New York Mets: Edgardo Alfonzo
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsRafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard started opposite each other in the Futures Game. Now, a day after Syndergaard wowed in an intrasquad game, Montero takes the mound for the Grapefruit League opener.
FIRST PITCH: Rafael Montero will throw the first pitch of the Mets’ Grapefruit League schedule at 1:10 p.m. Friday, as the Amazin’s face the Washington Nationals (SNY/WOR).
Terry Collins plans to start Chris Young, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson in the outfield. Wilmer Flores will man second base and Travis d’Arnaud is behind the plate.
Also scheduled to pitch: Jacob deGrom, Logan Verrett, Miguel Socolovich, Adam Kolarek, Gonzalez Germen and Jeff Walters.
Fifth-starter candidate Taylor Jordan starts for the Nats. See Washington’s full lineup and travel list here.
Friday’s news reports:
• Jonathon Niese received favorable news after undergoing an MRI on Wednesday in New York. Terry Collins said Niese’s shoulder even looked better than at this point last year, before suffering an in-season rotator-cuff strain. Niese, who does have weakness in the scapula in the back of the shoulder, should resume throwing this weekend.
“Usually when our guys have gone up to get looked at, they’ve come back with bad news,” Niese told Marty Noble at MLB.com. “I’m happy I’ve given people some peace of mind. … Dr. [David] Altchek told me not to pitch, but I can throw for a few days and then get back to my normal routine. There’s just some weakness in the back. It’s nothing bad, nothing like last year when I had the MRI. ... I pretty much knew I was OK before I went up to New York, but it’s not a bad thing to make sure.”
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and Times.
• Noah Syndergaard struck out five and displayed a wicked curveball in two innings in Thursday’s intrasquad game. Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests the Mets avoid delaying Syndergaard’s promotion to June or beyond and strongly consider using him in the rotation early on. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Danny Muno went 2-for-3 with a homer, walk and steal and Carlos Torres tossed two perfect innings in the tune-up for the Grapefruit League opener. Dillon Gee allowed Muno’s homer, but felt positive about his health -- a far cry from a year ago. Check out the intrasquad recap and box here. Read more in the Post and Daily News.
• Maybe they are all delusional, but David Wright also says 90 wins is “attainable” for the Mets and a suitable goal. Read more in Newsday.
• Eric Young Jr. (side) may be held out of games through the weekend, while Bartolo Colon (calf) should resume at least tossing a baseball Friday.
• Tom Gamboa, the former Kansas City Royals first base coach, who was attacked on the field by two spectators more than a decade ago, has been named manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
• ESPN’s Keith Law believes Seattle Mariners infielder Nick Franklin can handle shortstop at the MLB level if the Mets ultimately acquire him. “I actually do,” Law responded during an online chat. “Maybe somewhere between 0 to -5 runs a year on defense, but with his bat, that will work -- and I won’t rule out the possibility that he can be more than that. He has unusually good instincts out there.”
• While the Arizona Diamondbacks want a top-tier catching prospect in a trade for one of their extra young shortstops, they are looking for a better talent than Mets farmhand Kevin Plawecki, Marc Carig writes in Newsday.
• Chris McShane at Amazin’ Avenue chats with T.J. Barra, the Mets’ manager of minor league operations and baseball information, who crunches the organization’s statistics.
On batters, Barra tells McShane: “… You get into their particular selectivity sets: What’s their swing rate? What’s their chase rate? How well do they do on the breaking ball? It’s starting to get to the point that you’re actually measuring the skill and what actually happened and things that players actually control. I think there’s going to be more continuity in what those numbers show in the course of the year than other metrics like batting average and on-base, which have a higher level of variance.”
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger compares Flores and his childhood idol, fellow Venezuelan Edgardo Alfonzo, who is in Mets camp as an instructor. “I like the way he plays because he likes to go the other way, which is what I used to do,” Fonzie tells Vorkunov about Flores. “I think he can have a pretty good career if he stays that way. He’s nice and quiet and he listens a lot. I don’t like to compare myself or compare someone to me, but that’s good when you listen, be quiet and do the job.”
• Tim Rohan in the Times looks at Ike Davis versus Lucas Duda at first base. Jared Diamond in the Journal also examines that “competition” as well as other camp questions.
• ESPN Deportes Radio Nueva York (1050 AM) will continue to broadcast Mets games in Spanish through 2016. The continuation of the relationship officially was announced Thursday.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report writes that the organization should not get carried away by Syndergaard’s intrasquad performance.
BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets right-hander Brian Bannister, who was traded to the Kansas City Royals on Dec. 6, 2006 for Ambiorix Burgos, turns 33.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets consider Noah Syndergaard opening the season in the big-league rotation? Or wait until mid-April to delay free agency by a year? Or wait until after the Super 2 deadline to delay arbitration eligibility?
If David Wright wins this inane MLB contest thing, does that count toward the 90? #Mets— Kristie Ackert (@AckertNYDN) February 27, 2014
Adam RubinMatt Harvey may throw off a mound Saturday, on the four-month anniversary of his Tommy John surgery.
FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey Day appears to have arrived.
No, he is not throwing off a mound. And he is likely not going to contribute at all in 2014.
But Harvey, who indicated Thursday he planned to toss a baseball within a couple of days, appears likely to do so Saturday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery Oct. 22. The session would occur on the four-month anniversary of the procedure, which had been Harvey’s stated goal weeks earlier.
Sandy Alderson had summoned Harvey for a meeting Friday.
Saturday also marks the Mets’ first full-squad workout.
Terry Collins will save his big spring-training speech for later in camp, once the number of players has been trimmed from its current 64 to something closer to resembling the 25-man Opening Day roster.
The Mets will play an intrasquad game Thursday, the day before the Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.
Saturday’s news reports:
• The Wilpon family has a $250 million loan in place to avoid defaulting on an expiring loan, the Post reported. The Mets lost $10 million in 2013, but may turn a profit this year with new TV revenue, according to the report.
• Travis d’Arnaud has been instructed not to block the plate, regardless of whether a new MLB rule takes effect this season mandating catchers give runners a path to home. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Bobby Parnell’s bullpen session again was postponed Friday, this time when trainers held out the closer from the workout because of a left quadriceps injury. Read more in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Journal and MLB.com.
• Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com suggested the Mets floated a one-year deal at $9.5 million for Stephen Drew, which ain't happening.
• Relief prospect Chasen Bradford is sidelined with an oblique injury.
