New York Mets: Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Morning Briefing: Trade talk or hot air?

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
5:18
AM ET
FIRST PITCH: The Mets continue their series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday at Miller Park at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Jonathon Niese (5-5, 3.13 ERA) opposes right-hander Wily Peralta (11-6, 3.58).

Saturday’s news reports:

• Team insiders told ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets have engaged in limited dialogue involving Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy with other clubs, but there has not been anything substantive. That does not preclude a trade materializing before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

Regarding a big-ticket item such as Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, a team insider severely tempered the suddenly rampant fan enthusiasm. The source said the Mets worked hard over a few years to build up their young pitching and are unlikely to part with multiple high-level pitching prospects in one deal.

David Wright nonetheless told Mike Puma in the Post: “It’s going to be a tough call when we do get to the point, which I think is very soon, of what are you willing to give, because [the Rockies] are not going to be giving these guys away. What are you willing to give to obtain that? And that is kind of an open-ended question.”

Read more in Newsday.

• After being blanked through eight innings, the Amazin’s scored three runs in the final frame against ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez, highlighted by Lucas Duda's go-ahead two-run homer, en route to a 3-2 win against the Brewers. Duda has accounted for all three second-half homers by the Mets.

Murphy produced three hits, but also had two errors, including a costly grounder through his legs in the sixth, when Milwaukee broke a scoreless tie against Zack Wheeler. Wheeler ultimately was charged with two runs (one earned) in 6 2/3 innings. It marked Wheeler’s fifth straight start allowing one earned run while completing at least six innings.

The Mets last overcame a ninth-inning deficit of at least two runs on May 11, against the Philadelphia Phillies. That day, the Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth en route to a 5-4, 11-inning victory.

With 59 games remaining, the Mets (49-54) trail the first-place Washington Nationals by 8½ games. The Amazin’s are six games back in the wild card, with four non-playoff teams -- St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Miami -- ahead of them.

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

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who looked uncomfortable after leaving his appearance Thursday in Milwaukee, is due to have an MRI of his right elbow on Saturday in New York. He remains active … for now. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and at MLB.com.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had three hits, including a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh, as Las Vegas rallied to beat Salt Lake, 11-6. Greg Peavey limited Trenton to one run in eight innings as the B-Mets won, 6-1. Matt Bowman originally was due to start for Binghamton, but ended up getting summoned to Las Vegas after Darin Gorski fractured a foot. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes about Matt Garza's performance against the Mets in the series opener:

On Thursday, Matt Garza threw eight innings after lasting just one-third of an inning in his previous start in Washington. He became the first pitcher since the Mets' Bobby Jones in 1997 to pitch one-third of an inning or less and then eight innings or more in consecutive starts. Jones didn't retire a batter in a loss at Atlanta on Sept. 17, 1997, and then threw eight innings in a victory at Florida on Sept. 22, 1997.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear reflects on how the Mets fan mindset can adjust when the Mets finally begin to win consistently.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to ever play for the Mets was born on this date, but Mick Jagger, Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey all celebrate birthdays on July 26.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Did you prematurely write off Zack Wheeler?

Minors 7.25.14: Peavey stymies Trenton

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
1:24
AM ET
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LAS VEGAS 11, SALT LAKE 6: Kirk Nieuwenhuis produced a three-run homer in the seventh inning in his return to Vegas to stake the 51s to an 8-6 lead. Andrew Brown, Josh Satin and Allan Dykstra also went deep during the game. Dykstra went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and also was hit by a pitch. Nieuwenhuis finished 3-for-5. Starter Rafael Montero allowed five runs on six hits and a walk in five innings. The damage against Montero included a two-run homer by Brennan Bosch. Box

BINGHAMTON 6, TRENTON 1: Greg Peavey (8-1) allowed one run and struck out seven in eight innings and Darrell Ceciliani produced two RBIs, scored a run and stole two bases.

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Originally scheduled starter Matt Bowman was summoned to Las Vegas to fill in for Darin Gorski, who suffered a fractured foot. Binghamton opened the scoring in the fourth against Dan Camarena when Brian Burgamy doubled, moved to third on Dustin Lawley's single and came home on T.J. Rivera's single. After Travis Taijeron reached on an error by first baseman Francisco Arcia, Ceciliani's sacrifice fly plated Lawley for a 2-0 lead. Trenton scored its lone run a half-inning later. Jake Cave singled, moved to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch. Peter O’Brien then produced a run-scoring groundout. Jayce Boyd's two-out solo homer in the sixth restored a two-run lead. In the seventh, Ceciliani singled against Nick Rumbelow and stole second. After Brandon Nimmo walked, the B-Mets pulled off a double steal. Dilson Herrera then struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but reached safely on the wild pitch. Ceciliani crossed the plate, while Nimmo made it to third on the play. Nimmo scored on an error by third baseman Dan Fiorto. The B-Mets added a run in the eighth against Nick Goody. Rivera singled and Boyd walk. Jairo Heredia entered and, after a strikeout, gave up a run-scoring bloop single to Ceciliani. Jon Velasquez struck out the side in a scoreless ninth to close out the game. Herrera went 0-for-5, snapping a 12-game hitting streak. Box

ST. LUCIE at DAYTONA (ppd.): After consecutive rainouts, the teams will play doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.

