New York Mets: Jack Egbert

Around the minors 6.30.12

July, 1, 2012
DURHAM 12, BUFFALO 6: Jenrry Mejia got back on track with two scoreless relief innings after a tumultuous transition to the bullpen, but the Bulls scored nine times in the fifth inning against Mark Cohoon and Jack Egbert to grab a 12-0 lead. The big blow came on a three-run homer by ex-Bison Chris Gimenez against Cohoon. Durham starter Alex Torres carried a no-hit bid one out into the fifth, when Brad Emaus doubled. In the fourth, Buffalo's Fred Lewis stole two bases, giving him a team-leading 14. He also walked three times and scored a run. It is the most stolen bases for any Bisons player since the 2007 season, when Ben Francisco had 22 and Trent Durington had 15. Box

ALTOONA 8, BINGHAMTON 2: Zack Wheeler allowed a career-high seven runs on nine hits and the B-Mets lost their season-high fifth straight. Things started well as Wheeler faced one over the minimum through four scoreless innings and Reese Havens blasted a leadoff homer in the fourth against Tim Alderson. But the Curve scored three runs in the fifth against Wheeler (7-4). Altoona loaded the bases with three straight singles and evened the score on Drew Maggi's sacrifice fly. Brock Holt gave Altoona the lead for good with a two-run single. Wheeler helped his own cause and cut the deficit to one in the fifth. With two outs and Wilfredo Tovar at second, Wheeler doubled for his first career hit and RBI. It would be the last highlight for the highly touted prospect. Wheeler allowed two more runs in the sixth and was chased from the game when Matt Curry stroked a two-run double down the first-base line in the seventh. Altoona added another run in the eighth against relievers Brad Holt and Adrian Rosario. Wilmer Flores started his first professional game at first base. Box

JUPITER 14, ST. LUCIE 2: Right fielder Adam Loewen went 1-for-4 with a double in his first minor league game since suffering a stress fracture in his right foot in April with Buffalo. Starter Erik Goeddel allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. Relievers Jack Leathersich and Kyle Allen combined to allow seven additional runs. Box

SAVANNAH 3, AUGUSTA 0: Alex Panteliodis tossed three scoreless innings in his return after a three-week absence and combined with Jim Fuller (1-1), Randy Fontanez and Chasen Bradford on the shutout. Yucarybert De La Cruz had an RBI single and Dustin Lawley contributed a sacrifice fly in a two-run third. Box

KINGSPORT 13, BLUEFIELD 9: In a game in which the teams committed a combined 10 errors, the K-Mets took the lead for good in the third inning, scoring seven unearned runs to erase a 2-0 deficit. Michael Bernal, who had played sparingly in the first 11 games, doubled twice and drove in three runs as part of a 3-for-4 performance. He also scored twice while serving as DH. Joe Tuschak had three RBIs while going 2-for-5 with a run scored. K-Mets starter Robert Gsellman allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings. Andres Perez completed the fourth inning, inducing an inning-ending flyout against the lone batter he faced. Christian Chivilli then took over and came within an out of finishing the game. Chivilli was pulled after surrendering a two-run homer to Bluefield's Dwight Smith Jr. in the ninth. None of Kingsport's six errors were more bizarre than the one by catcher Alex Machillanda, who whiffed on his routine throw back to Chivilli after a sixth-inning pitch, allowing Chris Peters to score. Anthony Chavez notched first homer as a K-Met. Yeixon Ruiz drove in two runs. Box

BROOKLYN 6, ABERDEEN 2: 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo's seventh-inning grand slam lifted the Cyclones in the rubber match. Gabriel Ynoa allowed two runs and three hits in six innings while striking out a career-high six batters. Right-hander Tim Peterson, the Mets' 20th-round pick from Kentucky, made his professional debut with two perfect innings to earn the win. Dimas Ponce and Phillip Evans singled with one out in the first to get things started. Kevin Plawecki then walked to load the bases for Cole Frenzel. He reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Ponce to score. Stefan Sabol singled, plating Evans and extending his hitting streak to six games as Brooklyn took a 2-0 lead. The IronBirds answered in the third on Roderick Bernadina's two-out, two-run double. Ynoa limited the damage by striking out Creede Simpson. In the sixth, Evans led off by doubling, and Plawecki and Frenzel grounded out. With Evans at third, Sabol and Nelfi Zapata walked to load the bases for Nimmo. He became the first Cyclone to produce a grand slam this season as he delivered his first 2012 homer. Box

Compiled from team reports

Mets morning briefing 6.29.12

June, 29, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Young topped former teammate Chris Capuano, David Wright drove in a pair of runs and Bobby Parnell converted his first save attempt as Frank Francisco's fill-in as the Mets beat the Dodgers, 3-2, Thursday night.

R.A. Dickey (11-1, 2.31 ERA) opposes right-hander Aaron Harang (5-4, 3.81) in Game 2 of the series at 10:10 tonight.

Friday's news reports:

• Parnell flopped in a September audition for closer last season, but he touched 101 mph Thursday night while tossing a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Parnell had to wait until the sixth game with Francisco unavailable before finally getting a save chance, since the Mets had lost four straight, then posted a 17-1 win against the Cubs before arriving in L.A.

• Young and Capuano appreciated lining up against each other in the opener, since both used opportunities with the Mets to revive their careers. Capuano, who signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers last offseason that includes a team option for 2014, fell to 9-3 despite pitching effectively. Read more in Newsday.

• Wright, already the franchise's RBI, runs and doubles leader, passed Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record for walks in his final plate appearance Thursday. Earlier, Wright had launched a solo shot against Capuano to pull even with Howard Johnson for third on the Mets' all-time homer list.

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

Jack Egbert picked up the win with two scoreless relief innings as Triple-A Buffalo beat Louisville, 4-2. Read Thursday's full minor league recap here.

• On the injury front: Jason Bay rode a stationary bicycle Wednesday and did not have any post-concussion symptoms arise, Terry Collins said. Mike Baxter (displaced collarbone) has not done any significant physical activity, the manager added. Mike Pelfrey, who is expected to be nontendered and become a free agent in December, is working on strengthening exercises following Tommy John surgery and should begin tossing a baseball in late August or early September.

• Despite struggling in a relief role with Buffalo and the organization considering moving Jenrry Mejia back into a starting role in the minors, Mejia will remain doing bullpen work with the Bisons for now, Collins said.

• Collins, who was overseeing the farm system in 2010, recently told reporters Dickey nearly was released rather than reassigned to minor league camp that spring training when he was the first cut from big league camp. Brian Costa in the Journal speaks with then-GM Omar Minaya about how close it came. Writes Costa:

They were wondering if Dickey was even worth sending to Triple-A Buffalo. "There was a possibility he was going to get released," said Omar Minaya, the Mets' general manager at the time. "That was talked about." It turned out to be the best move Minaya never made.

• A resolution could come Friday as Ike Davis awaits word of the amount of his fine and about a potential suspension. The discipline decision stems from Davis touching umpire Manny Gonzalez with his glove while disputing a safe call on a pickoff attempt Tuesday in Chicago.

• Dodgers slugger Andre Ethier, who suffered an oblique strain Wednesday in San Francisco, will avoid the DL for now.

• The Mets' victory in the opener came despite grueling travel. The team spent 4 1/2 hours Sunday evening on a plane with mechanical trouble at O'Hare before shifting to another that could fly the team to L.A. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• Right-hander Zack Wheeler as well as third baseman Jefry Marte and first baseman Eric Campbell were selected to represent Double-A Binghamton in the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 11 in Reading, Pa.

• ESPN's Buster Olney writes that Oakland right-handed reliever Grant Balfour makes sense for the Mets to pursue via trade.

Lenny Dykstra wil plead guilty to bankruptcy fraud and faces as many as 20 years in prison.