• Edgardo Alfonzo, who will serve as a minor-league coach for the Mets this season, joined the spring-training staff Friday.
• WOR may have settled upon former San Diego Padres play-by-play man Andy Masur as its pregame and postgame host for Mets radio. WOR, currently with full news programming, apparently will have a nighttime sports talk show, too, so callers can vent after Mets games and talk sports throughout the year. The tipoff is this job advertisement.
• Collins suggested Matt den Dekker needs to play every day, which likely means he is ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas. Incidentally, den Dekker tells MLB.com about the right wrist fracture he suffered attempting another highlight-reel catch last spring training: “I still feel it a little bit.” Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Read more on Collins’ intended remarks to his team in the Post.
• John Rowe in the Record discusses d’Arnaud’s offense.
• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post has a Q&A with Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola. Davidoff also has a column talking to hitting coach Dave Hudgens about five Mets batters who need to produce for the team to be successful this season.
• The Baltimore Orioles are close to signing Nelson Cruz, according to Heyman.
• From the bloggers … At Mets Police, Mike V has four reasons the 2014 Mets will be better than the 2013 version. … John Delcos at Mets Report writes about the Mets’ leadoff situation.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever J.J. Putz turns 37.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are you relieved Mets owners have financing in place and do not need to make a $250 million payment on an expiring loan?
@AdamRubinESPN and I'm going to make him buy me dinner!— Howard Johnson (@20Hojo) February 22, 2014
Fonzie, 40, likely will work as a roving instructor. He officially rejoined the organization last season as an "ambassador," which included leading the World Team in the Futures Game at Citi Field.
He last played in the majors in 2006.
Alfonzo, an All-Star in 2000 with the Mets, when he hit .324 with 25 homers, lives in Queens.
His brother Edgar is a former manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Lennys harris mets fantasy camp pic.twitter.com/PcRPqn8EYI— edgardo a alfonzo (@fonzy9) January 19, 2014
2000 mets turk wendell todd pratt fonzy pic.twitter.com/MWbYLAIvnH— edgardo a alfonzo (@fonzy9) January 19, 2014
Tejada is 4-for-his-last-52, dropping his Pacific Coast League average to .257.
Collins speculated the nosedive may be the result of Tejada wearing down playing in the oppressive Vegas heat. The manager suggested Tejada would have returned to the majors by now had his performance been better.
Holding pattern: John Buck's wife still has not given birth to the couple's third child in New York. As a result, Buck has yet to go on paternity leave and Travis d'Arnaud has yet to be promoted from Vegas.
"Believe me, there's only one person more miserable than John Buck, and that's Mrs. Buck," Collins quipped.
Happy birthday ... not: Edgardo Alfonzo tweeted that this is actually not his birthday. It's 11/8, not 8/11, he tweeted. The Mets tweeted a happy birthday message to Fonzie today, and baseball databases list his birthday as Aug. 11.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets soon will have a chance to recharge their batteries -- well, with the exception of David Wright and Matt Harvey, who should be plenty busy over the next few days.
Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole (4-2, 3.68) in today’s 1:35 p.m. first-half finale at PNC Park as the Mets look to avoid getting swept. All-Star southpaw Jeff Locke was scratched from the start by the Pirates.
Mets farmhands Noah Syndergaard (Team USA) and Rafael Montero (World) will start opposite each other on the mound. The squads will be managed by Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo will come off the bench for Team USA.
Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi, in a radio interview Saturday, projected Montero as a No. 4 starter in the majors and raved about Syndergaard’s electric fastball and power sinker.
The celebrity softball game featuring Mike Piazza, John Franco, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Rickey Henderson will be played today at Citi Field after the Futures Game. It will be televised by ESPN on Monday, after the 8 p.m. Home Run Derby, at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Sunday’s news reports:
• After Saturday’s game, Jordany Valdespin was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Scott Atchison will return from the disabled list to give the Mets an extra relief arm for the first-half finale. Valdespin was 2-for-his-last-36. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.
• Despite Carlos Torres contributing five solid innings in his first major league start in three years, the Mets lost to the Pirates, 4-2, Saturday at PNC Park. Ike Davis was unable to make a pair of fielding plays in Pittsburgh’s two-run seventh inning.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• Sandy Alderson told ESPNNewYork.com he does not foresee the roster “looking substantially different” after the July 31 trade deadline.
Alderson, in a separate interview in Newsday, said about Marlon Byrd: "We're not looking to move Marlon. Obviously, we have our eye on the future, but we want to be as good as we can be this year as well. Now, if what we can get for the future exceeds the value of the present, we'd have to look at that. But we're not anxious to do it."
Regarding Bobby Parnell, the GM added: "We've been looking for a closer for two years. Looks like we've found one. Why would we want to give him away immediately? This is not a guy we're looking to move, either."
Ricciardi, matching Alderson’s comments, said the Mets are not eager to trade Byrd.
Read more in the Post.
• Alderson told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News that Harvey skipping Saturday’s start primarily was to curtail his innings and was not about the All-Star Game. “He would pitch in the All-Star Game whether he pitched today or not,” Alderson told Ackert on Saturday. “That wasn’t the reason we made the decision. We made the decision on his projected workload over the course of the season. His blister was a factor.”
• John Harper and Anthony McCarron in the Daily News catch up with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Gooden, Ron Darling and Al Leiter about their first All-Star Game experiences. Ken Davidoff in the Post talks with 72-year-old Ron Hunt, the last Met to start an All-Star Game in Queens, back in 1964 at Shea Stadium.
• Seaver will serve as the grand marshal of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. All-Star parade, which will travel across 42nd St., beginning at Sixth Ave. and continuing to Third Ave.
• Regarding his first All-Star Game, Harvey tells Kevin Kernan in the Post: “This is a huge honor for me, and to be able to put that uniform on is really awesome, especially being there with David. David told me to keep my eyes open, keep my ears open and really just enjoy it. All of this is new, and I’m taking it in stride. But when it comes to Cliff Lee and guys who have done it multiple times, it’s really something I’m looking forward to. And, hopefully, it’s not my last All-Star Game.”
• Anthony Rieber in Newsday talks with Wright on the eve of another All-Star appearance, while colleague Marc Carig in Newsday talks with Harvey about his first-half success.
• Jeremy Hefner will start the second-half opener for the Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday at Citi Field. Zack Wheeler starts on Saturday, followed by Harvey on Sunday. Gee then gets next Monday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves, followed by Torres.
