New York Mets: Josh Stinson

Farm report: Elvin back after DC diversion

April, 25, 2012
Right-hander Elvin Ramirez had opened eyes during the 2010-11 winter-ball season in his native Dominican Republic while compiling a 1.85 ERA for Gigantes del Cibao in 20 relief appearances.

So during the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings that December, while the Mets were selecting Pedro Beato from the Orioles and Brad Emaus from the Blue Jays, the Nationals were grabbing Ramirez from the Mets.

Courtesy of New York Mets
Elvin Ramirez

Ramirez, now 24, never did pitch while spending nearly a full year with the Nationals. He had developed a shoulder issue while wowing in winter ball that ultimately led to late-March 2011 shoulder surgery while temporarily Washington property.

The Nats eventually returned him to the Mets in mid-October. They could have carried him into this season with the Rule 5 provisions still in place, but chose to no longer tie up the 40-man roster spot.

So now, after a full season away from the organization, which he primarily spent rehabbing at the Nationals’ spring-training complex in Viera, Fla., Ramirez is back with the Mets and again opening eyes.

“I was in-between,” said Ramirez, who spent plenty of time with Washington pitcher and fellow Dominican Atahaulpa Severino during the lost season at the Nats’ complex. “I was hurt, so I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was waiting for whatever was going to happen.”

So far this season, Ramirez has tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings over five relief appearances for Double-A Binghamton. He has struck out a gaudy 15 Eastern League batters while surrendering three hits and five walks.

Ramirez’s velocity sat at 93-94 mph in a recent outing, still shy of the 94-96 mph he tossed pre-shoulder issue. But the results speak for themselves. And the velocity has been creeping upward since Ramirez’s first B-Mets outing, on April 6.

“One of the things I heard when he got Rule 5’d by the Nationals was that winter he was throwing extremely hard,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez said. “His fastball was up to 99, 98 mph. After the injury he suffered -- he sat out last year -- the velocity is coming back slowly. I think in spring training he was throwing 90, 92. There’s been a couple of times here where he’s topped out at 96. Some of the pitching coaches that have seen him in the past say he looks healthy, and they think his fastball is going to come back again.

“But it’s been impressive right now. He throws a fastball, slider and changeup. Right now they’re pretty good. The thing I remember of Elvin from Savannah in 2008, he had the makings of a good changeup. Now he’s got a really good changeup. And he throws it to right-handed hitters. I think that makes him real effective.”

Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, Savannah, .406; Bobby Scales, Buffalo, .377; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, .365; Jefry Marte, Binghamton, .356; Zach Lutz, Buffalo, .333; Wilfredo Tovar, St. Lucie, .321; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, .316; Vinny Rottino, Buffalo, .315; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, .294; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .291.

Homers: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 6.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 15; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 15; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 14; Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 12.

Steals: Danny Muno, St. Lucie, 4; Luis Nieves, Savannah, 4; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 4.

ERA: Darin Gorski, Binghamton, 1.13; Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 1.23; Collin McHugh, Bighamton, 1.59; Tyler Pill, Savannah, 1.76; Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 1.80; Jeremy Hefner, Buffalo, 1.96; Rafael Montero, Savannah, 1.99; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 2.05; Mark Cohoon, Binghamton, 2.05; Domingo Tapia, Savannah, 2.55.

Wins: Chase Huchingson, St. Lucie, 3; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 3.

Saves: Fernando Cabrera, Buffalo, 4; Adam Kolarek, St. Lucie, 3; Josh Edgin, Buffalo, 2; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 2; Adrian Rosario, St. Lucie, 2.

Strikeouts: Zack Wheeler, Binghamton, 24; Jeurys Familia, Buffalo, 23; Collin McHugh, Binghamton, 22; Domingo Tapia, Savannah, 20.

Short hops

Sean Ratliff, who was struck in the eye with a foul ball during spring training in 2011 off the bat of Zach Lutz, has retired. Ratliff, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford, plans to head back to school to complete his education. He underwent four surgeries last year and attempted a comeback this season with Class A St. Lucie. But the outfielder was 3-for-22 with 10 strikeouts and could not overcome the vision deficiencies.

• Left-handed reliever Daniel Herrera is due to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. The injury helped fuel the promotion of fellow lefty Josh Edgin from Binghamton to Buffalo.

Edgin, 25, impressed in spring training and officially was added to major league camp after starting on the minor league side. He struck out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut Monday at Lehigh Valley. Edgin will be exposed to different types of situations with the Bisons to ready him for the majors -- from save opportunities, to entering mid-inning for lefty-on-lefty matchups, to working two-inning appearances. The Lehigh Valley in-stadium gun, which may be slightly slow, clocked Edgin’s fastball at 92 mph in his Buffalo debut. He also showed a tight slider.

The Mets actually have two viable lefty relief options with the Bisons. Chuck James has tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, albeit with five walks.

So why was left-hander Robert Carson the one promoted to the majors Tuesday after Mike Pelfrey was placed on the DL? Well, he’s the one on the 40-man roster. And the call-up is only intended for the Marlins series, after which Carson is expected to be replaced by presumed Friday starter Chris Schwinden.

• Outfielder Dustin Martin made his Triple-A Buffalo debut Tuesday night. Martin, originally a 26th-round pick by the Mets in 2006 out of Sam Houston State, was sent to the Twins with Drew Butera when the Mets originally acquired Luis Castillo. Martin was released by Minnesota at the end of spring training in March. He hit .265 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs in 490 at-bats last season with Triple-A Rochester.

Matt Harvey possessed the best curveball of any of his Triple-A starts while limiting Syracuse to three runs on four hits and three walks in six innings Friday. Harvey, who notched his first Triple-A win, struck out Nationals phenom Bryce Harper twice and also walked him in three plate appearances.

Harper got vengeance on fellow prospect Jeurys Familia the following day, though. After Familia had retired nine straight Syracuse batters, Harper launched his first Triple-A homer. Familia nonetheless was efficient in the outing while striking out eight in a 93-pitch effort over five innings. Harper’s solo homer was the lone run allowed by Familia.

• Bisons right fielder Adam Loewen has been sidelined since being pulled from Friday’s game. He is wearing a boot on his right foot. The injury happened early in the season and had been nagging Loewen. The half-inning before he departed, Loewen felt discomfort tracking a ball in the right-center gap. The next half-inning, while being thrown out by Harper on a play at the plate, manager Wally Backman noticed Loewen had difficulty accelerating. Loewen, who was beaten out by Mike Baxter for the lefty-hitting backup outfield job with the Mets, was hitting .270 with three homers in 37 at-bats with the Bisons.

Dylan Owen, during a spot start Monday while Jeremy Hefner had a major league cameo, not only tossed 4 2/3 effective innings, he became the first Buffalo pitched in 18 years to homer.

