New York Mets: Jeff Francoeur

Series preview: Mets vs. Royals

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
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Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Wade Davis, Bruce Chen and Ervin Santana this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (48-58, fourth place/NL East) vs. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (54-51, third place/AL Central)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (7-8, 4.13) vs. RHP Wade Davis (5-9, 5.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Carlos Torres (1-2, 3.03) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (4-0, 2.09), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.21) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (7-6, 3.03), 1:10 p.m. ET

Royals short hops

• Kansas City has won nine straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. It is the franchise’s longest winning streak in a decade, since opening the 2003 season 9-0. The Royals nonetheless have not gained much ground in the AL Central because Detroit and Cleveland also are on big winning streaks.

• The Royals acquired outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros at the trade deadline for Class A right-hander Kyle Smith. Maxwell, 29, was hitting .241 with two homers overall with Houston. He had a .302 average against left-handed pitchers.


Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsJustin Maxwell made his Royals debut Thursday.


Maxwell made his Royals debut Thursday, going 1-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and walk while starting in right field. He primarily will see action against left-handed pitching and serve as a reserve.

• Maxwell took the roster spot of second baseman Chris Getz, who landed on the disabled list with a knee injury. Miguel Tejada started his fourth straight game at the position Thursday. Elliot Johnson also is an option at second base with Getz sidelined.

• Left-hander Bruce Chen started for the Mets in the first baseball game back in New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in the game Mike Piazza belted the two-run homer in the eighth to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Braves. Chen limited Atlanta to one run in seven innings that day.

Now 36 years old, Chen has allowed only three runs in 18 innings and opponents have a .115 batting average over three starts since he entered the rotation. Chen had been working out of the bullpen before replacing ineffective Luis Mendoza earlier this month. Mendoza (2-5, 5.21 ERA) has moved to long relief.

• The Royals’ strong play leading into the trade deadline prompted the organization to hold onto free-agent-to-be Ervin Santana at the trade deadline.

Alex Gordon, who moved from third base to left field three years ago, was a first-time All-Star this season. His 45 RBIs lead major league leadoff men. Gordon has won two Gold Glove awards since the position change.

He was one of three Royals All-Stars. Closer Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez also represented K.C.

• Holland has converted 21 straight save chances, the third-longest streak in franchise history. Joakim Soria saved 36 straight in 2010. Jeff Montgomery saved 24 straight in 1993.

• 2012 All-Star Billy Butler is the first Royal to have at least a share of the team’s RBI lead for four straight seasons. However, the righty-hitting DH is likely to find himself on the bench this weekend in the NL ballpark. Royals manager Ned Yost indicated Thursday that lefty-hitting Eric Hosmer should start all three weekend games at first base over Butler, since the Mets are throwing three right-handed pitchers.

Hosmer has a team-best 36 multi-hit games and is hitting .296 (16-for-54) since the All-Star break.

Lorenzo Cain returned to center field Thursday after missing three games with a groin injury.

Jeff Francoeur was released by the Royals last month and eventually signed with the San Francisco Giants.

Wade Davis is coming off 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. He was acquired from Tampa Bay last Dec. 9 with James Shields.

• George Brett resigned as co-hitting coach last week and returned to his front-office role as vice president of baseball operations. Brett had assumed the uniformed role alongside hitting coach Pedro Grifol when the Royals were 21-29.

• Kansas City last visited Queens in 2002.

Morning Briefing: Wheels up in Queens

June, 30, 2013
6/30/13
7:19
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FIRST PITCH: The only chance to catch Zack Wheeler at Citi Field before the All-Star break has arrived.

Wheeler makes his home debut when the Mets complete a three-game series with the Washington Nationals today at 1:10 p.m. He opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez. It also happens to be David Wright bobblehead day.


Courtesy of New York MetsIt's David Wright bobblehead day at Citi Field.


Wheeler tossed six scoreless innings in his major league debut on June 18 at Atlanta. Working on a full week of rest, he then surrendered four runs in 5 1/3 innings at Chicago in an interleague series.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen worked with Wheeler between starts to try to remedy the rookie’s pitch tipping. Wheeler had different arm angles for different pitches, the Mets have acknowledged.

Wheeler’s final two first-half starts will come on the road. He lines up to pitch at Milwaukee on Friday, then at San Francisco on July 10. The Giants, of course, are the team that dealt Wheeler to the Mets before the trading deadline two years ago for Carlos Beltran.