• Terry Collins identifies outfield production as one reason for the Mets’ improved team performance, the Times writes.
• Wright’s pitcher in Monday’s Home Run Derby is bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Justin Turner began a rehab assignment for a strained intercostal muscle on his left side on Saturday as the DH in the Gulf Coast League. He is expected to play for Class A St. Lucie on Sunday, signaling a return right after the All-Star break.
• Jenrry Mejia, on a rehab assignment, tossed five scoreless innings as Binghamton completed a doubleheader sweep of Portland. Wilmer Flores, who had been due to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, departed Sunday’s Las Vegas game after one inning with a hamstring injury. Anthony Chavez’s RBI double in the top of the ninth lifted Brooklyn to a 2-1 win against Connecticut. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Ken Belson in the Times discusses the benefit to the host team of putting on an All-Star Game. Writes Belson:
The main financial lift for the host club is to use the All-Star Game to help push ticket sales to every other game on the schedule.
“For us, the big plus is you expand your season-ticket base going into that year,” said Kevin Uhlich, the senior vice president for business operations for the Kansas City Royals, who were the hosts for the All-Star Game in 2012. “While our play on the field didn’t change, our season tickets were up 25 percent because the only way to guarantee All-Star tickets was to buy a ticket plan.”
• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger discusses Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ improved performance with the center fielder.
• Cody Derespina in Newsday suggests Harvey has pitched better than his 7-2 record indicates.
• Jordan Lauterbach in Newsday profiles Brooklyn second baseman LJ Mazzilli, son of Lee Mazzilli.
• Steven Marcus in Newsday writes that All-Star venue Citi Field evokes memories of Ebbets Field, as Fred Wilpon intended.
BIRTHDAYS: White Sox manager/ex-Met Robin Ventura turns 46. He will be one of the AL coaches at Tuesday’s All-Star Game, along with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. The NL coaches also have Mets ties: Collins and Davey Johnson. ... Las Vegas reliever Jack Leathersich is 23.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Josh Satin at first base on Sunday, even though the Pirates now are using a right-hander?
Having relocated to New York, they then acquired Dykstra at the end of spring training two years ago in a change-of-scenery deal with San Diego for reliever Eddie Kunz, the Mets’ top pick (42nd overall) in 2007.
The 26-year-old first baseman is hitting .316 with 12 homers and 52 RBIs and has a .478 on-base percentage through 68 games. He will join B-Mets teammates Cesar Puello, Josh Rodriguez, Logan Verrett and Jeff Walters at the July 10 Eastern League All-Star Game in New Britain, Conn.
Asked if he feels back on the radar, Dykstra said: “I can’t personally say that. I hope that’s true. I’m having a great year. Personally, my confidence is back. I feel like I did when I got drafted, where I know what I’m doing with my swing. It’s not really up to me to decide if I’m back on the radar or not.”
Dykstra grew up a Padres fan in San Diego. He even attended the 1998 World Series in which his hometown team was swept by the Yankees.
When the March 29, 2011 trade occurred, though, Dykstra welcomed the change of scenery to jumpstart his career. Dykstra acknowledged he had been outplayed by a trio of other first-base farmhands with the Padres -- Nate Freiman (now a major leaguer with the A’s), Cody Decker and Matt Clark.
“When I got traded, I think it was more a fresh start,” Dykstra said. “I kind of felt like I was getting a little lost with the Padres. It wasn’t even really their fault. There were a bunch of guys they had playing first base -- a couple of them are in the big leagues now -- that were just outplaying me. I kind of got lost in the shuffle, and I wasn’t putting up the numbers that they thought I could and that I knew I could put up. Getting traded really opened a new opportunity for me.”
The lefty-hitting, righty-throwing Dykstra genuinely is looking forward to the Eastern League All-Star Game, even though the selection comes in his third year in the league. His 2012 season was stalled for a couple of months earlier in the year by a fractured left wrist, which he suffered reaching into the runner for a throw from pitcher Darin Gorski.
“This All-Star Game is awesome. It’s the first in my minor league career,” Dykstra said. “I’m really excited about attending this one. I just hope after that I will move up. That’s out of my control.”
Something will have to give with Dykstra soon if the Mets have any plans for him. He is eligible to be a minor league free agent after the season if he is not added to the 40-man roster.
“I would like to continue playing baseball hopefully with the Mets,” Dykstra said. “And if not, it’s just the way the game works. On a personal level, I would love Las Vegas and being close to my family. I’ve been on the East Coast playing for the last couple of years.”
As for the question he is most often asked: No, he is not related to Lenny Dykstra.
“Oh, man. My whole life I’ve been asked that a bunch,” the B-Met said. “I’m from California. Lenny Dykstra is from California. The first year I got traded over here, with Wally [Backman] being my manager, because Wally and Lenny were good friends and teammates, I think that was the most I’ve ever been asked. [Teammate] Mark Cohoon was telling me I think he gets it more than I do from people in the stands getting curious [while he is charting other starting pitchers]. I almost wanted to put it on the scoreboard to clarify and save some people some questions.”
Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .366; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .331; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .320; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .320; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .320; Jeff Diehl, Kingsport, .319; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .316; Josh Satin, Vegas, .305; Jorge Rivero, Brooklyn, .302; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .300.
Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 16; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 15; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 12.
RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 64; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 60; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 57; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 55.
Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 18; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 16; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 16; Stefan Sabol, Savannah, 12; Danny Muno, Binghamton, 10.
ERA: Carlos Gomez, Kingsport, 0.00; Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 0.79; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 1.79; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.44; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.45; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.89; Michael Fulmer, GCL Mets, 3.00; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 3.01; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 3.14; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 3.14.
Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 9; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 8; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 8; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 7; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 7.
Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 21; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 9; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 6; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 6.
Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 96; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 87; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 84; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 82; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 80.
• Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are expected to start opposite each other in the July 12 Futures Game at Citi Field. Of course, it helps that Mookie Wilson (USA) and Edgardo Alfonzo (World) will manage the squads. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo also will be part of the game after being voted in by fans.
• Wilmer Flores will represent Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be held July 17 at Reno. Flores went 5-for-6 Tuesday to up his average to .320 with 10 homers and a league-leading 64 RBIs.
• Puello, the B-Mets outfielder, had a sizzling June. He hit .441 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 17 games during the month. Puello currently has a 0.996 OPS for the season -- having just dipped under 1.000. Matt Wieters (2008) and Pedro Alvarez (’09) are the only players younger than 23 in the Eastern League since ’06 who had an OPS of at least 1.000 for a season while getting 250 plate appearances, according to the Mets.