TRIVIA: Wright passed Strawberry for the most walks in franchise history. Who ranks third?

Thursday's answer: First baseman Jeremy Reed misfired on a throw to the plate on May 18, 2009 at Dodger Stadium that allowed the winning run to score in the 11th inning.

Around the minors 6.28.12

June, 28, 2012
BUFFALO 4, LOUISVILLE 2: Jack Egbert tossed two no-hit innings to earn the win in relief of Collin McHugh. In the third, Oswaldo Navarro tripled and scored on McHugh's groundout to open the scoring. Louisville evened the score a half-inning later on back-to-back doubles by Joey Gathright and Mike Costanzo. Bats starter Sean Gallagher's control issues allowed the Bisons to retake the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Josh Satin, Fred Lewis, Valentino Pascucci and Josh Rodriguez consecutively walked to give the Bisons a 2-1 lead. Lucas May tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly. Navarro's RBI single in the sixth accounted for the game's final run. McHugh held the Bats hitless through three innings, but he was unable to complete five innings and be eligible for his first Triple-A win. He was pulled without recording an out in the fifth after walking leadoff batter Daryl Jones, then surrendering singles to ex-Met Willie Harris and Kristopher Negron and hitting Gathright with a pitch. McHugh was charged with two runs on four hits and three walks in four-plus innings. Pascucci walked three times. His 61 bases on balls rank second in the International League. Box

BOWIE 8, BINGHAMTON 6: The B-Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth without a hit, but fell short. Pinch-hitter Francisco Pena, representing the tying run, struck out against reliever Pedro Viola to end the ballgame. The B-Mets walked nine times and collected 11 hits, but stranded 11 and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Jefry Marte gave Binghamton its first lead of the year against Bowie with an RBI single against Bobby Bundy in the first. Wilmer Flores followed with a sac fly and added a run-scoring single in the third, giving Binghamton a 3-0 lead. The Baysox stormed back in the fourth against B-Mets starter Darin Gorski. Josh Barfield singled to spur a four-hit rally. Run-scoring singles by Manny Machado and Buck Britton got Bowie to within one, and an RBI fielder’s choice by Zelous Wheeler tied the score at 3. Catcher Juan Centeno allowed Britton to score the go-ahead run from third when he airmailed a throw to second on a fake steal by Wheeler. Bundy’s night came to an abrupt end in the fourth. With two outs, Marte seared a line drive off the righty’s left leg for a single. Bundy was helped off the field and replaced by Eddie Gamboa.

Gorski rebounded from the rocky fourth and faced the minimum over his final two innings. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings. He was taken off the hook when the B-Mets fought back to tie the score in sixth against Gamboa. Ryan Fraser took over for Gorski in the seventh and posted a perfect inning before running into trouble in the eighth. Antoan Richardson walked, advanced on a sac bunt and groundout and scored on a passed ball by Centeno. Trailing by a run, Binghamton threatened in the eighth, but Reese Havens struck out looking to strand two in scoring position. In the ninth, the Baysox tagged Robert Carson for three runs. Clayton Schrader then entered and got Binghamton back in the game, walking all three he faced. Viola replaced him and walked Dustin Martin to force in a run. Viola then induced Wilfredo Tover to bounce into a run-scoring double play before striking out Pena to end the ballgame. Fraser (1-1) suffered his first loss as a B-Met. Box

JUPITER 11, ST. LUCIE 4: Chase Huchingson was charged with nine runs (seven earned) on 11 hits in five innings. St. Lucie had built a 4-0 lead behind an RBI groundout by Juan Torres and run-scoring single by T.J. Rivera in the second and a two-run triple by Rafael Fernandez an inning later. Box

CHARLESTON 5, SAVANNAH 4: The Gnats committed four errors as starter Jacob DeGrom allowed four runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings. Aderlin Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in the loss. Savannah pulled within a run in the ninth on consecutive inning-opening doubles by Dustin Lawley, Brian Harrison and Rodriguez. Gregory Pron, pinch running for Rodriguez, advanced to third on ZeErika McQueen's groundout. But Pron was stranded there when Albert Cordero and Yucarybert De La Cruz also grounded out. Box

KINGSPORT 4, BLUEFIELD 3: First-round pick Gavin Cecchini went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Shane Bay tossed two scoreless, no-hit relief innings to earn his first professional save. Box

ABERDEEN 5, BROOKLYN 2: Scheduled start Julian Hilario was scratched, leading third-round pick Matt Koch from Louisville to make his pro debut. Koch lasted 1 2/3 innings and surrendered three runs. He unraveled the second, walking two and hitting a batter to open the frame. Beck Wheeler entered with two outs and recorded the inning's final out when the ball hit a baserunner to hold the deficit at 3-0. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 6.25.12

June, 26, 2012
DURHAM 14, BUFFALO 10: Durham completed the four-game sweep, sending the Bisons to their 11th loss in 12 games. Josh Satin went 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs and Raul Reyes went 4-for-5 with a solo homer in the loss. In a call-up from Binghamton to take injured Dylan Owen's rotation spot, Mark Cohoon allowed seven runs on eight hits, including homers by Luke Scott and Stephen Vogt, in 3 2/3 innings. Reliever Jack Egbert (2-4) followed by allowing five runs while recording only two outs. Scott's second homer came off Elvin Ramirez in the seventh. Of the five Bisons pitchers used Monday, Pedro Beato was the only one to hold Durham scoreless. Valentino Pascucci was the lone Bison to go hitless. Pascucci went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but did walk twice. He is 1-for-his-last-21, albeit with 10 walks during that seven-game stretch. Box

BINGHAMTON 11, ERIE 5: Zack Wheeler got the win despite allowing five runs, the most in any start since being acquired by the Mets. The B-Mets matched a season-high with 18 hits. Wilfredo Tovar tied a career high with four hits. Erie starter James Avery, who twice had beaten Binghamton this season, was tagged for a career-high 13 hits and surrendered eight runs (seven runs) in 4 1/3 innings. The B-Mets jumped out to a six-run lead over the first three innings. Dustin Martin gave Binghamton the lead by shooting a bases-loaded, two-run single through the hole on the right side in the first inning. Reese Havens crushed a two-run homer in the second. It was his fifth home run of the season; three have been hit at Jerry Uht Park. Tovar made it 6-0 with a two-run single in the third. Wheeler used the healthy lead and cruised through the first three innings, facing the minimum. He hit a speed bump in the fourth. After a walk to leadoff hitter Jamie Johnson, Niuman Romero ripped a run-scoring double. Following a wild pitch, Nick Castellanos cut the lead to four with a sac fly. Binghamton answered in the fifth. Martin tripled. Francisco Pena then doubled and scored two batters later when Pedro Zapata beat out a potential double play. After a scoreless fifth, Wheeler battled through two more innings to cap his night. The righty allowed two runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh, but exited with Binghamton owning an 8-5 lead and having allowed eight hits over seven innings. Box

DAYTONA 4, ST. LUCIE 3 (12 innings):
Starter Angel Cuan allowed five runs (four earned) and lasted only 1 1/3 innings in the opener. Hamilton Bennett (6-1) suffered his first 2012 loss in the nightcap, when he allowed an RBI double in the 12th to Dustin Harrington. Box 1, Box 2

CHARLESTON 3, SAVANNAH 2: The Gnats scored twice in the ninth, but left the bases loaded when Gilbert Gomez lined out to right field. Savannah scored in the final frame on RBI singles by Brian Harrison and Gregory Pron. Box

DANVILLE 10, KINGSPORT 2: Starter Akeel Morris allowed five runs (four earned) in four innings, while reliever Edioglis Villasmil allowed five runs (four earned) in one inning. Box

