New York Mets: Fernando Cabrera

Around the minors 8.25.12

August, 25, 2012
BUFFALO 5, ROCHESTER 3: With Buffalo down 3-0, Matt den Dekker and Mike Nickeas singled to open the third. Fred Lewis then produced an RBI double in what became a four-run inning. Starter Chris Schwinden allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. Drew Carpenter, Garrett Olson and Fernando Cabrera combined for 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings. Valentino Pascucci's solo homer in the seventh capped the scoring. Box

BINGHAMTON 5, PORTLAND 1: Darin Gorski matched a season high with nine strikeouts while limiting Portland to one run. Reese Havens contributed a two-run homer that snapped his 0-for-21 drought. The Sea Dogs needed a break in the first to score their lone run. With two outs and Jeremy Hazelbaker on first, Bryce Brentz lifted a fly ball to right. Dustin Martin got a late read and the ball landed inside the line for a single, plating Hazelbaker. The B-Mets cracked the scoreboard in the third against starter Drake Britton. Allan Dykstra drove in Wilmer Flores from first by doubling. Dykstra scored the go-ahead run when shortstop Xander Bogaerts booted Jefry Marte's groundball. After allowing a single to Derrik Gibson in the second, Gorski retired 12 straight Sea Dogs. The B-Mets added to their lead and chased Britton in the fourth. After consecutive one-out singles, Britton walked Pedro Zapata to load the bases. Havens then rolled a groundball to shortstop and beat out the potential double play, allowing a run to score. Will Latimer replaced Britton and got the final out of the frame. In the sixth, Havens blasted his 10th homer, kicking Binghamton’s lead to four. Brentz snapped Gorski’s impressive stretch in the sixth with a two-out single. Travis Shaw walked to increase the threat, but Gorski induced Boagaerts to line out. With a runner aboard in the eighth, Gorski racked up his ninth strikeout, painting the outside black against Hazelbaker. Ryan Fraser recorded the final out of eighth and tossed a scoreless ninth. Gorski (9-7) earned his third win in his last four starts, allowing five hits over 7 2/3 innings. Box

CHARLOTTE 2, ST. LUCIE 1 (12 innings): Todd Glaesmann’s leadoff homer against Jeff Walters in the 12th inning proved to the difference. Mets left-hander Chase Huchingson came within one out of a complete-game shutout, before Glaesmann’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth tied the score. Huchingson pitched 8 2/3 innings and allowed one run and three hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Adam Kolarek tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings and worked around a hit and walk. Walters allowed one run and three hits in two innings. Richard Lucas had scored from third on a wild pitch in the second inning for the lone run by the Mets. Darrell Ceciliani finished 3-for-5 with a walk. T.J. Rivera went 2-for-6. The Mets finished 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 14 on base. Box

ROME 4, SAVANNAH 1: Rome did all the Game 1 scoring in the fifth inning, on Ross Heffley two-run homer. Rome starter A.J. Holland shut out the Gnats through six innings. Savannah starter Yohan Almonte (0-2) surrendered Heffley’s long ball. In Game 2, the Gnats opened the scoring in the third on Yucarybert De La Cruz's sacrifice fly. The Braves rallied in the sixth against Savannah starter Alex Panteliodis.(4-8). With two outs and the bases empty, three singles evened the score at 1. Robbie Hefflinger then produced a three-run homer against Panteliodis. Rome starter Greg Ross threw a complete-game shutout. Box 1, Box 2

BLUEFIELD 7, KINGSPORT 0: Starter John Gant allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings. Right-handers Brandon Welch (fifth round) and Rob Whalen (12th round) made their professional debuts in relief, each allowing one run in one inning. Kingsport committed five errors, three from shortstop Anthony Chavez. Box

BROOKLYN 11, STATEN ISLAND 0: Hansel Robles tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He leads the New York-Penn League with a 1.20 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. Robles has not allowed an earned run in his last 31 innings, dating to July 28, and has not allowed any run in 22 innings. In the first, Dimas Ponce and Phillip Evans singled and Eudy Pina reached on a throwing error by shortstop Claudio Custodio. With the bases loaded, Kevin Plawecki delivered a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Yankees starter Gabriel Encinas surrendered another two runs. Jeff Reynolds walked and Julio Concepcion singled. Reynolds scored on Brandon Nimmo's double. Evans' ensuing single scored Concepcion. Brooklyn batted around in an eight-run seventh. Ponce hit a two-run triple. Zach Woods replaced Encinas, but Evans hit his third single of the night to plate Ponce. Pina and Alex Sanchez walked later in the inning. Jeff Glenn contributed a two-run single. Reynolds then blasted his second homer of the season, a three-run shot, to make it 11-0. Logan Taylor and Tyler Vanderheiden each threw an inning of hitless relief for the Cyclones. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 8.18.12

August, 18, 2012

Mark L. Baer/US Presswire
Bisons third baseman Zach Lutz slides into second base as Pawtucket shortstop Jonathan Hee waits for the ball at Fenway Park on Saturday.
BUFFALO 2, PAWTUCKET 0: Collin McHugh tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Robert Carson, Elvin Ramirez and Fernando Cabrera on a five-hit shutout as the Bisons beat the Red Sox's Triple-A affiliate in Boston's annual prospect showcase at Fenway Park. McHugh also tossed six scoreless innings last season at the historic ballpark, while representing Double-A Binghamton. After Josh Satin walked and advanced to third on Matt Tuiasosopo's double in the second, Brad Emaus' groundout got the Bisons on the scoreboard. Buffalo opened a two-run lead in the sixth when Josh Rodriguez homered over the Green Monster. Box

RICHMOND 4, BINGHAMTON 0: The B-Mets were held to three hits and suffered their 10th shutout loss. They were held hitless over their final 16 plate appearances. Chris Heston (9-5) baffled the B-Mets for seven innings. The Eastern League’s ERA leader surrendered three hits and extended his scoreless streak to 15 2/3 innings. Richmond’s ace helped his own cause in the third against Cory Mazzoni. With Ryan Cavan on first, Heston chopped an RBI double over Wilmer Flores’ head at third to give the Squirrels a 1-0 lead. Johnny Monell added a two-run homer in the fourth. Mazzoni (5-4) settled down after Monell’s blast with three scoreless frames. He allowed three runs on seven hits and racked up a career-high seven strikeouts in seven innings. Armando Rodriguez threw a scoreless eighth. Jeff Kaplan allowed a run on two hits in the ninth. Box

CHARLOTTE 9, ST. LUCIE 8: Danny Muno's single scored Alonzo Harris Jr. in the top of the ninth to give St. Lucie a one-run lead, but Charlotte answered with two runs in the bottom half for a walk-off win. Charlotte's Riccio Torrez had a game-tying double against Hamilton Bennett. First baseman Richard Lucas then committed a fielding error on Cody Rogers' grounder as Steven Tinoco scored the winning run. Adam Kolarek had surrendered three runs in the eighth and also was charged with a blown save. Box

HICKORY 12, SAVANNAH 5: Yohan Almonte and Randy Fontanez combined to surrender 11 runs in five innings. Almonte allowed three homers. Greg Pron and Brian Harrison homered in the loss. Box

KINGSPORT 8, ELIZABETHTON 4: Maikis De La Cruz drove in three runs and Yeixon Ruiz went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Akeel Morris tossed three scoreless relief innings. Box

VERMONT 4, BROOKLYN 1: Facing Cyclones starter Luis Mateo, Vermont pushed across two runs in the third. Kelvin Rojas singled and moved to second on Christopher Bostick's sacrifice bunt. Brett Vertigan then beat out an infield single to shortstop Phillip Evans, allowing Rojas to move to third. John Wooten grounded out to Mateo as Vertigan advanced to second with two outs. Bruce Maxwell followed with a two-run single. Paul Sewald replaced Mateo for the sixth and shut down the Lake Monsters in that frame. An inning later, however, Sewald surrendered his first two runs as a professional. The Cyclones plated their lone run in the eighth, against Tucker Healy. Juan Gamboa led off with a single and moved to third on a single by Jeff Glenn. Julio Concepcion then grounded into a run-scoring fielder's choice. Brandon Nimmo struck out and Dimas Ponce drew a walk, bringing up Evans with two outs. He also struck out, ending the threat. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 8.17.12

August, 18, 2012
BUFFALO 4, LEHIGH VALLEY 2: After Lehigh Valley starter Scott Elarton retired the first two Herd batters of the third, Buffalo overcame a 1-0 deficit with three runs. Lucas Duda opened Buffalo's scoring with a solo homer. After Zach Lutz walked, Buffalo produced three straight singles -- the final Matt den Dekker's two-RBI looper into shallow left-center. "He got off to a slow start here, but probably the last 10 days or two weeks, he's really starting to pick it up," manager Wally Backman said. "To see him getting better offensively -- not swinging as much or missing quite as much, cutting down on his strikeouts -- that's what we really want him to do." As for Duda, Backman said: "He's been working. He's spread his stance out a little bit. He's a little more aggressive at the plate right now. He's a big, strong kid that can hit the ball a long way, which we saw tonight. He's making some improvements, and we don't expect to have him here too long."

Jenrry Mejia limited Lehigh Valley to one run on five hits and a walk in six innings. "We wanted to get him in the bullpen," Backman said. "That's what everyone figured he was going to do, going to the major league level, and he probably still might. But to control his outings, we put him back in the rotation a little bit. Since doing that, he's been pretty good." In the ninth, Bisons closer Fernando Cabrera worked himself into a jam -- allowing consecutive singles to start the inning. But Cabrera retired the next three Lehigh Valley hitters to close the game. Box

RICHMOND 10, BINGHAMTON 3: The Flying Squirrels scored eight runs over the final two innings against Mark Cohoon, Ryan Fraser and Brandon Moore. After four scoreless innings, Richmond grabbed the lead against Cohoon on a two-run triple by Ryan Cavan. The B-Mets responded with aggressive baserunning in their half of the fifth. With Raul Reyes at first, Juan Centeno zipped a groundball to third that bounced off Daniel Mayora’s glove and rolled into left field. Reyes raced to third and scored when Nick Minnicozzi’s throw from left bounced away from Mayora. Binghamton struck again in similar fashion in the sixth. Dustin Martin singled and pushed the envelope by racing to third on Wilmer Flores’ single to right. Martin beat the throw and came home when Mayora tried to nab Flores at second but airmailed his attempt into right field. With two runners aboard later in the frame, Sean Kazmar gave Binghamton the lead with an RBI single. Flores easily scored from third, but Allan Dykstra was gunned down at the plate by Gary Brown.