Valentino Pascucci has a nine-game hitting streak and Vinny Rottino has a seven-game hitting streak with the Bisons.

Mike Nickeas is 1-for-14 this season for the Mets. And if the Mets dip to the minors to make a change at some point for Josh Thole’s complement, ex-Mariner/Padre Rob Johnson might be the alternative. Still, Johnson is hitting only .214 through 42 at-bats with the Bisons. And fellow Triple-A catcher Lucas May is hitting only .139. The Mets could scour the waiver wire, too. But with catching at a premium in MLB, it may be doubtful something attractive becomes available.

• Middle infielder Josh Rodriguez, a late spring-training pickup by the Mets after his release from the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been named the Double-A Eastern League Player of the Week. Rodriguez, 27, was the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft in December 2010 that also involved Ramirez, Beato and Emaus. He appeared in seven games for the Pirates last season. Rodriguez is hitting .365 with two homers and 10 RBIs for the B-Mets. His signing was influenced by Paul DePodesta, and with a promise of a potentially quick move to Triple-A. Rodriguez’s action at shortstop should increase with teammate Sean Kazmar landing on Binghamton’s DL with an oblique injury.

• First baseman Allan Dykstra, who arrived at the end of spring training in 2011 from the Padres in a swap for reliever Eddie Kunz, headed home to California for five weeks after fracturing his left forearm reaching for a throw from pitcher Darin Gorski. Dykstra will be limited to riding a bicycle during that span. He suffered a similar injury earlier in his career with San Diego and suffered ligament damage. The bone damage is a less difficult road back. Eric Campbell is now manning first base for the B-Mets.

• The Mets released right-hander Eric Beaulac, a ninth-round pick in 2008 out of LeMoyne (N.Y.) College.

• Outfielder Darrell Ceciliani had a short-lived return to St. Lucie’s active roster. After an 11-day absence, Ceciliani injured his hamstring retreating to catch a fly ball Sunday, in his second game back. He previously had been on the DL with a right groin injury. In his six Florida State League games this season, the former New York-Penn League batting champ is hitting .346.

• Left-hander Chase Huchingson’s dominating start to the season for St. Lucie, which included a 3-0 record and 17˝-inning scoreless streak, abruptly came to a halt Tuesday night when he allowed two first-inning runs against Fort Myers. Still, Huchingson’s acquisition is a success story. Scout Max Semler liked Huchingson’s arm and signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Central Arkansas in 2010 after spotting him playing outfield and pitching in an obscure summer league. Huchingson’s fastball sits between 90 and 92 mph.

• Right-handers Kyle Allen and Erik Goeddel made their season debuts for St. Lucie during the past week. Goeddel, a UCLA product, was treated slowly in readying for the season after dealing with shoulder issues last year that limited him to 15 games with Savannah. He allowed a solo homer to rehabbing Cardinal Allen Craig but no other damage in three innings, in the resumption of a suspended game. Goeddel now is expected to enter what should be a six-man St. Lucie rotation.

Cory Vaughn had an inside-the-park homer for St. Lucie. He has a .391 on-base percentage.

• Mets officials are very pleased with 20-year-old Wilfredo Tovar’s play at shortstop for St. Lucie. Compared with Ruben Tejada because both have solid instincts at the position, Tovar may have a better arm and hands.

• Right-hander Logan Verrett, the third-round pick last June out of Baylor, landed on the Savannah DL, but already was due to resume throwing.

• A pair of farmhands removed from the 40-man roster by the Mets and claimed by other organizations are off to strong starts. Fernando Martinez is hitting .294 with three homers for Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros organization. He primarily is playing left field. Right-hander Josh Stinson, claimed at the end of spring training by the Brewers, is 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA and one save at Double-A Huntsville and is now being groomed as a starter. He went a season-high 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night.

• Ex-Met Nelson Figueroa has latched on with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.

Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season

Mets morning briefing 4.5.12

April, 5, 2012
Johan Santana pitches in a major league game for the first time since Sept. 2, 2010 as the Mets open the regular season at Citi Field at 1:10 p.m. against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets will honor Gary Carter, who died Feb. 16 after a 10-month battle with brain cancer, during pregame ceremonies. Carter's widow Sandy and children D.J., Kimmy and Christy will participate in the remembrance.

The Mets are 32-18 all time on Opening Day, a .640 winning percentage that is the best in the majors. The Yankees are second at 65-46 (.586), followed by Baltimore at 63-47 (.573) and Seattle at 20-15 (.571), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.

Before the first pitch, join me for a noon ET chat here.

Thursday's news reports:

• Team doctor David Altchek, who performed Santana's surgery, believes the southpaw is out of the woods as he returns from Sept. 14, 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

Brian Costa in the Journal speaks with Santana about his signature changeup, while Michael Salfino also in the Journal notes pitchers who missed a season often struggle upon their return. Writes Salfino:

Pitchers who started the season for a team after sitting through a layoff of more than a season have combined to allow 4.22 runs per game while averaging just 137.8 innings. Excluding pitchers who missed time due to military service, Santana's absence from big league action that began on Sept. 2, 2010 will be the sixth longest since 1921, according to Stats LLC. The hurler with the longest gap between appearing in the majors and pitching on opening day, former Pirate and later Brooklyn Dodger Preacher Roe, pitched the best of this group. But Roe didn't miss all that time due to injury: He toiled in the minors for five years after pitching a couple innings in 1938.

• Read's breakdown of Mets pitchers here, including scout comment. There's a breakdown of the team's hitters here.

Jon Niese has agreed to a five-year, $25.5 million contract, which can be worth as much as $46 million if the Mets exercise options for 2017 and 2018. The deal will not become official until Niese undergoes a physical. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday and Post.

Ike Davis belted a three-run homer off Freddy Garcia, but the Yankees rallied to beat the Mets, 8-3, at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Mets completed the Grapefruit League with a 9-20-2 record, one shy of matching the franchise's most losses in a spring training. Read more in Newsday.

Bill Madden in the Daily News writes that Sandy Alderson apologized to Mets personnel for taking a detour and having to play in Tampa against the Yankees on the eve of the season. Madden faulted a profit motivation by the owners, who needed to send the team to George M. Steinbrenner Field in order to have the Yankees visit Port St. Lucie, which resulted Tuesday in the largest crowd ever at the Mets' complex for a spring-training game. Writes Madden:

According to MLB sources, when the Mets’ higher-ups learned the Yankees were scheduled to make a rare trip to the east coast of Florida at the end of spring training to open up the new Miami ballpark, they asked if they would consider extending their Sun Coast stay an extra day to play a game in Port St. Lucie. Sure, the Yankees said, as long as the Mets agreed to make it a home-and-home situation so that both teams could benefit from one additional spring training sellout.

