New York Mets: Kevin Burkhardt

Morning Briefing: Double dip

September, 25, 2014
Sep 25
7:33
AM ET
WASHINGTON

FIRST PITCH: Let’s play two!

After a rainout Wednesday at Nationals Park, the Mets complete the road portion of their 2014 schedule with a split doubleheader.

Dillon Gee (7-8, 3.88 ERA) opposes right-hander Blake Treinen (2-3, 1.94) at 1:05 p.m.

Zack Wheeler (11-10, 3.49) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.74) at 7:05 p.m.

The Mets are 38-41 on the road this season.

Overall, the Amazin’s are 76-81. That means they need to run the table in their final five games in order to avoid their sixth straight losing season.

The Mets also slipped back into third place, a half-game behind Atlanta, with the Braves’ win on Wednesday.

If Washington swept Thursday’s doubleheader, the Nats would match the most wins ever by a team against the Mets in a single season. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1962 and the Dodgers again in ’63 went 16-2 against the Mets. The Nats are 14-3 against the Mets this season.

Thursday also will mark Kevin Burkhardt’s final day as SNY’s Mets field reporter before moving on to Fox full time.

Thursday’s news reports:

David Wright first told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that his left shoulder issue is more involved than just persistent rotator cuff tendinitis. Wright said ligaments holding the shoulder in place are “weak” and “stretched out.” He hopes a six-week program stabilizes the shoulder. Otherwise, surgery may be needed. That would require a three to 3½-month rehab process.

Travis d'Arnaud may be out for a few days, although neither he nor Terry Collins would disclose the precise issue. D’Arnaud was due to be examined by a team doctor.

• Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors.com reviews the pros and cons of slugging Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas and predicts he will receive a seven-year, $105 million contract. Tomas turns 24 in November. Writes Dierkes:

Tomas’ best attribute is his power, a trait that is in short supply in today’s game. Only 14 players hit 30 or more home runs in 2013, and fewer might reach that threshold this year. Tomas has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale, wrote Baseball America’s Ben Badler in June, so he profiles as one of those rare 30+ home run bats. “He’s got a ton of power,” countryman Rusney Castillo told WEEI’s Rob Bradford through a translator this month. Tomas has produced a .290/.345/.504 throughout his career in Cuba, although those numbers include a pair of seasons in which he slugged just .385 (2009-10) when he was still a teenager.

Though Tomas checks in at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, he’s “agile for his size,” according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. Sanchez also says Tomas has a strong arm, so he fits the typical right-field profile. (Some teams may prefer him in left, of course.)

• Mike Puma in the Post writes that despite a quiet September, Lucas Duda is the first baseman in 2015.

• Columnist Denis Hamill in the Daily News writes that even Mets fans admire Derek Jeter.

BIRTHDAYS: David Weathers turns 45. ... Argenis Reyes is 32. ... Minor-league catcher Colton Plaia is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you have any confidence the Mets will sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas?

Kevin Burkhardt's last call with SNY

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
9:35
AM ET
WASHINGTON -- After eight seasons as Mets field reporter, Kevin Burkhardt is currently working his final series for SNY before moving on full time to Fox. He sat down with ESPNNewYork.com for a Q&A ...

What was the last day at Citi Field like, when hundreds of fans gathered on the Shea Bridge to salute you?

"You saw it, right? It was pretty unbelievable. Obviously I thought I had a pretty good relationship with the fans. They like me. I don't know how it looked from the press box. I was in the booth, and I could see there were some people there. I didn't get the scope of it. And then I walked out there and it was like 500 or 600 people. It was complete bedlam. That's when it officially hit me that I'm not coming back. It was really humbling. It was cool. I enjoyed every second of it. It was neat."


Adam RubinKevin Burkhardt is working his final series as an SNY field reporter.


So what is this Nats series emotionally like for you?

"To be honest, it's almost anticlimactic. How do you have that, and then still work? I'm just trying to say goodbye to some people and thanks this week as much as I can. It's cool. At least you get to see the Mets playing against a playoff team. So there's some relevance to the games."

In your eight years as the field reporter, the Mets had two collapses and now potentially six straight losing seasons.

"Good times, huh?"

What do you take away from watching that span of Mets baseball?

"It definitely sucked not having a chance to cover a playoff team. That would have been fun. I would have enjoyed it. I think it is what it is. I caught the team in a transition period. I think it made me better, because you have to be on your game when the team isn't great, for people to watch and still care about the broadcast. So I think in a way it made me better."

When you got hired, could you have envisioned eight years later ascending to Fox national football and baseball roles?

"No. It's been a great thing for my career. I didn't know what to expect at all when I got hired -- the role or anything. I obviously knew how to handle myself as far as reporting and whatever. It's obviously opened a lot of doors. It's been a huge opportunity for me."

Everyone notes you've taken the field-reporter role to another level. Would you agree, and how so?

"I don't know. It's hard to critique myself. I think I've done a good job with it. I think there's a couple of things that have been unique. I don't think there's many people that can do play-by-play in the middle of a report. I think I've brought that to the table. I think the biggest thing that I've hopefully taken away is that I brought a little combination of everything to the broadcast. Honest of god, from the beginning -- this is thanks to Greg Picker, my producer -- I really didn't care how many times I got on the air. It's a long season and there are days you're going to be on four or five times. But there are days where the stuff I have becomes irrelevant and I'm on once or maybe no times. And I really couldn't care less how many times I was on. I think having that mentality made it somewhat successful, because I didn't interfere with the game. At least I don't think I interfered with the game.

"It's crazy. Eight years. But in a way it feels like it's been 18 minutes."

Morning Briefing: Happy Backman Day!

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: It’s Wally Backman Day!

Backman, who guided Las Vegas into the Triple-A playoffs for the second straight season, joins the Mets staff on Friday at Turner Field for the final nine games. Backman also was a September call-up in 2012.

A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets are mulling having Backman on the major league staff to open next season.

It’s unclear which current major league coach might be out in that scenario.

Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins are due to meet in Atlanta this weekend to plan for 2015. Both are expected to remain in their posts, with an announcement coming after the season.

In Friday’s series opener, Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61 ERA) opposes Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89) at 7:35 p.m.

The Mets’ tragic number for postseason elimination has been sliced to one with Pittsburgh’s win on Thursday night.

Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

• The Mets plan to scout Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas, 23, during a workout on Sunday in the Dominican Republic, although the power-hitting outfielder’s price tag figures to exceed the organization’s appetite.

• Paul DePodesta tells Mike Puma in the Post that the organization’s next top-10 prospects list should have more position players than pitchers, including Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Dilson Herrera.

