New York Mets: Jenrry Mejia

Mejia may stay closer after Parnell returns

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
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Adam RubinBobby Parnell may not assume the closer's role if Jenrry Mejia is lights out in Parnell's absence.


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Terry Collins will not just hand Bobby Parnell the closer’s job when he is activated from the disabled list a few weeks into the season.

The manager said Saturday that Jenrry Mejia, who should open the season as the closer, will have an opportunity to keep that role after Parnell’s return if Mejia is lights out in early April.

Parnell successfully closed for the Mets until two summers ago. Then, he dealt with a herniated disk in his neck. He missed all but Opening Day last season with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

Parnell is expected to be activated in late April, slightly more than 12 months after his elbow procedure.

“We’ll see where he is when he comes back. We’ll see how he’s pitching,” Collins said. “We provide opportunities. It’s up to the players to make the most of it. If we start the season with Jenrry as the closer and he is dealing, he’s going to be the closer. Right now I just want Bobby to prepare himself to be the closer, because that’s where we think he has the best fit.”

Parnell had indicated Wednesday that he expects to be the closer when activated.

Game turns into another Mets mess

June, 13, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Through seven innings, it was a normal game, a simple pitchers' duel.

Somehow, it turned into yet another New York Mets mess. Somehow, this season has quickly turned into a Mets mess, one that has left them with plenty of anger and frustration but very few runs, fewer wins and even fewer answers.

Thursday night's 5-1, 13-inning loss to the Milwaukee Brewers was just the latest defeat, the Mets' eighth in the past nine games. But in some ways, this one was even more disturbing than the others, and perhaps even more costly.

Closer Jenrry Mejia, forced out of the game in the 12th inning by what the Mets quickly announced as back stiffness, revealed after the game that he had first complained of the problem while warming up in the bullpen. Mejia described the issue as tightness and "a little bit of pain."

He said that despite that, he wanted to pitch Thursday. Despite what they heard, the Mets let him pitch and planned to have him pitch a second inning, too.

Mejia said he's hopeful that he'll feel better Friday.

The Mets will be hoping they feel better Friday, when they end a run of six straight games against first-place teams and welcome in the equally struggling San Diego Padres.

They'll also hope they can score a few runs. They scored just eight in the three games against the Brewers, and half of those came on one swing of the bat from journeyman catcher Taylor Teagarden. They continue to waste good performances from starting pitchers, just as they did when Jonathon Niese went 7⅔ innings and allowed just one run Thursday.

Niese was angry at being removed when he was, even though that decision by manager Terry Collins actually made plenty of sense. Aramis Ramirez (who hits Niese well and already had a home run) was at the plate, and with Niese at 97 pitches and due to bat second in the bottom of the eighth, he wasn't going to go another inning, anyway.

Collins had a good answer for that move, but he struggled both before and after Thursday's game to provide answers for the struggling offense. He resorted Thursday night to talking about how the Mets are keeping games close.

"We don't get blown out by anybody," Collins said. "We just can't come up with a hit when we need a hit."

They couldn't score when they had the winning run at third base with one out in the 11th, when Wilmer Flores grounded out and Anthony Recker took a called third strike (and then inexcusably got himself ejected from the game).

But the bigger issue is that David Wright remains in a horrible slump. Wright hit a couple of balls hard Thursday but went 1-for-5 and is now two for his past 31.

Worse yet, Wright's answers Thursday suggested he's getting frustrated by Citi Field's dimensions.

"I have to do a better job, especially when I'm here, of getting on top of the ball and hitting line drives," he said.

It wasn't much of an answer, but it was all he had. It was all the Mets had after another game gone wrong.

Attendance update: After announcing season-low crowds on back-to-back nights for the first two games of the Brewers series, the Mets announced a slightly larger crowd Thursday night, 22,155. Once again, though, there appeared to be nowhere close to that many people in the ballpark.

Back end of bullpen looks much better

May, 28, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The back end of the bullpen has been a work in progress for the New York Mets, ever since the early April day they lost closer Bobby Parnell to an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery.

They can't say they've solved it yet, but after watching Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia record six-out and five-out saves in a 24-hour span, manager Terry Collins has reason to feel better about the late innings than he maybe has all season.

