; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .300; Nick Evans, Buffalo, .294; Javier Rodriguez, Savannah, .278; Josh Satin, Binghamton .250; Raul Reyes, Binghamton, .238.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 2; Jason Pridie, Buffalo, 2; Javier Rodriguez, Savannah, 2.

RBI: Stefan Welch, St. Lucie, 5; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 4; Jason Pridie, Buffalo, 4.

Steals: Lorenzo Scott, Binghamton, 4; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 4; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 2; Ruben Tejada, Buffalo, 2; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 2.

ERA: Robert Carson, Binghamton, 0.00; Jose De La Torre, Buffalo, 0.00; Jeurys Familia, St. Lucie, 0.00; Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 0.00; Brad Holt, Binghamton, 0.00; Chase Huchingson, Savannah, 0.00; Jenrry Mejia, Buffalo, 0.00; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 0.00; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 1.80; Scott Moviel, St. Lucie, 1.80.

Wins: Jose De La Torre, Buffalo, 2; Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 2.

Saves: Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 3; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 1; Ryota Igarashi, Buffalo, 1; John Lujan, Binghamton, 1.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 17; Josh Stinson, Binghamton, 9; Dillon Gee, Buffalo, 8; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 8; Jeurys Familia, St. Lucie, 7.

Short hops

2010 draft picks Matt Harvey (first round, University of North Carolina) and Greg Peavey (sixth round, Oregon State University) have started off quickly in their first professional seasons with a combined 16 scoreless innings. Harvey, pitching for high-A St. Lucie, limited Palm Beach to five hits and two walks while striking out nine in his professional debut Thursday. He stranded five baserunners in his first two innings. Harvey then continued his dominance with six scoreless innings Tuesday at Fort Myers. He has 17 strikeouts in 11 professional innings. Peavey, pitching for low-A Savannah, touched 93 mph with his fastball while limiting West Virginia to two hits and one walk and striking out eight in five run-free innings. Peavey has a four-pitch arsenal (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup). Erik Goeddel, the other heralded right-hander selected in last June’s draft (24th round), did not have as stellar a 2011 opening. The UCLA product, who was enticed to sign for $350,000 despite his later-round selection, allowed four runs in four innings for Savannah on Monday. Notable, however, was that Goeddel started the game. He was a reliever in college, and had not started since high school in 2007, before Tommy John surgery. Normally, using a prospect with a track record of relieving as a starter means the organization wants to ensure the pitcher gets innings to develop. But farm director Adam Wogan said Goeddel is going to get consideration to be a starter for his career because of a power fastball and developing changeup. … Reese Havens, the 22nd overall pick in 2008, who is the best internal candidate to ultimately emerge as second baseman, continues to work back from injury in Port St. Lucie. Havens had offseason surgery to remove an inch of a rib that was causing irritation. He missed much of last season with oblique issues. He is currently taking grounders, running and throwing at the organization’s Florida complex, but the Mets are being cautious and having him refrain from swinging a bat. … Jenrry Mejia tossed six scoreless innings Friday against Triple-A Syracuse in his season debut. Bisons pitching coach Ricky Bones had Mejia establish his fastball command and utilize his curveball early in the game, then more so use his changeup later in the outing. Mejia next is scheduled to face Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees’ top affiliate, on Wednesday. … Right-hander Boof Bonser, who left his first start for Triple-A Buffalo with two out in the fourth inning after 59 pitches on Sunday, landed on the Bisons’ disabled list with a right forearm strain. Bonser originally labeled the issue tightness and regardless does not expect to have an extended absence. … Buffalo’s roster is about to get crowded. Right-handed reliever Manny Acosta, who cleared waivers, is expected to be activated Wednesday. Catcher Dusty Ryan and infielder Luis Hernandez should be activated days later. Acosta had not thrown off a mound during his week going through the designated-for-assignment process, so the Mets delayed activating him while he threw Saturday and Monday bullpen sessions. Hernandez, who was delayed at the start of spring training because he was returning from a broken foot suffered in September, played nine innings in an extended spring training game Monday. He is expected to assume the primary second-base role for the Bisons at Justin Turner’s expense. Ryan, who appeared in 27 games for the Detroit