New York Mets: Jesus Flores

Shoppach highly unlikely to return

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
11:51
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Don't look for a catcher who has passed through the Mets to return to the organization as the righy-hitting complement to Josh Thole.

Any of them.

A major league official painted it as a highly unlikely scenario that the Mets would re-sign Kelly Shoppach, who finished last season with the club after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Pedro Beato on Aug. 16.

Similarly, scratch off fellow ex-Mets Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco as well as former Mets farmhand Jesus Flores, who was non-tendered by the Washington Nationals, sources advise.

So where do the Mets go for catching?

The remaining righty-hitting free agents include Miguel Olivo, Chris Snyder and Matt Treanor. The Mets also could acquire a backup catcher via trade, although that may prove difficult because the club may be asked to overpay for another team's backup, since rival GMs sense the Mets' desperation to fill the role.

Pagan return? Flores, Maldonado on radar

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
2:21
PM ET
That list ESPNNewYork.com posted Thursday regarding available righty-hitting free agents? Well, the Mets are working off a very similar list, according to one person briefed on the organization's plans.

Yes, scratch off Josh Hamilton and very likely Shane Victorino. They'll command too much for the Mets' appetite.

But a second team insider now also has insisted the Mets likely will spend for one quality outfielder. The source said don't even rule out a return of Angel Pagan to Flushing, although the person cautioned it's waaaaaay to early to speculate on that. There's no direction yet for how high the market will get for Pagan.

Similarly, Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross seemingly are two of the more attractive righty-hitting outfielders, but it's unclear where the market will take the bidding.

"I don't think any of them are out of the question just yet," an organization source said.

Other righty hitters on the market include Scott Hairston, Jeff Baker, Austin Kearns, Reed Johnson and Matt Diaz.

As for catcher, the righty-hitting candidates are not overwhelming: ex-Mets Kelly Shoppach, Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco as well as fellow free agents Miguel Olivo, Chris Snyder and Matt Treanor.

A major league source said the Mets also have compiled a list of other teams' backup catchers, with former Mets farmhand Jesus Flores of the Nats and Martin Maldonado of the Brewers being eyed by the Mets.

The non-tender deadline is midnight tonight, meaning more names will shake loose as free agents at both positions.

Two team insiders this week have now told ESPNNewYork.com it's likely the Mets achieve their needs through free agency rather than trades.

Series preview: Mets at Nationals

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
9:30
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Ross Detwiler, Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez this weekend in D.C.
METS (56-62, third place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (73-45, first place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Johan Santana (6-8, 4.58) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (6-5, 3.18), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jon Niese (9-6, 3.67) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (7-7, 3.74), 7:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-4, 4.76) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (15-6, 3.29), 1:35 p.m. ET

Nats short hops

Jayson Werth returned to the outfield Aug. 2, nearly three months after fracturing his left wrist on a catch attempt against the Phillies. His return was interrupted for one game with a sore ankle, and he has hobbled a little bit since reentering the lineup Tuesday. Manager Davey Johnson primarily has used Werth in right field and Bryce Harper in center field, but flips them on occasion to try to get Harper a semi-breather.

• The slumping Harper is hitting .141 (9-for-64) with one homer and three RBIs in his past 17 games (16 starts). Teams are throwing a lot of breaking balls down and away.

• Shortstop Ian Desmond, who has missed four weeks with torn oblique, should be activated from the disabled list for Friday’s series opener. Desmond hit in a simulated game Thursday and will not require a minor league rehab assignment. Danny Espinosa has been capably filling in for Desmond at shortstop, and will now slide back to second base. Steve Lombardozzi (15-for-30 in his past seven games) should head from second base to the bench. Johnson will try to find ways to get Lombardozzi in the lineup. The 23-year-old rookie learned how to play left field this season.


Rob Leiter/Getty Images
Jayson Werth returned from a fractured wrist Aug. 2.