It apparently mattered not to the Mets that the only available date left on their schedule was the last one. After all, what’s a little inconvenience to Terry Collins and his players compared to an extra million dollars in spring training revenue, derived from hiking the ticket prices for the Yankees game -- which, despite the fact the Yankees sent only three regulars, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones, still drew a record crowd of 7,644? And weren’t the Yankees doing them an extra favor by moving up the start of Wednesday’s game to noon?

As a result of Wednesday's game in Tampa, the Mets could not have a workout at Citi Field. So their outfielders will go into the first game with revised dimensions without a rehearsal at their stadium.

• Needing to clear 40-man roster spots for Mike Baxter and Miguel Batista, the Mets placed right-handers Josh Stinson and Armando Rodriguez on outright waivers. Stinson was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers and assigned to Double-A Huntsville. Rodriguez cleared waivers and will remain with the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

Andrew Keh in the Times profiles right fielder Lucas Duda. Writes Keh:

Duda’s four home runs in exhibition games and a batting average that hovered around .300 provided some additional reassurance for the Mets’ front office. “Obviously, he’s got that power, that raw power, which scares pitchers out of the strike zone,” said Dave Hudgens, the team’s hitting coach. “He reminds me a ton of Jason Giambi -- that strength, the plate discipline, he can use the whole field, make adjustments.” When told of Hudgens’s comment, Duda said: “It’s nice to be compared to good players. But I’m myself. I can’t really try to be Jason Giambi. I know that sounds bland and vanilla.”

• The Mets' minor league affiliates open their seasons as well today, with Matt Harvey on the mound for Triple-A Buffalo and Collin McHugh starting for Double-A Binghamton.

Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin speaks with top prospect Zack Wheeler, who will pitch for the B-Mets on Friday. "My mom and dad always said me and my brothers, we get our arms from our mom, because she was always breaking people's fingers and stuff when she was throwing the softball," Wheeler told Worthy. "Everyone was always scared to play catch with her."

Mike Harrington's Triple-A Bisons preview in the Buffalo News looks at manager Wally Backman and the uncertain future of the affiliation agreement with the Mets, which expires after this season. Writes Harrington:

The teams' Player Development Contract is up after this season and there will be plenty of pressure on the Bisons to look elsewhere if the 2012 Herd, which opens its season tonight in Pawtucket, flames out again. The Bisons, who have not made the playoffs since 2005, have big expectations for the 25th anniversary season of Coca-Cola Field and they're not unfounded. The Mets have done a good job stocking the club with veteran free agents -- including the return of 2011 Buffalo MVP Valentino Pascucci -- and have put their two close-to-the-majors pitching prospects (6-foot-4 right-handers Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia) at the top of the Bisons' rotation. And to top it off, they've shuffled manager Wally Backman from Double-A Binghamton to Buffalo. Backman, the beloved second baseman from New York's 1986 World Series champions, is the rising star of the organization.

• Newsday's season preview package includes a look at the rotation, explanation of the difficult task of replacing Jose Reyes, a look at stadium grass maintenance, review of Citi Field dimension changes and a position-by-position look at the Mets.

Andy Martino in the Daily News discusses Davis' left ankle (a nonissue, the first baseman says) as well as the suspected case of valley fever. Davis will get a follow-up exam of his lungs now that the team has arrived in New York. Writes Martino:

Although the ankle, which killed Davis’ sophomore year while he was batting .302, with seven home runs in 129 at-bats, has apparently healed (“The ankle is good,” Davis says. “I haven’t had a problem. Hopefully it never flares up.”), the Valley Fever lingers, and Davis cannot promise that it won’t be a problem. “I don’t know,” he said. “It could be, it couldn’t be. Obviously, it could have an effect. I feel tired, but so does everyone here.” The Mets, who issued a statement saying that Davis “likely” had Valley Fever, never went further than that, but Davis is operating under the assumption that he is indeed suffering from the desert-bred malady. “Oh yeah,” he says. “There is definitely something in there. The x-ray isn’t making stuff up.”

With spring training now over, it is difficult to say how much the condition affected Davis. He said this week that he “felt great,” ascribing his general weariness to the Grapefruit League’s unyielding schedule at the ballpark by 8 a.m., on the field for stretching and workouts by 9:30, play under sizzling sun at 1.

• The Marlins opened their season last night with Reyes at shortstop. And columnist Joel Sherman in the Post calls them the "IT" team. Writes Sherman:

There is glitz around the organization that begins with the vibrant colors and garish touches of this $634 million, retractable-roof facility, which could just as easily double as the largest disco in the world. They have a Jets-ian brash feel about them from the verbal jousts of manager Ozzie Guillen, the confident strut of owner Jeffrey Loria, the orange-dyed hair of Reyes and Hanley Ramirez, and the moon-shot abilities of Giancarlo Stanton. They will be the stars of the major leagues’ “Hard Knocks” ripoff, “The Franchise” on Showtime, and undoubtedly will end their six-year run of ranking last in NL attendance.

Jets coach Rex Ryan would look right amid the soap-opera potential and the unrestrained goal to win -- and win now. Look, it all could be ephemeral. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the stadium financing. There are questions if there is enough local passion to retain fans once the novelty of the stadium fades. But, for now, the Marlins are an “It” team.

• The Daily News has scouting reports on Mets players, while Mike Puma in the Post and Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger have general previews. Mike Kerwick in the Record says Mets players, despite the doubters, believe. "I understand the expectations," Mike Pelfrey told Kerwick. "We lost … I don't know how many games we lost. Eighty-five? We lost the National League batting champion. I understand. But we're going to be OK."

• Also read about Citi Field dimension changes in the Record and Journal.

Bobby Valentine will do a weekly Boston Red Sox radio spot with Michael Kay on ESPN 1050 right here in New York. Read more in the Daily News.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro says in the Post that 2012 might seem bleak, but it's been far worse. Writes Vaccaro:

If we can agree that the 1962 Mets were the gold standard (or the zinc standard, perhaps) for ineptitude, there are several candidates for which one comes next. The 103-loss Worst Team Money Could Buy team of 1993 makes a strong case, thanks to their bleach spraying and firecracker slinging. The 2003-04 versions, brightened by Art Howe’s personality lighting up the room, demand a spot in the team photo. As do just about any team from 1963-67, though ’63’s 111-loss team which finished 48 games out of first place (and 15th out of ninth) merits special consideration.

Still, as a representative of the franchise’s darkest, gloomiest period, it’s impossible to overlook 1979, when the team lost 99 games (and had to go on a heroic six-game winning streak to close the season), finished 35 games behind the first-place Pirates (and 17 behind the fifth-place Cubs) and drew 788,905 customers to Shea Stadium, including a nine-game homestand to close the home schedule that attracted a total of 48,960 die-hards -- 27,033 of whom came for Fan Appreciation Day.

