New York Mets: Edinson Volquez

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Mets 2

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29

PITTSBURGH -- The Mets had no shortage of baserunners (and ensuing towel-waving). Driving them in proved the problem.

The Amazin’s produced 13 hits, including at least one in each of the first seven innings, but remained scoreless until the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates won, 5-2, Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Bartolo Colon suffered his first defeat since May 12 at Yankee Stadium.

The Mets (37-45) lost three of four games in Pittsburgh.

Snapped: Ex-Met Ike Davis’ two-run single highlighted a three-run first inning by the Pirates against Colon. Pedro Alvarez’s two-run homer in the fourth upped the lead to 5-0.

Colon’s final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.

Colon had been 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his past seven starts. He had not allowed more than two earned runs in any start during that span to match his longest career streak.

Nothing doing: Edinson Volquez held the Mets scoreless for six innings despite surrendering eight hits. The Mets had runners on the corners in the third inning, but Daniel Murphy struck out and Curtis Granderson flied out. They had two on and none out in the sixth, but Juan Lagares flied out and Travis d'Arnaud grounded into a double play.

After Volquez departed, Eric Young Jr. reached third base with one out in the seventh on an infield single and two-base error, but Ruben Tejada struck out and Murphy lined out.

Granderson, despite sending three balls to the outfield wall, finished the series 0-for-17.

What’s next: The Mets head to Atlanta for a three-game series. Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45 ERA) opposes left-hander Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener at Turner Field. Wheeler is coming off a career-low two-inning start against Oakland. That was preceded by his first career complete game at Miami.

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Vance Worley, Brandon Cumpton and Gerrit Cole in the opening three games of a series at PNC Park.
METS (36-42, fourth place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (39-39, fourth place/NL Central)

Thursday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-1, 2.68) vs. RHP Vance Worley (1-0, 1.98), 7:05 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75) vs. RHP Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (4-4, 2.78) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (6-3, 3.64), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-5, 3.67) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.35), 1:35 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

Gerrit Cole (shoulder fatigue) returns from the disabled list to take Saturday’s start, pushing Edinson Volquez to Sunday and Jeff Locke out of the series against the Mets. Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, threw an 83-pitch simulated game spanning six innings Monday. Manager Clint Hurdle has not declared which starter will be dropped from the rotation with Cole reentering.

• Left fielder Starling Marte sat out Wednesday’s matinee against the Tampa Bay Rays. A day earlier, Marte departed the game with concussion-like symptoms after a headfirst slide into second baseman Sean Rodriguez’s knee in the fifth inning. Marte cleared a concussion test. He also suffered a swollen middle finger on his right hand and was unavailable Wednesday.

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesIke Davis has a .360 on-base percentage since the trade.

• Ex-Met Ike Davis moved to the cleanup spot for Pittsburgh on May 23. The Pirates are 15-9 when Davis starts in the No. 4 slot. Davis is hitting .254 with four homers and 19 RBIs and has a .360 on-base percentage in 58 games since the trade.

• Second baseman Neil Walker returned from the disabled list Tuesday after recovering from an appendectomy. Outfielder Jose Tabata was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear the roster spot, even though he is due roughly $9 million through 2016.

Tabata had lost his playing time to Josh Harrison in right field, and then to rookie Gregory Polanco once Harrison shifted to second base to cover for Walker.

Travis Snider (.234, 4 HR, 137 ABs) started the season as the regular right fielder, but has receded to the bench.

Polanco made his major league debut June 10. He is hitting .325 with one homer, six RBIs and three steals in 65 at-bats since his promotion and has settled into the leadoff spot. His 0-for-4, two-strikeout performance Wednesday at Tampa Bay snapped a streak of reaching base in 14 straight games to begin his major league career. His 11-game hitting streak to begin his career set a Pirates franchise record. It was the longest hitting streak in the majors to begin a career since Glenn Williams had a 13-game streak with the Minnesota Twins in 2006 and the longest in the National League since Juan Pierre had a 16-game hitting streak with the Colorado Rockies in 2000.

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s .315 average ranks fourth in the National League. He is fifth in the league in RBIs (48). Eight of his 12 homers have come this month. McCutchen is slated to be an All-Star Game starter. He has 2,461,722 votes. The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig narrowly leads NL outfielders with 2,468,376 votes. The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez is third at 2,409,860.

• Reclamation project Vance Worley is a combined 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in starts against the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins since making his Pirates debut on June 15. He was acquired from the Minnesota Twins on March 25 for cash and spent the first portion of the season in Triple-A. Worley went 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA last season with Minnesota.