• The Mets do not face Stephen Strasburg this weekend, but his innings limit -- set at 180 -- has been a hot topic. Strasburg (14-5, 2.91 ERA) currently sits at 139 1/3 innings. After former Braves and Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone criticized the decision to shut down Strasburg later this season, citing how the Braves had success despite heavy workloads for pitchers, agent Scott Boras called in to ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show to counter that argument. Boras noted that Steve Avery, whom he also represented, had faded from the majors before his 30th birthday after logging 667 1/3 innings over his first three full major league seasons, with the Braves under Mazzone.

Tyler Clippard remains the Nats’ primary closer, even with Drew Storen having returned after missing the first 3 months of season following elbow surgery. Storen (5.79 ERA) has been erratic. He allowed four runs while recording only one out in a 6-1 loss at San Francisco on Tuesday. Johnson may try to find an occasional closing opportunity for Storen, but with an important game on the line, it will remain Clippard’s responsibility.

• Former Mets farmhand Jesus Flores wilted in a starting role behind the plate and has thrown out only six of 51 would-be base stealers this season. So the Nats acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki from the Athletics for minor league catcher David Freitas on Aug. 3 and optioned Sandy Leon to Triple-A Syracuse. Suzuki starts roughly two of every three games. Washington needed the veteran help because none of Flores’ sidekicks, including Jhonathan Solano and Leon, had major league experience.

• Three days after Suzuki’s acquisition, infielder Cesar Izturis was claimed off waivers from the Brewers, with Mark DeRosa landing on the DL with an abdominal strain. Izturis, acquired primarily for depth with Desmond out, is in at least slight danger of being a roster casualty Friday with Desmond expected to be activated. Still, with rosters expanding Sept. 1, Izturis appears more likely to survive, with rookie first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore (.281, 6 HR, 19 RBIs) instead optioned to Syracuse until rosters expand.

• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been on a prolonged hot streak since receiving a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. Zimmerman is hitting .346 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs and has a .417 on-base percentage in 48 games since June 24.

Michael Morse (.300, 11 HR, 40 RBIs) returned to lineup Wednesday after missing one game with a thumb injury. Morse officially has a 12-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .320 with three homers and eight RBIs, although it just as easily could have been 23 games. The Phillies successfully appealed to MLB to have an Aug. 2 play, which initially was ruled a hit, switched to an error on shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

• Left-hander Ross Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in the 2007 draft, out of high school in Missouri, is beginning to justify that selection after the Nats early this season vacillated between using him and Chien-Ming Wang in a starting role. Wang made a rehab appearance for Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday, but is unlikely to regain a rotation spot, or return before rosters expand.

• The Nats released Rick Ankiel and Xavier Nady in a three-day span at the end of July. Ankiel remains a free agent, while Nady has signed with the Giants and is playing at Triple-A Fresno.

Last series results

Washington won, 3-0, at Citi Field, July 23-25 (AP game recaps)

Nats 8, Mets 2 (10 innings): Bryce Harper homered his first time up in New York, then hit a tiebreaking single to key a six-run burst in the 10th. Shortstop Ruben Tejada’s error on a potential double-play ball set up the big 10th. Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run double and Michael Morse added a two-run homer as the Nationals broke away. The six runs tied the most the Mets had ever allowed in an extra inning. Never before had they lost consecutive extra-inning games by at least five runs. More

Nats 5, Mets 2: Adam LaRoche hit a tiebreaking homer and the Nationals handed R.A. Dickey his first loss in three months behind Gio Gonzalez’s seven crisp innings. Gonzalez (13-5) gave up only two singles in a rematch of All-Star pitchers, five days after New York hit him hard to back Dickey during his 13th win. Dickey (13-2) allowed five consecutive hits in the sixth, ending his 11-game winning streak. More

