New York Mets: Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Kirk released from hospital

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis is being released from the hospital on Tuesday morning.

He had been hospitalized since Saturday with an infection, which was believed to be related to kidney stones.

Kirk expected to be discharged Tuesday

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was hospitalized Saturday with an infection, is expected to be discharged Tuesday.

The belief is the infection was related to kidney stones.

Nieuwenhuis is said to be feeling a lot better.

Nieuwenhuis will be out of options in 2015 and figures to contribute off the bench, provided he is not part of any offseason trades. Nieuwenhuis, 27, hit .259 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 112 at-bats this season.

Morning Briefing: See you in St. Lucie!

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29

FIRST PITCH: That’s all folks!

The Mets completed their season with a 79-83 record, tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East.

Heck, the Mets won the season series from Atlanta, 10-9, if you want to crow about actually topping the Braves.

Now, the work belongs to Sandy Alderson and the front office, trying to upgrade the offense.

Alderson suggested the Mets were not that far off, though. According to the GM, the Amazin’s merely need to move from a middle-of-the-pack offense to top five in order to pick up 10-12 wins.

The Mets finished exactly in the middle in the NL in runs scored -- eighth -- and averaged 3.9 runs a game. They tied for 13th in batting average (.238), ranked ninth in on-base percentage (.308) and tied for ninth in home runs (125).

“I think it seems that a lot of individual guys, and us as a team, have finished on such a strong note that we have some momentum going into the offseason,” captain David Wright said. “Hopefully that carries over into spring training. Lucas Duda hitting his 30th home run, the way Wilmer Flores has swung the bat as of late, our pitching staff, a lot of good things happened. Although we didn’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish, there’s a lot of solid and some great individual performances by some of the guys in this clubhouse.

“We’re close. We’re close. And that’s a good feeling going into an offseason.”

What’s next?

The Mets will announce “limited” coaching changes in the next couple of days, with the turnover expected to center on the hitting-coach positions and no room for Wally Backman on the major league staff.

Jonathon Niese is due to be examined on Monday after a recurrence of a rapid heartbeat this weekend.

Travis d'Arnaud (bone chips) on Wednesday Jenrry Mejia (sports hernia) on Thursday are due to undergo surgery.

And hopefully Kirk Nieuwenhuis gets released soon after spending the past two nights in the hospital with an infection.

Monday’s news reports:

• Duda slugged his 30th homer and finished with 92 RBIs and Bartolo Colon crossed 200 innings and notched his 15th win as the Mets closed the season with an 8-3 win against the Astros.

Retiring Bobby Abreu singled in the fifth inning and received a resounding sendoff as he was pulled from the game. Abreu plans to play a couple of games in winter ball with Caracas to have a farewell in his native Venezuela, too. He aspires to serve as a hitting coach, although he’s not sure he will begin that phase of his career in 2015.

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

• Alderson confirmed the dimensions in center and right-center at Citi Field are “likely” to be trimmed to assist Curtis Granderson and Wright. Read more from Alderson, including his thoughts on what the team needs to upgrade, in the Post and Star-Ledger.

• Read more on Abreu’s sendoff in the Record and Newsday.

• Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, initially out of the lineup, was inserted after social-media uproar and secured the AL batting title at Citi Field. Read more in the Times and Post.

Daisuke Matsuzaka said he wants to be a starting pitcher next season. Presumably, that may mean pitching in Japan in 2015.

Josh Satin finished the season unavailable with a fracture in his right hand. The injury will not require surgery.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post offers a suggestion for how the Mets can stop “being such a laughingstock.” Writes Davidoff:

If the Mets can just climb into the $100-$110 million range, then they can trade their assets only for baseball reasons and not for financial ones. They can build on this year’s step forward with confidence. There’s little indication from Alderson this will actually happen.

• Mike Puma in the Post reported the Mets asked Daniel Murphy about playing some left field next season, but Murphy balked and the club won’t “press the issue.” Frankly, Murphy may not even be a Met in 2015.

• Puma in the Post asks five questions for 2015.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger lists four ways the Mets’ offense can improve.