Tigers between 2008 and ’09, was delayed leaving Port St. Lucie because he was hit in the helmet with a pitch during a minor league spring-training game shortly before minor league teams broke camp. … Lucas Duda committed an error in right field and went 0-for-4 while batting third on Monday in his first Triple-A game of the season, after a demotion from the Mets. In a four-run fifth inning by Pawtucket, Josh Reddick sent a line drive in Duda’s direction. Duda attempted an ill-advised slide to try to stop the ball, but it went under his leg and rolled to the wall for what was ruled a double and an error. Duda should see most of his action at the corner outfield spots, with more limited action at first base. His addition, with the presence of fellow prospects Fernando Martinez, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Nick Evans also on the roster, means solid veterans Jesus Feliciano, Valentino Pascucci and Russ Adams may see drastic reductions in playing time -- or may not be all active. … Shortstop Ruben Tejada has reached base in each of his first six games with Buffalo. He was hitting .304 with three RBIs through 23 at-bats. … Right-hander Tobi Stoner has started throwing off a mound in Port St. Lucie and may be a few weeks away from pitching in an extended spring training game. Stoner underwent August surgery to remove bone spurs/chips from his pitching elbow, but a shoulder impingement was the issue that slowed him in spring training. Stoner, 26, made one appearance for the Mets last season and was removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason. … Dillon Gee, who may get a spot start for the Mets on Sunday in Atlanta, rebounded nicely from an Opening Day defeat. Gee allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out four in seven innings Tuesday against Triple-A Pawtucket. On Opening Day, Gee had been charged with seven runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings against Syracuse. … Right-hander Dylan Owen, moved from Binghamton to Buffalo because of an overworked Triple-A bullpen, allowed seven runs (two earned) in 1 1/3 innings in his first Bisons appearance. … First baseman Allan Dykstra -- who opened the Binghamton season 0-for-7 with two errors, including one throwing miscue that resulted in a 1-0 defeat for left-hander Robert Carson on Sunday -- landed on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle. Michael Fisher was added to the B-Mets’ roster. Dykstra, who had not played above A-ball since being selected in the first round in 2008, was acquired from the San Diego Padres late in spring training for right-handed reliever Eddie Kunz. Josh Satin, who had been manning second base for the B-Mets in Havens’ absence, can play first or second, depending whether B-Mets manager Wally Backman wants to use Jose Coronado at second or Fisher at first base. … German catcher Kai Gronauer produced his first Double-A homer on Monday, against Erie. Gronauer (.313) has drawn early positive reviews for handling a rotation that already had significant experience in the Eastern League in 2010. In fact, the first turn through the B-Mets’ rotation, Josh Stinson, Carson, Mark Cohoon, Holt and Brandon Moore combined to limit opponents to four earned runs in 24 2/3 innings, for a 1.46 ERA. … After serving a three-game carryover suspension from 2010 for throwing behind a batter, left-hander Eric Niesen assumed his new role with Binghamton as a reliever. Niesen, who had made 74 starts over his first four professional seasons, had a solid introduction to the new role Sunday at Akron with a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout. Niesen has abandoned the wind-up and is now using a quick slide step. … First baseman Sam Honeck, an 11th-round pick in 2009 from Tulane, is off to quick start with Savannah a year after a gruesome injury ended his season on May 5, 2010 with the Sand Gnats. Honeck had suffered a broken tibia and fibula and underwent surgery as the result of a plate collision at Delmarva. He spent a couple of days hospitalized, had screws inserted and was not cleared to resume playing until right before this year’s spring training. Freakishly, Honeck’s two brothers had the same compound leg fracture. One brother -- a professional golfer -- sustained those injuries in a car accident in Mexico just two weeks before Honeck’s plate collision. … Right fielder Javier Rodriguez, a second-round pick in 2008 from Puerto Rico, had two homers in his first four games with Savannah. … Right-hander Armando Rodriguez is nursing an oblique strain but has resumed throwing. He could open his season in four or five weeks. Rodriguez, 23, went 8-9 with a 3.08 ERA in 27 starts with Savannah last season. … Right-hander Jimmy Fuller will miss the season following shoulder surgery. A 21st-round pick in 2008, Fuller went a combined 11-5 with a 2.19 ERA in 24 starts for Savannah and St. Lucie last season.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the season