[+] EnlargeJeurys Familia
Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJeurys Familia became the sixth Met to record a save this season.
With Mejia unavailable after throwing 37 pitches in his two-inning save Tuesday night, and with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Vic Black also unavailable, Collins turned to Familia on Wednesday, calling on him to face Ike Davis representing the tying run with one out in the eighth inning and then leaving him in for the save in a 5-0 Mets win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The results were impressive, enough so that in his postgame comments, Collins suggested that he could use both Mejia and Familia to close games in the days to come.

"We've reached the point that [Familia] has got to be in the back end," Collins said. "He's got to be a late-inning guy."

The Mets bullpen has been transformed several times in the first two months of the season, first by Parnell's injury and then by ineffectiveness from Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, two veterans who pitched poorly and were eventually released.

The difference now is that Mejia and Familia (both 24 years old) have earned their status by pitching well, and by displaying stuff worthy of pitching in the late innings of games.

"We've got some really good young power arms," David Wright said. "These guys have the ability to go out and dominate, shut the door on games."

Wright included Black in that mix, and Collins did the same. Black got four outs without allowing a run Tuesday, but also walked two batters.

Familia has had some command issues in the past, too, and has walked 12 in 24 2/3 innings this season. But his control has seemed to improve of late, and he threw 15 of his 19 pitches for strikes on Wednesday.

Collins had little choice but to count on him in this game, with so many of his other options unavailable. He said he was so committed to staying with Familia that he would have allowed him to bat for himself in the bottom of the eighth, even if he had come up with two out and the bases loaded.

As it was, Familia came to the plate only after Lucas Duda had padded the Mets' lead with a long two-run home run. And as it was, Familia added another hit himself.

Much more importantly, he became the sixth Met to record a save this season. No other team in the majors has more than four pitchers with saves.

The Mets haven't spread the saves around by choice, but rather because they keep searching for a combination that will work.

The way Mejia and Familia are pitching now, perhaps they're on the way to finding one.

Mejia: 'I'm ready' for three in a row

May, 28, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia had no problem getting a six-out save. The bigger question is how often he can handle getting three outs.

In the two-plus weeks since Mejia moved to the bullpen, New York Mets manager Terry Collins has only once used him on back-to-back days (and once in both ends of a doubleheader). Collins said he wouldn't use Mejia in Wednesday's afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, understandable because Mejia needed 37 pitches to get through his two-inning save Tuesday night.

But if Mejia is to be a true closer, he'll need to be able to go back-to-back regularly, and even to pitch on three consecutive days.

"I'm not sure in his mind he thinks he can go three in a row [yet]," Collins said.

Mejia, who initially resisted the move to the bullpen because of concerns about staying healthy, said his arm has responded well. So well, in fact, that he says he wouldn't have any reservations about going three in a row.

"I think I can do it," he said. "I'm ready for it."

So, it seems, is his manager.

"As soon as I have the lead three days in a row in the ninth inning, I'd think about it," Collins said. "Hopefully that can be soon."

Six outs is rare: Before Tuesday, the Mets hadn't had a six-out save from a regular closer since Aaron Heilman did it in 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Six things we learned from Sunday's games

May, 25, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks played six hours and 21 minutes of baseball on Sunday at Citi Field, and it ended in a draw.

The Diamondbacks won the first game 2-1. The Mets won the second game 4-2. Both teams remain in last place in their respective divisions.

Still, we learned a few things about the Mets on this long day in Queens. Here are six items, after six hours and change of action on the field:

Montero belongs here: Rafael Montero is still looking for his first major league win, but he deserves the opportunity to keep trying after striking out 10 in Game 1.

He became just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to strike out 10 or more in one of his first three starts -- Matt Harvey was the last to do so, and we all know how good Harvey turned out to be.

"This was my best, and there is better to come," Montero said.

When Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list (and he may be out longer than expected now), the Mets will have to make a decision. Neither Montero (0-2, 4.96 ERA) nor Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) have gotten a win yet, but the team's anemic offense has a lot to do with that. Why not keep 'em both in the rotation, and send Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) to the bullpen? He's not a part of the long-term future, anyway. Just a thought.

Dice-K can still start: The Mets have converted Daisuke Matsuzaka into a reliever this season but turned to him in desperation on Sunday, and he delivered.

Needing a spot starter because of the doubleheader, the Mets gave the ball to Matsuzaka in Game 2 and he gave them six innings, allowing just two runs on three hits -- striking out six, walking just one, and throwing 98 pitches despite not being stretched out in preparation.

