New York Mets: Houston Astros

Dave Hudgens hired by Astros

October, 18, 2014
10/18/14
8:12
PM ET

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsThe Astros have hired former Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens.


NEW YORK -- Former Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens has been hired by the Houston Astros for that role.

Hudgens was fired by the Mets on May 26, during his fourth season on Terry Collins' staff.

The Astros hired Gary Pettis, another former Mets coach, as third base coach for new manager A.J. Hinch.

Lamar Johnson, who finished the season as Mets hitting coach, will be reassigned to the minors. The Mets reportedly have expressed interest in Dave Magadan and Kevin Long.

Morning Briefing: See you in St. Lucie!

September, 29, 2014
9/29/14
7:34
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: That’s all folks!

The Mets completed their season with a 79-83 record, tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East.

Heck, the Mets won the season series from Atlanta, 10-9, if you want to crow about actually topping the Braves.

Now, the work belongs to Sandy Alderson and the front office, trying to upgrade the offense.

Alderson suggested the Mets were not that far off, though. According to the GM, the Amazin’s merely need to move from a middle-of-the-pack offense to top five in order to pick up 10-12 wins.

The Mets finished exactly in the middle in the NL in runs scored -- eighth -- and averaged 3.9 runs a game. They tied for 13th in batting average (.238), ranked ninth in on-base percentage (.308) and tied for ninth in home runs (125).

“I think it seems that a lot of individual guys, and us as a team, have finished on such a strong note that we have some momentum going into the offseason,” captain David Wright said. “Hopefully that carries over into spring training. Lucas Duda hitting his 30th home run, the way Wilmer Flores has swung the bat as of late, our pitching staff, a lot of good things happened. Although we didn’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish, there’s a lot of solid and some great individual performances by some of the guys in this clubhouse.

“We’re close. We’re close. And that’s a good feeling going into an offseason.”

What’s next?

The Mets will announce “limited” coaching changes in the next couple of days, with the turnover expected to center on the hitting-coach positions and no room for Wally Backman on the major league staff.

Jonathon Niese is due to be examined on Monday after a recurrence of a rapid heartbeat this weekend.

Travis d'Arnaud (bone chips) on Wednesday Jenrry Mejia (sports hernia) on Thursday are due to undergo surgery.

And hopefully Kirk Nieuwenhuis gets released soon after spending the past two nights in the hospital with an infection.

Monday’s news reports:

• Duda slugged his 30th homer and finished with 92 RBIs and Bartolo Colon crossed 200 innings and notched his 15th win as the Mets closed the season with an 8-3 win against the Astros.

Retiring Bobby Abreu singled in the fifth inning and received a resounding sendoff as he was pulled from the game. Abreu plans to play a couple of games in winter ball with Caracas to have a farewell in his native Venezuela, too. He aspires to serve as a hitting coach, although he’s not sure he will begin that phase of his career in 2015.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Alderson confirmed the dimensions in center and right-center at Citi Field are “likely” to be trimmed to assist Curtis Granderson and Wright. Read more from Alderson, including his thoughts on what the team needs to upgrade, in the Post and Star-Ledger.

• Read more on Abreu’s sendoff in the Record and Newsday.

• Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, initially out of the lineup, was inserted after social-media uproar and secured the AL batting title at Citi Field. Read more in the Times and Post.

Daisuke Matsuzaka said he wants to be a starting pitcher next season. Presumably, that may mean pitching in Japan in 2015.

Josh Satin finished the season unavailable with a fracture in his right hand. The injury will not require surgery.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post offers a suggestion for how the Mets can stop “being such a laughingstock.” Writes Davidoff:

If the Mets can just climb into the $100-$110 million range, then they can trade their assets only for baseball reasons and not for financial ones. They can build on this year’s step forward with confidence. There’s little indication from Alderson this will actually happen.

• Mike Puma in the Post reported the Mets asked Daniel Murphy about playing some left field next season, but Murphy balked and the club won’t “press the issue.” Frankly, Murphy may not even be a Met in 2015.

• Puma in the Post asks five questions for 2015.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger lists four ways the Mets’ offense can improve.

• Long Islander Nick Tropeano allowed four runs in five innings at Citi Field on Sunday before a large contingent of family and friends. "Warming up, you could hear them screaming, 'Trope!' and that kind of stuff," Tropeano said postgame, according to Colin Stephenson in Newsday. "You know, good, bad, win, lose, it's kind of a celebration for me just being here, and making it up here, playing the New York Mets -- it's surreal. It's good."

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear delivers its Closing Day soliloquy. … Blogging Mets has its annual Mets report card for the season.

BIRTHDAYS: Heath Bell turns 37. ... Minor-league outfielder Enmanuel Zabala is 20.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What should Sandy Alderson do to improve the offense?

Note: This is the final “Morning Briefing” for 2014. Thanks for reading!

Rapid Reaction: Mets 8, Astros 3

September, 28, 2014
9/28/14
3:53
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NEW YORK -- Second place! Well, at least a share of it anyway.

Lucas Duda launched his 30th homer and finished with four RBIs and the Mets completed their season with an 8-3 victory against the Houston Astros on an 84-degree Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets posted a 79-83 record -- their most wins in four seasons under Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins.

The Amazin’s finished tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East.

The Mets draft 15th next June.

