New York Mets: Eric Beaulac

Farm report: Elvin back after DC diversion

April, 25, 2012
Right-hander Elvin Ramirez had opened eyes during the 2010-11 winter-ball season in his native Dominican Republic while compiling a 1.85 ERA for Gigantes del Cibao in 20 relief appearances.

So during the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings that December, while the Mets were selecting Pedro Beato from the Orioles and Brad Emaus from the Blue Jays, the Nationals were grabbing Ramirez from the Mets.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Elvin Ramirez

Ramirez, now 24, never did pitch while spending nearly a full year with the Nationals. He had developed a shoulder issue while wowing in winter ball that ultimately led to late-March 2011 shoulder surgery while temporarily Washington property.

The Nats eventually returned him to the Mets in mid-October. They could have carried him into this season with the Rule 5 provisions still in place, but chose to no longer tie up the 40-man roster spot.

So now, after a full season away from the organization, which he primarily spent rehabbing at the Nationals’ spring-training complex in Viera, Fla., Ramirez is back with the Mets and again opening eyes.

“I was in-between,” said Ramirez, who spent plenty of time with Washington pitcher and fellow Dominican Atahaulpa Severino during the lost season at the Nats’ complex. “I was hurt, so I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was waiting for whatever was going to happen.”

So far this season, Ramirez has tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings over five relief appearances for Double-A Binghamton. He has struck out a gaudy 15 Eastern League batters while surrendering three hits and five walks.

Ramirez’s velocity sat at 93-94 mph in a recent outing, still shy of the 94-96 mph he tossed pre-shoulder issue. But the results speak for themselves. And the velocity has been creeping upward since Ramirez’s first B-Mets outing, on April 6.

“One of the things I heard when he got Rule 5’d by the Nationals was that winter he was throwing extremely hard,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez said. “His fastball was up to 99, 98 mph. After the injury he suffered -- he sat out last year -- the velocity is coming back slowly. I think in spring training he was throwing 90, 92. There’s been a couple of times here where he’s topped out at 96. Some of the pitching coaches that have seen him in the past say he looks healthy, and they think his fastball is going to come back again.

“But it’s been impressive right now. He throws a fastball, slider and changeup. Right now they’re pretty good. The thing I remember of Elvin from Savannah in 2008, he had the makings of a good changeup. Now he’s got a really good changeup. And he throws it to right-handed hitters. I think that makes him real effective.”

Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .406; Bobby Scales, Buffalo, .377; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .365; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .356; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .333; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, .321; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .316; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .315; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, .294; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .291.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 6.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 15; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 15; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 14; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 12.

Steals: Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 4; Luis Nieves, Savannah, 4; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 4.

ERA: Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 1.13; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 1.23; Collin McHugh, Bighamton, 1.59; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 1.76; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 1.80; Jeremy Hefner, Buffalo, 1.96; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 1.99; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.05; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 2.05; Domingo Tapia, Savannah, 2.55.

Wins: Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 3; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 3.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 4; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 3; Josh Edgin, Buffalo, 2; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 2; Adrian Rosario, St. Lucie, 2.

Strikeouts: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 24; Jeurys Familia, Buffalo, 23; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 22; Domingo Tapia, Savannah, 20.

Short hops

Sean Ratliff, who was struck in the eye with a foul ball during spring training in 2011 off the bat of Zach Lutz, has retired. Ratliff, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford, plans to head back to school to complete his education. He underwent four surgeries last year and attempted a comeback this season with Class A St. Lucie. But the outfielder was 3-for-22 with 10 strikeouts and could not overcome the vision deficiencies.

• Left-handed reliever Daniel Herrera is due to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. The injury helped fuel the promotion of fellow lefty Josh Edgin from Binghamton to Buffalo.

Edgin, 25, impressed in spring training and officially was added to major league camp after starting on the minor league side. He struck out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut Monday at Lehigh Valley. Edgin will be exposed to different types of situations with the Bisons to ready him for the majors -- from save opportunities, to entering mid-inning for lefty-on-lefty matchups, to working two-inning appearances. The Lehigh Valley in-stadium gun, which may be slightly slow, clocked Edgin’s fastball at 92 mph in his Buffalo debut. He also showed a tight slider.

The Mets actually have two viable lefty relief options with the Bisons. Chuck James has tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, albeit with five walks.