Series preview: Mets vs. Pirates

May, 26, 2014
May 26

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Brandon Cumpton, Edinson Volquez and Charlie Morton at Citi Field.
METS (22-27, fourth place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (22-27, fourth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) vs. RHP Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 4.26), 1:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.70) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (2-4, 4.37), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (1-6, 3.29), 1:10 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

• Right-hander Brandon Cumpton was selected to replace Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation and will start the series opener against the Mets. Cumpton, 25, received the nod over Jeff Locke.

Rodriguez was designated for assignment after surrendering six runs and failing to complete the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He had an 0-2 record and 6.75 ERA in six starts. Rodriguez is making $13 million this season, although $5.5 million of that amount is the responsibility of the Houston Astros.

Cumpton was 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Indianapolis. He made two starts for the Pirates earlier this season.

Ike Davis is hitting .347 (25-for72) in 22 games in May. He has reached base in 20 of 22 games this month. Davis was acquired from the Mets on April 18 for reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named. That other player is expected to be announced next month because he came from the 2013 draft.

Davis replaced third baseman Pedro Alvarez in the cleanup spot on Friday. Alvarez, dropped to No. 6 in the lineup, is hitting .209 with nine homers and 28 RBIs.

• 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen is hitting .325 (26-for-80) in 21 games this month. McCutchen comfortably beat runner-up Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks for last year’s award.

Neil Walker leads NL second basemen with 10 homers and 26 RBIs. Walker’s 10th homer last season did not come until Sept. 2.

Edinson Volquez signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Pirates on Dec. 11. He began last season with the San Diego Padres and, after his Aug. 27 release, latched on with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Volquez surrendered four homers at Yankee Stadium two starts ago, but rebounded to limit the Washington Nationals to one run six innings on Thursday.

• Riding the hot hand, the Pirates have started Josh Harrison in right field for the past six games.

• Reliever Mark Melancon has not allowed a homer in 86 innings, the longest active streak in the majors. He last surrendered a long ball on April 14, 2013, against Cincinnati’s Joey Votto. Melancon has nine saves in 11 chances this season.

• Closer Jason Grilli returned from the disabled list on Friday. He had been sidelined since April 21 with a left-oblique strain.

Charlie Morton snapped a six-game losing streak over his first nine starts this season by limiting the Nationals to one run in 5 2/3 innings in an eventual 4-3 win Friday.

• Catcher Russell Martin returned from the disabled list Thursday. He had been sidelined since April 26 with a left-hamstring strain.

Rapid Reaction: Padres 8, Mets 2

August, 18, 2013
SAN DIEGO -- The debut of Travis d’Arnaud may be remembered more for the demise of Jenrry Mejia, at least for the remainder of the season.

Mejia departed with renewed elbow discomfort after delivering his 63rd pitch and the Mets went on to lose to the San Diego Padres, 8-2, Saturday night at Petco Park.

Gregory Bull/Associated PressTravis d'Arnaud and Jenrry Mejia conference at the mound, before Mejia had to depart with elbow discomfort.

Mejia previously had suggested he will need surgery after the season to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. It causes him periodic discomfort.

David Aardsma entered for Mejia in a 1-all tie in the bottom of the fourth with the bases empty and none out. Aardsma allowed four runs over two innings, including Nick Hundley’s tiebreaking two-run homer in a three-run fourth.

D’Arnaud walked on four pitches against Edinson Volquez in the catcher’s first major league plate appearance. He finished 0-for-2 with two walks. Batting with two runners in scoring position and two outs in the fifth, d’Arnaud grounded out as San Diego maintained a 4-2 lead.

Volquez, despite entering the game with the NL’s highest ERA among qualifiers, limited the Mets to two runs in five innings. The Mets left the bases loaded in the second when Volquez made a solid play to throw out Mejia at first base and prevent an infield single.

Carlos Torres, the logical rotation replacement for Mejia, surrendered a three-run homer to Jedd Gyorko in the eighth, in Torres' second inning of work.

Latest twist: Wilmer Flores went 1-for-4 and played a full game at third base in his first start since twisting his right ankle Monday at Dodger Stadium.

What’s next: The Matt Harvey-d’Arnaud battery takes center stage as the Mets complete their four-game series with the Padres. Harvey (9-4, 2.23 ERA) opposes left-hander Eric Stults (8-10, 3.68) at 4:10 p.m. ET Sunday.