With a final-day announced paid attendance of 34,897, the Mets had their first season uptick -- abeit barely -- since 2007 to ’08:

2014: 2,148,808
2013: 2,135,657
2012: 2,242,803
2011: 2,378,549
2010: 2,559,738
2009: 3,154,270 (Citi Field debut season)
2008: 4,042,047 (Shea Stadium final season)
2007: 3,853,949

Duda's two-run homer came in his final at-bat, in the eighth inning. He answered cheers with a curtain call. Ruben Tejada followed with a two-run homer as the Mets turned a 4-3 lead into a rout with a four-run frame.

Milestone: Bartolo Colon tossed six innings in the season finale, allowing him to cross the 200-inning threshold for the first time since 2005, when he won 21 games and the AL Cy Young with the Los Angeles Angels. Colon became the first major league pitcher to reach 200 innings at age 41 or older since Tom Glavine in 2007, also with the Mets.

Colon, who departed with a 4-3 lead, finished the season at 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA. He is under contract for next season, when he turns 42, at $11 million.

Outta here: Retiring Bobby Abreu went 1-for-2 with a walk in his final major league game. After Abreu singled in the fifth inning, the crowd gave him a standing ovation as Billy Joel’s “This Is The Time” blared over the PA system. Abreu waved his helmet to the crowd as Astros second baseman and fellow Venezuelan Jose Altuve patted him on the backside.

Abreu, 40, then was replaced by pinch runner Eric Young Jr.

Abreu finished his career with a .291 average, 288 homers, 1,363 RBIs and 400 steals in 8,480 at-bats spanning 18 major league seasons.

Finished strong: Matt den Dekker went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, steal and run scored. He hit .339 (19-for-56) in September and finished the season on a career-high eight-game hitting streak.

Local boy makes good: Long Islander Nick Tropeano, a West Islip High and Stony Brook University product, allowed four runs in five innings before a large cheering section of family and friends in section 122. The damage included a two-run double by Duda that staked the Mets to a 4-2 lead in the fifth.

Batting champ: Altuve, initially out of the starting lineup before public pressure led to his late insertion, went 2-for-4 with an RBI to wrap up the first batting title in Astros history.

Altuve had entered the day with a three-point lead over Detroit Tigers slugger Victor Martinez. Altuve finished with a .341 average. Martinez finished at .335.

What’s next: The offseason!

The Mets open the 2015 season on April 6 against the Washington Nationals in D.C.

It may even be Matt Harvey Day.

Sunday's Mets-Astros lineups

September, 28, 2014
9/28/14
10:05
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups as the Mets wrap up their season against the Houston Astros on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Retiring Bobby Abreu, 40, gets the start in his final major league.

Mets
Matt den Dekker, lf
Abreu, rf
Daniel Murphy, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Curtis Granderson, cf
Wilmer Flores, 2b
Ruben Tejada, ss
Juan Centeno, c
Bartolo Colon, rhp

Astros
Robbie Grossman, lf
Marwin Gonzalez, 2b Jose Altuve
Alex Presley, rf
Jon Singleton, 1b
Jake Marisnick, cf
Max Stassi, c
Gregorio Petit, 3b
Jonathan Villar, ss
Nick Tropeano, rhp

Rapid Reaction: Mets 2, Astros 1

September, 27, 2014
9/27/14
10:21
PM ET
NEW YORK -- So there was still a little excitement left in the 2014 season for the Mets.

A few hits, too.

The Mets, held to two hits over the first eight innings and about to lose to the Houston Astros for the second straight night, rallied for two runs in the ninth inning for a 2-1 win Saturday night at Citi Field.

Lucas Duda hit a two-run home run off Astros left-hander Tony Sipp to give the Mets the win. It was Duda's 29th home run of the season.

Eric Young Jr. gave the Mets a baserunner in the ninth with his one-out triple. Daniel Murphy's fly ball was too shallow to score Young, but Duda ripped a Sipp pitch off the right-field foul pole to give the Mets the walk-off win.

It was Duda's third career walkoff hit.

The Mets now take a 78-83 record into Sunday's season finale, and they still could finish as high as second place in the National League East.

Montero's season: At one point this season, Rafael Montero seemed ready to push himself up the list of Mets pitching prospects. The Mets even chose to put Montero into the rotation ahead of Jacob deGrom in May. Now deGrom is a given for the 2015 rotation, while Montero will be a long-shot candidate in the spring.

Montero started in deGrom's place Saturday night, and the results weren't bad. He shut out the Astros for the first five innings, before giving up a sixth-inning run on Dexter Fowler's infield single and Jason Castro's double.

Montero pitched in 10 big-league games this season, eight of them starts. His ERA as a starter was 3.98.

One more thing to remember about Montero: He won't turn 24 until next month.

Familia again: Jeurys Familia may well have finished his fantastic rookie season with an inning Saturday, but you have to wonder whether all the appearances this year will have a lasting effect. Familia has pitched in 75 games, just two off the National League lead and the second most ever by a Mets rookie (Joe Smith appeared in 82 games in 2008).

Familia, who retired the Astros in order in the eighth, has a 2.24 ERA and allowed just 59 hits in 76 2/3 innings.

No offense, but: The Mets' only hit in four innings against Astros starter Samuel Deduno was Ruben Tejada's infield single in the second inning. And even that didn't end well.

