New York Mets: Hospital for Special Surgery
FIRST PITCH: Terry Collins did not sugarcoat where the Mets stand precisely halfway through their schedule.
After the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday to improve to 37-44 at the midpoint, the club is on pace for the same 74-win total as the previous two seasons. (Not quite 90.)
The Mets are six games behind the co-division-leading Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves (43-38 apiece), although the Philadelphia Phillies (36-45) now occupy the division basement.
“We’re not going to make any excuses,” Collins said. “We’re not happy about it.”
Gee is due to make a rehab start Sunday for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen estimated Gee will throw 55 in-game pitches. Gee, on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle on his right side, likely will need one additional minor-league start before presumably displacing Daisuke Matsuzaka in the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Mets send Bartolo Colon to the mound Sunday at PNC Park looking to split the four-game series. Colon (8-5, 3.67) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.35).
The 41-year-old Colon is 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his last seven starts.
Sunday’s news reports:
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Jonathon Niese lost his control in the fourth inning and issued consecutive bases-loaded walks, but the southpaw overall limited Pittsburgh to three runs in six innings. And after Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia combined to retire all nine batters they faced, the Mets had completed a 5-3 win against the Pirates on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Mets wore Negro Leagues-era uniforms from the Brooklyn Royal Giants during the victory.
Read game recaps in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and at MLB.com.
• Backup catcher Anthony Recker required a postgame X-ray of his right hand, but minimized the issue.
• Long Island native Steven Matz tossed six scoreless innings to earn his first Double-A win and Dilson Herrera homered and had five RBIs as Binghamton held off Altoona, 8-7. Eudy Pina slugged a disputed walk-off homer as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 4-3. Jorge Rivero delivered a walk-off RBI as Savannah beat Rome, 4-3. Eighth-round pick Dash Winningham produced his first professional homer as the Gulf Coast League Mets won, 7-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Scott Rice has an elbow injury at Triple-A Las Vegas.
• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests the Mets and Yankees are in the same boat as the July 31 trade deadline nears -- rightfully sellers with an eye toward 2015, but unlikely to strip down this year’s team.
Columnist David Lennon in Newsday suggests Colon, Gee and Daniel Murphy could be on the block.
• Chris Young has taken over the role of clubhouse D.J., which formerly was held by Justin Turner, Tim Rohan reports in the Times. Writes Rohan:
He actively seeks out requests. After wins, he plays what he called “Lil Jon-style music.” Before day games, he plays something lighter. He has noticed that everyone seems to enjoy hip-hop like Notorious B.I.G. and Outkast. Michael Jackson Sundays have been a big hit, too.
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger asks Pirates GM Neal Huntington why the Mets and his club have been compatible in trades. The Mets have sent Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Ike Davis to Pittsburgh in a pair of deals since last August.
• Jim Baumbach in Newsday examines Colon’s success, even with a fastball that is averaging a career-low 89.1 mph. That’s down from 89.9 mph last season with the Oakland Athletics and down from 93.2 mph a dozen years ago.
“Everybody says he throws one pitch -- a fastball -- just like everyone always said Mariano Rivera threw one pitch with the cutter,” A’s first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss told Baumbach. “But because they can throw that one pitch to all four quadrants of the strike zone, they really become four pitches.”
• The Daily News gives a plug to partner SNY’s debuting game show, which pitted the Mets TV and radio broadcast crews. It was hosted by Kevin Burkhardt.
BIRTHDAYS: 1960s-era Met Larry Stahl was born on this date in 1941.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
USA TODAY SportsIf Jon Niese misses any significant time, two of three from Jenrry Mejia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan should be in the Opening Day rotation.
FIRST PITCH: Jonathon Niese is scheduled to have an MRI and be examined by team doctor David Altchek on Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
Niese departed Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals after two innings and 35 pitches with elbow discomfort. The southpaw did not believe the injury was severe, but clearly he now is unlikely to make the Opening Day start on March 31 against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Terry Collins previously had indicated Bartolo Colon is the probable Opening Day starter if Niese is not available, with Dillon Gee the other consideration.
If Niese’s elbow issue is not severe, the Mets still can place him on the disabled list to open the season and backdate it nine days into spring training.
That means Niese would be eligible to return April 6 against the Cincinnati Reds, which happens to be the first day the Mets would need a fifth starter. That also would allow the Mets to carry an extra bench player (Andrew Brown or Wilmer Flores, perhaps?) or an extra bullpen arm for the first five games of the season.