Owning a one-run lead, Cohoon took the game into the eighth before surrendering a single and issuing his only walk. With the tying run on second, Fraser entered and loaded the bases by walking Mayora. Juan Perez made Fraser pay with a two-run double. Richmond stretched its lead to three on a two-run triple by Wes Hodges. The Flying Squirrels tagged Moore for four runs on five hits in the ninth, including three consecutive RBI doubles. Cohoon (7-9) allowed four runs on six hits over 7 1/3 innings. Half his runs scored under Fraser’s watch. Fraser and Moore combined to allow six runs on seven hits over 1 2/3 innings. Box

CHARLOTTE 6, ST. LUCIE 5: Jack Leathersich was charged with four runs in the seventh while recording only one out as St. Lucie squandered a 5-2 lead. Alonzo Harris Jr. went 3-for-5 and scored three runs in the loss. Cory Vaughn and Aderlin Rodriguez had two RBIs apiece. Box

HICKORY 6, SAVANNAH 0: Jim Fuller suffered the loss despite striking out 10 while allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. Savannah mustered only four hits, two by Matt Reynolds. Box

ELIZABETHTON 5, KINGSPORT 1: Chris Flexen dropped to 0-3 after surrendering three runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks in five innings. Box

BROOKLYN 12, TRI-CITY 4: Gabriel Ynoa limited Tri-City to one run in five innings, while Brandon Nimmo put an exclamation point on the victory with a grand slam as part of a six-run ninth. Nimmo has two grand slams this season. He finished Friday night with six RBIs. Craig Hansen tossed a scoreless relief inning, allowing a hit and striking out two, in his second appearance since signing with the organization. The ValleyCats made a late push, cutting the score to 6-4 with a three-run eighth charged to John Mincone (1.48 ERA), who had not allowed a run since June 22. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 8.11.12

August, 11, 2012
SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE 5, BUFFALO 1: After surrendering two hits, including Eduardo Nunez's RBI double, in the first inning, Zack Wheeler tossed five n0-hit innings in his second Triple-A start. He issued two walks in the sixth, but departed with his pitch count at 93 and the score tied at 1 after coaxing an inning-ending double play from Nunez. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored four runs against the Bisons bullpen, starting with Brandon Laird's tiebreaking homer off Dylan Owen in the seventh. Ronnier Mustelier clubbed a two-run homer off Fernando Cabrera in a three-run eighth. Buffalo scored its lone run in the fifth. Matt den Dekker doubled and scored on a pair of groundouts. Josh Satin singled in four trips to the plate to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Lucas Duda missed his third consecutive game because of a root canal. Box

HARRISBURG 5, BINGHAMTON 4: The Senators scored five unanswered runs and plated the walk-off winner on second baseman Wilmer Flores' throwing error. The B-Mets mustered three hits after the second inning. Brandon Moore suffered the B-Mets' first blown save since July 19. Ex-Blue Jay Drew Carpenter tossed a scoreless relief inning in his debut with the organization. Facing starter Danny Rosenbaum for the fourth time this season, Binghamton jumped on the lefty for three runs in the first as Jefry Marte and Francisco Pena contributed RBI singles. Wilfredo Tovar capped the output with a sac fly. The B-Mets threatened in the second with three hits and a walk, but settled for one run. Armando Rodriguez started the inning with a double for his first pro hit, and scored on Eric Campbell’s single. The Senators answered in the second. With a man aboard, Sean Nicol launched a full-count offering from Rodriguez into the left-field seats. It was the only blemish for Rodriguez, who went four innings in this third spot start. Brad Holt took over in the fifth, and Justin Bloxom blasted a solo homer to trim Binghamton’s lead to one. Holt retired the next five batters to cap a two-inning relief appearance. Signed by the Mets and added to the roster on Friday, Carpenter fanned two and worked around a one-out single in a scorelesss frame. Carpenter was the only B-Mets reliever who did not surrender a run. Moore watched Binghamton’s one-run lead disappear in the eighth. Tim Pahuta led off by launching the first pitch over the right-center fence to tie the score at 4. After the B-Mets were put down in order in the ninth by Pat McCoy, Moore had more trouble. Jose Lozada led off with a single and moved to second when Jonny Tucker’s bunt attempt was caught by the catcher Pena near the backstop. Brian Goodwin then sent a slow chopper behind the mound. Flores charged from second and made an errant throw to first, which sailed wide. Lozada scored standing up. Box

ST. LUCIE 3, FORT MYERS 0: Jacob deGrom, a ninth-round pick in 2010 out of Stetson, surrendered one hit in seven scoreless innings in his Florida State League debut, after a promotion from Savannah. John Church added two scoreless relief innings for his first save. St. Lucie scored two first-inning runs, on Blake Forysthe's sacrifice fly and Rafael Fernandez's RBI single. Forsythe's sixth-inning fielder's choice plated Danny Muno, who had doubled. DeGrom struck out eight and allowed three walks. Box


DANVILLE 9, KINGSPORT 4: Chris Flexen allowed seven runs (six earned) in 2 1/3 innings. Jonathan Leroux had a two-run homer in the eighth in the loss. Box

BROOKLYN 6, VERMONT 3: Kevin Plawecki went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk and 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo returned after a five-day absence. Brooklyn starter Julian Hilario struck out the side in the first. The Cyclones then scored twice in the bottom half. Nimmo, appearing for the first time since he was hit by a pitch on his right shoulder, led off with a walk. Phillip Evans followed with a single. With Jayce Boyd batting, Nimmo scored on a balk by Vermont starter Michael Ynoa. Boyd lined out to second baseman Chris Bostick. However, Evans advanced on a wild pitch. Plawecki's single then scored Evans for a 2-0 lead. Three consecutive singles gave the Cyclones two more runs in the fourth. Eudy Pina produced a two-out hit, stole second and scored on Nimmo's single. Nimmo advanced to second on the throw to the plate and scored when Evans singled. The Lake Monsters got on the board in the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Jacob Tanis and Kelvin Rojas put a runner in scoring position. Addison Russell's forceout moved Tanis to third, and a double by Austin Booker plated him. Vermont had a chance for more, but left the bases loaded when John Wooten lined out. Plawecki gave Brooklyn a four-run advantage with a solo shot -- his fourth homer this season. That lead was cut in half, however, in the sixth. After Wilfredo Solano walked, three Vermont singles made it 5-3. Pina hit his fourth homer of the season in the sixth. Hilario ultimately earned his second win, throwing five innings and allowing one earned run on five hits. Matt Koch surrendered two earned runs on four hits and a walk in an inning. Beck Wheeler pitched a perfect eighth. Paul Sewald threw a hitless ninth and earned his fourth save. Box

Compiled from team reports

Mets morning briefing 8.9.12

August, 9, 2012
Chris Young surrendered first-inning homers to Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton, then a second two-run shot in the fifth to Stanton, and the Mets lost their ninth straight home game, 13-0 to the Marlins on Wednesday.

The Mets, who again dropped to a season-worst five games under .500, last won at Citi Field on July 7. Their home losing streak is the longest since they also lost nine straight in the final days of Art Howe in 2004, at Shea Stadium. The franchise record is a 15-game home losing streak in 2002, in the final days of Bobby Valentine.

The Mets suffered their most lopsided shutout defeat since losing to the Yankees, 15-0, on June 14, 2009, in a game in which Johan Santana was thumped for nine runs in three innings in the Bronx. It was the second-largest home shutout defeat in franchise history, trailing only a 16-0 loss to the Braves on July 2, 1999 that included infielder Matt Franco surrendering a homer to Gerald Williams and a crowd of 51,979 mostly remaining on hand for postgame fireworks.

"When you get beat like this tonight, it's one of those games you just check off the calendar and get ready for tomorrow," Terry Collins said.

The Mets dropped a season-high 10 games off the NL wild-card pace.

As for the nine-game home skid, Collins said: "You remember last year we didn't play good at home. It was a huge concern of mine last year, due to the fact the ballpark was so big, and the kind of game we played, where we ran the bases and we didn't have a lot of power. And we just didn't play good here. Right now, you know, the ballpark is reconfigured. We had confidence playing here the first half. Right now there's nothing we do that's right. So this is when you cinch up your belt, reach inside, find out what you're made of, find out who wants to compete the last 50 games at the end of the season, because those are the guys you're going to want on the team."

The Mets try to avoid getting swept in a 12:10 p.m. matinee today as R.A. Dickey (14-3, 2.82 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Johnson (7-7, 3.85).

Thursday's news reports:

• Despite playing with a sore right hand, Reyes delivered a game-opening homer to extend his career-high hitting streak to 26 games, the longest in the majors this season, and the longest by a player after leaving the Mets, topping Jeff Kent's 25-game streak with the Astros in 2004. It also is the longest streak by a reigning batting champion since Joe DiMaggio ultimately posted a record-setting 56-gamer in 1941. Reyes matched Emilio Bonifacio (2011) for the second-longest streak in Marlins history. He trails only Luis Castillo's 35-game streak in 2002.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Giancarlo Stanton crushed two homers Wednesday, in his second game since returning from knee surgery.

Stanton (4-for-5, 4 RBIs) joined Alex Rodriguez as the only players in MLB history with three 20-plus homer seasons before turning 23, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Garrett Olson was charged with four runs while recording only one out in relief in his Mets debut. Olson is not a true lefty specialist -- lefties hit .270 against him in Triple-A, with righties hitting .272. So the Mets eventually could promote converted sidearm lefty C.J. Nitkowski, who is making a comeback at age 39. Nitkowski allowed three hits and a walk in in 1 2/3 innings Tuesday night with Buffalo at Lehigh Valley. In two Triple-A appearances since a promotion from Binghamton, lefties have two hits and one strikeout in seven plate appearances against him.