Tejada's ground ball was smothered by Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, and with two out and Montero due up, third-base coach Tim Teufel decided to try to score Wilmer Flores from second base. Gonzalez got up and threw Flores out at the plate to end the inning.

The Astros claimed Deduno on waivers from the Twins in August. His claim to fame is that he was the winning pitcher for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic championship game.

What's next: The Mets' final game of 2014 is Sunday afternoon against the Astros. Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) is the Mets' starter. Right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78), who grew up in West Islip, New York, and pitched at Stony Brook University, starts for the Astros. It will also be the final game of Bobby Abreu's big-league career.

Saturday's Mets-Astros lineups

September, 27, 2014
9/27/14
3:18
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Astros on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Mets
Matt den Dekker, cf
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Wilmer Flores, 2b
Anthony Recker, c
Ruben Tejada, SS
Rafael Montero, rhp

Astros
Robbie Grossman, lf
Jose Altuve, 2b
Chris Carter, 1b
Dexter Fowler, cf
Jason Castro, c
Marwin Gonzalez, ss
Matt Dominguez, 3b
Jake Marisnick, rf
Samuel Deduno, rhp

Rapid Reaction: Astros 3, Mets 1

September, 26, 2014
9/26/14
10:27
PM ET
NEW YORK -- For the sixth straight year, the Mets' win total will start with a "7." It could be 77, or 78, or 79.

It won't be 80.

That much is certain, after the Mets began their final-weekend series with a 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night. Curtis Granderson's fourth-inning home run gave the Mets their only run. They had only five hits.

The Astros scored all their runs in the sixth inning against Carlos Torres, who took over when Jonathon Niese had to leave because of an elevated heart rate. Torres had help, because Anthony Recker dropped a throw at home plate to allow Jose Altuve to score Houston's second run. Altuve would have been out on a nice relay throw by Wilmer Flores.

Niese questions: The Mets' starter finished his season with 5 1/3 shutout innings, leaving Niese with a 3.40 ERA that matches the best of his career (also 3.40 in 2012). But Niese left Friday's start one out into the fifth inning because of an elevated heart rate, the same issue that forced him from games in both 2011 and 2012.

When Niese had the problem before, doctors first recommended a heart procedure known as ablation. But Niese visited experts at the Cleveland Clinic, who told him they believed the procedure wasn't needed.

Granderson Citi: Granderson is having a nice September, but it's certainly notable that his fourth-inning home run off Brad Peacock on Friday night was his first homer at home since the All-Star break. In Granderson's first season with the Mets, 13 of his 20 home runs have come on the road.

Altuve watch: It's hard to remember that this is an interleague series, the first time the Mets and Astros have met since Houston moved to the American League in 2013. So the Mets could have an impact on the AL batting race. Altuve began the night with a six-point lead over the Tigers' Victor Martinez.

Altuve went 1-for-4 (with a single off Torres), which dropped his average from .343 to .342.

Family affair: Astros reliever Kevin Chapman, who is Matt den Dekker's first cousin, entered the game in the fifth inning to face Daniel Murphy with two on and two out. Chapman, who is left-handed, remained in the game to face the four lefties in the middle of the Mets lineup ... including den Dekker.

It was the first time the two had met in a major-league game. The result? den Dekker walked.

Chapman told the Houston Chronicle that he and den Dekker are almost like brothers. They're close to the same age, and grew up about a mile apart in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

What's next: With Jacob deGrom shut down for the season, the Mets give Rafael Montero (1-3, 4.38) another start in Saturday night's 7:10 p.m. ET start. Right-hander Samuel Deduno (2-6, 4.66) starts for the Astros.

Friday's Mets-Astros lineups

September, 26, 2014
9/26/14
3:18
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Houston Astros on Friday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

UPDATE: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (ill) has been scratched. Eric Young Jr. enters in the leadoff spot and in left field. Matt den Dekker moves to sixth and center field.

Mets
Matt den Dekker, Young lf
Wilmer Flores, 2b
Daniel Murphy, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis den dekker, cf
Anthony Recker, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jonathon Niese, lhp

Astros
Robbie Grossman, lf
Jose Altuve, 2b
Chris Carter, 1b
Dexter Fowler, cf
Matt Dominguez, 3b
Jake Marisnick, rf
Jonathan Villar, ss
Carlos Corporan, c
Brad Peacock, rhp

Series preview: Mets vs. Astros

September, 25, 2014
9/25/14
11:40
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets conclude the season facing Brad Peacock, Samuel Deduno and Nick Tropeano.
METS (77-82, second place/NL East) vs. HOUSTON ASTROS (69-90, fourth place/AL West)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (9-11, 3.50) vs. RHP Brad Peacock (4-9, 4.82), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Rafael Montero (1-3, 4.38) vs. RHP Samuel Deduno (2-6, 4.66), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) vs. RHP Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78), 1:10 p.m. ET

Astros short hops

• Long Islander Nick Tropeano is product of West Islip High School and Stony Brook University. A fifth-round pick in 2011, he made his major league debut Sept. 10.

• Ex-Met Collin McHugh had been lined up to face the Mets on Saturday, but the Astros shut him down because of an innings cap. McHugh went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA in 25 starts for Houston after being claimed off waivers last offseason from the Colorado Rockies.

Samuel Deduno was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 30. He has allowed four runs (three earned) in 4 2/3 innings in four relief appearances this month since joining Houston.