• Long Islander Nick Tropeano allowed four runs in five innings at Citi Field on Sunday before a large contingent of family and friends. "Warming up, you could hear them screaming, 'Trope!' and that kind of stuff," Tropeano said postgame, according to Colin Stephenson in Newsday. "You know, good, bad, win, lose, it's kind of a celebration for me just being here, and making it up here, playing the New York Mets -- it's surreal. It's good."

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear delivers its Closing Day soliloquy. … Blogging Mets has its annual Mets report card for the season.

BIRTHDAYS: Heath Bell turns 37. ... Minor-league outfielder Enmanuel Zabala is 20.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What should Sandy Alderson do to improve the offense?

Note: This is the final “Morning Briefing” for 2014. Thanks for reading!

Kirk remains hospitalized with infection

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was hospitalized Saturday with an infection, remains there and has not been discharged, Terry Collins said.

The Mets originally hoped Nieuwenhuis would be out of the hospital after spending one night.

Originally, Nieuwenhuis was scratched from Friday's lineup and labeled ill. He has dealt with a kidney stone recently as well.

Morning Briefing: One and done ...

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28

FIRST PITCH: And now we’ve come to the end of the road …

The Mets play Game No. 162 on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. -- 225 days after pitchers and catchers officially reported to Port St. Lucie, Florida, for spring training.

Believe it or not, there are things at stake despite the Mets’ elimination.

The Mets (78-83) enter the final day tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East, one game ahead of the Miami Marlins (77-84).

The Amazin’s cannot get a protected draft pick, meaning they will forfeit their first-round selection next June if they sign a free agent who receives a qualifying offer from his former team. Entering the final day, the Mets would draft 15th (including a compensation pick awarded to the Houston Astros for not signing this year’s first-rounder).

Bobby Abreu is expected to be in the lineup in his final major league game on Sunday.

On Friday, the 40-year-old Abreu announced his intention to retire. He has produced the third-most hits in major league history among Venezuelan-born players with 2,469, trailing only Omar Vizquel (2,877) and Luis Aparicio (2,677). He is fourth among his countrymen in homers with 288, behind Andres Galarraga (399), Miguel Cabrera (390) and Magglio Ordonez (294).

Bartolo Colon enters the season finale 3 2/3 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau. Colon last logged that total in 2005, when he went 21-8 for the Los Angeles Angels en route to the AL Cy Young Award.

Colon (14-13, 4.08 ERA) opposes Astros right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) in the finale.

Tropeano is a product of West Islip High School and Stony Brook University on Long Island. Seawolves coach Matt Senk will be among the horde of people at Citi Field supporting Tropeano, who was a fifth-round pick out of the university in 2011.

Detroit’s Joe Nathan and Miami’s Tom Koehler are the other Stony Brook University products in the majors.

Sunday’s news reports:

Lucas Duda produced a walk-off two-run homer off the right-field foul pole against Tony Sipp with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Mets beat the Astros, 2-1, Saturday. It was Duda’s first career game-ending homer and third career walk-off hit. His last came on May 28, 2013 against the great Mariano Rivera.

The Mets produced their 78th win, the most of the four-season Sandy Alderson/Terry Collins era.

Rafael Montero allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Jeurys Familia upped his franchise rookie record with his 75th relief appearance. Scott Rice formerly held the mark at 73.

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

• Read more on Montero in the Post and Star-Ledger.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis' illness, which forced him to be scratched from Friday’s game, turned out to have some gravity. Nieuwenhuis was hospitalized overnight with an infection.

Jonathon Niese is due to be examined by doctors on Monday after his latest bout with an accelerated heart rate.

• Tropeano’s family has chartered a bus for 56 relatives from the family’s home in West Islip to Citi Field, writes Will Sammon in Newsday. The attendees will include his 97-year-old grandfather, who broke a femur two years ago, and who attended as many as 100 of his games a year when he was younger. "We'll be loud," mother Debbie Tropeano told Sammon. "Everybody is so psyched and pumped, it's like they're the ones that are pitching. My husband will be nervous. I won't be nervous."

