<
>

Morning Briefing: Toenail thwarts matchup

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The planned matchup Thursday between Jacob deGrom and Stephen Strasburg will not materialize at Tradition Field.

Strasburg was scratched from the start by the Washington Nationals because of an ingrown toenail and instead will pitch back in Viera in minor-league camp. The Nats will start right-hander A.J. Cole oppose deGrom at 1:10 p.m.

Jim Duquette, Scott Braun and sideline reporter Alexa Datt will handle the Mets-Nats telecast on SNY.

Thursday’s news reports:

Josh Edgin may have dodged a serious bullet with his left elbow discomfort, at least for now. Two sources told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday night that rest and rehab, not surgery, tentatively appear the course of action after Edgin confessed to elbow discomfort. Edgin spent Wednesday in New York, getting examined by team doctor David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Read more at MLB.com and in the Daily News and Record.

Matt Harvey experienced sluggishness and fatigue in his second Grapefruit League start, although he described that as normal for this portion of spring training and not a sign of complications from Tommy John surgery. Harvey allowed two runs on six hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings and his fastball sat at 93 to 95 mph after the first inning against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. He threw 49 pitches. Harvey next is due to face the Boston Red Sox on Monday in Fort Myers. The target is 60 pitches over four innings for that appearance.

“The adrenaline probably took him up a little bit higher last time,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said postgame. “It’s not out of the ordinary that your second one is just a little bit more sluggish than the other.”

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Noah Syndergaard struck out five of the nine Marlins he faced on Wednesday.

Read more in the Journal, Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com. Columnists Anthony Castrovince at MLB.com and Bill Madden in the Daily News also reflect on Harvey.

• The Mets lost to the Marlins, 7-4, at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Scott Rice was charged with five runs (four earned) in the seventh inning as Miami overcame a late two-run deficit. Noah Syndergaard struck out five in 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Dillon Gee, again working out of the bullpen, allowed a baserunner inherited from Rice to score before retiring the next four batters. Terry Collins described Gee as “very awkward” as the right-hander gets acclimated to a relief role. Ruben Tejada manned third base for the first time in his professional career. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, a walk, two RBIs and a run scored.

Read more on Syndergaard from columnist David Lennon in Newsday.

Read more on Gee in the Post and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

Read a game recap at MLB.com.

Bobby Parnell, who originally had eyed Wednesday for his first game since Tommy John surgery, will have that return delayed for four or five days. Parnell has been dealing with a left hamstring issue for about 10 days. It did not prevent him from keeping in shape by throwing on flat ground, but the Mets do not want to chance things by putting him back on a mound just yet. Parnell already had been slated to open the season with a brief disabled-list stint. Read more in Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

• Also on the injury front, the Mets are now targeting Sunday for Lucas Duda to make his 2015 Grapefruit League debut. Duda has been slowed by a strained intercostal muscle on his left side. He has resumed taking batting practice. Outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo was due to take dry swings Wednesday for the first time since suffering a hand injury. He has been out of games for a week because of left-thumb swelling, which resulted from getting jammed by a pitch. Read more at NJ.com.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests Harvey versus Jose Fernandez could create epic matchups for years to come (even if it may be a Yankees-Red Sox matchup years down the road). Fernandez is due back this summer from his Tommy John surgery. Sherman speaks with Tom Seaver, who notes that the games he remembers are matchups with Bob Gibson -- not those against middling starting pitchers. Writes Sherman:

The crowd that watched Matt Harvey’s second spring start Wednesday included an interested bystander in a No. 16 Marlins uniform.

Jose Fernandez sat near Miami manager Mike Redmond on a bench to the right of the Roger Dean Stadium home dugout. He said he wanted to watch, curious to get a glimpse not just at Harvey, but his own near future. The duo shares much in common -- a division, genius in their right arms, an agent and Tommy John surgery.

“We’ve chatted some about [rehab],” Fernandez said.

• Denis Hamill in the Daily News tells the story of a 12-year-old liver transplant patient who got to meet the Mets.

From the bloggers … Mets Report assesses the decision not to consider using Steven Matz in the bullpen … Legends on Deck weighs in on Edgin’s injury.

BIRTHDAYS: Darryl Strawberry turns 53. ... Dave Williams is 36. ... Shawn Gilbert is 50. ... Carlos Muniz is 34.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Is Matt Harvey a mere mortal?