As for why the Mets are not more active with signing Cuban defectors, DePodesta said: “The dollars to this point have been beyond our reach or beyond our appetite. But we’re going to continue to do what we’ve done, which is sort of be prepared proactively and when these guys do become available we’ll be there and see whether or not it’s something that makes sense for us.”

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests the Mets don't need to spend this offseason. Writes Madden:

So the case can be made for Alderson not raising payroll and the Mets, off their strong pitching and increased improvement and development from their young core position players, still emerging as legitimate contenders next year. For that to happen, though, they’re still going to need to (1) avoid major injuries, especially the season-ending type to their pitchers, and (2) assure the payroll remains flexible enough for Alderson to increase it by at least $10 million if that big bat suddenly does become available. And, oh yes, one other thing: They need to find a way to start beating Washington.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger reviews the blossoming of Wheeler into a frontline starter.

• Mets fans have it the worst of any MLB team, according to ESPN polling.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News assesses the possibility of Wilmer Flores as the No. 1 shortstop next season. Marc Carig in Newsday tackles that subject as well.

• Emma Span at SI.com calls out Bud Selig for his treatment of the Mets.

• Here’s footage shot from an interesting angle at Citi Field at MLB.com.

• PIX11 extended its agreement with the Mets and SNY through 2017. The network will air 25 regular-season games a season on free TV.

• Lloyd Carroll at the Queens Chronicle weighs in on the civil lawsuit filed against the Mets.

• Howard Megdal at USA Today tags along with Kevin Burkhardt.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear examines why a logo and a TV field reporter mean so much to Mets fans. … John Delcos at NY Mets Report suggests the Mets would be far more competitive in NL East if they improved their division performance in one- and two-run games. … Blogging Mets tackles the difficult task of naming the 2014 Mets MVP.

BIRTHDAYS: Randall K. Myers turns 52. ... The late Hall of Famer Duke Snider was born on this date in 1926. ... Jon Leroux, a Northeastern product who appeared in 28 games for Savannah this season, is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets are deep in position-player prospects?

Morning Briefing: Only 9 games left

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: It’s down to single digits remaining in the regular season for the Mets.

Nine games are all that remain.

The Mets (73-80) have three series to go -- at Atlanta and Washington and home versus Houston -- to conclude the season.

The team flew down to Atlanta on Wednesday night and will spend at off-day in the city Thursday, with some players planning to attend the Falcons-Bucs game.

Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89) in the series opener at 7:35 p.m. Friday at Turner Field.

The Mets trail the Pittsburgh Pirates by nine games for the second wild card spot. The tragic number for postseason elimination is two.

Thursday’s news reports:

• In his second-to-last start of the season, Dillon Gee was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings and the Mets lost to the Marlins, 4-3, at Citi Field. Gee suffered his first career loss against Miami. He had been 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in five previous starts. The game featured a scoreboard tribute to departing SNY fielding reporter Kevin Burkhardt.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.

Juan Lagares was diagnosed with a right elbow sprain after undergoing an MRI on Wednesday. It is unclear when he will return to the lineup -- or if he will play again this season. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal assesses Wilmer Flores' candidacy for 2015 shortstop. Michael Salfino in the Journal takes a statistical-based look at Flores.

Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma in the Post about Flores starting at shortstop next season: “We’re getting a lot more comfortable. One of the reasons for giving [Flores] as much playing time as we have is to build up his number of plate appearances to get him more comfortable to try to establish sort of a baseline. … There are a lot of things to take into account. The more recent at-bats I think are probably, one would hope, more reflective of his ability. At the same time, it is September and there may be a certain discount there. I’m not sure how much.”

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests Jacob deGrom will win the NL Rookie of the Year Award “by deFault” because of a weak field as compared with the AL.

• The Mets are expected to remain with Savannah as their low-A affiliate. The major league club already has announced extensions with Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Binghamton and owns high-A St. Lucie and short-season Kingsport and Brooklyn.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at NY Mets Report asserts that the 2015 shortstop job is Flores’ to lose.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets first-round pick Billy Traber turns 35.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should be the odd-man out of the Mets’ rotation next season with Matt Harvey due to return?

Rapid Reaction: Marlins 4, Mets 3

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
10:18
PM ET

NEW YORK -- Kevin Burkhardt’s final home game ended in a Mets loss.

Amid salutes to the outgoing field reporter, the Miami Marlins produced three early runs against Dillon Gee and held on for a 4-3 win Wednesday at Citi Field.

The Mets dropped to 73-80. They must win eight of their final nine games to avoid their sixth straight losing season. Otherwise, they will match the Houston Astros for the longest active streak in the majors of sub-.500 seasons.

Lucas Duda's two-out, two-run single against Henderson Alvarez with the bases loaded in the fifth pulled the Mets within 3-2. Wilmer Flores then bid for a three-run homer, but Marcell Ozuna ran down the shot at the base of the left-center wall.

Gee (7-8) departed with two outs and a runner on second base in the seventh. Josh Edgin entered and surrendered a run-scoring double to Christian Yelich that closed the book on Gee.

Gee’s final line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.

Gee did produce his first hit of the season with a fifth-inning single against Alvarez. Gee had been 0-for-35 in 2014 and hitless in 41 straight at-bats dating to last season.

The Mets pulled within 4-3 in the eighth on Curtis Granderson's RBI groundout.

What’s next: The Mets spend Thursday’s off-day in Atlanta, then open a weekend series against the freefalling Braves on Friday. Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89) in the opener at Turner Field.

David Wright, despite being done for the season, will accompany the team on the final road trip of the season, which also includes a stop in D.C. Matt Harvey, whose throwing program is complete, will not join the team on the road.

Morning Briefing: Happy Burkhardt Day!

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
8:11
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: It’s Kevin Burkhardt Day at Citi Field.

Burkhardt, SNY’s field reporter for the past eight seasons, will participate in his final home telecast with Wednesday’s series finale against the Miami Marlins. Burkhardt’s SNY duties will wrap up on the road next Thursday at Washington.


Adam RubinKevin Burkhardt celebrates his final home game as an SNY field reporter on Wednesday.


He is headed to Fox full time.

The Mets send Dillon Gee to the mound for Burkhardt’s home sendoff. Gee (7-7, 3.80 ERA) opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.81) at 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Wilmer Flores had a big day at the plate. Using Kevin Plawecki’s bat, Flores homered twice and for the second time this season had six RBIs as the Mets beat the Marlins, 9-1, Tuesday. Bartolo Colon limited Miami to one run despite surrendering 12 hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Journal and at MLB.com.

