New York Mets: Jason Pridie

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 2, 2012

US Presswire
The Mets are expected to face (l to r) Vance Worley, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels during the midweek series.
METS (43-37, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADLEPHIA PHILLIES (36-45, fifth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (6-3, 3.55) vs. RHP Vance Worley (4-4, 2.92), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Young (2-1, 3.30) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-5, 4.13), 1:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The underwhelming Phillies traded a pair of veterans to the American League during the weekend. They dealt Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league catcher Gabriel Lino and right-hander Kyle Simon. A day later, reliever Chad Qualls was sent to the Yankees for cash or a player to be named. Thome, 41, was hitting .242 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 62 at-bats, but back woes made it difficult for him to man first base. Qualls (4.60 ERA) had been designated for assignment Thursday.

Ex-Met Jason Pridie and left-hander Jeremy Horst took their roster spots. Horst had been acquired by the Phillies in January in the trade that sent infielder Wilson Valdez, another ex-Met, to Cincinnati. Pridie had signed with Oakland as a minor league free agent during the winter, was suspended 50 games by MLB for a second positive test for a drug of abuse in March, was released by the A’s last month and signed with Philadelphia on June 15.

Howard Smith/US Presswire
Chase Utley made his season debut last week after dealing with chronic knee woes.

• ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the dismantling may not be limited to peripheral players, with pending free agent Cole Hamels as well as Shane Victorino also potentially available.

• Hamels, catcher Carlos Ruiz and closer Jonathan Papelbon will represent the Phillies in the July 10 All-Star Game in Kansas City, although San Francisco’s Buster Posey will start over Ruiz behind the plate. Ruiz, a first-time All-Star, leads the majors in batting at .356, two points ahead of David Wright.

• Second baseman Chase Utley made his season debut last Wednesday with a three-hit game. He homered against the Pirates’ James McDonald in his first at-bat. Utley, who played in 10 rehab games, has started three of five games since being activated from the DL. The absence was caused by chronic left knee woes. Mike Fontenot has started the other two games at second base since Utley’s return.

• First baseman Ryan Howard may not be too far behind Utley. He began a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Lakewood. Howard underwent surgery in October on his left Achilles and suffered a setback when the area got infected.

• Rookie infielder Freddy Galvis, who had started 45 games at second base in Utley’s absence, was suspended by MLB for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He already was sidelined with a back injury and will be allowed to serve the suspension while on the disabled list. In a statement, Galvis denied knowingly using the banned substance.

• The Phillies are nine games under .500 for the first time since July 25, 2006, when they were 44-53. A loss in the series opener against the Mets would drop Philadelphia 10 games under .500 for the first time since July 22, 2002. The Phillies had not had this bad a record at the midpoint of a season since they were 23-58 in 1997.

• After using Vance Worley in the series opener, the Phillies are expected to skip Kyle Kendrick and go with Cliff Lee and Hamels in the series.

• Lee remains winless through 13 starts. The last MLB pitchers to open a season with that many starts and not have one victory to show for it? They would be Kenshin Kawakami with Atlanta and Kevin Millwood with Baltimore, two seasons ago. They both failed to be credited with a win in their first 14 starts of 2010. Lee has allowed five or more earned runs in three straight starts, one shy of matching his career high, which came with Cleveland in 2007.

Roy Halladay threw a bullpen session Friday for the first time since landing on the DL with a back strain.

Last series results

Philadelphia won, 2-1, at Citi Field, May 28-30 (AP game recaps)

Phillies 8, Mets 4: Ty Wigginton drove in a career-high six runs with a homer and a pair of two-out hits and Cole Hamels won his eighth straight decision. Scott Hairston and Vinny Rottino each hit tying two-run homers for the Mets. Down 5-4, the Mets threatened in the eighth when pinch hitter Andres Torres doubled. With one out and Torres on third, Daniel Murphy grounded out and then David Wright also grounded out to end the inning. Wright has gone hitless in his last 14 at-bats, dropping his average to .373. More

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Jeremy Hefner earned his first victory in the majors and highlighted the occasion by homering for his first big league hit. The 26-year-old rookie became the first major league pitcher to hit his first homer in his first win since 2002, when Dennis Tankersley did it with San Diego, STATS LLC said. Pinch hitter Scott Hairston had a two-run homer, and newcomer Omar Quintanilla doubled twice and singled. More

Phillies 10, Mets 6: Carlos Ruiz came off the bench with a sore hamstring to hit a tying homer in the seventh inning, Jimmy Rollins added a three-run shot and the Phillies busted loose late. Shane Victorino drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Philadelphia bailed out winless Cliff Lee to take two of three in the series. Ty Wigginton also homered for the Phillies, who improved to 3-6 against the Mets this season. Lucas Duda went deep twice, including a two-run shot off Lee in the sixth that gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. Dillon Gee pitched 6 2/3 effective innings, but the New York bullpen was battered after he left -- beginning with the pinch-hit homer by Ruiz. More

Mets morning briefing 3.13.12

March, 13, 2012
David Wright is due to return to camp today after receiving an "ultrasound-guided" cortisone shot in his troublesome left rib cage Monday in New York at his request. Meanwhile, teammate Tim Byrdak remains at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, where he will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee. He is due to miss six weeks. On the field, Carlos Beltran visits in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform to face Mike Pelfrey at 1:10 p.m. at Digital Domain Park. Johan Santana, who turns 33 today, should throw a between-starts bullpen session, too.

