New York Mets: Jack Curran

Morning briefing: Wright's side stop in PSL

March, 15, 2013
3/15/13
6:45
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Captain America, it turns out, is not invincible.

David Wright should be back at the Mets’ spring-training complex today, not with Team USA as it faces an elimination game in Miami against Puerto Rico. And that is worrisome. (UPDATE: Wright will fly directly to New York this morning to be examined by team doctors. He is due in Port St. Lucie on Saturday.)

Wright was scratched from Thursday night’s game, an eventual 3-1 loss to the Dominican Republic, with rib soreness on the back left side. He is due to be examined today by Mets doctors in Port St. Lucie.

Wright said he began feeling discomfort a week ago. He has had difficulty sleeping in recent days, but maintains his body feels better playing than while idle. He was scratched after going through batting practice as the Mets exerted their influence.


Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
David Wright should be back in Port St. Lucie getting a rib-cage issue checked out.


During the 2011 season, Wright played through discomfort before eventually being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back. Last spring training, the now-30-year-old Wright dealt with a left rib-cage strain, although he told reporters last night this injury seemed different.

Wright insisted he could have played last night.

If Wright is not ready for Opening Day, however, Zach Lutz, Justin Turner or Brandon Hicks would be capable of playing third base.

On the field, the Mets travel to Disney today to face the Atlanta Braves.

Jeremy Hefner, who is poised to open the season in the rotation in place of Johan Santana, starts for the Mets opposite Tim Hudson. Also scheduled to pitch: Aaron Laffey, Bobby Parnell, Josh Edgin and Scott Atchison.

Terry Collins said Laffey should pitch at least two innings as he begins to get stretched out, presumably as the next alternative should another starting pitcher be needed.

Also today, Mets officials must ship out prospects on the 40-man roster or face additional risk the remainder of spring training. If Travis d’Arnaud or Wilmer Flores remained in camp beyond Friday and subsequently became injured, they would need to open the season on the disabled list and accumulate major league pay and service time. So prospect cuts from major league camp may be looming before today’s close of business.

Friday’s news reports:

• Read more on Wright’s injury in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

• Tom Seaver has been battling a serious case of Lyme disease that included some memory loss, Bill Madden reports in the Daily News.

Dillon Gee allowed six runs on three hits, four walks, two hit batters and three wild pitches in two innings and the Mets lost to the Tigers, 9-1, Thursday at Tradition Field. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday, Post, Daily News and MLB.com.

• The Post’s Mike Vaccaro and Mark Hale spoke with Sandy Alderson on a Podcast. (Listen here, beginning at the 4:30 mark.)

On whether a multiyear deal will come up to cover the remaining three years of arbitration for Ike Davis and beyond, Alderson said: “It has to fit for us. It has to fit for the player. So, in his case, and maybe one or two others, we keep an eye on it. Sometimes the player is not interested. Sometimes the agent is not interested. It’s one of those things that has to work for both sides.”

As for why Collins is managing a lame-duck season rather than getting an extension, the GM said: “In part a desire just to see how the team continues to develop … we felt that this was the best thing for the Mets. That doesn’t mean that Terry won’t be with us long term. And it doesn’t mean that he’ll be judged strictly on the basis of wins and losses either.”


Jeff Robertson/Associated Press
Ike Davis is hitting 357 during spring training.


• Despite an 0-for-3 performance Thursday, Davis is still hitting .357 in Grapefruit League play. “Yeah!” Davis told Anthony Rieber in Newsday.

Davis discusses how badly Valley fever knocked him out last spring training with Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. Writes Ackert:

Every night last spring, after a day fighting through fatigue at the ballpark, Ike Davis would go back to his place and just crash. Still, lying there in his bed at night, there was no relief from the fatigue of Valley fever, the fungal infection that attacked Davis’ lungs and sapped his strength. He’d get dizzy, he’d struggle to breathe -- and every night he would hardly sleep at all.

Jenrry Mejia, who has recently rediscovered his cutter, has not pitched since Monday because of tendinitis, Mike Puma writes in the Post.

Mike Baxter mourned the death of legendary prep coach Jack Curran, whom Baxter played for at Archbishop Molloy.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record reviews the recent outings of Bobby Parnell.

• Steven Marcus in Newsday reports that Sunday’s college lacrosse doubleheader marks only the second time the sport has been played at a major league stadium on an intercollegiate level. The other instance came when Navy faced Johns Hopkins in the Houston Astrodome in 1971.

From the bloggers … In light of Wright's plot-twist, Mets Police is convinced The Mets is actually a scripted television series.

BIRTHDAYS: No player to appear in a game for the Mets was born on March 15, but Eva Longoria, Kellan Lutz, Bret Michaels and Fabio celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: If David Wright were to start the season on the DL, whom would you like to see at third base -- Zach Lutz, Justin Turner, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Hicks or Brian Bixler?

Baxter remembers coaching legend

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
11:50
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A teary-eyed Mike Baxter remembered his legendary high school school coach, Archbishop Molloy's Jack Curran, after receiving word of the 82-year-old's passing.

"He loved talking about baseball and was just a great guy," Baxter said Thursday morning. "I think in the outside world he was considered legendary and things like that, but I think the guys who knew him and played for him, he was more. He was just selfless and really put the lives of the kids that he had first. I think that's why he was around forever. It meant everything to him. It's definitely a sad day."

Baxter said former high school teammates began texting this morning as word spread.

Baxter's favorite memory?

"Just always being in touch with him," he said.