• Walters, a seventh-round pick in 2010 from the University of Georgia, converted his 21st save in 23 chances Tuesday. He is the first B-Met to reach the 20-save plateau since Kunz had 27 in 2008. The Binghamton saves record is 28, by Jerrod Riggan in 2000.
• Ruben Tejada, technically on a rehab assignment, joined Las Vegas on Tuesday. He had a pinch-hit RBI double in his debut and should start for the first time for the 51s today.
• Terry Collins recently received a call from a friend in scouting offering a complimentary review of Double-A right-hander Cory Mazzoni, a second-round pick in 2011 from NC State. The scout projected Mazzoni (4-2, 4.04 ERA) as a reliever because he relies on two pitches -- a slider and sinker -- and throws 94 mph.
• Mike Baxter left Las Vegas to be with his wife in New York on paternity leave. Baxter is hitting .217 with two homers and three RBIs in 16 games with the 51s since a demotion from the major league club.
• Jacob deGrom, who opened the season in St. Lucie and has risen two levels, continues to shine for Las Vegas. Through three Pacific Coast League starts, the 25-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA.
• First-round pick Dominic Smith is hitting .200 (5-for-25) with two RBIs and two walks through seven Gulf Coast League games.
• Kyle Johnson, the 23-year-old outfielder acquired from the Angels for Collin Cowgill, fits the profile the Mets seek. He has a career .400 on-base percentage and nearly has as many walks (49) and strikeouts (62) through 431 professional plate appearances. Johnson also has 37 steals in 42 attempts in 105 games since leaving Washington State University as a 25th-round pick.
• The Mets signed 25th-round pick Brandon Brosher, a high school first baseman from Florida, for a reported $167,500. They have signed 25 of 41 draft picks. DePodesta said the Mets are “probably done” signing draft picks, but have another 10 days in case something changes.
Adam RubinThis was the scene as Matt Harvey threw in the snow at Coors Field in April. Now, it's supposed to be in the mid-90s.
FIRST PITCH: What a difference two months makes. The Mets make a cameo appearance in Denver today for the makeup of a postponed game from a snowy April series. The forecast: a high of 94 degrees this afternoon -- 65 degrees warmer than the last visit.
Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 3.89 ERA) opposes right-hander Tyler Chatwood (4-1, 2.22) in the 6:10 p.m. ET start.
Hefner intended to fly ahead of the Mets to Denver yesterday afternoon, to no avail. Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee did fly directly from Chicago to New York so they can be well-rested for their weekend assignments.
Eric Young Jr. makes his return to Colorado, where he played parts of five major league seasons, after originally being drafted in the 30th round in 2003 by the Rockies. He arrives with a .414 average through 29 at-bats as a Met.
“It’s going to be my first time being on the visiting side when it comes to playing against the Rockies,” Young said. “I’m sure a lot of emotion is going to be involved. But, at the same time, I’m very excited. I’ve been with the organization for nine -- almost 10 -- years, and it’s my first time going against them.”
Read the Mets-Rockies series preview here.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Shaun Marcum tossed eight scoreless innings and earned his first Mets win after an 0-9 start and the Amazin’s beat the White Sox, 3-0, Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field for a split of their two-game series.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and MLB.com.
• Despite stellar numbers at Coors Field, David Wright is due for a day off today.
• The Mets are stalling Ike Davis’ promotion in part because of a string of lefties they continue to face, including at least two against Washington this weekend as well as a pair against Arizona to open next week.
• Ruben Tejada should begin a rehab assignment later this week in the Gulf Coast League, and also will make a stop at Las Vegas before being activated from the DL. The way Omar Quintanilla has performed, including slick fielding plays Wednesday night, Tejada is not assured of being the full-time shortstop upon his return from the quadriceps injury.
• Right-handers Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard have been selected to represent the Mets in the Futures Game, which will be held at 2 p.m. on July 14 at Citi Field. Brandon Nimmo is one of five U.S. team finalists that fans can elect to the game. (Vote here.) Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo will manage the squads.
• Double-A Binghamton placed five players in the Eastern League All-Star Game: outfielder Cesar Puello, infielders Allan Dykstra and Josh Rodriguez, and right-handers Logan Verrett and Jeff Walters. The game will be played July 10 in New Britain, Conn.
• Kevin Plawecki had a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth as St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 7-4. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Jonathon Niese is confident he will not need surgery for a partially torn rotator cuff, although that will be for Mets doctors to determine next week in a follow-up exam that will include another MRI.
• Terry Collins will adjust the Mets’ rotation to close the first half, if need be, to ensure Harvey can start the All-Star Game if selected. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.
• Zack Wheeler and Dan Warthen will work during a bullpen session today at Coors Field on eliminating pitch-tipping by the rookie. “I was totally unaware of it,” Wheeler told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “Never done it before. I haven’t seen video or anything of last night, so I really don’t know what I was doing.” Read more in the Record, Journal, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Citi Field’s All-Star Game menu was showcased Wednesday at the stadium. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• From the bloggers … Metsmertized says Wright is on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory when compared with Chipper Jones, Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg during their age-30 seasons. … John Delcos at Mets Report believes the team is rushing Wheeler. … Faith and Fear in Flushing finds the Go-Go Mets highly watchable and somewhat plausible.
BIRTHDAYS: Chris Woodward turns 37. … Jeff Conine is 47.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
FIRST PITCH: And now Shaun Marcum needs to prevent a sweep.
Marcum (0-9, 5.76 ERA) again searches for his first Mets win when he opposes left-hander John Danks (1-4, 5.40) in the finale to the two-game series at 8:10 tonight at US Cellular Field.
The Mets then fly to Colorado for a makeup game -- with the exception of Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee, who will travel directly to New York in advance of their weekend starts against the Washington Nationals.
Only two pitchers in Mets history have endured more winless decisions to begin a season than Marcum. Anthony Young opened the 1993 season with an 0-13 record. Bob Miller began the inaugural 1962 season at 0-12.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Zack Wheeler allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings and labeled his second major league start “bad,” while pitching coach Dan Warthen acknowledged Wheeler tipped pitches by using different arm angles. The Mets nonetheless tied the score on a dropped pop-up by second baseman Gordon Beckham with two outs in the top of the ninth. But LaTroy Hawkins surrendered a run in the bottom half as the White Sox survived to beat the Mets, 5-4, Tuesday night.