Nats 5, Mets 2: Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 in seven innings, Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa hit consecutive homers and the Nats completed a sweep. Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer for a second straight day, and Espinosa doubled and scored on one of the Mets' two errors in the Nationals' fifth win in a row. Other than allowing Ike Davis' blistering line drive into the right-field stands on the first pitch of the second inning and Daniel Murphy’s single in the next at-bat, Strasburg allowed only Josh Thole’s ground-rule double in the fifth and Jordany Valdespin’s single in the sixth. Strasburg reached double digits in strikeouts for the fourth time this season and seventh of his young career, striking out David Wright three times. More

Series preview: Mets at Nats

July, 17, 2012
7/17/12
10:01
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez during the midweek series.
METS (46-43, third place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (51-36, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (7-4, 3.73) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.43), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Young (2-3, 4.28) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-6, 2.48), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.66) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (12-4, 2.93), 12:35 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

• Shortstop Ian Desmond, who has a nagging left oblique strain that prompted him to skip the All-Star Game, aims to return for Tuesday’s series opener. Desmond started the Nats’ first two second-half games in Miami, but was forced to bunt because it was uncomfortable to swing in the ninth inning Saturday. He since has missed consecutive games.

Desmond’s absence has prompted second baseman Danny Espinosa (an 85-point better hitter against left-handed pitching) to start at shortstop, with Steve Lombardozzi manning Espinosa’s position. Before the absence, Desmond was hitting .418 with six homers and 16 RBIs in a three-week span. Desmond’s 17 homers are tied for the Washington/Montreal franchise record for a shortstop with Orlando Cabrera, who reached that total in 2003.

Bryce Harper had an eventful weekend in Miami. He took advantage of napping infielders Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes as well as Josh Johnson to take third base uncontested Friday. Harper then drew taunts from Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen on Sunday. Guillen had informed umpires that Harper had too much pine tar on his bat. After swapping out his lumber for his next plate appearances, Harper pointed his new bat in Guillen’s direction. When Guillen called Nats manager Davey Johnson postgame to explain, Johnson told him, “Get the [expletive] away from me,” according to media reports. Harper, only 19 years old, joined teammates Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez on the NL All-Star squad.

• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has seven homers and 21 RBIs in his past 18 games, including a 3-for-3 performance Monday in Miami with a long ball. The surge coincides with receiving a cortisone shot three weeks ago in his ailing shoulder.


Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Ian Desmond has 17 homers, tied for the most by a shortstop in Washington/Montreal history.


• Closer Drew Storen has yet to appear this year following a 43-save season in 2011. He had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and has started a rehab assignment. The intention was for Storen to be activated to open the second half, but he developed arm fatigue in the minors. Interim closer Tyler Clippard has been so effective, though, Storen may not immediately take over closing.

Clippard did have an adventurous appearance Sunday. Trying to protect a 4-0 lead in the ninth, he loaded the bases on a single and two walks before getting out of the jam without surrendering a run. Clippard has been far more effective in save situations. In those 25 games, he has a 0.74 ERA and .120 opponent batting average, versus a 3.60 ERA and .208 opponent batting average in 15 non-save situations. Since Clippard took over the closer role in late May, he is 14-for-14 in save chances.

• Left-hander Sean Burnett, who has handled eighth innings as the primary setup man, is pitching through elbow tightness.

Jordan Zimmermann blanked the Marlins for six innings in the second-half opener. He and Justin Verlander are the lone major leaguers to make 18 starts this season and complete six innings each time. Zimmermann has allowed one earned run or fewer in 10 of his starts. Meager run support is the lone reason Zimmermann has a .500 record.

• Nats GM Mike Rizzo continues to maintain Strasburg will be shut down at roughly 160 innings. Strasburg’s previous high for a professional season is 123 innings, in 2010. Strasburg is currently at 105.

Jayson Werth, who fractured his left wrist on an attempted May 6 catch, is aiming for an Aug. 1 return.

• Left-hander John Lannan, who has spent the entire season at Triple-A Syracuse despite a $5 million salary, is expected to be promoted Saturday for a spot start in a doubleheader against the Braves. The new collective bargaining agreement allows a 26th active player for doubleheaders.