AUGUSTA 5, SAVANNAH 2: Nelfi Zapata tripled and scored on Jorge Rivero's sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2 in the seventh, but Augusta scored a pair of runs in the bottom half. Starter Ricky Knapp allowed a leadoff walk and shortstop Yeixon Ruiz committed a one-out fielding error. With two on and one out, Knapp departed. Dawrin Frias allowed both inherited runners to score. Knapp was charged with four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings. Box

BURLINGTON 3, KINGSPORT 2 (10 innings)
BURLINGTON 7, KINGSPORT 2: In his third inning of relief, Bryce Beeler's wild pitch allowed the winning run to score in the bottom of the 10th in Game 1. Ivan Wilson's two-run double in the sixth had evened the score at 2. In Game 2, starter Andrew Church allowed six runs (four earned) in five innings. Box 1, Box 2

VERMONT 5, BROOKLYN 2: Vermont overcame a 2-1 deficit with a three-run fifth against starter Octavio Acosta. Michael Conforto finished 2-for-4. His RBI double in the third had evened the score at 1. Box

GCL MARLINS 14, GCL METS 1: Starter Adrian Almeida allowed seven runs (four earned) in 1 2/3 innings. Reliever Dan Hermann was charged with four runs without allowing a hit. He walked three and hit a batter and recorded two outs. Box

Compiled with team reports

 

Morning Briefing: Wheels up!

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
5:25
AM ET
FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler has allowed one run and completed at least six innings in each of his last four outings.

He looks to keep that production going and get the Mets back on track Friday at Miller Park. Wheeler (5-8, 3.78 ERA) opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.79) at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Friday’s news reports:

• The Mets have told the Colorado Rockies they would want in if the club is willing to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, Joel Sherman reports in the Post.

Tulowitzki is owed $20 million a season through 2019 and $14 million in 2020. CarGo is signed for $16 million in 2015, $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017.

Of course, John Harper in the Daily News had just written Wednesday why Tulowitzki will NOT be coming to the Mets or Yankees.

Dillon Gee surrendered six runs over the opening three innings and the Mets ultimately lost to the Brewers, 9-1, in Thursday’s series opener. Gee now has a 9.00 ERA in two starts since a prolonged layoff during the All-Star break.

The Mets are averaging 2.1 runs and 5.3 hits per game and have a .168 team batting average in seven games since returning from the All-Star break. Matt Garza, who had been knocked out by the Washington Nationals after recording only one out Saturday, limited the Mets to one run on two hits in eight innings. The lone damage came on a solo homer by Lucas Duda in the seventh.

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed a pair of home runs in two relief innings and appeared to be injured when he reached the dugout after the seventh, but Terry Collins said postgame that he was unaware of any issue.

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

• Although Ruben Tejada felt fine a day after getting beaned with a 94 mph fastball from Taijuan Walker, the Mets promoted Wilmer Flores and started him at shortstop on Thursday. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was optioned to Las Vegas to clear the roster spot. Tejada should be back at shortstop Friday. Read more in the Journal, Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a flu-like illness.

• Colon Plaia’s ninth-inning solo homer lifted Savannah to a 2-1 win against Augusta. Josh Prevost, Kelly Secrest and Paul Paez combined for four scoreless relief innings as Brooklyn beat Vermont, 7-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tom Seaver tells the Daily News that Derek Jeter should be the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets closer Billy Wagner turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets are serious contenders if the Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez?

Rapid Reaction: Padres 6, Mets 0

July, 19, 2014
Jul 19
11:24
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- That's going to put a dent in the run differential!

The Mets had a season-high-matching four-game winning streak snapped with a 6-0 loss against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night at Petco Park.

The Atlanta Braves lost and Washington Nationals won on Saturday. So the Mets trail both teams by seven games in the NL East, as they did when the second half began. Sixty-five games now remain.


Jake Roth/USA TODAY SportsYasmani Grandal trots around the bases after a second-inning homer against Dillon Gee.


The Mets (46-51) had not been shut out since June 14, when San Diego’s Jesse Hahn, Dale Thayer, Joaquin Benoit and the now-departed Huston Street combined on a two-hitter in a 5-0 win at Citi Field.

Silent night: The Mets did not muster a hit against All-Star Tyson Ross until the fifth inning, when Travis d’Arnaud sent a leadoff trickler up the third-base line. Chase Headley elected to let the ball roll and it kicked off the base for an infield hit.

The Mets finally threatened against Ross in the seventh. Lucas Duda had a one-out single, Kirk Nieuwenhuis walked with two outs and Juan Lagares singled. However, Ruben Tejada struck out to leave the bases loaded.

Ross limited the Mets to four hits in seven scoreless innings. The Padres had scored a total of five runs with him on the mound in his previous eight starts.

