New York Mets: Javier Rodriguez

Mets morning briefing 3.29.12

March, 29, 2012
The Mets have their third and final night game of spring training, as the Houston Astros visit Port St. Lucie today. Mike Pelfrey is due to start for the Mets and will attempt to trim an 11.49 Grapefruit League ERA.

Thursday's news reports:

Chris Young reported to camp Wednesday, days after formally agreeing to a minor league deal. Young, who underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder on May 16, 2011, said he is just about ready to face hitters in a batting-practice setting. Terry Collins noted the Mets could use a six-man rotation once Young is ready for the majors, assuming the right-hander's shoulder continues to progress. A six-man rotation would be palatable because four of the five incumbent starters -- the exception being R.A. Dickey -- would probably be better served with extra rest between starts, the manager said. Of course, if the Mets have faded from the race, a rotation spot could be freed by trading Pelfrey. Young has June 1 and July 1 outs in his contract if he is not at the major league level on those dates. Watch video of Young speaking about his progress here. Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Daily News and Post.

• Appearing on WFAN, Sandy Alderson called what has transpired in spring training a "mixed bag." On the positive side, the GM identified the $162 million settlement in the Bernard Madoff lawsuit and the $240 million infusion from minority investment blocks as positives because those allow for more planning clarity. Johan Santana's health also has been a plus. Alderson expressed disappointment with the team's 6-16-2 Grapefruit League record because it is "some indicator" -- albeit modestly -- of in-season success. Alderson added: "I'm not entirely comfortable with our depth. As part of that, I'm not entirely comfortable with our bench."

On Jason Bay, Alderson noted Bay is the left fielder and will play, but added: "I don't think he has driven the ball. From our standpoint, he has had good approaches at the plate."

On Pelfrey, the GM noted, all of his spring training ERAs historically have been poor. "This one isn't even his worst," Alderson added. "The good thing is, last time out his velocity was up. So in some sense we look at Pelfrey and say -- look, this is the analysis we did last fall, when we had to tender him a contract: What does he bring to the table? We're not sure from a qualitative standpoint what he's going to bring this year, but we do know that he pitches through injury, he'll pitch through pain and probably give you 200 innings. What is that worth? ... He probably would be one of five in most rotations."

Alderson acknowledged middle infielder Jordany Valdespin -- who has been dabbling in center field -- is unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, which is consistent with what has been expected. The GM expects Valdespin will play "a number of positions" at Triple-A Buffalo, including limited center-field duty, a position where Kirk Nieuwenhuis should get the bulk of the starts for the Bisons.

Alderson said center field prospect Matt den Dekker is ready defensively to be a major league outfielder, but not offensively. The Mets would be comfortable with Nieuwenhuis starting at the major league level if Andres Torres (calf) and/or Scott Hairston (oblique) weren't ready.

As for catching, Alderson said Mike Nickeas has improved offensively.

The GM said 200 innings is "probably not" a realistic expectation for Santana. Alderson noted that it's unrealistic for Santana to throw 110 or 115 pitches in a game in April either, since the southpaw has topped out at 88 pitches in spring action, in his final Grapefruit League start.

Alderson expressed disappointment with the spring-training showings of his bullpen imports: Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez. The GM said the bullpen needs a stopper, and "nobody that we've brought in has really shown that this spring. Now, that doesn't mean it won't happen."

• Sports-marketing firm president Marc Ganis estimated the Mets are worth roughly $1.5 billion, if the Los Angeles Dodgers' sale price is $2 billion. Fred Wilpon has no intention to sell. The reason the Mets are worth less than the Dodgers is because L.A. is about to have open bidding for a huge local TV rights package, whereas the Mets are locked into SNY at a smaller right fee, which bulks up the network's profits at the expense of the team's profits/losses. Read more in Newsday.

Jon Niese limited the Nationals to two runs in six innings and Hairston (oblique) and Bay (forearm) returned from injuries, but the Mets lost to Washington, 3-2, Wednesday afternoon at Digital Domain Park.

Tim Byrdak may be too ambitious, but the left-handed reliever hopes to be in a minor league game Friday. Byrdak also aims to be on the Opening Day roster. The organization may be more cautious, in which case team sources indicate Daniel Herrera is likely to break camp with the team as a short-term plug as lefty specialist. (Alderson acknowledged that he doubted left-handed prospect Josh Edgin would open the season in the majors.) Mike Baxter, Miguel Batista and Nickeas also are expected to claim roster spots, with Batista's fate required to be confirmed by Friday. Collins said the entire roster should be all but set this weekend. Thursdays generally have been cut days, so the field in major league camp may be whittled somewhat today.

Mike Kerwick profiles Baxter in the Record.