Jason Bay did not have an RBI during Grapefruit League play. Writes McCullough in the Star-Ledger:

He is sick of this conversation. Jason Bay has had some variation of it for more than two years now, with friends, family, teammates, coaches and reporters. He has fielded questions about his mechanics, his inconsistency and his disappointing résumé as a Met. His answers are never satisfactory because his performance has never satisfied. “But I understand,” Bay said yesterday inside the visitors clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field for the Mets spring training finale. “Until you do something about it, that’s part of it.”

TRIVIA: Who was the winning pitcher in the Mets' first Opening Day victory as a franchise?

Wednesday's answer: Alex Cora is the only player to bat leadoff for the Mets other than Reyes since 2005. Cora started at shortstop and the No. 1 slot in the order two years ago, while Reyes was working back from a thyroid issue and opened the season on the disabled list.

Source: Stinson claimed

April, 4, 2012
Josh Stinson has been claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers, a baseball source told

He is due to report to Double-A Huntsville, where he will work in relief.

Source: Stinson, Arm-Rod on waivers

April, 4, 2012
Needing to clear 40-man roster spots for the additions of lefty-hitting backup outfielder Mike Baxter and long man/spot starter Miguel Batista, the Mets have placed right-handers Josh Stinson and Armando Rodriguez on outright waivers, a major league source told

Stinson, 24, appeared in 14 games for the Mets last September, going 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA. He previously had made 13 starts for Triple-A Buffalo, during which he went 3-7 with a 7.44 ERA.

Rodriguez, 24, was 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 16 starts for Class A St. Lucie last season. He made his season debut May 28 after opening the season inactive with an oblique strain.

Mets morning briefing 3.16.12

March, 16, 2012
Johan Santana, who threw 44 pitches over 2 2/3 innings Sunday, is scheduled to make his third Grapefruit League start today, against the Detroit Tigers in Port St. Lucie. Santana now will get into more serious pitch counts -- potentially four innings and roughly 60-65 pitches this time -- as he tries to continue to demonstrate he can handle an every-five-days pitching assignment.

Also scheduled to work Friday: Bobby Parnell (who has logged four scoreless Grapefruit League innings and will be pitching on a second straight day), Jeremy Hefner, Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch. Rick Porcello starts for the Tigers.

Friday's news reports:

Jose Reyes faced his former employer for the first time Thursday, although it wasn't much of a reunion. Reyes hit a comebacker to R.A. Dickey on the second pitch he saw, leading off the bottom of the first, and ended up departing following a 54-minute rain delay in the middle of the third. Reyes spoke with New York reporters afterward and suggested there was no real emotion involved in the Grapefruit League matchup. Reyes said he figures the real first matchup will be when the Miami Marlins visit Citi Field for a three-game series beginning April 24. Reyes seemed particularly concerned about David Wright's abdominal issue. He quizzed reporters about Wright's status and separately asked Terry Collins about the shortstop's longtime teammate. Read more in the Journal, Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News, Times and Newsday.

Reyes tells columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post: "I think this year I'm going to play a full season. I've prepared myself to do that. Right now there is nothing to worry about and all my focus is on the field." Said new teammate Logan Morrison: "When I'm tired, I just look at him. He's like a cup of coffee for the eyes."

• Dickey retired all six batters he faced, but the Mets lost to the Marlins, 3-1. Adam Loewen's two-out dropped fly ball in left field allowed two unearned runs to score. Jason Bay went 2-for-2 against Josh Johnson. Ike Davis drove in the Mets' lone run with a ground-rule double. Collins was ejected for arguing a batter interference call against Jordany Valdespin following a bunt by the prospect.

• Top pitching prospects Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia were among 13 players dispatched to minor league camp Thursday, although Collins said Harvey still would be borrowed for Grapefruit League duty. The Mets now have 42 players in camp. The other cuts, which officially came in morning and afternoon waves: center-field prospects Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker, reliever Josh Stinson, as well as Robert Carson, Wilmer Flores, Reese Havens, Juan Lagares, Zach Lutz, Valentino Pascucci and Armando Rodriguez. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Record.

• The final witness trustee Irving Picard plans to call in the $386 million lawsuit against Fred Wilpon and family that goes to trial next week is Noreen Harrington. She was the person overseeing due diligence for Sterling Stamos, the Wilpon-owned investment company set up to try to match Bernard Madoff's returns. Harrington allegedly raised concerns about Madoff to Wilpon's brother-in-law, Saul Katz. Harrington's skepticism about Madoff allegedly angered Katz and money was invested with Madoff anyway over her objections, leading her to quit. In courtroom filings, the Wilpons' lawyers have said Katz does not recall receiving any stern warning from Harrington, and certainly there was nothing presented to the family by her concretely demonstrating Madoff was a fraud.

Harrington has a track record of being a whistleblower, Richard Sandomir notes in the Times. Sandomir discusses how she alerted then-New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer to irregular trading by a Secaucus, N.J., hedge fund in 2003. Writes Sandomir:

When Harrington first called the New York attorney general's office in 2003, she said that she had heard traders bragging about the practice of “late trading” and that she had tried to alert executives at the firm to the practice. Investigators rely heavily on whistle-blowers, Spitzer said, calling tips like Harrington's the lifeblood of his office. Harrington, he said, was a striking truth-teller. "She not only had a level of credibility in her résumé," Spitzer said. "Everything she said came back with precise corroboration."

Jared Diamond in the Journal visits the Mets' weekly bowling night, which Collins started in his first spring training as manager and continued this year. Wrote Diamond:

One team that included Bay and Dillon Gee came in matching Molson Canadian T-shirts. Bench coach Bob Geren brought two of his own bowling balls, including one decorated to look like a giant baseball. Daniel Herrera, sidelined at the time with a back injury, bought a child-sized Razor scooter at a local Walmart and rode it throughout the evening. The next morning, he cruised into the clubhouse on the scooter, still reveling in his team's success. "Our team is called the Scooters, and I'm the mascot," said Herrera, who stands 5 feet 6. "I have to bring something to the table."

Tony La Russa says Carlos Beltran is getting a raw deal for taking that infamous curveball from Adam Wainwright that ended the Mets' 2006 season in Game 7 of the NLCS.

"The pitch that he took from Wainwright, you talk about the greatest hitters in our game, they all would have," La Russa said, according to the Post. "That ball was way up here and everyone that ever comes to bat would have seen that pitch and taken it. All of a sudden it drops in the strike zone, and this guy's gotten criticized for taking strike three.

"There isn’t anybody who is going to swing at that pitch. Except for Yogi Berra, who swings at everything."

TRIVIA: Which player(s) did the Mets receive in their most-recent trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Thursday's answer: Reyes has the franchise record for homers in a single season by a Mets shortstop. He hit 19 in 2006.

Mets make 11 cuts

March, 15, 2012
Highly regarded pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia headlined the first round of cuts at Mets camp.