Gee fizz: Dillon Gee surrendered four runs in five innings, including solo homers to Yasmani Grandal and Will Venable to lead off frames. It was Gee’s shortest start since June 22, 2013. He departed with the Mets trailing 4-0.

Grandal’s homer to right-center was estimated at 440 feet -- the longest at Petco Park this season.

Seth Smith welcomed Carlos Torres with a leadoff homer in the sixth as the lead increased to five runs.

Gee’s final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 2 HR. He threw 80 pitches in his second start since returning from the disabled list.

Gets a pass? D'Arnaud had two passed balls in the game, including one in the eighth inning that allowed a run to score. He has eight passed balls this season -- two shy of the MLB lead.

What’s next: The Mets and Padres play the rubber game Sunday at 4:10 p.m. ET. Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90 ERA) opposes right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35). The Cuban defector Despaigne rivals Bartolo Colon in hitting prowess.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Padres 4

July, 19, 2014
Jul 19
1:20
AM ET
SAN DIEGO -- Travis d'Arnaud came back from Vegas with a cleared head and better plate coverage. The results speak for themselves.

D’Arnaud delivered a tiebreaking, two-out, full-count RBI single in the top of the ninth against Joaquin Benoit and the Mets returned from the All-Star break with a 5-4 win against the San Diego Padres on Friday at Petco Park.

D’Arnaud, who had three hits in the second-half opener, is now hitting .318 (21-for-66) since his return from Triple-A.

The Mets (46-50) avoided squandering a 4-0 lead. They have now won a season-high-matching four straight games. They also have won nine of 11.

They remained seven games behind the victorious Atlanta Braves in the division standings. The Mets last were this close to .500 on June 5.

Four-lorned: After limiting the Padres to one hit through four scoreless innings, Bartolo Colon allowed four fifth-inning runs. Chase Headley's two-out, full-count single plated two runners and evened the score at 4.

Colon departed for a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth with his pitch count at 86. He has allowed 17 earned runs in 26 innings over his past four starts. It marked his shortest outing since May 1 at Colorado.

The Padres, who have MLB’s most anemic offense, had been scoreless for 25 innings before the fifth-inning outburst.

The Mets had raced to a lead against Padres starter Ian Kennedy with a three-run first inning. D'Arnaud had a two-out RBI single. Juan Lagares followed with a two-run single. Kirk Nieuwenhuis added an RBI groundout in the third.

Outta here: The Padres traded closer Huston Street and a Double-A pitcher to the Los Angeles Angels during the game for Taylor Lindsey, Jose Rondon, R.J. Alvarez and another minor leaguer, ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported. The deal was not to be announced until after the game’s completion. Street had represented San Diego in the All-Star Game. He had converted 24 of 25 save chances during the first half.

Street likely would have been pitching the top of the ninth instead of Benoit had the deal not be agreed upon.

In a pinch: After a two-out double by Ruben Tejada in the eighth, Bobby Abreu grounded out as a pinch hitter. Abreu is hitless in his last 18 at-bats as a pinch hitter and is 2-for-27 on the season in that role.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56 ERA) opposes right-hander Tyson Ross (7-10, 2.85) at 8:40 p.m. ET Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Marlins 4

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
7:05
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The undercard to the Huey Lewis and the News concert did not disappoint.

Eric Campbell produced a two-out, pinch-hit single in the eighth against Mike Dunn that plated Travis d'Arnaud and the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 5-4, on Saturday at Citi Field.

The Mets (44-50) twice overcame two-run deficits en route to their seventh win in nine games on the homestand. They climbed to six games under .500 for the first time since June 25.

In a pinch: Chris Young delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh on the first pitch of reliever Bryan Morris' appearance as the Mets evened the score at 4. Morris had just inherited a two-run lead and a baserunner from starter Tom Koehler.

It was Young’s second career pinch-hit homer. The other came June 27, 2012 with Arizona at Atlanta against Jonny Venters.

The Mets’ last pinch-hit homer this season was produced by Lucas Duda on June 25 against Oakland.

All-Star leap: Daniel Murphy preserved a 4-all score in the eighth. The second baseman leaped and snared Adeiny Hechavarria's two-out liner against Vic Black to strand the potential go-ahead run in scoring position.

Pen-ultimately: Assuming Jonathon Niese successfully returns from the disabled list for the series opener in Seattle on July 21, which is the plan, this likely was Daisuke Matsuzaka's final start for a while.

In a 120-pitch effort, Matsuzaka had a better outing than his final line indicated (6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER). He had a career-high-matching 10 strikeouts -- a total he last had achieved three times in 2007 with Boston, back in his inaugural major league season.

Garrett Jones and Marcell Ozuna produced consecutive RBI doubles in the sixth against Matsuzaka as Miami took a 4-2 lead. Ozuna’s double was a line drive misread by Curtis Granderson, which resulted in it traveling over the right fielder’s head.

Déjà vu: The Mets pulled off their second suicide squeeze of the season … and second against the Marlins in three weeks. Ruben Tejada delivered a one-out bunt that plated hard-charging Kirk Nieuwenhuis and evened the score at 2 in the fifth.