Series preview: Mets at Padres

August, 15, 2013

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and Edinson Volquez during the opening three games of a series at Petco Park.
METS (54-64, third place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (54-66, fourth place/NL West)

Thursday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-2, 3.63) vs. RHP Tyson Ross (3-5, 2.75), 10:10 p.m. ET

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (4-6, 4.45) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.97), 10:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-2, 2.22) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (8-10, 5.80), 8:40 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.23) vs. LHP Eric Stults (8-10, 3.68), 4:10 p.m. ET

Padres short hops

• Outfielder Will Venable has a career-high 11-game hitting streak.

• Third baseman Chase Headley is hitless in his last 13 at-bats.

Justin Edmonds/Getty ImagesEx-Met Ronny Cedeno has replaced suspended Everth Cabrera at shortstop.

• Closer Huston Street has converted eight straight save chances and has made 12 straight scoreless appearances. He is 46 for 48 in save chances as a Padre since joining the club for the beginning of the 2012 season. That is the best save percentage in the majors during that span.

Edinson Volquez’s 5.80 ERA is the highest in the NL among qualified starters, but he remains in the rotation. The Cubs’ Edwin Jackson is second-worst at 5.05. Volquez is a candidate to be designated for assignment in the not-to-distant future without an upturn in performance.

• The Diamondbacks dealt underachieving right-hander Ian Kennedy to the Padres at the trade deadline for situational left-hander Joe Thatcher, potential future closer Matt Stites and a draft pick. Kennedy, a 21-game winner two years ago, was 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts for Arizona this season. With San Diego, he blanked the Cincinnati Reds for seven innings in his last outing before surrendering a two-run homer to Xavier Paul in the eighth.

• Ex-Met Ronny Cedeno joined the organization on a minor league deal on Aug. 2, a week after being released by the Houston Astros. He had been in spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals. Cedeno made his Padres debut Aug. 7 and has started the past two games at shortstop. He is sharing the role with Logan Forsythe. The Padres lost Everth Cabrera to a 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension.

• Left fielder Carlos Quentin is eligible to return from the DL for the series opener against the Mets, but is experiencing continued knee soreness and will remain inactive through the weekend. Fellow outfielder Cameron Maybin also had a knee flare-up, during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tucson, and remains on the DL. Maybin may be lost for the season.

John Buck is not the only catcher potentially departing on paternity leave this weekend. Padres catcher Nick Hundley’s wife is due -- overdue, actually -- as well. Hundley’s wife had been due Sunday. Yasmani Grandal is on the DL with a right knee sprain. Rene Rivera is the current backup. Rivera played for Triple-A Buffalo as a Mets farmhand in 2009.

• Rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko has struggled since returning July 12 from a right groin strain that cost him 30 games. Although he is hitting only .165 since his activation from the DL, he did homer twice during this past series at Colorado.

• Right-hander Tyson Ross, who was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in November, is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts since reentering the rotation from the bullpen. Opponents are hitting .135 against him during that span.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Padres 2

April, 1, 2013

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets’ Amazin’ Opening Day success continues.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
Jon Niese earned the win in his first career Opening Day start.

Jonathon Niese surrendered two runs in a 101-pitch effort over 6 2/3 innings, the Mets knocked out Edinson Volquez before he recorded an out in the fourth and Collin Cowgill capped things off with a seventh-inning grand slam as the Mets beat the San Diego Padres, 11-2, on Monday at Citi Field.

The Mets improved to 34-18 in openers, upping their MLB-best winning percentage to .654 on Day 1.

The Citi Field crowd was announced as a sellout at 41,053 -- plus another 1,000 tickets donated to Sandy relief -- although there appeared to be pockets of empty seats.

WHAT OUTFIELD? Cowgill, whose four RBIs were a career high, became the second Met to produce a grand slam on Opening Day, joining Todd Hundley (1995, off Billy Swift at Colorado). Brad Brach, who gave up Cowgill's slam, grew up in Freehold, N.J., and played college ball at Monmouth.

NIESELY DONE: Niese, the Mets’ 22nd different Opening Day starter, did some of the damage with his bat. He went 2-for-2 with a walk. That included delivering an RBI single off the glove of third baseman Cody Ransom in the second inning, which staked the Mets to a 2-0 lead.

Only two major league pitchers reached base three times in a game last season without benefit of an error: Mat Latos and Cole Hamels.

Niese hit .218 last season, tied with Tim Hudson for third among NL pitchers who had at least 60 plate appearances. Mike Leake led that category with a .295 average. Edwin Jackson ranked second, at .228.