Juan Lagares departed Tuesday’s game after four innings with what initially has been diagnosed as a hyperextended right elbow. He is due to undergo an MRI on Wednesday morning. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post asserts that the Mets should tank the rest of the season to finish with one of the worst 10 records in baseball. That would give them a protected first-round pick and make it easier to pursue a free agent who figures to get a qualifying offer, such as Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, J.J. Hardy and Hanley Ramirez. The Mets currently have MLB’s 12th-worst record, which would mean forfeiting their first-round pick if they sign a premium free agent.

Of course, Sherman doesn’t expect the Mets will land any of those aforementioned free agents. He writes:

They will express concerns about Cabrera and Cruz’s Biogenesis pasts (though they were very interested in Jhonny Peralta last year) or whisper that their outfield will be too big for the defensively suspect Cruz (though it would not be too big for him to hit a bunch of homers) or they will express belief that Wilmer Flores and/or Matt Reynolds are dollar-for-dollar worth in the same win range as Hardy or Ramirez.

In other words, Mets fans should brace once more for excuses why they will not be getting players this offseason. But by losing big the rest of the way, at least one alibi would vanish from the repertoire.

• Retiring MLB commissioner Bud Selig, making the 20th stop of his farewell tour, visited Citi Field on Tuesday. Selig continued his unwavering support of Mets ownership. He suggested the Mets are in full compliance with MLB’s economic regulations and said the build-from-within approach is more sound than spending like “drunken sailors.” Selig added that he would let fired senior VP Leigh Castergine’s civil lawsuit play out in federal court and not discipline anybody within the organization in the midst of a legal proceeding.

Columnist Kevin Davidoff in the Post says Selig’s legacy partly is tied to propping up Mets ownership. Writes Davidoff:

A master salesman -- he sold used cars, after all -- Selig tried to make his case that the Mets’ unwillingness to spend more does not equate to gross incompetence. He mentioned the Cardinals as a team that doesn’t “spend money like drunken sailors.” He passionately declared, “Unless I read the standings wrong on the way over here, it looks to me like the Baltimore Orioles might win the American League East this year. Anybody here predict that on April 1? I don’t think so. I rest my case.”

Well, the Cardinals’ payroll this season is about $141 million, as per Basebal-Reference.com. And the Orioles are paying about $114 million for their soon-to-be division-winning roster. Not quite the same as $83 million.

Read more in the Journal, Daily News, Record, Star-Ledger, Newsday and SB Nation.

• Despite a Twitter hullabaloo, the Mets say no change is coming to their skyline logo. They offered no official reason why the UN Headquarters in the skyline was replaced by the Citigroup Center in the logo used on social media this week, although the internally constructed image appeared to be more than a year old. Read more in the Times (which wonders about potential hacking) and Newsday.

• Dwight Gooden predicted Jacob deGrom will become the first Met to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award since he did 30 years ago. “Striking out eight guys in a row, that really put the stamp on it for me,” Gooden told Dan Martin in the Post, referring to deGrom’s record-setting game-opening feat Monday against the Marlins. “That’s the kind of thing you need to do to get people’s attention, especially as a starting pitcher.”

Gooden told Matt Harvey last week that Harvey and deGrom have a “similar mound presence.”

Said Gooden to Martin: “They both carry themselves like veterans out there. They’re two different pitchers, but nothing rattles them.”

• The Mets nominated David Wright for the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors “the player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement."

• ESPNNewYork.com reviews which players the Mets may protect in the Rule 5 draft, which annually takes place at the winter meetings in December.

• Marc Carig in Newsday assesses Lagares’ Gold Glove chances. The award is based on manager and coach voting (75 percent) and defensive statistical metrics (25 percent). Writes Carig:

With Lagares, prestige might be the problem.

[Carlos] Gomez won the award last year and has the advantage of being an offensive force while [Andrew] McCutchen reigns as the NL's Most Valuable Player. The veteran [Denard] Span plays for a contender and [Billy] Hamilton's stolen-base prowess in the minors made him a household name before he stepped on a big-league field.

"Major League Baseball and baseball fans knew who Billy Hamilton was before he got here," said [Reds manager Bryan] Price, who naturally backed his own player for the Gold Glove award.

Pedro Martinez praised the Mets’ collection of up-and-coming pitchers, Anthony McCarron writes in the Daily News. “The Mets have the best nucleus of young pitchers,” Martinez said.

• Harvey felt no ill effects the day after his final official throwing session of 2014. Read more in the Post.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear offers a view from an empty Promenade.

BIRTHDAYS: Former captain John Franco turns 54.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think out-of-options Wilmer Flores will be the Mets’ Opening Day shortstop next season?

Morning Briefing: Halfway done

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
5:32
AM ET
PITTSBURGH

FIRST PITCH: Terry Collins did not sugarcoat where the Mets stand precisely halfway through their schedule.

After the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday to improve to 37-44 at the midpoint, the club is on pace for the same 74-win total as the previous two seasons. (Not quite 90.)

The Mets are six games behind the co-division-leading Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves (43-38 apiece), although the Philadelphia Phillies (36-45) now occupy the division basement.

“We’re not going to make any excuses,” Collins said. “We’re not happy about it.”


Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesDillon Gee makes a rehab start Sunday with Brooklyn.


The manager continued: “We’re hanging in there. As I told the guys the other day, ‘Listen, we’ve just got to push through the All-Star break, go into the break on a positive note. … We have like 15 games before the break. Let’s go 10-5. Let’s not get crazy. Hopefully you get really hot, but let’s just go 10-5, go into the break close and then, coming out of the break, everybody will be rested. We’ll be healthy, Dillon [Gee] will be back and now let’s take off after that.’”

Gee is due to make a rehab start Sunday for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen estimated Gee will throw 55 in-game pitches. Gee, on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle on his right side, likely will need one additional minor-league start before presumably displacing Daisuke Matsuzaka in the rotation.

Meanwhile, the Mets send Bartolo Colon to the mound Sunday at PNC Park looking to split the four-game series. Colon (8-5, 3.67) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.35).

The 41-year-old Colon is 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his last seven starts.

Sunday’s news reports:


Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsDavid Wright received a favorable report on his left shoulder Saturday in New York.


David Wright received favorable news during an examination with team doctor Struan Coleman at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Saturday. The captain was diagnosed with a bruised left rotator cuff and may avoid the disabled list. Wright will remain in New York and be reevaluated Monday by team doctors.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

Jonathon Niese lost his control in the fourth inning and issued consecutive bases-loaded walks, but the southpaw overall limited Pittsburgh to three runs in six innings. And after Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia combined to retire all nine batters they faced, the Mets had completed a 5-3 win against the Pirates on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Mets wore Negro Leagues-era uniforms from the Brooklyn Royal Giants during the victory.