The Mets also had successfully pulled off a suicide squeeze on June 22 at Miami, with Niese’s bunt plating Nieuwenhuis to open the scoring in the second inning of an eventual 11-5 win.

T.K. Oh! Koehler, a Stony Brook University product, held the Mets hitless until d’Arnaud’s leadoff single in the fifth. He ultimately allowed two runs that inning. He received a hard-luck no-decision despite limiting the Mets to two hits and departing with a 4-2 lead in the seventh.

Christian Yelich, who had raced to the wall to corral David Wright's fly ball in the fourth, had a misadventure on Nieuwenhuis’ fifth-inning fly ball to left field that carried well. Yelich drifted back, but the ball eluded him on the warning track.

After the catchable ball dropped for a double, the Mets had two in scoring position and none out. Juan Lagares followed with a run-scoring groundout. Tejada’s suicide squeeze then evened the score at 2.

Koehler departed after a one-out walk to Tejada in the seventh and Morris gave up the two-run lead.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (2-5, 3.38 ERA) opposes left-hander Brad Hand (0-1, 5.09) at 1:10 p.m. Sunday in the final game before the All-Star break. Murphy is due for a day off, with Campbell playing second base.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Marlins 1

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
9:53
PM ET
NEW YORK -- First Miami loses LeBron. And now this?

Zack Wheeler continued his career domination of the Miami Marlins and Lucas Duda and David Wright contributed two-run homers as the Mets won Friday’s series opener 7-1 at Citi Field.

With losses by division co-leaders Atlanta and Washington, the Mets (43-50) moved within seven games of first place, their closest proximity since June 29.


Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesDavid Wright greets Lucas Duda at the plate after Duda's two-run homer in the third gave the Mets a 4-0 lead.


Wheeler’s final line in a 114-pitch effort: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. He improved to 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five career starts against Miami.

Wheeler has allowed one run and pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past three starts to shave his season ERA to 3.90.

This time, he took a scoreless effort into the fifth, when Christian Yelich's two-out single plated Jarrod Saltalamacchia and pulled the Marlins within 4-1 for the lone damage against him.

To that point, Wheeler had help in the field to keep Miami scoreless.

After singling to lead off the fourth, Donovan Solano was thrown out trying to score from first base on Casey McGehee's one-out double courtesy of a relay from Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Ruben Tejada to Travis d'Arnaud.

McGehee, after reaching third base with two outs, was stranded when Garrett Jones was retired at first base on a bunt attempt to the third-base side that Wheeler quickly recovered.

Snapped: The Mets beat one of baseball’s hottest pitchers. Henderson Alvarez entered Friday’s outing with a 1.04 ERA since May 22. Only Clayton Kershaw (0.97) had a better ERA in the majors during that span. Alvarez (5 IP, 6 ER) had not allowed more than two runs in any of those nine starts. The Marlins had been unbeaten in Alvarez’s past 10 outings, the longest streak in franchise history for one starting pitcher.

Alvarez also entered the outing with an 18 1/3-inning scoreless streak against the Mets.

Juan Lagares had a two-out double in the second and Tejada followed with an RBI single. Wheeler then made it 2-0 with a double that plated Tejada. An inning later, after Wright singled for the second time in the game, Duda launched a two-run homer into the upper deck in right field for a 4-0 lead. Wright’s two-run homer in the fifth made it 6-1.

Wright had hits in all three at-bats against Alvarez and finished the game 4-for-4. The captain now is a lifetime 9-for-19 against Alvarez.

Lean on me: Heavily used Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth despite the Mets leading by six runs.

What’s next: Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.82 ERA) opposes right-hander Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.98) at 4:10 p.m. Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 1

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
9:36
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Finally, they got to four.

After going almost a full year without a four-game winning streak (and failing nine times after getting to three straight wins), the New York Mets won their fourth straight by beating the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night at Citi Field.

Dillon Gee made a successful and impressive return from the disabled list, pitching into the eighth inning and allowing just one run on six hits. Gee looked as sharp as he did before he got hurt (he missed two months with a strained lat), needing just 49 pitches to get through the first five innings.

Beating the best: The Mets clinched the series win over the Braves, their first series win over a team with a winning record since they took two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final days of May.

Black out in the eighth: With manager Terry Collins determining that Jeurys Familia needed a night off, it was Vic Black who was called on with the tying run at the plate and nobody out in the eighth inning. Black narrowly missed getting the first batter he faced to hit into a double play. He followed by striking out B.J. Upton and getting Andrelton Simmons on a fly ball to the warning track in left field.

Left, left, left: Hoping to take advantage of Braves starter Ervin Santana's dramatic left-right splits, Collins wrote out a lineup with five left-handed hitters Wednesday. The extra lefties in the lineup helped. Daniel Murphy doubled with one out in the first, and then scored the Mets' first run on a two-out Lucas Duda single. And Kirk Nieuwenhuis had the sacrifice fly that put the Mets ahead in the seventh.

The Mets' right-handed hitters had only two hits off Santana, but they were a big one. David Wright doubled to start the seventh, and eventually scored on the Nieuwenhuis sacrifice fly. Travis d'Arnaud followed with a two-run home run.