On the mound, the damage against Niese came on a third-inning RBI single by Carlos Quentin and a homer to open the sixth by Yonder Alonso. He allowed four hits and two walks while also hitting a batter and striking out four.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Marlon Byrd had a pair of RBI singles in his Mets debut.

TWO-FER SPECIAL: Marlon Byrd contributed a pair of run-scoring singles in his Mets debut, while fellow newcomer John Buck had an RBI single.

Byrd, Buck and Ruben Tejada each notched two hits.

Byrd’s two RBIs matched his entire total in 13 games with the Chicago Cubs to open last season.

Buck -- not fleet of foot -- had scored the game’s opening run from first base on a double by Tejada into the left-field corner in the second inning.

Tejada’s contribution was particularly welcome considering his frigid spring training. After homering in his first Grapefruit League at-bat (against Washington’s Stephen Strasburg), Tejada hit .078 (4-for-51) the remainder of spring training, leading to multiple conversations with Terry Collins.

OFF AND RUNNING: David Wright produced a third-inning single, continuing his streak of at least one hit on Opening Day every season he has been in the big leagues (since 2005).

Wright also stole two bases. He joined Mookie Wilson and Darryl Strawberry as the only Mets with multi-steal games on Opening Day.

Wright ranks fifth on the franchise’s all-time steals list with 168. He trails Jose Reyes (370), Mookie Wilson (281), Howard Johnson (202) and Darryl Strawberry (191).

Wright has produced one 30-30 season in his career -- 2007, when he had 30 homers and 34 steals.

OUTTA HERE: Volquez had his shortest outing since lasting only 1 2/3 innings against the Mets last Aug. 4 in San Diego. He was charged with six runs this time. Only Mudcat Grant (1 1/3 innings, 1969 Montreal Expos) and Russ Ortiz (2 1/3, 2004 Atlanta Braves) had shorter Opening Day starts against the Mets in the franchise’s 52-season history.

DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST: After Lucas Duda drew his second walk of the game in the seventh, Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch-ran with the Mets leading by five runs. Nieuwenhuis stayed in the game in center field, with Cowgill shifting to left field. Collins’ intention is to sub Nieuwenhuis for Duda late in games when the Mets have a lead.

SWING AND MISS: Ike Davis went 0-for-5 with four Ks -- the first Met ever with that strikeout total on an Opening Day.

DEBUTANT: In his 15th pro season, Scott Rice made his major league debut, handling the ninth. He struck out two.

WHAT’S NEXT: After an off-day, the Mets send Matt Harvey to the mound Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard. The Mets had a 21-38 record against southpaw starters last season.

Why more Cowgill? Collins explains

April, 1, 2013

Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Collin Cowgill will be the regular center fielder.

Terry Collins said he selected Collin Cowgill for the leadoff spot in part because of the pop in his bat.

"It can be 1-0 in a hurry," said Collins, while acknowledging Jordany Valdespin also has that potential.

The righty-hitting Cowgill has been tabbed as the everyday center fielder for now.

Collins noted righty hitters actually are effective against San Diego Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez anyway, because they take away his changeup. In fact, righties hit .240 with 10 homers in 375 at-bats against Volquez last season, while lefties hit .230 with four homers in 304 at-bats.

Cowgill, whose father drove 12 hours from Kentucky to be at Citi Field, will start on Opening Day for the first time in his three-year major league career.

"You always hope that's the case," Cowgill said about being a full-time player, after having part-time roles with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics. "Obviously it's very satisfying at this point. I've still got a lot of work to do. Just because I have the job now doesn't mean I get it for the whole year. So I've got to play hard and play well and help this team win. And that's what I'm going to do."

Said Collins: "The first couple of weeks is when we find out if these guys are everyday players."

Series preview: Mets vs. Padres

March, 31, 2013

Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard and Eric Stults during the season-opening series.
METS (74-88, fourth place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (76-86, fourth place/NL West)

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese (13-9, 3.40) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (11-11, 4.14), 1:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.73) vs. LHP Clayton Richard (14-14, 3.99), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.10) vs. LHP Eric Stults (8-3, 2.92), 1:10 p.m. ET

Padres short hops

Chase Headley, who finished fifth in NL MVP balloting last season and won the NL’s Gold Glove at third base, will open the season on the DL with a fractured tip of his left thumb. Logan Forsythe, who was due to fill in, is dealing with plantar fasciitis. So Cody Ransom is the Opening Day starter.

Ransom, 37, signed a minor league contract with San Diego in December. He hit a combined .220 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs in 246 at-bats with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers last season. In 2008, Ransom became the first player in Yankees history to homer in his first two plate appearances with the club.

Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images
Jedd Gyorko, who had 30 homers in the minors last season, makes his major league debut against the Mets.

• Volquez will make his third straight Opening Day start, which includes 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds. Volquez made three World Baseball Classic appearances for the victorious Dominican Republic, including notching the win against the Netherlands in the semifinals. He walked six in his final Cactus League start, but nonetheless limited the Cincinnati Reds to one run and two hits in five-plus innings.

• Rookie Jedd Gyorko, a second-round pick in 2010 from West Virginia University, will make his major league debut on Opening Day. He hit a combined .311 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs in 2012 between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. The righty-hitting Gyorko will move to third base in place of Ransom, and lefty-hitting Alexi Amarista should start at second base, Wednesday against Harvey. The diminutive Amarista has picked up the nickname "Little Ninja."

Carlos Quentin, who had two surgeries on his right knee last year, missed more than two weeks of spring training because of soreness but returned to Cactus League action Tuesday. He is poised to start in left field.

• After dropping a season-worst 22 games under .500 on June 29, the Padres produced a 48-36 record to close last season.

• First baseman Yonder Alonso set a Padres rookie record with 39 doubles last season, passing Benito Santiago’s former mark (33 in 1987).

• Shortstop Everth Cabrera became the first Padre to lead the NL in steals when he produced 44 in 2012. He was 59 for 63 in steal attempts between Triple-A and the majors. His 24 straight successful steals in the majors set a franchise record to start a season. Cabrera is the reigning Nicaraguan Pro Sports Athlete of the Year.

• The Mets reportedly turned down a swap of Daniel Murphy for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson last year.

• Right fielder Chris Denorfia twice has represented Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He hit .381 in five games in this month’s tournament for Mike Piazza’s squad.

• Center fielder Cameron Maybin hit .198 in his first 71 games and .286 over his final 76 games last season.

• Richard logged 218 2/3 innings last season, which ranked fourth in the NL. He also allowed an NL-high 31 homers.

• Closer Huston Street converted 23 of 24 save chances last season (95.8 percent). The only better conversion percentages in franchise history: Rod Beck (100 percent, 2003) and Trevor Hoffman (98.1 percent, 1998). Street signed a two-year, $14 million extension last July that includes a $7 million team option for 2015.

• A waiver claim last May from the Chicago White Sox, Stults went 7-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his final 10 starts last season.

• San Diego’s projected Opening Day lineup:

Denorfia, rf
Cabrera, ss
Quentin, lf
Alonso, 1b
Gyorko, 2b
Nick Hundley, c
Ransom, 3b
Maybin, cf
Volquez, rhp

Morning briefing: One day until opener

March, 31, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have landed in New York.

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

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

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

Sunday’s news reports:

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

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

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

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

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

Read more on the roster in Newsday and the Times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Tom Hausman turns 60.

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

Morning briefing: Crunch time for roster

March, 28, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Prospect Domingo Tapia starts for the Mets as they make a trip to Viera to face left-hander Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals today at 1:05 p.m.

Tapia, a 21-year-old right-hander, went 6-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) with Class A Savannah last season.

Thursday’s news reports:

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Justin Turner suffered a left calf strain Wednesday.

Justin Turner suffered a strained left calf and now may end up on the disabled list to open the season. The Mets had been debating carrying Kirk Nieuwenhuis over Omar Quintanilla on the Opening Day roster. Now, both may fit if Turner opens the season inactive. Read more in Newsday and the Times.

• The Mets plan to have Shaun Marcum (neck) start Tuesday in a minor league or simulated game, then presumably have him activated from the DL to start the sixth game of the regular season, April 7 against the Miami Marlins. That would alleviate the need to carry Aaron Laffey and open a 40-man roster spot -- and presumably allow the Mets to squeeze relievers Greg Burke and Jeurys Familia on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Record.

Daniel Murphy should play in his first Grapefruit League game today, signaling he will be ready to break camp with the club. David Wright, similarly optimistic, will stick to a minor league game. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger and

• See’s updated roster projection here.

Jeremy Hefner survived Tuesday’s sharp comebacker that struck him in the right elbow and is slated for Game 4 of the regular season. Read more in the Times.

Jonathon Niese tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a 74-pitch effort in his final work before facing the San Diego Padres on Opening Day. Marlon Byrd homered and had a two-run double and the Mets beat the Astros, 6-2, Wednesday. Read more in Newsday and

• Niese opposes Edinson Volquez on Monday at Citi Field. Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee also face the San Diego Padres. Check the projected pitching matchups for the first two series here. Read more in the Daily News and Star-Ledger.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Reliever Elvin Ramirez has been traded to the Angels.