BROOKLYN 3, HUDSON VALLEY 0: Luis Mateo pitched six scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk, while striking out seven. Reliever Paul Sewald added two perfect innings, striking out three batters, while Tyler Vanderheiden earned his second save. The Cyclones got to Hudson Valley starter Taylor Guerrieri in the second. Cole Frenzel singled, advanced to third on a double by Eudy Pina and scored on a balk. Brooklyn added two runs in the eighth on a bases-loaded single by Pina that plated Kevin Plawecki and Frenzel. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 6.15.12

June, 15, 2012
PAWTUCKET 8, BUFFALO 3: Matt den Dekker produced his first Triple-A homer. Jenrry Mejia tossed a scoreless inning, allowing one hit, in his first relief appearance of a two-week program to ready him for major league bullpen duty. Justin Turner at second base and Ronny Cedeño at shortstop each went 1-for-4 as part of a rehab assignment. Turner was redirected to New York after the game. He should end a rehab assignment early and replace Jason Bay on the major league roster. Cedeño, who was making his first rehab start with the Bisons, struck out twice. Starter Dylan Owen and reliever Jack Egbert combined to allow seven runs (five earned) and three homers in four innings as Buffalo trailed 7-1. Manny Acosta tossed two scoreless relief innings despite allowing three hits. Box

BINGHAMTON 4, ALTOONA 3: Rylan Sandoval led the B-Mets with three hits, including a go-ahead RBI single in Binghamton’s decisive three-run sixth. Binghamton overcame a 3-0 deficit. After B-Mets starter Gonzalez Germen hit Quincy Latimore to start the second inning, former Mets farmhand Stefan Welch sent a potential double-play bouncer to first base. The B-Mets failed to record an out. Eric Campbell’s throw to second sailed into left field. Drew Maggi then delivered an RBI double. Altoona's Jarek Cunningham led off the third with a single and scored two batters later when Ramon Cabrera doubled. Altoona starter Brandon Cumpton made that 2-0 lead stand early. The righty faced one over the minimum through his first four frames, allowing only a harmless single to Juan Centeno in the third. In the fifth, Altoona converted three singles and a throwing error by third baseman Jefry Marte into a three-run lead. Binghamton started its comeback in the fifth against Cumpton. Dustin Martin led off with a double off the base of the center-field wall. Sandoval had an RBI single. With the deficit cut to two, Germen (3-4) returned to the mound and capped his night with a perfect sixth. The righty allowed three runs (one earned) on eight hits and struck out six over six innings. In the sixth, Reese Havens’ one-out single started a streak of six straight B-Mets reaching safely. Marte and Campbell followed with singles to load the bases. Martin tied the score with a two-run single that ricocheted off Cumpton’s glove and rolled into right field. With runners at the corners, reliever Kris Harvey entered. Sandoval greeted the righty by ripping an RBI single. B-Mets reliever Ryan Fraser struck out all three he faced in a perfect seventh. Armando Rodriguez took over in the eighth and used two strikeouts to navigate around a pair of walk in a scoreless frame. He returned for the ninth and nailed down his first career save. Box

SAVANNAH 5, ROME 4: Gregory Pron drove in three runs with a fourth-inning double that staked Savannah to a 4-2 lead. Cam Maron had three hits. Box

Compiled from team reports

Farm report II: Leaders, player notes

June, 13, 2012
Organization leaders

Average: Matt den Dekker, Buffalo, .339; T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .323; Eric Campbell, Binghamton, .321; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .304; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .296; Josh Rodriguez, Buffalo, .291; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, .289; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Luice, .286; Brian Harrison, Savannah, .282; Josh Satin, Buffalo, .279.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 12; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, 12; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 11; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 10; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 10.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 41; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 40; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 40; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 39; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, 33.

Steals: Alonzo Harris Jr., St. Lucie, 12; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, 12; Fred Lewis, Buffalo, 11; Luis Nieves, St. Lucie, 11; Pedro Zapata, Binghamton, 11.

ERA: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 1.66; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 2.48; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 2.48; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 2.50; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 2.83; Tyler Pill, St. Lucie, 3.03; Cory Mazzoni, St. Lucie, 3.25; Yohan Almonte, St. Lucie, 3.69; Gonzalez Germen, Binghamton, 3.86; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 3.88.

Wins: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 6; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 6; Yohan Almonte, St. Lucie, 6.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 15; Adrian Rosario, Binghamton, 13; T.J. Chism, Savannah, 10; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 67; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 64; Garrett Olson, Buffalo, 63; Jeurys Familia, Buffalo, 60.

Short hops

• The Brooklyn Cyclones open play Monday against Staten Island, with Kingsport beginning its schedule the following day. Farmhands generally will break camp from Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Friday -- with high school prospects more likely to head to the Appalachian League and the college players to Coney Island.

First-round pick Gavin Cecchini, a prep shortstop from Louisiana, will play for manager Jose Leger with the K-Mets. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo has been expected to be sent to Brooklyn, while 2009 top pick Steven Matz was expected to end up in Kingsport.

• The Mets on Tuesday confirmed the signing of their second overall selection, Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki (35th overall).

Other draftees already signed and working out in Port St. Lucie: right-hander Matt Koch (third round, Louisville), right-hander Brandon Welch (fifth, Palm Beach State), second baseman Richie Rodriguez (ninth, Eastern Kentucky), right-hander Paul Sewald (10th, San Diego), right-hander Matt Bowman (13th, Princeton), catcher Stefan Sabol (17th, Orange Coast Community College) and right-hander Tyler Vanderheiden (19th, Samford).

• After making seven starts across three levels of the minors, Jenrry Mejia is scheduled to make his bullpen debut with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday or Friday. The script calls for Mejia to face different types of situations -- mid-inning, back-to-back days -- over a two-week span. After that, Mejia could find himself in the major league bullpen.

• Observers continue to express concern about the lack of development of a changeup with 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey. In his most recent outing, Friday at Columbus with a bevy of scouts on hand, Harvey opened the first inning by throwing a changeup. He then served up a homer to former Mets farmhand Ezequiel Carrera later in the at-bat on that pitch. Afterward, Harvey threw the changeup only once or twice more the remainder of his 90-pitch, four-inning outing.

Pedro Beato, who entered Tuesday having retired 17 straight batters in Triple-A, saw that streak end but nonetheless continued his dominance at Buffalo. Beato surrendered a hit but faced the minimum while recording five outs, three via strikeout. He has not allowed a run in his past 12 1/3 innings spanning seven games. Beato did not appear in a major league game during a cameo with the Mets last week. He was demoted to clear room for the return of Chris Young from paternity leave.

• Shortstop Sean Kazmar, who drew rave reviews for his glove while at Binghamton, has struggled significantly both in the field and at the plate since a promotion to Buffalo that coincided with Omar Quintanilla’s rise to the majors. Kazmar, who appeared in 19 games for the San Diego Padres in 2008, opened his stint with Buffalo hitless in his first 13 at-bats. He picked up his first two RBIs with the Bisons on Tuesday, but is hitting 4-for-29 (.138) with 10 strikeouts in Triple-A. Kazmar also has committed five errors in 11 games.

• Binghamton third baseman Jefry Marte left Saturday’s game with a bruised hand, below the pinkie, after a scorching groundball hit the lip of the infield and bounced toward his face. Joe Bonfe manned the hot corner Sunday. The B-Mets had Monday off and were rained out Tuesday. Marte should be back in the lineup when Binghamton resumes play.

• Perhaps with an eye toward moving St. Lucie’s Wilmer Flores to Double-A, where Marte has occupied third base, Flores has started at second base the past three games in the Florida State League. Originally a shortstop, Flores has played second and third base in winter ball in his native Venezuela.

• A scout who recently watched Binghamton said there were three definite major leaguers on the Double-A team -- prized pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, Matt den Dekker (who just was promoted to Buffalo) and right-hander Collin McHugh. McHugh (5-4, 2.48 ERA) was described as a “Dillon Gee type.” Said the scout: “He’s going to pitch in the big leagues. For sure.”