Read game recaps in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and at MLB.com.

• Backup catcher Anthony Recker required a postgame X-ray of his right hand, but minimized the issue.

• Long Island native Steven Matz tossed six scoreless innings to earn his first Double-A win and Dilson Herrera homered and had five RBIs as Binghamton held off Altoona, 8-7. Eudy Pina slugged a disputed walk-off homer as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 4-3. Jorge Rivero delivered a walk-off RBI as Savannah beat Rome, 4-3. Eighth-round pick Dash Winningham produced his first professional homer as the Gulf Coast League Mets won, 7-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Scott Rice has an elbow injury at Triple-A Las Vegas.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests the Mets and Yankees are in the same boat as the July 31 trade deadline nears -- rightfully sellers with an eye toward 2015, but unlikely to strip down this year’s team.

Columnist David Lennon in Newsday suggests Colon, Gee and Daniel Murphy could be on the block.

Chris Young has taken over the role of clubhouse D.J., which formerly was held by Justin Turner, Tim Rohan reports in the Times. Writes Rohan:

He actively seeks out requests. After wins, he plays what he called “Lil Jon-style music.” Before day games, he plays something lighter. He has noticed that everyone seems to enjoy hip-hop like Notorious B.I.G. and Outkast. Michael Jackson Sundays have been a big hit, too.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger asks Pirates GM Neal Huntington why the Mets and his club have been compatible in trades. The Mets have sent Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Ike Davis to Pittsburgh in a pair of deals since last August.

• Jim Baumbach in Newsday examines Colon’s success, even with a fastball that is averaging a career-low 89.1 mph. That’s down from 89.9 mph last season with the Oakland Athletics and down from 93.2 mph a dozen years ago.

“Everybody says he throws one pitch -- a fastball -- just like everyone always said Mariano Rivera threw one pitch with the cutter,” A’s first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss told Baumbach. “But because they can throw that one pitch to all four quadrants of the strike zone, they really become four pitches.”

The Daily News gives a plug to partner SNY’s debuting game show, which pitted the Mets TV and radio broadcast crews. It was hosted by Kevin Burkhardt.

BIRTHDAYS: 1960s-era Met Larry Stahl was born on this date in 1941.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you upbeat about the Mets’ late-inning relief?
WASHINGTON

FIRST PITCH: The Mets get to exhale Monday before beginning a stretch of 20 games in 20 days.

After an off-day, Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Citi Field for three games. Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.50 ERA) makes his second major-league start in the series opener, opposite Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.38) on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.

Read the Mets-Dodgers series preview here.

Monday’s news reports:

• After surrendering five runs (three earned) in six innings, Zack Wheeler acknowledged he needs to quickly turn things around and become less predictable with his pitch selection. Wheeler suffered the loss as the Mets dropped Sunday’s rubber game to the Washington Nationals, 6-3. Daniel Murphy extended his hitting streak to 10 games, but was thrown out at third base for the third time in May.

“We’ve been inconsistent,” David Wright told reporters afterward. “We go through a stretch where we play well, go through a stretch where we don’t play so well. Granted, it’s impossible to go through the whole season and play your best baseball every day, but there’s got to be some gray area where you squeak out a win when you’re not playing well, and it doesn’t seem we’re doing that.”

As for Wheeler, pitching coach Dan Warthen told Jared Diamond in the Journal: “It’s always a growing experience. As this year goes on, you’re going to see Zack Wheeler grow and grow and grow and grow. It’s not surprising what is happening is happening.”

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Terry Collins insisted Juan Lagares was never “benched” during a stretch in which the center fielder was out of the starting lineup four times in five games. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Don Burke in the Post profiles Kevin Burkhardt’s meteoric rise in the broadcasting industry, from high school broadcaster for a 1,000-watt station, to car salesman, to SNY’s Mets field reporter, to soon-to-be full time with Fox. Burkhardt will move from New Jersey to Los Angeles with his family this fall when his SNY contract expires.

• Collins suggested the one thing that could prevent Jenrry Mejia from becoming a successful closer is the recurrence of health issues that have plagued his career, Anthony DiComo writes at MLB.com. A wary Mejia has not yet pitched back-to-back days since returning to the bullpen.

Andrew Brown went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, but Las Vegas lost to El Paso, 10-9. Binghamton got a 14th-inning RBI single from Matt Reynolds and outlasted New Hampshire, 9-8. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Zack Thornton, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ike Davis, turns 26. … Turk Wendell is 47. ... Former Mets first-round pick Alan Zinter is 46.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Terry Collins start Juan Lagares on Monday?

Morning Briefing: Dive at five

May, 11, 2014
May 11
5:45
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have lost a season-high five straight as well as eight of nine. They also now occupy sole possession of last place in the National League East.

Can Jonathon Niese stop the slide?

Niese (2-2, 1.82 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.02) in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale as the Mets look to avoid getting swept for a second straight series, as they did in Miami.

Hamels has a 7-14 record and 4.65 ERA in 27 career starts against the Mets. The Mets roughed him up for six runs in 4 2/3 innings two weeks ago in Philly. Hamels then allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk against the Toronto Blue Jays, including surrendering homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus. Overall, Hamels needs one win for 100 in his career.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins would not commit Saturday to Jenrry Mejia making his next start, and appears to prefer 23-year-old Rafael Montero getting promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas for Wednesday’s outing opposite Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees at Citi Field. Of course, Sandy Alderson -- who picked Mejia over Daisuke Matsuzaka out of spring training, which was not Collins’ preference -- would need to sign off on bouncing Mejia from the rotation. Would the GM allow a prospect to debut in the Subway Series (and before the Super 2 deadline)? That seems out of character. In fact, a source tells columnist John Harper in the Daily News about Alderson's thinking on Montero: "not yet."


Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsTerry Collins apparently advocates Rafael Montero as Wednesday's starter against the Yankees.


Mejia reiterated he is leery of bullpen work because he believes it contributed to his Tommy John surgery. “I worry about my arm,” Mejia told reporters. “I want to have a long career. … I don’t want to get hurt again.”

After tossing 5 1/3 no-hit innings Friday (with three walks) at Salt Lake, Montero is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA and .203 opponent batting average in eight Pacific Coast League starts.