• The Mets traded Elvin Ramirez to the Angels for cash to clear a 40-man roster spot. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Forbes values the Mets at $811 million. The Mets annually dispute the assessment. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

Bobby Parnell struck out the side in closing out Wednesday’s Grapefruit win. “I felt pretty strongly about him last year, going into the season, but still worried about him being the guy we wanted late in the game,” pitching coach Dan Warthen told Mike Puma in the Post. “But I think that maturity showed up toward the end of last year and hopefully it will carry on for the rest of his career.”

Pedro Feliciano, who accepted a minor league assignment, said he will pitch with Class A St. Lucie, not Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Sports Illustrated has a lengthy piece this week remembering former Mets top prospect Brian Cole, who died in an automobile accident departing spring training in 2001. The Herald-Tribune has a summary.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post describes the Mets as undermanned but keeping the faith. Writes Kernan:

These Mets, of course, had better be ready because there is no help coming over the hill. The Yankees run into major injuries and the next thing you know, they’re dropping $14 million on trying to salvage Vernon Wells’ career. The move may not work, but the Yankees are throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

That is not happening here. This is it as far as talent coming through the Mets’ clubhouse door. And make no mistake: It is going to be a supreme challenge.

“It’s going to be a long year for the Mets,’’ a scout who has followed the team all spring told The Post last night. “I like Matt Harvey and I like Jon Niese, but the other guys in the rotation are all the same kind of guys. They don’t have enough offense and they will have trouble catching the ball.’’

• Jared Diamond in the Journal is unimpressed with the Mets’ options for a second lefty in the bullpen to complement Josh Edgin.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report writes the club should back off readying Wright for Opening Day. … At Mets Police, in 2002 Mets fans were greeted by long post-9/11 security lines and Mo Vaughn.

BIRTHDAYS: Brad Emaus, the Opening Day second baseman two seasons ago, turns 27. … Generation K member Paul Wilson turns 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think Shaun Marcum will be ready to start Game 6 of the season?

Mets set rotation for Pads, Marlins

March, 27, 2013

Getty Images
The Mets' opening series rotation is Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets have committed to a rotation order for the season-opening homestand against the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins.

The verdict:

Vs. Padres

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese vs. RHP Edinson Volquez

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey vs. LHP Clayton Richard

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee vs. LHP Eric Stults

Vs. Marlins

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez

Saturday: Niese vs. RHP Kevin Slowey

Sunday: RHP Shaun Marcum vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco

That presumes Marcum is healthy for that start.

Mets to see two lefties in opening series

March, 27, 2013
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Upon further review, the Mets will see two southpaw starters in the opening series against the San Diego Padres.

After facing right-hander Edinson Volquez on Opening Day, the Pads announced lefties Clayton Richard and Eric Stults will start the next two games of the series.

Right-hander Jason Marquis originally had been expected to start the series finale.

The Mets were 21-38 against left-handed starting pitchers and 53-50 against right-handed starting pitchers last season.

Pads align rotation for Mets series

March, 25, 2013

Associated Press
The Mets are expected to face (l to r) Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard and Jason Marquis during the season-opening series.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The San Diego Padres have set up their rotation for their season-opening series against the New York Mets.

Right-hander Edinson Volquez starts on Opening Day, followed by left-hander Clayton Richard in Game 2 and right-hander Jason Marquis in the series finale.

The Mets have not announced their rotation beyond the opener, but the matchups are projected to be:

April 1: Jonathon Niese vs. Volquez
April 3: Shaun Marcum vs. Richard
April 4: Matt Harvey vs. Marquis

With the Mets facing a right-hander in the opener, it's possible a lineup that has David Wright and not Daniel Murphy could look like this:

Jordany Valdespin, cf
Justin Turner, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Ike Davis, 1b
Marlon Byrd, rf
Lucas Duda, lf
John Buck, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jonathon Niese, lhp

Mets morning briefing 8.5.12

August, 5, 2012
SAN DIEGO -- Edinson Volquez forced in a pair of runs on bases-loaded walks in a four-run second inning and Jeremy Hefner limited his former organization to one run in six innings in what's likely his final start for the near term as the Mets beat the Padres, 6-2, Saturday at Petco Park.