Wheeler took advantage of free-swinging Reading and Harrisburg teams to continue his Double-A dominance this week. Wheeler has won his past six starts and has not allowed more than two runs in any of his 10 Eastern League outings. Next up for Wheeler: A Thursday morning matchup with Phillies top prospect Travis May.

Josh Satin, Manny Acosta and Jack Egbert -- all of whom cleared waivers after being removed from the 40-man roster -- have rejoined Buffalo.

• Sure-handed St. Lucie shortstop Wilfredo Tovar remains in the Florida State League, although Terry Collins recently indicated a promotion to Binghamton is imminent. Perhaps Tovar will move after Saturday’s Florida State League All-Star Game at Charlotte Sports Park. Tovar was one of seven St. Lucie selections. The others: right-hander Cory Mazzoni, left-handers Adam Kolarek and Chase Huchingson, catcher Blake Forsythe, Flores and outfielder Cory Vaughn.

• Bisons manager Wally Backman indicated on the team’s postgame show Monday that Jeurys Familia was tipping pitches in a five-run fifth inning against a veteran Norfolk team.

• Savannah right-hander Logan Verrett, a third-round pick out of Baylor last June, carried a no-hit bid through 5 1/3 innings in his first game since April 17. Verrett had been on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement.

• South Atlantic League All-Star selection Travis Taijeron will represent Savannah in the Home Run Derby. The first round will be held Monday morning on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown. The carrier is stationed in Charleston, S.C. Savannah’s T.J. Rivera and T.J. Chism also will play in the All-Star Game.

• 2008 eighth-round pick Eric Campbell, whose career looked on the ropes early last season, is enjoying a revival in his third season with Binghamton. Campbell, a Boston College product, had a two-homer, five-RBI game Saturday. He is hitting .321 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 137 at-bats while primarily manning first base in Allan Dykstra’s absence. Campbell’s .437 on-base percentage leads the Eastern League.

• Ex-Mets outfielder Jeff Duncan, who has not been in pro baseball since 2008, is eyeing a comeback in the Atlantic League, but has yet to sign with a club. Duncan, now 33, appeared with the Mets in '03 and '04.

• RIP Warner Fusselle, who served as Brooklyn’s radio broadcaster since the team’s inception in 2001. Fusselle, 68, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season

Egbert clears, returns to AAA

June, 7, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Reliever Jack Egbert, who was designated for assignment when the Mets needed to open a 40-man roster spot for Chris Young, has cleared waivers. Egbert will rejoin Triple-A Buffalo.

A native of Rutherford, N.J., and Rutgers product, Egbert made two relief appearances with the Mets before the demotion. Terry Collins spoke highly of Egbert's sinker and predicted he would contribute again at the major league level this season.

Farm report II: Leaders, player notes

June, 6, 2012
Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .327; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .314; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, .310; Eric Campbell, Binghamton, .304; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, .294; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .293; Matt Tuiasosopo, Buffalo, .284; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, .284; Danny Muno, St. Luice, .283; Omar Quintanilla, Buffalo, .282.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 12; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 11; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, 10; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 10; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 10.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 40; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 40; Travis Taijeron, Savannah, 37; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 35; Matt Tuiasosopo, Buffalo, 31.

Steals: Alonzo Harris Jr., St. Lucie, 12; Luis Nieves, Savannah, 11; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, 11; Fred Lewis, Buffalo, 10; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 10.

ERA: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 1.88; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 2.17; Angel Cuan, St. Lucie, 2.40; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 2.43; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.59; Tyler Pill, St. Lucie, 2.68; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 3.02; Cory Mazzoni, St. Lucie, 3.09; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 3.69; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 3.92.

Wins: Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 5; Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 5; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 5; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 5, Yohan Almonte, St. Lucie, 5.

Saves: Adrian Rosario, Binghamton, 12; Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 12; T.J. Chism, Savannah, 9; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 8.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Buffalo, 61; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 60; Garrett Olson, Buffalo, 57; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 56; Jack Leathersich, St. Lucie, 54.

Short hops

Zack Wheeler has won five straight starts with Double-A Binghamton. In his past two outings, the ex-Giants farmhand combined to limit New Britain and Reading to two runs and five hits while striking out 15 and walking two in 15 innings. “That’s probably the best-pitched game against us this year,” Reading manager Dusty Wathan told Mike Drago in the Reading Eagle. “Obviously he’s got an overpowering fastball, and he can command the ball to both sides of the plate. Tonight he threw the ball where he wanted to, and he did what he was supposed to do against us. You’ve gotta give him a lot of credit. … He looks like a big leaguer to me. For sure.”

• Right-hander Rob Whalen, drafted by the Mets in the 12th round Tuesday out of high school in Haines City, Fla., actually has serious Mets ties. His entire family hails from Queens and are big Mets fans. Whalen lived in Pennsylvania until moving south for high school to maximize his chance of becoming a professional ballplayer. Whalen won The Tom Seaver Most Outstanding Pitcher award as an 8-year-old at a Mets-sponsored camp at Long Neck, N.Y., and recalled playing catch with then-Mets reliever Scott Strickland during the event. (View visual proof here.)

Paul DePodesta offered high praise for Princeton right-hander Matt Bowman, the organization’s 13th-round pick, who had wowed team officials at a pre-draft Mets workout. “He has a Tim Lincecum delivery,” DePodesta said. “He’s also a position player for Princeton. He’s very athletic, a very good strike thrower. At our workout he actually was up to 95 mph, but pitching mainly 93-94 with plus life on his fastball. We like the athletic package and think he has some upside there when he concentrates on pitching full time. … He was a guy ever since he came to our workout that we’ve targeted. We were just trying to figure out the best time to call his name. He’s a guy we were pretty intent on taking somewhere.”

• Amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous watched Hawaii prep shortstop Branden Kaupe (fourth round) hit an inside-the-park homer while scouting one game. Tanous praised Kaupe’s speed and said he can play anywhere in the infield, including the left side because of a strong arm.

• The Mets have raided the University of Arkansas for four high-round selections the past two drafts. The Mets’ top two picks last year, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Fulmer, were Arkansas commitments. Tuesday the Mets drafted Razorbacks third baseman Matt Reynolds in the second round and grabbed Hogs commitment Teddy Stankiewicz, a high school right-hander from Fort Worth, with their other pick in that round. “We’re thinking about hiring their recruiting coordinator. We love their players,” DePodesta quipped, before adding: “Purely coincidence.”

• Reliever Jack Egbert officially was designated for assignment Tuesday by the Mets to clear a 40-man roster spot for Chris Young, forcing the Rutgers product to be exposed to waivers. Still, Terry Collins believes the organization has a valuable piece provided Egbert clears and is able to return to Triple-A Buffalo’s bullpen. “Two years ago, this guy, he almost made this team,” Collins said about Egbert, who hails from Rutherford, N.J. “Then he hurt his elbow. I’m very impressed with his sinker. His arm strength is continuing to get better [post 2009 Tommy John surgery]. And Wally [Backman] told me, he said, ‘Look, this guy can get groundballs.’ I know we didn’t use him very much, but there’s a good chance he’s going to be back.”

• Right-hander Brandon Moore, who returned from a 50-game suspension resulting from being flagged for a “drug of abuse,” has settled into Binghamton’s bullpen after working as a starter pre-ban. Likely rusty, Moore has walked five, hit a batter and thrown a wild pitch while being charged with four runs in two appearances spanning 1 1/3 innings. He has a sharp slider and quality sinker when on. There is no room for Moore at this point in the B-Mets’ rotation, which already has six members. Fellow right-hander Scott Moviel, who also returned from a 50-game suspension, remains in extended spring training. Catcher Dock Doyle, the third player to receive that ban late last year, has been released, a team official said. Doyle was a fifth-round pick in 2008 from Coastal Carolina.