• UConn product George Springer has been shut down for the season with a strained left quadriceps, which has sidelined him since July 19.

Jose Altuve has 222 hits, 46 doubles and 56 steals. The only other player in major league history to reach those levels in those three categories was Ty Cobb in 1911 (248 hits, 47 doubles and 83 steals). Altuve’s hit total is the most by a second baseman since Charlie Gehringer had 227 with the 1936 Detroit Tigers. Altuve’s .343 average leads the majors.

Chris Carter's 37 homers are tied for second in MLB, trailing only Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz (40).

• The Astros have won 18 more games than in 2013. The franchise record is a 21-game improvement from 2000 (72-90) to 2001 (93-69).

McHugh reflects on Mets tenure, ascent

September, 23, 2014
9/23/14
12:36
PM ET

Bob Levey/Getty ImagesCollin McHugh's career has taken off with the Houston Astros.
WASHINGTON -- Ex-Met Collin McHugh's triumphant return to Citi Field will not include pitching against his former club.

Although McHugh was lined up for the season-ending weekend series, the Houston Astros have shut down the 27-year-old right-hander because of an innings cap. While compiling an 11-9 record and 2.73 ERA in 25 starts, McHugh has logged 154 2/3 innings. That’s a jump of 15 2/3 innings over 2013, which he split between the Mets and Rockies and their minor-league affiliates.

“I'm proud of the work both myself and our team have done this season,” McHugh told ESPNNewYork.com. “It would have been a fun and somewhat ironic ending to this unique season to be able to pitch in New York, but the way it lines up, I guess I get to sit back a little bit and take it all in. It should be pretty cool.

“Even just coming and seeing the park and being there from a different perspective, I think it’s going to be fun and interesting and I’m sure a mix of emotions and all that kind of good stuff. I have a lot of good buddies on that team. It should be a fun series.”

McHugh, an 18th-round pick in 2008 out of Berry College in Georgia, was traded by the Mets to Colorado for Eric Young Jr. on June 18, 2013. He went 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA in four starts for the Rockies and was claimed off waivers by the Astros in December. McHugh had a chance to briefly see Matt den Dekker this season when Houston was playing in the Bronx. He also keeps in touch with Zack Wheeler.

“If I don’t talk to them personally, I try to keep up with how they’re doing as the season goes along, too,” McHugh added. “It’s been cool to see [Travis] d’Arnaud and Wheeler and [Wilmer] Flores and [Juan] Lagares and then remember what they were like in Savannah and down in the lower levels.”

Had the Astros stayed in the National League for another year, McHugh would have been neck and neck with Jacob deGrom in the Rookie of the Year conversation. Instead, McHugh may receive limited votes on an American League ballot with three slots for voters to fill out and a slew of candidates that include slam-dunk winner Jose Abreu as well as Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances, Yordano Ventura and Marcus Stroman.

“I try not to think about those things,” McHugh said. “None of those things are in my hands. Truthfully, it’s a nice honor if you get it. I wish Jake the best. He’s been unbelievable this year. He really has. If he throws against us, I really want to see him throw in person. It’s been since probably St. Lucie that I’ve seen him throw.”

McHugh and deGrom appeared lined up to pitch on Saturday. DeGrom, too, is facing an innings cap and the Mets have yet to declare whether he will make a final start, or whether Rafael Montero will take that final turn.

McHugh went a combined 0-8 with an 8.94 ERA in 15 starts (nine appearances) with the Mets and Rockies in 2012 and ’13. And that includes a no-decision in which he tossed seven scoreless innings for the Mets against the Rockies at Citi Field in his major league debut.

McHugh concluded this season 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his final 10 starts.

So where did this wild success come from?

(Read full post)

Morning Briefing: Now don't stumble!

July, 11, 2014
7/11/14
5:37
AM ET

Marc Serota/Getty ImagesMiami's Jose Fernandez (left) is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the Marlins have won the last 10 games started by Henderson Alvarez (right).
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets portray themselves as still part of the NL East race.

If they want to validate a series win against the Atlanta Braves, then they better head into the All-Star break strongly by taking care of business against the Miami Marlins, too.

Zack Wheeler (4-8, 4.07 ERA) opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez (6-3, 2.27) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener. The Marlins have won Alvarez’s past 10 starts. He is 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA since May 22.

Friday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon allowed a pair of first-inning runs and that proved enough as the Atlanta Braves snapped the Mets’ season-high four-game winning streak with a 3-1 win Thursday at Citi Field. The Mets fell short of claiming their first four-game sweep against Atlanta in 25 years.

Colon has allowed 18 first-inning runs, trailing only Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick (23) in the majors this season. The total matches the most allowed by a Mets pitcher before the All-Star break in the past 40 years, according to STATS. Dwight Gooden in 1993 and Paul Wilson in 1996 also surrendered 18 first-inning runs.

Opponents are hitting .363 against Colon in the first inning this season, compared with .246 the remainder of his outings.

After limiting the Mets to one run in seven innings Thursday, Aaron Harang -- who finished last season with the Amazin’s -- now has held his former club to two runs and six hits in 20 innings this season.

With 70 games remaining, the Mets (42-50) trail the co-division-leading Braves and Nationals by eight games.

Read game recaps in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Journal and at MLB.com.