Farm report: den Dekker catching on

April, 6, 2011
Matt den Dekker had been advertised as the top defensive outfielder in University of Florida history. During the occasions when the Mets borrowed the 2010 fifth-round pick from minor league camp for Grapefruit League games, den Dekker offered glimpses of why he received that billing.

In fact, a March 19 diving catch in right-center as he converged on a ball with Daniel Murphy and fellow minor leaguer Lorenzo Scott landed den Dekker on SportsCenter’s top plays highlight reel.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Matt den Dekker had three highlight-reel catches despite limited action in Grapefruit League play, by Josh Thole's count.

It wasn’t den Dekker’s first time appearing, either. In the 2010 College World Series with the Gators, his over-the-shoulder, sliding catch on his knees on the warning track took away a hit off the bat of UCLA’s Brett Krill and earned “Play of the Day.”

Den Dekker had been drafted in the 16th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates after a disappointing junior season at the plate in 2009 (.257 in Southeastern Conference play). He returned to the University of Florida for his senior year and helped lead the Gators to their first College World Series appearance since 2005.

“I woke up and a bunch of friends texted me, ‘Dude you were on top 10,’” den Dekker said of the spring-training highlight. “… I got to see it. I turned in on and it was on there. It was pretty cool. It’s not something you get every day.”

Said Mets outfield coach Mookie Wilson: “He really is a polished player. He covers a lot of ground. Good range. Has a good throwing arm. He runs very well. The only thing I didn’t see was his full offensive potential. I didn’t see all of that yet. I’ve heard it was there. I’ve seen some of it. I love the kid.”

“I’ve seen him make three spectacular catches,” Josh Thole added about lefty-hitting, lefty-throwing den Dekker.

The 23-year-old Den Dekker -- who opens the 2011 season in center field on Thursday with Class A St. Lucie -- hit .346 with no homers, 15 RBIs and three steals in 104 at-bats with low-A Savannah last season after the draft, although he did strike out 28 times and hit .250 against left-handed pitching.

While appearing in eight Grapefruit League games, he went 3-for-8 with a homer and four RBIs. The long ball, a three-run shot, came off St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Mitchell Boggs in the sixth inning of a March 24 game. He also had a stellar catch that day -- over-the-shoulder while retreating toward the center field wall to take away an eighth-inning hit.

“I enjoy that. It’s fun being out there running balls down, helping out the pitcher and doing my part out there,” said den Dekker, whose first Grapefruit League hit came March 1 against Washington’s Drew Storen.

As Wilson noted, den Dekker needs to make strides offensively. Still, Binghamton manager Wally Backman was so enamored by him, the Double-A skipper would have gladly taken den Dekker had team executives wanted to push the prospect.

“Cutting down my strikeouts and hitting against lefties as well. I’ve been working on that,” den Dekker said. “If I can put balls in play, I’ll be a better hitter that way.”

Organization leaders (2010 final stats)

Average: Darrell Ceciliani, Brooklyn, .351; Joe Bonfe, Brooklyn, .326; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .311; J.B. Brown, Brooklyn, .308; Cory Vaughn, Brooklyn, .307; Eric Campbell, Binghamton, .306; Lucas Duda, Buffalo, .304; Nick Evans, Buffalo, .300; Sean Ratliff, Binghamton, .298; Rylan Sandoval, Brooklyn, .295.

Homers: Lucas Duda, Buffalo, 23; Nick Evans, Buffalo, 23; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 21; Sean Ratliff, Binghamton, 21; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, 19.