Young surrendered seven runs in 4 1/3 innings as his ERA swelled to 4.87.

"Maybe that's part of coming off the surgery," Young said, referring to his procedure to repair a torn anterior capsule on May 16, 2011. "It just some nights takes a little bit longer to get loose. Tonight it did."

Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Miami Herald and Daily News.

• Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen told Joe Capozzi in the Palm Beach Post that Stanton will get Thursday's matinee off, since the slugger was just activated from the DL on Tuesday after recovering from July 8 arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Meanwhile, Guillen plans to restore ex-Met Heath Bell to the closer's role, writes Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald. Bell has tossed nine scoreless innings spanning 10 relief appearances since the All-Star break, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out eight.

• Santana threw a bullpen session Wednesday at Citi Field and reiterated he is prepared to return from the disabled list to face the Braves on Saturday. Collins again suggested the Mets may give Santana extra rest at points in September to avoid any question about the southpaw's health come spring training 2013.

Against the Braves, Matt Harvey will oppose left-hander Paul Maholm in Friday's series opener, followed by Santana against right-hander Kris Medlen, then Jon Niese opposite right-hander Ben Sheets on Sunday. Read more on Santana in the Post, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

Brian Costa in the Journal chronicles the fall of Jason Bay, who is now a platoon player -- meaning he may only start Friday against Maholm during the remainder of the homestand. Writes Costa:

What happened to Jason Bay? "There's really no answer," [hitting coach Dave] Hudgens said. "There is no answer." Plenty of players have seen their production decline as they age. Some lose bat speed. Some cannot overcome the effects of injuries. And Bay, who will turn 34 next month, has had his share of ailments. But baseball has never seen an erosion of ability quite like this. For the first seven years of his career, Bay compiled a .519 slugging percentage, the 21st-best mark in the majors over that span (minimum 1,000 games played). But in 2 years with the Mets, through Tuesday, Bay has slugged .371. Among players who slugged .500 or better in their first seven major-league seasons, it is the largest decline in history over seasons eight through 10, according to Stats LLC. In other words, no player who has displayed so much power in his first seven years has ever produced so little over the following three.

Although Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin started at the corner outfield spots Wednesday with Bay sitting, Collins predicted Lucas Duda would see at-bats in the not-too-distant future in left field. Duda, after a 3-for-25 start upon his demotion to Triple-A, since is hitting .381 (8-for-21) with two homers -- although he was hitless in four at-bats while drawing two walks Tuesday with the Bisons. Read more in the Post.

Tim Byrdak continued to weigh whether to proceed with surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, a procedure that Santana and Young each underwent in the past two years. Either way, Byrdak's career is endangered, since he turns 39 this offseason. Collins has taken responsibility for Byrdak's extreme usage contributing to the shoulder injury, although the manager noted Byrdak relished the frequent appearances. Writes Andrew Keh in the Times:

Stephen Fealy, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said there was a danger associated with trusting competitive athletes to evaluate their health. He likened pitchers to long-distance runners, who can ignore, willfully or not, physical warning signs. “They get the runner’s high, the serotonin and endorphins kick in, and they feel fine,” Fealy said. “The next day, they are down with a stress fracture.” Fealy said the medical field was still playing catch-up as it tried to study the demands of the sport.

It is accepted that there is a certain amount of uncertainty attached to even the most widely accepted pitch counts and innings limits. Bradford Parsons, an assistant professor of orthopedics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, agreed, and said it was even hazier for relievers because most medical studies focused on starters who pitched in a controlled setting, with consistent rest and regular, finely tuned schedules. “With relief pitchers, it’s even less known what the right number of pitches they can throw day-to-day is and how many days they can go without a day off,” Parsons said. “I think that’s why certain injuries can be frequent in relievers -- that data is even more arbitrarily set.”

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Olympian Brittany Viola advanced to this morning's 10-meter platform diving semifinals before being eliminated.

• Savannah pitching coach Frank Viola watched in person in London as his daughter Brittany advanced past the preliminary round Wednesday in 10-meter platform diving at the Olympics. She placed 14th in the opening round. The top 18 advanced to this morning's semifinals. She then failed to qualify for the finals.

“I’m a nervous wreck,” the ex-Met Viola told the Associated Press before the competition began. “It’s a lot easier going out for Game 7 knowing you have the ball in your hand and you’re in control. In the stands, you’re a parent and have no control.”

• Right-hander Tyler Pill, the Mets' fourth-round pick in 2011, was named the Florida State League player of the month. Pill went 5-0 with a 1.55 ERA in July.

Right-handers Luis Mateo, Hansel Robles and Gabriel Ynoa and left-hander John Mincone have been selected to participate in Tuesday's New York-Penn League All-Star Game at Mahoning Valley. Ynoa, who turned 19 on May 26, is the youngest starting pitcher in Cyclones history. Mincone graduated from Half Hollow Hills East High School on Long Island.

MLB announced the suspension of right-hander Nicolas Debora of the Dominican Summer League Mets for 50 games for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing drug.

Lehigh Valley beat Buffalo, 5-4 in 12 innings, when Fernando Cabrera tossed a game-ending wild pitch in his third inning of relief. Starter Jeurys Familia surrendered four runs, but only one earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.

Ike Davis, whose charitable efforts now can be followed on Twitter (@theikedavis), is hosting a philanthropic event Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at City Winery (155 Varick St.). Country music singer Lee Brice will perform. The event benefits research into childhood cancer. Davis lost close friend Mike Lio to Ewing's sarcoma on the eve of the first baseman's major league career.

The Johan Santana Foundation holds a charity event tonight at Del Posto on W. 10th Ave. to increase awareness about melanoma and to raise money for a sports complex in his Tovar, Venezuela, hometown. The event is sold out, but you can bid on items online here.

The Mets welcomed youth from Tuesday's Children and the Cory Lidle Foundation to Citi Field on Wednesday. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

TRIVIA: Who has the longest hitting streak in Mets history?

Wednesday's answer: Reyes started 20 games as the No. 3 hitter for the Mets in 2010, under Jerry Manuel.

Around the minors 8.4.12

August, 5, 2012
BUFFALO 1, SYRACUSE 0: Chris Schwinden, Robert Carson and Fernando Cabrera combined on a 10-hit shutout. Lucas Duda's sixth-inning double plated Fred Lewis with the game's lone run. Schwinden worked six innings, scattering eight hits and a walk. After yielding two hits in the fourth inning, Schwinden got Brett Carroll to bounce into a comebacker to end the inning. Syracuse had two doubles in the fifth, but Schwinden threw out the lead runner in between on Tanner Roark's bunt attempt. The Chiefs then had three singles in the sixth, but Schwinden wiggled out unscathed with a strikeout and groundout. Schwinden lowered his ERA to 2.96, the seventh-lowest mark in the International League. Cabrera picked up his IL-leading 19th save with a 1-2-3 ninth. Hitting coach George Greer managed the Bisons after the International League suspended Wally Backman for three games. Syarcuse's Tanner Roark allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. Box

The B-Mets rode a five-run fifth inning and Greg Peavey's second career complete game in the opener. With the bases loaded against starter Julio Rodriguez in the second, Wilfredo Tovar produced an RBI single and Peavey followed with a run-scoring fielder’s choice to give the B-Mets a 2-0 lead. Reading erased the deficit a half-inning later. Leandro Castro doubled and scored on Brandon Tripp's single. After a single put two aboard, Troy Hanzawa sent a chopper to second that had double play potential. The shortstop Tovar recorded the first out, but his low throw to first skipped past Jefry Marte and allowed Tripp to score the tying run. The game remained tied until the B-Mets unloaded on Rodriguez (6-5) in the fifth. Following a one-out walk to Juan Lagares, the B-Mets tagged Rodriguez with three consecutive doubles. Reese Havens drove in Lagares with a two-bagger to left-center and Wilmer Flores added to Binghamton’s lead with a double to the same spot. Eric Campbell made it a three-run lead. Dustin Martin capped the frame by blasting a two-run homer, his third long ball as a B-Met. It extended Martin's hitting streak to nine games. The second inning proved to be the only blemish for Peavey (5-7), who scattered seven hits, induced two double plays and struck out four in his second career seven-inning complete game.

In Game 2, the B-Mets were held to three singles and had only five batters reach base against Jordan Whatcott, Kyle Simon and Tyler Knigge. After spot starter Armando Rodriguez recorded two outs in the third, Darin Ruf broke the scoreless game with a homer -- his 21st of the season, tied for the league lead. D’Arby Myers added a solo homer in the fourth against Rodriguez. Jeff Kaplan, pitching for the first time since May 20, allowed one run on three hits in the fifth. Brad Holt navigated around a single and a walk in a scoreless sixth. Binghamton’s only threat materialized in the sixth. Simon issued two-out walks to Flores and Raul Reyes. Allan Dykstra then stroked a long fly ball off the base of the right-field wall, plating Flores. The rally ended abruptly as Dykstra was thrown out at second by the right fielder Castro. Box 1, Box 2

FORT MYERS 5, ST. LUCIE 4: Alonzo Harris Jr. went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, but the Mets were unable to hold a late-inning lead as Fort Myers posted a three-run seventh. The Mets committed three errors in that frame -- by Aderlin Rodriguez, Danny Muno and Richard Lucas. The Mets loaded the bases in the eighth, but Michael Tonkin struck out Lucas to end the threat. Rodriguez struck out with the tying run on second in the ninth. T.J. Rivera went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and Lucas finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Cesar Puello went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his return from the disabled list. Cory Vaughn went 1-for-3 with a first-inning RBI. The Mets added a run in the second inning on an RBI infield single by Puello. Rivera had a two-run single in the fourth. Logan Verrett tossed six innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Jack Leathersich allowed an unearned run and a hit with a walk and two strikeouts over two innings. Taylor Whitenton pitched a scoreless inning and allowed one hit. Box