"It tells you the kind of heart he’s got," manager Terry Collins said. "He knows we needed help, he knows our bullpen’s a little thin after what we’ve gone through this week, and he gave us a tremendous outing."

The 33-year-old Matsuzaka has now done it all for the Mets this season -- started, set up and closed. And it's not even June.

Collins shot down the notion of Matsuzaka being added to the rotation after the game, but he's been effective out of the bullpen as well -- now 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA on the season. Matsuzaka estimated he needs three days of rest before he'll be able to pitch again.

"I wanted to go and pitch as deep into the game as I could," he said. "That was the least I could have done, and I’m glad I was able to help out the team."

Mejia can pitch twice in one day: The Mets used Jenrry Mejia for an inning in each game of the doubleheader. He took the loss in the first game, but the winning run was unearned, scoring on an error by Daniel Murphy. And Mejia bounced back to record his third save of the season in the nightcap.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen called down to the bullpen early in the second game, and Mejia said he felt up to pitching again.

"I think it says a lot -- that he's healthier, he's starting to realize that he can bounce back, that he can do more than he first thought," Collins said.

Collins sounded hesitant about using Mejia in Monday's day game against the Pirates, but Mejia said he thinks he will be up for it, and seems to be embracing the closer role.

"Right now I feel pretty good," Mejia said. "Let's see how I feel tomorrow. That's my first time, pitching twice. It's unbelievable."

Wright's really on: The Mets are one of the poorest offensive teams in baseball, but it's certainly not David Wright's fault.

Wright went 2-for-3 and reached base four times in the first game of the doubleheader, and went 1-for-4 in the finale, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

He is batting .444 (16-for-36) during the streak, and has 36 hits in May, second-most in the National League.

Wright also made an outstanding play in the field in the second game. With the Mets leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh, the Diamondbacks had the tying run on second base with one out. Ender Inciarte hit a low foul pop to the left of the third-base line, and Wright made a beautiful sliding grab near the Diamondbacks' dugout. Well done.

Duda, Young really aren't: The Mets are going nowhere if they keep getting this kind of production from the middle of their lineup.

A day after going 0-for-4 and stranding seven runners on base, Lucas Duda went 0-for-5 and stranded eight more Sunday -- starting Game 1, and pinch-hitting in Game 2 -- and is now batting .228 on the season.

Chris Young went 0-for-3 and stranded six runners in Game 1, did not play in Game 2, and is now batting .204 on the season.

"I think mechanically I'm right where I want to be," Duda said. "But I think pitch selection obviously -- chasing balls out of the zone, taking balls that are strikes, that's kind of vice versa of what you hope to do as a baseball player at the plate. That's how it goes -- you hit rough patches, and it is what it is, and I'll come out tomorrow and hopefully knock in a few runs."

Collins said Duda will start Monday but wouldn't commit to Young yet, mentioning the possibility of giving Bobby Abreu another chance. Abreu went 2-for-3 in Game 2 on Sunday, and also drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in Game 1.

The bases loaded is a bad thing: It is for the Mets, anyway. They are now 6-for-44 (.136) with the bases loaded this season, after going 0-for-2 on Sunday.

The Mets are hitless, with zero RBIs, in their last nine at-bats with the bases juiced.

You can't make this stuff up, folks. But tomorrow's a new day.

Mejia out, Montero in for Subway Series?

May, 10, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia's spot in the New York Mets' rotation is in serious jeopardy, and the team could call up 23-year-old Rafael Montero to make his major-league debut next week in the Subway Series against the New York Yankees.

Mejia met briefly Saturday afternoon with manager Terry Collins, who told him only that the Mets have yet to make a decision on whether he'll make his next start, scheduled for Wednesday night at Citi Field against the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka. Mejia is 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA, but he's coming off three consecutive subpar starts.

On Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, Mejia threw 101 pitches but did not make it out of the fifth inning.

"Jenrry's stuff plays," Collins said. "It's good enough. You get a little concerned with the extra pitches he uses."

Collins said he has already discussed the rotation with pitching coach Dan Warthen, but he still needs to meet with general manager Sandy Alderson before a decision is made.

While Collins didn't use Montero's name, he admitted calling up someone from Triple-A Las Vegas is a real possibility, rather than giving a start to Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Montero pitched 5 1/3 hitless innings in a Friday night start for Las Vegas, and while he needed 98 pitches to get 16 outs, the Mets believe he's a strike-thrower who won't have command trouble in the big leagues.