Sunday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee limited the Nationals to one run in six innings and Carlos Torres and LaTroy Hawkins combined for three scoreless relief innings as the Mets won, 5-1, Saturday at Citi Field.

Gee has a 2.48 ERA over his past six starts. He is 3-0 this season and 6-1 in his career against Washington.

The Mets are 4-3 against the Nats this season after going 4-14 in the season series last year.

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

• For the first time since May 23, Jenrry Mejia made a minor league appearance. Mejia, who has battled a forearm issue since spring training, started in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday. The 23-year-old right-hander pitched 1 2/3 innings. He was charged with three hits and two unearned runs while issuing one walk.

Jonathon Niese’s follow-up MRI will be Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. When Niese landed on the DL with a partial tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, the Mets indicated he would have a follow-up exam two weeks later to see if any healing occurred. While Niese and team officials have expressed optimism the southpaw can avoid surgery, the follow-up exam with Mets doctors this week will help make that determination.

Writes Anthony DiComo at MLB.com:

Niese estimated that, assuming his MRI comes up clean, he will need to rest for two to three weeks before beginning a two- to three-week rehab progression. At that point, in mid-August, he could be ready to return to the Mets. Though Niese called his initial MRI results last week "kind of scary," he believes he will be able to pitch again this season.

"I feel strong," said Niese, who is under team control through 2018 with a guaranteed contract through 2016. "I'm sure it will come up better."

Ruben Tejada, playing in his second official rehab game in the Gulf Coast League, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and logged seven innings at shortstop. He is 1-for-5 with a double through two games.

Ike Davis was ejected from Triple-A Las Vegas’ game in the third inning for arguing a called third strike. With Mike Baxter scratched with his wife due to give birth, the Mets were forced to use pitcher D.J. Mitchell in right field and shift Eric Campbell from the outfield to first base. The only position player on the bench was backup catcher Kai Gronauer.

Davis went 1-for-2 before getting tossed. He is now hitting .288 with five homers and 10 RBIs in 59 at-bats spanning 17 games with the Pacific Coast League club.

The Mets face three more straight left-handed pitchers: Gonzalez on Sunday, then Arizona Diamondbacks southpaws Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin the following two days. The Mets finally resume facing right-handed pitching on Wednesday, so that should be the next date to eye for a potential Davis return to the majors.

Terry Collins said Davis will be the everyday first baseman when he returns.

“We’re not going to bring Ike back to be platooned,” Collins said. “I can tell you that.”


Getty ImagesMatt Harvey and Zack Wheeler will face innings caps this season.


• The Mets do not like their young pitchers increasing their workload more than 30-35 innings over the previous season, which is consistent with the industry standard. So that means Matt Harvey and Wheeler both should have innings caps in 2013.

Sandy Alderson previously has identified 180 to 185 innings as Wheeler’s cap. He is at 80 innings right now between Triple-A and the majors.

Harvey logged 169 1/3 innings last year. Terry Collins told reporters Saturday the cap likely would be 215 to 220 innings -- although that seems more than the standard 30- to 35-inning jump. Harvey currently is at 117 innings. Regardless, the goal would be to moderate Harvey’s workload by giving extra days between starts or cutting short the length of outings in the second half, not ending his season early for a second straight year, Collins indicated.

"Always remember something: We are not going to hinder this kid's health by killing him now when the future is so bright,” Collins said, according to Newsday. “We are not going to jeopardize what's down the road for right now. We're not going to do it."

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post picks Harvey as the midseason NL Cy Young winner, with Clayton Kershaw the runner-up. The rest of the top five: Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee and Patrick Corbin.

• Read more on Wheeler’s home debut in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.

• Columnist Steve Serby in the Post suggests the future looks bright with Harvey and Wheeler.

• Las Vegas has successfully plugged its rotation for now even with Wheeler and Torres in the majors and Collin McHugh traded. On Friday night, Giancarlo Alvarado -- who was signed out of the Mexican League -- tossed six scoreless innings in his organization debut. Then, Jacob deGrom retired the final 15 batters he faced and limited Tacoma to one run and three hits in seven innings Saturday as the 51s beat the Rainiers, 4-1. Tim Byrdak allowed two runs on two hits, a walk and wild pitch while recording two outs in St. Lucie’s 12-2 loss to Fort Myers.

• Ex-Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur has been designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals. He was hitting .208 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 183 at-bats. Francoeur is due to earn $6.75 million this season. Read more in the Kansas City Star.

• Bud Harrelson, a two-time All-Star, reflects on those experiences with Ian Cutler in Newsday.