ASHEVILLE 9, SAVANNAH 1: Marcos Camarena allowed six runs (five earned) in five innings, including a pair of homers. Cam Maron's sacrifice fly plated Matt Reynolds with the Gnats' lone run. Box

PRINCETON 7, KINGSPORT 5 (10 innings): Working a fourth inning in relief, Robert Gsellman allowed two runs in the 10th and suffered the loss. Box

BROOKLYN 4, AUBURN 1: Hansel Robles allowed an unearned run on three hits, walked none and struck out eight in seven innings. Paul Sewald handled a scoreless eighth and Tyler Vanderheiden notched his eighth save. For the second consecutive game, Brandon Nimmo led off the first inning with a double that was followed by a single by Phillip Evans. With men on the corners and nobody out, Doubledays catcher Spencer Kieboom committed a pass ball, allowing Nimmo to score. The Doubledays took advantage of a defensive miscue by third baseman Dimas Ponce in the sixth. Narciso Mesa sent a grounder to Ponce deep behind the bag, and Ponce threw it over the head of first baseman Jayce Boyd and into the Cyclones dugout. Kieboom bunted Mesa to third. Mike McQuillan then grounded out, plating Mesa to tie the score. In the the seventh, the Cyclones scored three runs. Ponce doubled and moved to third on Richie Rodriguez's bunt. Nimmo and Evans walked to load the bases. Boyd also walked, giving the Cyclones a 2-1 lead. Kevin Plawecki's sac fly scored Nimmo for a two-run cushion. After the fourth walk of the inning, to Stefan Sabol, reloaded the bases, Alex Sanchez beat out an infield single as the third run of the inning scored. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 7.31.12

August, 1, 2012
BUFFALO 5, INDIANAPOLIS 4 (11 innings): With runners on first and second and one out in the 10th, Bisons closer Fernando Cabrera struck out the next two batters. Buffalo's Zach Lutz then took advantage, launching his second homer of the game in the 11th. Entering the bottom of the ninth, the Herd led 4-2. But Indianapolis' Brandon Boggs, batting with runners on first and second and one out, ripped a line drive into the right-field corner against Cabrera to score two. Cabrera survived the inning from that point, aided by Matt den Dekker's sliding catch on the warning track in right-center that retired the side. After Lutz's 11th-inning heroics, Bisons reliever Jeff Stevens made quick work of Indy, retiring the side in order. Bisons started Collin McHugh tossed six innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Lutz finished 3-for-5 with two homers. Lutz's first homer came on a solo shot in the seventh. Josh Satin also homered for the Herd, with a two-run shot in the fifth. Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 2-for-4. Box

BINGHAMTON 3, HARRISBURG 2: Entering off two subpar performances, Zack Wheeler produced a season-high 11 of Binghamton's 17 strikeouts in a rebound performance. Wheeler allowed two runs on four hits. The strikeout total was one shy of Wheeler's career high, set last season with the San Jose Giants. The B-Mets scored in the first against starter Danny Rosenbaum (7-8) on a fortunate bounce. With Wilmer Flores at first, Jefry Marte zipped a groundball down the third-base line that struck the tarp and ricocheted back into left field, allowing Flores to score the game’s first run. Harrisburg got on the scoreboard a half-inning later. Zach Walters doubled, took third on a single and scored on Sean Nicol’s sacrifice fly. Tim Pahuta gave Harrisburg a brief lead with a solo homer in the fourth. It was only the second homer allowed by Wheeler this season. Binghamton responded with a run the next half-inning. The B-Mets cracked three hits to start the frame, but a baserunning mistake by Marte forced Flores to get thrown out at home. Francisco Pena made up for the miscue with a game-tying RBI groundout.

The B-Mets took the lead for good in the sixth. Flores walked and took second on a groundout. After Dustin Martin bounced out to the mound for the second out, Pena sent a high chopper to second. Jose Lozada attempted to field the in-between hop, but the ball squirted under his glove. The error allowed Flores to score. Given the lead, Wheeler (10-6) capped his night with two strikeouts in the seventh. He fanned the final four batters he faced before giving way to C.J. Nitkowski. Pinch-hitter Jonathan Tucker greeted the lefty by launching a long fly ball to left, but was robbed of a hit by Pedro Zapata, who made a running catch on the warning track. Frank Francisco needed only 11 pitches to strike out the side in the eighth. In the ninth, Adam Kolarek struck out the first two batters before surrendering consecutive singles. With the tying run on second, Kolarek locked down his first Double-A save by striking out Lozada. The 17 strikeouts are the most collected by the B-Mets since they struck out 19 in a 14-inning game against Harrisburg on July 28, 2011. The total was one shy of a franchise record for a nine-inning game, set against New Haven on April 10, 1995. Box

ST. LUCIE 3, CLEARWATER 2: Rafael Montero struck out 14 while limiting Clearwater to two runs on five hits in six innings. Taylor Whitenton notched his fifth save. St. Lucie broke a 1-all tie in the sixth on T.J. Rivera's RBI single and Blake Forsythe's sacrifice fly. Box

SAVANNAH 2, GREENSBORO 1 (11 innings): Dustin Lawley delivered the game-winning single in the bottom of the 11th, scoring Gilbert Gomez. Lawley went 2-for-5 and drove in both Savannah runs. The Hoppers scored their lone run against Savannah starter Jacob deGrom in the first inning. With one out, Austin Barnes doubled and scored on Wilfredo Gimenez’s double. DeGrom completed seven innings and lowered his ERA to 2.37. After stranding the bases loaded in the third inning, he retired 13 of the final 15 batters to face him. In his seven innings, he yielded one run on four hits, walking two and fanning five. The Gnats evened the game at 1 in the fifth. Cam Maron drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Lawley’s single under the glove of Hoppers shortstop Austin Nola. Relievers Estarlin Morel, T.J. Chism and Chasen Bradford combined for four scoreless innings, twice stranding a runner at third. Bradford worked a 1-2-3 11th with two strikeouts to earn the win. Box


Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 7.29.12

July, 29, 2012
BUFFALO 3, INDIANAPOLIS 2: Lucas May drove in all three runs as the Bisons won despite mustering only four hits. May ripped a two-out, two-run double to left field in the second inning as Buffalo overcame an early deficit. With the Bisons still leading 2-1 in the seventh, May then came up with another big hit. After Matt den Dekker led off with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, May plated him with a single. Chris Schwinden allowed one run on three hits and a walk in seven innings. Fernando Cabrera surrendered an eighth-inning run, but recently promoted Robert Carson earned his first Triple-A save. Carson entered with two outs in the eighth and retired four of the five batters he faced. Carson struck out ex-Met Anderson Hernandez to end the game with the tying run on first base. Box

BINGHAMTON 6, PORTLAND 2: The B-Mets used eight walks and a half-dozen hits to defeat Portland. Portland starter Stolmy Pimentel struggled from the get-go, walking Juan Lagares to open the game. He issued four free passes to the first five batters, forcing in a run with a walk to Jefry Marte. The righty plunked Dustin Martin to force in another run and surrendered a two-run single to Juan Centeno. Pimentel was pulled having recording only one out. Sean Kazmar added to Binghamton’s lead with a long homer off Caleb Clay in the second. B-Mets starter Mark Cohoon took the five-run lead and breezed through five innings, allowing one hit. Portland’s biggest threat came in the sixth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. launched a solo homer. Cohoon bounced back by recording two outs, but could not close out the frame. The southpaw surrendered a pair of doubles, which cut Binghamton’s lead to three runs. A walk to Dan Butler and an infield single by Peter Hissey loaded the bases and ended Cohoon’s day. With the tying run on first, Adrian Rosario entered and struck out Derrik Gibson on three pitches to end the inning. Frank Francisco made his third rehab appearance and worked around a bunt single in a scoreless seventh. Facing reliever Will Latimer a half-inning later, the B-Mets took advantage of two more walks. Martin capped a terrific series with an RBI single. In four games against Portland, Martin went 7-for-11 with six RBIs. Ryan Fraser posted a scoreless eighth and returned for the ninth. He hit Gibson to start the inning and struck out Ryan Dent before being lifted for C.J. Nitkowski. The southpaw struck out both lefties he faced on three pitches apiece to end the game. Cohoon (6-7) earned his third straight win. He allowed two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. The B-Mets (51-56) enjoy a day off before starting a three-game series against Harrisburg on Tuesday with Zack Wheeler scheduled to pitch. Box

LAKELAND 6, ST. LUCIE 4: T.J. Rivera went 1-for-5 with two RBIs, but Lakeland rallied in the final two innings to avoid a sweep. The Mets were limited to two hits and broke up a no-hit bid by the Flying Tigers with two outs in the seventh on a double by Alonzo Harris Jr. The Mets trailed 2-1 entering the seventh, but rallied with three runs with two outs. Richard Lucas scored on a wild pitch to even the score. Rivera then singled to plate Travis Taijeron and Harris and give the Mets a 4-2 lead. The Flying Tigers scored two runs in the eighth to tie the score. Hamilton Bennett issued two walks and allowed two runs. Lakeland jumped ahead with two runs in the ninth off Jeff Walters, who allowed five hits in 1 2/3 innings. Logan Verrett made his St. Lucie debut and received a no-decision. He allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings while striking out four and walking none. The Mets were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and were unable to take advantage of seven walks. Box

ROME 6, SAVANNAH 2: Starter Marcos Camarena allowed five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, including a pair of homers. Charlie Thurber drove in both runs for the Gnats. Box

JOHNSON CITY 6, KINGSPORT 2: Chris Flexen suffered the loss, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings. Johnson City opened a four-run lead with a three-run seventh against reliever Robert Gsellman. Box