The bigger question is whether they want him to debut under the brightest lights, against the Yankees.

The other big question would be what to do with Mejia, who again made it abundantly clear he has misgivings about pitching in relief.

"I told [Collins] I don't know about that, because I've had two [arm] operations," Mejia said. "I worry about my arm. I want to have a long career. I don't want to get hurt again."

Montero is one of the Mets' top pitching prospects, and there was always a thought that he could come to the big leagues at some point this season. The original speculation was that it wouldn't be this soon.

Montero, who finished last season at Triple-A, is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in eight starts for the 51s this season.

Mejia not sharp, but Mets' offense worse

May, 10, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia threw 101 pitches Friday, and didn't make it out of the fifth inning.

He thought he did just fine.

He didn't, but on another night of struggles for the New York Mets' offense, Mejia's problems did not take center stage.

[+] EnlargeJenrry Mejia
Al Bello/Getty ImagesJenrry Mejia was yanked after 4 2/3 innings on Friday.
"Two runs, he pitched fine," manager Terry Collins said, after the Mets missed opportunity after opportunity and lost 3-2 in 11 innings to the Philadelphia Phillies. "It was OK. Right now, we've got to figure out how to score. He pitched well enough to win a game. If we score some runs, maybe he stays in."

Yes, but it was 101 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, for a pitcher still trying to prove he can go deep enough into games to be valuable as a starter. Mejia gave up only two runs, after giving up six and eight in his previous two starts, but he also allowed 10 of the 24 batters he faced to reach base.

"I want to be a starter," Mejia said. "I think I'm a starter. I made some adjustments. Today, that was not bad. I think that was good."

You can debate that if you want. The Mets can continue to debate Mejia's future role if they want.

But right now the frustrations on offense are overwhelming everything else.

The Mets didn't score in the final 23 innings they played in Miami earlier this week. They scored two runs Friday -- one in the first inning to break the scoreless streak, and one in the eighth inning to tie the score.

They also left a season-high 15 runners on base. They also went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

The Mets left the bases loaded in the first. They left the bases loaded in the second. When they put runners on second and third with no ones in the fifth, they went strikeout, strikeout, groundout and failed to score.

"Obviously, it's a concern," David Wright said. "It's frustrating to leave that many people on base, for sure. But it would be multiplied if we weren't getting guys out there."

Wright suggested the Mets need the one big hit to get them going. But they actually had two big hits Friday, and both just set them up for more frustration.

There was Curtis Granderson's run-scoring double in the first inning, the third straight hit off Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez. But after Hernandez hit Chris Young to load the bases, he struck out Josh Satin and got Wilmer Flores on a fly ball.

Then there was Wright's tying two-out double in the eighth. But then Granderson flied out to end the eighth, and the only Mets hit the rest of the way was a two-out Juan Lagares single in the 10th.

It was that kind of night for the Mets -- but also for the Phillies, who left 17 runners on base.

"I'm not worried about anyone else," Collins said. "I'm worried about our team."

Collins professed not to be overly worried about Mejia, despite a third straight less-than-great outing.

"The stuff's real good," Collins said. "He got himself into deep counts. But when he throws it over, when he moves it around, throws strikes, he gets outs, because he's tough to hit.

"He's had better outings with worse results, but the thing I liked is he kept the damage to a minimum."

But for the Mets right now, even minimal damage can prove to be too much.

Duda out of hospital, out of lineup: Lucas Duda, hospitalized Friday because of a stomach ailment, was back at Citi Field in the early innings of Friday's game, but wasn't available to play. Collins said it's unlikely he'll play Duda on Saturday night, either.

"As I sit here, he's not going to play," Collins said. "You can't go through what he went through and have any energy [Saturday]."

Wilmer Flores' tryout begins Friday night

May, 9, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores believes he can handle playing shortstop in the major leagues.

[+] EnlargeWilmer Flores
Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesWilmer Flores is up from Las Vegas, and will start at shortstop Friday night.
The New York Mets plan to find out if he can.

"He's going to play," Mets manager Terry Collins said, after writing Flores' name into the lineup for Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Flores is getting a chance because the Mets aren't scoring runs (a 23-inning scoreless streak heading into Friday), and because shortstop has been one of the least productive spots. With Ruben Tejada getting most of the playing time, Mets shortstops entered play Friday with a .517 OPS, 29th among the 30 teams in the majors.

