New York Mets: Greg Burke

Greg Burke headed to Rockies

November, 6, 2013
Free-agent reliever Greg Burke is headed to the Colorado Rockies on a minor league deal with a spring-training invite, a source told

Burke, 31, was removed from the 40-man roster last month and subsequently became a free agent.

He had a 5.68 ERA in 32 relief appearances for the Mets last season.

The Mets and Blue Jays also were believed to have made offers.

17 Mets farmhands become free agents

November, 5, 2013
Seventeen Mets farmhands became free agents because they have not been added to the 40-man roster. That list, according to Baseball America:

RHP: Giancarlo Alvarado, Greg Burke, Matt Fox, D.J. Mitchell, Dylan Owen, Armando Rodriguez, Daryl Thompson, Cory Wade
LHP: Justin Hampson
C: Jeyckol De Leon, Francisco Pena
1B: Rhyne Hughes
3B: Richard Lucas
SS: Brian Bixler, Brandon Hicks, Josh Rodriguez
OF: Jamie Hoffmann

Burke drawing interest from Jays, Rockies

November, 2, 2013
The Mets are considering re-signing reliever Greg Burke this offseason, presumably to a minor league deal with a spring-training invitation, after he was removed from the 40-man roster and became a free agent.

But Burke is expected to have a choice of employers. The sidearmer also is expected to receive offers early this offseason from the Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies.

Burke, 31, made 32 relief appearances for the Mets last season.

Lefty Carson claimed by Angels

October, 17, 2013
Left-hander Robert Carson's tenure with the Mets has ended.

Carson, 24, was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.

The Mets also removed relievers Greg Burke and Sean Henn from the 40-man roster.

Carson allowed nine homers in 19 2/3 innings at the major league level this season while compiling an 8.24 ERA. He was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas after an Aug. 28 appearance, ostensibly to help the Pacific Coast League team in the playoffs, but suffered two losses in the first-round series and was not recalled in September.

Henn has the right to declare free agency, while Burke will become a free agent after the World Series.

Player-by-player predictions for 2014

September, 30, 2013
NEW YORK -- Here is a player-by-player primer on each Met, broken down by contract status:

Free agents

LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.

Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.

David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.

Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.

Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.

Signed to contracts

Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.

David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.

Arbitration eligible

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.

• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.

Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.

Daniel Murphy, second baseman. hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.

Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.

Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.

Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.

Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.

Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.

Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.

Under control

Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.

Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.

• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.

Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.

Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.

Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.

Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.

Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.

Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.

Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.

Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.

Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.

Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.

Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.

Rapid Reaction: Nats 9, Mets 0

September, 9, 2013
NEW YORK -- Carlos Torres surrendered four homers. The Mets allowed five long balls as a team. And the Amazin's officially have been eliminated from NL East contention with a 9-0 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday night at Citi Field.

Oh, and the Mets nearly got no-hit, too.

They finally mustered their lone hit against Gio Gonzalez when pinch hitter Zach Lutz singled down the first-base line to open the bottom of the seventh.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsGio Gonzalez pitched a one-hit shutout against the Mets.

Their other baserunners came on Daniel Murphy's one-out walk in the first and Lutz's two-out walk in the ninth. Murphy left the game on a double-switch when Greg Burke entered, with Lutz eventually hitting in that spot.

The Mets have been no-hit six times in franchise history, most recently almost two decades ago to the day, when Darryl Kile did it at the Astrodome on Sept. 8, 1993.

Gonzalez went the distance, requiring 110 pitches. The last one-hit shutout against the Mets came on June 27, 2009 on a combined effort by the Yankees' A.J. Burnett, Brian Bruney and David Robertson. Dontrelle Willis had the last complete-game one-hit shutout of the Mets, on June 16, 2003 with the Marlins.

Torres surrendered consecutive homers to Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman to open the game. He became the first Mets pitcher to allow homers to the first two opposing batters since Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter consecutively took Tom Glavine deep in a Subway Series matchup on June 28, 2003 at Shea Stadium, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Jayson Werth and Tyler Moore also homered before Torres departed with the Mets trailing 6-0 after four innings.

The last Mets pitcher to allow four homers in a game? That was Johan Santana on June 8, 2012, against the Yankees.

Burke entered in the fifth inning and surrendered a three-run homer to Wilson Ramos, and the Nats' lead swelled to 9-0.

Washington became the first team -- Mets or visitor -- to homer five times in a game at Citi Field.

Henn in the house: Left-hander Sean Henn made his Mets debut with a scoreless seventh inning that included two walks. It marked his first major league appearance since Sept. 26, 2009, when he was with the Baltimore Orioles.