Ross Detwiler is firmly entrenched in the rotation with struggling Chien-Ming Wang now on the DL with a right hip strain.

• Ex-Met Xavier Nady is on a rehab assignment for a wrist injury.

Brad Lidge was designated for assignment June 17.

• Former Mets farmhand Jesus Flores took over the primary catcher responsibilities in mid-May with Wilson Ramos out for the season with a knee injury. Nationals catchers have thrown out only 10 of 59 would-be base stealers this season.

• First baseman Adam LaRoche is hitting .201 in 48 games since May 17.

Last series results

Washington won, 2-1, at Nationals Park, June 5-7 (AP game recaps)

Nats 7, Mets 6 (12 innings): Bryce Harper's single ended a back-and-forth game that saw the Mets rally from a 3-0 early deficit to take leads in the top of the eighth, 10th and 12th innings -- only to have the Nationals tie the game in the bottom of the frame each time. Scott Hairston hit a solo homer in the top of the 12th to give New York a 6-5 lead, but the Nationals rallied when Michael Morse led off with his second double of the game. Ian Desmond followed with another double for his third RBI. Reliever Elvin Ramirez (0-1) walked two batters to load the bases, and a fielder's choice by Xavier Nady left the bases loaded with two outs for Harper, who lined an 0-2 pitch to left field. The ball fell just in front of a diving Vinny Rottino. More

Nats 5, Mets 3: Edwin Jackson hadn't won a game in nearly eight weeks, and Adam LaRoche was in an 0-for-13 rut. Both came through. Jackson pitched seven effective innings, and LaRoche hit a three-run homer. LaRoche got the first-place Nationals off to a fast start, belting his ninth homer of the season in the first inning against Jeremy Hefner (1-3). Bryce Harper reached on an error by second baseman Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman walked before LaRoche hit a drive into the right-field bullpen. More

Mets 3, Nats 1: R.A. Dickey baffled the Nationals, limiting them to four singles over 7 1/3 scoreless innings. Dickey (9-1) extended the longest shutout string of his career to 24 2/3 innings -- a span that began against Pittsburgh and continued against San Diego, St. Louis and the Nats. Lucas Duda hit his 10th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth against Chien-Ming Wang (1-2). Daniel Murphy, who earlier bounced into an inning-ending double play that left him in a 0-for-19 rut, added an RBI single. More

Series preview: Mets at Nationals

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
10:41
AM ET

US Presswire/Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Chien-Ming Wang with first place at stake in D.C.
METS (31-24, third place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (30-22, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (1-0, 1.88 in 2011) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-2, 5.60) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (1-3, 3.17), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (8-1, 2.69) vs. RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-1, 6.43), 1:10 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

Bryce Harper, who made his major league debut on April 28 at Dodger Stadium, is hitting .386 with three homers in his past 12 games. Harper is the reigning NL Rookie of the Month. The team leader in OBP at .380 and OPS at .922, he was drafted first overall two years ago. If Harper can maintain that OPS for the season, he would have the highest ever in the majors for a 19-year-old, surpassing Mel Ott’s .921. Fellow rookie Steve Lombardozzi (.309 average), who has settled into left field, also is off to a quick major league start.

• Closer Drew Storen (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day DL and should be out until the All-Star break. Fill-in Brad Lidge also is on the DL. The ex-Phillie began a rehab assignment following hernia surgery with Class A Potomac on Monday. He allowed three of the four batters he faced to reach base. Lidge is scripted for at least two more minor league relief appearances before returning from the disabled list. Henry Rodriguez, who had flopped as closer, has been idle since May 28 after slamming a door on his right index finger. Tyler Clippard, who primarily is handling the closing duties at this point, has converted his past four chances. Sean Burnett also converted a pair of saves last month after bailing out Rodriguez. If a situation arose with lefties due up in the ninth, Burnett might close over Clippard.


Zuma Press/Icon SMI
Bryce Harper has been as good as advertised for the Nats.