Tuesday's news reports:

Terry Collins said he believes/hopes Wright will resume baseball activities in the middle to end of the week. Wright was treading water with his left-rib cage issue -- experiencing soreness while neither improving nor worsening. A team official said an MRI revealed no structural damage. A frustrated Wright asked for the cortisone injection.

Sandy Alderson and Collins both said they expect to carry a left-handed reliever on the Opening Day roster, even minus Byrdak. Garrett Olson and Chuck James likely are the front runners. Daniel Herrera and Robert Carson also are in camp, but appear secondary considerations. Then there was this development Monday ...

Late last season, Paul DePodesta advised to watch left-handed reliever Josh Edgin as a rapid riser, despite Edgin not having pitched above Class A. Well, with Byrdak's surgery looming today, Edgin has been moved to major league camp. He blew a save chance in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Detroit Tigers at Lakeland, but that was after his defense betrayed him on a would-be third out. Edgin then rallied nicely the following inning against Tigers left-handed batters. He previously had recorded a pair of Grapefruit League saves while being borrowed from minor league camp, before the official transfer.

Read more on Byrdak's scheduled surgery as well as Wright's injury in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Journal, Post, Newsday, Times and Record.

• Bullpen catcher Eric Langill was arrested and charged with driving under the influence with property damage, a misdemeanor, according to a St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit. Langill allegedly drove into a concrete fountain in the middle of a traffic circle, flipping the vehicle at approximately 11:25 p.m. Sunday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

• With jury selection slated to take place Monday and a 10-day civil trial to follow, several motions were filed last night in the $386 million lawsuit against Mets owner Fred Wilpon, his family and businesses. Among the more headline-grabbing items: Trustee Irving Picard's lawyers asked U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff to bar Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax from testifying on the Wilpons' behalf. Picard's legal team argued that the purpose of Koufax testifying is to influence a jury with star power rather than substance. On the Wilpons' side, Howard Megdal at Capital New York notes defense attorneys have asked the judge to bar the plaintiffs from using the term "other people's money" to describe the Wilpons' gains in the Ponzi scheme, saying that is a loaded term that could improperly influence a jury.

Lucas Duda belted a grand slam in his first game in five days and the Mets and Tigers played to a 7-7 tie in 10 innings.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News writes that Collins is trying to keep the faith:

No sooner had Collins arrived at Joker Marchant Stadium Monday than he was greeted by his old baseball buddy, Jim Leyland, who put out the welcome mat for him by fielding his "A" lineup featuring all his regulars and especially the Detroit Tigers' new twin pillars of power, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. "Geez," Collins exclaimed to Leyland in mock protest, "I thought we were friends!" In truth, Collins could probably use a good friend like Leyland right about now to unload his troubles on. For, aside from Santana’s steady progress from his career-threatening shoulder injury, most of the news coming out of the Mets camp this spring has been either bad, concerning or downright embarrassing -- and Monday was no different.

Ike Davis tells Dan Martin in the Post that he is having no ill effects from last year's ankle injury or the suspected valley fever. "I can't plan for something I don't know is going to happen," Davis told Martin. "If something happens, I'll talk to Terry, but until then, there's nothing to talk about and I'd like for there to never be a reason to."

• Left-handed pitcher John Mincone, a Huntington, Long Island, native and Half Hollow Hills East High School product, has signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Mincone, 22, was drafted in the 11th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2009 out of Suffolk Community College after an injury-plagued college career. He went 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA in six games (three starts) for Windy City in the independent Frontier League last season.

"I’ve had many high school highlights," Mincone said in this April 2010 interview. "I'd have to say that winning our league championship my senior year and winning the Paul Gibson award are up there on the list, but my best memory is from the summer after my junior year. I made the Long Island baseball team going to compete in the Empire State Games, sort of an 'Olympics' for the state of New York. Our team won the gold medal, going undefeated in the process, marking the first time in 13 years that the Long Island team won a gold medal in baseball.

"As for college, I have two major baseball highlights. When I was at James Madison University my freshman year, we won the Colonial Athletic Association Conference tournament and continued on to play in the NCAA Regionals at NC State. My best college highlight is definitely winning Region XV while at Suffolk County Community College ... and then playing in the NJCAA College World Series in Tyler, Texas. I was named Region XV player of the year (2009) and was a named to the First Team NJCAA All-American, leading the nation with 107 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched, and an ERA of 0.98."

• Ex-Met Jason Pridie, who signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A's during the offseason, officially was suspended 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse, Major League Baseball announced.

• Left-hander C.J. Nitkowski's agent, Tom O'Connell, tells Tyler Kepner in the Times he believes the southpaw will join the Mets organization. "I feel pretty optimistic that we can come to an agreement," O’Connell told Kepner. "Hopefully this will play out in the next couple of days." Newsday previously has reported that an eventual signing is expected.

TRIVIA: What is the Mets' record for relief appearances in a season?

Monday's answer: Mike Jacobs homered in his first at-bat as a Met, which also was his first major league at-bat. He went deep on Aug. 21, 2005 off Washington's Esteban Loaiza as a pinch hitter. That staved off a demotion, and Jacobs went on to belt three more homers within three days.