What's next: Dillon Gee (11-9, 3.53 ERA) opposes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (16-8, 3.30) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Morning Briefing: Watch Dice-K or Jets?

September, 8, 2013

John Munson/The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY SportsMark Sanchez will be watching the Jets, not the Mets, on Sunday afternoon.
FIRST PITCH: Are you ready for some … Daisuke Matsuzaka?

Going up against the Jets game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Matsuzaka faces the Cleveland Indians at 1:05 p.m. as the Mets look to avoid getting swept at Progressive Field.

Matsuzaka pitched for the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate for most of this season. He brings an 0-3 record and 10.95 ERA into his matchup with rookie right-hander Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.00).

The Mets (63-77) now have the eighth-worst record in the majors, which would translate into getting a first-round draft pick that is protected regardless of how aggressive they are in free agency next offseason.

A loss today would drop the Mets 15 games under .500, which would match the season’s low-water mark. They were 24-39 on June 15, and 25-40 two days later. A loss, or Atlanta Braves win, also would mathematically eliminate the Mets from NL East contention. The wild card tragic number is 5.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Whether it is because they are shorthanded or intend to trade him, the Mets decided to bring Frank Francisco back to the major league level with Binghamton’s postseason elimination. Francisco had been out the entire season after undergoing seemingly benign surgery last Dec. 18 to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. If the Mets were to trade Francisco, he would be ineligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster. Still, he could help a team like the Yankees get to October, while providing the Mets some salary relief.

Charles LeClaire/US PresswireThe Mets welcome back Frank Francisco today.

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez recalled the Yankees acquiring left-hander Rick Honeycutt on Sept. 25, 1995. (He subsequently faced only six batters.) More recently, the Mets considered trading Chris Capuano to the Boston Red Sox two years ago for one late-season start.

Francisco is owed $781,420.77 from today through the remainder of the season (22 days of a 183-day season). Mets insiders previously had predicted Sandy Alderson would release Francisco before letting him get to the major league level.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

• The Mets announced postgame Saturday that reliever Greg Burke would join the Mets today in Cleveland. The team also is expected to add veteran right-hander Aaron Harang before next Saturday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

Team insiders told that the Mets, as of Friday, also planned to call up Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and catcher Juan Centeno, but abruptly reversed course midday Saturday.

The Mets still may intend to call up Tejada at a later date -- the Daily News reported they will Monday -- but there was conflicting information because of the seemingly sudden reduction in the number of call-ups. If the Mets wait until Tuesday, they would delay Tejada’s free agency by a year, although it is now hard to envision him in the team’s plan four seasons down the road anyway. Alderson did not reply to a text message Saturday about whether Tejada eventually would be promoted.

• Las Vegas was eliminated Saturday in its best-of-five series. The lone Mets affiliate still alive is low-Savannah, which opens its South Atlantic League championship series Monday at Hagerstown, a Washington Nationals affiliate.

Jonathon Niese allowed five first-inning runs and Scott Atchison surrendered a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh as the Mets lost to the Indians, 9-4, Saturday. The Mets dropped into fourth place in the NL East.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Record and

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger revisits with Michael Bourn the Mets’ failed pursuit of him as a free agent last offseason. Mets officials visited Bourn at his home in Texas, but have suggested they backed off at the end because they may have needed to forfeit the first-round draft pick they eventually used on high school first baseman Dominic Smith.

• Marc Carig in Newsday discusses Travis d’Arnaud’s major league performance so far.

David Wright is returning to New York with minor league seasons complete and the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex barren. Wright, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, will take batting practice and do other baseball activities at Citi Field. He is not ready for games. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Parnell, on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck, turns 29.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think the Mets should call up Ruben Tejada?

Burke, Harang lone initial call-ups

September, 7, 2013
With Triple-A Las Vegas' elimination, the Mets' call-ups are expected to be Greg Burke and Aaron Harang.

Harang, the ex-Seattle Mariners right-hander, just pitched six innings in Saturday's Pacific Coast League playoff game. The Mets likely are eyeing next Saturday's doubleheader at Citi Field for a Harang start.

The initial plan, according to team insiders, also was to promote Ruben Tejada, third catcher Juan Centeno and Mike Baxter. Team sources believed those largely may be off the table now, for whatever reason.

Mets officials already planned to snub Robert Carson and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, a source told

Tejada may be promoted later, but there was conflicting information. Waiting until Tuesday does delay his free agency by a year because of MLB service time calculations.

Passing over Tejada would be particularly surprising and a major snub. Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson recently had mentioned him as an intended September call-up. Mets officials also had mentioned calling up a third catcher during the final month. Baxter would have qualified for Super 2 status with a call-up.