Read Wheeler recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Journal and MLB.com.
• Harvey will appear in the ESPN The Magazine “The Body Issue,” which hits newsstands July 12. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Daily News.
• The Mets officially have rearranged their rotation. Harvey goes Friday against the Nats, with Gee on Saturday, then Wheeler on Sunday in his home debut.
• Greg Burke was demoted before Tuesday’s game to clear the roster spot for the addition of Wheeler.
• Michael Fulmer, working back from spring-training surgery to repair a torn meniscus, tossed six scoreless innings in a Gulf Coast League game Tuesday. Rainy Lara tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings in St. Lucie’s 4-0 win against Bradenton. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Terry Collins suggested Ike Davis’ minor league stint may continue into next week. The Mets will face a pair of left-handers this weekend against the Nats, then potentially two more in the following series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets ideally want to maximize Davis’ potential to succeed by promoting him coinciding with a string of right-handed opposing pitchers. Davis was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and intentional walk Tuesday against Salt Lake.
• Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo will serve as the managers for the Futures Game, which will be held as part of the All-Star festivities at Citi Field on July 14.
BIRTHDAYS: Infielder Luis Hernandez, who played in 17 games with the Mets in 2010, turns 29. … Right-hander Jason Middlebrook is 38.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Courtesy of New York Mets
Cousins Olivia Nuzzo and Stephanie Giangrande show off the winning entry in the revival of Banner Day last May.
Edgardo Alfonzo, Kevin Burkhardt and 92.3 NOW morning-show host Ty Bentli will serve as judges.
Weather-permitting at 1:10 p.m., Jonathon Niese (2-3, 4.66 ERA) opposes left-hander Francisco Liriano, who is making his Pittsburgh Pirates debut after fracturing the humerus bone in his non-pitching arm on Christmas Day. Niese recently has been dealing with a back issue.
All eyes will be on the minors, too. Zack Wheeler tries to post a third straight solid start for Triple-A Las Vegas when he faces Albuquerque at 10:05 p.m. ET.
Terry Collins, by the way, says it’s the front office’s call -- not his -- about when the top prospect is promoted. (The front office is undoubtedly cognizant of not wanting to give Wheeler an extra year of arbitration, so the call-up may very well wait until June.)
Jenrry Mejia’s road back to the majors also continues today. Mejia, shut down in spring training with forearm tendinitis, starts for Class A St. Lucie.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Shaun Marcum failed to complete five innings for the third straight start. The ex-Brewer was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings as the Mets lost to the Pirates, 7-3, Friday night. Marcum also took a liner off his left thumb. X-rays were negative.
Shaun Marcum has failed to complete five innings in any of his three Mets starts.
Said David Wright about the team’s continued hitting woes after the Mets went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position Friday: “I think guys are pressing probably a little bit, and rightfully so. Everybody wants to be that guy that gets that big hit to break the spell. But in doing so you put a little too much pressure on yourself sometimes.”
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Times, Record, Newsday, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Journal and MLB.com.
• Wright fouled a ball off the inside of his left knee. He hopes to be available to play today. Read more at MLB.com.
• Jeurys Familia is suffering from biceps tenditinis. That may prompt the Mets to activate Frank Francisco without another minor league appearance, with Familia potentially landing on the disabled list.
• On the timetable for Wheeler’s promotion, Anthony McCarron writes in the Daily News:
So here’s hoping, for their own sake, the Mets judge Wheeler’s next few weeks wisely. They can’t react to the lethargic crowds at Citi Field -- there was an announced attendance of 25,123 Friday, and the Mets started the day ninth in the NL in attendance -- by sending for Wheeler. Night after night, regardless of a few Mike Baxter walk-offs, some decent relief showings and Matt Harvey’s magic, we’re learning how difficult this season is likely to be for the Mets.
They don’t score much anymore, as Collins noted when he said, “We aren’t giving them much room to wiggle, on the mound.” They have outfield issues and they need to fix Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada. They are 4-9 in their last 13 games.
In other words, what’s the rush? Wheeler may help save the Mets, but that really feels like a 2014 narrative, not one from this season.
Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post says Wheeler "can't get here fast enough."
• Jordany Valdespin admired his solo homer in the ninth. Collins said there is nothing he can do about it anymore. Meanwhile, as Mother’s Day approaches, Anthony DiComo at MLB.com writes that Valdespin’s major league earnings have allowed him to tell his mother to quit working as a housemaid in their native Dominican Republic.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests the Mets may be approaching the point at which they have to decide whether Davis or Lucas Duda plays first base … and trade the other.
• Read more on Liriano joining the Pirates in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• Darrell Ceciliani went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs as Binghamton responded a day later to getting no-hit with a rain-shortened 8-4 win against Harrisburg. St. Lucie starter Domingo Tapia landed on the DL after burning his non-pitching hand. Beck Wheeler suffered the loss in relief as Rome beat Savannah, 3-2. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Jorge Arangure in the Times and Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger write about Mike Baxter’s success as a pinch hitter -- and his attacking approach as compared with his patience as a starter. Baxter, unused Friday, is 5-for-9 as a pinch hitter this season and produced his first two walk-off hits this week.
• Justin Turner started over slumping Daniel Murphy at second base Friday. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests the Mets should not think about signing arbitration-eligible Ike Davis to a multiyear deal. … Faith and Fear in Flushing frets over what to do when you can't get 3G or 4G but you want to know what's up with Dillon Gee. … Metsmerized points out the uncanny similarities between Matt Harvey and Tom Seaver and suggests younger fans can now feel what it must have been like when Seaver first came up.
BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Walt Terrell, whose Dec. 7, 1984 trade to the Detroit Tigers brought Howard Johnson to Flushing, turns 55.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Even if he is not the closer, can Frank Francisco be useful to the Mets?
You don't have to guess at Jordany Valdespin's twitter handle. twitter.com/Jay_HorwitzPR/…— Jay Horwitz (@Jay_HorwitzPR) May 10, 2013
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports
Robin Ventura visits Flushing today as manager of the Chicago White Sox.
From ESPN Stats & Information:
Harvey has allowed more than one run in only one of his past eight starts, dating to last season. His only prior interleague start was eight innings of two-hit ball against the Minnesota Twins on April 13.