Also reassigned to the minors Thursday morning: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker, Josh Stinson, Jenrry Mejia, Juan Lagares, Reese Havens, Wilmer Flores, Armando Rodriguez and Robert Carson.

The Mets now have 44 players in camp. More cuts will follow today's Grapefruit League game.

"It's not my call. I can't make the decision," Harvey said. "No matter how much I wanted to try and prove that I could, it's never going to be my call. So I can only do what I can do. ... You know, I'm not happy about it. But I can't make the decision, so I'm going to go out there wherever I'm throwing and do the best I can and keep working and try to get to the level I want to be at."

Harvey said he feels like he's ready for the majors.

"I'd like to think so," Harvey said. "Whenever they feel like I'm ready is when I'm ready."

Familia said he appreciated the experience, and especially the tutelage from 41-year-old Miguel Batista.

"I threw with him every day and did my stuff with him," Familia said. "He taught me how to finish my changeup, my slider, my fastball."

Mets split Tuesday pair

March, 6, 2012

Brad Barr/US Presswire
Ronny Cedeno drew praise from manager Terry Collins on Tuesday for the backup infielder's plate discipline.
R.A. Dickey followed Johan Santana with two perfect innings and the Mets ultimately beat the defending-champion-yet-Albert Pujols-and-Tony LaRussa-less St. Louis Cardinals, 8-6, on Tuesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie.

The Mets also dropped a split-squad game to the Houston Astros, 4-1, in Kissimmee.

• Against the Cardinals, Andres Torres continued a favorable introduction to the organization, going 2-for-3 with a three-run triple. Another newcomer, Ronny Cedeno, went 1-for-2 with a walk and RBI while starting at shortstop. Cedeno drew praise from manager Terry Collins.

Collins said staff recently met with Cedeno and preached plate discipline. Cedeno, who has a .286 career on-base percentage in seven seasons, responded with a 10-pitch walk in Monday’s Grapefruit League opener, then Tuesday’s showing.

“He’s done exactly what we’ve asked him to do,” Collins said. “He’s had great at-bats.”

• Dickey retired all six batters he faced, including Skip Schumaker, Matt Holliday and David Freese consecutively in his second frame.

• Borrowed from minor league camp, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo made his first career Grapefruit League appearance and drew a walk and scored. Fifteenth-round pick Phillip Evans, who was handed an over-slot $650,000 signing bonus to keep him from playing college ball at San Diego State, also debuted. Left-hander Josh Edgin, whom Paul DePodesta has said could fly all the way to the majors this season despite not yet appearing above Class A, recorded the final two outs via strikeout for the save. Darrell Ceciliani had an RBI double to cap the scoring.

With this the only split-squad game of camp and Collins wanting to see backups such as Kevin Baxter, Adam Loewen, Omar Quintanilla, Lucas May and Rob Johnson get plenty of exhibition action, the manager does not foresee many other spring-training opportunities for the kids to come over from minor league camp and appear. That’s despite the Mets’ camp size -- 44 players -- being the lowest Collins can remember in any of his seasons on a major league staff.

Collins got a kick out of the 18-year-old Nimmo’s youthful enthusiasm, particularly when the teenager left the dugout to greet D.J. Carrasco by the foul line after the reliever finished an inning on the mound.

“I need to let him know that we let the players get to the dugout before you shake their hand,” Collins quipped. “You don’t have to go meet them at the foul line. He was al excited. He was very, very excited. I’ll tell you what, he got down that line good, boy.”

Nimmo, who turns 19 in three weeks, was in awe of Holliday’s 6-foot-4 frame.

“He’s the only guy that I think that I’ve seen that’s actually bigger in person than he is on the screen,” the prospect said. “Just being on the field with those guys is a blast.”

Said Collins: “We were sitting there in the ninth inning today. [Coach] Bobby Floyd said, ‘You know, Brandon Nimmo a year ago was playing American Legion baseball, because they don’t have a high school program in Wyoming, or he’s running track. And Phillip Evans was playing high school in San Diego. And today they’re playing in a major league exhibition game.’ That’s pretty impressive for two young kids.”

• Pitching prospect Jeurys Familia, who is in big league camp, did have a rough appearance. Familia surrendered a first-pitch grand slam to Matt Adams in the right-hander’s second inning on the mound and was pulled with two out.

“I thought he actually threw the ball great the first inning,” Collins said. “The second inning, actually the same thing Matt [Harvey] did last night, they start to get a little too fine, try to go to the corners instead of attacking the zone. And he got himself in trouble. Two bases on balls is what killed him.”

• First-year Cardinals manager Mike Matheny echoed the praises of Santana’s performance.

“He had a real effective changeup,” Matheny said. “The ball was looking good out of his hand. It doesn’t look like he was holding anything back. Nasty changeup. You’ve got to have arm speed for that changeup to work. And you can tell really on the swing that Yadi [Molina] took -- the swing and miss -- that thing disappears. He does a good job of hiding the ball. But you’ve got to have some kind of velocity in order to make that changeup work like that.”

Pitching coach Dan Warthen told reporters that the Mets’ radar gun had Santana sitting at 90 mph and topping out at 92 mph. But the stadium gun, which appeared to match scouts’ guns, had Santana sitting at 87-88 mph and topping out at 90 mph.

• At the other split-squad game, against the Astros, starter Chris Schwinden allowed three runs (one earned), including a homer. Second baseman Daniel Murphy had a throwing error on an attempted double play. Fernando Cabrera also allowed a solo homer in two innings. Jeremy Hefner, Armando Rodriguez and Josh Stinson combined for four scoreless relief innings. Josh Satin went 2-for-3 and drove in the Mets’ lone run.

• Ex-Met Fernando Martinez, who was claimed off waivers by the Astros during the offseason, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Intrasquad recap: Ike ankle good

March, 3, 2012
Above: R.A. Dickey faces Lucas Duda in the first inning of Saturday's intrasquad game.

Josh Stinson, Armando Rodriguez and Jon Rauch combined for five scoreless innings in relief of Chris Schwinden as Team Blue beat Team Orange, 4-1, in Saturday’s intrasquad game.

Justin Turner, Jason Bay and Lucas Duda had two hits apiece for the victors, while Ike Davis and Josh Thole each matched that output for the losing side. R.A. Dickey allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three in two scoreless innings. Pedro Beato and D.J. Carrasco each were charged with two runs in two innings.

Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy were paired in the middle infield but not tested with a play that required any coordination.

Thole threw out Turner on the only steal attempt against him.

Terry Collins said he was particularly paying attention to Davis during his two times on base, since this was his first quasi-game action since suffering what turned out to be the season-ending left ankle injury last May 10 in Colorado.

“My thing with Ike, actually when he’s at first, I’m not even watching the pitch. I’m seeing how he reacts,” Collins said. “How’s he feeling? Can I see any evidence that his ankle may be bothering him when he starts out? When he hit a double, I watched him run the entire way. I didn’t even care where the ball went. I wanted to see how he made a turn, whether he was cautious or not. And he looks great.”