The Mets confirmed Burke's call-up postgame Saturday. Harang presumably will wait to be added until his start is required.

Morning Briefing: O on Mets' '06 Dice-K bid

August, 23, 2013

Getty Images, Associated PressOmar Minaya and the Mets put in an aggressive posting bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka back in 2006.

FIRST PITCH: A day after officially joining the organization, Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his Mets debut when he starts tonight’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field.

Matsuzaka, now 32, nearly became a Met in his prime.

Former GM Omar Minaya on Thursday recalled the Mets finishing second to the Boston Red Sox in the posting bidding for Matsuzaka after the Japanese icon declared his intent to come to the United States during a November 2006 press conference at the Takanawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo.

Minaya remembered Mets officials feeling good about their chances of landing Matsuzaka after submitting a posting bid in the $35 million vicinity.

Courtesy of New York MetsDaisuke Matsuzaka stopped by Citi Field on Thursday's off-day.

The highest bid would give the major league team the exclusive right to negotiate with the pitcher. The posting fee goes to the Japanese ballclub, not the player.

At the time, the Mets’ bid was poised to wildly surpass the highest figure ever submitted for a player posted from Japan. The record at the time: The Seattle Mariners had won the rights to negotiate with Ichiro Suzuki back in 2000 for a $13 million posting fee to the Orix Blue Wave.

However, the Mets lost out on Matsuzaka when the bids were unsealed and it was learned the Red Sox had submitted a whopping posting bid of $51.11 million to the Seibu Lions.

In subsequent negotiations, Matsuzaka received a $52 million contract over six years from Boston, making the Red Sox’s total outlay to land him $103.11 million.

“We thought we had a good number at the time, but the bottom line is they were much higher than us,” recalled Minaya, now a special assistant with the San Diego Padres. “After that season, we were kind of looking for that No. 1 guy. And the guys we were considering were Dice-K and [Barry] Zito at the time, too. Dice-K and him were the two best guys out there.

“At that time, I think the biggest [posting bid ever] was Ichiro -- not even $15 million. And we finished third with Ichiro. But the bottom line is we went up to the middle $30s -- or high $30s, I think it was -- with Dice-K. And we thought we had a good chance. The bottom line is they went up to the $50s.

“I had seen Dice-K a lot. I saw Dice-K in Japan. I saw Dice-K in Australia and in the Olympics. So I had a lot of history with him. And at the time he was a pretty good pitcher -- a very good pitcher.

“The question was: How much does he bring to the marketing side? At that time Boston felt he was going to bring them a lot of extra marketing, and that’s why they went to that number.”

Courtesy of New York MetsTonight's game also features a Jay Horwitz bobblehead giveaway (here pictured with the real thing).

Now, Matsuzaka opposes right-hander Doug Fister (10-6, 3.63) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener. The night also includes a Jay Horwitz bobblehead giveaway for those buying special tickets. Third Eye Blind entertains with a postgame concert.

Matsuzaka likely will have a short outing, since he will work on short rest after throwing 85 pitches Monday for Triple-A Columbus. Carlos Torres, originally penciled in for the start, should piggyback Matsuzaka’s outing.

Read the series Mets-Tigers preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler tells Marc Carig in Newsday he does not mind a team-imposed innings cap. The rookie noted his fastball velocity is now hovering in the lower-90s mph, which signals he is pitching deeper into a season than before and his energy is getting sapped. Wheeler’s brother, Adam, was a flame-throwing Yankees farmhand before tearing a labrum and undergoing surgery that derailed his career. So Wheeler acutely understands the dangers of overwork.

Wheeler currently is at a combined 138 1/3 innings between the majors at minors this season. He logged 149 innings last year. A roughly 30-inning jump from the previous season generally is within the acceptable limit. So Wheeler may have 40 or so more innings left before a shutdown.

"Of course, I'm young and I want to pitch as long as I can,” Wheeler tells Carig. “And with them sort of limiting innings and pitches and all that stuff, I think it will help me out down the road. I'm not mad about it, honestly.''

• The Mets dispatched Greg Burke to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear a roster spot for Matsuzaka. Burke should return after the 51s complete their season and major league rosters have expanded.

Read more on Matsuzaka’s signing in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times, Journal and

Paul Chesne/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesStephan Jenkins and Third Eye Blind perform postgame tonight at Citi Field.