Mets morning briefing 3.10.12

March, 10, 2012
The Mets head north on I-95 to Viera to face the Washington Nationals on Saturday, with R.A. Dickey on the mound.

Saturday's news reports:

• Judge Jed S. Rakoff set the parameters for the March 19 civil trial against Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, his family, businesses and charities. A nine-person jury will decide how much, if anything, to award trustee Irving Picard of the $303 million he seeks in principal the Wilpons invested with Bernard Madoff in the two years before the swindler's arrest. Picard must convince jurors the Wilpons were "willfully blind" to the fraud and acted in "bad faith" in order to collect that amount. The trustee already has been awarded as a matter of law as much as $83 million by Rakoff pre-trial -- the profits in the two years before Madoff's arrest. After a quick jury selection on Day 1, the trial is expected to last 10 days. Court is scheduled to be in session during business hours Monday through Thursday. Read more in the Times, Newsday and Daily News.

Matt Harvey tossed a pair of perfect innings and Matt den Dekker delivered a tiebreaking two-run triple in the eighth as the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 5-3, Friday at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Read more in the Record.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger notes that Harvey's control wasn't precise, but he got the job done. Writes McCullough:

The count ran full to the Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward. Catcher Josh Thole called for a four-seamer inside to tie up Heyward’s hands. "I didn’t really mean to go up that high with Heyward," Harvey said, as his team wrapped up a 5-3 victory. "I was trying to go in. But ..." But Heyward still waved at the pitch, which popped on the stadium gun at 95 mph as it buzzed the upper region of the strike zone. And therein lies the rub: Harvey's stuff appears capable of getting out major-league hitters. In his first inning, he retired veteran slugger Chipper Jones on grounder , recorded a flyout from former Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske, then whiffed Heyward.

• A reunion between Chris Young and the Mets is expected to materialize, Andy Martino reports in the Daily News. Young -- reportedly also considering the San Diego Padres -- supposedly is feeling strong. However, he underwent last May the same surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule that Johan Santana did the previous September. So there is no assurance of a 2012 contribution. Young made only four starts for the Mets last season before the shoulder woes ended his season. He received a base salary of $1.1 million despite the limited workload.

Lucas Duda was pulled from Friday's trip to Disney, but Terry Collins said he expected the right fielder on the bus for Viera to face the Nats today. Similarly, Andres Torres, who was dealing with a tight right glute, is expected on the trip. Read more in the Post.

• Ex-Met Jason Pridie will be suspended 50 games for use of a recreation drug, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

• A day after now-sidearm-throwing southpaw C.J. Nitkowski auditioned for the Mets, a team official said the organization had "not ruled out" signing him. But, the official added, Nitkowski almost assuredly would go directly to minor league camp if he were signed.

• Santana returns to the mound Sunday, but he apparently will not face former teammate Jose Reyes.

• The Mets' Triple-A Buffalo affiliate will play at Fenway Park against Pawtucket on Aug. 18 as part of a minor league doubleheader.

Neil Best in Newsday notes the April 18-29 Tribeca film festival not only includes the documentary "Knuckleball!" featuring R.A. Dickey, but also "Benji, about the ill-fated Chicago prep basketball star of the early 80s, Ben Wilson, and Broke, about the many sports figures who have gone astray financially."

Jason Bay is trying to revert to his old Pittsburgh-era swing. So far he is 0-for-5 with three walks and two strikeouts in Grapefruit League play. "It's tough when you're trying to work on things and people are trying to get you out," Bay told David Lennon in Newsday. "It's not batting practice. I think for right now, it's just about getting used to game speed -- getting used to seeing 95 and getting your timing down. Trusting what you do in the cage and not trying to think too much out there."

Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post about Bay:

Let’s give Jason Bay this benefit of the doubt because -- if nothing else -- the Mets certainly believe his failure as a Met is about caring too much, not too little. It is about the left fielder falling into a hole instantly in 2010 and losing confidence while gaining advice. It is about a destructive cycle of wanting to please so much that too many voices got beyond the velvet rope in his brain, too much counsel was heeded to tinker here and readjust there. His ears became a meeting place for the well intentioned to feed a series of recommendations that worked as harmoniously with one another as oil and water. Executives around the Mets couldn’t remember an accomplished player who turned every at-bat into a mandate on the positioning of his hands, the angling of a foot.

Adam Loewen discusses with Mike Puma in the Post making the switch from pitching to the outfield after suffering a second stress fracture in his left elbow. "Three years ago I made the switch, and it was actually an exciting time for me because I had a new life," the 6-foot-6 Loewen told Puma. "As much as it was heartbreaking not being able to pitch anymore, it was exciting to have that second chance and progress enough to think I could make it back to the big leagues."

Loewen and Mike Baxter currently are vying for a lefty-hitting backup outfield job, although the Mets very well also could pick someone else up near the end of spring training. At present, Loewen may have a leg up on Baxter in part because Loewen can play center field, whereas Baxter does not. Both play first base. Backing up in center field should not have been a requisite, but righty-hitting Scott Hairston (oblique) is starting to appear likely to open the season on the disabled list, leaving a void as a fill-in for Andres Torres.