As for Dickey, Collins said: “When he first started out, you could tell it’s been a while since he’s been out there. But, later on, the command of his knuckleball was very, very good. One of the reasons why he got off to a rough start last year is the command of his knuckleball was not real good. I mean, he walked more guys early in the year than he ever has. So I want to make sure he gets out of this camp with a good feel for it.”

“I was OK,” Dickey said. “I mean, on a 1 to 10, it was probably a 6. I had a lot of good movement, so that was nice to see. But I felt a little rusty.”

Mike Baxter manned first base after Davis departed, and Collins said both Baxter and Adam Loewen will get work there. The intent is not particularly to use them in a regular-season game there -- Turner will be the backup to Davis. But Collins wants versatility from whomever emerges as the backup lefty-hitting outfielder. (Loewen might have received a boost Saturday if Scott Hairston’s oblique injury lingers into the season, since Loewen has center-field experience and Baxter is not comfortable there.)

Baxter appeared in one game with the San Diego Padres in 2010 at first base and has played 150 minor league games there over six seasons. Loewen has appeared in 24 minor league games at first base.

“They both told me that they can play first,” Collins said. “Mike Baxter said he didn’t play the outfield until he signed [professionally]. I wanted to put him over there to see how he looks. When we’re looking at our bench, and we’re looking at that possibility of finding that left-handed hitter, right now for me it’s got to be a guy who can play multiple positions -- not that he’s ever going to play first, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t play it down here.”

• Collins said David Wright won’t play very much in Monday’s Grapefruit League opener, but he should seem limited action. Wright experienced rib-cage tightness this week, and was scratched from Saturday’s intrasquad game. He will resume hitting Sunday to see how the area responds. “He made a play the other day and he felt a little stretch in his ribs and he’s been fine,” Collins said. “He’s been doing all the drills. We just asked him to back off. We’ve got 31 exhibition games to play.”

Johan Santana came through Saturday’s 40-pitch bullpen session “fine,” Collins said, and should be good to pitch in Tuesday’s home Grapefruit League game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

• Collins said Sunday should be a formal intrasquad game rather than batting practice, although they may borrow minor leaguers to have enough participants.

View from St. Lucie: Gee whizkers

February, 15, 2012

Adam Rubin
Dillon Gee shows off the goatee he has been growing all offseason, which he said was motivated by boredom. The facial feature may not make it into the season, though. "I feel like I've got to throw 98 to pull this off," Gee lightheartedly said.

Adam Rubin
David Wright charges for a barehand play while working out on a back field in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday with fellow infielders including Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy.

Adam Rubin
Josh Stinson, a candidate for the bullpen who had a solid September with the Mets, throws off a mound at the team's complex. A native of Shreveport, La., Stinson has now relocated to Nashville.

Mets morning briefing 9.27.11

September, 27, 2011
Josh Stinson surrendered a three-run homer in the seventh to deprive Chris Schwinden of his first major league win as the Mets lost to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-5, on Monday night at Citi Field. Only two games remain in the season. The loss clinched fourth place for the Mets in the division.

Tuesday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson sits down with Newsday's Ken Davidoff for a Q&A.

Regarding Jose Reyes, Alderson tells Davidoff: "It's a critical decision, no question about that. It's the fundamental decision that we have to make this offseason. It will shape every other decision we make. There are many risks involved, from signing a player to a contract of that magnitude to the players we may be precluded from signing because of such a commitment. But everyone recognizes the connection Jose has with Mets fans. That's not something we take lightly. ... It does seem to be more interesting than most free agencies. On the other hand, almost by definition, someone who's a highly desirable free agent has made some connection with his fan base. But Jose has connected more than most, I'd say."

Alderson went on to assert that the medical treatment from team doctors is fine.

"From working with the doctors, I don't think that's an issue," the GM said. "From our standpoint, some of these injuries have been unique. Whatever medical care was given, I don't think we have a systemic issue here. You look at David Wright, we thought he was coming back (from a back injury) in 30 days and it took him over 60 days. He didn't heal like we hoped. Ike Davis suffered a freak injury to a part of the body (left ankle) that's very complex and difficult to predict in its severity. In all of these instances, there were more than our own doctors involved. We've done everything we could from a variety of sources. Through July 31, we had fewer total days on the disabled list than last year, and that's with Johan Santana there for the whole season. The short answer is I'm not dissatisfied."

Alderson also insisted that whatever the payroll, it is the result of lower revenues rather than anything Bernard Madoff related.

• After a 3-for-4 night with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs, Jose Reyes upped his average to .334. He leads Milwaukee's Ryan Braun by .00003 for the NL batting lead. Braun came off the bench to deliver a double for Milwaukee. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp's Triple Crown hopes appear to have faded. Kemp went 1-for-4, albeit with three RBIs, in a 4-2 win at Arizona and is hitting .324. Reyes, by the way, told the Daily News that he may see a doctor Tuesday for eye redness he's had for the past two weeks, but that it is not irritating or affecting his vision. Read more on Reyes' Monday night performance in Newsday and the Post.

Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal catches up with the Mets' former GM, Omar Minaya, about the similarities between the 2007 Mets collapse and the 2011 Red Sox swoon. Minaya tells Costa: "It's kind of one of those things that you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but your feet are not moving to get to the light. Your mind sees the light, but for some reason your body is not walking toward that light."

Ozzie Guillen looks like he will be joining the division as manager of the Florida Marlins. The Chicago White Sox should get players as compensation for the change of address.

• The Mets nixed allowing the Yankees to place their Triple-A team in Newark, N.J., for one season while stadium renovations are performed in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the actual home of the International League team, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. Star-Ledger columnist emeritus Jerry Izenberg chastises the Mets. Writes Izenberg:

One of the concerns that influenced the Mets was their belief that a minor league team in Newark might have weaned potential Mets fans away from the affluent New Jersey suburbs. Actually if such a presence was allowed, the idea of seeing future Yankees in New Jersey would probably have hurt the Yanks a little bit at their game -- surely not the Mets. Last night, a Mets spokesman confirmed that the team blocked the move, and would only say the decision was within the team’s rights. The prospect of that wonderful season is now stone cold dead. Perhaps the Mets have a point. At 23 games out of first place, they are farther back than all but three other National League teams. A minor league team in Newark could be a problem to the current “minor league” team at Citi Field.

• Wright was drilled with a ninth-inning pitch from Reds closer Francisco Cordero. Wright was unconcerned about the stress fracture he suffered in his lower back being antagonized, but described himself as sore.

• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo took batting practice with the Mets on Monday at Citi Field before returning to Fort Myers, Fla., to resume playing in the instructional league. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Post, Newsday and Daily News.