• With Wilson Ramos out with a torn ACL, former Mets farmhand Jesus Flores -- a Rule 5 selection by the Nats in December 2006 -- has now started 23 games behind the plate. Ramos underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn meniscus, and will need a second procedure to address the ACL tear. Flores had been tormented for years by shoulder woes.

Jayson Werth is on the 60-day DL after fracturing his left wrist in the outfield against the Phillies on May 6. Werth is expected to be sidelined until August.

• Cleanup hitter Michael Morse returned from the DL on Friday after missing the season’s first two months with a strained right lat muscle. Morse is manning right field, with Harper in center and Lombardozzi in left field.

Chien-Ming Wang will make his second start of the season Thursday. He missed the Nats’ opening 42 games with a strained left hamstring. Wang allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in four-plus innings against the Marlins last week after making one three-inning relief appearance. Wang’s return bumped Ross Detwiler to the bullpen.

• The Mets miss Stephen Strasburg (6-1, 2.35 ERA) and Gio Gonzalez (7-2, 2.31), but the Nats overall still rank first in the NL in ERA (2.95) and opponent batting average (.223). Washington’s 446 strikeouts are one shy of matching Milwaukee’s total for the league lead. Gonzalez was named the NL Pitcher of the Month for May.

• Left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez, who signed a minor league deal in May after recovering from offseason knee surgery, joined the Nationals on Sunday.

• Left-hander John Lannan remains at Triple-A Syracuse, where he is 4-5 with a 5.62 ERA in 10 starts. Lannan is earning $5 million this season.

• The Nats are 16-9 at home this season.

• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is 4-for-his-last-29. Rick Ankiel, now coming off the bench, is 1-for-13 in his past six games.

• The Nats selected Santa Monica, Calif., prep right-hander Lucas Giolito in the draft Monday night, with the 16th overall pick. He was projected to be the top pick a few months back, before an elbow issue prematurely ended his senior season.

Last series results

Washington won, 2-1, at Citi Field, April 9-11 (AP game recaps)

Mets 4, Nats 3: Daniel Murphy singled home the winning run in the ninth inning and the undefeated Mets took advantage of a throwing error by reliever Henry Rodriguez. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first major league homer for the Mets, who are 4-0 for the first time since 2007. After a surprising sweep of Atlanta, New York rallied from a three-run deficit. Several fans filed out chanting "Undefeated! Undefeated!" Miguel Batista got out of trouble in the sixth, Ramon Ramirez escaped a seventh-inning jam with a double-play ball and Jon Rauch (1-0) worked two hitless innings for his first win with New York. David Wright’s right pinkie was broken when he dived back to a base. More

Nats 6, Mets 2: Ross Detwiler (1-0) allowed two hits in five scoreless innings, struck out six and walked one, denying the Mets what would have been their first 5-0 start since 1985. Ian Desmond homered off Dillon Gee (0-1) leading off the game, and Jayson Werth had four of the Nationals' 13 hits and drove in a run. Werth began the season hitting 1-for-14. After Desmond's early homer, Werth's RBI single made it 2-0 in the sixth. Bobby Parnell relieved with two on, Daniel Murphy booted a grounder at second base for an error as Werth scored, and Wilson Ramos’ RBI double made it 4-0. More

Nats 4, Mets 0: The Nats let young ace Stephen Strasburg go past 100 pitches for the first time in the major leagues and he worked his way out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth inning of a one-run ballgame. Strasburg threw 108 pitches in outlasting Johan Santana for six innings in a marquee matchup of aces on the mend, and the Nationals' bullpen made the lead stand up on the 50th anniversary of the Mets' first game. Strasburg allowed two hits and struck out nine. Santana (0-1) allowed five hits in five-plus innings. His wild pitch gave Washington a 1-0 lead in the second inning. New York had only three hits, and Mets pitchers combined to walk 10 and hit one batter. New York's bullpen gave up two bases-loaded walks and an RBI grounder to Chad Tracy in the eighth. More