• Columnist George Willis in the Post takes the position that it is best to trade Colon this month. Writes Willis:

Trading Colon and what’s left on his two-year contract worth $20 million should be a no-brainer, but now that the Mets fancy themselves as a contender, general manager Sandy Alderson might decide to wait until they have no chance of making the postseason or wait until a team becomes desperate enough to make him an offer for Colon that he can’t refuse.

Clearly, Collins seems reluctant to move one of his more dependable starters, especially now that Jon Niese is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. Collins is not only battling to get into a pennant race, but also is trying to keep his job and probably isn’t concerned about the young prospects a Colon trade might bring in return.


Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY SportsFirst-round pick Michael Conforto appears headed to Brooklyn, pending a physical.


• First-round pick Michael Conforto’s long-awaited deal with the Mets is complete pending a physical, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. Conforto, who receives a $2.97 million signing bonus, is expected to be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones. The outfielder was a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year at Oregon State.

• The heavy dependence on a handful of core relievers may be using up all of their bullets and leave the Mets in trouble down the stretch. This week, Jeurys Familia's velocity sagged in one outing. Then he had trouble loosening up for his next appearance, although the fastball zip returned. Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal about the relief workload:

Entering Thursday's series finale against the Atlanta Braves, Familia had appeared in 35 games since May 1, the most of any pitcher during that span. He worked more than one inning in 10 of those outings, giving him 46 total innings on the year -- fourth-most among National League relievers. (Famila threw 19 2/3 innings between the majors and minors in 2013 as he recovered from elbow surgery.)

Even more alarming, the leader in that category also plays for the Mets: Carlos Torres, the 31-year-old righty who entered Thursday with 57 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, the most of any reliever in baseball.

David Wright’s jersey is the eighth-most popular in the majors in terms of sales via MLB.com since Opening Day.

• Lloyd Carroll at Latino Sports reviews Sandy Alderson’s press conference from earlier this homestand.

• The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow, but will try to rehab rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. That should sound familiar to Mets fans, who watched Matt Harvey deliberate for two months before ultimately undergoing the procedure. Of course, all partial ligament tears are not created equal, and Tanaka’s tear reportedly is considered small. Read about Harvey’s advice for Tanaka in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Although Terry Collins pinch-hit for Ruben Tejada in the eighth inning -- leading Eric Campbell to play his first major league inning at shortstop in the ninth -- Tejada has been producing, Michael J. Fensom writes in the Star-Ledger.

• Colon batted eighth for the first time in his career, Mike Puma noted in the Post. Colon ended up coming to the plate, and striking out, with two runners aboard to end the second inning. Previously, Collins had only used pitchers Jacob deGrom and Jonathon Niese in the No. 8 slot (three times apiece).

• Starter Tyler Pill allowed four runs in the fifth inning in his Triple-A debut on Thursday, but Las Vegas already had staked him to a seven-run lead by that point en route to a 9-4 win against Reno. Brandon Allen homered and produced five RBIs in the 51s win. Travis Taijeron had a three-run homer and Darrell Ceciliani and Xorge Carrillo each had two hits and two RBIs as Binghamton beat Portland, 13-3.

John Lannan allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings, but St. Lucie lost at Bradenton, 4-1. Ricky Knapp was credited with a rain-shortened, seven-inning complete game as Savannah beat Charleston, 4-1. Starter Yoan Gonzalez allowed three runs (two earned) in four innings as Kingsport lost to Elizabethton, 4-2.

Casey Meisner allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings as Brooklyn lost at State College, 4-1. Kevin Canelon allowed two runs in the 12th inning as the GCL Mets lost to the GCL Nats, 7-5. Dash Winningham had two extra-base hits and two RBIs in the defeat.

Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Citi Field is hosting the “Bacon and Beer Classic” on July 26, while the Mets are on the road. Read more here.

• Evan Drellich in the Houston Chronicle writes that the Houston Astros and Nationals are making progress toward becoming spring-training neighbors of the Mets in a shared complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., come 2017.

• Right-hander Kevin McGowan, the Mets’ 13th-round pick in 2013 out of Franklin Pierce University, is featured in The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H.

From the bloggers … Blogging Mets says the Mets must find a way to keep Campbell in the lineup.

BIRTHDAYS: Blaine Boyer turns 33 today. … Minor-league right-hander Greg Peavey is 26. … 11th-round pick Connor Buchmann is 21. ... Donne Wall was born on this date in 1967.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets actually make a run in the NL East?

Alderson addresses major Mets topics

July, 4, 2014
7/04/14
6:40
PM ET
NEW YORK -- GM Sandy Alderson touched on a ton of Mets-related topics during a 21-minute interview before Friday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers. Here’s a summary:

STANDING PAT?

Alderson said trade conversations so far have been limited, but that’s not surprising. He suggested talks typically do not pick up until the week before the All-Star break.

On the buyer/seller topic, Alderson said he would be “surprised” if any determination were made before the All-Star break. The Mets next have a four-game series against the first-place Atlanta Braves, which should be instructive.


Mark Humphrey/Associated PressSandy Alderson offered no indication the Mets would be overly active at the trade deadline.


Alderson did seem to intimate that no activity is the most likely scenario.

