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Morning Briefing: Wheels down

3/14/2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler's planned start Saturday against the Washington Nationals has been scrapped because the pitcher is dealing with elbow tendinitis and a recurring blister underneath his right index fingernail, general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Alderson downplayed the elbow issue, saying Wheeler pitched at points last season with the same elbow condition while making a full complement of starts. There were no plans for a fresh MRI, according to the GM. Alderson added that Wheeler would reenter the Grapefruit League rotation for his next turn.

Prospect Tyler Pill, who made 21 starts for Double-A Binghamton last season, will start in place of Wheeler in the 1:10 p.m. game at Tradition Field (WPIX/WOR). Right-hander Tanner Roark starts for the Nats.

Saturday’s news reports:

• The Mets and attorneys for fired senior VP Leigh Castergine jointly announced a settlement of her civil lawsuit, which had alleged harassment and wrongful termination. The settlement figure was not revealed. Castergine claimed that chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon harassed her about being single and pregnant. The Mets had denied the allegations at the time of the filing.

Friday’s joint statement partly read: "The parties have decided to resolve this matter, which has brought more attention to the workplace environment for women in sports and will result in the organization being more attentive to the important issues raised by women in sports."

Writes Richard Sandomir in the Times:

The decision to jointly end the lawsuit differs from Madison Square Garden’s decision in 2006 to fight a sexual harassment and discrimination case filed against it and Isiah Thomas, the team’s president, by Anucha Browne Sanders, a senior marketing executive. The testimony at that trial was highly negative for the Garden. A jury verdict found for Ms. Browne Sanders; she settled for $11.5 million in damages.

Anne C. Vladeck, who represents Ms. Castergine, was part of the legal team for Ms. Browne Sanders.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Record, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

• Read more on Wheeler’s elbow issue in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Record, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

Vic Black was dispatched for an MRI on Friday for what Alderson maintained is just shoulder tendinitis. The GM said Black was sent for the imaging test because the reliever had a herniated disk in his neck last August, and the Mets want to conclusively rule out a link, although none is believed to exist.

• The Mets shipped former first-round picks Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini as well as catching prospect Xorge Carrillo to minor-league camp, leaving 54 players remaining on the big-league side. Nimmo had been out of Grapefruit League action for eight days because of left-thumb inflammation. Read more at MLB.com.

Josh Edgin indicated Friday that his MRI results have been sent at his request to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Edgin maintained he is undecided about whether to initially pursue rehab or whether to immediately undergo Tommy John surgery. Team officials seem to believe the conservative, non-surgical approach is sensible. Edgin has been diagnosed with a stretched ligament -- but not torn -- that is agitated by a bone spur. Read more in the Record and at NJ.com.

Wilmer Flores had a three-run homer and finished 3-for-4 as the Mets beat the Braves, 13-2, Friday at Tradition Field. Jonathon Niese tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Read more at MLB.com.

• Alderson said at the recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston that there is a correlation between catchers trying to steal extra strikes by “pitch framing” and passed balls. To that end, bench coach Bob Geren reviewed video and determined that one-third of Travis d'Arnaud's passed balls last season were the result of trying to steal a borderline strike, Mike Puma writes in the Post. “In certain situations it’s better to catch the ball and keep the runners from advancing than trying to get a pitch,” d’Arnaud concludes to Puma.

John Franco completed a week as a guest instructor on Friday. Mike Vorkunov at NJ.com has a Q&A with the former captain. Asked if he could still pitch, the 54-year-old Franco said: “If I can pitch from 30 feet I'll be fine.” One pupil Franco had this week: lefty relief prospect Jack Leathersich. The two worked on Leathersich’s two-seam fastball, according to the Daily News.

Meanwhile, while Franco served as a guest instructor this spring training, Mike Piazza reportedly will not this year.

Bobby Parnell threw off a mound Friday for the first time since he was backed off because of a left-hamstring issue. Read more at NJ.com.

• Tim Rohan in the Times reviews a drill that hitting coach Kevin Long uses with certain hitters to get them to pull inside pitches.

From the bloggers … Mets Report suggests Alderson “stop treating Mets fans like chumps.”

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets pitcher Josh Stinson, now pitching in South Korea, turns 27. ... Farmhand Rainy Lara is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Zack Wheeler’s injury is nothing serious?