• The Mets and Yankees have some statistical similarities, Cody Derespina writes in Newsday.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report writes that the Mets are wasting their best asset: Harvey’s contribution.

BIRTHDAYS: ’69 Met Ron Swoboda, now a broadcaster for Triple-A New Orleans, turns 69. … Tony Fernandez is 51. … Chan Ho Park turns 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Ike Davis get the full-time first baseman’s role back upon returning?

Toxicology report -- bad MLB contracts

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:18
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US Presswire
Vernon Wells, Juan Uribe and Chone Figgins (l to r) are among the bloated contracts around Major League Baseball.
The Mets’ first task this offseason regarding Jason Bay, and for that matter Johan Santana, likely should be to see if any team has trade interest. A swap appears unlikely, though, even discounting the no-trade clause each possesses.

After all, Bay is hitting .155 with eight homers in 187 at-bats. And he is owed $19 million next season including a 2014 buyout, making it a toxic contract.

Similarly, Santana -- despite the June 1 no-hitter -- finishes the season on the DL after allowing six-plus runs in each of his final five starts. Santana is owed $31 million next season including a ’14 buyout.

Still, if the Mets were to find another team with toxic contracts to swap, who is logical? With the help of reporters around baseball, here’s a look …

THEY’VE GOT POTENTIAL

Angels: “Oh, you've come to the right place,” our friend who covers the Angels says. “The Angels have the deadest of dead weight -- Vernon Wells. The Angels are paying Wells $21 million this year to be their fourth outfielder. They owe him $21 million more in 2013 and again in 2014.”

Blue Jays: Left fielder/first baseman Adam Lind (.240, 10 HR, 40 RBIs) is owed $5 million in 2013. With buyouts of option years, the minimum owed is $7 million. “He cleared waivers at one point this season and the Blue Jays would love to get rid of his contract -- even though it's unlikely that can happen,” a team observer said.

Braves: Second baseman Dan Uggla (.215, 19 HR, 73 RBIs) is owed $39 million over the next three seasons.

Cubs: Alfonso Soriano ($18 million apiece in 2013 and ’14) and Carlos Marmol ($9.8 million next season) are the remaining sizable contracts.

Dodgers: The Dodgers inherited Carl Crawford ($102.5 million through 2017) and Josh Beckett ($31.5 million through 2014) while acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but both should contribute. The least-productive contract: Juan Uribe, who finally pinch hit Sunday after going unused for nearly a month. Uribe, with one year remaining, is still owed $8 million.

Mariners: Left fielder Chone Figgins (.183, 2 HR, 11 RBIs) is owed $8 million next season. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (.258, 4 HR, 14 RBIs) is owed $7.5 million in 2013 with a buyout of the following season. Says one observer: “Gutierrez has been hurt or sick for most of his deal and might produce if ever healthy. Figgins is literally dead weight.” Bay does live in the offseason in Seattle. And the combined $15.5 million owed to those two are close to Bay's $19 million.

Marlins: Heath Bell has two years, $18 million guaranteed remaining. He also has a $9 million option for 2015 based on games finished -- 55 the previous season or 100 combined in 2013 and '14. (The Mets have been down that route before.)

Pirates: Clint Barmes is signed for 2013 at $5.5 million. He's hitting .228/.266/.325 with eight homers.

Red Sox: John Lackey (12-12, 6.41 ERA) has two years left for a combined $30.5 million, with a 2015 club option at the major league minimum because of a preexisting elbow injury.

Twins: Nick Blackburn (4-9, 7.39 ERA) and middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- both relegated to the minors -- are under contract for 2013 and “practically sunken cost.” Blackburn is owed $5.5 million. Nishioka is owed $3.25 million including a 2014 buyout. The Twins likely would never trade Joe Mauer, despite him being owed $23 million annually through 2018.

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez to Flushing? Don't hold your breath. Still, A-Rod is owed $114 million over the next five seasons. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia could emerge as bad contracts, with $90 million over four seasons and $119 million over five seasons owed, respectively.

(Read full post)

K.C., Frenchy land Broxton

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
10:06
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Free-agent reliever Jonathan Broxton will join the Kansas City Royals, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports.

Crasnick reports the Mets, Rangers and Rays also showed substantial interest in Broxton.

Broxton will receive $4 million, SI.com reported.

Ex-Met Jeff Francoeur took Broxton on a hunting trip to recruit him.