“We like the team as it’s developing,” the GM said. “That, in and of itself, would make us reluctant to move players at the deadline. Now, we’re practical as well. We’ve made deals at the deadline. And there’s no reason we’d hesitate to do that if we felt it was the right thing. But I think our team is on the right track. I don’t think we’re that far away. That would indicate some caution when it comes to the trade deadline.”

Alderson said it is “certainly our preference” to get back major league talent, or talent on the verge of breaking into the majors, in any trade. He noted, though, that makes a trade with a contender that much less likely, because buyers want to part with minor leaguers, not parts helping their club now.

The GM added that despite a surplus of starting pitching, trading it is not prudent.

“We have a number both here and at the minor-league level that we like. But it’s easy to run through that number in a hurry with injuries and poor performance,” Alderson said. “So I’m always hesitant to trade starting pitching. Now, I’m cognizant that an issue for us is offense and run production. So I’m not writing off that possibility. At the same time, what’s getting us to a higher level of performance, hopefully, and success is our pitching -- both our starting pitching and the bullpen.”

NO LIMITS FOR DEGROM

Dillon Gee will get 75 or so pitches on Friday night in a rehab start for Brooklyn. A team insider said Gee is expected to be activated from the DL after this outing, assuming there are no issues.

So who goes?

It seems fairly straightforward that Jacob deGrom will remain in the rotation and Daisuke Matsuzaka will go to the bullpen.

Alderson did not fully tip his hand, but he did acknowledge two major factors that support deGrom remaining in the rotation:

Slightly more than halfway through the season, deGrom is only at 98 innings between the majors and minors. Alderson said the Mets have allotted about 185 innings for him this season, so there’s no compelling reason to put the rookie in the bullpen to shave innings.

Furthermore, Alderson acknowledged, there is value in keeping deGrom in the rotation since he is likely to be a factor for a rotation spot in 2015, whereas that’s unlikely with Matsuzaka.

NO MOUND FOR YOU

Despite the ace's hope otherwise, Matt Harvey will not get on a mound until after the All-Star break, according to the GM.

NO MRI RESULTS FOR RICE

Scott Rice (left elbow) had an MRI this week in New York, but the results are not yet available. Rice is on Las Vegas’ DL. Alderson said there has been no suggestion at this point surgery is required. The GM added that there is no indication Rice’s subpar major league performance was linked to the current elbow condition.

HUDGENS ABSOLVED

The Mets’ hitting woes have persisted with the change in hitting coaches from Dave Hudgens to Lamar Johnson. So, Alderson concluded, it’s on the players.

“The conclusion I would draw at this stage, consistent with what I suggested at the time we made the change, is sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Alderson said. “It doesn’t mean there won’t be some change in the future that one can measure. But, at this point, we haven’t seen an uptick. I don’t think that has anything to do with L.J. It probably has more to do with the players that we have.”

ONE-RUN GAMES

Asked if he agreed with Bill Parcells’ famous line that you are what your record says you are, Alderson said: “I don’t take any exception to that. I think that’s accurate. But I think, at the same time, as you’re thinking about what to do going forward, you have to have a little bit broader perspective than that.”

Trying to clarify his remarks that the Mets are better than their 37-48 record because their run differential is only minus-6, Alderson said his point is that it demonstrates the Mets are not that far away from success and therefore should not do something rash.

“I think the important thing is not to shift focus from the won-loss record, but to keep in mind sort of the fundamentals as you go about making decisions in the future,” he said. “It’s not by any means a desire to obscure the won-loss record. It’s to make sure we don’t do something in light of the won-loss record that’s not supported by more underlying facts. ... I think we’ve been playing much closer to a .500 club. But the record is what it is. So on that basis I’m certainly disappointed.”

Alderson also cited the Mets’ 10-20 record in one-run games.

Asked why the Mets are so poor in that category, or if it’s a matter of bad fortune, Alderson replied: “I’m not sure you put a finger on it. If you look at one-run games, it can be the bullpen. It can be late-inning offense. The bullpen wasn’t a strength early in the season. It is now. The late-inning offense has been an issue for us all year. I don’t think it has anything to do with strategy or tactics or anything of that sort.”

90 WINS

Alderson knows he is getting mocked for his 90-wins goal this season, but reiterated it was intended to “change a mindset” of losing.

(Read full post)

Morning Briefing: Bobby Bonilla check day

July, 1, 2014
7/01/14
1:00
AM ET

Kent Horner/Getty ImagesBobby Bonilla gets cut a check for $1.19 million on Tuesday, as he will every July 1 through 2035.
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: It’s payday for Bobby Bonilla.

Back near the end of Bonilla’s playing days, the Mets agreed to pay him $1,193,248.20 annually on July 1 for 25 years, beginning in 2011.

Bonilla was owed $5.9 million when the Mets agreed to that buyout.

The agreement called for deferred payments at an 8 percent annual interest rate. At the time, Mets ownership did not mind that interest rate because their investments with Bernie Madoff were returning comfortably more than that figure.

Meanwhile, believe it or not, the Mets annually make a second payment to Bonilla, too.

CBSSports.com reported last year that Bonilla receives a separate payment for 25 years, which is the shared responsibility of the Mets and Baltimore Orioles and runs through 2028. The Mets reportedly are required to pay slightly more than half of the annual $500,000 sum, which stems from Bonilla’s original tour of duty with the Mets.