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 6.6.12

June, 6, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Poised to take over sole possession of first place in the National League East this late in a season for the first time since 2008, the Mets failed to hold a lead three times from the eighth inning onward and ultimately lost to Washington, 7-6, in 12 innings at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. Omar Quintanilla and Jordany Valdespin combined for three errors at shortstop and Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis each flubbed balls and had to settle for an out on chances that might otherwise have been double-play grounders.

Wednesday's news reports:

Jason Bay (fractured rib) is expected to rejoin the Mets on Wednesday after manning left field for Class A St. Lucie in the third game of a rehab assignment last night. Ruben Tejada, though, had to depart after two innings from a rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo because of an issue with his balky right quadriceps. Originally slated to return Friday, that timetable is out the window. Tejada will be withdrawn from the rehab assignment and return to the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Terry Collins said. The Mets did not officially announce Bay's return after Tuesday's game, nor did they offer a corresponding move. Josh Satin, who joined the team Sunday when Mike Baxter went on the disabled list, would figure to be the logical roster casualty.

• The positive in Tuesday's debacle: Like Johan Santana before him, Chris Young established he can capably contribute in the majors after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in the pitching shoulder. Young allowed three runs (two earned) while logging 75 pitches in five innings. He expressed satisfaction afterward with the outing. It was his first major league action since May 1, 2011. Read more in Newsday.

• Santana threw off a mound for the first time since Friday's 134-pitch no-hitter. He reported feeling fine after Tuesday's between-starts bullpen session at Nationals Park, which sets him up for a Subway Series-opening start in the Bronx. “I threw my bullpen, just another one, nothing different, and I felt good and we’ll be ready for Friday,” Santana told reporters. Read more in the Daily News and Newsday.

• The Mets played with a short bullpen Tuesday. That in part was because Jeremy Hefner was being held out to start Wednesday's game -- which allows Santana to pitch on two days of extra rest, without R.A. Dickey's schedule being disrupted. But there was a second, more concerning reason for the Mets' lack of available bullpen arms: Collins said Jon Rauch will remain in New York while the Mets face the Nats in D.C. Examined by Mets doctors, Rauch was found to have "debris" in his pitching elbow. Collins said doctors believe the issue will calm with a few days of inactivity. The manager predicted Rauch would be available by Friday in the Bronx. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

• Nineteen-year-old phenom Bryce Harper delivered the game-winning hit with the bases loaded in the 12th against rookie Elvin Ramirez. Frank Francisco and Bobby Parnell were charged with blown saves -- Parnell's more of the hard-luck variety because of sloppy fielding -- as the Mets previously failed to hold leads in the eighth and 10th innings as well. Scott Hairston, off the bench, had scored the go-ahead run in the late innings three times, on Andres Torres' double in the eighth, on a wild pitch in the 10th, and then a solo homer in the 12th. Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News, Times and Newsday.

• Collins said postgame there are no external shortstop additions looming for the Mets, so they will have to make due with Quintanilla as the starter and Valdespin as the backup until Ronny Cedeno (calf), and now presumably later Tejada, return from the disabled list. Yet columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post implores the Mets to do otherwise. Writes Kernan:

The Nationals tied the game in the eighth because Daniel Murphy could not get the lead runner when he bobbled a ground ball. Nothing is more deflating for a team than poor infield play. This has been a fun run for the Mets, but general manager Sandy Alderson has to bring in a competent fielding major league shortstop. The Mets should know better than anyone that leg injuries to shortstops can linger. They cannot really count on Tejada, who had been doing a terrific job. It hurt the Mets last night, and it will hurt them again. The Mets have come too far to be caught short now.

• The Mets selected eight college players -- including Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds with a compensation pick for losing Jose Reyes as a free agent -- as well as seven high school players on Day 2 of the draft. The selection process wraps up this afternoon with Rounds 16-40. Review the organization's Tuesday activity here.

• Speaking of Reyes, David Wright scored his 736th run as a Met on Tuesday, passing his former teammate for the franchise's all-time record for runs scored in the uniform. Wright already had passed Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record for RBIs this season. Wright also leads in National League All-Star voting at third base in the initial totals released. St. Louis' David Freese trails Wright by only 32,086 votes.

• The Mets said Jon Niese is more likely to undergo a planned surgical procedure known as ablation to address an occasionally irregular heartbeat after the season as opposed to during the All-Star break.

Miguel Batista tossed two no-hit, scoreless innings Tuesday in his return from the DL while working in relief of Young. With Young and Batista added, the Mets cleared two roster spots by officially designating for assignment Jack Egbert and placing Ramon Ramirez (hamstring) on the DL.

• Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini -- the Mets' first-round pick -- is a workaholic, notes Joseph Santoliquito at in a feature from earlier this year. Santoliquito recites one story in which Cecchini's father thought someone was trying to break into the family's home. It turned out it was Cecchini returning from an early, early morning workout at a high school field that involved pulling 200-pound airplane tires.

Said Gavin's father Glenn, also the high school baseball coach, to Santoliquito: "I remember that night when I thought someone was breaking into the house, I told Gavin, ‘You have to be kidding me,' and Gavin told me ‘Dad, you always taught me that whatever you want in life you have to work for it.' But this was a little too much. Everyone was telling Gavin he was doing too much and then Gavin was telling everyone he didn't feel good. We didn't even know he was going back after midnight to work out. Gavin's greatest strength is his greatest weakness. He's determined and works hard. I've coached 26 years and have kids that have made it to the big leagues. Gavin is the most talented kid I ever coached."

• Triple-A Buffalo was routed 21-3. Starter Dylan Owen was charged with 13 runs as his ERA swelled by more than two runs per game. Read Tuesday's full minor league recap here.

• Nats manager Davey Johnson raves about Harper in Newsday.

Brian Costa in the Journal tries to explain why Mets pitchers unexpectedly entered the Nats series with the fourth-highest strikeout rate in the majors.

TRIVIA: At which university did Young play baseball (and basketball)?

Tuesday's answer: In the same draft the Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg first overall in 2009, they also picked 10th. They used that pick to select Stanford's Drew Storen.

Ramirez to DL, Rauch idle in roster shuffle

June, 5, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Jon Rauch, who reported tenderness in his right elbow Monday, will remain active but will not be with the team during a three-game series that opens Tuesday night in D.C., Terry Collins said.

Team doctors discovered "debris" in Rauch's pitching elbow, Collins said, although the manager was unsure whether the precise issue was bone chips or something else. Collins said medical officials believed the elbow discomfort would calm with three days of rest and Rauch would be available for the weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx.

So in order to create roster room for the additions of Chris Young and Miguel Batista, the Mets placed right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez on the DL and designated Jack Egbert for assignment. The latter move exposes Egbert to waivers, but frees a 40-man roster spot for Young.

Ramirez injured his hamstring racing in from the bullpen to celebrate Johan Santana's no-hitter Friday.

"Not in the celebration -- running to the celebration," Collins said. "He was so excited, he burst out of the bullpen."

Collins said Bobby Parnell will serve as the primary set-up man to closer Frank Francisco this series. The Mets really will have only a five-man bullpen this series, since they are going with a six-man rotation this turn in order to accommodate extra rest for Santana and to not use R.A. Dickey on short rest.

Santana, now due to pitch Friday in the Bronx, threw his between-starts bullpen session Tuesday afternoon at Nationals Park. Afterward, Santana reported the session went fine.

Young likely will be capped at 85-90 pitches Tuesday night, in his first major league start since shoulder surgery on May 16, 2011.

Collins during spring training had floated the Mets using a six-man rotation for a chunk of the season once Young returned. But the manager no longer plans to have more than a five-man rotation once Santana is recovered from the no-hitter and 134-pitch aftereffects.