Daisuke Matsuzaka was the probable fifth starter before Niese’s injury anyway.
If Niese is lost beyond April 6 and the Mets need another starter, the team would need to debate John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia’s candidacies as the fill-in. Lannan otherwise should make the team in relief.
Mets officials previously have told ESPNNewYork.com that they do not want to continue to shift Mejia between starting and relieving. If Mejia is not in the rotation to start the year, team brass will have a serious discussion late in spring training about Mejia’s future role -- and then stick with it.
Rafael Montero is not an Opening Day rotation consideration, but will get consideration for a relief role, according to Collins. Still, unless Lannan ends up in the rotation, it is difficult to see where Montero might fit in the pen to start the season. The projected bullpen pre-Niese injury has included Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jose Valverde, Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice and Lannan.
Meanwhile, the Mets who traveled to Las Vegas were due to land in the early morning hours on Monday. Most of those players likely will be excused from an afternoon game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Lannan opposes Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez at 1:05 p.m. (WOR 710 AM).
Monday’s news reports:
• Cory Vaughn homered against Adam Wainwright and finished with four RBIs as the Mets beat the Cards, 10-4, despite losing Niese to injury after 35 pitches. Ruben Tejada committed his fourth Grapefruit League error and was hitless in four at-bats, dropping his average to .091 (2-for-22). Read more on Tejada and the game against the Cards in the Post and MLB.com.
• Mejia and Montero allowed a combined five runs (four earned) in five innings as the Mets lost to the Chicago Cubs, 6-3, in Vegas. Juan Lagares made a dazzling catch and also threw out a runner at the plate. Flores started his second spring-training game at shortstop, with Collins pledging more action there. Brown belted a two-run homer and Zach Lutz contributed his third spring-training homer. Read more on Mejia and the Vegas game in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Read more on Niese’s injury in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests it might make sense to trade some of the Mets’ young pitching for offense while they’re still prospects and before they get hurt. Of course, Niese’s injury potentially means the Mets have less room to deal because they need the pitching depth. Still, Harper notes, the Arizona Diamondbacks have two shortstops, Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings, and now may need a starting pitcher with Patrick Corbin apparently headed for Tommy John surgery.
• Matt Ehalt in the Record speaks with Matt den Dekker about his solid camp. He is hitting .379 (11-for-29) in Grapefruit League play.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes Las Vegas is a tough place for prospects to pitch. As for whether the 51s will remain the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate beyond this season, when the current player-development agreement will have expired, Las Vegas president Don Logan told Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger: "I think the geography is going to come into play. If there is a team on the East Coast available it just makes more sense maybe for them. But if you’re going to be in the West, this is the best place to be, because we have tons of air access to everywhere in the country."
• How did the Mets celebrate Curtis Granderson’s 33rd birthday on Friday night in Vegas? Anthony DiComo at MLB.com writes:
After a dinner at Andiamo Steakhouse, the Mets gathered around a Sigma Derby machine on the casino floor, where players could wager quarters on fake horses.
"Guys were upset they lost six dollars," Granderson recalled, laughing.
It was a way for the Mets to blow off some steam, enjoying their two-day trip to Vegas for a pair of exhibition games against the Cubs. While some members of the traveling party stuck to relaxing -- David Wright spent much of his free time watching college basketball on television -- many others dabbled in what Vegas had to offer.
BIRTHDAYS: Lagares turns 25. ... Former Mets catcher Vance Wilson is 41.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Which two pitchers should fill the Jon Niese and fifth starter’s roles assuming Niese misses a portion of the beginning of the season?
A smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the head and the heating system of the heart. #buenasnoches— Jose Reyes (@lamelaza_7) March 17, 2014
Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Ike Davis is in danger of a demotion within five days or so if he does not start producing.
FIRST PITCH: For the first time since May 1-2, the Mets have a two-game winning streak.
Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61 ERA) looks to keep the roll going when he opposes Chicago Cubs right-hander Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53) at 1:05 p.m. ET today at Wrigley Field.
“Hef’s been pitching good enough,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to start putting some points on the board so these guys have something to work with.”
Saturday’s news reports:
• Ike Davis does not have many days remaining to prove he deserves to avoid a demotion, ESPNNewYork.com has learned. Davis did snap a hitless skid at 24 at-bats Friday. Andrew Brown played first base for Triple-A Las Vegas for the first time on Friday, and would seem the most likely call-up if a swap is made. Brown does have to stay in the minors for another five days before potentially returning, since he only was demoted Monday, when Rick Ankiel arrived. Zach Lutz and Josh Satin would appear less-likely alternatives. That also would appear to signal that the Mets do not want to disrupt Lucas Duda in left field, since any potential Davis absence would not be indefinite.