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post offers nine reasons the Mets will be better in 2015.

• The Mets are looking for more consistency from Curtis Granderson next season, Matt Ehalt writes in the Record.

• Read more about Abreu’s influence on Venezuelan players reaching the majors in Newsday.

BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever Mike DeJean turns 44.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What will the Mets’ record be in 2015?

Notes: Mets still searching for leadoff hitter

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets used eight different leadoff hitters in 2014. Manager Terry Collins still isn't sure which one he wants to take into 2015.

On this final weekend of the season, Matt den Dekker is getting a chance to show he can handle the role.

"When we've talked before about possible leadoff guys, he's always been near the top of the list," Collins said Saturday, prior to the Mets' game against the Houston Astros. "We'll see what it's like [Saturday and Sunday]."

den Dekker has led off 10 times for the Mets this season, with a .370 on-base percentage in those games and eight runs scored. The Mets are 3-7 with him in the leadoff spot.

There's no guarantee, of course, that den Dekker will even be in the Mets' everyday lineup next season. Juan Lagares, who led off 37 times this year, and Curtis Granderson, who led off 52 times, are safer bets to be playing regularly. But Lagares has a low on-base percentage for a leadoff hitter (.321 this year), and Granderson has had a wildly inconsistent season at the plate.

Besides, Granderson's recent show of power has pushed him into the fifth spot in the Mets lineup.

The Mets signed Granderson with the idea he would be their cleanup hitter, but he has batted fourth in just 47 of his 148 starts. Besides leadoff and cleanup, Granderson has also batted sixth (19 times), second (16 times) and fifth (14 times).

The Mets' other leadoff hitters this season have been Eric Young Jr. (53 times), Ruben Tejada (four times), Chris Young (two times), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (once) and Daniel Murphy (once).

Nieuwenhuis hospitalized: After being scratched from the lineup Friday because he felt ill, Nieuwenhuis was hospitalized Saturday, fighting what doctors now believe is an infection. Collins said Nieuwenhuis may be kept in the hospital Saturday night, but should be released by Sunday.

Family affair: den Dekker was thrilled to get a chance to face Astros reliever Kevin Chapman, his first cousin, in Friday's game. The two grew up together in Florida, and both describe their relationship as more like brothers than cousins. The two work out together regularly in the winter, with Chapman throwing batting practice to den Dekker.

They faced each other twice in spring training in 2013 (a strikeout and a triple), but Friday's meeting was their first in a regular-season game.

Chapman walked den Dekker on five pitches.

Montero's role: The Mets never did get much of a look at Rafael Montero as a reliever, despite saying they wanted to do so. Montero is making his eighth big-league start Saturday, and Collins said the right-hander will likely go to spring training as a (probably longshot) candidate for the rotation.

"We'll see where he fits," Collins said. "If we get to the end and we need help in the bullpen, we can make an adjustment. We've got to look at where he can help the most."

Morning Briefing: Play on

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20

FIRST PITCH: Wait until next year!

The Mets officially were eliminated from postseason contention on Friday night, despite producing a win.

Still, they play on.

At 74-80, the Amazin’s occupy fourth place in the NL East. Still, they are only a half-game behind the Miami Marlins (74-79) for third place and only 2 games behind the Atlanta Braves (76-77) for second place.

The Mets need to go 7-1 the rest of the way to reach .500. Otherwise, they will produce their sixth straight losing season, which would match the Houston Astros for the longest active streak of sub-.500 seasons in the majors.

On Saturday at Turner Field, Jonathon Niese (8-11, 3.55 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74) at 7:10 p.m.

Saturday’s news reports:

Lucas Duda opened the scoring with a two-run homer and the Mets tacked on three ninth-inning runs en route to a 5-0 win against Atlanta in Friday’s series opener. Albeit requiring 105 pitches, Zack Wheeler tossed six scoreless innings to improve to 11-10 with a 3.49 ERA with one start remaining.

“His stuff was very, very good,” Terry Collins said, while adding: “As we’ve seen lately, he uses a lot of pitches to get outs.”