Mets morning briefing 5.11.11

May, 11, 2011
5/11/11
4:13
AM ET
Jon Niese opposes Ubaldo Jimenez in Wednesday's matinee rubber game, and a makeshift lineup will be behind the Mets' southpaw. Despite Ike Davis being diagnosed with a left calf strain that forced the first baseman from Tuesday's 4-3 win against the Colorado Rockies, Terry Collins plans to proceed with giving David Wright off in the series finale. That means Justin Turner will start at third base, Daniel Murphy at first base and, likely, Willie Harris over Chin-lung Hu at second base in the rubber game.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Davis said he hoped to miss minimal time because of his injury, which resulted from a collision with Wright in the fourth inning, although a disabled-list trip cannot be ruled out. Read more about the injury and Tuesday's win against the Rockies in the Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Post, Daily News and Newsday.

Sandy Alderson said he cannot foresee trading Jose Reyes before the July 31 deadline and re-signing him during the offseason. "I think that's unlikely," Alderson tells Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal. "I think if you go back and look historically at similar cases, you'll probably find very few examples of that." ESPN's Mark Simon lists examples as Mike Bordick (2000), Sidney Ponson ('03), Geoff Blum ('05) and Austin Kearns ('10).

• Newsday's David Lennon offers one sign Wright's back/neck is bothering him. Wright usually protests getting a day off, but said about Collins' intention to rest him Wednesday: "With the two days in a row, I'll have a chance to knock this out." The Mets have an off-day Thursday before opening a series in Houston.

Josh Thole decided to give up his Twitter account because what he hoped would be fun interaction with fans turned negative. Thole described some people badgering him as "ruthless." Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Despite a sizzling start to his professional career, Tuesday's blemish with Class A St. Lucie aside, don't look for 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey to appear at the major league level this season, even in September. Read vice president for player development Paul DePodesta's reasoning here.

• After Mike Pelfrey's second straight positive start with Ronny Paulino as his catcher, look for Collins to continue pairing them. Read more in Newsday.

Dillon Gee slides into Chris Young's rotation spot, so the Times' David Waldstein notes the comparisons between Gee and ex-Met Rick Reed. Gee agrees he was unheralded, noting he could not even crack the rotation at Brooklyn after being drafted in the 21st round out of Texas-Arlington in 2007. He was prepared to follow his father's footsteps in firefighting had baseball not worked out. Writes Waldstein:

The comparison between Gee and Reed goes beyond the fact that both pitchers were low draft choices -- Reed was taken in the 26th round in 1986 -- and that Gee wears No. 35, as did Reed. It is more about their control and use of four good, but not necessarily outstanding, pitches. “He has four pitches that are all a tick above average,” the pitching coach Dan Warthen said of Gee. “But he commands them all with pinpoint control and he really knows what he’s doing.”

• Ex-Met Jeff Francoeur, visiting the Bronx with the Kansas City Royals, advises the Mets to bring in those Citi Field walls to help Wright and Jason Bay, among others. Read more in the Post.

BIRTHDAY: Walt Terrell turns 53. Terrell is the only pitcher in Mets history with a multi-homer game. He hit a pair against the Cubs and Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins on Aug. 6, 1983 at Wrigley Field. "It was a fluke," Terrell said when we interviewed him a few years ago. "The wind was blowing out, but I like to tell my kids it was blowing in at 40 mph." Funny story: the second homer was caught in the stands by one of Terrell's ex-teammates from Morehead State. Terrell, whose three homers that season are tied for the club record for a season by a pitcher with Tom Seaver, later played a valuable role for the Mets. He was traded to the Tigers for Howard Johnson before the 1985 season. -Mark Simon

Frenchy: Citi 'frustrating' for Wright

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
10:59
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Jeff Francoeur hasn’t played at Citi Field since last August, but he still feels plenty of pain for anyone who has to hit in the Mets' ballpark. David Wright, in particular.

Jeff Francoeur


Right Field
Kansas City Royals

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
34 8 24 20 .349 .308
“They’ve got to shorten the park a little bit. It’s huge,” Francoeur said from the Kansas City clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees. “I’m not saying to make a bandbox like Philadelphia. But, I mean, poor David hits the ball to right-center so well. And there it’s an out or it’s deep, and to me, that’s when you start trying to pull the ball. You start getting in habits. And I know it’s been frustrating for David playing in that park.”

Wright has never called for ownership to bring in the fences, but he’s acknowledged that the spacious dimensions at Citi Field have hampered him in the past.

Wright had just five home runs at Citi Field in 2009. He hit 12 at home in 2010. For comparison’s sake, the third baseman hit 21 long balls at Shea Stadium in 2008.