Flores hasn't done much so far in the big leagues (a .521 OPS in 105 plate appearances), but he's still just 22 years old and was producing at Triple-A Las Vegas (an .860 OPS and a .307 batting average, with five home runs and 25 RBIs in 29 games).

"I talked to Wally [Backman, the Las Vegas manager]," Collins said. "He said if you're going to call him, this is the time, because he's red-hot."

Flores signed with the Mets as a 16-year-old shortstop out of Venezuela, but because of his big build and his defensive problems, the Mets moved him away from short and had him play the other three infield spots the past two years.

They moved Flores back to shortstop this spring, in large part because they realized it was becoming a problem position.

"We said, 'What do we have to lose?'" Collins said.

Flores committed seven errors in 25 games at Las Vegas, most of them throwing errors. He knows that many have questioned his defense.

"I know I can handle it," he said. "I'm going to prove it."

Harvey eyes the mound: Matt Harvey threw from 120 feet for the first time Friday, but the bigger step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery will be when he is first able to step on a mound. Harvey told reporters he's hoping that will happen sometime around June 10.

Mejia limit: Jenrry Mejia, starting Friday night against the Phillies, still needs to prove he can be consistent enough to keep his spot in the rotation. Even if he does, though, Mejia may not be starting all season. While Collins didn't speak of a specific innings limit for Mejia, he did say the Mets don't plan on letting him get to 150 innings. Mejia was at 32 2/3 innings in six starts before Friday.

Series in review: Gee continues the run

April, 27, 2014
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The Mets won two of three from the Marlins to make it six wins in the past eight games and close their 10-game homestand 6-4.

Gee gets an A
Dillon Gee's win in the series finale marked the first time in his career that he finished a start with at least eight scoreless innings.

Opponents are now hitting .193 against Gee this season. He has a 0.86 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in his past three starts, in which he’s allowed only two extra-base hits.

It’s part of a great run by Mets starters, who had a 2.49 ERA on the 10-game homestand.

Gee’s changeup and slider were at their best on Sunday. He threw them a combined 27 times, netting 20 strikes and 10 outs (including five strikeouts) without yielding a baserunner.

Another walk-off win
We mentioned on Friday that Curtis Granderson became the first Mets player to have a walk-off RBI in two different games by the end of April.

The three walk-off wins by the Mets this month are one shy of the club record for the most by the end of April. That mark was set in 1985 and matched in 1998.

Mejia’s sixth-inning foibles
Jenrry Mejia rolled through the first five innings on Saturday and looked to be headed toward another great start only to have it all fall apart for him in the sixth inning.

In our last series recap, we noted how Mejia’s success had been predicated on keeping the ball down in the strike zone.

In this start, Mejia threw his lowest percentage of pitches in the lower third of the zone or below all season (47 percent) and his highest percentage in the middle of the zone (37 percent).

The Marlins were 0-for-10 in at-bats ending with a pitch in the middle of the zone in the first five innings, but they eventually caught up. They had a single, double and home run against pitches to that area in the sixth.

Record pursuit
The Mets hit .224 this series, raising their team batting average for the season to .218.

The team record for lowest batting average by the end of April appears safe. The team hit .200 in 1978.

Even at 100
The Mets are 14-11, having scored the same number of runs (100) as they’ve allowed.

It marks only the second time in club history that they’ve had a winning record through 25 games and had a run differential of zero or worse. The other instance was in 1984, when they were 15-10 despite being outscored 120-93.

That team hit a number deemed significant to these Mets. It finished the season with exactly 90 wins.

View from the other side: A Salty Stat
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a go-ahead homer in the 10th inning and a game-tying homer in the eighth inning of this series.

He’s the first player to hit two homers in the eighth inning or later that either tied a game or put his team ahead of the Mets in the same season since Jose Vidro in 2003. He’s the first to do so in the same series since Jim Edmonds hit a pair of walk-off homers to beat the Mets in September 2000.

Series in review: It's all in the pitching

April, 24, 2014
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Twenty two games into the season and the Mets are now nestled into a wild-card spot, two games over .500, thanks to winning three of four games from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Here’s a look at some of the statistical highlights from the surprising success.

Start means finish
Mets starting pitching is in the midst of a fantastic run, in which it has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 straight games.

In that span, their combined ERA is 1.84 (13 earned runs in 63 2/3 innings pitched). All but one of the starts lasted at least six innings.