• Matt Harvey took the Mets’ offensive woes into his own hands, driving in the go-ahead run in the seventh after Collins passed on using a pinch hitter. Harvey improved to 5-0 and snapped a four-start streak of no-decisions as the Mets beat the Cubs, 3-2, at Wrigley Field.
Harvey became the second starting pitcher in the majors this season with a go-ahead RBI in his win in the seventh inning or later. The other: Clayton Kershaw against San Francisco on Opening Day. Harvey is the first Mets pitcher to do so since Sid Fernandez in 1993. It was only the second RBI by a Mets pitcher this season.
Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save, although Anthony Rizzo put a charge into a ball that got knocked down by the winds blowing in at Wrigley Field. Harvey and Parnell are a combined 9-0 with a 1.44 ERA; the rest of the Mets pitching staff is 7-23 with a 5.35 ERA, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Cubs third-base coach David Bell took responsibility for Darwin Barney getting thrown out at the plate in the eighth by right fielder Marlon Byrd with the would-be tying run. ”Obviously it is disappointing. It turned out it wasn't a very close play," Bell told ESPNChicago.com. "I just watched the replay again and it wasn't close. As a third-base coach you always want to make the right decision, and that clearly wasn't the right decision."
Matt Harvey relied on offspeed pitches after the first time through the Cubs lineup.
“They were coming out swinging,” Harvey said.
Harvey has allowed five hits or fewer in 15 of his first 20 career starts, the most in franchise history. Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, Randy Tate and Fernandez are tied for second (13 apiece).
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Travis d’Arnaud will be required to wear a boot and avoid placing pressure on his left foot for two more weeks, doctor Struan Coleman advised after examining the top catching prospect Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The Mets had hoped d’Arnaud would be cleared to begin weight-bearing activity after suffering a fractured first metatarsal on April 17 on a foul ball while catching.
Since d’Arnaud needs more Triple-A seasoning once he ultimately returns to play (perhaps in six weeks), he may end up no more than a September call-up to the majors at this point. Because of knee and foot injuries, d’Arnaud has played in only 79 Pacific Coast League games over two seasons.
The news was positive for Zack Wheeler yesterday. The Mets have slotted him back into Las Vegas’ rotation on Wednesday at Iowa.
Read more on d’Arnaud and Wheeler in Newsday and the Daily News.
• Cubs outfielder Scott Hairston told ESPNNewYork.com he had no hard feelings about how Sandy Alderson handled his free agency, although he questioned how much the Mets really wanted him.
• Satin had a three-run homer and Matt Fox earned the win in his organization debut as Las Vegas beat Omaha, 7-3. Jenrry Mejia allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in three innings in his first official rehab appearance with St. Lucie. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Keith Law projects the Mets will select California high school first baseman Dominic Smith with the 11th overall pick in next month’s draft.
Mookie Wilson says lay off Jordany Valdespin.
• Jose Reyes offered this to Dan Martin in the Post about Jordany Valdespin:
“I talk to Valdespin almost every day,” Reyes said. “He’s a very good friend of mine … I don’t know what’s going on over there. I don’t want to touch that. Valdespin, I support him in everything he [does] because he’s a good friend of mine. Other than that, I don’t know what’s going on over there.”
Mookie Wilson told the Daily News that Valdespin needs a chance to succeed without a bull’s-eye n his back.
“Give the kid a chance,” Wilson said. “He is a very spirited kid, very young and has a lot to learn, no question about that. But some things are being blown out of proportion. I think we need to back up and not overanalyze everything.”
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing discovers everything works on Harvey Day. … John Delcos at Mets Report asserts the Mets should demote Davis.
BIRTHDAYS: Brooklyn-born Nelson Figueroa is 39.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Would you be OK with Andrew Brown at first base? Or would you prefer Lucas Duda at first base and Brown available as an outfielder if Ike Davis’ demotion materializes?
Hey "guy who wants to give me a public scolding about being on my cellphone in the elevator", I'm not listening because I'm busy on my phone— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) May 17, 2013
The Hospital for Special Surgery shares this exclusive behind-the-scenes video with footage from Johan Santana's anterior capsule surgery on Sept. 14, 2010, as their doctors narrate the procedure.