• The Daily News reports if the Mets do re-sign Willie Harris or Scott Hairston for the bench, it will come late in the offseason. "This is my first choice," Harris told the newspaper. "I feel like I will have opportunities other places, but here, I already know what type of role I would have. I would know that coming in, so they have first choice."

• On Monday, former clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels' next courting hearing was scheduled for Oct. 18. The sides may be working on a plea bargain, correspondent Ian Begley reports.

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Phillips, who became a bullpen catcher for the Seattle Mariners after his playing career ended, turns 35.

Rapid Reaction: Reds 6, Mets 5

September, 26, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Josh Stinson surrendered a three-run homer to Chris Heisey in the seventh inning, depriving fellow September call-up Chris Schwinden of his first major league win. Stinson had been asked to protect a 4-3 lead after inheriting a pair of runners from left-hander Tim Byrdak.

The eventual 6-5 loss secured the Mets finishing in fourth place in the National League East, with Washington taking third place and soon-to-be-Ozzie-Guillen-managed Florida in the basement.

The Mets placed two runners on base with none out in the ninth, when Willie Harris greeted Reds closer Francisco Cordero with a double and David Wright was drilled in the back. But Nick Evans' bunt was fielded and Harris thrown out at third base. Josh Thole then grounded into a game-ending double play.

Schwinden had departed with a one-run lead after five innings. He finished his first month as a major leaguer 0-2 with a 4.71 ERA in four starts.

An inning before Heisey's game-altering homer, Ryota Igarashi seemingly had helped Schwinden avoid a no-decision. After inheriting the bases loaded and none out from ex-Red Daniel Herrera, Igarashi stranded all three runners to preserve the 4-3 lead. Schwinden also had departed with a one-run lead in St. Louis in his previous start, only to get a no-decision as well.

Schwinden's line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB (intentional), 5 K. He threw 87 pitches (53 strikes).

REYES TRACKER: Jose Reyes went 3-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. Reyes lifted his average to a National League-leading .334. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, who did not start for the Brewers on Monday, sat at .333.

Reyes delivered an RBI double in the eighth inning that pulled the Mets within 6-5. But he was caught straying too far off second base and was tagged out, depriving the Mets of having the tying run in scoring position. (Ruben Tejada followed with a two-out single.)

Terry Collins suggested he may sit Reyes in Wednesday's matinee finale for fear of a hamstring injury with a day game after a night game. But the combination of it potentially being Reyes' final game as a Met and Braun having a night finale with Milwaukee that day makes sitting Reyes less likely. After all, it will not be clear Wednesday afternoon what average Reyes needs to achieve in order to win the first batting title in franchise history, since Braun plays several hours later.

WHAT'S NEXT: Free-agent-to-be Chris Capuano (11-12, 4.55 ERA), whom the Mets figure to attempt to re-sign, makes his final 2011 start. Capuano had a $1.5 million base salary, but will have earned $3.925 million with bonuses for the season. Capuano opposes Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo (9-12, 5.09).

Mets morning briefing 9.13.11

September, 13, 2011
The Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 3-2, on Monday night. Afterward, Terry Collins suggested the first-responder hat saga had put the players on pins and needles and affected their play.

Tuesday's news reports:

• Player rep Josh Thole said he already has asked the union to try to get guidelines in place that would allow for the first-responder hats to be worn on Sept. 11, 2012 -- no matter if the Mets are at home or on the road.

Major League Baseball disputed the allegation heavy fines would have been levied, and even players said no first-responder hats were confiscated by MLB. An authenticator from MLB collected hats from players who decided to turn those over, without any strong-arm tactics. The authenticator is there seemingly every game to document game-used items that can later be sold (for charity of profit, depending on the situation). David Wright wore a first-responder cap on the bench in-game and said it was not confiscated from him.

Jeff Wilpon was on the phone with MLB even Sunday imploring them to allow the Mets to wear the hats, but the policy was reiterated to the chief operating officer. Still, the Mets could have elected to violate the policy -- likely without consequence -- and did not. There were strong rumblings the Mets' desire to stay in MLB's good graces (for obvious reasons) was a factor. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Record, Star-Ledger and Daily News.

Jose Reyes' hitting streak ended at 14 games with an 0-for-4 performance. His average dipped to .329, two points behind now-NL batting leader Ryan Braun of Milwaukee.

Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal looks at Reyes' career-high .372 on-base percentage, which is at least 14 points better than any other season. Writes Costa:

At the heart of Reyes' season is an almost unparalleled ability to make contact with the ball. He has connected on 90.2% of the pitches he has swung at, according to the baseball statistics site, the third-highest rate among NL hitters with at least 500 plate appearances. "There are certain guys, when they swing the bat, they hit the baseball," manager Terry Collins said. ... That has helped him cut his strikeout rate to a career-low 7%. But more importantly, it has enabled him to more fully utilize his speed. When he puts the ball in play, he has reached base 35% of the time, the ninth-highest rate in the league. Some of that may be attributable to luck, but much of it is no doubt attributable to his speed.

Read more on Reyes in the Star-Ledger.

• Yankees catching phenom Jesus Montero could have been a Met, but the Amazin's opted for a cheaper option in Tony Pena's son Francisco Pena out of the Dominican Republic that winter, while the Yankees handed Montero a $1.7 million signing bonus.

David Waldstein in the Times recalls Montero trying out for Mets brass in Port St. Lucie, Fla., as a 16-year-old. Montero was trying to throw out a stealing then-Mets farmhand Carlos Gomez at second base, but jumped out too quickly, and when a bat shattered, there was a fear Montero had broken his hand. X-rays turned out negative. “A lot of pain,” Montero recalled to Waldstein about the incident. “The bat broke in pieces, and I thought I broke my hand, too. I was scared. I thought I would be out for a long time and I wanted to show everyone what I could do.”

The 21-year-old Pena, by the way, hit .223 in 95 games for Class A St. Lucie this season.

• Savannah, the lone remaining Mets minor league affiliate still alive, was one out away from a Game 1 win in the South Atlantic League playoffs. Instead, the Sand Gnats squandered two homers from University of Tennessee product Blake Forsythe and suffered a walk-off loss to Greensboro.

Chris Schwinden, despite a high innings count this season, will get starts in place of Miguel Batista as a way to gauge his readiness for a 2012 contribution. "He's had a long season, but we ultimately have to take another look at him," Collins said about Schwinden.

R.A. Dickey tossed his 10th straight quality start in the loss. It's the longest streak by a Met since Johan Santana finished the 2008 season with 14 straight. Read game recaps in Newsday and the Daily News.

Jason Bay was named National League Player of the Week. Wright received the honor the previous week. The last time the Mets earned the award consecutive weeks was in June 2006, when Reyes and Wright shared one award, then Reyes won the following week.

Andrew Keh in the Times looks at bullpen newcomers Josh Stinson and Daniel Herrera. “Terry’s put me in some decent spots, and I’ve been doing the job pretty well,” Herrera told Keh. “But it’s only been a handful of outings.”