Jason Heyward underwent surgery Thursday in Atlanta on his jaw. He had two plates inserted -- one in each fractured area. Heyward was struck Wednesday by a 90 mph fastball from Jonathon Niese. Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

John Buck tells Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger he is embracing the role of mentoring Travis d’Arnaud. Buck generously made an effort to dine with d’Arnaud this summer when the rookie was in New York for a follow-up exam on his fractured foot. “I still have a responsibility to the Mets and to this team,” Buck said. “Travis is my teammate. I have a lot of family members and stuff that think I’m crazy. But that’s just who I am.”

• Giancarlo Alvarado tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings and Zach Lutz drove in three runs as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 5-0. Rob Whalen tossed seven scoreless innings and Kingsport blanked Bluefield, 7-0. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Former Mets minor league catcher Landon Powell, whose emotional story was documented in an E:60 piece, has joined Furman University as a volunteer assistant coach.

Jeremy Hefner was shocked by the murder of an Australian man playing college baseball in Hefner’s home state of Oklahoma, he told the Daily News.

From the bloggers: Rising Apple expects the Mets to be in contention in 2014. … John Delcos at Mets Report speculates about a potential Jose Reyes-Mets winter reunion.

BIRTHDAYS: Julio Franco turns 55. … Ed Hearn is 53. … Prentice Redman turns 34. … Pat Strange is 33.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would you prefer Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carlos Torres, Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom getting starts down the stretch?

Burke shipped to Vegas to clear spot

August, 22, 2013
NEW YORK -- Reliever Greg Burke has been demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear the roster spot for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

On his first major league pitch since July 19, Burke surrendered a three-run homer to Chris Johnson on Wednesday as the Mets lost to the Atlanta Braves, 4-1, in 10 innings Wednesday.

Burke should return to the Mets in September, after Las Vegas' season ends.

Morning Briefing: Historic matchup looms

August, 22, 2013

Associated Press, USA TODAY SportsTim Hudson (ankle) and Jason Heyward (jaw) have suffered serious bone fractures at Citi Field in the past month.

FIRST PITCH: Aces Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer will make history this weekend.

Their matchup Saturday at Citi Field will mark the first time the All-Star Game starters have faced off at any point during that same regular season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Of course, the Mets made that possible by keeping Harvey on an extra day of rest.

Carlos Torres steps into the rotation spot vacated by Jenrry Mejia to face Detroit Tigers right-hander Doug Fister in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.

After Harvey-Scherzer Saturday at 4:05 p.m., Dillon Gee opposes Seton Hall prep product Rick Porcello in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. finale.

First, the Mets enjoy their first off-day today since Aug. 5.

Scherzer, by the way, is only the fifth pitcher in major league history to win at least 18 of his first 19 decisions of a season -- as a starter or reliever. He joins Rube Marquard (1912 New York Giants, 19-0), Roger Clemens (2001 Yankees, 18-1), Roy Face (1959 Pittsburgh Pirates, 18-1) and Don Newcombe (1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, 18-1).

Thursday’s news reports:

Jason Heyward suffered two fractures to his jaw when he was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Jonathon Niese in the sixth inning Wednesday. Heyward is due to undergo surgery in Atlanta on Thursday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

It marked the second time this season the Mets had dealt a serious injury to a key member of the Braves at Citi Field. Tim Hudson fractured his right ankle covering first base when Eric Young Jr. stepped on him on July 24.

"He never lost consciousness," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters afterward about Heyward. "Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys.

“It’s not the ballpark. It's just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere.”

Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post and Newsday.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsFirst-base ump Jerry Layne gets an earful from Terry Collins after a blown 10th-inning call.

• On his first major league pitch since July 19, Greg Burke surrendered a three-run homer to Chris Johnson and the Mets lost to the Braves, 4-1, in 10 innings. The inning was prolonged for Johnson’s blast when first-base umpire Jerry Layne incorrectly ruled Freddie Freeman safe on a close play, which placed runners at first and second base with two outs.

Daniel Murphy was ejected for barking at Layne about the Freeman call as Johnson rounded the bases. Terry Collins subsequently returned to the field to argue and was tossed, too. Major League Baseball intends to institute manager challenges next season that would have reversed such a call.

Niese had allowed one run in seven innings in a no-decision. Atlanta evened the score at 1 in the sixth when Niese briefly unraveled after drilling Heyward with two outs. The southpaw subsequently surrendered singles to Andrelton Simmons and Freeman.

The Mets have now played 52 extra innings this season, eight shy of matching the franchise record, set in 1979 and duplicated in 1985.

Juan Lagares recorded his 11th outfield assist, pulling even with Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Gonzalez for the major league lead. Lagares has the most outfield assists by a rookie since Rocco Baldelli had 15 with Tampa Bay in 2003.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Journal and

Frank Francisco resurfaced in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday. Francisco surrendered a solo homer to minor league veteran Ben Lasater. He otherwise struck out two in one inning against the GCL Marlins in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It marked Francisco’s first official minor league game action since July 15.