• Dickey sat down with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap to discuss his traumatic childhood. Watch the video here. Read a second excerpt from the knuckleballer's memoir in the Daily News.

Lucas Duda should bat sixth in the season-opening series. That's because of the need to separate lefty hitters Ike Davis and Duda, considering the quality of the Braves' left-handed relief. However, Duda should be moving up from No. 6 to a higher slot by the second series, against the Nats, who do not possess the same caliber of left-handed relief.

• Buffalo and Binghamton won minor league games Wednesday, behind two-run homers from Matt Tuiasosopo and Travis Ozga. Read the full minor league recap here. Earlier in the day, the Mets released from minor league camp outfielder Javier Rodriguez and right-handers Michael Hebert and Michael Powers.

• Santana is slated to pitch in a simulated game Saturday rather than a Grapefruit League contest, in his final tuneup for Opening Day on April 5 against the Braves at Citi Field. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Nationals manager Davey Johnson wondered to Mike Puma in the Post why David Wright doesn't yet have an extension on top of the third baseman's current contract. The Nats locked up Ryan Zimmerman long term. Wright is under the Mets' control through 2013 because of a team option. "What’s David Wright’s future?” Johnson asked Puma rhetorically. “Did they extend him or what are they doing?” Zimmerman, a friend of Wright's since their days growing up in Norfolk, Va., said: “They gave him an opportunity, and anytime you’re a loyal person like he is, anyone who gives you an opportunity to come up and treats you well, obviously you would like to be here. He’s a guy that works his butt off and plays the game the right way. Anytime you find players like that, I don’t want to say it’s rare, but he’s a special kind of player. He’s a good player and an even better person. David has worked his butt off and done a lot of things for the Mets and hopefully it will work out."

Mike Sielski and Brian Costa in the Journal give a position-by-position breakdown of the Mets.

• Costa notes that for the Mets' trio of up-and-coming pitchers -- Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia -- to avoid a repeat of their Generation K predecessors that never matched the hype, the young pitchers must avoid serious injuries. Writes Costa in the Journal:

Today, when a Mets pitcher begins his professional career, team officials put him on a multi-year plan to gradually increase his workload. The innings limits for Wheeler, Harvey and Familia are not etched in stone, but [Paul] DePodesta said, "You're not going to see a 50- or 60-inning jump from any of those guys." The Mets also limit minor-league pitchers to 330 pitches per three starts. It's a giant leap from the days of "Generation K." But after a decade of innings limits and pitch counts, teams have learned something else, too: It's not enough.

TRIVIA: Who is the only major league pitcher to have more strikeouts than Santana from 2004 to the present?

Wednesday's answer: Pelfrey was born at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Mets release 3 from farm

March, 28, 2012
The Mets have released outfielder Javier Rodriguez and right-handers Michael Hebert and Michael Powers from minor league camp.

Rodriguez, 21, was the Mets' second-round pick in 2008 out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He hit .209 at Savannah and .257 at Brooklyn last season.

Hebert, 21, was 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 10 appearances (four starts) at Class A Savannah last season. He was the Mets' seventh-round pick in '08.

Powers, 25, was selected in the 32nd round in that same draft. He primarily served as a reliever at Class A St. Lucie last season, and had a 2.90 ERA in the Florida State League.

Farm report: For Mazzoni, one and done

July, 13, 2011
Right-hander Cory Mazzoni logged 114 2/3 innings for NC State during his junior season, nearly double any other member of the Wolfpack staff. So the Mets are being guarded with their second-round pick. While Mazzoni is pitching every fifth day with the Brooklyn Cyclones, he is being limited to one inning in relief of starter Carlos Vazquez.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
Cory Mazzoni

Through two professional appearances, Mazzoni has limited opponents to one hit and two walks while striking out two in two innings.

“It’s been tough. I’m used to throwing six or seven or eight innings every week,” Mazzoni said. “And now I’m throwing one. I understand what their thinking is. It’s really not that bad. I’m getting used to it. I’m just looking forward to next year throwing a little bit more.”

The 21-year-old Mazzoni signed quickly, well ahead of the Aug. 15 deadline, receiving a reported $437,500. The reason for the swiftness?

“I got more money than I guess I could ever imagine,” Mazzoni said. “I just really wanted to play baseball. That’s something I’ve really been looking forward to for a long time. There was no reason for me to hold out. I just wanted to get started and get my feet wet and get situated.”

Mazzoni’s fastball touched 97 mph a few times in college, but he generally works in the 91-94 mph range. He also throws a curveball, slider and split-finger fastball.

Mazzoni had been a 26th-round pick of the Washington Nationals out of high school. The native of Evans City, Pa. -- near Pittsburgh -- had worked at Yankee Stadium and Nationals Park before that draft, but did not sign.