Baxter then added: "His philosophy on hitting was just: hit the straight ball. That's all he would ever say. Back then he used to coach third. He'd get in the box and you'd take a fastball and he'd go, 'Yo, what are you doing? Don't take the straight ball. You've got to swing at the straight ball.' I guess from high school he kind of taught me you try to hit the fastballs. He's a good one."

Read Curran's obituary here.

Mets morning briefing 5.31.12

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
8:37
AM ET
After completing a stretch of 20 games in 20 days with a 10-6 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, the Mets take a day off. They then regroup for a four-game series against Carlos Beltran, Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.

Thursday's news reports:

Lucas Duda produced a pair of homers -- the first two long balls of his major league career against southpaws -- but the bullpen was charged with eight runs as Bobby Parnell and Ramon Ramirez served up homers. Read game recaps in the Record, Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon echoed Sandy Alderson's comments from the previous day with respect to expressing hope David Wright eventually will be signed long term. Still, Wilpon added, with Wright under the team's control through 2013, "there's no gun to anybody's head" in terms of a rush to act quickly. Read more in Newsday, the Times, Daily News and Record.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post offers this opinion on a Wright extension, writing:

Since Wright’s old Virginia pal Ryan Zimmerman signed a six-year, $100-million extension (from 2014-19) with Washington in spring training, what’s the proper price for Wright, who turns 30 in December, once the two sides exchange figures later this season? How about six years and $115 million, with a vesting option for a seventh year? If Wright turns that down, then exercise his 2013 option, and sure, listen to what teams have in mind concerning a trade. If a blockbuster offer comes in -- one that would improve the Mets in 2013 and beyond more than retaining Wright -- pull the trigger.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, it would make sense to try again with a long-term offer to Wright in June or July of 2013, then listen once again to trade offers if he declines. And if he enters free agency, the Mets would have to compete for Wright’s services against other clubs, and they should bow out if the bidding gets too high.

• Top prospect Zack Wheeler, who pitches for Binghamton today at Reading, earned high praise from a scout who watched his most recent outing.

• Duda now has a team-leading seven homers. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

Ronny Cedeño landed on the disabled list before Wednesday's game with a strained left calf. Jordany Valdespin was promoted from Buffalo. Valdespin struck out as a pinch hitter, dropping his major league average to .095 (2-for-21). Read more in the Post, Newsday and Daily News.

Miguel Batista allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks in seven innings for Double-A Binghamton against Reading in a rehab start. A team official indicated before that outing that Batista was likely the preference over Jeremy Hefner for Monday's start against St. Louis. But it's possible that outing could cause reconsideration. Read more in Newsday.

• Making his first Triple-A start since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011, Jenrry Mejia limited Columbus to two runs and two hits in six innings. Josh Edgin and Elvin Ramirez then combined for four scoreless relief innings and Josh Satin scored the winning run on a wild pitch as Buffalo prevailed, 3-2, in 10 innings. In Class A action, Wilmer Flores homered for St. Lucie -- his 10th long ball of the season -- and Aderlin Rodriguez went deep twice for Savannah. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.

Josh Thole (concussion) planned to DH for Buffalo on Wednesday to begin a brief rehab assignment, but a delay in formal approval from the players' union prevented him from starting the game. Thole eventually entered and grounded out in the eighth inning. He is due to catch Chris Young's 10:35 a.m. game today, which will be televised by MLB Network. Alderson has said Thole likely will be activated from the disabled list Friday, potentially setting up the Mets having to decide whether to continue carrying Mike Nickeas or Rob Johnson as the righty complement.

• Former GM Jim Duquette plans to donate a kidney to his 8-year-old daughter Lindsey.

• New York Giants first-round pick David Wilson threw out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday -- a wild one past Wright, a Virginia Tech fan who has befriended the former Hokie. Several Giants signees watched batting practice from the field, including former Rutgers fullback Joe Martinek, who wore an old-school Keith Hernandez jersey. Read more in Newsday.

• Charities sponsored by Johan Santana and the Mets combined to donate $20,000 to the charity Tuesday's Children in order to assist the Spanish-speaking families of victims of 9/11 as well as first responders.

Brian Costa in the Journal discusses how team officials try to negotiate with fans to gets the milestone homers back as a keepsakes for players. Writes Costa:

The fan who caught the first home run ball at the Miami Marlins' new ballpark last month was offered a bat autographed by star third baseman Hanley Ramirez. He demanded season tickets. The Marlins scoffed and told him to keep the ball. The Mets did the same thing in 2010 when a fan in Baltimore caught the ball Chris Carter hit for his first home run. The fan, evidently a memorabilia collector, asked for about 40 balls signed by various players.

Jack Curran, who coached Mike Baxter at Archbishop Molloy, tells the Daily News: “Keep an eye on this young man. I believe the more he learns the pitchers, the better he’s going to hit. And the work ethic that I remember is still there. He called me the other day and I said, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I’m on the Long Island Expressway, on my way to the ballpark.’ I looked at the clock. It was 12:30. For a 7 o’clock game.”

Michael Salfino in the Journal shows that Santana has enjoyed more success coming back from shoulder surgery than peers who also lost a year due to procedures.

TRIVIA: Who batted immediately before Wainwright's curveball to Beltran ended Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS?

Wednesday's answer: Paul Wilson, on Sept. 20, 1996, was the only Mets pitcher until Jeremy Hefner to homer in his first major league season. Jerry Koosman (1968) and Walt Terrell (1983) homered during their rookie years, but had debuted the previous seasons.

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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