BROOKLYN 10, MAHONING VALLEY 5: Brandon Nimmo led the Cyclones, going 4-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Beck Wheeler earned his first win, tossing three scoreless innings while walking two and striking out six. The Cyclones scored three times in the first. Nimmo began the game with a single and Jeff Reynolds walked. Phillip Evans then produced a three-run homer, his fourth long ball of the season. Mahoning Valley starter Ryan Merritt retired the next two Brooklyn batters before being replaced by Josh Martin. A groundout by Stefan Sabol ended the inning, but the Cyclones scored twice against Martin in the second. After retiring Alex Sanchez and Edward Rohan, Martin allowed consecutive homers to Julio Concepcion and Nimmo to give Brooklyn a 5-0 advantage. Brooklyn starter Julian Hilario's night ended after three innings. He surrendered two earned runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts. In the fifth, the Cyclones struck again. Back-to-back singles by Reynolds and Evans and a walk to Kevin Plawecki loaded the bases. Jayce Boyd then hit a sacrifice fly. After the run scored, James Stokes entered and struck out Sabol, but then surrendered a single to Sanchez, which brought home Evans and gave Brooklyn a five-run cushion. The following inning, Concepcion singled and advanced to second on a throwing error by catcher Charlie Valerio. A double by Nimmo plated Concepcion. Consecutive singles by Reynolds and Evans later scored Nimmo to make it 9-2. Box

Compiled from team reports

Mets morning briefing 7.26.12

July, 26, 2012

Getty Images/US Presswire
Dan Warthen and Josh Thole drew the ire of Tim Byrdak over pitch selection Wednesday.
PHOENIX -- After a 5-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday, the Mets had been swept in consecutive three-game series at Citi Field by the Dodgers and Nationals. It marked the eighth time in franchise history the Mets produced a winless homestand of six or more games.The Mets now head into Matt Harvey's debut against the Diamondbacks having lost 11 of 12 since the All-Star break. They are a season-low four games under .500.

Thursday's news reports:

Tim Byrdak clashed with Josh Thole and then pitching coach Dan Warthen after surrendering a homer to Adam LaRoche in the homestand finale. The incident helped prompt a postgame team meeting and tongue-lashing from Terry Collins. Getting the sign from the bench, Thole called for a fastball to LaRoche. Byrdak twice shook off Thole wanting a breaking ball, but the catcher continued to call for a fastball. Byrdak eventually threw a fastball over the heart of the plate -- not where Thole set up on the outside corner. LaRoche deposited the pitch into the right-field stands for a two-run homer in the seventh inning to provide the Nats with a four-run lead. In the dugout afterward, Byrdak first had an exchange with Thole, then with Warthen, the latter of which prompted David Wright to intercede. "I don't think anything can get any worse than this right now," Thole told reporters before the Mets departed for Arizona. "I can't wait to get out of here." Read more on the incident the Post.

Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:

Afterward, a heated Collins, while vowing such miscommunication will not happen again, made it clear he would not tolerate his players showing each other up. Without ever mentioning Byrdak by name, Collins talked about “standing up and being a man” and “accountability” while promising, “we’re gonna see a different team the next two weeks and we’re not gonna make any excuses.”

This was the second time in a week that Collins had to come to the defense of Thole. Last Wednesday, the manager called a team meeting in Washington following a 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Nats that was decided on a wild pitch by Pedro Beato, who inferred afterward he thought Thole should have blocked the pitch. “Emotions happen out there,” Thole said after Wednesday’s debacle. “It’s what happens after you lose 11 of 12 or whatever it is. I was caught off guard with it a little bit, but everything’s good.”

Adam Rubin
Matt Harvey makes his major league debut tonight against the Diamondbacks.

• When Harvey arrived at Citi Field on Monday, three days before his scheduled major league debut, Sandy Alderson and Collins met with the 2010 first-round pick and told him not to try to be a savior. With the Mets on their second six-game losing streak in two weeks, though, the Mets desperately need a quality performance from the UNC product, who was selected seventh overall in the same draft in which Bryce Harper was the top pick by Washington.

Harvey, 23, went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 starts with Triple-A Buffalo. In 110 innings, he allowed 97 hits, walked 48 and struck out 112. In his final minor league start, Saturday against Charlotte, Harvey was touched up for six runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter in five innings.

Steve Serby in the Post did a Q&A with Harvey. If Harvey, a Yankees and Patriots fan growing up in Connecticut, could have three dinner guests, they would be: Jennifer Aniston, Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan. "He was my idol growing up," Harvey told Serby about Jeter. "I loved the way that Paul O’Neill played. And I loved how everyone respected Derek Jeter for the person that he was and the stand-up guy that he was -- the hard worker and the gamer, and he did it day in and day out, never showed anything, never did anything bad in the media or anything like that. People looked up to him everywhere he went. He was like every kids' idol growing up. Just getting a chance to talk to him and see how he handled everything and how he went about his business, I think that would be helpful."

Read more on Harvey's debut in the Hartford Courant, Post and Newsday.

• The Mets continued to shuffle the roster on the margins. A day after officially demoting Pedro Beato and Lucas Duda, Mike Nickeas was dispatched to Triple-A Buffalo. Fellow righty-hitting catcher Rob Johnson will replace Nickeas. Harvey this week named Johnson as being invaluable in terms of guidance in Buffalo. Johnson undoubtedly will catch Harvey's major league debut considering the Mets are facing Arizona rookie left-hander Wade Miley in the series opener at Chase Field.

Nickeas hit .168 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 101 at-bats. It had been a mild surprise when Nickeas, not Johnson, remained at the major league level once Thole had returned from a concussion on June 1, although Andy McCullough subsequently reported in the Star-Ledger that pitchers liked throwing to Nickeas and Mets staffers were displeased that Johnson "preferred to attack a hitter’s weaknesses rather than accentuate his pitchers’ strengths."

Johnson, appearing on the Buffalo pregame show Wednesday after receiving word of the promotion, looked forward to likely catching Harvey's debut and thought Harvey would benefit from being with the major league team for three days before his start against the Diamondbacks.

Debby Wong/US Presswire
Rob Johnson is replacing Mike Nickeas on the major league roster Thursday and is likely to catch Matt Harvey's debut.

"It's going to be a cool moment for him and I to share together," Johnson said. "I got to catch him all year here. He kept on getting better and better. So, hopefully, we can bring that up to the big leagues. ... I'm looking forward to seeing how he does. The first time that you're up there, if you have to pitch on that first day, I think it's a lot more nerve-wracking, rather than getting your feet wet. Obviously he hasn't played at all, but he's up there. And he's got the stuff to be up there. I'm looking forward to competing with him.

"I think mentally he's strong enough to be there. It's just going to be a matter of if he can compose his emotions. And that's hopefully what I'll take leadership in, and be able to get through this thing together. I think one of the biggest differences between Triple-A and the big leagues is the speed of the game. And so, [me] having experience up in the big leagues for three or four years, I think that will help him and I -- just because we have a good relationship. I think that he trusts me, and I trust him."

Frank Francisco failed to complete an inning with Double-A Binghamton in the closer's first minor league rehab game since straining his left oblique and landing on the disabled DL June 23. Francisco surrendered three hits, including two doubles, and walked one among the six New Britain batters he faced. Francisco's rehab tour twice had been delayed -- by a cranky oblique when he was due to pitch for Class A St. Lucie, then by knee discomfort earlier this week that required a cortisone shot. Mets officials had said Francisco might need as few as two rehab appearances before being activated in Arizona, but that was before Francisco's struggles with the B-Mets on Wednesday. Alderson indicated Francisco was accompanying the B-Mets back to Binghamton, where they open a four-game series against Portland tonight, Lynn Worthy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin tweeted.

Mike Baxter went 1-for-3 and walked twice while logging a full game in right field in Buffalo's 5-4 loss at Louisville. Baxter is now 5-for-11 in three games with the Bisons, after also playing three games with Class A St. Lucie. Baxter's two previous rehab games in the outfield in the minors had come in left field. But Duda since has been demoted, so the exposure to right field makes sense. Baxter actually has appeared in 392 minor league games in right field in his career -- far more than any other position.

Collins has indicated Baxter is likely to return for the series opener at San Francisco on Monday. Baxter landed on the DL on June 1 with a displaced right collarbone and fractured rib cartilage, which he suffered making a no-hitter-saving-catch for Johan Santana. Read more in the Record.

• Despite surrendering second-inning homers to Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa, Jeremy Hefner limited the Nationals to three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings. It was Hefner's first major league start since June 6. Collins expects Santana will return after the 11-game road trip, on either Aug. 8 or 9 against the Marlins. That likely means two starts for Hefner on the road trip. Read Wednesday's game recaps in the Times, Newsday, Record, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post:

You’ve got to give props to these Mets. They don’t merely slump. Year, after year, they spontaneously combust. They come apart at the core.

Stephen Strasburg limited the Mets to a solo homer by Ike Davis while striking out 11 in seven innings. Read more in the Post.

• Post columnist Joel Sherman tweets that Scott Hairston and Byrdak will be available in trades if the deals improve the Mets in 2013. That is consistent with what Alderson stated Monday at Citi Field -- that he wants to try to keep this year's team competitive, so players in the final years of contracts would be available only if the move helped the major league team in the short term, not for rebuilding.

Michael Salfino in the Journal notes the Mets have been swept in six series this season, one shy of the Cubs' MLB-leading total. But the Mets also have swept five opponents. The 11 sweeps in which the Mets have been involved is the MLB high.

Zack Wheeler, who had allowed a career-high eight runs in his previous start, surrendered six runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two hit batters in four innings in Binghamton's 11-2 loss at New Britain. In Louisville, Collin McHugh tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings for Buffalo. But Fernando Cabrera surrendered four runs in the eighth and Beato, in his return to the minors, served up a walk-off homer to Didi Gregorious as the Bisons lost, 5-4. Duda arrived too close to game time and did not appear for Buffalo.

Johnson said about McHugh: "He's got four pitches that he can throw for strikes. Anytime you do that, you're going to be successful at this level. As long as he continues to pound the zone and stays down in the zone, he's going to be successful. I really like Collin. He's got a good, live fastball -- a big, slow breaking ball that keep guys honest. He's got a good changeup and a nice cutter that he throws."