Collins was pleased that Wheeler has maintained his velocity this deep into the season. He has now logged 180 1/3 innings. Last year, he logged 174 1/3 innings. Wheeler has continued to average more than 96 mph with his fastball in September.

“That’s what you work hard for during the offseason, so you can last this long and stay powerful throughout the season,” Wheeler said. “It’s a good sign.”

As for turning a 3-8 record entering July into an above-.500 mark, Wheeler added: “It was a rough first few months, but I got past that. I kept my nose down and kept going.”

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

• Read more on Wheeler in the Record.

• Triple-A manager Wally Backman joined the major league staff Friday for the final nine games of the season. He offered candid assessments of Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Matt Bowman, Jacob deGrom and Wilmer Flores. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Juan Lagares is skipping the trip to Atlanta and D.C. because of his right elbow sprain. Lagares may appear during the season’s final series, against the Astros at Citi Field. Or he may already have played his final 2014 game.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was given Friday off after passing a kidney stone.

• Broadcaster Ron Darling tells Neil Best in Newsday this was an “enjoyable” year watching the Mets.

• If deGrom wins the Rookie of the Year Award, he would have logged the second-fewest innings ever among recipients, ahead of only Dave Righetti, writes Jared Diamond in the Journal. DeGrom is at 134 1/3 innings with two remaining starts. Righetti had only 105 1/3 with the Yankees while winning the AL award in 1981.

• A fan caught Duda’s homer in a popcorn bucket. Watch the video at

• The Mets hosted a wheelchair softball tournament in the parking lot at Citi Field, writes Lisa L. Colangelo in the Daily News.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear has mentally pushed its calendar ahead to 2015.

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Bay turns 36. ... Dave Gallagher was born on this date in 1960.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets make the postseason in 2015?

Kirk gets day off after passing stone

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
ATLANTA -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis volunteered to play in Friday's series opener against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, but Terry Collins opted to give the outfielder the day off after Nieuwenhuis passed a kidney stone.

Matt den Dekker moves to center field, with Eric Young Jr. starting in left field.

Murphy day-to-day after wrist shot

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy expressed hope he will return to the lineup Saturday, but that is not set in stone.

Murphy was forced from Thursday’s series opener in the eighth inning after being struck in the left wrist by a fastball from Matt Thornton. X-rays were negative.

Terry Collins said Murphy intends to avoid taking pregame batting practice Friday.

“It’s pretty swelled up,” Collins said.

Said Murphy: “It’s sore today. I’ll get some treatment and see how it feels tomorrow.”

Also on the injury front:

Travis d'Arnaud is back in the lineup after being pulled in the fifth inning Thursday. D’Arnaud has been battling a banged-up wrist and other ailments. Collins said d’Arnaud should get Sunday’s series finale off, giving him three days off in the next week-plus to try to recuperate. The Mets have off-days Thursday and Sept. 22.

Matt den Dekker remains unavailable to bat after getting struck with a pitch on the top of his left hand against Colorado. With the Mets having faced left-handed pitchers two of the past three days, Eric Young Jr. is getting playing time in left field. Collins said he likely will turn to Kirk Nieuwenhuis on Saturday with the Nats throwing right-hander Doug Fister.

Dana Eveland likely will not pitch again this season because of inflammation in his left elbow. He has a small bone spur, but does not expect he will need to have it surgically removed.

• Although Terry Collins expressed concern with Vic Black's drop in velocity on Monday and wondered if it was related to Black’s herniated disk, Collins said there is no current issue with the reliever. In fact, Collins said, he would have used Black to close Thursday because the manager wanted to stay away from Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia. Black has not appeared in any of the past three games.

Morning Briefing: Nats rule Citi Field

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11

FIRST PITCH: Well, if the Mets have designs on reaching .500 and beyond, they will have to accomplish it against a tough nemesis.

Of the 16 games remaining for the Amazin’s this season, seven are against the Washington Nationals. That includes a four-game series at Citi Field that begins Thursday at 7:10 p.m., when Bartolo Colon (13-11, 3.96 ERA) opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (12-10, 2.97).