“The Yankees actually called me pretty early on the second day (of that draft). It just wasn’t something I was interested in,” Mazzoni said. “Washington then just drafted me to see if they could work something out.”

In retrospect, Mazzoni would not have traded the college experience.

As a sophomore, NC State reached the ACC tournament championship game. In an NCAA regional this year, with the Wolfpack facing elimination, Mazzoni earned the win, striking out 12 while limiting Georgia State to two runs and four hits in eight innings. He struck out 137 in 114 2/3 innings during his junior year -- the third-highest single-season total in school history. He walked only 29. Fifteen of his 16 starts lasted six or more innings.

“I really improved in college,” Mazzoni said. “I got a lot bigger, a lot stronger. I think I’m definitely more prepared for what I’m doing now than when I came out of high school. I don’t think it would have worked out as good as it is working out right now.”

It was assured entering this year’s regional that Mazzoni would pitch the second game. A year earlier, as a sophomore, with NC State facing elimination after dropping its regional opener against College of Charleston, the coaching staff took the calculated risk. The staff held back the ace Mazzoni for a potential third game against a more challenging opponent. Long Island’s Stony Brook University ended up beating NC State, which was ousted from the double-elimination tournament without its ace ever taking the mound. It was the first baseball regional win in Stony Brook history.

“They figured we could throw some freshmen and we’d be able to beat them, and that was our best chance to win the regional, which made sense,” Mazzoni said. “It didn’t happen to work out. And this year they pretty much told me, ‘No matter what, we’re pitching you the second game.’”

That’s ancient history now for Mazzoni, who was prepared for his New York-Penn League experience by quizzing former NC State teammate Jake Buchanan, an eighth-round pick of the Houston Astros last year, who made 14 starts for Tri-City in 2010.

“He told me what it was all about,” Mazzoni said. “I had a good idea what I was getting into.”

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .339; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .339; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .329; Nick Evans, Buffalo, .329; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .328; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .326; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .319; Brandon Brown, Brooklyn, .319; Jeff Glenn, Kingsport, .315; Gilbert Gomez, GCL Mets, .302.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15.

RBI: Josh Satin, Binghamton, 56; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 53; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 51; Val Pascucci, Buffalo, 50; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 45.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 29; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 25; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 15.

ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 1.56; Marcos Camarena, Brooklyn, 1.86; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 2.35; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 2.55; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.63; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.69; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.98; Jeff Walters, Brooklyn, 3.04; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 3.06; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 3.33.

Wins: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 8; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 8; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 7.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 18; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 8; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 8.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 106; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 100; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 96; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 86; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 81.

Short hops

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden (6-3, 3.07 ERA) is due to represent Buffalo in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Infielders Josh Satin (.326, 10 HR, 56 RBI) and Jordany Valdespin (.299, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 29 SB) and right-hander Jeurys Familia (2-2, 3.38 ERA) were selected to represent Binghamton in the Eastern League All-Star Game the same day in Manchester, N.H.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey recorded the final out of Sunday’s Futures Game in Phoenix to earn the save for the Mike Piazza-managed U.S. team. St. Lucie third baseman Jefry Marte struck out in his lone at-bat for the World team.

Miguel Batista, 40, is due to make his first start with the Mets organization on Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo against Rochester in an SNY-televised game, unless he is scratched to get a call-up to replace Francisco Rodriguez. Batista made one start apiece for the St. Louis Cardinals this season and the Washington Nationals last year, but had not regularly started since 2008 with the Seattle Mariners. His last minor league start came 11 years ago with Triple-A Omaha in the Kansas City Royals organization.

• Fifth-round pick Jack Leathersich had a resoundingly successful professional debut. Working in relief every fifth day for the Brooklyn Cyclones -- the same plan as for Mazzoni, to limit their innings -- Leathersich struck out the side Thursday against Vermont. The southpaw went 6-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) for UMass Lowell his junior season before signing. He struck out 126 and walked 27 in 89 college innings this year. Seventh-round pick Cole Frenzel made his professional debut with the Cyclones two days later. Frenzel, a first baseman from the University of Arizona, had a two-hit debut Saturday. He went 3-for-12 in the weekend series against Connecticut.

• Fellow 2011 draft pick Danny Muno (eighth round, Fresno State) returned to shortstop for Brooklyn Thursday after missing 12 days with a right ring finger injury suffered doing pregame infield drills.

Edgar Ramirez returned to action with Binghamton Saturday after completing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine. The 27-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in 10 appearances (two starts) spanning 20 innings for the B-Mets this season.