On a big pitching day in the system, with Zack Wheeler and Johan Santana scheduled to appear in minor league games, Matt Harvey makes his third major league start in today's finale to an 11-game road trip. The Mets already having secured a winning record on the three-city jaunt. Harvey (1-1, 1.59 ERA) opposes Padres right-hander Jason Marquis (4-6, 4.08 ERA) in the 4:05 p.m. ET game. Harvey's home debut is scheduled for Friday against the Braves.

Sunday's news reports:

• With a five-run cushion in the ninth, Terry Collins tried to avoid using Frank Francisco, because the closer's right lat muscle barks after he is used. But after Bobby Parnell surrendered a ninth-inning homer and allowed two more baserunners to reach, Collins had to summon Francisco, who notched a save in his first appearance since June 22.

Daniel Murphy went 4-for-4 with a walk, while Mike Baxter walked in each of his five plate appearances, tying a franchise record for bases on balls. Josh Edgin contributed two scoreless relief innings. Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday and Daily News.

Jennifer Stewart/US Presswire
Matt Harvey makes his third major league start today, in San Diego.

• Harvey has already demonstrated a baseball sophistication beyond his rookie status, including noticing a teammate tipping pitches and sharing the info with pitching coach Dan Warthen. Writes Andy Martino in the Daily News:

Warthen is on the top step of the dugout, watching one of his pitchers face the D-Backs, but there is something his veteran eye does not catch. Harvey joins him, and points to the mound. “I think his glove flashes a little bit,” the kid tells the lifer. “Do you see that?” This is not a widely known term, but Harvey understands it. When a pitcher comes set and adopts a breaking ball grip, his glove can expand, or “flash,” as his fingers move. As this happens, he tips his pitch to an astute hitter. Warthen looks at the mound, then back at Harvey. The rookie is right. “He’s as old school as he can be,” Warthen says. “Listens, watches, but doesn’t talk a lot. He’s actually a very loquacious young man, but he just follows his instincts and watches the game intently.”

Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post about Harvey:

Harvey keeps a book. That is not unusual. Some of the best pitchers in the game, kept notes on opposing hitters and wrote themselves reminders on how to keep their mechanics in line. Curt Schilling kept just such a journal, using it as a workbook. Harvey keeps his journal on his iPad. He calls it his Pitching Bible. Harvey’s journal is only for him, a reminder of what he must do to have success as a pitcher. After his last outing, Harvey’s notes included this key point, stay more over the pitching rubber, don’t rush. Harvey explained the adjustment to The Post in a quiet corner of the visitor’s clubhouse. “I need to have almost a hesitation, a pause,’’ he said. “Sometimes you jump out too fast before your hand gets out of your glove. Sometimes I will go to the plate and my hand is still in my glove, instead of staying over the rubber and getting a release with that hand and arm.’’

Read more in the Record.

• Santana makes a scheduled three-inning appearance for the Brooklyn Cyclones at 5 p.m. today. Santana will face the Auburn Doubledays, which is actually the New York-Penn League team for which the southpaw made a combined 16 starts during his first two professional seasons, in 1997 and '98, as an Astros farmhand. Santana eventually was a Rule 5 pick out of Houston's minor league system on Dec. 13, 1999, by the Marlins on behalf of the Twins.

With Santana due to return to the majors on Saturday against the Braves, Hefner should be available in the bullpen by Wednesday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Edgin has been unscored upon in nine straight appearances. Collins said pregame he will be wary of overusing Edgin in Tim Byrdak's absence with a shoulder issue. But the manager said after the rookie tossed two scoreless innings Saturday: “I wanted to win tonight’s game. The way their lineup is set up, those left-handed hitters at the top of the order, I wanted him to face them.” Writes Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger:

The day Josh Edgin’s life changed, he sat in front of a computer, still covered in sweat and grime from a day spent working on a directional boring crew in the swamps of South Carolina. On June 10, 2010, the second day of the MLB Draft, he spent his day laying pipe in the muggy weather, shoveling dirt and batting away gnats. He got paid about $650 a week. He intended to finish out his degree that fall at nearby Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. His career as a mediocre college starter was over. Real life would now begin.

When he got home, he turned on his computer, just to check if his name was called in the draft. With the 902nd pick, early in the 30th round, the Mets chose him. Edgin soon got a call from area scout Marlin MacPhail. Two days later, he recalled, they met at a nearby Chili’s, where he signed a $1,733 bonus and reported a few days after that for work as a pitcher in the lowest rungs of the Mets’ minor-league system, Class A Kingsport.

Read more in the Times, Post and Newsday.