Read more in the Post, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Eric Campbell joined the Mets on Saturday and received No. 29, formerly donned by Ike Davis. He delivered a tiebreaking sac fly while pinch hitting with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth against left-hander Jake Diekman. Campbell became the first player in franchise history with a sac fly in his first big-league plate appearance. Ken Boswell in 1967 had a sac fly in his MLB debut, but it came later in the game.

Campbell had an eventful second plate appearance. With the score tied at 4, one out and two in scoring position in the eighth, Mike Adams threw the first pitch of an intentional walk. Chase Utley then came to the mound with Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies -- realizing Bobby Abreu had grabbed a helmet and planned to subsequently pinch hit -- reversed course and pitched to Campbell, who proceeded to strike out.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Eric Campbell made his major league debut Saturday with a sacrifice fly and strikeout off the bench.


Campbell initially was in Saturday’s starting lineup as the first baseman, but Lucas Duda said he had recovered enough from a suspected case of food poisoning and was a late addition to the lineup in Campbell’s place.

Josh Satin, who had been 3-for-28 this season in sporadic use, was optioned to Las Vegas. Campbell figures to start Sunday against Hamels.

Read more in Newsday.

• A half-inning after the Mets stranded the bases loaded, Ryan Howard delivered a two-out RBI single in the ninth against Kyle Farnsworth and Philadelphia beat the Mets, 5-4, Saturday night at Citi Field. At three games under .500, the Mets (16-19) have matched their 0-3 start for their season low-water mark.

After consecutive singles to open the bottom of the eighth, Chris Young -- hitless in 14 at-bats -- had a successful sac bunt. Campbell then struck out, Wilmer Flores walked and Abreu, pinch-hitting for Travis d’Arnaud, grounded back to Adams as the score remained tied at 4.

Scott Rice had inherited a one-run lead for the seventh from Dillon Gee and surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Utley.

Gee’s scoreless streak ended at 16 innings with two runs by the Phillies in the first. He allowed three runs in six innings and tossed only 81 pitches before departing with a 4-3 lead in what became a no-decision. Collins preferred having Rice face the Utley/Howard portion of the Phillies lineup in their fourth plate appearances.

David Wright snapped a career-high 136 at-bat homerless drought with a two-run homer in the first inning against Kyle Kendrick. Wright finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs, but popped out in foul territory against Jonathan Papelbon with Daniel Murphy at second base to end the game.

Mets pitchers remained hitless and are now 0-for-61 to open the season.

Read game recaps in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Noah Syndergaard surrendered five runs (four earned) in six innings for Las Vegas, including a first-inning three-run homer to Nick Franklin. He struck out 10. Matt Koch, Randy Fontanez and Beck Wheeler combined on the shutout as St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 2-0. John Gant, Dawrin Frias and Robert Coles combined on the shutout as Savannah beat Charleston, 1-0. 2012 first-round pick For the Gnats, Gavin Cecchini returned to the lineup two days after departing with a knee injury. Savannah snapped Yankees prospect Caleb Smith’s scoreless streak at 23 1/3 innings. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jon Hamm, who plays advertising executive Don Draper on “Mad Men,” is a St. Louis Cardinals fan in real life. Hamm was in New York on Friday promoting his role as a sports agent in the new Disney movie, “Million Dollar Arm.” Writes Anthony McCarron in the Daily News:


ESPNActor Jon Hamm is a big St. Louis Cardinals fan.


He’s from St. Louis and grew up loving the Cardinals and Ozzie Smith and is still close to Ted Simmons’ son, a childhood friend. The ‘82 World Series is his favorite baseball memory.

“Oh, I hated the Mets with a passion that kills and still do,” Hamm said last week while promoting his new movie, “Million Dollar Arm,” which opens Friday, May 16.

But, Hamm acknowledges, the Mets -- at least the late ’60s version -- are the “perfect team for Don Draper to root for. They’re brand new. They represent nothing but possibility.

“Don would never be a Yankee fan. That’s a frontrunner. He’s an underdog guy, if he’s anything.”

Speaking of Don Draper and the ’69 Mets, columnist Mike Vaccaro addresses that topic in the Post.

Read more in the Times and Newsday.

• Kevin Burkhardt (Class of 1997) will give William Patterson University’s commencement address Wednesday at the Izod Center, writes Phil Mushnick in the Post.

• The Yankees will honor Joe Torre, Goose Gossage, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill with plaques in Monument Park this season. So what about the Mets honoring their past heroes? Writes David Lennon in Newsday:

The franchise has retired only three numbers in addition to Jackie Robinson's No. 42 -- Casey Stengel's 37, Gil Hodges' 14 and Tom Seaver's 41 -- but [Mike] Piazza seems to be next in line.

Piazza's No. 31 has not been issued by the Mets since he left after the 2005 season, and he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame last year. But the Mets appear to be waiting on Piazza's campaign for Cooperstown, and he fell 74 votes shy of the 75 percent needed (429) for induction in his second year.

Carter's No. 8, Keith Hernandez's No. 17 and Willie Mays' No. 24 also have been mostly kept out of circulation, so they remain possibilities.

In the meantime, the Mets rely on a seven-person committee to decide on their own Hall of Fame, which has 27 inductees. Who will follow Piazza? David Wright? That would be a bit of a wait.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post suggests the Mets' season appears snowballing out of control.

Omar Quintanilla cleared waivers and accepted a demotion to Vegas. Quintanilla, who was replaced by Wilmer Flores on Friday, had the right to decline the assignment and declare free agency.

• There have been 122 players to play for both the Mets and Yankees, writes Anthony Rieber in Newsday. There are five slated to participate in this week’s Subway Series: Abreu, Bartolo Colon, Farnsworth, Curtis Granderson and Carlos Beltran.

• The Chicago White Sox promoted former Mets closer Frank Francisco from Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday.

• The Los Angeles Angels released ex-Mets left-handed reliever Robert Carson from Triple-A Salt Lake, where he had a 10.34 ERA and had allowed 23 hits and 13 walks in 15 2/3 innings.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear encounters a Mets fan existential crisis.

BIRTHDAYS: Walt Terrell, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson on Dec. 7, 1984, turns 56.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should start Wednesday against the Yankees -- Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carlos Torres, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard?

Morning Briefing: Mets irked by paper?

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets will aim to move four games over .500 on Saturday night for the first time since July 14, 2012.

Jenrry Mejia will take a career-high 13 2/3-inning scoreless streak into the 7:10 p.m. start at Citi Field. Mejia (3-0, 1.99 ERA) opposes right-hander Kevin Slowey (0-0, 4.15).