Ventura played only three seasons for the Mets (1999-2001), but made quite an impact. David Wright, Dave Kingman and Ventura share the club record for the most six-RBI games in Mets history with three. Ventura also hit five grand slams with the Mets, one shy of Mike Piazza’s club record.
Of course, that does not include Ventura’s “grand-slam single” in the 15th inning of Game 5 of the 1999 National League Championship Series against the Braves to cap an epic comeback win.
The White Sox are actually playing the Mets in New York for the first time.
Harvey opposes Newark's Hector Santiago tonight. Harvey originally was supposed to line up to face fellow 2010 first-round pick Chris Sale, but Sale's start moved up a day to Monday in K.C. after Jake Peavy needed to be delayed due to back spasms.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Harvey last pitched last Monday in Miami. He is unconcerned about the extra rest as well as logging a career-high 121 pitches against the Marlins. His last offering in Miami registered 96 mph. "I feel like I can go out there 120, 130 pitches each time and my body can handle it," Harvey said. (Terry Collins said that pitch count will not be the norm.) Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal:
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander led baseball with six complete games last season and still averaged only 114.2 pitches per start. No other pitcher even averaged 110. Harvey is averaging 104.5 so far this year.
Last season, the Mets curtailed Harvey's season after 169 1/3 innings between the majors and minors. They say they won't limit him this season, but their actions suggest they remain at least somewhat concerned about their phenom's workload.
After Harvey's 121-pitch outing last week, the Mets planned to give him an extra day of rest so he could recover. Harvey said he didn't need it and wanted to start on his regular rotation.
Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
Zack Wheeler has shaved his ERA to 4.00 with Las Vegas.
“Outstanding -- the best he’s pitched all year,” 51s manager Wally Backman told Mike Puma in the Post. “He’s turning the corner. That is what we have seen the last two starts. If we see that a couple of more starts, he’s going to be pushing the door open himself, forcing the issue for sure. … He’s showed excellent command the last couple of starts. Before he was missing up and out of the strike zone, arm side, all the time and [Sunday] he never missed one time up and out of the zone arm side.”
• Sandy Alderson tells Kristie Ackert in the Daily News about Ike Davis: “I don't think he's happy with what has happened to date. We would have hoped for a better performance to this point, but the evidence is he can do it. And he could do that again this season. We'll see what transpires. But Ike is a big part of the team. We expect him to come around soon.”
Read more on Davis’ slow start in the Post.
• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo was batting .414 for low-A Savannah through April 23. He now is in an 0-for-20 rut with the Gnats and actually has not played since April 29 because of a hand injury.
"We want him to go through this," Savannah manager Luis Rojas told Clint Robus in Newsday. "This is part of his development, and this is the part where he's going to ... figure out a lot more things."
Said Nimmo about the slump: "I knew this was going to happen. So I'm not too surprised."
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes there is one player from the Johan Santana swap with the Twins that is contributing big time. That is Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, who leads the NL with a .368 average. Gomez along with Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra went to Minnesota on Feb. 2, 2008 for Santana.
• Wright had six steals in April -- on pace for a 30-steal season. He had one 30-30 season in his career -- in 2007. "When the situation presents itself, I feel like I have the ability to take a base here and there," he told Mike Kerwick in the Record. "But I’m not going to steal bases for the sake of trying to get a certain [number of] bases or for the sake of doing it. I’m going to do it for a reason."
• St. Lucie right-hander Hansel Robles returned from an upper-back injury to limit Daytona to one run in five innings in a 6-2 win Monday. Frank Francisco pitched for the second straight day for the Florida State League club, allowing one hit in a scoreless inning. Read the full minor league recap here.
• It’s a safe bet Bobby Parnell will not lose his closer’s job once Francisco is activated from the disabled list. Read a profile of Parnell’s adaption to that role from Anthony DiComo at MLB.com.
• The Mets’ Saturday postponement in Atlanta will be made up on June 18 as part of a split doubleheader at Turner Field. It now becomes a five-game series against the Braves.
• Edgardo Alfonzo, Kevin Burkhardt and 92.3 Now's Ty Bentli will judge Saturday’s Banner Day at Citi Field.
• From the bloggers … Blogging Mets checks in to see how several ex-Mets are doing with their new teams so far this season.
BIRTHDAYS: Brook Fordyce, who was drafted by the Mets in the third round out of high school in Connecticut in 1989 and made his major league debut with the club six years later, is 43.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Where does Robin Ventura factor in among your favorite Mets of all time?
What an awesome night! #NYRBelieve— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) May 7, 2013
The last time Cincinnati swept the Mets: April 4-7, 2005 at Great American Ball Park, in the first series of the "New Mets," with Willie Randolph as manager as Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran also debuting.
Monday's news reports:
• Read game recaps in the Times, Record, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Post, Daily News and Journal.
• Eli Manning, with 14-month-old daughter Ava cradled in his left arm, tossed the ceremonial first pitch to David Wright before Sunday's game. Read more in the Daily News and Times.
• R.A. Dickey opposes Baltimore right-hander Jake Arrieta in the opener to an interleague series Monday night at Citi Field. Perhaps the better matchup is Dickey versus Matt Cain, who is starting for San Francisco tonight against the Los Angeles Angels. After all, both are strong candidates to start for the NL in the July 10 All-Star Game at Kansas City.
ESPN Stats & Information guru Mark Simon notes Dickey enters the start with an eight-game winning streak, 2.20 ERA and a streak of four straight starts without allowing an earned run. The knuckleballer's franchise-record 32 2/3-inning scoreless streak ended in the ninth inning at the Trop last Wednesday when Wright committed an error, Mike Nickeas had a pair of passed balls and a groundout plated an unearned run. Cain, meanwhile, has a 2.18 ERA -- 0.59 in his past four starts -- as well as a seven-game winning streak.
Writes Simon in comparing the duo:
We’ll use Bill James Game Score, which is a scale that rates starts usually on a 0-100 scoring, based on a pitcher's innings pitched, runs, hits, strikeouts and walks. Cain’s perfecto is one of the rare starts in baseball history that surpassed 100. (He finished with a 101.) Dickey’s one-hitter last Wednesday was a 95.
Dickey’s average Game Score this season is a 64.7. He’s had five straight starts with a Game Score of 74 or better, the first pitcher to do that since Chris Carpenter had six straight in 2005. The only other Mets pitchers to run off five straight starts of that nature were Tom Seaver in 1975 and Dwight Gooden in 1985. Of Dickey’s 13 starts, 11 have rated above MLB average. (Average historically has been a Game Score of 49.)