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
11:00
AM ET

Getty Images/Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Erik Bedard, James McDonald and Charlie Morton in Pittsburgh.
METS (22-19, third place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (19-22, third place/NL Central)

Monday: LHP Johan Santana (1-2, 2.89) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.07), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.76) vs. RHP James McDonald (3-2, 2.68), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jon Niese (2-2, 4.85) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (2-4, 4.35), 12:35 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

• Manager Clint Hurdle benched outfielder/leadoff hitter Jose Tabata on Friday for lack of hustle on a groundball the previous day. Tabata also had misplayed two fly balls that gam. "He didn't get out of the box,” Hurdle told the team’s web site. “We saw it happen. We've seen it happen a couple of times. They understand when that happens something else also happens: You're gonna sit over there with me and watch. We had a talk. Jose said he 'lost the moment.' Fine, then get down the line. That didn't happen, and that's not part of our identity. That's not what we're creating here.”

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday. In the six previous days, McCutchen had hit a sizzling .381 (8-for-21) with four homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. He had two multi-homer games in a three-game span, becoming only the second Pirate in the past 25 years to accomplish that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other: Pedro Alvarez, who homered twice in consecutive games in July 2010.


Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Ex-Met Rod Barajas, who actually was awarded to the Dodgers on a waiver claim while the Mets were in Pittsburgh in 2010, signed a one-year deal with the Pirates as a free agent.


• Alvarez is RBI-less in his past six games, and is hitting .106 (5-for-47) in his past 15 games. Still, his seven homers trail the MLB leaders among third baseman -- Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera and David Freese -- by only one.

• Ex-Mets catcher Rod Barajas signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Pirates during the offseason. He homered Sunday against Detroit’s Max Scherzer, his fourth long ball this season, but is hitting only .220 this season. Barajas has thrown out only two of 18 would-be stealers.

• Right-hander James McDonald had a no-hit bid through five innings in his most recent start, against the Washington Nationals. Ex-Mets farmhand Jesus Flores broke it up with a sixth-inning double.

• Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed four runs in six innings against the Nats on Wednesday. Bedard had been forced from a May 9 start after one-plus innings with back spasms and received extra rest before last week’s start. He has one career start against the Mets: on June 16, 2006 at Shea Stadium, when he allowed three runs in six innings during an interleague series while playing for the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Woodward had an RBI groudout and Jose Reyes had a two-run double against Bedard in Baltimore’s 6-3 win.

• Closer Joel Hanrahan is 9-for-10 in save chances. He has a 90.7 percent success rate since the beginning of the 2011 season. The only NL closer with 40 opportunities and a better save-conversion percentage during that span: Milwaukee’s John Axford (94.5 percent). Hanrahan already ranks eighth on the Pirates’ all-time saves list with 55. Next up: Bill Landrum with 56.

• Shortstop Clint Barmes played for Hurdle with the Colorado Rockies. He signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal as a free agent to succeed current Met Ronny Cedeno as shortstop in Pittsburgh.

• The Pirates have used righty-hitting Casey McGehee (.198) and lefty-hitting Garrett Jones (.231) at first base this season.

Nate McLouth (.143 overall) is 0-for-13 as a pinch hitter this season in his second tour of duty with the Pirates.

• Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander came within two outs of a no-hitter against the Pirates on Friday. Josh Harrison, who has been starting on the left side of the infield against left-handed pitching, broke up Verlander’s bid for his third career no-hitter with a single to center.

• Set-up man Jason Grilli landed on the bereavement list Sunday. Southpaw Jeff Locke temporarily has been promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis to work in long relief. Locke will not be used as a second lefty specialist to complement Tony Watson.

• Ex-Met Nick Evans is hitting .197 with two homers and nine RBIs in 71 at-bats at Triple-A Indianapolis. He signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent during the offseason. Evans has been sidelined since April 30 and is on the International League disabled list.