RBIs: Lucas Duda, Buffalo, 87; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 84; Sean Ratliff, Binghamton, 80; Nick Evans, Buffalo, 80; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Buffalo, 77.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Savannah, 45; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 36; Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, 25; Darrell Ceciliani, Brooklyn, 21.

ERA: Yohan Almonte, Brooklyn, 1.91; Angel Cuan, Brooklyn, 1.93; Jimmy Fuller, St. Lucie, 2.19; A.J. Pinera, Brooklyn, 2.44; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 2.57; Armando Rodriguez, Savannah, 3.08; Edioglis Villasmil, GCL Mets, 3.11; Pat Misch, Buffalo, 3.23; Collin McHugh, Savannah, 3.33; Wes Wrenn, Brooklyn, 3.36.

Wins: Dillon Gee, Buffalo, 13; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 12; Jimmy Fuller, St. Lucie, 11; Pat Misch, Buffalo, 11; Josh Stinson, Buffalo, 11.

Saves: Manuel Alvarez, Buffalo, 17; Michael Powers, St. Lucie, 15; Ryan Fraser, Brooklyn, 12; Roy Merritt, Binghamton, 9.

Strikeouts: Dillon Gee, Buffalo, 165; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 165; Armando Rodriguez, Savannah, 152; Jeurys Familia, St. Lucie, 137.