Since the spring-training declaration of potentially a six-man rotation, Mike Pelfrey has been lost to Tommy John surgery, thinning the available starting candidates. And Collins added that Dickey is pitching too well to not be used every fifth game.

Collins said one recent discussion involved letting Dickey go every fifth game, while still having a six-man rotation -- meaning other starters might be pitching on extra days of rest to work around the knuckleballer's schedule. But that discussion has been tabled.

• The Mets announced the minor surgical heart procedure Jon Niese predicted he would likely undergo during the All-Star break -- known as "ablation" -- is more likely to be performed during the offseason. Niese requires the procedure to address an occasionally irregular heartbeat. Niese next is due to pitch Sunday in the Bronx.

Jason Bay (fractured rib) is due to play a rehab game tonight in the outfield for Class A St. Lucie, a day after being scratched because he was ill. Collins said he was not yet sure whether Bay would be activated from the DL on Wednesday.

Mets morning briefing 6.5.12

June, 5, 2012
The Mets rallied, tying the score on a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh by Scott Hairston. But Jon Rauch surrendered a two-run homer to Allen Craig a half-inning later as St. Louis avoided the four-game sweep by beating the Mets, 5-4, Monday. The Amazin's, despite a successful weekend, missed a chance to move alone into first place entering a series at Washington, which instead is the division leader.

Tuesday's news reports:

• The Mets, with the 12th overall pick in the draft, selected 18-year-old Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini. Then, at 35th overall, the Mets selected Purdue University catcher Kevin Plawecki, who struck out only eight times in 223 at-bats this season for the Boilermakers. Read more in the Times, Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

Jon Niese had his occasionally rapid heartbeat checked out by Mets doctors Monday. While the southpaw said there is nothing alarming, he likely will have surgery during the All-Star break to try to once and for all prevent recurrences. Niese said the procedure known as "ablation," albeit involving the heart, is minimal enough that he would not need to miss time in the rotation. Read more in the Record.

• Rauch has been experiencing tenderness in his right elbow, Terry Collins said. Rauch went to have the elbow checked out postgame.

Chris Young will start Tuesday for the Mets in the series opener at Washington. It will be Young's first major league action since May 1, 2011 -- before surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder. That is the same surgery Johan Santana underwent the previous September. Miguel Batista (lower back/oblique) also will be activated from the disabled list. He work in the bullpen behind Young, who likely will be capped at 80-85 pitches. One of the two roster spots will be forfeited by reliever Jack Egbert, who will be removed from the 40-man roster. It's unclear if Rauch is a DL candidate and will open the other 25-man roster spot, although that seems plausible. The Mets did not end up placing Ramon Ramirez (hamstring) on the DL before Monday's game. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Post and Newsday.

• Santana, it turns out, will get two extra days of rest after his 134-pitch no-hitter. The southpaw will pitch Friday's series opener at Yankee Stadium. The Mets will go with a six-man rotation for one turn. After Young Tuesday in D.C., Jeremy Hefner faces the Nats on Wednesday and R.A. Dickey on Thursday. Dillon Gee faces the Yankees on Saturday and Jon Niese on Sunday, keeping the Mets' two southpaws separated by a right-hander.

There was consideration of Dickey on Wednesday and Santana on Thursday, which would have eliminated the need for Hefner, but Collins ultimately did not want to disrupt Dickey's roll by asking him to pitch on short rest. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Daily News and Record.

• Santana bailed on reading the Top 10 list on David Letterman's "Late Show" Monday, citing time constraints with the Mets traveling to D.C. postgame. So Letterman handled the list himself. (See the full list here.) Santana also became the Mets' second straight NL Player of the Week. And the southpaw discussed his charitable work in the Daily News.

• On "The Daily Show," Mets fan Jon Stewart discusses watching the first no-hitter in franchise history at Citi Field with his family. Watch the video here. "I have suffered much for these Mets over my life, which is why these moments of joy that occur sporadically are even more appreciated," Stewart said. "This Met team is a fun team. They're a scrappy team. They play the game right, these 2012 Mets."

• Read game recaps in the Times, Newsday, Record, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Post.

Ike Davis told Steven Marcus in Newsday the minors will not be worthwhile for him. "It's not going to help me down there,'' Davis told Marcus. "If I hit .400 down there, what's it going to do up here? You can't just hit in the minor leagues. That's not going to help.'' Said Collins postgame Monday to reporters: "Ike's going to work it out. He's going to have to keep grinding it out."

Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Monday night. He logged five innings at shortstop and went 0-for-3. Collins expects Tejada to be activated from the DL on Friday. Jason Bay was due to play the outfield Monday for Class A St. Lucie and complete a rehab assignment, but he felt sick and was scratched, which will push back his return to the Mets, which had been scripted for today, according to Collins.

Brian Costa in the Journal, under the headline "Finally, Mets Sniff Credibility," writes:

During its broadcast of Sunday night's Mets-Cardinals game, ESPN put up a poll question for viewers. It read: "Will the Mets make the playoffs?" Two months ago, this would have seemed like some kind of cruel joke, like asking, "Will 'Khloe & Lamar' make the Emmys?" And if pressed for an honest answer, most people would still probably say no. But it is the first week of June, and the question is being asked. And for a Mets team of which so little was expected, a team that not long ago seemed in a competitive and financial abyss, that is an achievement in itself.

Jenrry Mejia and Pedro Beato combined to toss eight scoreless innings in Buffalo's 2-1, 10-inning win against Toledo. Read Monday's full minor league recap here.

David Wright, who scored on Hairston's homer Monday, tied Jose Reyes' franchise record for runs scored as a Met at 735.

• Former Mets GM Jim Duquette and family are doing well after he donated a kidney to his 10-year-old daughter Lindsey during a transplant performed Monday. Read more in the Daily News.

Bob Raissman in the Daily News praises announcers Gary Cohen and Howie Rose.

• Yankees GM Brian Cashman saluted the Mets. "They clearly are a test,'' Cashman said. "We know they're fighters.'' Read more in the Post.

• Columnist Steve Serby in the Post praises Collins. Writes Serby:

Collins is the best manager the Mets have had since Bobby Valentine. He is the manager Omar Minaya thought he had in Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel. As little as he is, he is the biggest reason the Mets believe again.

• Columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger looks forward to the Subway Series.

TRIVIA: When the Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg first overall in 2009, they also had the 10th overall pick in the draft Whom did Washington pick?

Monday's answer: The Mets' second selection in the 2011 draft was Oklahoma high school right-hander Michael Fulmer. He was chosen 44th overall.

Egbert out in roster shuffle

June, 4, 2012
With the Mets needing to create roster space for Chris Young and Miguel Batista on Tuesday, reliever Jack Egbert will lose not only his 25- but also his 40-man roster spot.

Egbert, 29, was in a holding pattern late Monday since he will need to clear waivers before being permitted to return to Triple-A Buffalo.

Young is starting Tuesday's game in D.C. The Mets not only need to create a 25-man roster spot for him, but also a spot on the 40-man roster, since Young re-signed with the organization on a minor league deal -- not a major league deal -- late in spring training.

Egbert, who hails from Rutherford, N.J., and played at Rutgers, appeared in one game for the Mets. He recorded two outs in relief of Manny Acosta to close out an 8-4 loss to the Phillies, after which Acosta was designated for assignment. Egbert's only other major league action came in 2008 with the Chicago White Sox.

Mets morning briefing 5.30.12

May, 30, 2012
Jeremy Hefner became the first Met to deliver his first homer and earn his first major league win in the same game and the Mets beat the Phillies, 6-3, Tuesday at Citi Field.

Cliff Lee and Dillon Gee now face off in tonight's 7:10 p.m. rubber game -- the finale of a 20-games-in-20-days stretch for the Mets. Before the series finale, the NFL Giants' 2012 draft class, including first-round pick David Wilson from Virginia Tech, will visit Citi Field and be recognized on the field.