Matchups

Santana vs. Pirates (career: 2-2, 1.96 ERA)
Pedro Alvarez .667, 3 PA
Jose Tabata .333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Rod Barajas .286, 2 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Casey McGehee .200, 3 K, 10 PA
Nate McLouth .133, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 17 PA
Andrew McCutchen .000, 3 K, 4 PA
Garrett Jones .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Neil Walker .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .000, 3 PA

Dickey vs. Pirates (career: 1-2, 2.78 ERA)
Josh Harrison .571, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 8 PA
Garrett Jones .400, 1 RBI, 1 K, 10 PA
Jose Tabata .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Andrew McCutchen .222, 2 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Rod Barajas .143, 2 RBI, 1 K, 7 PA
Neil Walker .111, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 10 PA
Casey McGehee .100, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Pedro Alvarez .000, 1 BB, 4 PA
Nate McLouth .000, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA

Niese vs. Pirates (career: 1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Jose Tabata 1.000, 3 PA
Nate McLouth .667, 1 RBI, 4 PA
Rod Barajas .667, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Andrew McCutchen .667, 3 PA
Neil Walker .333, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .222, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Casey McGehee .200, 1 K, 5 PA
Pedro Alvarez .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Garrett Jones .000, 2 PA

Bedard vs. Mets (career: 1-0, 4.50 ERA)
David Wright .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .300, 1 K, 10 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 1 K, 3 PA

McDonald vs. Mets (career: 1-1, 3.49 ERA)
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 7 PA
Daniel Murphy .500, 1 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
David Wright .333, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Andres Torres .200, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 6 PA
Justin Turner .000, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 1 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Morton vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 4.76 ERA)
Lucas Duda .500, 3 RBI, 4 PA
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Justin Turner .400, 2 RBI, 7 PA
Daniel Murphy .286, 7 PA
Andres Torres .167, 1 BB, 1 K, 7 PA
David Wright .000, 4 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at PNC Park, June 10-12, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 8, Pirates 1: Dillon Gee remained undefeated, Jose Reyes homered among his three hits and the Mets won for the fifth time in six. Gee became the first Mets' rookie starter to improve to 7-0. New York has won all nine of his starts. He allowed one run and eight hits in a career-high eight innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Gee won his fifth straight outing and is the majors' first rookie starter to open 7-0 since 2006, when Jered Weaver started 9-0 for the Los Angeles Angels. Gee has allowed one earned run or less in three of his past five starts and has allowed only one run over his past two outings combined. Reyes and Josh Thole went 3-for-5, and Angel Pagan had two hits and scored twice. The Pirates' Charlie Morton had his worst start of the season, though he was the victim of some infield hits, shoddy defense and bad bounces. Morton (6-3) lasted a season-low four-plus innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) and nine hits.

Pirates 3, Mets 2: James McDonald allowed two runs in six effective innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double. Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison each had two hits and scored a run. Garrett Jones had an RBI double among his two hits for Pittsburgh. Baseball's leading hitter, Jose Reyes, had two hits and Ruben Tejada and Carlos Beltran each also had two hits for the Mets. McDonald (4-4) allowed eight hits and three walks. Tim Wood pitched a scoreless seventh, Jose Veras struck out Ronny Paulino looking with runners on second and third to end the eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in as many opportunities.

Mets 7, Pirates 0: Chris Capuano pitched seven innings and Jose Reyes homered in the rubber-game win. Capuano (5-6) allowed three hits and two walks with five strikeouts to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2007. Reyes had three hits for his majors-leading 33rd multi-hit game. He homered two pitches after pinch-hitter Scott Hairston also did in the ninth. David Murphy and Angel Pagan went 2-for-4 and Carlos Beltran had a two-run single. Kevin Correia (8-5) unraveled late after being perfect through 4 2/3. He missed on a chance to tie for the majors' lead in victories.