Read Wednesday's minor league recap here.

• While the Mets have been quiet as Tuesday's trade deadline approaches, that hardly has been the case elsewhere in the division.

The dismantling Marlins sent Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers two days after shipping Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. There are rumblings Josh Johnson could be dealt as well. “None of us envisioned where we are today,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald. “These are tough trades. But when you underachieve at the level this team has underachieved, we talked about a restructuring and this was part of it.”

Sherman in the Post wonders if Jose Reyes is on the block. He writes:

Reyes will have five years at $96 million left after what is a down season for him. Miami might not be willing to eat money or even trade Reyes so soon after his signing. But if Reyes were to become available, I think there would be suitors. Seattle is hungry for offense and a leadoff successor to Ichiro Suzuki. If the A’s could ever add significant dollars, Reyes would work. The team to keep an eye on, though, is Toronto. The Blue Jays were very interested in Reyes as a free agent, but were worried about his constant hamstring problems and have an organizational mandate not to give more than five-year contracts -- which is what Reyes would have left after the season. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has shown a willingness to take risks with talented players feeling that is the only way to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox within the AL East.

Meanwhile, the Phillies signed Cole Hamels to a six-year, $144 million extension. Writes's Jerry Crasnick about the Phillies' salary commitments:

The move allows them to maintain their core of Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the rotation and the hallowed but aging infield nucleus of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins through at least the end of Utley's contract next season. The financial math is daunting: Those six players and closer Jonathan Papelbon will earn about $123 million combined in 2013 -- which is more than all but four teams' Opening Day payrolls this season. That doesn't leave much wiggle room for the other 18 spots on the roster.

TRIVIA: Which player did the Mets send to Cleveland in the three-team deal that landed J.J. Putz as well as Sean Green in Flushing?

Wednesday's answer: Jordany Valdespin's fifth pinch-hit homer passed Mark Carreon (1989) and Danny Heep (1983) for the franchise's single-season record. Valdespin is two pinch-hit homers shy of matching the major league record, held by Craig Wilson (Pirates, 2001) and Dave Hansen (Dodgers, 2000).

Around the minors 7.19.12

July, 19, 2012
BUFFALO 9, TOLEDO 8: After loading the bases with none out and failing to push across the winning run a night earlier, the Bisons avoided a repeat against Mud Hens closer Chris Bootcheck. This time, Raul Reyes dropped a one-out, bases-loaded single into shallow left to score Adam Loewen and Zach Lutz for the walk-off win. Buffalo actually took a 7-4 lead into the top of the ninth, but Danny Dorn hit a grand slam against Herd closer Fernando Cabrera. Bisons starter Chris Schwinden allowed three earned runs (two earned) on eight hits in an 88-pitch effort spanning five innings. It was his second start for the Bisons since being reclaimed by the Mets off waivers on July 5. Box

BINGHAMTON 4, BOWIE 3 (10 innings): Allan Dykstra drove in the game-deciding run with a two-out double and Robert Carson struck out three to collect the victory. After blowing a one-run lead in the eighth, the B-Mets answered in the ninth. Trailing by one against reliever Chris Petrini, Jefry Marte singled and Sean Kazmar reached on a bunt. Juan Centeno tied the score with an RBI single. Carson picked up two outs in the ninth and returned for the 10th after Dykstra’s hit provided a lead. The lefty worked around a two-out single and posted a scoreless inning, striking out Jonathan Schoop to end the game. The victory was Carson's first since August 2011. Box

DUNEDIN 5, ST. LUCIE 2: Erik Goeddel allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings. Box

ROME 2, SAVANNAH 1: Gnats starter Michael Fulmer limited Rome to one run in six innings with seven strikeouts in a no-decision. Gregory Pron extended his hitting streak to eight games with a fifth-inning double. He scored the team’s only run on an RBI groundout by Gilbert Gomez that inning to even the score at 1. The Braves broke that tie against reliever Randy Fontanez in the seventh. Chase Anselment drew a walk, moved to second on Brandon Drury’s single and scored on Fernando De Los Santos’ single. The throw from left fielder Dustin Lawley beat Anselment to the plate, but kicked away from catcher Albert Cordero on a high bounce. Fulmer, who walked two and struck out seven, lowered his ERA to 2.67. All four hits he allowed were singles. Box


BROOKLYN 1, STATEN ISLAND 0 (15 innings): Dimas Ponce opened the top of the 15th with a double, advanced to second on Jonathan Clark's bunt single and scored on Richie Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to break the scoreless deadlock. The game ended with catcher Nelfi Zapata holding on to the ball in a plate collision to complete a double play. Cyclones pitchers surrendered only four hits in 15 innings. Starter Gabriel Ynoa went six innings and allowed one hit and two walks. Beck Wheeler, Tim Peterson, John Mincone, Paul Sewald, Ernesto Yanez and Tyler Vanderheiden combined on the shutout. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 7.15.12

July, 15, 2012
PAWTUCKET 5, BISONS 4 (14 innings): Nate Spears homered against Dylan Owen to open the bottom of the 14th as Pawtucket snapped the Bisons' seven-game winning streak. Owen was entering his second inning of relief. Manny Acosta, Fernando Cabrera and Elvin Ramirez earlier had contributed two scoreless innings apiece. Jason Bay went 2-for-4 with a walk and steal and played nine innings in left field before departing. Against Bisons starter Collin McHugh, Pawtucket opened the scoring in the second. Che-Hsuan Lin delivered a one-out triple and Jose Iglesias plated him with a groundout. Scott Podsednik added an RBI single and the Bisons trailed 2-0. Raul Reyes doubled to lead off the following half-inning. Valentino Pascucci's single eventually loaded the bases against PawSox starting pitcher Brandon Duckworth. Brad Emaus then walked as Duckworth forced in Buffalo's opening run, although Matt Tuiasosopo popped out to strand three. Adam Loewen's fifth-inning homer evened the score at 2. McHugh allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. Trailing 4-2 in the seventh, Bay led off with a single. Pascucci launched a two-run homer to again even the score. Box

BINGHAMTON 13, ERIE 3: Gonzalez Germen matched a career high by tossing eight innings and the B-Mets produced a season high for runs while posting their fourth straight win. The B-Mets scored nine runs in the first two innings and finished one shy of a season high with 17 hits. Seven of their nine starters collected multiple hits, led by Allan Dykstra’s 4-for-4 performance. After the SeaWolves grabbed a lead on Jordan Lennerton’s RBI single in the first, the B-Mets struck back in the bottom half. Binghamton unloaded on starter Kelvin De La Cruz for six runs on six hits in the frame. Wilmer Flores started the scoring with an RBI double. Eric Campbell gave the B-Mets the lead for good with a run-scoring single. Jefry Marte drove in another, and Dustin Martin continued the scoring with a two-run triple. Juan Lagares, the inning's 10th batter, singled in another run to end De La Cruz’s day. Jared Gayhart entered and struck out Reese Havens to finally end the inning. Erie scratched back a run in the second on an RBI double by Wes Thigpen, but Binghamton continued its onslaught. After a single and walk, Martin blasted a two-run triple for the second straight inning. Juan Centeno added an RBI single, giving Binghamton a 9-2 lead. After allowing a double to Thigpen in the second, Germen (7-7) settled in. The righty retired the next 18 SeaWolves, cruising into the eighth. The stretch was disrupted when Michael Rockett launched a pinch-hit homer. For Binghamton, Flores added a solo homer in the sixth. Edgar Ramirez replaced Germen for the ninth and worked a perfect inning. Box

ST. LUCIE 7, BREVARD COUNTY 3: Tyler Pill tossed a season-high seven innings and struck out seven and Mike Baxter began a major league rehab assignment by going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Pill (3-1) allowed one run and four hits with two walks. The Mets jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first on Cory Vaughn's RBI double. The following inning, Baxter ripped a double to score Travis Taijeron and Danny Muno. The Mets pulled away with a four-run fifth. Baxter scored from third base on an errant pickoff attempt with Vaughn at first. Richard Lucas then drilled a double to plate Vaughn and Blake Forsythe. T.J. Rivera added a run-scoring infield single to give the Mets a 7-0 lead. Vaughn went 2-for-4. Jeff Walters tossed 1 2/3 innings and allowed two unearned runs while issuing two walks and recording one strikeout. Taylor Whitenton needed one pitch in the ninth to record his third save. Box

LAKEWOOD 6, SAVANNAH 5: Brian Harrison delivered a two-out, two-run single in the ninth to pull the Gnats within a run, but Dustin Lawley struck out to strand Cam Maron at third base. Lawley nonetheless went 3-for-5 with a double and scored twice. Gregory Pron also had three hits. Starter Domingo Tapia allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings. Lakewood broke a 3-all tie with a three-run eighth against Chasen Bradford (2-3). Box


BROOKLYN 3, STATE COLLEGE 2: After waiting out a 119-minute rain delay, Alex Sanchez went 3-for-4 and plated what proved to be the game-deciding run with an RBI single. The Cyclones struck first with a pair of runs in the third. Back-to-back doubles from Brandon Nimmo and Jonathan Clark provided a 1-0 lead. After a groundout by Juan Gamboa advanced Clark, Dimas Ponce plated the speedy outfielder with a sacrifice fly. Brooklyn starter Luis Cessa ran into his first trouble spot in the fourth. Barrett Barnes led off the frame with a solo homer. The Cyclones restored a two-run lead their next turn at-bat. Ponce doubled and scored on Alex Sanchez's single. The seesaw scoring continued in the sixth with State College mounting a two-out rally. After Cessa retired the first two batters, Jacob Stallings doubled and Samuel Gonzalez's single. That would be Cessa’s last inning. He finished the night allowing two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two in six innings. Princeton product Matt Bowman pitched a career-high three scoreless relief innings to collect his second save. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 7.12.12