BIRTHDAY: Former reliever Grant Roberts turns 34. He has been an assistant coach for fellow ex-Met Mackey Sasser at Wallace Community College in Dothan-Eufala, Ala.

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 10, Mets 6 (11)

September, 12, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: M-E-T-S, Mets, Mets, … ahhh, never mind.

On a night the Mets did a quality job with a pregame 9/11 remembrance ceremony, and with several 2001 players on hand at Citi Field, the team squandered a pair of late bases-loaded threats and lost, 10-6, to the Chicago Cubs in 11 innings.

Rookie Josh Stinson’s scoreless streak to open his career ended at 6 1/3 innings when he surrendered the tiebreaking RBI single to Carlos Pena in the final frame. Stinson threw only three of 15 pitches for strikes. He was pulled with the bases loaded and none out. Ryota Igarashi then allowed all three inherited runners to score in what became a six-run 11th.

The Mets had loaded the bases in the ninth and 10th innings to no avail. In the initial threat, Jason Bay grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced out Ruben Tejada at the plate and Jason Pridie struck out. In the latter opportunity, David Wright flied out to left field after Lucas Duda was intentionally walked with first base open.

The Mets had closed to within 4-3 in the sixth on an RBI double by Nick Evans and a run-scoring single by Ronny Paulino.

They evened the score at 4 in the eighth. The Mets placed a pair of runners on base with one out when Angel Pagan singled and stole second and Evans was hit by a pitch by Cubs reliever Sean Marshall.

Jeff Samardzija entered and Josh Thole, pinch-hitting for Paulino, lined out to third for the second out. But Justin Turner, also pinch-hitting, followed by hitting a comebacker that bounced off Samardzija’s glove. Samardzija recovered the baseball and rushed a throw that skipped past Carlos Pena at first base, allowing Pagan to score the tying run from second base.

Turner extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.

BATTY: After limiting opponents to three runs in 12 innings over his first two Mets starts, both against the Florida Marlins, Miguel Batista had a rough start Sunday. Batista allowed four runs on five hits, three walks and two hit batters while also issuing a wild pitch in five innings. He departed trailing 4-1.

BATTING TITLE WATCH: Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. Reyes ultimately went 1-for-5 as his average dipped to .332. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, who went 1-for-4 Sunday against the Phillies, ranks second at .331.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets play host to the Washington Nationals in a four-game series beginning Monday at 7:10 p.m. R.A. Dickey (8-11, 3.47 ERA) opposes Nats left-hander Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.83) in the opener. The lone member of Washington’s current rotation the Mets do not face in the series is Stephen Strasburg, who pitched Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 1, Marlins 0

September, 7, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets finish with an all-time record of 74-72 at Sun Life Stadium (formerly Joe Robbie, Pro Player, Dolphin and Land Shark). They also split the 18-game season series, going 5-4 in Miami and 4-5 at Citi Field against the Marlins.

R.A. Dickey limited the Marlins to four hits and three walks while striking out three in a 106-pitch effort over seven scoreless innings. Dickey has contributed nine straight quality starts, the longest streak of his career. He tossed 20 innings without allowing an earned run against the Marlins in 2011.

"It was a very momentum-type outing for me," Dickey said. "I started off mediocre the way it felt in my hand. It's really hard to throw a good knuckleball with a lot of moisture in your hand. It's incredibly humid. And we got some rain -- a little bit. The second and third innings I really had to fight out of some jams. I was fortunate enough to make some good pitches."

The lone run came in the first inning against Marlins left-hander Brad Hand, as Jose Reyes opened the game with a single and scored on Lucas Duda’s one-out double.

Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison threw out David Wright attempting to score from second base on Jason Bay’s single to end the top of the eighth.

Reyes went 1-for-2 with two walks as his average remained at .335.

PENULTIMATE: Josh Stinson worked around a leadoff bunt single from Emilio Bonifacio to toss a scoreless eighth, stranding Bonifacio at third base by striking out Gaby Sanchez. Manny Acosta then notched his fifth career save, and second save as a Met. The other came Aug. 18, 2010 in a 14-inning win at Houston.

Stinson has opened his major league career with 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

“I’ll tell you what: I thought today was the most relaxed he’s looked in his outings,” Terry Collins said about Stinson. “He looked like he knew he belonged out there and he made pitches. As a matter of fact, Mike (Nickeas) said he made a couple of good pitches that didn’t get called. He looked very much the part of a big leaguer.”

As for Acosta, Collins added: “That would be a good question for him -- just exactly where did it all come from -- because this guy in the last month, the last six weeks, has not only amped it up emotionally, but he throws all of his pitches for strikes. He’s down in the zone for the most part. It’s been very impressive.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Right-hander Chris Schwinden (8-8, 3.95 at Triple-A Buffalo) makes his major league debut in Game 1 of a Hurricane Irene makeup doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at 4:10 p.m. at Citi Field. Schwinden opposes left-hander Mike Minor (4-2, 4.09). In Game 2, Dillon Gee (12-5, 4.48) faces right-hander Julio Teheran (0-1, 5.19).

Collins will turn to Acosta on Wednesday

September, 7, 2011
Terry Collins said he will refrain from using Bobby Parnell as closer on Wednesday. That is partly due to Parnell throwing 33 pitches Tuesday. And it is partly due to Parnell blowing his second save in his past three chances in a game the Mets eventually won against the Florida Marlins in 12 innings.

Going forward, Collins still intends to have Parnell close the majority of opportunities. But Manny Acosta will get the role on Wednesday with Jason Isringhausen unavailable, and Collins will spread the role around a little with Parnell’s struggles.

“It’s close to the same thing, it’s just a different inning,” Parnell said about closing. “The big thing is I feel comfortable there in the ninth inning. I really do. I think my biggest downfall is I’m trying to do too much and make it bigger than it really is. I need to relax and just go after the hitters and do what I’ve been doing all year. I’m out there trying to throw 100 (mph) and make some nasty sliders, and really all I’ve got to do is go out there and do what I’ve been doing.

“I’ve got a lot of adrenaline. Usually when I get in trouble is from overthrowing.”

Josh Stinson notched his first major league save with a scoreless 12th inning Tuesday, but Collins does not plan to give the rookie closing opportunities this season. It’s more important, the manager said, for Stinson to have September success in a less-intense role in order to build up his confidence.

“I think Josh is going to do a really good job. I think you ease him into that,” Collins said. “I don’t think you throw him into the fire too fast. I don’t want to have him have a tough time coming up, throwing him in those Atlanta games or (against) somebody else, and then him have doubt that he can’t pitch here. This is his first time and he’s throwing good. I’ll tell you want: When 2011 is over, I want Josh Stinson to believe he can pitch in the big leagues.”



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187