So why was left-hander Robert Carson the one promoted to the majors Tuesday after Mike Pelfrey was placed on the DL? Well, he’s the one on the 40-man roster. And the call-up is only intended for the Marlins series, after which Carson is expected to be replaced by presumed Friday starter Chris Schwinden.

• Outfielder Dustin Martin made his Triple-A Buffalo debut Tuesday night. Martin, originally a 26th-round pick by the Mets in 2006 out of Sam Houston State, was sent to the Twins with Drew Butera when the Mets originally acquired Luis Castillo. Martin was released by Minnesota at the end of spring training in March. He hit .265 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs in 490 at-bats last season with Triple-A Rochester.

Matt Harvey possessed the best curveball of any of his Triple-A starts while limiting Syracuse to three runs on four hits and three walks in six innings Friday. Harvey, who notched his first Triple-A win, struck out Nationals phenom Bryce Harper twice and also walked him in three plate appearances.

Harper got vengeance on fellow prospect Jeurys Familia the following day, though. After Familia had retired nine straight Syracuse batters, Harper launched his first Triple-A homer. Familia nonetheless was efficient in the outing while striking out eight in a 93-pitch effort over five innings. Harper’s solo homer was the lone run allowed by Familia.

• Bisons right fielder Adam Loewen has been sidelined since being pulled from Friday’s game. He is wearing a boot on his right foot. The injury happened early in the season and had been nagging Loewen. The half-inning before he departed, Loewen felt discomfort tracking a ball in the right-center gap. The next half-inning, while being thrown out by Harper on a play at the plate, manager Wally Backman noticed Loewen had difficulty accelerating. Loewen, who was beaten out by Mike Baxter for the lefty-hitting backup outfield job with the Mets, was hitting .270 with three homers in 37 at-bats with the Bisons.

Dylan Owen, during a spot start Monday while Jeremy Hefner had a major league cameo, not only tossed 4 2/3 effective innings, he became the first Buffalo pitched in 18 years to homer.

Valentino Pascucci has a nine-game hitting streak and Vinny Rottino has a seven-game hitting streak with the Bisons.

Mike Nickeas is 1-for-14 this season for the Mets. And if the Mets dip to the minors to make a change at some point for Josh Thole’s complement, ex-Mariner/Padre Rob Johnson might be the alternative. Still, Johnson is hitting only .214 through 42 at-bats with the Bisons. And fellow Triple-A catcher Lucas May is hitting only .139. The Mets could scour the waiver wire, too. But with catching at a premium in MLB, it may be doubtful something attractive becomes available.

• Middle infielder Josh Rodriguez, a late spring-training pickup by the Mets after his release from the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been named the Double-A Eastern League Player of the Week. Rodriguez, 27, was the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft in December 2010 that also involved Ramirez, Beato and Emaus. He appeared in seven games for the Pirates last season. Rodriguez is hitting .365 with two homers and 10 RBIs for the B-Mets. His signing was influenced by Paul DePodesta, and with a promise of a potentially quick move to Triple-A. Rodriguez’s action at shortstop should increase with teammate Sean Kazmar landing on Binghamton’s DL with an oblique injury.

• First baseman Allan Dykstra, who arrived at the end of spring training in 2011 from the Padres in a swap for reliever Eddie Kunz, headed home to California for five weeks after fracturing his left forearm reaching for a throw from pitcher Darin Gorski. Dykstra will be limited to riding a bicycle during that span. He suffered a similar injury earlier in his career with San Diego and suffered ligament damage. The bone damage is a less difficult road back. Eric Campbell is now manning first base for the B-Mets.

• The Mets released right-hander Eric Beaulac, a ninth-round pick in 2008 out of LeMoyne (N.Y.) College.

• Outfielder Darrell Ceciliani had a short-lived return to St. Lucie’s active roster. After an 11-day absence, Ceciliani injured his hamstring retreating to catch a fly ball Sunday, in his second game back. He previously had been on the DL with a right groin injury. In his six Florida State League games this season, the former New York-Penn League batting champ is hitting .346.

• Left-hander Chase Huchingson’s dominating start to the season for St. Lucie, which included a 3-0 record and 17-inning scoreless streak, abruptly came to a halt Tuesday night when he allowed two first-inning runs against Fort Myers. Still, Huchingson’s acquisition is a success story. Scout Max Semler liked Huchingson’s arm and signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Central Arkansas in 2010 after spotting him playing outfield and pitching in an obscure summer league. Huchingson’s fastball sits between 90 and 92 mph.