Unless the Mets can get Francisco to the major league level in the next nine days and trade him while he would be eligible for another team’s playoff roster, it clearly would be plausible for them to release the former closer soon. After all, why give him a September opportunity to set up a free-agent deal elsewhere this offeason?

Francisco, making $6.5 million as part of an expiring two-year, $12 million deal, has not appeared with the Mets this season. He seemingly underwent a benign surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.

Jeremy Hefner will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday, but believes he is headed for Tommy John surgery to address a partially torn medial collateral ligament. The surgery, which has a typical 12-month recovery time, would sideline Hefner for most if not all of the 2014 season. Hefner also needs bone spurs removed. Read more in the Times, Daily News, Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Brian Costa notes in the Journal that he willingly preferred to attend Citi Field rather than Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Writes Costa:

But as the Mets slog through what's left of another forgettable season in relative obscurity, a window of opportunity is opening. The emergence of their best young players is coinciding with the devolution of the Yankees into an abject spectacle, like the Bronx Zoo Yankees of the 1970s minus the championship.

You'd be a fool to write the Yankees off entirely. Entering Thursday, they'd won eight of their last 10 games. But the odds are not in their favor. Based on the team's run differential and remaining schedule, the website gave the Yankees a mere 11 percent chance of making the playoffs entering Thursday. And with no top young talent on the immediate horizon, 2014 looks as murky as ever.

For the first time in a long time, it looks entirely possible that the Mets will be a better team than the Yankees a year from today.

Courtesy of New York MetsDustin Lawley has been named Florida State League player of the year.

• Playoff-bound Binghamton (81-49) clinched outright its first Eastern League division title since 2000 with a 5-3 win against Bowie on Wednesday. Allan Dykstra slugged his 20th homer, while Travis Taijeron also went deep. Taijeron has 13 Double-A homers this season and 22 long balls overall. Jeff Walters notched his 36th save, which ties the all-time Binghamton saves record originally set by Tim Lavigne over five seasons.

“We mixed some older guys in, myself included, and we jelled well," Dykstra told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "It’s just a good camaraderie in the clubhouse and that really reflects on the field.”

Eric Campbell had a walk-off single in the 11th as Las Vegas rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Fresno, 8-7, and improve to 72-57. Demoted Anthony Recker made his 51s debut with an eighth-inning groundout as a pinch hitter.

Domingo Tapia allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings as St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach, 7-0. Kyle Johnson extended his hitting streak to 16 games. St. Lucie earlier had won the resumption of Tuesday’s suspended game, 6-4. Robbie Shields had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh.

After St. Lucie's doubleheader, outfielder/third baseman Dustin Lawley (.259, 25 HR, 90 RBIs) was named Florida State League player of the year. Bronx-raised infielder T.J. Rivera and right-hander Matt Bowman also were named to the FSL postseason All-Star team.

Estarlin Morel threw a walk-off wild pitch as Savannah lost at Kannapolis, 4-3. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a walk and now has a .406 average (26-for-64) in August.

From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing has seen enough of the Braves.

BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Darrin Jackson is 50. … Ray Burris was born on this date in 1950.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned for the Mets being the target for retribution when they play at Turner Field from Sept 2-4, given the injuries to Jason Heyward and Tim Hudson?

Farm report: Chism an FSL leader like dad

August, 21, 2013
T.J. Chism has 16 saves for Class A St. Lucie, which ranks third in the Florida State League. The southpaw isn’t the first member of his family to rank among that league’s leaders.

Chism’s father Tom hit .314 and won the FSL batting title in 1975. The elder Chism, a first baseman, went on to appear in six games for the Orioles four year later.

“We have a lot of team pictures and stuff like that of him and Cal Ripken right next to each other,” Chism said. “It’s kind of cool. I was born after he was done playing, but I still feel like I was alive, because there’s all that stuff around the house. He won a Florida State League batting title, which is crazy now that I’m playing in the same league. He always tells me this is a pitchers’ league.”

Courtesy of New York MetsT.J. Chism

Not that the 5-foot-10 Chism’s mother, Kelly MacIntosh, was a slouch athletically.

“She’ll take all the credit, if you ask her,” Chism quipped. “She played high school basketball and stuff like that. She was a little bit smaller, which is why I think I got a little bit slighted on the height side. But her athletic ability was tremendous. She always tells me stories about how she scored 50 points in basketball games, which is weird because I can’t shoot a basketball to save my life. I played every other sport but basketball.”