• Binghamton center fielder Matt den Dekker has lifted his average 56 points since July 4, to .235. Den Dekker has a five-game hitting streak and is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with six walks in his past eight games. He scored four times Sunday.

• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis may seek a second opinion during the All-Star break on his strained left shoulder before proceeding with surgery.

• Savannah catcher Albert Cordero is hitting .327 in 14 games since the South Atlantic League All-Star break. Add three walks and he has a .386 on-base percentage. Cordero hit .219 with a .248 on-base percentage and walked only three times in 45 games before the break.

Jose De La Torre continues to log innings as he returns from a shoulder strain. After five appearances in the Gulf Coast League, De La Torre surfaced with Brooklyn on Monday and tossed a scoreless inning, allowing one hit while striking out two. The 25-year-old right-hander had been 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in nine early season appearances with Buffalo before being shut down following a May 3 appearance at Lehigh Valley.

• Brooklyn outfielder Javier Rodriguez lost an 11-game hitting streak Monday. After opening the season with Savannah, the 2008 second-round pick from Puerto Rico has hit .287 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 94 at-bats with the Cyclones.

• Catcher Blake Forsythe’s homer on July 5 was only Savannah’s sixth at home this season, and first since April 23. The Gnats, who play at Historic Grayson Stadium, which has spacious gaps, have 32 road homers this season.

• Catcher Dusty Ryan, who returned from surgery for a meniscus tear, is hitting .261 with a homer and three RBIs in seven games with Binghamton. He has caught five games and served as DH twice.

• First baseman Sam Honeck landed on the Savannah disabled list with a concussion.

• Right-hander Eric Beaulac, who had been out since a May 2 game with St. Lucie, was charged with five runs on one hit and four walks while recording only two outs in his return to action, in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday. Kai Gronauer, who has been out at Binghamton since May 12 with a hamstring injury, started at catcher in the GCL game.

Adam Rubin's farm report appears Wednesday's during the regular season

Farm report: Harvey looks to Futures

July, 6, 2011
Right-hander Matt Harvey’s return to his home state of Connecticut this weekend will get cut short.

Double-A Binghamton opens a series Friday at New Britain, but the 2010 first-round pick from Fitch High School in Mystic -- about a 40-minute drive from the Eastern League stadium -- is departing after the opener. Harvey will represent the Mets in Sunday’s ESPN2-televised Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, along with St. Lucie third baseman Jefry Marte.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Matt Harvey

Harvey, 22, makes his third Double-A start on Wednesday night, against Portland.

After allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks in his B-Mets debut on June 26 at Bowie, Harvey rebounded against the same opponent back in Binghamton last Friday while mostly ranging from 93-95 mph with his fastball -- “which is slightly below average for me,” Harvey said. He tossed five innings, allowing two runs, and was pulled before a callus that ripped off could become a blister.

“For some reason I went to a lot of offspeed the first game,” Harvey said about his Double-A debut. “When that happens, if you get behind using your offspeed, obviously they’re going to know the fastball is coming. (In the rematch) I just tried to keep it down and get ahead of the guys. My two-seamer was working good, and I was able to get some groundballs and just let the infielders do their jobs.”

Harvey bypassed attending the Florida State League All-Star Game so that he could pitch what turned out to be St. Lucie’s first-half division clincher two days later.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Harvey, who was charged with two runs (one earned) in six innings and received a no-decision in the 11th-inning walk-off win. “The celebration we had after the game was really cool. Being able throw and keep the team in a good place to win was something I was happy about.”

Harvey then was promoted to Double-A. He went 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 14 Class A starts to launch his career, striking out 92 while holding opponents to a .238 average in 76 innings.

Farm director Adam Wogan said the timing of Harvey’s promotion primarily was tied to his development -- that Harvey was moved to Double-A when he demonstrated improved proficiency with his changeup as well as a better rate of first-pitch strikes. He also throws a slider and a curveball. The Mets also left Harvey at that level to pitch the clinching game to experience the playoff-type atmosphere.

Harvey is highly unlikely to get a September call-up. In fact, his success may cut short his season.

He already has logged 85 2/3 innings this season. While the Mets can be slightly more liberal in how much Harvey will pitch because he was used heavily during his junior year in 2010 at the University of North Carolina, Harvey likely will be capped at about 130 innings to avoid ramping up too many innings this season.

The Mets will count the one-inning Futures Game appearance as a start -- with reasonably standard rest on both sides of the showcase appearance -- to space out Harvey’s outings. They also may pull him early from games soon and even cut short his season.

“We’re definitely on top of the inning total,” Wogan said.

Said Harvey: “I know it’s weird. A lot of people might not say it. But I feel a lot better throwing every fifth day than I did once a week (at UNC). My arm feels better. My body feels better. I’m right around 100 innings, and it feels great right now.”