The Mets remain 5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot. The Amazin’s are four games under .500, at 71-75, and have won a season-high-matching four straight.

The Nats have a 10-2 record and have outscored the Mets 62-34 this season.

Washington has won 11 straight games in Queens. That’s the longest-ever winning streak by a visiting team against the Mets. The Atlanta Braves won 10 straight games at Shea Stadium in 1991 and '92.

The Nats are 25-4 at Citi Field since September 2011.

“I’m very pleased,” Terry Collins said about the Mets’ recent play, which includes winning seven of their last eight games and four straight series wins. “We’ve still got a tough road ahead here. We’ve got the Nats coming in, who we have not played very well, [and] who play absolutely great here. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re aware of that.”

Thursday’s news reports:

• A civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn alleges chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon “humiliated” the club’s senior vice president overseeing ticket sales because she was pregnant and unmarried. The Mets responded that former employee Leigh Castergine’s lawsuit is “without merit.”

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Times, Newsday and at

• Read columnist Mike Vaccaro’s take on the Mets’ wild-card pursuit and the lawsuit in the Post and columnist David Lennon’s take in Newsday. Jeff Passan has a scathing critique of the latter topic at Yahoo!, as does Bob Klapisch in the Record.

• Despite a high pitch count, Rafael Montero tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings and earned his first major league win as the Mets swept the Rockies with a 2-0 win Wednesday. Eric Young Jr. went 3-for-3 with an RBI triple and Jenrry Mejia became the youngest player in franchise history to notch 25 saves in a season. Mets pitchers have logged 19 straight scoreless innings, two shy of matching the season high (April 20-22), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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

Daniel Murphy was shifted to third base Wednesday with David Wright done for the season because of persistent left-shoulder woes. Murphy received no fielding chances in his first start at the position since July 21, 2011. The move allows rookie Dilson Herrera to get continued playing time at second base. Read more in the Times and Star-Ledger.

• ESPN’s Buster Olney suggests it could be a quiet offseason for the Mets, at least spending-wise. Writes Olney:

The reality appears to be that the Mets' front office will be left with little money to improve the roster, perhaps bypassing pricey veterans who could represent pivotal upgrades, such as shortstop J.J. Hardy. It appears Alderson will instead pick through the bargain bin for short-term gambles, which is how Chris Young came to be a Met last winter; he was a bargain for a reason.

The Mets' ownership could choose to take a different path and look to spend money to make money. But once again, that does not appear to be the route this team will go, and it's bad for the sport when a New York City team pretends it must adhere to its budget the way the Tampa Bay Rays do.

ESPN Insiders can read Olney’s full analysis here.

Matt den Dekker remained sore and did not appear in Wednesday’s game a day after getting plunked on the back of his left hand with a pitch.

• Binghamton is one win from the Eastern League championship after a 5-1 victory at Richmond on Wednesday. Xorge Carrillo and Travis Taijeron homered and Greg Peavey limited the Squirrels to one run in seven innings as the B-Mets took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Binghamton will go for the sweep at home on Friday with Steven Matz on the mound. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Matz and Herrera were named the pitcher and player of the year in the Mets organization, the club announced. Sterling Award winners at individual levels of the organization were Matt Reynolds, Kevin Plawecki, Brandon Nimmo, Dario Alvarez, Akeel Morris, Vicente Lupo, Marcos Molina, John Mora, Ali Sanchez and Walter Rasquin.

• Wright and Dillon Gee visited FDNY Squad 288/Hazmat 1 in Maspeth, Queens, on Wednesday.

Chris Young homered and had two RBIs as the Yankees rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays. Young became the second player ever to homer for the Mets and Yankees in the same season, joining Dave Kingman in 1977, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• Andrew Beaton in the Journal looks into the Mets being 16-2 this season in games started by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. That’s the best winning percentage for any player in the majors with a minimum of 15 starts.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at NY Mets Report doesn’t believe Wright’s injury and Herrera playing second base could pave the way for Murphy to be traded this offseason.