Brian Costa in the Journal looks at the Puerto Rican Torres' offseason spent partly in the Dominican Republic, where he worked with Yankee Robinson Cano and his father. Cano met Torres on the MLB All-Star Tour of Taiwan in November and invited him to work out with them. They worked on refraining from lunging at balls. With the San Francisco Giants last season, Carlos Beltran also offered Torres advice, telling him he was too close to the plate and using too heavy a bat. Now, hitting coach Dave Hudgens has advice for Torres as well. Torres, who is slated to be the Mets' leadoff hitter, had his on-base percentage plummet 31 points, to .312, last season. Writes Costa:

Hudgens saw two things that concerned him. The first was an inability to stay on top of the ball, which made him prone to weak pop-ups. The second issue was lapses in plate discipline. Torres swung at a career-high 31% of pitches outside the strike zone last season. The Mets want him to be more selective and work the count better, and they told him as much during an early spring meeting with Hudgens, manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson. They'll find out soon enough whether he can heed all the advice. "I know people look at me like, 'I saw you last year, and you didn't have it,'" Torres said. "But I feel really good right now."

Mike Kerwick in the Record checks in on the acclimation progress of new double-play tandem Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy. Writes Kerwick:

Their color choices were strikingly different, separate hues for separate personalities. Tejada leans on Spanish; Murphy speaks English. Tejada spent his life studying to be a middle infielder; Murphy is taking his first serious stab at it. But the chemistry between these two middle infielders -- Tejada at shortstop, Murphy at second -- will help define the Mets’ defense this season. "It's almost a courtship kind of thing," joked Mets third base coach Tim Teufel. "They're getting to know each other, their likes and dislikes."

Ken Belson in the Times notes today is the 50th anniversary of the franchise's first spring-training game. And Belson writes about the radio recording that captures it:

But what is somewhat intriguing is the identity of the first announcer to greet listeners of the game’s radio broadcast. It wasn’t Ralph Kiner or Bob Murphy or Lindsey Nelson, all of whom were on hand for the start of what would be their long collaboration chronicling the team’s fortunes. Instead, the first voice coming out of the radio belonged to none other than Howard Cosell, still emerging at that point as a larger-than-life personality in American sports.

Andrew Keh in the Times notes that Pedro Beato cuts his teammates' hair, even though a professional barber also visits the Mets periodically. Writes Keh:

On Friday morning, a New York Times reporter in need of a haircut became Beato’s latest customer. It was 6:45, the sun was just coming up, and Beato set up shop near the Mets’ dugout, his clubhouse stool transformed into a barber’s chair. "Tell me what you want on the sides," Beato said as he went through his accessory bag, looking for the proper comb attachment for his electric clippers. "You look like you need a four." Like any experienced barber, he mixed stern commands -- "Keep your head down for a second" -- with just the right amount of small talk. The customer’s interests were paramount, but he was quick to offer his own insight.

(Hopefully this won't be "Barber of Sheaville, Part II." Google Rey Sanchez and "haircut during game" if you don't understand the reference.)

TRIVIA: Eight players have produced a three-homer game in franchise history. Can you name at least one Met from each decade who accomplished the feat?

(Friday's answer: Roy Halladay is the lone active major league pitcher who has at least 125 decisions and also a better winning percentage than Santana. Halladay has a .671 winning percentage (188-92), to Santana's .658 (133-69). Justin Verlander (.652), Tim Hudson (.651) and CC Sabathia (.647) round out the top five.)

Report: Pridie suspended

March, 9, 2012
Ex-Met Jason Pridie, who signed a minor league deal during the offseason with the Oakland Athletics, has been suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for a violation of the drug prevention program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The newspaper reported the suspension is for recreational rather than performance-enhancing drug use.

The Mets removed Pridie from the 40-man roster in November and he became a free agent.

Pridie signs with A's

November, 15, 2011
Jason Pridie, who was removed from the Mets' 40-man roster last week, has signed as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics on a minor league deal, according to his agents from Sosnick Cobbe sports.

The Mets also removed Nick Evans and Taylor Buchholz from the roster in recent days.

Buchholz expected to declare free agency

November, 14, 2011
Reliever Taylor Buchholz cleared waivers and is expected to join Nick Evans and Jason Pridie, who were outrighted last week, in declaring free agency.

Sandy Alderson said that does not preclude any of those players from re-signing with the organization.

Assistant GM John Ricco noted it makes sense for all three players to declare free agency and look around for other opportunities.

Evans and Pridie have remained with the organization in the past when they cleared waivers and were outrighted. But in the other instances, it was in spring training or in-season where they would have been walking away from guaranteed money in contracts.

Assuming all three declare free agency as expected, the Mets’ 40-man roster would be at 31. The Mets need to add prospects by the end of the week in order to shield them from the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings -- while leaving room to sign free agents.

Buchholz went on the DL with a shoulder issue after a May 29 appearance and did not reappear because of depression and anxiety issues.

Alderson said it remained unclear whether Buchholz wanted to pitch in 2012.

Like with Mike Pelfrey, Angel Pagan, Ronny Paulino and Manny Acosta, Buchholz was arbitration-eligible. But the Mets cut him loose now rather than the Dec. 12 non-tender deadline to free the 40-man roster spot in advance of the Rule 5 draft protection deadline.

