New York Mets: John Thorn

Morning Briefing: Montero faces L.A.

May, 20, 2014
May 20
5:37
AM ET

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsRafael Montero makes his second major-league start Tuesday against the Dodgers at Citi Field.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets begin a stretch of 20 games in 20 days by hosting the underachieving Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series at Citi Field.

Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.50 ERA) makes his second major-league start in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. opener. The rookie opposes right-hander Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.38).

The series also marks the return of Justin Turner as a visitor. Turner was non-tendered by the Mets on Dec. 2.

Read the Mets-Dodgers series preview here.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels, who knows the organization’s intimate secrets, has pitched a book to publishers, sources tell ESPNNewYork.com.

Juan Lagares was in the Dominican Republic during Monday’s off-day because of a death in his family, but is expected back in time for Tuesday’s game against L.A., a team official said.

• Sandy Alderson is not ruling out another outfield-dimension adjustment to Citi Field after the season, Kristie Ackert writes in the Daily News. “That is something we might consider at the end of the season, something I am sure will be taken into consideration,” the GM said. “But right now it is not something we are talking about.”

• Mark Simon at ESPNNewYork.com dissects where David Wright’s power has gone.

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen tells Mike Puma in the Post that Montero may have been tipping pitches in his debut against the Yankees, when he allowed three runs in six innings. “I think we picked up a little something that he might be tipping, so we changed things to see if we can get that rectified,” Warthen said. “Get him back to where he was in spring training with the big glove and not giving away things, and I think we’ll see a better outing.”

• Mets pitchers are 1-for-71 on the season, with Jacob deGrom producing the lone hit. Writes Tim Rohan in the Times on that subject:

One person not amused is John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball, who suggested the futility of the Mets’ pitchers served as a vivid argument for the designated hitter in the National League.

“When the D.H. was instituted in 1973, I hated it,” he said. “I’m a traditionalist. But watching National League pitchers being unable to lay down a bunt, and preferring to strike out rather than hit into a double play -- this is not baseball. This is not baseball as we grew up with it, when pitchers had some competence at the plate.”


Alex Brandon/Associated PressYasiel Puig is the reigning co-NL Player of the Week.


Yasiel Puig, who visits Citi Field with the Dodgers, was named co-NL Player of the Week along with Arizona’s A.J. Pollock. Puig hit .348 (8-for-23) with three homers and 10 RBIs in six games last week.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post doesn’t mind Citi Field -- dimensions and all. Writes Vaccaro:

There are many things the Mets don’t do well, and don’t do right. You can categorize them any way you like: alphabetically, numerically, fiscally. The Mets, in many ways, are the home office of bad ideas done badly.

But their ballpark isn’t one of them.

Their ballpark, in fact, grows on you the more the years pass. In a time of rampant stadium and arena additions around here, in fact, you could certainly argue that Citi Field is the best of the bunch, at least from an aesthetic standpoint.

• With Travis d’Arnaud on the seven-day concussion DL at least for one final day, Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at the perils of being a catcher. He notes that since the concussion DL was created in 2011, 17 of the 40 players placed on it have been catchers -- 42.5 percent.

Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner, both rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, could throw off mounds for the first time since their procedures during the first week of June, Marc Carig writes in Newsday. The duo should advance to throwing on flat ground at 150 feet soon, up from 120 feet. Harvey previously has mentioned June 10 as a tentative target date for his initial mound session.

• Hansel Robles tossed six scoreless innings and Matt Clark had a three-run homer as Binghamton won Game 1 of a doubleheader against Portland, 5-0. Dilson Herrera drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th as St. Lucie beat Lakeland, 5-4. Kevin McGowan and Paul Paez combined on the shutout as Savannah blanked Charleston, 6-0. Both first-round picks with Savannah, Gavin Cecchini (hand) and Dominic Smith (foot), are banged up. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Puma in the Post quotes a talent evaluator saying about Noah Syndergaard: “He needs more time. His stuff is better than [Zack] Wheeler’s, but his fastball command has been way too inconsistent. You would be afraid of some real big innings if you brought him to the majors.”

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post says the Mets need to cut out the nonsense and concentrate on winning.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal profiles minor-league outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who was selected by the Mets with the 13th overall pick in 2011. With the next pick, the Miami Marlins selected Jose Fernandez. “He got picked. It happened to be the pick right after me,” Nimmo said. “There’s no escaping that. You face the fact that Jose Fernandez is an amazing baseball player, an amazing talent." Nimmo, 21, is hitting .333 with two homers, 19 RBIs and a .463 on-base percentage in 44 games with St. Lucie.

• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com answers readers’ Mets questions.

• Zach Braziller in the Post discusses 55-year-old Julio Franco’s “comeback” with Mike Marshall, the manager of the independent Fort Worth Cats.

• Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger reviews the Mets’ growing pains.

From the bloggers … The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests Terry Collins does not like to be questioned. … Blogging Mets has its own theory on the increase of Tommy John surgeries.

BIRTHDAYS: Savannah right-hander Ricky Knapp turns 22. ... Former Mets infielder Wilson Valdez is 36.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the NL just adopt the DH so Mets pitchers don’t have to hit?

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 54 75
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 83
RD. Murphy 75
OPSL. Duda .827
WB. Colon 14
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173