Short hops

2009 top pick Steve Matz from Ward Melville High on Long Island, who underwent Tommy John surgery on May 18, 2010 and has yet to throw a professional pitch in a game, is starting to throw off the slope of a mound. He should be ready for a short-season team, which could mean Brooklyn or the Gulf Coast League. “He’s just throwing off the slope, and starting to get into that progression,” farm director Adam Wogan said. “He’s still on target to break with one of the short-season teams and get out and pitch a little bit this summer. We know next year is really the big year for him. This year is still more of a rehab year.” … Sean Ratliff, the outfield prospect struck in the face with a foul ball during a minor league spring training game, is being treated for a retinal tear in his right eye. He also suffered multiple facial fractures. ... Buffalo kicks off its season Thursday with Dillon Gee on the mound. The rotation also includes Jenrry Mejia, Boof Bonser, Pat Misch and left-hander Casey Fossum, the 33-year-old former Boston Red Sox pitcher who appeared in three games for the Mets in 2009, then went to Japan last year to pitch for the Hanshin Tigers. That depth pushes 23-year-old pitching prospect Josh Stinson to Double-A Binghamton’s rotation as Opening Day starter. Stinson went 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA in four late-season starts for Buffalo last year. “It’s about where the right place is for him,” Wogan said about Stinson’s assignment. “We feel like it’s good for him to go back there and get off to a good start. He had a few things we want him to work on. We do hope that he’ll be a guy who can pitch there [in Buffalo], or even in New York later in the year.” Wogan said one area of emphasis is fastball control. Stinson walked 50 in 110 1/3 innings with the B-Mets last season, although he improved his command later in the year and in spring training. … Joining Stinson in Binghamton’s rotation: Brad Holt, Robert Carson, Mark Cohoon and Brandon Moore. Holt, the 33rd overall pick in the 2008 draft, had a miserable regular season last year. He went 1-5 with a 10.20 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts) with Binghamton, then was demoted to Class A St. Lucie. In the Florida State League, Holt went 2-9 with a 7.48 ERA. Between the two stops, Holt walked 79 and hit 17 batters in 95 innings. But the right-hander began to show improvement in the instructional league and then in the Arizona Fall League before being shut down with a bone chip/spur in his elbow. “He was able to shake off last year, chalk it up to something that’s in the past and try to move on,” Wogan said. … Infielder Luis Hernandez, who cleared waivers and agreed to stay with the organization rather than declare himself a free agent, will spend an extra week at the Mets’ complex in Florida getting into shape because he was behind at the beginning of spring training returning from a broken right foot. Hernandez then will join Buffalo and get the primary duty at second base, with limited action at shortstop, since Ruben Tejada is manning that position. That means Justin Turner, who was in the second-base competition during spring training with Brad Emaus, Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy, will “be in the lineup as often as he can be and he’ll get some time at third,” according to Wogan. Of course, the priority at third base is prospect Zach Lutz, so Turner’s playing time should take a hit. But Lutz will have some days at first base and at DH, and also will get some time off, because the Mets don’t want to overtax him. Lutz has dealt with broken foot bones in the past. … Kirk Nieuwenhuis should get the majority of the starts in center field for the Bisons, but will see action at all three outfield positions. He needs to work on hitting left-handed pitching and facing curveballs. Buffalo’s deep outfield also includes Fernando Martinez, who primarily will see action in left field and right field. The Bisons also have former Twin Jason Pridie and Jesus Feliciano in the outfield, and likely Lucas Duda once Jason Bay returns from a rib-cage strain. Nick Evans will get exposed to the corner outfield spots, but he likely will see more action at first base. … Reese Havens, who underwent offseason surgery to remove an inch of a rib after being tormented by oblique issues last year, was unable to break camp with Binghamton and is not expected to join the Double-A team soon. Havens, the 22nd overall pick in the 2008 draft, is a gifted offensive player and potentially the Mets’ second baseman of the future, but he has been tormented by injuries throughout his professional career. Wogan describes the issue as tightness in Havens’ troublesome oblique/rib area, not an injury. “He’s just working himself back into baseball activity and rebuilding that core strength,” Wogan said. “… It’s probably by all accounts more just scar tissue and more the result of the surgery and needing to build back up strength there.” Josh Satin will handle second base with the B-Mets in Havens’ absence. Satin hit .308 with seven homers and 39 RBIs in 286 at-bats with Binghamton after a midseason promotion last year and had a strong Arizona Fall League. … Left-hander Eric Niesen will work exclusively as a reliever. He no longer uses the wind-up. The Mets feel that will help with control, after Niesen walked 60 and hit 10 in 77 innings last season with the B-Mets. … With Savannah, Alonzo Harris will get exposed to left field in addition to his customary second base to take advantage of his speed. He may eventually get some action in center field too. Harris, 21, hit .224 with five homers, 42 RBIs and 18 steals last season with the Sand Gnats. … St. Lucie has several of the Mets top prospects, including 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey, a right-hander from the University of North Carolina, as well as Wilmer Flores and den Dekker. Flores will remain at shortstop this season. … Catcher Dusty Ryan did not break camp with Buffalo because he was hit in the helmet by a pitch late in camp. He should join the Bisons about a week into the season. … Allan Dykstra, the former first-round pick acquired from the San Diego Padres for right-handed reliever Eddie Kunz in a change-of-scenery trade late in camp, will open as Binghamton’s first baseman. … The Mets released veteran first baseman Chris Shelton and left-hander Les Walrond. The Mets had a numbers crunch with players such as Evans, Misch and Hernandez clearing waivers. … Buffalo has three left-handers in its pen: Taylor Tankersley, Mike O’Connor and Justin Hampson. ... Jeurys Familia was named the 2011 Webster Award winner. According to the organanization, the annual award is presented "to a Mets minor league athlete who best exemplifies the integrity and character displayed by [Richard] Webster," who played Class A ball for the Mets in 1981 and '82.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the season

Gee, Tank among Friday cuts (updated)

March, 18, 2011

Dillon Gee

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets


2010 Season Stats
5 2 2 15 17 2.18
The Mets continued trimming their major league camp size Friday with eight matter-of-fact moves.

Dillon Gee, who should headline the Triple-A rotation with Jenrry Mejia and Josh Stinson, was optioned. That makes what was abundantly obvious even more so: The major league starters should be Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey, Chris Young and Chris Capuano.

Among the players receiving word: Taylor Tankersley, whose son Huck was born at 12:20 a.m. Tim Byrdak has had the inside track for the left-handed relief specialist all along.

“Getting sent out is not even on my radar,” a beaming Tankersley said.