On the field Tuesday, the Mets continue their series against the Atlanta Braves. Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2, 3.23 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50) at 7:10 p.m. at Turner Field.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Frank Cashen, the architect of the ’86 Mets, died Monday in Easton, Maryland. He was 88. Cashen traded for Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter and drafted Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. “He’s the greatest GM in Mets history,” Hernandez said. “There’s no question about it.” Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Journal, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• The Mets plan to play shorthanded in Atlanta while David Wright remains active. Wright is missing the Braves series and instead is getting treatment at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for a bruised left rotator cuff. Terry Collins now expects Wright will rejoin the team and be available to play on Friday when the Mets return to Citi Field to face the Texas Rangers. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.


Mark Duncan/Associated PressStolen internal communications suggest the Mets asked for Jonathan Villar in a deal involving Daniel Murphy in December.


• A breach of a database containing Houston Astros trade dialogue, which was posted to a web site, reveals the Mets asked for Jonathan Villar last December in conversations about Daniel Murphy. The Astros in late February also purportedly pitched to the Mets trading Lucas Harrell and minor-league left-hander Alex Sogard for Ike Davis.

The Astros have involved law enforcement in investigating the breach of their private database, Evan Drellich writes in the Houston Chronicle.

“We had security in place, and when you’re talking about criminals, we just never know if we have enough,” GM Jeff Luhnow told the newspaper.

Read more in Newsday.

Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares and Eric Campbell committed errors in a four-run eighth by the Braves as the Mets lost, 5-3, Monday at Turner Field. It marked the first three-error inning by the Mets since June 25, 2012 at Wrigley Field, when Wright, right fielder Lucas Duda and second baseman Ronny Cedeno all committed errors behind Jon Rauch. The Mets (37-46) are now a season-high-matching nine games under .500. They now trail first-place Atlanta by a season-high eight games.

Read game recaps in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Dillon Gee is expected to make one more minor-league rehab start, then return to the Mets in time to make one major league start before the All-Star break.

• Dustin Lawley homered and had four RBIs as Binghamton beat New Britain, 8-3. Eudy Pina had a go-ahead two-run triple and finished with three RBIs as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 5-2. Matt Oberste improved to 7-for-7 with two homers in his past two games as Savannah beat Rome, 8-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• The Braves have placed catcher Evan Gattis on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back. Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

BIRTHDAYS: Savannah right-hander Chris Flexen turns 20. ... Original Met Craig Anderson was born on this date in 1938.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would you have approved of a Daniel Murphy trade that returned Jonathan Villar as at least one of the pieces?

Hack reveals Mets talked Murph with Astros

June, 30, 2014
6/30/14
2:14
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Internal trade dialogue among Astros executives posted on the anonymous data sharing web site Anonbin (here and here) reveals that Mets and Houston officials discussed a deal involving Daniel Murphy last December.

lastname
Villar
lastname
Murphy
The Dec. 16 entry in which Astros officials purportedly share details internally of trade conversations with the Mets reads:

"12/16/2013, Depo asked Jeff if we would consider Villar in a Murphy deal."

DePo is, of course, Paul DePodesta. Jeff would be Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. And Villar is shortstop Jonathan Villar, now 23 years old and hitting .200 with six homers, 22 RBIs and 14 steals in 225 at-bats this season.

A Mets official, apprised of the leaked dialogue, did not dispute the accuracy.

That Murphy was available last offseason if the Mets got the right price is no industry secret. In fact, it's entirely foreseeable Murphy is traded at some point in the next 13 months -- either in July, during the winter, or at the 2015 trade deadline.

Murphy (.301/.351/.417) leads the National League in hits with 101. He also is making $5.7 million this season, is arbitration eligible one more time next offseason, then can become a free agent after the 2015 season.

There's also an early spring training inquiry about Ike Davis, floating Lucas Harrell and minor-league left-hander Alex Sogard. It reads:

"2/27/2014, JL asked PD if they woudl consider Davis for Harrell + Sogard. PD said they value Davis higher for that. He said it appears they may value Davis higher than the market does, so they are comfortable hanging on to him."

In an early offseason groundwork call, Mets assistant GM John Ricco reportedly told Houston, according to a database entry from the Astros: "JR said that they have some pressure to get better next year but have some payroll flexibility to help them do that. They are looking for corner OF help, a veteran starter, and a little bullpen help. Overall they're looking to incrementally upgrade where they can"

Deadspin first reported the existence of the data.

Morning Briefing: Friday the 13th edition

June, 13, 2014
6/13/14
5:40
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Two struggling teams meet this weekend at Citi Field.

San Diego arrives in Queens after having been swept in Philly. The Padres (28-38) have lost of eight of their last 10. They have scored an MLB-low 200 runs.

The Mets have lost eight of their last nine games and have dropped a season-worst eight games under .500.

Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.31 ERA) opposes right-hander Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.13) in the Friday the 13th series opener at 7:10 p.m.

Friday’s news reports:

Carlos Torres was charged with four runs in the 13th inning and the Mets lost Thursday’s rubber game to the Brewers, 5-1, at Citi Field. Torres was seen punching himself in his towel-draped head in the dugout after the appearance. (See video here.)


Frank Franklin II/Associated PressCarlos Torres trudges off the mound in the 13th.