“If you look at all of these, mostly it’s about roster management and balancing that against what we foresee for the player next year,” Alderson said. “It’s possible that any one or all three of those guys can come back in some capacity.”

Evans, Pridie clear waivers

November, 11, 2011
Nick Evans and Jason Pridie officially cleared waivers and were removed from the Mets' 40-man roster. Because both had been previously outrighted, they have the right to free agency.

Pridie out with Mets

November, 10, 2011
Outfielder Jason Pridie has been removed from the Mets' 40-man roster, a source tells's Jerry Crasnick.
Pridie is expected to clear waivers Friday.

Rapid Reaction: Padres 9, Mets 5

August, 10, 2011

Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets had a late deficit for the third straight game against San Diego, but this time fell short and slipped to .500, at 58-58. Bobby Parnell surrendered three runs in the top of the ninth, including Jesus Guzman swiping home on a double-steal, to make any possible comeback bid an overwhelming task. The Mets fell 10 games behind wild-card-leading Atlanta.

OUCH: Angel Pagan departed in the fourth inning with lower back spasms and was replaced by Jason Pridie.

DEBUTANT: Queens product Mike Baxter went 1-for-3 with two walks in his first career major league start. He manned right field.

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay went 0-for-4 with a walk as his hitting streak ended at 11 games, which matched his longest as a Met (also May 7-17, 2010). Bay’s career-high hitting streak was 14 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005.

BASE KNOT: With a fifth-inning double, David Wright tied Ed Kranepool for the franchise record with 2,047 total bases as a Met.

SLIP AND SLIDE: The Mets had chances against Padres starter Aaron Harang, including loading the bases with none out in the second inning. However, R.A. Dickey flied out to right field, too shallow for Baxter to tag up from third. Pagan then struck out looking and Justin Turner grounded into a fielder’s choice as the opportunity went for naught.

After San Diego had built a 5-0 lead against Dickey, the knuckleballer drove in the Mets’ first run with a fourth-inning RBI single. However, Ruben Tejada then was thrown out at home tagging on Pridie’s fly ball to left field. Tejada did not slide on the play.

Dickey was replaced by pinch-hitter Nick Evans in the sixth. Evans produced a two-out double that scored Josh Thole. Pridie then plated Evans with a single, pulling the Mets within 5-3 and chasing Harang.

Thole went 4-for-5 -- his lone out coming on a fly ball to center field against left-handed reliever Josh Spence with two out in the seventh that stranded runners on the corners. He also had a four-hit game in 2009 against Philadelphia. Tejada went 3-for-5.

Dickey’s final line: 6 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets conclude a four-game series with the Padres on Thursday at 12:10 p.m. as Jon Niese (11-8, 4.12) opposes San Diego left-hander Cory Luebke.

Byrdak remembers Justice denied

July, 26, 2011
Tim Byrdak now has four major league saves. They have come with four different teams. And they have spanned three decades: 1999 with the Kansas City Royals, 2005 with the Baltimore Orioles, 2007 with the Detroit Tigers and now Tuesday night as a Met.

“I was just telling (Pedro) Beato about that,” Byrdak said after the Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds, 8-6. “I remember my very first one. It was when they had all the big boppers with Cleveland. They had made a miraculous comeback. I came in to get David Justice. And I threw one backup breaking ball and he rolled it over to first base. One pitch and I got the save.”

Byrdak had been out of baseball in 2002 after being released by Cleveland that June. He was stocking shelves at a Target in Orland Park, Ill., overnight as bills mounted, his wife was pregnant and his career was in jeopardy as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

“It’s just gratifying,” Byrdak continued. “We’ve gone so far and grinded it out with the ups and downs of what went on through my own personal life and the injuries.”

What also was satisfying was striking out Jay Bruce for a second straight day. It was Bruce who had delivered a walk-off homer last Sept. 28 off Byrdak as the Reds clinched the National League Central. It was Byrdak’s final pitch as a Houston Astro.

“Yesterday was the satisfaction of waiting all that time to come back and try to get him out and stuff like that,” Byrdak said. “To do it two days in a row, it feels good.”

This time, Bruce represented the tying run, since Brandon Phillips was inherited on second base. Byrdak staggered his delivery from the previous night so that Bruce could not be too comfortable. Bruce is now 3-for-9 with two homers and two walks in his career against Byrdak.

“It’s always a chess match,” Byrdak said. “… A couple of times I didn’t even check the runner at second. I think on the last one I did and I gave him a pretty good long pause -- just to break up that rhythm.”

Terry Collins praised Beato, who would have been bidding for his first major league save had the manager not inserted Byrdak to face Bruce. Afterward, Collins encouraged reporters to speak with Jason Isringhausen, who was unavailable to pitch, about the advice he had given Beato earlier in the day.

That inquiry turned out to have a comical result.

“I never got around to it,” Isringhausen said. “I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”

• Pitching in his native Ohio, Jon Niese cruised into the fifth inning with a 4-1 lead when things unraveled. Edgar Renteria had a two-run double and Joey Votto followed two pitches later with a two-run homer. Niese nonetheless notched his 10th win when Jason Pridie’s two-run double in the top of the sixth restored the lead at 6-5.

“Just lost command,” Niese said. “It felt good early, driving the ball down in the zone. That fifth inning I just lost all command. All the pitches were up.”