Organization leaders

Average: Cam Maron, Kingsport, .375; Greg Pron, Kingsport, .372; Juan Carlos Gamboa, GCL Mets, .371; Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .348; Nick Evans, Buffalo, .323; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .322; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .320; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .319; Chad Zurcher, Kingsport, .316; Ismael Tijerina, Brooklyn, .306.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15.

RBI: Josh Satin, Binghamton, 52; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 50; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 50; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 46; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 43.

Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 27; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 24; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 15; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 13; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 12.

ERA: Jose De La Torre, GCL Mets, 1.23; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 1.56; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 2.33; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.38; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 2.41; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 2.73; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.78; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.79; Jeff Walters, Brooklyn, 2.89; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 2.97.

Wins: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 8; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 7.

Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 18; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 8; Hamilton Bennett, Savannah, 8; Ronny Morla, Savannah, 7.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 101; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 93; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 92; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 80; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 76.

Short hops

• Left-hander Steve Matz, the organization’s top pick (second round) two years ago, is home on Long Island. Matz, who had Tommy John surgery in May 2010, has halted throwing for the time being. He is expected to return to the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex in a week to 10 days. After being examined by Mets doctor David Altchek following elbow discomfort, Matz sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Wogan suggested neither doctor has any concern. Instead, the farm director said, the throwing interruption is a reminder that despite some pitchers returning as quickly as 11 months after Tommy John surgery, the length of recovery can be as long as 18 months, and that Matz fits into the category of a longer recovery time.

Nick Evans’ hitting streak with Triple-A Buffalo ended at 19 games with an 0-for-4 performance last Thursday. The streak matched the fifth-longest in Bisons modern history, tied with Ben Francisco (2007), Franklin Gutierrez (2007) and Karim Garcia (2002). The Buffalo record was set by Alex Ramirez in 1998 at 28 games. The other longer streaks: Ben Francisco, 25 games in 2006; Jolbert Cabrera 21 in 1998; and Tommy Shields 20 in 1990. In 220 Triple-A at-bats this season, Evans has a .323 average, which ranks sixth in the International League. Either Evans gets a call-up later this season, perhaps when rosters expand in September, and is returned to the 40-man roster, or he will be a minor league free agent at season’s end.

• Right-hander Miguel Batista, who was released by the St. Louis Cardinals, was charged with four runs while recording only one out in his Bisons debut Tuesday. He faced six batters and allowed four hits and a walk. Batista is expected to be used as a starting pitcher after the Triple-A All-Star break, when his innings count has built further. He worked in relief for the Cardinals. John Lujan, who opened the season as Double-A Binghamton’s closer, returned to the B-Mets with Batista joining Buffalo. Lujan was 1-2 with a save and 2.96 ERA in 19 appearances (one start) with Buffalo.

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden will be the Bisons’ lone representative in next Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. Since a mid-April promotion from Binghamton, Schwinden is 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts. He has allowed 67 hits and 30 walks (two intentional) in 87 2/3 innings and has not lost a decision since May 31. Buffalo hosts the Triple-A game in 2012.

• Right-hander Jeurys Familia and infielders Josh Satin and Jordany Valdespin will represent Binghamton in the Double-A All-Star Game the same day at Manchester, N.H. Familia returned from a 15-day absence (as the Mets acted conservatively with soreness) to notch his first Double-A win Monday, against Portland. Familia tossed five scoreless innings to shave his Eastern League ERA to 3.02 in nine starts spanning 50 2/3 innings. Satin (.319) and Valdespin (.300, 27 steals) both notched their 10th homers Tuesday.

Zach Lutz (.313, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 96 at-bats) returned to Buffalo’s lineup Monday after missing nine days with a concussion, suffered when he was hit with a curveball. It’s been an unfortunate season injury-wise for the third baseman. On the DL earlier this season with a hamstring injury, Lutz was hit in the dugout by a foul ball while inactive and broke the ring finger on his non-throwing hand. Those injuries cost him a combined seven weeks.

• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.298, 6 HR, 14 RBI), already out a month with a strain of his left, non-throwing shoulder, is not making progress and may be forced to decide soon between rehab and surgery. Nieuwenhuis struggles to lift his shoulder during everyday activities and is unable to swing a bat.

• The organization is limiting the innings counts of certain June draft picks by having the college-groomed pitchers work every fifth day in relief, generally for an inning, and no more than two with Brooklyn. The plan applies to right-hander Cory Mazzoni (second round, N.C. State), left-hander Jack Leathersich (fifth round, UMass Lowell) and right-hander Randy Fontanez (27th round, South Florida). Leathersich is due to make his pro debut with the Cyclones on Thursday. Mazzoni’s outings will definitely be limited to one inning since he had a heavy workload this season with the Wolfpack, while the reins on Leathersich and Fontanez will be a little looser.