Mets pitchers continue to put up great numbers with Anthony Recker catching. Their ERA is 2.78 and opponents’ batting average is .204 with Recker catching.

One thing Mets pitchers are struggling with: their own hitting. They are now a combined 0 for 37 this season. Though even if you factor that out, the team is still hitting .228.

Mejia continues to dominate
Jenrry Mejia improved to 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA with a win in the series opener.

The key for Mejia has been keeping the ball down. He ranks fifth among starting pitchers in percentage of pitches in the lower-third of the strike zone or below (think “knee-high or lower”).

When Mejia puts a ball there, he has two ways to get you. He can induce a missed swing (opponents have missed on 40 percent of their swings against those pitches, which rates well above-average) or he can get a called strike (he gets strikes on 37 percent of those pitches that are taken, which doesn’t sound high, but ranks second-best in the majors to Bartolo Colon’s 42 percent).

Granderson starting to get hits
Curtis Granderson had hits in each of the last two games, both of which came on balls that our batted-ball system classified as “hard-hit.”

Granderson was 2 for 11 when hitting a hard-hit ball. The typical hitter gets hits at about a 70 percent rate on hard-hit balls.

My colleague in Stats & Info, Evan Abrams, pointed out a stat that will make Mets fans, particularly those drawing comparisons from Granderson to Jason Bay, uncomfortable.

Granderson is trying to avoid the list of worst batting averages by those 30 or older who qualified for the batting title -- one currently headed up by Dave Kingman, who hit .204 in 1982. Jeromy Burnitz ranked second-worst -- .215 in 2002.

No longer sitting on 714
Bobby Abreu became the 715th player in Mets history to get a base hit. He now has 566 doubles, the most among active players.

That was among a bunch of statistical firsts from Thursday's win.

Chris Young became the 387th different Met to hit a home run. And Daisuke Matsuzaka is the 132nd to earn a save since the save became an official stat in 1969.

View from the other side
The Mets became the first team to defeat Lance Lynn in the months of March and April. Lynn was 12-0 prior to May 1 prior to his loss on Thursday.

Time for Lucas Duda to prove he belongs

April, 19, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda knows his job isn't really safe.

It’s a little safer than it was prior to Friday, when the New York Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates and thus made it official that Duda is their chosen first baseman. But if the Mets thought the trade would take away any pressure Duda felt, well, it may not work.

"Maybe a little bit," Duda said Saturday afternoon, before the Mets played the Atlanta Braves. "But I still have to produce. If I don't produce, I won't play. If I don’t get the job done, someone else will."

He's right, of course -- even if the trade left the Mets without an obvious option sitting on the bench.

If Duda doesn't hit -- he's batting .256 through 15 games, with three home runs and a .798 OPS -- we'll all be asking when the Mets are going to find someone else.

"I'm not done [answering questions about first base]," manager Terry Collins said. "[Sometime, Duda] is going to be 0-for-15. Ike's going to have eight home runs [with the Pirates]. You're going to ask."

Collins isn't predicting failure for Duda. The Mets chose him over Davis because they think he has a better chance to succeed. The point is simply that the game is about production, especially for 28-year-old first basemen who aren't established, big league hitters yet.

The hope is that Duda can now become established. The hope, realistic or not, is that by trading Davis now, the Mets move that along.

"I'm hoping now Lucas doesn't have to worry that Ike's looking over his shoulder and that if he's 0-for-4, Ike's going to play," Collins said. "It's like, 'Hey look, Luke, it's yours.'

"I just think it should help."

Saturday's game will mark Duda's fourth start in the past five games, and his 10th in the Mets' first 17 games of the season. The Mets still have Josh Satin on the roster -- he has started against left-handed pitchers.

Mejia OK: Jenrry Mejia had no problems during his bullpen session Saturday and is set to start Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Mejia left his last start after just 77 pitches because of a blister.

Clearing things up: Collins and the Mets asked for a clarification Saturday on a disputed play in the second inning of Friday's loss to the Braves. Travis d'Arnaud was called out at first base on a close play, one that Collins considered challenging under the new instant replay rules.

The issue was that after d'Arnaud was called out at first, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman threw the ball to third base, where Duda (running from first) was tagged out by third baseman Chris Johnson. The umpires told Collins that even if the call at first base was reversed, the inning was probably over because Duda was out.