Cain has Dickey beat in this area. His average game score thus far is a 66.8. He posted a Game Score of 96 in a start earlier this season and is the first pitcher with two starts in a season of 96 or better since Randy Johnson in 2002. (The only pitcher with three in the Live Ball Era was Nolan Ryan in 1990.) Cain has 10 starts out of 13 with a Game Score of 50 or higher, one fewer than Dickey.
The highest average game scores among NL starters:
Gio Gonzalez 63.0
Ryan Dempster 62.4
Brandon Beachy 62.0
• Jason Bay, who stayed away from Citi Field during the weekend as he deals with concussion symptoms, may be examined by doctors Monday. After a July 23 concussion two years ago, which Bay suffered at Dodger Stadium, the left fielder missed the remainder of the season. Terry Collins said "anything's possible" when asked if Bay might miss the remainder of this season now too.
“We are going to follow the doctor’s lead,’’ Sandy Alderson told Kevin Kernan in the Post. “We certainly are not going to push to get him back if it is not medically indicated at this point, particularly with the fact that he has a history. We have to be cautious and make sure from a medical standpoint. It’s a tough situation because he plays all out. He gives it everything he’s got. The results have not been what he would like, what Mets fans would like, but it’s really unfortunate that some people can’t separate the effort from the results.”
A fresh reminder of the gravity of concussions will be in the visitors' dugout during the upcoming series. Brian Roberts returned last week after missing nearly 13 months with the effects of concussions. Eduardo A. Encina in the Baltimore Sun writes:
[Dr. Michael] Collins said Roberts’ return is a major success story when it comes to concussions. When he first began working with Roberts, the goal wasn’t a return to big leagues. It was making sure Roberts could live out his daily life without suffering from concussion symptoms -- among them the headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue that Roberts overcame during his recovery. “I think anybody who knows Brian knows how badly he wanted to get back to playing,” said Collins, who played college baseball at Southern Maine. “But we didn’t even think about that until months into it. It’s a hard injury for someone to go through. Everyone thinks, well 13 months is a long time, but actually I’ve got to tell you, it’s a good outcome. To get him back to playing, not every athlete that goes through what Brian went through gets back to playing. A lot of players who’ve gone through what he’s gone through have had to hang them up. He persevered through it.”
Read more on Bay in the Daily News, Newsday, Record and Star-Ledger.
• Ruben Tejada is scheduled to make a second attempt at a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Monday night. His first try two weeks ago was abandoned when Tejada had a recurrence of trouble with the right quadriceps, which originally sent him to the DL. Ronny Cedeño (calf) has now played three rehab games with the Bisons, all manning shortstop. He went 1-for-4 Sunday and is now 2-for-11 with a walk and two strikeouts with the Triple-A club. Collins has estimated a midweek activation from the DL for Cedeño.
• Collins had an easy explanation for sending Scott Hairston to pinch hit for Ike Davis in the eighth inning Sunday against left-hander Sean Marshall with two men on base, even though Davis -- whose average has climbed to .194 thanks to an eight-game hitting streak -- has started to heat up. Hairston grounded out, but there is no question he mashes left-handed pitching. He is hitting .338 with seven homers in 74 at-bats against southpaws even after Sunday's unsuccessful matchup against Marshall. Davis similarly had been replaced for a pinch-hitter Friday, against nasty southpaw Aroldis Chapman. Read more in Newsday.
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post reviews the all-time Mets team selected for SNY by a panel of experts, which included him. The winners:
Mike Piazza, c
Keith Hernandez, 1b
Edgardo Alfonzo, 2b
Jose Reyes, ss
Cleon Jones, lf
Darryl Strawberry, rf
Tom Seaver, rhs
Jerry Koosman, lhs
Roger McDowell, rhr
Tug McGraw, lhr
Davey Johnson, manager
On Beltran, Vaccaro writes:
Oh, this is surely where we’ll hear some backlash from backers of Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra and Tommie Agee, but Beltran was the most complete everyday player the Mets ever had, his seven-year stats dwarf Dykstra’s and Mookie’s, and though Agee should be remembered fondly as a core member of the ’69 Miracle boys, he had just three average to above-average seasons with the Mets.
The show will be televised Thursday night on SNY. Read more in the Daily News.
• Young, who has returned from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder, was pleased with exceeding 100 pitches in back-to-back starts while working on standard rest in Sunday's outing. Young actually was tagged with his first loss since June 14, 2009. Of course, he has made only 11 major league starts over the past three seasons. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.
• Right-hander Collin McHugh, a sleeper but legitimate prospect scouts compare with Dillon Gee, was promoted from Double-A Binghamton to Buffalo and will make his Triple-A debut Monday for the Bisons at Norfolk. In 30 Double-A appearances (28 starts) over roughly a calendar year, McHugh went 13-7 with a 2.68 ERA. He takes the rotation spot of now-reliever Jenrry Mejia. "He was legitimately our best starter, most consistent starter in the second half of the season last year," Wally Backman, who managed McHugh in Double-A last season, told Mike Harrington in the Buffalo News. "And that was with a couple other big boys there too [Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia]. He knows how to pitch. He's not a power guy, but he can sink it, he can cut it, make the ball do things."
• Mejia had a rough second appearance since a move to the bullpen as Pawtucket beat Buffalo, 6-1. He faced five batters and allowed two hits, a walk and hit a batter. Mejia also had a wild pitch. "Command was definitely an issue," Backman told Harrington. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.
• The Brooklyn Cyclones open their season tonight at Coney Island against the Staten Island Yankees. The roster includes 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, a high school outfielder from Wyoming, as well as this month's supplemental first-round pick, Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki. Read more in the Daily News.
• Seaver discussed Johan Santana's no-hitter with Stephen Hayes in Newsday.
• Mark Hale in the Post notes Daniel Murphy's power has been absent all season as well as the second baseman's recent overall production. Murphy is hitting .148 since June 4 with no walks and two extra-base hits in 50 plate appearances. His average has slipped to .274 as well. Writes Hale:
Murphy’s last homer was back on last July 16 -- he has gone 338 at-bats and 364 plate appearances since going deep, which is absolutely staggering. “Just not centering the ball enough,” Murphy said.
TRIVIA: Who were the Game 1 starters when the Mets faced the Orioles in the 1969 World Series?
Sunday's answer: The last Met to start an All-Star Game: Dwight Gooden, in 1988. Gooden started opposite the AL's Frank Viola at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.