Fernando Martinez took advantage of a 72-hour window to report to Triple-A after a demotion and is expected to join Buffalo for Wednesday’s series opener at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Wogan said Martinez had a personal issue.

Ryota Igarashi’s 14 1/3 inning scoreless streak -- during which he allowed six hits in 10 appearances -- was snapped Friday. Igarashi allowed a run charged to himself, as well as a runner inherited from Mike O’Connor to score, in the ninth inning in a 2-0 loss to Lehigh Valley. Igarashi then allowed three runs in his next appearance before tossing two scoreless innings at Syracuse on Tuesday.

• Catcher Dusty Ryan, who underwent knee surgery for a meniscus tear earlier this year, was activated from Buffalo’s disabled list and assigned to Binghamton. The B-Mets have an extra game before their All-Star break compared with Buffalo, which partly fueled the temporary Double-A assignment. The B-Mets have been without catch Kai Gronaeur since he left a May 12 game with a hamstring injury.

• 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens landed on the DL with Binghamton with a lower-back strain.

• With Binghamton short available relievers last week, infielders Travis Ozga and Jose Coronado appeared in consecutive games on the mound. Neither surrendered a run. Coronado sports a Fernando Valenzuela-style delivery, turning his back completely to the plate before spinning and firing.

• Binghamton reliever Rhiner Cruz (2.70 ERA) registered 102 mph on the Bowie, Md., stadium gun. He recently has been throwing 96-97 mph with a solid slider.

• Right-handed relievers Michael Powers and Jeff Kaplan returned to St. Lucie from Binghamton. Powers had limited opponents to one run in 7 2/3 innings in four relief appearances during his latest Double-A stint. Kaplan, who has 10 saves in 15 chances with St. Lucie this season, allowed two runs in four Eastern League innings.

• Outfielder Raul Reyes has the RBIs in both of Binghamton’s walk-off wins this season.

• Brooklyn left fielder Javier Rodriguez, a second-round pick in 2008 from Puerto Rico, tied a Cyclones record with six RBIs last Thursday at Hudson Valley. Brian Harrison last year and Caleb Stewart in 2005 also drove in six.

• Third baseman Richard Lucas reached base in 13 straight games to open the season with Brooklyn before having the streak snapped Sunday.

• Brooklyn left-hander T.J. Chism has not allowed an earned run since Sept. 1, 2010. The former 32nd-round pick out of La Salle University in Philadelphia is 1-0 with three saves and has tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings for the Cyclones this season.

• St. Lucie infielder Robbie Shields has been out since June 30 with back stiffness.

• Savannah has won 11 straight games, its longest streak since becoming a Mets affiliate in 2007. First baseman Sam Honeck is doing his part. After a torrid opening two weeks of the season, Honeck hit .161 in May and .194 last month. In five July games, he’s hitting .389.

Cam Maron, a product of Hicksville High School on Long Island, who was drafted in the 34th round in 2009, is off to a quick start with Kingsport. Through 12 games, the 20-year-old catcher is hitting .375 and has a .519 on-base percentage. Athletic, Maron also received some outfield exposure before signing, but the Mets are keeping him exclusively as a catcher. He sports an advanced approach at the plate for that level of Class A ball, although he is not known for power.

Farm report: Muno gets Cyclone ride

June, 15, 2011
Danny Muno crossed paths with Ike Davis back in 2008, on the home turf of Davis’ Arizona State Sun Devils in an NCAA Regional.

“He was an awesome player,” Muno recalled. “Just to be on the field with all of those No. 1 draft picks, it was pretty intimidating. Then we beat them. It was a big thrill just to beat them in their own park.”

Icon SMI
Danny Muno, who will be Brooklyn's shortstop, scores against Nebraska while playing for Fresno State on March 11.

The thrill did not end there. Fresno State, with Muno as its true freshman shortstop and leadoff hitter, won that regional, despite being the lowest-seeded team of the four programs assigned to that site. Fresno State eventually won the entire College World Series, too, and became national champs.

“That was the experience of a lifetime, definitely something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” said Munno, who was drafted in the eighth round by the Mets last week. “We were the lowest seed ever to win the College World Series.”

Now, Muno and Davis are on the same team -- or, at least they have the same employer. Muno will open the season Friday as the shortstop for Brooklyn, which opens the 2011 campaign at Staten Island, the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Yankees.

Muno, 22, also played second base, third base and in the outfield during college, but the Mets will let him try to prove himself as a shortstop before having him dabble elsewhere.