Wednesday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson said he will engage the agents for David Wright in-season about the possibility of retaining the third baseman long term. The Mets have a $16 million option on Wright for 2013 -- really a net of $15 million, since there otherwise is a $1 million buyout. So Wright is not in danger of imminently becoming a free agent regardless. Read more at and in the Star-Ledger, Post, Daily News and Record.

Justin Turner, speaking with reporters for the first time since suffering Monday's right-ankle sprain, said he felt fortunate the injury was not more serious. Turner was wearing a boot. He also had crutches, but was not using them. Turner officially landed on the DL on Tuesday as part of a flurry of roster moves. The Mets also designated reliever Manny Acosta for assignment. They promoted Omar Quintanilla to start at shortstop as well as right-hander Chris Schwinden.

• Quintanilla matched a career high with three hits and also scored twice in his Mets debut, while Scott Hairston delivered the knockout blow to Phillies starter Joe Blanton with a pinch-hit two-run homer. Frank Francisco converted his 14th save, tying him for the National League lead. Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Daily News, Newsday and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Josh Thole, nearing a return to the Mets from a concussion, is slated to DH for Triple-A Buffalo tonight and catch Chris Young on Thursday morning with the Bisons. Thole then is expected to be activated Friday. The Mets could ever-so-briefly carry three bona fide catchers, but eventually they likely will have to make a choice of whom to retain at the major league level between Rob Johnson and Mike Nickeas. Either can be demoted without being exposed to waivers.

• The news is not as positive for Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) as is the case with Thole. Alderson said the shortstop, who was examined by team doctors Tuesday in Manhattan, will remain in New York getting treatment at least through Friday. Meanwhile, Jason Bay is only DHing in Port St. Lucie. The organization is taking it slowly with Bay (fractured rib) and has not yet allowed him to play the outfield, Terry Collins said.

Miguel Batista's intended rehab start Tuesday with Double-A Binghamton was rained out at Reading. That outing is now scheduled for Wednesday, pushing top prospect Zack Wheeler back another day in the rotation to Thursday with the B-Mets. Batista (oblique/lower-back strain) is eligible to be activated from the DL Monday, which happens to be the next time Hefner's turn comes up. But given Hefner's generally positive performance Wednesday, it may be more logical to instead return Batista to the bullpen at that point.

• Read an injury recap in the Times.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post sizes up the NL East this way, writing:

The Phillies, five-time defending champions, endured a rough day, placing future Hall of Famer Roy Halladay on the 15-disabled list with a strain of his right latissimus dorsi. They take pride in shrugging off injuries, and manager Charlie Manuel noted his teams always post a better record in the second half. In nine full seasons, only the 2001 Indians defied that trend. Nevertheless, the Phillies will be particularly challenged with Halladay, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley all on the disabled list. The Mets probably have the least talent among the five NL East teams, and that’s why most industry folks don’t see them sustaining this run. The Nationals and Braves join the Phillies in being riddled by injuries, though, and remember, the extra wild card opens up this pennant race like none before. Fairy-tale nights occur for every team, good and bad. Fairy-tale seasons are far more rare.

• Here's columnist Tim Smith's take in the Daily News.

• Hairston now has a team-high six homers, including one in each of his past three games. Read more in the Post.

Matt Harvey allowed one run and three hits in six innings in Buffalo's 3-1 win against Columbus. Pedro Beato pitched a scoreless relief inning as his rehab assignment nears a conclusion. Beato is eligible to be activated from the 60-day DL on Sunday. Read Tuesday's full minor league recap here.

R.A. Dickey was named NL Player of the Week on Tuesday. He limited the Pirates and Padres to a combined one run in 14 1/3 innings while posting a pair of wins. Dickey had tweeted earlier in the day that dental concerns were on his mind, too. "Got my first cavity in 37 years," the knuckleballer wrote. "Need a root canal in it to boot. Too much red velvet cake." Andrew Keh in the Times covered a pregame Q&A that Dickey had with fans who paid to attend at Citi Field.

• The Yankees love their ex-Mets. The Bombers just claimed Ryota Igarashi off waivers from the Blue Jays and assigned him to Triple-A. Read more in the Record.

• Former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson discussed the intricate data-based system the organization developed in 2004 to offer insights into opponent tendencies.

• The Phillies have major health issues. Roy Halladay was diagnosed with a right shoulder strain and joined Ryan Howard and Chase Utley on the disabled list. Read more in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Times and Post.

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record chronicles reliever Jack Egbert's three-year journey back to the majors, which included the Rutherford, NJ., native undergoing Tommy John surgery and at least contemplating retirement. Writes Klapisch:

He spent the summer of 2010 with a cast on his arm, thinking about Plan B, which he’d never really considered. “I had a year left at (Rutgers) in criminal justice,” Egbert said. “But honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to do.” Family and friends urged him to hang in there. Everyone meant well, but what else could they say to a baseball lifer who was on the bullet train to 30, with a bad arm and no job? Egbert could’ve hooked on with an independent team like the Newark Bears or New Jersey Jackals. But he knew that was the equivalent of buying a Power Ball ticket at 11:59 -- good luck waiting for the fates to be generous. The rehab took a full year, but, incredibly, the Mets called before spring training a few months ago.

• The Mets have out-homered opponents 8-7 in long balls that only would have been out with the new Citi Field dimensions. "It's not a band box," hitting coach Dave Hudgens told Brian Costa in the Journal about the stadium's revised configuration. "It's not Cincinnati. It's not Philadelphia. It's not Yankee Stadium. It's still a legitimate baseball field. You have to hit the ball good to get it out of here. Guys aren't going to hit jam shots to right field like at Yankee Stadium. That's just not going to happen."

TRIVIA: Besides Hefner, who was the only Mets pitcher to homer in his debut season in the majors? (Hint: Think 1996.)

Tuesday's answer: Ex-Mets Brian Schneider and Ty Wigginton played in Monday's game for the Phillies.

Mets morning briefing 5.29.12

May, 29, 2012
Ex-Met Ty Wigginton produced six RBIs, including a three-run homer in the ninth inning against Manny Acosta, and the Mets opened a stretch of eight straight series against opponents with winning records with an 8-4 loss to the Phillies on Memorial Day at Citi Field.

Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17 ERA) makes his second major league start in Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. game, opposite Philadelphia right-hander Joe Blanton (2-2, 4.55).

Tuesday's news reports:

Justin Turner suffered what the team announced is a right-ankle sprain. Turner jammed the leg on the first base bag during a rundown that ended the third inning. Turner's departure, coupled with Ronny Cedeño's unavailability because of continued calf issues, prompted Terry Collins to use David Wright at shortstop for the second time in Wright's professional career.

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos/Getty Images
Omar Quintanilla should be the Mets' starting shortstop on Tuesday. He would be the fifth player to start at the position already this season, joining Ruben Tejada, Ronny Cedeño, Justin Turner and Jordany Valdespin. Only Jose Reyes and Tejada started for the Mets at shortstop last season.

The Mets will promote Omar Quintanilla and Chris Schwinden for Tuesday's game, with Quintanilla -- a former Rockie and Ranger -- expected to start at shortstop. To clear roster room, the Mets are expected to designate Acosta (11.86 ERA) for assignment and place Turner on the disabled list. Quintanilla fouled a ball off a foot Sunday, but played Monday for Triple-A Buffalo without issue. He was hitting .282 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 156 at-bats with the Bisons. Schwinden tossed 99 pitches for Buffalo on Sunday, but presumably would be asked to step in if Hefner has a short outing today in his second major league start. Collins noted the Mets sure can use Thursday's day off, which comes after a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. Read more on the injury front and roster maneuvers in the Post, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

Josh Thole (concussion) caught five innings in an extended spring training game Monday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Jason Bay (rib) and Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) only batted in that game. Miguel Batista (oblique/back), meanwhile, is scheduled for a rehab start Tuesday with Double-A Binghamton, at Reading. Thole could advance to Buffalo quickly and be activated as soon as this weekend.