• Right-handers Kyle Allen and Erik Goeddel made their season debuts for St. Lucie during the past week. Goeddel, a UCLA product, was treated slowly in readying for the season after dealing with shoulder issues last year that limited him to 15 games with Savannah. He allowed a solo homer to rehabbing Cardinal Allen Craig but no other damage in three innings, in the resumption of a suspended game. Goeddel now is expected to enter what should be a six-man St. Lucie rotation.

Cory Vaughn had an inside-the-park homer for St. Lucie. He has a .391 on-base percentage.

• Mets officials are very pleased with 20-year-old Wilfredo Tovar’s play at shortstop for St. Lucie. Compared with Ruben Tejada because both have solid instincts at the position, Tovar may have a better arm and hands.

• Right-hander Logan Verrett, the third-round pick last June out of Baylor, landed on the Savannah DL, but already was due to resume throwing.

• A pair of farmhands removed from the 40-man roster by the Mets and claimed by other organizations are off to strong starts. Fernando Martinez is hitting .294 with three homers for Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros organization. He primarily is playing left field. Right-hander Josh Stinson, claimed at the end of spring training by the Brewers, is 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA and one save at Double-A Huntsville and is now being groomed as a starter. He went a season-high 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night.

• Ex-Met Nelson Figueroa has latched on with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.

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

Yanks 8, Mets 3: Over and out

April, 4, 2012

Kim Klement/US Presswire
Ike Davis belted a three-run homer in the third inning against Freddy Garcia on Wednesday.
Ike Davis homered for a second straight day against the Yankees -- this time a three-run shot off Freddy Garcia at George M. Steinbrenner Field -- but the Mets lost the lead late while using minor leaguers and finished spring training with an 8-3 loss Wednesday afternoon.

The Mets finished Grapefruit League play at 9-20-2. The loss total was one shy of the franchise-worst 12-21-1 record the Mets produced in 2007.

“I think our guys are ready to get out of here,” Terry Collins said before leaving the ballpark, bound for the team’s charter flight to New York. “They’ve had a ton of work. They’re tired. But they got themselves ready. And that’s what we asked for the other day, to go out there and get yourself locked in, because it’s time to get ready.”

Collins said one positive is having no integral players on the disabled list for Thursday’s matinee against Tommy Hanson and the Atlanta Braves. Pedro Beato (shoulder) and D.J. Carrasco (ankle) will open the season on the DL, but Johan Santana is on the mound Thursday and Andres Torres (calf), Frank Francisco (knee) and Tim Byrdak (knee) all made advancements in the final days of camp and are active.

Collins said Santana will be capped at 85 to 90 pitches in his first major league game since Sept. 2, 2010 -- 12 days before surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

The manager said he will use Francisco to close on Opening Day if the need arises, even though the former Blue Jay received a cortisone shot in his left knee Sunday and has residual inflammation.

“It’s certainly not the ideal situation going in, but we got a lot of at-bats for a lot of guys late,” Collins said. “Andres looks ready to go. Certainly it’s good to get David [Wright] back in the lineup. We’re as ready as we could possibly be right now.”

• Davis had launched a walk-off homer Tuesday against Yankees farmhand Mark Montgomery. He actually has homered in three straight games he has played, having also gone deep Sunday against Detroit’s Thad Weber.

Davis finished with four homers, tied for the team lead with Lucas Duda. The Mets mustered only 17 homers overall, better than only the Miami Marlins’ 16 among National League teams.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Davis said about his late homer streak. “I mean, it’s nice to hit a ball like that, but it doesn’t count. I hit one to left, to center, and now I pulled one. It’s nice. The swing is feeling good. I’ve hit a couple of balls hard, and am ready for this thing to start.”

Davis arrived at camp amid curiosity about how the left ankle injury that sidelined him after May 10 last season would hold up. He insisted it has been a nonissue, as has been the suspected-but so-far-latent case of valley fever. Davis said he will see a doctor in New York for a lung examination as a follow-up to ensure nothing alarming is going on internally with respect to the latter issue, which is prevalent in the Southwest and can seriously sap energy.

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Farm report: For Mazzoni, one and done

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

Courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
Cory Mazzoni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organization leaders

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

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short hops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Daniel Murphy
.295 7 39 60
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 57
RD. Murphy 60
OPSL. Duda .856
WB. Colon 10
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121