The d'Arnaud revival: D'Arnaud has now hit more home runs and driven in more runs in 13 games since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas than he did in 39 games before his demotion. The numbers: two homers, nine RBI pre-Vegas; three homers, 10 RBIs post-Vegas.

Replay! Replay! For the second time in this series, Collins got a call overturned via replay. This one wasn't controversial, as the video replay clearly showed that B.J. Upton should have been called out on his first-inning stolen base attempt. It was the eighth time in 18 attempts that Collins has successfully used replay to overturn a call. And it was the fourth time in five attempts he has done it against the Braves.

What's next: The Mets and Braves close out their four-game series with a 7:10 p.m. ET game on Thursday night at Citi Field. Bartolo Colon (8-7, 4.04) starts for the Mets, with right-hander Aaron Harang (8-6, 3.67) going for the Braves.

Morning Briefing: deGrom day in Pitt

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
5:45
AM ET
PITTSBURGH

FIRST PITCH: Now losers of two straight, the Mets continue their series at PNC Park on Friday at 7:05 p.m.

Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93).

Friday’s news reports:

Daisuke Matsuzaka surrendered a three-run homer to Gregory Polanco after shaking off catcher Travis d'Arnaud and the Mets lost to the Pirates, 5-2, Thursday. Earlier, the Pirates purposely got Ike Davis into a rundown between first and second, allowing Andrew McCutchen to trot home from third base when the Mets got inattentive.

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

Juan Lagares officially was activated from the disabled list Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with an infield single and two strikeouts.

• Terry Collins officially labeled Eric Campbell the backup shortstop, although the manager has no intention of using him there. That also means he has no intention of pinch-hitting for Ruben Tejada since there is no bona fide backup. The Mets demoted Wilmer Flores over Kirk Nieuwenhuis to keep the bench with as many capable bats as possible, even though it left them with an infield-outfield imbalance. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Davis said facing the Mets for the second time is “totally different” and essentially devoid of emotion.

Dillon Gee likely will need two more rehab starts before being activated from the disabled list, beginning Sunday at Brooklyn.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed five runs in four innings and Kevin Plawecki made his Triple-A debut as his batterymate as Las Vegas faced Sacramento. Cory Mazzoni pitched in the Florida State League as he works back from a lat-muscle strain suffered in the Grapefruit League finale. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles the Pirates rookie Polanco.

• Critic Phil Mushnick in the Post tackles SNY’s Keith Hernandez.

BIRTHDAYS: Jeff Conine turns 48. ... Chris Woodward is 38. ... B-Mets outfielder Brian Burgamy is 33. ... Savannah RHP Tyler Vanderheiden is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned about Noah Syndergaard’s Triple-A production?

Nieuwenhuis supports Dutch in World Cup

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
5:04
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- An orange No. 11 jersey of Dutch footballer Arjen Robben hung outside the locker of Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the visitors' clubhouse at PNC Park before the series opener between the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates.

So what's the connection?


VI Images via Getty ImagesThe jersey of Dutch footballer Arjen Robben was on display outside Kirk Nieuwenhuis' locker Thursday.


Nieuwenhuis said he never has been to the Netherlands, and is "disappointed about that." Still, he added, he definitely has strong links to the country.

All four of his grandparents were born in the Netherlands. His parents met at Calvin College in Michigan, which had a large Dutch population.

As for the World Cup interest, Nieuwenhuis -- who grew up in Denver -- suggested he got hooked four years ago, when the Dutch team reached the finals.

Plus, Nieuwenhuis added about his PlayStation gaming habits: "Every spring training we play so much FIFA, so you get to know the players."

The outfielder never has competitively played soccer.

"It always coincided with football," he said.

Morning Briefing: On the road again

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
5:57
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: After a two-game homestand, the Mets return to the road.

The Amazin’s open a four-game series at Pittsburgh, with Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-1, 2.68 ERA) opposing right-hander Vance Worley (1-0, 1.98) at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at PNC Park. The Mets also make a stop at Atlanta during the trip.

Juan Lagares, who had been on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle on his right side, will be activated for the series opener.

The Mets optioned lightly used Wilmer Flores (.225, 1 HR, 7 RBIs) to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear the roster spot. That means Ruben Tejada will be leaned on heavily at shortstop, since the Mets do not have a bona fine backup on the major league roster.

Eric Campbell has played only two pro games at shortstop -- both this season with Vegas. David Wright fancies himself a shortstop and can be used there in a pinch, but it would be hard to foresee him ever getting a start there. (Jacob deGrom, who has a .333 average, played shortstop in college at Stetson.)

The Mets will now have seven active outfielders, if you’re liberal in your counting: Curtis Granderson, Lagares, Chris Young, Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Bobby Abreu and, at least in terms of capabilities, Campbell.

Meanwhile, the Mets will again get to catch up with Ike Davis this weekend. Davis is hitting .254 with four homers and 19 RBIs and has a .360 on-base percentage in 58 games since the trade for Zack Thornton and player-to-be-named Blake Taylor, a left-hander who made his organization debut with four scoreless innings in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday.