Series preview: Mets vs. Nationals

April, 9, 2012
4/09/12
7:30
AM ET

US Presswire
Edwin Jackson makes his Nats debut Monday against the Mets, followed by Ross Detwiler on Tuesday and Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday.
METS (3-0, first place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2-1, second place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Mike Pelfrey vs. RHP Edwin Jackson, 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee vs. LHP Ross Detwiler, 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Johan Santana (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 1.29), 1:10 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

Ross Detwiler claimed the fifth-starter’s job over fellow southpaw John Lannan, in the spot available because Chien-Ming Wang strained his left hamstring March 15. Lannan, assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, asked GM Mike Rizzo for a trade after the decision, then sent an email to beat reporters the following day acknowledging the request. After Wang suffered the injury, manager Davey Johnson had said Lannan would be the fifth starter. Lannan is due to earn $5 million this season. The Nats are only expected to trade Lannan if they get something of consequence in return, since they will need starting pitching depth during the season. Detwiler’s spring-training ERA was 3.06, to Lannan’s 5.14. The Nats did not think Lannan would be comfortable in the bullpen, so they sent him to Syracuse and instead carried Craig Stammen in a major league relief role.

• Cleanup hitter Michael Morse is expected to be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. He homered Friday, during a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, as he returns from a right lat muscle tear. After coming to New York on Saturday for preplanned treatment, Morse returned to the Eastern League club Sunday to continue a rehab assignment. Bergen Catholic product Mark DeRosa started in left field the first two games of the season, while ex-Met Xavier Nady manned the position Sunday. DeRosa was signed at winter meetings to fill the void after Chris Marrero suffered a hamstring injury in winter ball in November that will sideline him the first half of the season. DeRosa has undergone three wrist surgeries in past two years, but appears healthy now. Nady signed in mid-March after being jobless.


Rob Grabowski/US Presswire
With Drew Storen on the DL, ex-Phillie Brad Lidge picked up the save on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.


Jayson Werth is expected to play center field against left-handed pitchers, with Nady manning right field. Primarily the right fielder, Werth is due to make $13 million in 2012, in the second season of a seven-year, $126 million deal. He hit .232 with 20 homers, 58 RBIs and 19 steals in his first season with the Nats.

Roger Bernadina has started in center field the first three games against right-handers, while fellow lefty-hitting outfielder Rick Ankiel opens the season on the disabled list with quadriceps tightness. Ankiel, who originally re-signed with the Nats on a minor league deal, will earn $1.25 million this season. He has started a rehab assignment, but is not eligible to be activated until Saturday.

Chad Tracy spent last season in Japan, where he hit only .235 with one homer and 19 RBIs in 149 at-bats with Hiroshima. Tracy has been big off the bench so far. After making the Opening Day roster because of Ankiel’s quadriceps injury, Tracy already twice has delivered successful pinch hits -- including a two-run, go-ahead single in the eighth Saturday against Carlos Marmol, who was attempting a four-out save.

Stephen Strasburg started Opening Day and limited the Cubs to one run and five hits while striking out five and walking one in seven innings. Strasburg breezed through the first two innings, requiring only 14 pitches. He ultimately received a no-decision. The Nats have pledged to cap Strasburg’s innings at 160 this season after he missed most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, although playoff contention would test that commitment.

Drew Storen, who recorded 43 saves last year, opened the season on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Brad Lidge, who signed a one-year, $1 million deal, and flame-throwing Henry Rodriguez will close in Storen’s absence. Lidge, 35, picked up the save on Opening Day at Wrigley Field -- only the ex-Phillie’s second save since Sept. 27, 2010. The Nats have an ultra-deep bullpen. Rodriguez has been clocked at 101 mph, with a 94 mph changeup. Set-up man Tyler Clippard (3-0, 1.83 ERA in 2011) earned an All-Star invitation last season.

• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman agreed to a six-year, $100 million extension Feb. 26. The deal is on top of the combined $26 million he was due to earn between this season and 2013. The Nats have a team option for 2020.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
9 4.03 100 134
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .284
HRL. Duda 16
RBIL. Duda 51
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .850
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112