Saturday’s news reports:

Curtis Granderson’s walk-off RBI single completed a ninth-inning rally against Miami closer Steve Cishek as the Mets beat the Marlins, 4-3, Friday night. The Mets snapped two Marlins streaks that had been the longest active in the majors: Cishek had converted 33 straight save opportunities. Christian Yelich had a 17-game hitting streak end.

Yelich stumbled in left field and never made a throw to the plate attempting to catch Lucas Duda as the tying run in the ninth.

“It would have been a tough play,” Yelich told the Miami Herald. “I had to go a decent way for that ball. Then you’ve got to stop and then you’ve got to throw. And it’s a tough angle to throw because I’m right on the line. But it’s probably where I would have gone with the ball had I kept my feet.”

The Mets needed to rally because Gonzalez Germen allowed consecutive eighth-inning homers to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones with two outs. Zack Wheeler allowed one run in six innings, although his pattern of running into trouble in the fifth inning continued. Jeurys Familia, who had been unused for a week, earned his first major-league win with a scoreless top of the ninth.

Read game recaps in the Miami Herald, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.


Slaven Vlasic/Getty ImagesMookie Wilson's memoir has created somewhat of a stir in Mets land.


• Paul DePodesta vehemently denied a report that he disparaged the ’86 Mets in his initial staff meeting after taking over the organization with Sandy Alderson. The report came after Mookie Wilson’s memoirs became public. Wilson critically wrote that the organization treats him like a “hood ornament” and does not have much use for the ’86 Mets.

Still, he told Jim Baumbach in Newsday: “It’s true that I was unhappy, but the word ‘was’ -- make sure that’s in there. It doesn’t bother me now. … You move past those things. You can only be mad for so long. Life goes on.”

Read more on the controversy in the Post and Daily News.

Read a Q&A with Mookie in the Times. On his path toward becoming a minister, he says: “I’m working on my ordination. I do all the programs at my church. I do the sermons on Sundays. Because I spend so much time roaming around the country, I don’t put in as much time as I should.”

• Kevin Burkhardt is leaving SNY at the end of this season to move to Los Angeles and work full time for Fox Sports.

• The Mets would not speak with the media postgame Friday until Post beat writer Mike Puma left the clubhouse, the Daily News reported. Wrote Kristie Ackert and Justin Tasch:

Apparently angry about an article in the New York Post on Friday about Bartolo Colon under the headline “LARDBALL,” the players would not talk to the media until Post writer Mike Puma left the clubhouse. Puma was asked to leave and did so without incident. Within a minute, several Mets appeared in the clubhouse. The team would not comment on the incident.

The first paragraph of that game story read:

If the umpires searched Bartolo Colon’s neck for a foreign substance on Thursday, chances are they only would have found peanut butter.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed three runs, including a solo homer to Jesus Montero, in six innings as Las Vegas beat Tacoma, 7-6. Aderlin Rodriguez had a grand slam in a 10-run eighth inning as St. Lucie beat Brandenton, 13-4. Savannah swept a doubleheader from Lakewood behind Robert Gsellman’s complete game in the opener and Stefan Sabol’s grand slam in Game 2. Mets affiliates are now an MLB-best 54-26 this season. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jacob deGrom is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA through four starts with Vegas. “[One of] his strengths [is] command of the strike zone,” 51s pitching coach Tom Signore told John DeMarzo in the Post. “He’s very good when he’s ahead in the count, at making a pitch no matter what, especially his slider going from being a strike to ball. He gets a lot of swings on pitches that are out of the zone.”

• The All-Star ballot is out. With teams allowed to list three outfielders on the ballot, Granderson, Chris Young and Juan Lagares are included, but Eric Young Jr. is omitted. Read more at MLB.com.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets pitcher turned Houston Astros nemesis Mike Scott turns 59. ... Ex-reliever Scott Strickland is 38. ... Amos Otis was born on this date in 1947.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should replace Kevin Burkhardt as SNY field reporter in 2014?

Burkhardt officially says he's leaving SNY

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
2:07
PM ET

Adam RubinKevin Burkhardt is leaving SNY after the 2014 season.


NEW YORK -- Kevin Burkhardt has confirmed he is leaving SNY at the end of the current season to join Fox Sports full time in an NFL, MLB and college basketball role.

Burkhardt's SNY contract expires at the end of the season.

Steve Gelbs increasingly has been filling in for Burkhardt on weekends, when Burkhardt's Fox duties conflict.

Burkhardt has served as Mets field reporter on SNY for eight seasons.

He will move to Los Angeles.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Burkhardt told Don Burke in the Post. “Talking about it, I can’t even believe it. It’s totally nuts. Obviously, the job, for me, is incredible. I couldn’t have scripted it any better if I tried. Sometimes in life you’re looking forward to something completely different. It has been quite a couple of years.”

Morning Briefing: Late show in Anaheim

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
5:00
AM ET

Paul Spinelli/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesThe Angels, perhaps spurred by the Rally Monkey, won in walk-off fashion Friday against the Mets.
ANAHEIM, Calif.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets attempt to bounce back from an extra-inning loss when Jonathon Niese makes his second start of the season Saturday.

Niese (0-1, 3.18 ERA) should be free to throw as many as 105 pitches. He opposes right-hander Jered Weaver (0-2, 6.00) at 9:05 p.m. ET.

With the Mets having the DH available, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both are expected to start.

Saturday’s news reports:

Jeurys Familia loaded the bases with a pair of one-out intentional walks, then plunked Hank Conger to force in the winning run as the Angels beat the Mets, 5-4, in 11 innings late Friday night. That snapped a streak of 20 1/3 scoreless innings by Mets relievers. The Mets last lost on a walk-off hit by pitch in 2008, courtesy of Scott Schoeneweis. The Angels left 14 men on base. The Mets left four men on base the entire game and failed to score over the final seven innings. A displeased Dillon Gee allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Travis d’Arnaud, who grew up 15 minutes from Angel Stadium, homered for the first time in 110 at-bats. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and MLB.com.

Curtis Granderson was touched on the back by a fan who reached onto the field during the eighth inning. The spectator was ejected but law enforcement will not get involved, an Angels spokesman said. Read more in the Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Kevin Burkhardt recalls the 3 a.m. ET firing of Willie Randolph back in 2008, after Game 1 of the Mets’ last series in Anaheim. Burkhardt told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News about SNY’s critical coverage of that event: “I ripped into how they handled it for 15 minutes. I was exhausted. It was one of those things that when I got done, I was like, hmmmm, I wonder how that will be received.”


Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesFree agent Joel Hanrahan is expected to audition for teams next week.


• ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Mets are believed to be one of the teams interested in free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, who is 11 months post-Tommy John surgery. Hanrahan is expected to throw for teams next week. Other teams in the mix include the Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Rockies, Royals, Red Sox, Athletics and Rays, according to Crasnick.

Chris Young (quadriceps) is headed to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin a rehab assignment. Terry Collins expects a rotation among four outfielders when C.Y. is activated from the disabled list on Friday in New York. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.

• Rainy Lara tossed seven scoreless innings and Brian Burgamy homered twice as Binghamton beat New Hampshire, 7-0. Cam Maron drove in Aderlin Rodriguez in the eighth with the tiebreaking run and St. Lucie beat Fort Myers, 6-3. Robert Gsellman allowed one unearned run in seven innings as Savannah beat Rome, 4-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Mets farmhand Akeel Morris, a right-hander from the Virgin Islands, gets a mention in this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet. The report reads:

A 10th-round pick from the Virgin Islands in 2010, Morris struggled with his direction to the plate as a starter, but his potential was obvious given his mid-90s heat. He began seeing results after switching to relief at short-season Brooklyn last year, striking out 60 in 45 innings with a 1.00 ERA. That success has carried over to 2014 as the 21-year-old Morris has recorded 11 strikeouts among the 12 outs he’s recorded this year while throwing four scoreless innings (three of them in one relief outing) at low Class A Savannah. If Morris keeps dominating like that, he might get another shot at the rotation.

• Collins said he is a changed person compared to the late 1990s, when he was managing the Angels. The only thing the same? His short stature, he joked.

"We let him down," Angels third-base coach Gary DiSarcina, who played for Collins with the Angels, told Marc Carig in Newsday. "He didn’t let us down. … We fractured. And he took the blame for it."

Said Bill Bavasi, then the Angels GM, to Tim Rohan in the Times about Collins’ players in Anaheim: “They couldn’t handle being pushed to get better. You know, life was good for them. They were getting paid a lot of money. Why put up with somebody asking you to work a little bit harder? They were just really rotten apples. And blame me. Terry didn’t bring those guys in. I did.”

Read more in the Journal, Star-Ledger and Record.

From the bloggers … Mark Berman at Blogging Mets thinks Collins should have used Jose Valverde with the game on the line Friday.

BIRTHDAYS: Catcher-turned-thoroughbred handicapper Paul Lo Duca turns 42. ... Danny Garcia, the first Brooklyn Cyclone to reach the majors, is 34. ... Minor-league catchers Xorge Carillo (25) and Tomas Nido (20) also celebrate birthdays.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Jeurys Familia have been pitching a third inning of relief Friday?

Morning Briefing: Getaway Day!

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
5:45
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets are set to bolt from Florida late Thursday afternoon.

After completing Grapefruit League play with a 12:05 p.m. game against the Washington Nationals at Tradition Field (ESPN/SNY), the Amazin’s head to Montreal for a pair of weekend games against the Toronto Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium.

Plenty is going on at the Mets’ complex as the team readies to depart.

Jonathon Niese is scheduled to throw in a 1 p.m. minor-league game. The action comes 10 days after Niese received a cortisone injection in his left elbow in New York to address inflammation. Assuming Niese passes this test, plus another minor-league outing five days later, he will be activated from the disabled list to face the Cincinnati Reds on April 6 at Citi Field.

A setback means Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia will be in the rotation.

Also on a minor-league field Thursday, Bartolo Colon pitches. The Mets prefer Colon pitch on the back field rather than face the Nats because Colon is scheduled to oppose Washington’s Gio Gonzalez in Game 2 of the regular season in six days at Citi Field.

Prospect Cory Mazzoni will oppose Jordan Zimmermann in the Grapefruit League game.

Thursday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee tossed six no-hit innings against the Houston Astros in his final tune-up for Opening Day. He finished Grapefruit League play with a 1.08 ERA and one walk allowed in 16 2/3 innings. The Mets actually lost the game, 9-6, thanks to a seventh-run seventh against John Lannan, Gonzalez Germen and Carlos Torres. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and MLB.com.


Adam RubinVic Black was demoted Wednesday.


• The Mets demoted Vic Black to Triple-A Las Vegas. Once a bullpen lock, Black pitched himself off the roster by allowing 23 baserunners in 9 1/3 innings.

Germen will make the roster with Black’s demotion. Jose Valverde, who was informed midday Wednesday that he had made the club, will serve as the primary setup man to Bobby Parnell. Parnell may not work more than two straight days early in the season.

Read more on Black’s demotion and the bullpen composition in the Post, Journal, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.

Kyle Farnsworth officially re-signed with the Mets and is expected to open the season with Las Vegas. He has an out a month into the season if he is not promoted to the majors by then.

• The Mets do not expect to make any trades before Opening Day.

• Before Friday’s Mets-Blue Jays game in Montreal, there will be a pregame ceremony honoring the late Gary Carter, who starred for the Expos before arriving in Queens via trade. The Kid’s family will be on hand.

“It is going to be hard. It hasn’t been two years yet, but I knew we had to be there,” widow Sandy Carter told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. “I agreed when I heard there would be a game at the old park. And then when I heard it was the Mets, I knew it was right. It’s like two pieces of our hearts joining together that night.”


Frank Franklin II/Associated PressThe late Gary Carter will be honored before Friday's game at Olympic Stadium.


As for Sandy Carter’s Montreal experience, she tells the newspaper: “We grew up there. We were 21 and 20 when we got married and moved there. He learned French to be more involved with the fans and the franchise. We were building a house there. And then we started hearing about the trade.

“At first we were shocked, and then we heard from the Mets how Gary was the missing piece of the puzzle there. It was a different challenge, but it was a wonderful one. And the 1986 World Series … well … that was just the best.”

• Fifty-nine percent of New York City residents would root for the Yankees in an October Subway Series and 37 percent would root for the Mets, a Quinnipiac University poll finds. Of the NYC residents surveyed who identified themselves as “very” or “somewhat” interested in baseball, 61 percent said the Yankees were their favorite team and 27 percent said the Mets. The Yankees even have more fans than the Mets in Queens, by a 50-43 margin, the study found. Check out the full results here.