Francoeur, who played 299 games with the Mets between 2009 and 2010, also said that deep dimensions in Citi have affected Jason Bay.

Bay has just seven home runs in 110 games as a Met after hitting 36 with the Red Sox in 2009. Bay has been hampered by injuries, most recently a strained oblique that has kept him sidelined for all but 16 games this season. Bay has four homers in 219 career at-bats at Citi Field.

“How can it not [affect Bay]?” Francoeur said. “It wears on you.”

The wall at the Mets’ home park is 383 feet away from the plate in right-center. It’s 379 feet away from the plate in left-center field but there is a 15-foot, eight-inch wall.

“You hit some balls to right-center and it’s an out or it’s off the wall [and] it’s pretty devastating to a player. It is. Especially when you turn on ESPN at night and you see someone flipping one [at Yankee Stadium] 320 [feet] in the first row and it’s a home run,” Francoeur said. “It’s tough man, it really is.”

Francoeur hit five homers in 61 games at Citi Field last season and four homers in 39 games there in 2009. He has eight homers in 33 games with the Royals this season.

Frenchy out with Rangers

November, 10, 2010
11/10/10
4:02
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Jeff Francoeur has been cut loose by the Texas Rangers, in a move that hardly comes as a surprise. Francoeur was arbitration-eligible and made $5 million this past season -- so Texas, just like the Mets would have -- had to let the right fielder go.

Francoeur batted .340 (18-for-53) with two homers and 11 RBIs in 15 games for the Rangers after the Aug. 31 trade for Joaquin Arias (who has been claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals). He then went 3-for-24 in the postseason.

The early speculation is that Francoeur could wind up with the Kansas City Royals, where GM Dayton Moore has an affinity for Francoeur.

Read ESPNDallas.com's take on Francoeur here.

Arias claimed by Royals

November, 4, 2010
11/04/10
2:51
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Joaquin Arias, the infielder acquired by the Mets in the Aug. 31 trade for Jeff Francoeur, has been claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals.

The Mets had intended to nontender Francoeur this winter anyway because he made $5 million this season and was arbitration-eligible. The trade with the Rangers did not net the Mets any salary relief, though.

Francoeur faces Giant hurdle

October, 26, 2010
10/26/10
2:07
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For anyone looking for ex-Met Jeff Francoeur to have a significant impact on this World Series, the matchups say not to count on it.

Francoeur, likely to start in right field in Game 3 and Game 4 against Giants lefties Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner might be best served by not facing anyone else.

Here's why:

Francoeur went 1-for-21 against the Giants this season (all for the Mets). That is the worst single-season batting average any Met has EVER had against the Giants (minimum 20 at-bats). Francoeur broke the Mets futility record previously set by Choo Choo Coleman, who hit .074 against the Giants in 1963.

There are no matchups favorable to Francoeur with any of the Giants pitchers. He's 0-for-14 against Matt Cain, 0-for-8 against Brian Wilson and 3-for-16 against Tim Lincecum. He's even bad against left-handers Sanchez (2-for-14) and Jeremy Affeldt (0-for-5).

Moreover, AT&T Park is not a friendly venue for Francoeur. In 2006 he was 1-for-17 there. In 2009, 1-for-12. This year, he's 0-for-8. His .176 batting average at AT&;T Park ranks fourth-worst among active position players with at least 50 plate appearances there. The worst name on the list -- also familiar to Mets fans-- Rod Barajas, whose career batting average there is just .127.

Video: Frenchy, Texas Ranger

September, 1, 2010
9/01/10
12:16
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Jeff Francoeur reacts late Tuesday to his trade to the Texas Rangers.

Sources: Rangers kicking tires on Frenchy

August, 31, 2010
8/31/10
3:41
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There's at least a chance Jeff Francoeur could be spending his last day as a New York Met.

Two MLB sources told ESPNNewYork.com that the Texas Rangers are looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder for the bench and are considering Francoeur.

"His name has definitely been talked about," one source said.

The deal would need to be completed today for Frenchy to be eligible for the postseason roster.

Frenchy: Bay will be back

August, 14, 2010
8/14/10
7:43
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Jeff Francoeur believes Jason Bay will return to the Mets at some point this season.

Bay has been sidelined since July 26 with a concussion. He visited with teammates in the clubhouse before Friday’s game. He did not speak to reporters, but teammate Jeff Francoeur told scribes that Bay was “feeling good.”

On Saturday, the Mets right-fielder said he thinks Bay will be back in Flushing this year.