July, 12, 2012
BUFFALO 8, PAWTUCKET 5: The Bisons resumed play after their All-Star break with a four-run ninth -- all with two out, all unearned runs, and with the benefit of one hit and five straight walks -- to rally for their fifth straight win. Matt den Dekker reached on an error by Pawtucket first baseman Lars Anderson. Clayton Mortensen then walked Josh Satin and was replaced by Garrett Mock. He walked Valentino Pascucci to load the bases with the Bisons trailing, 5-4. Matt Tuiasosopo, Rob Johnson and Fred Lewis then consecutively walked as well to force in three runs. Josh Rodriguez greeted Tony Pena with an RBI single to cap the four-run frame before Adam Loewen flied out. All-Star closer Fernando Cabrera had an uneventful ninth for Buffalo to collect his 17th save. Starter Jeremy Hefner was charged with four runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, although Jenrry Mejia allowed a pair of those runs to score after inheriting two runners. Mejia surrendered consecutive hits before recording a pair of outs. He was charged with an unearned run because of Johnson's passed ball. Garrett Olson, bumped to the bullpen, tossed three scoreless, no-hit relief innings to earn the win. Zach Lutz went 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI in his first Triple-A game since returning from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his hand. Carl Crawford went 2-for-3 for Pawtucket. Box

ERIE 11, BINGHAMTON 7: After the SeaWolves jumped to a three-run lead against starter Greg Peavey, the B-Mets answered with two runs in the second, on Juan Centeno's RBI single and Wilfredo Tovar's sacrifice fly. Binghamton took its only lead against starter Ramon Garcia on a two-run double by Dustin Martin in the third. Erie retook the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth, but Binghamton tied the score in the bottom half on Juan Lagares' homer. In the fifth, the SeaWolves plated two runs to take a 7-5 lead. Binghamton again wiped that deficit away in a three-batter span as Jefry Marte and Sean Kazmar homered to tie the score. Peavey departed after five innings, having allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits. His winless streak reached eight starts. Armando Rodriguez entered in a tie game and walked leadoff hitter Brandon Douglas. Douglas took second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on Jamie Johnson’s sac fly, one of four in the game for Erie. Garcia was shelled for seven runs on a career-high 13 hits, but handed off to the bullpen with a chance to win. After adding three runs in the ninth against Brad Holt, the SeaWolves looked to closer Bruce Rondon. The B-Mets loaded the bases, but Rondon induced three consecutive flyouts to end the game. Rodriguez (2-1) did not allow a hit in two relief innings, but suffered the loss. The B-Mets matched a season high by stranding 13. Box

Yankees farmhands Jose Ramirez and Braden Pinder combined to toss a seven-inning no-hitter in Game 2 of the doubleheader. Rafael Montero suffered his first Florida State League loss despite limiting Tampa to one run on three hits and two walks while striking out eight in six innings. In the opener, starter Chase Huchingson walked four and allowed two hits and was pulled after recording only two outs in Tampa's three-run first. Kyle Allen tossed 3 1/3 scoreless relief innings. Jason Bay went 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout and manned left field for St. Lucie in the opener. Aderlin Rodriguez started at third base after a promotion from Savannah and went 1-for-3 with a double. Box 1, Box 2

DELMARVA 3, SAVANNAH 2: Starter Michael Fulmer (5-5) allowed two runs on three hits and three walks in five innings. The Gnats closed within a run in the ninth on Gregory Pron's single, which scored Dustin Lawley after a leadoff double. But after a walk to Albert Cordero put a second runner on base, Brandon Brown grounded out as Delmarva held on. Box


BROOKLYN 4, CONNECTICUT 1: Rainy Lara (3-1) allowed one run on three hits in six innings while striking out eight as Brooklyn snapped a four-game losing streak. Lara took the New York-Penn League lead with 31 strikeouts. Dimas Ponce singled, Phillip Evans walked and Alex Sanchez -- who has hit safely in every road game this season -- responded with a line-drive single for a 1-0 lead in the first. Jake Stewart led off the bottom half with a solo homer. Lara, though, retired 16 in a row from that point. In the second inning, Stefan Sabol doubled and Brandon Nimmo worked a one-out walk. With Eudy Pina batting, a wild pitch advanced both runners. Pina then contributed an RBI groundout. Juan Gamboa added an RBI single for a 3-1 lead. The Cyclones capped the scoring in the fifth as Ponce worked a two-out walk, stole second and scored on Evans' single. Logan Taylor, the Mets' 11th-round pick last month, made his professional debut with a perfect seventh. Paul Sewald tossed a scoreless eighth. John Mincone earned his second save. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 7.11.12

July, 11, 2012
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE 3, INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE 0: Matt Harvey tossed two scoreless innings and was named the top IL performer in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Buffalo. Valentino Pascucci, fresh off Monday's home run derby win, doubled and walked three times in four plate appearances as the DH. Bisons closer Fernando Cabrera struck out Cubs prospect Josh Vitters, the lone batter he faced. Box

EAST 5, WEST 4: Binghamton's Eric Campbell singled with two out in the bottom of the ninth to drive in the winning run and earn MVP honors of the Eastern League All-Star Game. Campbell went 2-for-3 with a double off the bench in his first professional All-Star Game. Facing Hector Nelo of the Harrisburg Senators with runners on second and third, Campbell grounded a 3-1 pitch into left field, bringing home Reading Phillies shortstop Troy Hanzawa to secure the walk-off win. B-Mets teammate Jefry Marte earlier singled and had a sac fly that plated Campbell. Armando Rodriguez tossed a scoreless seventh to preserve a tie. He struck out Chris Rahl, induced Robbie Widlansky to fly out, walked Buck Britton and fanned Eury Perez. Zack Wheeler was selected but did not appear after pitching in Sunday's Futures Game. Box

ST. LUCIE at TAMPA (ppd.): Jason Bay and Frank Francisco's first expected rehab game was rained out.

SAVANNAH 5, DELMARVA 3: Starter Jake deGrom allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings and Carlos Vazquez contributed two scoreless relief innings. Xorge Carillo had a two-run homer and three RBIs. Box


CONNECTICUT 1, BROOKLYN 0: Brooklyn starter Julio Hilario battled Connecticut starter Hua-Wei Lo for six innings, but came up short. Hilario allowed one earned run on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. In third, Hilario struck out Patrick Smith and retired Bennett Pickar on a groundout to Cyclones shortstop Phillip Evans. Brett Harrison then singled and scored on Jake Stewart's double. Lo held the Cyclones to three hits in six innings. Cyclones third baseman Alex Sanchez went 2-for-3 with a double in the loss. The other Brooklyn hit came from Evans, who led off the fourth with a single. The Cyclones left seven men on base and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Working out of the bullpen, Matt Koch threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out three. Tyler Vanderheiden entered with two outs and a runner at second base in the eighth and kept the Cyclones within a run. Box

Compiled from team reports

Farm report II: Leaders, player notes

July, 11, 2012
Organization leaders

Average: Maikis De La Cruz, Kingsport, .348; Eris Peguero, Kingsport, .346; Eric Campbell, Binghamton, .328; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .324; Wilmer Flores, Binghamton, .309; Stefan Sabol, Brooklyn, .300; Matt den Dekker, Buffalo, .300; Cam Maron, Savannah, .297; Josh Rodriguez, Buffalo, .295; Cole Frenzel, Brooklyn, .295.

Homers: Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 16; Travis Taijeron, St. Lucie, 16; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, 16; Matt den Dekker, Buffalo, 14; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 13.

RBI: Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 59; Travis Taijeron, St. Lucie, 54; Wilmer Flores, Binghamton, 53; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 51; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 48.

Steals: Alonzo Harris Jr., St. Lucie, 18; Fred Lewis, Buffalo, 16; Juan Lagares, Binghamton, 15; Matt den Dekker, Buffalo, 14; Pedro Zapata, Binghamton, 13.

ERA: Luis Mateo, Brooklyn, 1.90; Tyler Pill, St. Lucie, 2.53; Hansel Robles, Brooklyn, 2.57; Rafael Montero, St. Lucie, 2.58; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 2.62; Steven Matz, Kingsport, 2.65; Michael Fulmer, Savannah, 2.70; Collin McHugh, Buffalo, 2.96; Luis Cessa, Brooklyn, 3.20; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 3.39.

Wins: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 8; Gonzalez Germen, Binghamton, 8; Rafael Montero, St. Lucie, 8.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 16; Adrian Rosario, Binghamton, 14; T.J. Chism, Savannah, 14; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 13; Robert Carson, Binghamton, 8.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 102; Collin McHugh, Buffalo, 92; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 88; Garrett Olson, Buffalo, 79.

Short hops

Valentino Pascucci won Monday’s Triple-A home run derby, in walk-off fashion no less, as the last batter in the event, with 17,400 on hand in Buffalo. The Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski won the celebrity counterpart. Gronk launched one legit homer over the regular wall. A fence at 200 feet from home plate was erected for the celebrity competitors. The Bisons will have three representatives in Wednesday’s All-Star Game -- Matt Harvey, Pascucci and closer Fernando Cabrera. Harvey is due to pitch second for the International League side.

Zack Wheeler is attending today’s Eastern League All-Star Game in Reading, Pa., although he is not scheduled to pitch after recording two outs Sunday in the Futures Game in Kansas City. Also due to represent the B-Mets at the event: Eric Campbell, Jefry Marte and Armando Rodriguez. Sandy Alderson has publicly estimated Wheeler may make only two more Double-A starts before being promoted to Buffalo.

• Campbell has moved to left field with Binghamton since the return of first baseman Allan Dykstra. Campbell’s .328 average ranks second in the Eastern League. The leader? Former teammate Matt den Dekker, at .340. Den Dekker since has been promoted to Buffalo. And with 2.7 plate appearances per game required to remain listed, den Dekker is due to drop off the list once Binghamton plays its 100th game. The B-Mets so far have completed 88.