BIRTHDAYS: Former closer Frank Francisco turns 35.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets reach .500? Can they reach the postseason?

Flo, Kirk out of options after 2014

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
NEW YORK -- What's undoubtedly a factor in why Wilmer Flores is getting such a serious look at shortstop down the stretch with the Mets?

Flores is one of the five players on the 40-man roster who exhausted a final option this season.

That means, barring an offseason trade, Flores either will break spring-training camp with the Mets in 2015 or be exposed to waivers. And Flores has shown enough that he would have to be on the team, because he surely would be claimed.

The other players who have exhausted their final option in 2014 are Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Andrew Brown and Cesar Puello.

An option is good for an entire season, allowing a player to move freely as many times as desired between the majors and minors without being exposed to waivers. Most players get three option years, although some get four, including Mejia. (See explanation at

Players can begin burning options even before reaching the majors. For instance, left-handed prospect Steven Matz was placed on the 40-man roster last winter to protect him from Rule 5 draft eligibility. So Matz came to camp in Port St. Lucie in February as a 40-man roster player. And when he predictably failed to make the team, he was optioned to minor-league camp. So his first option was used in 2014 despite never appearing in the majors.

In the case of Mejia, having exhausted his options is largely immaterial. Whether as the closer or some other late-inning relief role, Mejia has established himself as a major leaguer and should no longer need an option.

Nieuwenhuis is the other case like Flores. It's no wonder the Mets are testing Nieuwenhuis in a bench-type role -- with pinch hits and sporadic starts. After all, that would appear to be the role he is slated for in 2015 given he cannot be sent to the minors at that point without being exposed to waivers.

For the same reason, the Mets careers of Puello and Brown appear to be on life support. Although they are on the 40-man roster, neither player was called up in September for a look, suggesting neither is really in the 2015 plans. That means they could be the first off the roster this offseason when the Mets need a spot for a new addition -- either a prospect who needs to be shielded from the Rule 5 draft, a free-agent signing, or via a trade that adds more current 40-man roster players than it subtracts.

The Mets' 40-man roster currently is full. (See the current 40-man roster here). And, because of a rare circumstance of not many pending free agents, it will remain full even into the offseason.

Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell will need to come off the 60-day DL, where they have not been counting against the 40-man roster.

And, with their contracts expiring, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Bobby Abreu would come off.

So 40, plus 2, minus 2, still equals 40.

That means the Mets are going to have to drastically start trimming 40-man roster players this winter. Aside from free agents, there are new prospects to shield from the Rule 5 draft, beginning with Noah Syndergaard.

Morning Briefing: Day off in Cincy

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4

FIRST PITCH: The Mets spend a day off in Cincinnati before getting back to work on Friday against the Reds.

Bartolo Colon (12-11, 4.01 ERA) opposes right-hander Alfredo Simon (13-9, 3.28) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener.

Thursday’s news reports:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a two-run homer, then Travis d'Arnaud had a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth and the Mets held on to beat Miami, 4-3, in Wednesday’s rubber game at Marlins Park. Jacob deGrom allowed one run in six innings in a no-decision as he further enhanced his NL Rookie of the Year candidacy. Nieuwenhuis started over Curtis Granderson, who has sat two of the past four games.

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

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record advocates Las Vegas manager Wally Backman landing a major league role with the Mets for 2015. Writes Klapisch:

You couldn’t help but wonder how Sandy Alderson really felt about Wally Backman winning the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year award, considering the GM has shown no intention of giving Backman a chance in New York. It’s time to reconsider this de facto blackball, and see Backman as an asset who can help the Mets ascend toward respectability.

Of course, this would require Alderson shedding his prejudice against the very trait that makes Backman unique: He’s an independent thinker with a strong personality, as old-school as it gets. Alderson is a dominant GM who values managers that act as corporate messengers.

• Andrew Keh in the Times addresses the woes of Granderson, who is batting .210 for the season and is hitless in his last 18 at-bats. Granderson said he has remained calm despite the struggles, quipping: “There’s never been a point in breaking a bat. Then I’ve got nothing to swing with the next time up.”