• If it looked like Justin Turner was jawing with Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez after Turner struck out to end the top of the sixth, that was a false impression. Turner was just marveling at flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, who came on to consecutively retire Lucas Duda, Jose Reyes and Turner.

Actually, Turner was wondering about pitch selection, too.

“The pitch before, he tried to throw a slider,” Turner said. “It backed up on him and I didn’t know what it was. I asked Ramon what it was, and he said it was supposed to be a slider. And I kind of just shook my head. And 3-2 he threw the slider, and he threw a good one. I turned around and told him, ‘That’s a slider.’ And he started laughing. I was like, ‘Why are you throwing me a 3-2 slider with Carlos (Beltran) on deck?’ And he just laughed and ran off the field."

• Pridie figures to return to the bench with Angel Pagan planning to return to the lineup Wednesday. Pridie was 2-for-5 on Tuesday night and 4-for-9 in 2 games filling in for Pagan.

“It was tough, at first especially when I went into that bench role -- just getting used to not playing, and coming in here and there,” Pridie said. “It took me a little bit to learn myself and learn how I needed to stay ready.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 8, Reds 6

July, 26, 2011

Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets moved a game over .500 at 52-51 with an 8-6 win against the Cincinnati Reds.

BEAT-O FEAT: Pedro Beato nearly produced his first career save, but was pulled with two out in the ninth inning. Tim Byrdak came on to strike out Jay Bruce for a second straight night and notch his first save since July 25, 2007, for the Detroit Tigers against the Chicago White Sox. Bruce had delivered a walk-off homer off Byrdak that clinched the Reds' division title last September.

Jason Isringhausen was unavailable after tossing 29 pitches and twisting awkwardly while picking up his third post-Francisco Rodriguez save Monday.

PRIDIE OF METS: Jason Pridie’s two-run double in the sixth inning after an error by ex-Met Miguel Cairo gave the Amazin’s a 6-5 lead. The Mets’ first six runs were unearned thanks to three Cincinnati errors.

The Mets’ one-time 4-0 lead had turned into a 5-4 deficit a half-inning before Pridie restored the lead. Edgar Renteria delivered a two-run double and Joey Votto followed with a two-run homer in consecutive at-bats against Jon Niese in the fifth.

Niese was charged with five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five in five innings. He nonetheless was credited with his team-high 10th win.

ANGEL APPEARS: Held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game Tuesday night after experiencing dizziness in Miami on Sunday, Angel Pagan pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh and delivered a run-scoring bloop single to center off Nick Masset to give the Mets an 8-5 lead.

Pagan and Terry Collins predicted the outfielder would return to the starting lineup Wednesday. Pagan’s blood tests came back normal.

BARK IN THE PARK: Justin Turner jawed with Cincinnati catcher Ramon Hernandez after Turner struck out for the final out of the top of the sixth.

WHAT’S NEXT: Mike Pelfrey (5-9, 4.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Bronson Arroyo (7-8, 5.56) in Game 3 of the four-game series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.

TC uses late innings to conserve Beltran

June, 12, 2011
Carlos Beltran’s cranky knees prompted him to shut down his 2010 season with a week to go. They barely allowed him to appear in the Grapefruit League. And they prompted Terry Collins to rest Beltran in the matinee games of the first four series of this season.

And yet Beltran has now played in 63 games this year, one more than Jose Reyes for the most by a Met -- not exactly a foreseeable development.

Beltran has not missed a start since May 14 in Houston, when he was scratched with eye inflammation, although he also was forced to leave last Sunday’s game at Citi Field in the third inning after fouling a ball off his shin.

As a result of the workload, Collins now has resorted to pulling Beltran late in games when the opportunity allows.

On Friday in Pittsburgh, Jason Pridie replaced Beltran in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner with the Mets leading by seven runs. Then again Sunday, Pridie pinch-ran for Beltran in the eighth, after Beltran’s two-run double had given the Mets a four-run lead en route to a 7-0 win.

“I know it’s only a couple of innings, but it’s a couple of innings off his legs,” Collins said. “He comes in and he ices them. For me it keeps him in the lineup. And especially on days like this where we had a big lead and it was hot, ‘Hey, look, you’ve done your job. We’ll pick it up for you.’”

As positive as Beltran remaining in the lineup has been, scouts do have tempered enthusiasm. They do see him a shade of his former self in moving around in the outfield. (Mike Piazza, in Beltran's first spring training as a Met, described him as a "gazelle.") And Beltran had not officially attempted a steal this year until Saturday, when he took third base on a double-steal with Daniel Murphy in the fifth inning. Beltran has 290 swipes in his career and a successs rate of 88.1 percent.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Pirates 0

June, 12, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Jason Bay broke up Kevin Correia’s early perfect-game bid with a two-out single in the fifth. Bay then delivered a sacrifice fly two innings later for his first RBI this month, which scored Daniel Murphy with the game’s opening run. After a four-run eighth that included six straight two-out hits, the Mets beat the Pirates, 7-0, at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon.

OOPS: The seventh inning actually ended on Bay’s fly ball. Angel Pagan, who began the play at first base, had rounded second base while the ball was in the air. While retreating to first base after the catch, Pagan failed to retouch second base and was ruled out, for the inning’s final out. By rule, the run counted.