Collins then decided to save his challenge.

The Mets were told Saturday that if the call at first had been reversed, the replay umpires could have ruled Duda safe (either at second base or third), on the basis that he slowed down once he saw the out call at first. Duda confirmed Saturday that he did slow down, and said he thinks that if he had run full speed, "it would have been close" at third.

Harvey report: Matt Harvey still has a long way to go returning from Tommy John surgery, but he has gone from throwing from 75 feet to throwing from 90 feet.

Lannan decision? The Mets said they have yet to get a decision from John Lannan, who was outrighted off the 40-man roster and offered a spot at Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets told Lannan he could work as either a starter or a reliever -- his choice -- if he accepts the assignment.

Colon on for Saturday, Mejia still TBD

April, 18, 2014
4/18/14
6:34
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NEW YORK -- Bartolo Colon will be on the mound for the New York Mets on Saturday, as scheduled, barring an unforeseen setback.

Colon has been dealing with back spasms, but worked out at Citi Field on Thursday, which was an off day for the team.

"[Colon] threw his long toss which he likes to do," Mets manager Terry Collins said Friday afternoon. "[He] felt great, so he’ll be there Saturday."

That being said, Collins has also instructed Daisuke Matsuzaka -- just called up from Triple-A -- to prepare as if he's starting Saturday.

"Just in case something happens, with the fact that it’s gonna be somewhat cool tomorrow," Collins said. "If Bartolo’s back stiffens up on him, then [Matsuzaka's] gotta be ready."

Jenrry Mejia, who tore open a blister on his right middle finger in his last start, was scheduled to try to throw prior to Friday night's game against the Atlanta Braves.

"We’ll see how his finger holds up today," Collins said.

If Mejia can't make his next start, scheduled for Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Matsuzaka would replace him -- if he doesn't have to replace Colon, of course.

Mejia good enough to make it work

April, 4, 2014
4/04/14
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Jenrry MejiaElsa/Getty ImagesJenrry Mejia fanned a career-high eight batters Friday night.
The Jenrry Mejia of 2014 looked as good as the Mejia who made a good impression in five starts in 2013.

There was one exception to that -- the five walks (he walked four total last season) -- but Mejia’s cutting fastball worked well, and his changeup stayed down in the zone at a good rate. He survived bad weather, bullpen struggles, a near-home run by Brandon Phillips and being hit in the ankle by a comebacker.

"That’s pretty tough," Mejia said of the 43-degree game-time temperature, which dropped below 40 as the evening went along. "I fought through it the best I can. Sometimes, I didn’t feel my fingers."

How did Mejia win?

Mejia excelled against right-handed hitters, throwing 29 of 34 pitches to the likes of Todd Frazier and Phillips for strikes. Righties entered the day with a .304 career batting average against Mejia but were only 2-for-12 with three strikeouts against him in this game.

When Mejia wasn’t walking the Cincinnati Reds' dangerous left-handed hitters (they drew all five walks in the game), he was able to freeze them. Mejia finished with a career-high eight strikeouts, four of which came when a Reds lefty took strike three (including Jay Bruce twice).

Mejia was also able to escape the trouble he ran into on a couple of occasions, holding the Reds to one hit in 12 at-bats with men on base.

"Tonight he got us deep into the game, which was great for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He hung in there, made pitches when he had to and got us a lot of outs. When you can go through [Joey] Votto and Bruce and not have a lot of damage done, you should have a pretty good game."

As for the damage to his ankle, Mejia shook it off.

"It’s not too bad," Mejia said. "I just feel a little pain, but it’s not going to bother me."

Cubs 6, Mets 3: Mejia debate continues

March, 16, 2014
3/16/14
9:46
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LAS VEGAS -- With Jonathon Niese injured, Jenrry Mejia had a chance Sunday at Cashman Field to bolster his bid to make the starting rotation. Mejia did not help himself in the Mets’ 6-3 split-squad loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Mejia allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks in 2-1/3 innings. He surrendered a solo homer to Donnie Murphy in the third before giving way to Rafael Montero.

“His command wasn’t real good today,” Terry Collins said. “When he pitched for us last year, that was one of his strengths -- his command. Today, he didn’t have it. I don’t know whether it was a different mound or whatever.

“He threw a lot of pitches, a lot of deep counts, so we had to get him out of there. His stuff was still good. We’ll run him out in five days and see how he does.”