Thursday’s news reports:

• On the heels of his first complete game, Zack Wheeler had his shortest career start. Wheeler allowed a career-high six earned runs in two innings and the Mets had a three-game winning streak snapped with an 8-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics.


Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler had his shortest career start Wednesday.


Wheeler thought A’s baserunners had been relaying the location of his pitches to batters. The bigger issue: his fastball “leaking” over the plate.

Down by eight runs, Lucas Duda had a pinch-hit three-run homer, for his first extra-base hit against a southpaw this season. Chris Young added a two-run homer, for his first third homer in two games, calming talk of his potential release.

Wright’s streak of consecutive games with an RBI ended at a career-high-matching seven.

Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday suggests Wheeler more resembles A.J. Burnett than Matt Harvey, and Wright apparently doesn’t disagree. Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News also dissects Wheeler’s outing.

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

• Read more on Lagares’ activation and Flores’ demotion in the Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

• Catcher Kevin Plawecki, a supplemental first-round pick in 2012 out of Purdue, has been promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He will represent the Mets in the Futures Game in Minneapolis alongside Noah Syndergaard.

• First baseman Matt Clark asked for and was granted his release by the organization from Double-A Binghamton. Clark, 27, signed with the Mets late in the offseason after slugging 25 homers in Japan in 2013. He was hitting .297 with 10 homers and a team-high 46 RBIs with the B-Mets, but was poised to lose playing time with younger players the priority.

• The Mets announced the signings of six additional draft picks, although most had been known and/or already appeared in minor league games: right-hander Gabriel Llanes (15th round), outfielder Raphael Ramirez (18th), outfielder Tucker Tharp (30th), left-hander Kurtis Horne (31st), outfielder Arnaldo Berrios (39th) and Dale Burdick (40th). Berrios is a product of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. The Mets have signed 26 of their 39 picks.

• Andrew Beaton in the Journal tries to decode what a positive run differential and losing record means.

• The Mets will be conservative with Wheeler’s innings, Terry Collins indicated. Still, Wheeler logged 168 2/3 innings in 2013. So approaching 200 innings, if he’s capable, would not seem outlandish. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

John Lannan, who had not pitched in a game since being outrighted by the Mets in mid-April, allowed five runs on one hit and four walks and recorded only one out in a start for Class A St. Lucie at Fort Myers on Wednesday. Octavio Acosta allowed a solo homer but no other hits in six innings as Brooklyn beat Aberdeen, 5-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Harvey expects to throw off a mound for the first time in mid-July. Read more in the Post.

Scott Kazmir feels sympathy for Victor Zambrano. "It’s unfortunate how that went down with Victor Zambrano because I’m sure he’s a great guy," Kazmir told Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger. "He didn’t deserve all that. It was something where maybe he -- I don’t know. I don’t know what happened with the injury or anything like that, but if he would have done fine, if he would have done good with the Mets, maybe we wouldn’t even be talking about this trade. It’s just one of those things.”

BIRTHDAYS: Derek Jeter, the other captain in New York, turns 40. ... Double-A Binghamton reliever Hamilton Bennett is 26. ... Former pitcher Jason Middlebrook is 39. ... Ex-infielder Luis Hernandez is 30.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should play shortstop if Ruben Tejada has a day off?

Source: Chris Young may be cut Thursday

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
10:03
AM ET

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsThe Mets are seriously weighing releasing Chris Young when Juan Lagares returns, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Juan Lagares' rehab tour has shifted to Double-A Binghamton, and the Mets are eyeing Thursday for the center fielder's activation from the disabled list.

So doesn't Kirk Nieuwenhuis just get demoted to Las Vegas once Lagares returns from the intercostal strain on his right side?

Not necessarily, especially after Nieuwenhuis' two-double game Sunday in Miami.

A team insider acknowledged Chris Young's "days are numbered" with the organization, which is prepared to eat the remainder of this year's $7.25 million salary. The internal debate at this point centers on whether to pull the trigger this week, and it's definitely being seriously weighed, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

After last year's flop with Oakland (.200, 12 HR, 40 RBIs), Young nonetheless received the lucrative one-year deal from the Mets on Nov. 26. He is hitting .201 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 179 at-bats this season. He also has been underwhelming on the occasions the Mets have used him in center field.

This weekend, Terry Collins offered no assurance Young, 30, gets much playing time going forward against right-handed pitching.

Assuming Collins starts Young against left-handers Scott Kazmir and Brad Mills during the two-game midweek Oakland Athletics series, that may be the ex-Diamondback's last chance to save his job.

Because the A's are starting a pair of southpaws, Nieuwenhuis probably is done stating his case to remain in the majors, with the exception of entering in-game after a pitching change. Through two tours with the Mets this season, the lefty-hitting Nieuwenhuis is hitting .292 with a homer and six RBIs in 24 at-bats, including some clutch production.

Mets finally awaken at the plate

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
5:51
PM ET
MIAMI -- About the only downside to the Mets’ 11-5 win against the Miami Marlins on Sunday was the players’ arms getting tired from waving towels in the dugout after each Mets hit.