Jay Payton was involved in a near-identical gaffe for the Mets on April 24, 2002. On Vance Wilson’s fly ball to right field against the St. Louis Cardinals, Payton also never touched second while returning to his original base.

The Pirates, bidding to reach .500 in the month of June for the first time since 1999, instead slipped two games under breakeven.

EAGLE EYES: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the bottom of the seventh with the score 1-0 after umpires ruled Pagan made a leaping catch at the wall in center field to retire Lyle Overbay. Replays suggested the baseball may have grazed the wall and ricocheted back into Pagan’s glove. Hurdle actually was tossed by two umpires -- Jerry Layne and then Bob Davidson -- within seconds of each other.

As an aside, someone with the Pirates must have thought Overbay’s shot cleared the wall, because fireworks were discharged, as is the case after homers.

CAPPER: Unlike Correia, Chris Capuano did not have no-hit drama in his outing. Capuano allowed a two-out single to Andrew McCutchen in the first inning. But Capuano ended up with the scoreless effort. He blanked the Pirates for seven innings, allowing three hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out five.

Capuano used double-play balls to escape situations in consecutive innings -- in the third after plunking Jose Tabata, and in the fourth after walking McCutchen and Overbay.

MULTI-THREAT: Jose Reyes had his major league-leading 33rd multi-hit game, which included a ninth-inning solo homer. The performance came in his 62nd game of the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last major leaguer to finish a season having played at least 100 games, and with a multi-hit game in more than half of those games, was Joe Medwick in 1937 with the St. Louis Cardinals (80 multi-hit games in 156 games). Ichiro Suzuki finished at exactly half in 2009 -- 73 times in 146 games.

TURNER CLASSIC: After a day off to get a breather, Justin Turner returned to third base and the No. 2 hole and contributed an RBI double in the eighth as the Mets took a 2-0 lead.

IN A PINCH: Carlos Beltran had a two-run single and Pagan had an RBI single in what became a four-run eighth. Beltran was replaced as a pinch-runner by Jason Pridie -- the second time in the series Pridie has subbed for Beltran late to limit wear and tear on Beltran’s knees.

HAIR-RAISING: Scott Hairston had a pinch-hit homer in the ninth, in his first plate appearance in 10 days. Hairston’s other long ball this season came April 14 against Colorado’s Huston Street.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not appear and remained at 25 games finished. He is on pace for 62 games finished, seven over the threshold for his contract to kick in at $17.5 million for 2012.

WHAT’S NEXT: Mike Pelfrey (3-4, 5.35) opposes left-hander Paul Maholm (2-7, 3.39) in Monday’s finale to the four-game series.

Mets morning briefing 6.12.11

June, 12, 2011
Daniel Murphy's misplay on a two-out grounder by Andrew McCutchen in the third allowed the eventual decisive runs to score in Pittsburgh's 3-2 win against the Mets on Saturday night at PNC Park. Jason Bay returned to the lineup and snapped his drought at 0-for-24 with a bloop single to center in front of McCutchen in his second at-bat. The Mets missed a chance to move .500.

Sunday's news reports:

• Post columnist Joel Sherman said the Mets, who often drift aimlessly without a plan, hired the right person to dispassionately make decisions in Sandy Alderson. But in the case of whether to re-sign Jose Reyes, Sherman asserts Alderson ought to let his emotions become involved in the decision-making. Writes Sherman:

This is a disenfranchised fan base. Do the Mets really want to risk further alienation? Do they want to keep hemorrhaging attendance? The Mets would pay a price to avoid the worst, and the price also happens to be a star shortstop in his prime. Is there risk in going big dollars and long term with Reyes? You bet. As one AL assistant GM said, “Can we wait until he makes it through six months healthy -- instead of two -- before determining his value?”

Sherman, by the way, hears the same thing I do: Reyes is likely not to be dealt at the trading deadline (unless the Mets are overwhelmed). The Mets can get two draft picks if they lose Reyes as a free agent next winter. Draft-pick compensation is expected to change in the new collective bargaining agreement, but the current rules are expected to govern one last offseason.

• Under the open-to-interpretation headline, "HERE WE GO," on the front page of its web site, the Daily News notes that the Fred Wilpon's attorneys on July 1 will ask a judge to move Irving Picard's $1 billion-plus bankruptcy lawsuit out of U.S. Bankruptcy Court and into U.S. District Court. Other newspapers' reports, quoting experts, have offered little hope of the move to get the hearing out of Picard's turf being successful. "I think it is a tough motion because the trustee is doing garden variety bankruptcy work," bankruptcy attorney Howard Kleinhendler told Newsday in a report published May 27. The Daily News then brings up Rep. Gary Ackerman's sponsorship of a bill to prevent trustees from trying to recover funds from "net gainers" in Ponzi schemes unless it is demonstrated they were participants in the scam. Of course, that begs the questions: Where do the net losers then recover their money from -- the government? Or are they out of luck?