Chism is a 32nd-round pick in 2009 by the Mets out of La Salle University. He grew up a 40-minute drive from the Philadelphia campus. He led the Explorers in homers his junior year with 11 and averaged nearly a run and RBI per game.

“I was a hitter. That was my passion,” said Chism, who noted that he pitched to get seen by scouts and because there were not clear alternatives on the team.

Added Chism: “I would start on Sundays and I’d still hit for myself. I got into the sixth inning one time, I think. That was against Temple. I was good for two or three innings and then the wheels fell off.”

Chism, who turned 25 on Aug. 9, does not have eye-popping velocity, but results are results.

In 54 innings over 42 appearances, Chism has limited opponents to 46 hits and 13 walks (three intentional) while striking out 50. His 16 saves have come in 19 chances. He has a 2.33 ERA. Lefty batters are hitting .194 with one homer in 62 at-bats against him.

Chism began closing as part of a revolving set of back-end pitchers in 2011 with Brooklyn. He then became established in the role last season with Savannah.

He primarily throws a four-seam fastball (86-87 mph) as well as a slider and changeup. He dropped to a three-quarters arm slot in 2010 with the encouragement of Jonathan Hurst, his Kingsport pitching coach.

“We were playing catch one day, and I couldn’t throw a strike to save my life,” Chism said. “So I dropped down a little bit on my own, and he goes, ‘Chiz, what’s going on? You doing something different?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I dropped down a little bit just to get a consistent release point.’ He’s like, ‘Dude, the ball is jumping out of your hand. Let’s roll with it.’ I was like, ‘All right, let’s do it.’ That saved my career.”

Organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .328; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .326; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .319; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .316; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .314; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .308; LJ Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .299; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .296; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .295.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 25; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 21; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 19; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 90; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 77; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 76; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, 76.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 29; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 23; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 18; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 17.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.67; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.14; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.43; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.50; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.54; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.55; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.59; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.71; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.88; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 14; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 35; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 17; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 16; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 137; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 128; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 117; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 116; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 116.

Short hops

• Despite innings caps, right-handers Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom should be permitted to pitch with Las Vegas through the playoffs, provided the 51s qualify. The exception: If Las Vegas became eliminated from postseason contention early, the pitching prospects likely would skip their final regular-season starts. Montero and deGrom are expected to be on 90-pitch limits for the remainder of the season.

Innings limits are hitting the entire system. Double-A phenom Noah Syndergaard, who regularly has been capped at five innings of late, is skipping a start. He is due to reenter the rotation Monday. With St. Lucie, Matt Bowman is at least temporarily shut down.

• The Mets added a pair of starting-pitching arms for Las Vegas -- right-handers Mitch Talbot and Daryl Thompson.

Talbot, 29, made one appearance for Triple-A New Orleans in April before experiencing elbow tendinitis and getting shut down. He was released by the Marlins organization at his request after appearing in two Gulf Coast League games -- the latter a five-inning effort on Aug. 1 against the Mets in Port St. Lucie -- because New Orleans did not have any roster room. Talbot is a career 12-19 with a 5.30 ERA in 43 major league appearances (41 starts) from 2008 through 2011 with the Rays and Indians.

Thompson, 27, is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) with the Reds in 2008 and ’11. He was 10-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 124 2/3 innings for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the independent Atlantic League this season.

Las Vegas needs the extra arms, particularly because of an upcoming six-game series over four days at Colorado Springs.

The bullpen is so taxed, especially with Greg Burke getting a call-up, that starter Matt Fox had to log 107 pitches Monday despite getting drilled for eight runs in four innings.

• An observer clocked Tim Byrdak’s fastball velocity at 88-89 mph during an appearance Monday and suggested he should be no-brainer to be up with the Mets after rosters expand. Byrdak currently is on a minor league contract as he returns from Sept. 6, 2012 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

The Mets should have 40-man roster room for call-ups, including Byrdak. Since Cesar Puello and Jordany Valdespin are on the restricted list and do not count, the Mets’ 40-man roster is at 38. Players on the 60-day DL do not count against the 40-man roster, either. The Mets already have Frank Francisco, Jeurys Familia and Johan Santana on the 60-day DL. Team officials potentially can open two 40-man roster more spots by shifting Jenrry Mejia and Jeremy Hefner to the 60-day DL.

While it is premature for any commitments, logical September call-ups include Anthony Recker on Sept. 1 and then Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Robert Carson and Matt den Dekker once the 51s’ season ends. (Zach Lutz, on the 40-man roster, is far more iffy.)

Den Dekker is not on the 40-man roster, but needs to be added this offseason anyway for Rule 5 protection.