[+] EnlargeJenrry Mejia
AP Photo/Isaac BrekkenJenrry Mejia searched for his command Sunday in the Mets' 6-3 loss to the Cubs.
While Mejia officially remains in contention for a starting spot along with John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka, he could be the odd man out.

Matsuzaka appears the front runner for the fifth starter’s role. Now, if Niese were to miss significant time, the Mets could include Lannan or Mejia in the rotation, too. Lannan otherwise should be in the bullpen.

Mets officials have told ESPNNewYork.com that they do not want to shift Mejia between starting and relieving roles anymore. They do plan to have a conference to consider a bullpen spot for him if he does not make the rotation out of spring training.

One option with Niese, assuming his elbow injury is not significant: backdate a DL stint nine days into spring training. The Mets will not need a fifth starter until April 6, so the Mets could carry an extra bench player or pitcher the through the first five games.

“He’s in the mix,” Collins said about Mejia as a rotation candidate. “But again, we don’t know if there’s something wrong with Jon or if he’ll miss ample time. Somebody’s got to fill that hole and we’ll need someone behind him.”

Montero also had an off day in the thin desert air. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings. He served up a solo homer to Daniel Vogelbach.

“The homer was a mistake up here and he never pitches up there,” Collins said, raising his hand to his chest. “As a matter of fact, that might be one of the few times I’ve seen him make mistakes up there. He just didn’t make a good pitch. But we like him a lot.

“The issue’s going to become where we think we’re going to need him when it’s time -- out of the bullpen or in the rotation. With Jon having the problems he does, we need to make sure some of the minor-league arms we’ve got are ready to start if we need them. That’ll be discussed tonight.”

Collins then clarified that Montero is only a candidate to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster as a reliever, not a starter.

Gold Glove defense:
Juan Lagares displayed the dazzling defense that has him in contention for a starting spot.

Playing center field, he made a diving catch of a shallow fly ball by Chris Coghlan to end a bases-loaded threat in the first. He then threw out Darwin Barney at the plate to end the second. Barney had doubled and tried to score on a single by Ryan Kalish.

“I’ve seen some great arms, and he’s in that group,” Collins said. “And accurate. He might have as accurate an arm as anybody I’ve ever seen. It was a tremendous throw. And a good catch in right-center field on the soft liner. We know he can do that. Defensively, he’s as good as anybody in the league.”

As for his offense, Lagares went 0-for-4.

“He’s trying hard. Like any young player, when you’re trying to make the club and try to impress people, you get two strikes and sometimes he expands [the zone] on his own,” Collins said. “He’s got to realize you’ve still got to make them throw you a strike. But he’s done a good job. We’re going to keep running him out there. We’ve got two more weeks and we’ve got five or six guys we’re going to try to get a lot of at-bats for.”

Shortcoming: Wilmer Flores made his second spring start at shortstop, and Collins insisted he’s still in the mix there, given the lack of capable shortstops in camp. Still, Collins already has assured Ruben Tejada of the starting job (assuming there are no external acquisitions). Tejada had his fourth Grapefruit League error Sunday in Jupiter.

“For sure, we’re going to play him again. He’s not done playing out there. We’ve got to have somebody ready,” Collins said about Flores. “We know Wilmer’s dangerous with the bat, so we’re going to try to move him around. He’s played second. We’ll let him play in the middle of the infield and see how hot we can get him.”

How they scored: Andrew Brown hit a long two-run homer, and Zach Lutz also homered and had two hits. Carlos Torres had five strikeouts in three innings and allowed a homer to Arismendy Alcantara.

Injury Report: Wright plans to return

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
7:51
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NEW YORK -- Here's brief updates on some of the injured Mets:

• Third baseman David Wright (hamstring) expects to return this season, but hasn't begun baseball activities just yet. He's not sure when he'd return.

• Tommy John Surgery was recommended for starter Jeremy Hefner, who has a partial tear of the MCL in his right elbow. Hefner is considering getting another opinion, according to Mets manager Terry Collins, but surgery likely would be soon.

Jenrry Mejia (elbow) will have season-ending surgery likely within the next seven to 10 days to remove the bone spur in his right elbow, and get the elbow cleaned out. The surgery had always been planned, but Mejia felt discomfort during his Saturday start.

Bobby Parnell's (herniated disc in neck) symptoms have lessened but not to the point where he can begin baseball activities.

You can read the full news story here.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187