“Yeah, I think so,” said Francoeur, who visited with Bay on Friday. “I don’t see why not. He’s got to see how it feels. Jason’s the type of guy, he’s not just going to try to sit out the rest of the year. When he’s ready, I promise you, he’ll be back.”

Bay has not done any baseball activity since being placed on the disabled list on July 30. He is hitting .259 with six homers and 47 RBI in the first year of a four-year, $66 million contract.

TEJADA STRUGGLING: Ruben Tejada is hitless in 16 at-bats since being called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 7. He’s 0 for his last 22 and is hitting just .183 in 40 games with the Mets.

Jerry Manuel was asked before Saturday night’s game against the Phillies if he was concerned that Tejada’s struggles will affect the 20-year-old’s future development.

"He’s in a situation where he is a young player (and) he’s facing some tough pitching at the major league level,” Manuel said. “You don’t want a guy to get too down.”

The Mets have opted to start Tejada at second over veteran Luis Castillo. Castillo told the New York Post on Friday that he wants to be moved next season. Castillo has one year left (at $6 million) on a four-year, $25 million deal.

Manuel said he would continue to try to find playing time for Castillo, who is hitting .241 with no home runs and 15 RBI.

“If Ruben continues to struggle offensively then we as a staff have to make a decision to pinch-hit him earlier rather than later,” Manuel said. “So that means (Castillo) is going to have still be able to play that type of roll. And also (Tejada) will need a day off here and there.”

Jerry makes amends with Frenchy?

August, 8, 2010
8/08/10
12:04
PM ET
Jeff Francoeur met with Jerry Manuel again on Sunday, this time for 15 minutes in the visiting manager's office at Citizens Bank Park. Francoeur suggested afterward he merely asked for opportunities during the upcoming week. And perhaps Francoeur had some persuasive powers. Afterward, Manuel suggested Fernando Martinez and Francoeur would not be involved in a straight platoon -- that Francoeur would face some right-handed pitchers, too, when matchups were favorable.

Manuel suggested that was not a deviation from what he said the previous day, although on Saturday the manager seemed to say it would be a straight lefty-righty platoon.

After Francoeur accounted for the lone run in a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia with a homer off left-hander Cole Hamels on Saturday, Manuel said he considered starting Francoeur on Sunday if he had a favorable history against Roy Halladay. However, Francoeur is 1-for-6 lifetime against the Phillies' ace, so Manuel did not use Francoeur.

Manuel doesn't seem sold on Martinez just yet. The 21-year-old outfielder hit .176 with one homer and eight RBIs in 91 at-bats last season with the Mets. The manager said Martinez needs to have better pitch-recognition skills than last season, when he swung at pitches out of the strike zone.

Manuel considered resting Carlos Beltran on Sunday, but the veteran center fielder wanted to play in the important game. Beltran is hitting .407 with one homer and seven RBIs in 27 career at-bats against Halladay.

As for the corner outfield alignment, Manuel said he thinks Pagan is a better right fielder than left fielder. Talking specifics, Manuel said Pagan appears better suited to pursuing balls on his glove side. Pagan also gets better reads in right field, according to the manager. While Martinez has played more right field than left field this season with Triple-A Buffalo, last year it was the opposite (23 games in left field, 14 in right field).

Video: Frenchy twists

August, 7, 2010
8/07/10
11:44
PM ET
video Jeff Francoeur discusses what he described as a rough day Saturday. The right fielder awoke to news that friend Alex Cora was being released. He also learned Fernando Martinez was being promoted.

During a subsequent meeting with Jerry Manuel, Francoeur was informed he would now only be starting against left-handed pitchers. Francoeur had a similar meeeting with Manuel upon Carlos Beltran's return from the disabled list as the Mets prepared to disperse for the All-Star break, but this one stung more, Francoeuer indicated, because he felt like he has been hitting well. (The last time, Jason Bay then suffered a concussion shortly afterward and playing time reopened.)

On Saturday, Francoeur had a text message offering congratulations for the homer waiting for him from Cora when he returned to his locker after the 1-0 victory.

Video: Frenchy twist

August, 4, 2010
8/04/10
1:13
AM ET
Jeff Francoeur snaps a 1-for-23 skid with a ninth-inning homer off Billy Wagner on Tuesday that lifts the Mets to a 3-2 win at Turner Field.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Juan Lagares
BA HR RBI R
.314 1 7 8
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 3
RBID. Wright 10
RE. Young Jr. 14
OPSJ. Lagares .816
WC. Torres 2
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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