The Mets finished off a series win by pounding out a season-high-matching 17 hits at Marlins Park on Sunday.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to break one open,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve been put in a lot of situations where one hit breaks the whole game open. We haven’t had it. Today we got it.”

Said David Wright, marveling at the growing phenomenon of Mets players waving towels to celebrate favorable game occurrences: “[Even] the bullpen is doing it now. I guess every team needs some sort of gimmick now. And I guess that’s ours.”

The criteria for what merits towel-waving?

“I don’t know,” said Wright, who is just following the lead of Curtis Granderson, who initiated it. “Guys just start doing it. I’m not exactly sure for what. Maybe good things.”

Jonathon Niese earned his first win in exactly a month because he finally got some run support. In his previous five starts -- four no-decisions and a walk -- the Mets averaged 2.6 runs per game.

“We kind of hit them hard and hit them early,” Niese said. “It was good. It’s a lot more comfortable going out there being able to pound the zone and execute pitches when you’ve got a big lead.”

Before the Mets grabbed a 7-0 lead on Daniel Murphy’s three-run homer in the fourth against Jersey native Anthony DeSclafani, Collins got aggressive trying to manufacture a run.

Once Anthony Recker’s sacrifice fly opened the scoring in the second inning, the Mets had runners on the corners with one out. The No. 8 batter Niese was due up, and Collins called for a suicide squeeze. Kirk Nieuwenhuis broke for home. He would have been out had Niese not successfully laid down a bunt to the first-base side.

“Luckily I was able to get a pitch that I could put down,” Niese said.

Said Nieuwenhuis, who had been unable to score on Friday on a deep fly ball to left fielder Marcell Ozuna, yet managed to score on a bunt Sunday: “It’s kind of fun. I’m just hoping he gets it down.”

Collins, trying to remember the last time he had called for a suicide squeeze, joked: “’06, probably.”

He was the director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers that year.

“We don’t do that much,” the manager said. “I didn’t want to just sacrifice [the trail runner to second base]. … That’s why Jon hits eighth, the same as Jake [deGrom]. They handle the bat fine. I’m not concerned that they’re not going to put the ball in play. We tried something different.”

It certainly was a light atmosphere Sunday, with the Mets now having won four of five.

After Murphy homered, he jokingly was threatening to slap third-base coach Tim Teufel in the face the next time, and shouted as much from the dugout to Teufel.

Seven different Mets had multi-hit performances in the same game for the first time since last August against the Minnesota Twins.

That included Granderson, who went 3-for-5 with a double, walk and two runs scored in the leadoff spot.

In five starts in the leadoff spot this season, Granderson now has reached base in 11 of 23 plate appearances, for a .478 on-base percentage.

Collins likes Granderson in that spot, too. Still, the manager is unlikely to bat Granderson first against the Oakland Athletics next series, since the Mets will face left-handers Scott Kazmir and Brad Mills.

Niese, the beneficiary of Sunday’s offensive outburst, ought to have been treated better in a three-run sixth against him. Granderson misplayed a leadoff fly ball into a double. Murphy failed to field a makeable play with two outs, resulting in a run-scoring single. Essentially, the Mets gave the Marlins five outs that inning.

“His line probably should have been a lot better than it was because of a few plays defensively we probably should have made,” Wright said. “But he’s been doing an excellent job just throwing strikes, keeping his pitch count down. Every time he takes the ball you think he’s going to go nine innings. Offensively, we haven’t done a lot to pick him up and give him a lot of run support. I’m glad we were able to do that today.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Marlins 5

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
4:19
PM ET


MIAMI -- The bats came alive for the Mets on Sunday at Marlins Park.

Finally!

Kirk Nieuwenhuis produced a pair of early doubles in his first start since returning from Triple-A and Daniel Murphy slugged a three-run homer that chased Anthony DeSclafani in the fourth inning as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 11-5.

The Mets (35-41) won three of four in the series.

Seven Mets produced at least two hits. The last time the Amazin's had seven players with multi-hit games: Aug. 19, 2013 at Minnesota, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Jonathon Niese (4-4) earned his first win in exactly a month.


Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsDaniel Murphy rounds the bases after his three-run homer staked the Mets to a 7-0 lead in the fourth.


The southpaw took a 7-0 lead into the sixth, when Curtis Granderson misplayed Jeff Mathis’ leadoff fly ball into a double and Murphy could not handle a two-out smash from Marcell Ozuna, which was ruled an RBI single. Niese surrendered three runs in the inning but stranded the bases loaded by striking out Derek Dietrich to maintain a four-run lead.

Niese’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. He threw 87 pitches.

Niese had been 0-1 in his past five starts despite producing a 2.61 ERA during that span. He has now limited opponents to three earned runs or fewer in 19 straight starts, the longest active streak in the majors.

The 11 runs produced by the Mets matched the second most this season. The Mets posted 12 at Yankee Stadium on May 13.

The Mets’ 17 hits matched their season high, also done May 3 at Colorado.