David Waldstein in the Times discusses the method of Carlos Beltran selecting his bats, which he learned from former Mariners great Edgar Martinez. Essentially, Write taps his bat and listens. Writes Waldstein:

Hitting a baseball is first and foremost about seeing a pitch, but for Beltran, it’s about hearing a pitch, too: the sound a bat makes when struck with his hand. When Beltran hears the right pitch vibrate from a 32-ounce piece of lumber, it produces a tone that for him is as sweet as music. Ever since he was taught by one of the great hitters in the game to appreciate the melody that each bat inherently produces, Beltran has followed the practice religiously. The higher the pitch tone, the harder and more dense the wood, Beltran said. The harder the wood, the farther the ball is expected to travel.

R.A. Dickey was unfairly charged with a pair of earned runs as the result of Murphy's misplay and ended up on the losing end despite pitching a comlete game (eight innings) and limiting the Pirates to three runs. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been 3-7 at anything, so obviously it’s painful," said Dickey, who actually was 3-8 at one point with the Seattle Mariners in 2008. Read game stories from Saturday's 3-2 loss in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times, Post, Daily News and Record.

Terry Collins said he did not appreciate former hitting coach Howard Johnson's comments regarding Bay sitting for two games this week. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

• Bay downplayed the psychological effect of having snapped his hitless streak at 24 at-bats.

Jason Pridie tells Steve Popper in the Record that Bay has been valuable to him. Writes Popper:

As Bay sat next to Pridie, who replaced him in the lineup, he talked. He offered tips, advice, whatever he could think of to help the 27-year-old rookie. "Honestly, since coming up, he’s been the guy that I’ve turned to to ask questions," Pridie said. "He’s always right there, saying, ‘Good job’ or ‘Try this.’ He’s been more than I could have imagined from a guy like that. I’ve heard nothing but great things. You can hear this guy makes a lot of money, but you’d never know."

• With Derek Jeter on verge of 3,000 hits, the Times' Tyler Kepner recalls Roberto Clemente reaching that milestone, which actually came against the Mets at old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Writes Kepner:

The night before, Clemente had reached base against Tom Seaver with a chopper that bounced off an infielder’s glove. The scoreboard flashed hit, but the official scorer ruled it an error, keeping Clemente on the verge of history. Yet the Pittsburgh fans were largely oblivious. The next day was an overcast Saturday, with televised college football perhaps a more appealing entertainment option. Just 13,117 fans went to the ballpark, and even the Mets’ starter was unaware of what could happen. “I was a 22-year-old rookie that had absolutely no clue this baseball icon was sitting on 2,999 when I went out to pitch that game,” Jon Matlack said. “None.”

• After Saturday's game, the Mets optioned Dale Thayer to Triple-A Buffalo. D.J. Carrasco, in the first season of a two-year, $2.4 million deal, will join the Mets for Sunday's game.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Met/current agent Keith Miller turns 48. Miller was a scrappy second baseman with a little speed, who hit .264 with 44 steals from 1987 to 1991. He was packaged in the deal that brought Bret Saberhagen from the Kansas Royals to the Mets. Miller, working with Sam and Seth Levinson, currently represents David Wright among other superstars, or stars, or whatever. -Mark Simon

Mets morning briefing 6.10.11

June, 10, 2011
Jason Bay, in an 0-for-23 rut, met with Terry Collins and mutually agreed to sit for at least two games while trying to regroup. Replacement left fielder Jason Pridie then played a role in the Mets' opening two runs in a 4-1 rubber-game win against the Brewers on Thursday night. Milwaukee lost only its second home series this season.

Friday's news reports:

Jon Niese retired the first 11 batters he faced and pitched two outs into the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez then recorded the final four outs. Read game stories in the Times, Daily News, Record, Newsday, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Read more on Bay sitting at least Thursday and Friday in Newsday, the Star-Ledger and Post.

Nick Evans, hitless in 11 at-bats this season, was designated for assignment after the game. He has the right to declare free agency assuming he clears waivers, although his best short-term move financially would be sticking with the Mets at Triple-A Buffalo. The Mets did not announce the corresponding move, but Lucas Duda is expected to join the team in Pittsburgh on Friday.

Bob Melvin, who was a finalist for the Mets managerial job last offseason, was hired by Oakland as interim manager for the remainder of the season and likely beyond. He replaces Bob Geren. Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

• Newsday's David Lennon speaks with Milwaukee center fielder Carlos Gomez, who had a dazzling catch against Carlos Beltran to take away a homer in the series. Gomez's offensive struggles -- he's a free swinger with little plate discipline -- have relegated him to facing southpaws, with Nyjer Morgan getting the bulk of the starts in center field. Still, his speed in center field is hard to find elsewhere. Gomez went to Minnesota with Philip Humber in the Johan Santana trade, and subsequently found his way to Milwaukee. "What I see with Gomez is that he tries to do too much," Beltran told Lennon. "In this game, you need to be under control. There were times when he was here, maybe he was 2-for-2 in a game, and his third at-bat would be a different approach than the first two because he wanted to do something bigger, or hit a home run."

BIRTHDAY: Former Mets outfielder and current Yankees broadcaster Ken Singleton turns 64. Singleton was the No. 3 pick in the 1967 draft and played for the Mets in 1970 and 1971. He was the key component in a Mets-Expos trade in 1972 that paid dividends with the arrival of popular Rusty Staub. Singleton hit .282 with 246 home runs in a career spanning more than 2,000 games. -Mark Simon



Daniel Murphy
.299 9 54 76
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 85
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .831
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180