The Mets (29-37) had loaded the bases with one out in the 11th (with Zack Wheeler the pinch runner at first base). That opportunity ended up going for naught. Wilmer Flores’ grounder forced out David Wright at the plate and Anthony Recker struck out looking. Recker then was ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez over objections to the strike zone. Terry Collins called Recker’s actions inexcusable because the only remaining position player on the bench at that point was backup catcher Taylor Teagarden.

The Mets used a season-high-matching 21 players in the four-hour, eight-minute game. It was the Mets’ eighth game of at least four hours this season, a major league high.

Jonathon Niese and Kyle Lohse had dueled to a 1-all draw through most of regulation. The Mets’ lone run came when center fielder Carlos Gomez had a two-base error on Daniel Murphy’s fourth-inning single and Bobby Abreu followed with a sacrifice fly. Niese was pulled with his pitch count at 97 in the eighth after Gomez’s two-out single. Niese was visibly upset with the hook and mouthed a profanity. Collins reasoned that ensuing batter Aramis Ramirez is solid against southpaws and already had homered against Niese in the second inning.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Jenrry Mejia was pulled from the game with back tightness and “a little bit of pain” after taking the mound for the 11th. Read more in the Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Curtis Granderson was held out of the starting lineup Thursday with a sore left calf. He did pinch hit in the 11th and was intentionally walked to load the bases for Flores. Wheeler pinch ran for Granderson. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• With Flores and not Ruben Tejada in the lineup, Murphy batted leadoff for the first time this season and 12th time in his career.

• The Mets and Houston Astros are tied for the longest active streak of consecutive losing seasons at five. Ken Davidoff in the Post asserts the Astros’ approach during their lean years -- a full teardown, as opposed to the Mets’ try-to-make-it-look-good tact -- has left Houston in a better position going forward. Writes Davidoff:

From Opening Day 2009 through the present, the Astros own a 343-535 record, a .391 winning percentage. In the same time period, the Mets are 403-473, .460. The Astros selected first overall in last week’s amateur draft, a record third straight year they had earned such a dishonor. In this span, the Mets gave their fans such treats as Dickey’s 2012 National League Cy Young Award, Jose Reyes’ 2011 NL batting title and Matt Harvey’s 2013 surge that culminated in him starting the All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Yet those peaks seemed to only increase the trust deficit between the Mets’ fans and their owners; Reyes and Dickey are gone and Harvey injured. Though the Mets continue to struggle to put together a quality team, the Astros look like a rising stock. They went 15-14 in May to post their first winning month since Luhnow took over baseball operations.

“I don’t think there are many teams in recent history that have tried to do what Houston’s done,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday. “In baseball, it’s usually not a recipe for success, but in this case, that’s a strategy they’ve pursued. It appears they’ve gotten through the worst of it. I applaud them for carving a strategy and sticking with it.”

• Tyler Kepner in the Times writes about the Mets’ reliance on prospects:

When you hit on almost all your top prospects, you get the San Francisco Giants, with four first-round draft picks in a seven-year span -- Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey -- becoming major contributors to multiple championship teams. But the Giants are the outlier.

The strong chance is that some of the players anointed as Met saviors will not help the team very much. The Mets must make better decisions on the major leaguers they acquire, and hope for the best from the farm, recognizing that immediate, sustained success is the exception.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes that the Mets look like trading-deadline sellers.

Matt Harvey was elected by his teammates as the Mets player representative for union matters. Read more in the Daily News.

Eric Young Jr., on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, played his first rehab game Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in a seven-inning game with Class A St. Lucie. Young’s rehab assignment is due to continue with Double-A Binghamton on Friday.


Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosFlorida State League All-Star Brandon Nimmo returned to St. Lucie's lineup on Thursday.


• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who had been sidelined since last Friday with a right wrist injury after getting hit by a pitch, returned to St. Lucie’s lineup Thursday. He manned center field in both games of a doubleheader. St. Lucie now heads into the Florida State League All-Star break. Nimmo is due to be one of the team’s seven St. Lucie representatives in Saturday’s All-Star Game in Bradenton, Fla.

• The Tom Gamboa-managed Brooklyn Cyclones open their season at 7 p.m. Friday at Staten Island. See the full roster here. Andrew Beaton in the Journal profiles the two managers: Gamboa and Baby Bombers skipper Mario Garza.

Joel Carreno limited Colorado Springs to one run on three hits and three walks in seven innings and newly demoted Scott Rice tossed 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings as Las Vegas won, 3-1. Kyle Johnson, Xorge Carrillo and Rylan Sandoval each had three-hit games as Binghamton used an eight-run seventh to beat Akron, 11-3. St. Lucie swept a doubleheader against Jupiter. Cam Maron, Jairo Perez and Cole Frenzel homered in Game 1 and Aderlin Rodriguez went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs and Eudy Pina homered twice in the nightcap. Savannah swept a doubleheader from Augusta. Jonathan Leroux had a walk-off RBI double in the opener. John Gant had a seven-inning shutout in Game 2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Marc Carig in Newsday warns against writing off Travis d’Arnaud too quickly. Carig pointed to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy as an example of a catcher who took time to hit his stride in the majors.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger catches up with the ex-Met Gomez.

• Marty Noble at MLB.com places Murphy’s paternity leave and White House visit in a historical context.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear thought the Mets played a late-September game in the middle of June.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets minor-league left-hander Angel Cuan turns 23.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What can the Mets do to halt their freefall?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187