The Mets often reward an unheralded player for performance, too. That could wind up being 26-year-old Eric Campbell, an eighth-round pick in 2008 from Boston College, who has more walks (55) than strikeouts (52) and a .419 on-base percentage. He can play corner infield and outfield positions.

• Binghamton’s magic number for its first division title since 2000 technically remains at one, but the B-Mets already have clinched because they own the tiebreaker with Trenton by virtue of winning the season series. The 2000 squad included Ty Wigginton, Alex Escobar, Tyler Walker, Dicky Gonzalez and Pat Strange, as well as top prospect Brian Cole, who died the following spring training.

• The B-Mets dodged a pair of injury bullets. Outfielder Cory Vaughn, struck in the back of the helmet with a pitch Monday, passed concussion tests and returned to the lineup a day later as DH. Shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, hurt in the same game, underwent X-rays on his left wrist that were negative.

Vaughn, incidentally will be part of the Mets’ Arizona Fall League contingent, his agents at Northwest Sports Management Group announced. Also AFL-bound: B-Mets right-hander Cory Mazzoni, assuming he heals from season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Mazzoni faces a five- to six-week rehab timetable.

• Savannah’s Gabriel Ynoa earned his 14th win Tuesday. That is the most wins by a Mets farmhand since Jason Scobie had 15 with Triple-A Norfolk in 2005.

• B-Mets first baseman Allan Dykstra’s 97 walks are the most in the Eastern League since Brian Myrow had 107 walks with the Trenton Thunder in 2003.

Michael Fulmer preliminarily has been diagnosed with biceps tendinitis after leaving his last start. He is due to see team doctors in New York on Thursday.

• With 14 games remaining in St. Lucie’s season, Dustin Lawley is chasing several of the Florida State League club’s single-season records. Lawley sits at 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 31 doubles. The St. Lucie records belong to Robert Stratton with 29 homers in 2000, Nikco Riesgo with 94 RBIs in 1990 and David Wright with 39 doubles in 2003.

T.J. Rivera leads the Florida State League with 137 hits (including one in Tuesday's suspended game). The St. Lucie record is 156 hits, jointly held by Omar Garcia (1993) and Corey Coles (2006).

Gavin Cecchini’s hit streak with Brooklyn ended at 16 games Monday, one shy of matching the Cyclones’ record set by Lucas Duda in 2007. Cecchini isn’t the only former first-round pick heating up. Brandon Nimmo is batting .393 (24-for-61) with one homer, 12 RBIs and a .543 on-base percentage in August with Savannah.

Kyle Johnson, acquired from the Angels for Collin Cowgill, has a 15-game hitting streak with St. Lucie -- including a hit in Tuesday’s suspended game that will resume Wednesday.

Omar Minaya, now a special assistant for the Padres, is predicting big things for one of his former Mets signings. Minaya last weekend praised Mexican right-hander Luis Cessa, who is 7-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 19 starts with Savannah. Cessa, as noted by Minaya, originally was signed as a third baseman and dabbled in the infield in 2009 and ’10 before moving full time to pitching.

Morning Briefing: Minny detour

August, 19, 2013

Adam RubinThe weather, and the group of players on the roster, were considerably different when the Mets visited Minnesota in April.

FIRST PITCH: Snow, then freezing rain during a mid-April visit to Minneapolis forced the postponement of the interleague series finale against the Minnesota Twins during a season-open road trip. So the Mets swing by Target Field today for a makeup game to cap a four-city, 11-game road trip.

Dillon Gee (8-8, 3.79 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-3, 6.27) in the 2:10 p.m. ET game.

The forecast: mostly sunny, with a high of 89 degrees.

Monday’s news reports:

Pedro Feliciano surrendered a walk-off homer to Will Venable and the Mets lost to the Padres, 4-3, Sunday to split their four-game series. The Mets dropped to 13-12 in games started by Matt Harvey this season, despite Harvey limiting San Diego to two runs in six innings. The Mets suffered their 12th walk-off loss of the season, matching the Miami Marlins for the most in MLB.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger and

Travis d’Arnaud will remain with the major league club once John Buck returns from paternity leave for Tuesday’s homestand opener against the Atlanta Braves, reported. However, multiple team officials insisted to on Sunday night that they had not yet committed to that decision, while acknowledging that may very well end up the resolution. D’Arnaud is 0-for-4 with four walks through two games in his major league career.

• Before Sunday’s game, the Mets placed Jenrry Mejia on the disabled list and promoted reliever Greg Burke. Terry Collins expects Mejia will undergo surgery soon to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, giving him ample time to recover for spring training. As for the rotation void, the Mets appeared to be leaning toward skipping the Mejia turn because of Thursday’s off-day and having Harvey pitch on standard rest Friday against the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field.