Muno -- a natural left-handed hitter -- picked up switch-hitting his sophomore year of college, after facing a ton of tough southpaws as a freshman when the program reached the College World Series.

“I faced [current Oriole] Brian Matusz and a couple of top draft picks my freshman year that were throwing lefty, and left-on-left,” Muno said. “It was a pretty tough battle. So I just decided to hit right-handed.”

One facet of Muno’s game certainly is compatible with the Mets’ new front office. By his junior season, Muno already had broken Fresno State’s career walk record. Muno was drafted in the 26th round by the Chicago Cubs after that junior season but decided to return to Fresno State for his senior year.

“Getting on base is a big part of my game, and scoring runs,” Muno said.

As for the College World Series, Muno and Fresno State never did return to Omaha his following three years. His sophomore year he ended up in a regional at Irvine, which was Baseball America’s No. 1 team. San Diego State, with Stephen Strasburg, also was assigned there.

“It was an upset,” Muno said about his freshman-year CWS title. “Going there as a freshman, you can’t really top that the next couple of years. Anything less than that is considered a disappointment, I guess, because you won it your first year and you want to win it all the rest of the years.”

Organization leaders

Average: Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .326; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .319; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, .304; Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Buffalo, .298; Cory Vaughn, Savannah, .297; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .292; Jesus Feliciano, Buffalo, .281; Jefry Marte, St. Lucie, .277; Michael Fisher, Buffalo, .275; Robbie Shields, Savannah, .274.

Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 12; Lucas Duda, Buffalo, 10; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 9; Josh Satin, Binghamton, 8; Stefan Welch, St. Lucie, 8.

RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 42; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 41; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 38; Josh Satin, Binghamton, 37; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, 36.

Steals: Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 17; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 15; Matt den Dekker, St. Lucie, 12; Darrell Ceciliani, Savannah, 11; Cesar Puello, St. Lucie, 11.

ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 1.72; Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 2.44; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.49; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 2.96; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 3.13; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 3.18; Gonzalez Germen, Savannah, 3.34; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 3.92; Robert Carson, Binghamton, 4.08; Brad Holt, Binghamton, 4.26.

Wins: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 8; Greg Peavey, Savannah, 6; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 5; Gonzalez Germen, Savannah, 5; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 5.

Saves: Josh Edgin, Savannah, 16; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Nick Carr, St. Lucie, 6; John Lujan, Buffalo, 5; Erik Turgeon, Binghamton, 5.

Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, St. Lucie, 88; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 77; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 76; Gonzalez Germen, Savannah, 67; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 65.

Short hops

• The Mets’ two Class A full-season affiliates may both be headed to the postseason. Savannah clinched its first-half division title in the South Atlantic League on Tuesday night, freeing the organization to start making some promotions from that squad to St. Lucie within the next 24 hours -- even before Tuesday’s SAL All-Star game in Salisbury, Md. The All-Star Game had been scheduled to include right-handers Taylor Whitenton and Greg Peavey, left-handers Chase Huchingson and Josh Edgin, infielder Robbie Shields and right fielder Cory Vaughn, but is now expected to take at least a modest hit in terms of Mets representation. St. Lucie leads its Florida State League division by two games over Fort Myers and three over Jupiter with five to play in the half.

St. Lucie is not expected to make promotions to Double-A Binghamton before the completion of the half. As a result, 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey is expected to make one more Florida State League start before joining the B-Mets. Center fielder Matt den Dekker’s promotion should wait a week, too. Harvey is 8-2 with a 2.44 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 70 innings with St. Lucie. The Florida State League has its All-Star game Saturday, before officially completing the first half with three more games next week. It is unlikely the Mets will allow Harvey to pitch in Saturday’s FSL All-Star Game and compromise his final St. Lucie start. Also selected with Harvey to represent the Mets in Clearwater, Fla., are fellow right-handers Scott Moviel and Jeffrey Kaplan, left-hander Darin Gorski and outfielders Pedro Zapata and den Dekker.

Savannah, which is a league-best 38-26 despite a slow start, has the SAL’s top ERA at 3.09. The Gnats clinched the division despite a .241 batting average, which is one point ahead of Augusta for worst in the 14-team league.

• The SAL All-Star Edgin, Savannah’s closer, has the league’s second-lowest batting average against among relievers at .135, trailing only Hagerstown’s Chris Manno (.117). Edgin, who is 16-for-17 in save opportunities, has converted 12 straight chances since his lone blemish April 26 at Delmarva. A 30th-round pick last year out of Francis Marion University by one of the Mets’ most accomplished scouts, Marlin McPhail, Edgin has not allowed an earned run since that blown save. In 16 straight scoreless appearances, he has tossed 20 2/3 run-free innings. Edgin began his college career at Ohio State before transferring to Francis Marion. He had fastball command and walk issues as a starter in college, but his control and velocity have improved as a professional while working exclusively in relief.