Jon Niese walked five batters, three of whom scored, in Monday's loss. The Mets twice rallied from deficits in the defeat, getting game-tying two-run homers in consecutive innings from Vinny Rottino and Scott Hairston. Wright capped an 0-for-4 day by stranding the tying run at third base in the eighth with a groundout. He is now 0-for-his-last-14 as his average has slipped to .383. Read game recaps in the Times, Post, Journal, Record, Star-Ledger, Newsday and Daily News.

• Niese called his five walks "pretty embarrassing." Collins said he sent Niese out for the sixth, when John Mayberry Jr. delivered a two-run homer, because the southpaw had a 1-2-3 fifth as well as because Rottino had already tied the score with a homer, making pinch-hitting for Niese with two out and none aboard in the bottom of the fifth unnecessary. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday notes the Mets' depth continues to be tested with the depletion of shortstops. Writes Lennon:

We already knew depth would be an issue for the Mets. But it reached the crisis level Monday when David Wright was forced to play shortstop for six innings -- the most time he's spent there since his senior year at Hickory High. It's not often that teams run out of shortstops. But with Ruben Tejada still recovering in Port St. Lucie and Ronny Cedeño nursing a calf strain that initially was described as a more benign cramp, the Mets couldn't afford an injury to Justin Turner, who also happened to be their leadoff hitter on Memorial Day. So when Turner went down with what the Mets called an ankle sprain -- he looked to be in much more pain than that -- it was not the easiest blow to absorb, for Monday's game as well as the weeks ahead.

Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post is skeptical the Mets can sustain their current level of play. Writes Sherman:

Nevertheless, if forced to speculate, I would still say the Mets are not ready to be six-month contenders. They continue to lack depth, notably beyond the main cogs in the rotation, but really everywhere. Injuries forced them to start a lineup yesterday -- Justin Turner leading off, Scott Hairston at cleanup -- more befitting St. Lucie in March than Citi Field in May.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes the Mets are "a team running on fumes." Bill Madden in the Daily News and Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger offer their takes as well.

• Mets statistical analyst Ben Baumer is leaving the organization to teach mathematics at Smith College in Massachusetts, Sandy Alderson confirmed to

Andres Torres' wife Soannie gave birth to the couple's second child, daughter Mia Carolina, at 6:30 a.m. Monday at a hospital near Central Park. Torres, working on an hour of sleep, made it to Citi Field and delivered a pinch-hit double in the eighth that put him in position to be the potential tying run.

Jordany Valdespin produced a three-run homer and Dylan Owen limited Columbus to one run and two hits in six innings as Triple-A Buffalo won, 7-1. Read Monday's full minor league recap here.

• The Mets will recognize Carlos Beltran with the same type of understated video tribute Friday when the Cardinals come to town that the organization did for Jose Reyes when he visited as an opponent last month for the first time since departing.

• Right-hander Jack Egbert recorded the final two outs of the top of the ninth inning in his first major league action since 2009 with the White Sox -- on a liner by Freddy Galvis and fly ball by Brian Schneider. Egbert, who hails from Rutherford and played at Rutgers, was acquired by the Mets in a late-September waiver claim in '09. He decided to stick with the organization as a minor league free agent after a 2010 season in which he did not pitch while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. "Obviously, I got a few days to settle in here, which helps, instead of kind of running out there the first day," Egbert told Mike Kerwick in the Record. "But after a while, you (want) to get out there. ... My last time up (with the White Sox) it seemed like everything was a hit. It was nice to catch somewhat of a break there on the first one, and then I kind of settled down, made a couple of better pitches to the second guy."

• The Mets conducted a late-day workout for prospective draft picks at Citi Field on Monday. Several Mets executives were on hand, including Paul DePodesta. The list of amateurs working out included Ole Miss signee Stryker Trahan, he tweeted. Trahan, from Lafayette, La., is considered the top catching prospect out of high school.

TRIVIA: How many ex-Mets appeared in the game for Philadelphia in Monday's series opener?

Monday's answer: Steve Carlton had the most career losses against the Mets -- 36. Of course, he also had 30 wins in his 76 starts, during which he compiled a 3.12 ERA.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 4

May, 28, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: David Wright -- forced into shortstop duty for only the second time in his pro career, with Justin Turner departing with an ankle injury and Ronny Cedeño unavailable -- seemed to have a costly misstep. And the Mets ultimately opened a stretch of eight straight series against teams with winning records with an 8-4 loss to the Phillies on Memorial Day.

Wright uneventfully handled his first chance at shortstop, a leadoff grounder in the fifth by Placido Polanco. But with the score tied at 4, Wright was not touching second base when he accepted a seventh-inning throw from Bobby Parnell while trying to force out Jimmy Rollins at second base and initiate a double play. The Mets only were credited with the out at first base, with Rollins ruled safe.

Ex-Met Ty Wigginton eventually plated Rollins with a two-out single to give the Phillies the decisive lead. (Wright postgame said he purposely cut off the throw because Rollins would have been safe on the hit-and-run, and Wright wanted to make sure to get at least one out, at first base.)

Regardless, Wright had a chance to make amends with Andres Torres on third base and two out in the eighth, but he grounded out against Cole Hamels. Wright is now hitless in his last 14 at-bats as his average has dipped to .373.

Manny Acosta -- whose place on the roster is dangling by a thread, especially with Miguel Batista, Pedro Beato, Chris Young and Jenrry Mejia all viable promotions within a couple of weeks -- served up a three-run homer to Wigginton in the ninth. Wigginton finished with a career-high six RBIs. He is fourth player this season with a six-RBI game against the Mets, joining J.P. Arencibia, Chris Johnson and Carlos Gonzalez. Acosta's ERA swelled to 11.86. There have been only 11 six-plus-RBI games against other MLB teams this season.

FATHER'S DAY: Torres, whose wife gave birth at 6:30 this morning, had hustled to leg out a pinch-hit double to open the eighth inning with the Mets trailing 5-4. He advanced to third on Kirk Nieuwenhuis' groundout, but was stranded there when first Daniel Murphy with the infield in and then Wright grounded out.

THUMPS OFF COLE: Vinny Rottino and Scott Hairston delivered two-run homers in consecutive innings against Hamels, both of which evened the score. Rottino's fifth-inning shot, which made it 2-all, struck above the orange line in the left-field corner and would not have been a homer under the former Citi Field dimensions. Hairston's homer off Hamels in the sixth made it 4-4.

FREE PASSES: Jon Niese's wildness proved costly as three of the four Phillies who scored against him reached via walk.

Niese issued two-out walks to Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino in the third inning ahead of Wigginton's two-run double, which snapped the Mets' 28-inning scoreless streak. Then, a half-inning after the Mets had knotted the score at 2 on Rottino's long ball, Niese opened the sixth by walking Wigginton ahead of a two-run homer by John Mayberry Jr.

Niese's final line in a 115-pitch effort: 5-plus IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 7 K.

WELCOME: Jack Egbert, who hails from Rutherford, N.J., and pitched at Rutgers, made his Mets debut, completing the ninth inning in place of Acosta and recorded the final two outs. Egbert had appeared in two games with the Chicago White Sox in 2009. Egbert missed the 2010 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

MORE WRIGHT STUFF: Wright committed an error, but it came at third base, before he shifted to shortstop. Wright's error was one of two in the first inning. Murphy also committed one. Niese stranded the bases loaded that frame by coaxing a flyout from Mayberry.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jeremy Hefner, whose outing fell apart after a 68-minute rain delay in his first major league start, gets another shot Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. Hefner (0-2, 6.17 ERA) opposes Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton (2-2, 4.55).



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187