Monday's news reports:
• Santana remained winless this season, despite having allowed one run or fewer in all but one of his starts. It marks the first time since his rookie season in 2000 with the Minnesota Twins that Santana has failed to be credited with a victory in any of his opening five starts of a season. Terry Collins had a logical explanation for pulling Santana at 90 pitches after six scoreless innings. Santana was working on standard rest for the first time in the regular season since undergoing Sept. 14, 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Santana also was coming off his highest pitch count since his comeback. He had tossed 105 pitches against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
• After completing a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Buffalo, Andres Torres is due to be activated from the disabled list Monday in Houston. Assistant GM John Ricco announced righty-hitting corner infielder Zach Lutz would be demoted over Jordany Valdespin to create roster room. The biggest curiosity is the outfield alignment with Torres back. Collins announced pregame that Kirk Nieuwenhuis would move to left field, a position he has never played. After the game, and after Nieuwenhuis had a highlight-reel diving catch in left-center to keep Santana's outing scoreless in the fifth, Collins wavered slightly. Torres has started 30 major league games in left field. Still, Collins indicated, Nieuwenhuis is more likely than Torres to be in left field on Monday when the Mets face Astros right-hander Bud Norris at Minute Maid Park.
Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger suggests the perception among a segment of fans that Torres is an inferior center fielder to Nieuwenhuis is misguided. Writes McCullough:
Torres is the more accomplished fielder. From 2009 to 2011, he ranked seventh among center fielders in Ultimate Zone Rating, an advanced metric that attempts to quantify how many runs a defender saves. During that time period, Torres saved 19.4 runs while with San Francisco. Heading into the season, scouts questioned Nieuwenhuis’ ability to handle center field full-time. But he’s performed a series of high-wire catches since becoming the team’s regular there the second game of the season.
Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.
• In part to build team chemistry, Mets veterans suggested in spring training that players and staff wear western apparel during the trip from Denver to Houston. R.A. Dickey had an elaborate sheriff's outfit complete with fake gun, holster and badge. Daniel Murphy introduced pink to his cowboy ensemble. David Wright, Mike Nickeas and bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello dressed as the colorful "Three Amigos," complete with sombreros and fake mustaches. Mets players similarly plan a hockey-themed attire day for the May 18-20 interleague series at Toronto, during a trip that continues in Pittsburgh. See dress-up photos here.
• Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning visited Coors Field on Sunday. He attended the University of Tennessee along with Dickey and Helton, and is particularly friendly with the Rockies first baseman. Wright, while wearing his sombrero and fake mustache, bumped into Manning while entering the stadium in the morning, which amused the older brother of Eli. Read more in Newsday.
• Davis confessed to thinking back to his season-ending ankle injury in Denver last May 10 as he fielded a 10th-inning popup Sunday. Wright stayed out of the way this time.
• Ruben Tejada had 10 hits in the three-game series and is now hitting .310. The last Met to have 10 hits in a three games series? That was Edgardo Alfonzo in 2000, also against Colorado. If Tejada has another three-hit game Monday in Houston, he will match the franchise record for consecutive three-plus-hit games. Brett Butler accomplished the feat in four straight games in 1995. Read more in Newsday.
• Read game recaps from Sunday's seesaw affair in the Post, Star-Ledger, Times, Daily News, Record, Journal and Newsday.
• Zack Wheeler -- who had been the victim of a lack of run support -- finally picked up his first Double-A win, and 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens returned from injury with a homer in his first 2012 at-bat, as Binghamton beat Erie, 7-1, Sunday. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Broadcaster Howie Rose, who skipped the weekend series in Denver, was inducted into the Nationals Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at Commack, Long Island, on Sunday. Wrote Steven Marcus in Newsday:
When he and his friends went to Shea and the Mets won, Rose recalled one of his chums yelling, "Put it in the books!'' It became Rose's signature line. Rose, who lives in Woodbury, also calls Islanders games on TV but is famously known for calling Stephane Matteau's winning goal in the second overtime for the Rangers against the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals during the 1994 run to the Stanley Cup. "I'm amazed 18 years later at how the Matteau call has endured,'' Rose said. "There are very few days when I'm in a public setting where somebody doesn't yell out 'Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!' " Rose, 58, also thanked Marv Albert for being an early mentor.
TRIVIA: Who did the Mets receive when they traded Mike Scott to the Astros on Dec. 10, 1982?
Sunday's answer: Larry Dierker won 14 career games against the Mets, the most of any Houston pitcher. Joe Niekro and Don Wilson rank second on that list with 12 career wins apiece against the Mets.
The performance came after producing only one hit in the Marlins series while playing opposite predecessor Jose Reyes, which had dropped Tejada’s average to .239.
After a 10-for-17 weekend, he’s now hitting .310. (Reyes, dropped to No. 2 in the Marlins' order, went 0-for-3 Sunday in a loss to the Diamondbacks and is hitting .205.)
“He had quite a series,” Terry Collins said. “He’s starting to do the things that they’ve been practicing, and that is not to worry about hitting for power, but spraying the ball around, using the middle of the field. Dave has been talking to him about last year, when he was most successful, he went to right-center field. And that’s what he did this series and got a lot of hits.”
Said Tejada: “I concentrated everything to the right. I’m taking a lot of pitches and making contact to right field now. I feel really good now. It was a great series for me, a great series for the team. We have to keep playing like that.”
Does Tejada ever remember having 10 hits in a series anywhere?
“No,” Tejada said. “I think it’s the first time for me.”
Final - 2OT St. John's 91 Marquette 90 Final Seton Hall 54 Butler 71 Final 15 Cincinnati 70 Rutgers 66 Final Princeton 74 Columbia 64 Final G. Washington 70 Fordham 67 Final Hofstra 76 Delaware 87 Final St. Peter's 58 Manhattan 72 Final Rider 71 Iona 94 Final Mount St Mary's 77 Wagner 72 Final Maine 54 Stony Brook 80
Final R H E Yankees 9 11 0 Astros 6 12 3 Final R H E Mets 3 9 0 Tigers 2 5 0
2:00 PM ET 7 Syracuse Florida State 7:00 PM ET Quinnipiac Manhattan 4:30 PM ET Canisius Iona 7:15 PM ET Hartford Stony Brook
7:30 PM ET Philadelphia New York 7:30 PM ET Toronto Brooklyn
7:00 PM ET NY Rangers Carolina 7:00 PM ET New Jersey Philadelphia