• Gorski, a seventh-round pick in 2009 out of Kutztown University, leads the Florida State League with a 1.72 ERA. Harvey ranks fifth.

• Brooklyn, managed by organization newcomer Rich Donnelly, opens its season Friday at Staten Island. Frank Viola is the pitching coach and ex-Mets farmhand Bobby Malek is the hitting coach. Donnelly coached third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, and had the same role with the Milwaukee Brewers the previous three seasons.

Four 2011 draftees will open with Brooklyn: outfielders Jonathan Clark (17th round, Lee University), Travis Taijeron (18th, Cal Poly Pomona) and Charley Thurber (39th, Tennessee) as well as Munno. Farm director Adam Wogan and then-minor league field coordinator Terry Collins a year ago resolved to now have most of the draftees begin in the Gulf Coast League rather than Brooklyn. That way, they could be monitored more closely at the team’s complex after having erratic workouts since their college seasons ended. Aside from the four Brooklyn assignments, Wogan said 21 draftees already are at the Florida complex and available for GCL duty when that season opens Monday, including second-round pick Cory Mazzoni, a right-hander from N.C. State.

• 2009 top pick Steve Matz, a left-hander from Long Island, will open his professional career in the Gulf Coast League but is not going to be ready for Monday’s Opening Day. Matz backed off throwing off a mound recently because of discomfort, possibly related to scar tissue, in his surgically repaired elbow. Matz underwent Tommy John surgery on May 18, 2010.

Eduardo Aldama, 21, is scheduled to start Friday’s Brooklyn opener against the Yankees. The Venezuelan right-hander went 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts last season at rookie-level Kingsport. Other players assigned to the Cyclones include outfielder Javier Rodriguez, infielders Brian Harrison and Luke Stewart, right-handers Marco Camarena and Jeff Walters and left-handers Chris Hilliard and Carlos Vazquez.

• Buffalo right-hander Jose De La Torre, who had not appeared in a game since May 3 because of a shoulder strain, is scheduled to work in a rehab game on Monday for the first time since the injury.

• Savannah middle infielder Wilfredo Tovar lost a 12-game hitting streak in Tuesday’s clincher. It matched Shields’ streak from May 10-22 for the longest by a Gnat this season.

• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who had missed 10 days with a right shoulder injury suffered in a diving catch, returned for six games but is now out with a left shoulder strain. Nieuwenhuis (.298 BA, .403 OBP, 6 HR, 5 SB, 188 at-bats) suffered the more-recent injury on a swing. He also had an issue with the same shoulder last season, although this may be rotator-cuff related. Still, the Mets are hopeful Nieuwenhuis will return to the lineup soon.

• Buffalo’s Zach Lutz, a member of the 40-man roster, returned to the Bisons on Friday after missing seven weeks -- first with a hamstring injury, then because he was struck with a foul ball and broke the ring finger on his non-throwing hand while watching a game from the dugout while on the DL. Lutz primarily is playing third base, but also will DH and get some first-base time.

• St. Lucie third baseman Jefry Marte (.277, 5 HR, 30 RBI) was pulled from Tuesday’s game after getting hit in the hand by a pitch, but preliminary indications are the injury is not serious.

Nick Evans, who could have opted for free agency, instead will rejoin Buffalo on Thursday in Norfolk after a team off-day. Evans will get regular playing time between first base and corner outfield spots, and occasionally at third base.

• Binghamton manager Wally Backman was ejected from consecutive games Friday and Saturday, although he appeared to have legitimate beefs with the umpiring crew. In the latter instance, Trenton took the lead on what was ruled a double, although the shot appeared to be a foot foul. The same crew has tossed pitching coach Marc Valdes, slugger Brahiam Maldonado and infielder Jordany Valdespin this season.

• Second baseman Reese Havens is hitting .259 with two homers in 15 games since joining the B-Mets. Observers say his swing looks smoother than last season, which may make it easier on his previously troublesome oblique.

• Binghamton left-hander Robert Carson had experienced forearm stiffness, but has been throwing on the side and shoulder reenter the rotation this weekend at home against Trenton. That may bump Collin McHugh to the B-Mets’ bullpen. Carson (1-7, 4.08 ERA) last appeared May 31. Also on the injury front, Savannah hard-throwing reliever Luis Rojas, who has been out since May 25, is nearing a return from a shoulder strain.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the season



Juan Lagares
.314 1 7 8
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
WC. Torres 2
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18