• Forbes appraised the Mets at $800 million, the ninth-most valuable MLB team. The Mets annually dispute the magazine’s appraisal. The Yankees lead MLB with a $2.5 billion appraisal, followed by the Dodgers at $2 billion. The Tampa Bay Rays are worth the least, at $485 million. See Forbes’ full valuation list here. Read more in the Post.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests Terry Collins has his work cut out for him finding playing time for Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Writes Sherman:

One Mets official admitted, “It is not ideal.” Which is currently the 2014 baseball season leader for understatement of the year. If it were just that the two bat from the same side of the plate and play the same position, and that neither has remained healthy enough or good enough to win the job outright, then it could all be chalked up as a simple problem of roster inflexibility, and deal with that Terry Collins.

But, come on, we see the real day-after-tomorrow problem coming as clearly as Knicks coach Mike Woodson’s dismissal. Unless one of the duo seizes the job and doesn’t let go -- and what in either’s past suggests that likelihood -- then Collins is going to face the daily dilemma, disquiet and discussion about who is going to play first base.

• Mike Puma in the Post writes that Ruben Tejada has won the shortstop competition by default.

Juan Lagares needs to concentrate on strike-zone discipline to be a regular with the Mets. Collins pointed to a game Tuesday in which Lagares chased a fastball way up and out of the zone and struck out. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com has a Q&A with broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday asks David Wright if the Mets have kept the promises they made to him when he signed an eight-year extension.

• The New York Observer has a lengthy cover piece on Wright. Writes Rafi Kohan:

When I ask about his relationship with Fred Wilpon, the team’s owner, who openly ripped Wright -- “A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.” -- in a 2011 New Yorker article that focused on the team’s financial dealings with Bernie Madoff, Wright sighs and says the whole thing was blown out of proportion. “Did it sting a little bit? Of course,” he says, “because you’re talking about your owner saying these things. But our relationship is strong enough that he can say that and it’s not going to break the loyalty that either one of us have for one another.”

From the bloggers … Rising Apple staff gives its Mets record predictions.

BIRTHDAYS: Matt Harvey turns 25. ... 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo is 21.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you surprised by Vic Black’s demotion?

Morning Briefing: Happy Wheeler Day!

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
6:23
AM ET

Adam RubinA day after Noah Syndergaard took the mound, Zack Wheeler pitches for the Mets on Tuesday.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Happy Wheeler Day!

Zack Wheeler makes his 2014 Grapefruit League debut opposite left-hander Rudy Owens as the Mets host the Houston Astros on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. (SNY).

Also listed to pitch: Kyle Farnsworth, John Church, Vic Black, Adam Kolarek, Scott Rice and Cory Mazzoni.

Bill Parcells is expected to attend the game.

Wheeler is lined up to pitch the season’s fourth game, the opener of the second series against the Cincinnati Reds on April 4 at Citi Field.

Terry Collins, incidentally, says David Wright and Daniel Murphy should see their first Grapefruit League action at the end of this week. Both have been held out of the first several Grapefruit League games to minimize the risk of suffering side-muscle issues that arose in previous spring trainings.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Noah Syndergaard dialed his fastball up to 98 mph to strike out leadoff hitter Jason Heyward and limited the Atlanta Braves to one single in two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League debut as the accolades continued to pile up for the top prospect.

"Harvey’s Harvey," Braves outfielder Justin Upton told reporters. “But [Syndergaard] and Wheeler are definitely a very close second.”

Read new stories on Syndergaard in the Times, Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com. Read columnists’ positive reviews from Joel Sherman in the Post, David Lennon in Newsday, Bob Klapsich in the Record and Phil Rogers at MLB.com.


Courtesy of New York MetsCory Vaughn produced a tiebreaking two-run double in a fifth-run ninth Monday.


• Cory Vaughn had a tiebreaking two-run double in a five-run ninth as the Mets got off the schneid with the 6-2 win against Atlanta at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Ike Davis was scratched from Monday’s trip with tightness in his calves, but Terry Collins has Davis as well as Ruben Tejada (hamstring) and Eric Young Jr. (side muscle) penciled into Tuesday’s lineup against the Astros. Lucas Duda departed Monday’s game with tight legs, according to Collins. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

Mike Piazza is serving as a guest instructor in Port St. Lucie this week, marking his first time working for the Mets since his playing days. Travis d’Arnaud, who grew up idolizing Piazza with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is particularly thrilled. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.

Johan Santana reportedly is poised to sign a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. He likely will not be ready to pitch in the majors until June after a second shoulder surgery. Read more in the Baltimore Sun.

• SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt has been named the Los Angeles-based pregame host for Fox’s Saturday baseball telecasts. Steve Gelbs primarily will fill in when Burkhardt has conflicts with weekend Fox duties. Burkhardt also calls NFL games for the network. He is in the final year of his contract with SNY as a field reporter. Read more in the Times and Newsday.

Dillon Gee has been named to an advisory board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation. The group aims to dissuade young people from using performance-enhancing drugs. Read more in the Daily News.

Matt Harvey will attempt to toss a baseball on consecutive days this week, marking his first time throwing back-to-back since Tommy John surgery, he told the Daily News’ Kristie Ackert.

• Instant replay will be tested at four Mets spring-training games at Tradition Field: this Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals as well as March 15, 18 and 23. Jayson Stark at ESPN.com reports on the first replay challenge in MLB, which came Monday.

• The Mets agreed to contract terms with all 26 of their players who are on the 40-man roster and lacking the service time to be eligible for arbitration. Translation: That’s a formality, since the Mets can set those players’ salaries at any level the club desires, as long as it is at least the $500,000 MLB minimum.

Once every several years, as a protest, a young player will refuse to sign the contract and instead will be “renewed” by the Mets. That’s what occurred with Wright during spring training in 2006, when the Mets set his salary at $374,000 -- only $47,000 over that season’s major-league minimum. Wright had hit .306 with 27 homers and 102 RBIs the previous season, in his first full year in the majors.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear is intrigued by what Piazza offers as an instructor, if not as excited by what he produced as an author. … John Delcos at Mets Report wonders if Fred Wilpon will provide the necessary funds this summer if the Mets need to add a piece. … NY Mets Life ponders whether the Mets have really improved this offseason.

BIRTHDAYS: Tom Grieve, who played one season for the Mets, was born on this date in 1948.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Noah Syndergaard win NL Rookie of the Year?

SNY's Burkhardt named Fox baseball host

March, 3, 2014
Mar 3
3:35
PM ET

Adam RubinKevin Burkhardt high-fives a Marlins mascot at the end of the 2012 season.


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Fox has named Kevin Burkhardt as its Los Angeles-based pregame host for Saturday baseball.

Burkhardt will remain with SNY as a field reporter this season for games that do not conflict.

He became a popular NFL announcer in his rookie season calling that sport for Fox this past season.

Steve Gelbs is expected to serve as Burkhardt's primary fill-in.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187