• Wheeler makes his Triple-A debut at 1:05 p.m. today in Buffalo against Syracuse, the top affiliate of the Washington Nationals. "I've just got to go out there and pitch the same game that I've been pitching and get my offspeed over for strikes and early and show them that I have something other than my fastball so they can't just sit on that," Wheeler told Amy Moritz in the Buffalo News. "Hopefully it will work out for me. ... You know, I'm a hard-throwing guy. This offseason I worked hard to develop my off-speed pitches, getting those over for strikes early in the count so you can kind of put them away a little bit later. My slider's come a long way, and that goes well with my fastball and helps me strike out a lot of guys."

Wally Backman was suspended three games for his incident with Syracuse manager Tony Beasley during Friday's Triple-A game. Watch the video here.

• 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini suffered a fractured tip of his middle finger Wednesday when he was struck with a pitch while playing for Kingsport. The Louisiana prep product's season may be over.

Chris Schwinden tossed six scoreless innings and Lucas Duda had an RBI double in Buffalo's 1-0 win against Syracuse. Greg Peavey tossed his second career complete game in Binghamton's win in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Read Saturday's full minor league report here.

• The Mets plan to introduce the logos for the Citi Field-hosted 2013 All-Star Game during a press conference Tuesday. However, at least one of the primary images apparently has made its way onto the internet. Items with the logo apparently already have been on display at the Mets' team store in Manhattan. Check it out via The Mets Police here.

Mike Kerwick in the Record catches up with Don Bosco product C.J. Nitkowski, who is attempting a comeback as a sidearm reliever at age 39 with Binghamton.

TRIVIA: When Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran collided in right-center on Aug. 11, 2005 at Petco Park, who was the third starting outfielder that day?

Saturday's answer: Baxter was drafted by the Padres in the fourth round in '05 out of Vanderbilt. He began his college career at Columbia.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Padres 2

August, 4, 2012

WHAT IT MEANS: Jeremy Hefner, who is poised to be bounced from the rotation with Johan Santana due to return next weekend, showed he will remain a viable spot starter if the Mets need to give pitchers extra rest down the stretch.

Hefner allowed a leadoff single to Alexi Amarista in the first inning, but erased him by doubling up No. 2 hitter Will Venable. He ultimately limited his former organization to one run on five hits and no walks in a 74-pitch effort spanning six innings.

Hefner originally was drafted by San Diego in the fifth round in 2007 and exclusively was a Padres minor leaguer until being claimed off waivers by the Pirates and then by the Mets this past offseason.

The Mets beat the Padres 6-2 Saturday night at Petco Park.

Terry Collins said pregame that he expected Hefner now to be reassigned to the bullpen. Santana is scheduled to pitch three innings for the Brooklyn Cyclones on Sunday, then reenter the rotation next Saturday against the Braves at Citi Field.

WALK TALL: Mike Baxter -- a waiver claim from the Padres -- walked in all five plate appearances, matching the franchise record for walks set by Vince Coleman in a 16-inning game against the Pirates on Aug. 10, 1992. The last five-walk performance in the majors in a nine-inning game was by Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard in 2006.

Edinson Volquez walked four including Baxter, forcing in two runs, and Jordany Valdespin had a two-run double in a four-run second inning. Valdespin had been only 3-for-23 on the road trip entering that at-bat.

Daniel Murphy went 4-for-4 with a walk.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Josh Edgin, now the lone lefty in the bullpen with Tim Byrdak landing on the DL, tossed a scoreless seventh despite a two-out error by Ruben Tejada prolonging the inning. Edgin then worked the eighth inning as well, despite Collins saying he needed to be conscious of not overworking Edgin in Byrdak's absence.

FRANKLY SPEAKING: Bobby Parnell began the ninth inning and served up a homer to Chase Headley on the frame's first pitch. Frank Francisco, whom Collins said he planned to use regardless of the game circumstances, began warming as Parnell subsequently surrendered a double and then a walk.

Francisco, in his first game action since landing on the DL on June 24, inherited a four-run lead and two runners from Parnell with one out. He needed two pitches to coax a game-ending double play from John Baker.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets already have clinched a winning three-city, 11-game road trip heading into Sunday’s finale, in which Matt Harvey (1-1, 1.59 ERA) opposes Jason Marquis (4-6, 4.08) at 4:05 p.m. ET. After splitting four games in Arizona, the Mets took three of four in San Francisco and have now split the first two games in San Diego. It will be the third start of Harvey’s major league career.



Daniel Murphy
.297 7 37 55
HRC. Granderson 14
RBIL. Duda 46
RD. Murphy 55
OPSL. Duda .835
WB. Colon 8
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 99