• Left-hander Josh Edgin, a potential call-up with Dillon Gee landing on the DL, has held lefty batters to a .220 average since joining Buffalo. Righties are hitting .256 against him in Triple-A. Edgin, who has a 3.89 ERA, lost an eight-appearance scoreless streak Saturday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

• Brooklyn Cyclones mascot Jessica Klein -- who plays Pee Wee at the Coney Island ballpark -- took a week off to head to Europe. The reason? To participate in the International Quidditch Association's Summer Olympic Games in London. As a member of Team USA, Klein won a gold medal.

• Removed from the 40-man roster after clearing waivers, Chris Schwinden is nonetheless heading back into the Bisons’ rotation after temporarily working in relief -- which included Schwinden working on consecutive days for the first time in his career. When Buffalo play resumes after its All-Star break, Jeremy Hefner will handle the second-half-opening assignment Thursday at Pawtucket, followed by Jeurys Familia, Schwinden, Collin McHugh and Harvey. Garrett Olson and Dylan Owen are now assigned to the bullpen.

• Left-hander Mark Cohoon, who allowed 13 runs over eight innings in two starts for Buffalo, returned to Binghamton. He will form a six-man B-Mets rotation. Greg Peavey starts Game 1 after the break Thursday, followed by Wheeler, Cohoon, Cory Mazzoni, Gonzalez Germen and Darin Gorski. After recent blips, Wheeler, Cohoon and Mazzoni each put up seven innings and allowed one run or fewer in their most-recent B-Mets starts. Gorski surrendered one run in six innings.

• Corner infielder Zach Lutz should rejoin the Bisons as soon as Thursday. Lutz, who last played with Buffalo on May 12, has logged games on six straight days with Class A St. Lucie since returning from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in the base of his hand.

Adam Loewen has been on a tear since returning from a stress fracture in his right foot. Loewen, who has been manning first base rather than playing the outfield, is 7-for-15 with two homers, seven RBIs and four walks in four games since rejoining Buffalo. Loewen logging first-base duty has pushed Josh Satin largely to second base, with some late-game action at third base after double-switches.

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 7.10.12

July, 10, 2012
Three days until the Mets resume game action Friday in Atlanta ...

Tuesday's news reports:

• San Francisco's Matt Cain was announced as the NL's starting pitcher for tonight's All-Star Game by skipper Tony La Russa, not R.A. Dickey. Instead, Dickey's entrance should coincide with backup catcher Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies entering the All-Star Game, according to Terry Collins. La Russa pledged he would use Dickey, and that it would be during the first half of the game. La Russa selected Carlos Gonzalez as the NL's designated hitter, so David Wright and Chipper Jones will be the reserve third basemen behind San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval.

"Well, I'm not going to break down in tears over it," Dickey dryly told New York reporters. "But, at the same time, I'm a competitor. I want to pitch. I want to start. I feel like I had a good-enough first half to be considered. But I'm not the boss. I don't have to necessarily agree with it, but I certainly have to respect it. That's the way it is. I think that might be one of my bigger disappointments because I really felt like it would have been a neat thing for the New York Mets organization and the fan base. Having shared so much of this story with them, I felt like that would have been a neat culmination or apex to the story."

Columnist John Harper in the Daily News faults the silly this-game-counts mantra for the decision to snub Dickey, which was a lost opportunity for MLB to tell -- and market -- the knuckleballer's story. Writes Harper:

But I blame Bud Selig for screwing this up, as well. His insistence on making the All-Star Game count for home-field advantage in the World Series, a ridiculous idea from the start, is surely what sent La Russa into Bill Belichik mode, preparing for his one-game return to baseball as if designing a game plan for a Super Bowl. If the game were still merely a showcase for baseball’s best players, with nothing at stake but league pride, I’m convinced La Russa would have given Dickey the start Tuesday night, rather than Matt Cain. It’s not as if he doesn’t understand the national appeal of Dickey’s story, or wouldn’t enjoy rewarding the perseverance of a 37-year-old pitcher who endured years as a journeyman before turning himself into a knuckleball star.

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Snubbed R.A. Dickey finally gets to chat with NL skipper Tony La Russa during the team's Monday afternoon workout in Kansas City.

Writes Kevin Kernan in the Post:

Plain and simple, the Mets got hosed. Manager-for-a-day Tony La Russa chose to be a knucklehead by choosing Giants ace Matt Cain over the Mets’ R.A. Dickey to start tonight for the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. The former Cardinals manager never discussed the situation with Dickey before making the decision. Dickey is tied for the league lead in wins in his storybook season, but La Russa made it an all-Giants battery with Cain throwing to Buster Posey, saying he wanted to “reward Matt Cain for a career of excellence.’’

Derek Jeter told Kernan: “I looked kind of foolish when I faced him at Citi Field. I’m happy he’s not starting.’’

Brian Costa in the Journal looks at the history of catchers handling the knuckleball in the All-Star Game, which is one reason why Tim Wakefield went unused when he was selected in 2009 and Phil Niekro similarly did not get into the game his final two selections. Writes Costa:

Consider the fate of the last man to catch the pitch in the All-Star Game. In 1986, Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman came off the bench in the eighth inning with Texas Rangers knuckleballer Charlie Hough on the mound. In one humiliating sequence, Gedman allowed a runner to advance to third base on a wild pitch; dropped a third-strike knuckleball to allow the runner to score and the batter to reach first; and then dropped another third strike before tagging the batter out. Another run scored before American League manager Dick Howser mercifully pulled Hough from the game, which the AL barely held on to win, 3-2.

For years after, Gedman refused to even play catch with a teammate who wanted to toy around with a knuckleball. And even today, his nightmarish All-Star appearance remains a sore subject. "I'm sensitive about it, because it's a reminder of the time I failed -- and failed miserably," said Gedman, now the hitting coach for the Class A Salem (Va.) Red Sox. "I did the best I could. It just wasn't very good."

Columnist David Lennon in Newsday polled American League players and asked if they would prefer facing Cain or Dickey. Wrote Lennon: It was no question. Every one preferred to hit against Cain.

Read more in from Ken Davidoff in the Post as well as in the Daily News, Newsday, Times and Journal.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger looks at Wright's resurgent season, which got off on the wrong foot with a rib-cage injury in spring training, then a broken pinkie that threatened to land him on the disabled list in April. “I don’t think I’m as bad as I was last year,” Wright told McCullough. “It’s tough to say I’m as good as I am this year. It’s probably somewhere in between. I have to keep that in perspective. I didn’t all of a sudden find some magic potion, and think I can do this for the rest of my career. You’ve got to take advantage of when you’ve hit a hot streak. And we’ve been fortunate enough that in this lineup, this year, I’ve been able to do that.”

Writes Mike Kerwick in the Record in a profile of Wright:

There are plenty of moments that still bring him joy. On June 18, before a 5-0 win over the Orioles, Wright was playing catch on the field with members of Hofstra’s softball team. One of the college’s pitchers was throwing fastballs. Wright politely requested changeups. And last week, after a night game, the Mets were putting on a postgame fireworks show. Wright grabbed some food and headed for the door. He walked out of the clubhouse to watch the fireworks.

Valentino Pascucci won the Triple-A Home Run Derby on Monday night before a crowd of 17,244 in Buffalo, beating Charlotte's Dan Johnson of the Chicago White Sox organization in the finals. Buffalo hosts the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, with Matt Harvey, Pascucci and closer Fernando Cabrera due to represent the Bisons/Mets. “He’s a big dude and he was bombing them 400 plus over the net,” the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, who won the celebrity derby, told Mike Harrington in the Buffalo News about Pascucci. “That was cool to see.”

• Brooklyn players Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Plawecki, Phillip Evans and Paul Sewald recorded a segment at the Coney Island ballpark showing MTV's Lenay Dunn how to play baseball. View a photo here.

• Former phenom Scott Kazmir is trying to make a comeback with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League, in the southpaw's native Texas. Kazmir auditioned for the Mets during spring training but went unsigned. Writes Joshua Siegel in the Houston Chronicle:

The past two years have not been easy on Kazmir as he suffered a drop in his velocity and confidence. In 2010, he saw his ERA balloon to 5.94 and, after one horrific outing in 2011, he found himself pitching in extended spring training and the minors. After going 0-5 for the Angels’ Class AAA affiliate and allowing 30 runs in 151D3 innings, the Angels let him go despite owing him $14.5 million. Kazmir said that during his time in the minors it was a coin flip whether he would be able to get the ball over the plate. “I mean when you go out there and you struggle like I did, it’s tough to have confidence. It really is,” he said. “Today being able to do what I did, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” On Sunday, Kazmir’s fastball was in the low 90s and topped out at 95 mph.

• Left-hander Steven Matz, the organization's top draft pick in 2009, tossed six scoreless innings, but the bullpen squandered a 6-0 lead in Kingsport's loss. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Kerwick in the Record reviews the Mets at the midway point.

Mike Puma in the Post offers grades. Wright gets an A. Jason Bay gets a D.

Richard Sandomir in the Times reviews devout Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld talking about his admiration for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and the "Who's on First?" routine. Writes Sandomir:

Seinfeld's fascination with Abbott and Costello began in the 1960s when he started to watch reruns of the comedy team’s syndicated TV series. He plucked some of what he admired for his own series: a short routine to open each episode; playing the Abbott-like straight man to the other characters, and emphasizing the physical differences between Kramer’s lean physique and Newman’s porcine one. And George Costanza’s middle name, Louis, paid homage to Costello. Seinfeld said he experienced a “Who’s on First?” moment in an episode, “The Package,” in which Kramer says the Postal Service will take a write-off if Jerry files a fraudulent claim that his stereo was damaged during delivery.

TRIVIA: Citi Field will host the 2013 All-Star Game. Where is the 2014 game due to be played?

Monday's answer: Darryl Strawberry was the youngest Met ever to have a plate appearance in an All-Star Game. He was 22 years, 120 days old on July 10, 1984 when he went 1-for-2 as the starting right fielder for the NL at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.



Bartolo Colon
10 3.88 106 141
BAD. Murphy .296
HRL. Duda 20
RBIL. Duda 61
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .872
ERAJ. Niese 3.24
SOZ. Wheeler 125