The official list also includes: outfielder Jason Pridie, right-hander Ryota Igarashi, infielder Russ Adams, right-hander Boof Bonser and catchers Dusty Ryan and Raul Chavez.

Young's 2010 catcher says RHP back

February, 27, 2011
Chris Young will have a chance to demonstrate he is all the way back from a shoulder procedure that limited him to four major league starts last season begining with Sunday's Grapefruit League start against the Braves, but catcher Dusty Ryan already sees a different pitcher.

Ryan caught Young last spring training with the San Diego Padres, then again during the summer with Triple-A Portland as Young was making rehab starts while working back from a false start to his 2010 season.

"Definitely the most noticeable thing is his velocity," Ryan said. "He has a lot more velocity back. All of his pitches are a lot sharper. I mean, he's always had that curveball, but he's got movement on it. Everything just looks a lot better."

Ryan said it's definitely a vast improvement from last spring training with the Padres.

"From spring training to the time I caught him in August, I could tell there was a difference even then," Ryan said. "I don't think he was ready yet."

Nickeas could catch on for opening week

February, 21, 2011

Mike Nickeas

New York Mets


2010 Season Stats
5 0 0 0 .200 .200
Ronny Paulino's adjacent locker remains empty as he still deals with visa problems related to his 50-game MLB suspension for being flagged for a performance-enhancing substance. And with Paulino still having eight regular-season games left on that ban, Mike Nickeas very likely will benefit and crack the Opening Day roster.

After all, it's a much cleaner move to have Nickeas, who is already on the 40-man roster, break camp with the team and option him after eight games than to have Raul Chavez or Dusty Ryan serve in that capacity. Those other catchers in camp have major league experience. But Chavez would need to be designated for assignment and then exposed to waivers to send him to Triple-A Buffalo once Paulino is activated. Ryan requires a slightly cleaner maneuver because he has minor league option remaining, but 40-man roster room still, largely unnecessarily, would need to be created.

Chavez, who turns 38 on March 17, has appeared in 263 major league games since 1996. His first major league hit came on Sept. 2, 1996 with the Montreal Expos as a pinch-hitter against San Francisco's Jose Bautista. Ryan appeared in a combined 27 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2008 and '09.

"All I know is it's a better situation than I was in last year," Nickeas said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity. We've got some good guys here, too. You never know what can happen in this game. I think I've put myself in a good position. Hopefully I can perform this spring and prove that."

Nickeas was called up in September and joined the Mets in his adopted hometown of Atlanta, where he played for Georgia Tech. Defensively sound, he appeared in five games, starting three times at catcher. Acquired from the Texas Rangers in 2006 for outfielder Victor Diaz, Nickeas went 2-for-10 with five strikeouts after the promotion.

"Being able to play at Wrigley was awesome, but the first hit at Citi Field was definitely the highlight," Nickeas said, referring to a single against Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo.

Mets invite two to camp

December, 6, 2010
The Mets announced the signings of infielder Russ Adams and catcher Dusty Ryan to minor league contracts with spring training invites.

Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Dusty Ryan during spring training '09 with Detroit

Here's the official release:

Adams, 30, appeared in 108 games for Buffalo (AAA) of the International League last season, hitting .264 (101-383) and tying for the team lead with 58 RBI. The 6-0, 200-pounder signed with the Mets as a minor league free agent on Dec. 22, 2009. A former first round pick by Toronto in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Adams made his major league debut in 2004. He appeared in 286 games over parts of five major league seasons for the Blue Jays, hitting .247 (218-884).

Ryan, 26, spent last season with the San Diego Padres’ organization, playing in 89 games for Portland (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League. The 6-4, 220-pounder hit .199 (52-261) for the Beavers with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Originally drafted by Detroit in 2003, Ryan made his major league debut with the Tigers in 2008. He split time between Toledo (AAA) of the International League and Detroit in 2009, before San Diego acquired the catcher on December 21, 2009. In 27 big league games, he hit .257 (18-70).



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187