Harvey throwing only 86 pitches Sunday helps make that feasible. The alternative is for Carlos Torres to make a spot start Friday and Harvey to continue to pitch with an extra day of rest Saturday. Longer term, Collins indicated, September call-ups should plug Mejia’s rotation spot.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.

Jeremy Hefner is due for another examination today to determine whether he will require Tommy John surgery for a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. Undergoing that procedure would cause Hefner to miss most if not all of the 2014 season.

• Jacob deGrom took a perfect-game bid into the sixth inning and Las Vegas ultimately beat Salt Lake, 6-3. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Jay Horwitz appeared on WABC-TV to discuss the motivation for his upcoming bobblehead day. Watch here.

BIRTHDAYS: Pitcher-turned-broadcaster Ron Darling turns 53. … Ex-Met Chris Capuano, now in the Dodgers rotation, is 35. … Matt Franco turns 44.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets forget about innings limits and call up Jacob deGrom or Rafael Montero to take Jenrry Mejia’s rotation spot?

Greg Burke up; Jenrry Mejia to DL

August, 18, 2013

USA TODAY Sports, Getty ImagesJenrry Mejia has landed on the DL, while Greg Burke has been promoted from Las Vegas.
SAN DIEGO -- After the bullpen was required to toss five innings once Jenrry Mejia departed Saturday's game with elbow discomfort, sidearm reliever Greg Burke has been promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas for bullpen duty.

Mejia has been placed on the DL. Terry Collins presumed Mejia would undergo surgery soon to remove the bone spur and miss the remainder of the season.

Collins added that the two "immediate" options are to have Carlos Torres fill in for a start Friday against the Detroit Tigers, or skip Mejia's turn because Thursday is a team off-day. In the latter scenario, however, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler would have to pitch on standard rest, further jeopardizing their ability to complete the season before hitting innings caps.

Collins said how much work Harvey logs today against the San Diego Padres would help determine whether Torres or Harvey faces the Tigers on Friday. Harvey otherwise would pitch Saturday.

If Torres were to start, Collins said, it would not be to complete the season. Instead, young pitchers in the minors not facing innings limits likely would be used in the rotation. That likely would be second-tier prospects, not Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom -- all of whom are facing innings caps. In Montero and Syndergaard's cases, neither needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, either.

On Mejia's candidacy as a 2014 rotation member, Collins said: "He's certainly a guy that deserves a legitimate look. He wouldn't be a guy that's coming to spring training to see if he's OK. He certainly threw well enough. If his arm is healthy, if he gets this done, he'll be throwing in the Dominican before spring training. I know that with what we saw, he certainly should be a guy that's in one of those top six or seven spots. That's for sure."

Read the full news story here.

Morning Briefing: Harvey-d'Arnaud battery

August, 18, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The third leg of the Mets’ four-city trip ends today.

Matt Harvey and Travis d’Arnaud are slated to serve as the battery as the Mets conclude a series with the San Diego Padres at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Harvey (9-4, 2.23 ERA) faces left-hander Eric Stults (8-10, 3.68).

The Mets then have a makeup game Monday in Minnesota before returning to Citi Field to face the Atlanta Braves.

Sunday’s news reports:

Jenrry Mejia departed Saturday’s game in the fourth inning with discomfort in his right elbow. Mejia already was planning offseason surgery to remove a bone spur. Greg Burke is expected to join the bullpen for today’s series finale. Who steps into the rotation assuming Mejia is done for the year? The Mets were noncommittal, but Carlos Torres looks like the logical bet.

• D’Arnaud went 0-for-2 with two walks in his major league debut. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

David Aardsma surrendered four runs in two innings after entering a tie ballgame for Mejia and the Mets eventually lost to the Padres, 8-2, Saturday night at Petco Park. Wilmer Flores went 1-for-4 in his first start since twisting his right ankle Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Read game recaps in the Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and

• Binghamton clinched its first Eastern League playoff appearance since 2004 with a 5-4 win against New Britain. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Harvey speaks with Kristie Ackert in the Daily News about why he is supporting Mets staffer Shannon Forde’s cancer battle.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing considers d'Arnaud's promotion in the context of Ike Davis' career trajectory.

BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Pat Misch turns 32. Misch is 3-7 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Toledo (Tigers) this season.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should step into the rotation for Jenrry Mejia?



Daniel Murphy
.296 9 54 74
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 81
RD. Murphy 74
OPSL. Duda .817
WB. Colon 13
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173