The 24-year-old rookie DeSclafani, a native of Howell, N.J., surrendered seven runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Wright stuff: David Wright’s third-inning sacrifice fly gave him an RBI for the sixth straight game. That streak is one shy of Wright’s career high for RBIs in consecutive games. He drove in a run in seven straight games in June 2010.

Wright’s seventh-inning double extended his hitting streak to seven games.

Kirk beams shots: Nieuwenhuis, who had not started a major league game since April 23, nearly homered in each of his first two at-bats. In the second inning, he doubled off the top of the left-center wall by the home-run sculpture at Marlins Park and scored on Niese’s squeeze bunt. Nieuwenhuis then produced a run-scoring double off the top of the right-center wall in the third.

Nieuwenhuis actually had doubles in four straight major league at-bats -- all against Miami.

He doubled as a pinch hitter on Friday to lead off the ninth, setting up the play in which he ultimately was thrown out by Ozuna at the plate for the game’s final out. He also doubled in his final at-bat of his last tour of duty with the Mets, on April 25. That double immediately preceded Granderson’s walk-off single as the Mets rallied for a 4-3 win and snapped Steve Cishek’s consecutive saves streak at 33.

What’s next: The Mets take a day off Monday, then have a two-game homestand against the Oakland Athletics. The A’s, who originally listed Sonny Gray as Tuesday’s starter, will push him back to Saturday to provide extra rest. Ex-Mets left-hander Scott Kazmir now lines up against former A’s right-hander Bartolo Colon in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. opener. Zack Wheeler now opposes Brad Mills on Wednesday.

Morning Briefing: deGrom still seeking 'W'

June, 21, 2014
Jun 21
8:01
AM ET
MIAMI

FIRST PITCH: Jacob deGrom makes his eighth major league start Saturday, still looking for his first win.

DeGrom (0-4, 4.39 ERA), the victim of a lack of run support in his first few starts, more recently has proven mortal. He has allowed 13 runs on 26 hits and six walks in 15 innings over his past three starts.

DeGrom will need to pick things up soon with Dillon Gee getting closer to returning from the disabled list. Otherwise, the rookie could find himself in the bullpen or back in Triple-A, rather than Daisuke Matsuzaka reverting to a relief role.


Jeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsJacob deGrom again bids for his first major league win Saturday.


“He’s been here long enough where, not that teams are seeing him two times, but there are starting to be films on him. And a lot of advance scouts are seeing him now,” Terry Collins said about deGrom. “He’s got to go back to the same thing we’ve told him before, and that’s to make sure he uses all of his pitches. He has good enough command of everything he throws that he doesn’t need to sit on one pitch. If he gets behind in the count, throw a changeup or drop your breaking ball in. You’re going to get outs just as easy as trying to pitch with your fastball all the time.

“It’s all a learning process with Jake. I know all he’s trying to do is give us quality innings. He’s not worried about wins and losses right now. He’s worried about making sure he gets deep into a game.”

As for deGrom’s future in the rotation, Collins added: “Well, when Dillon comes back I think there will be discussions about a lot of guys.”

DeGrom opposes Stony Brook University product Tom Koehler (5-5, 3.84 ERA) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. at Marlins Park.

Saturday’s news reports:

• The Mets challenged Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna twice on Friday. They lost twice. And they lost a challenge, too. Ozuna threw out David Wright at the plate trying to score the tying run from second base in the eighth on Eric Campbell’s bases-loaded single. Then, Ozuna stunned the Mets by throwing out Kirk Nieuwenhuis at the plate to end the game on a would-be sacrifice fly by Chris Young as the Mets lost, 4-3.

The Mets unsuccessfully challenged the eighth-inning ruling, claiming catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia did not provide a lane for Wright to slide. Afterward, the Mets expressed displeasure with what they deemed the inconsistent application of the blocking-the-plate rule. Sandy Alderson strongly implied he already had discussed the matter with MLB.

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

Travis d'Arnaud says his major league struggles were "all mental."

• D’Arnaud went 3-for-4 and started a four-run ninth-inning rally as Las Vegas posted a 5-4 walk-off win against Nashville. Savannah, which graduated six players to St. Lucie, lost to Greenville 21-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Juan Lagares went hitless in four at-bats and played seven innings in center field in his first minor-league rehab game. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Matt Harvey, who advised Marlins ace Jose Fernandez about Tommy John surgery rehab, expects to be on a mound for the first time since the Oct. 22 procedure in about two weeks. Read more in the Times and Journal.

• Read more on deGrom and the rotation once Gee returns in the Post, Record and Star-Ledger.

• John DeMarzo in the Post profiles catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, a former supplemental first-round pick out of Purdue.

• Michael J. Fensom in the Star-Ledger writes about the Mets’ captivation with the World Cup.

BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever/Harvard product Jeff Musselman was born on this date in 1963.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Does MLB need to throw out the rule about blocking the plate and allow collisions again?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.88 106 141
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .296
HRL. Duda 20
RBIL. Duda 61
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .872
ERAJ. Niese 3.24
SOZ. Wheeler 125