Vic Black, on the DL with a herniated disk in his neck, is set to throw off a mound during Thursday’s off-day for the first time since being sidelined. Matt Harvey again will work off a mound on the off-day, but this time will simulate a pair of innings for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last October, pitching coach Dan Warthen told reporters.

• D’Arnaud’s 12 passed balls are tied with San Diego’s Yasmani Grandal and Colorado’s Wilin Rosario for the major league lead. Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal on that topic:

Mets bench coach Bob Geren, a former major league catcher, estimated that as many as a third of d'Arnaud's passed balls have come as a result of an overreliance on framing the pitch. Instead of simply catching the ball, d'Arnaud has tried to pull it back toward the strike zone a split-second too quickly, only to have it glance off his glove.

"Sometimes it's so close of a pitch that I'll try to do extra to try to really get it, instead of just, 'Oh, it's OK, we'll take this ball so the runners don't advance,'" d'Arnaud said.

Bobby Parnell, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April, plans to begin throwing off a mound after Christmas. Read more about his rehab plan in the Star-Ledger.

• L.J. Mazzilli's RBI single in the eighth lifted Las Vegas to a 5-4 win against Reno in the Pacific Coast League playoff opener.

Bronx native T.J. Rivera launched a walk-off three-run homer as Binghamton won its playoff opener against Portland, 8-5. “It's a great feeling,” Rivera told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. “All that stress kind of falls off your shoulders for a second. But, then again, there's tomorrow. You know, we've got to win three to advance. That's what our goal really is."

Savannah lost its playoff opener, 8-3. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Once reportedly poised to depart for Ottawa, Binghamton’s Eastern League club signed a lease with NYSEG stadium and committed to remain in Binghamton through 2021. A Mets official told earlier this year that the Mets have made a pledge to New York State officials to keep Binghamton as their Double-A home long term. The current agreement between the Mets and B-Mets runs through the 2016 season. Read more from Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.

• Terry Collins views Dilson Herrera as a future No. 2 hitter. Read more in Newsday.

• Mike Puma in the Post notes the Mets are mostly not shying away from using Jeurys Familia. Dan Warthen said 75-80 appearances is reasonable for the season. Familia is at 66 right now.

BIRTHDAYS: Mike Piazza turns 46. ... Luis Lopez is 44.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Wally Backman be a part of the 2015 Mets staff?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Marlins 3

September, 3, 2014
Sep 3
MIAMI -- The Mets have clinched the season series against the Miami Marlins.

Travis d'Arnaud delivered a tiebreaking RBI double against Bryan Morris in what became a two-run eighth and the Mets held on to beat the Marlins 4-3 in Wednesday’s rubber game.

The Mets are 10-6 against Miami this season. A three-game series remains in New York from Sept. 15-17.

What? Carlos Torres batted with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth and the Mets leading 4-2. He struck out. Terry Collins did not have Jeurys Familia available and undoubtedly felt he needed to have Torres –-- who finished the seventh -- work the bottom of the eighth as well.

Torres then surrendered a solo homer to Giancarlo Stanton in the bottom half as Miami pulled within a run.

The alternative was to pinch hit for Torres and use Dana Eveland or Erik Goeddel in the eighth.

Debutant: With the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Collins inserted left-hander Dario Alvarez with a runner on third base and two outs in his major league debut. Alvarez surrendered a game-tying RBI single to lefty-hitting Christian Yelich as the Marlins pulled even and handed Jacob deGrom a no-decision.

Lefty batters hit .181 against Alvarez this season in the minors, although that primarily came at low-A Savannah.

deLightful: DeGrom made it through six innings before his pitch count reached 114. The rookie right-hander surrendered only one run.

DeGrom allowed a pair of baserunners in each of the first three innings and nearly escaped completely unscathed.

With Yelich on second and Donovan Solano on first and none out in the third, deGrom coaxed a 6-4-3 double play from Stanton as Yelich advanced to third base. Casey McGehee then hit a chopper back toward the mound. The ball glanced off the glove of the leaping deGrom and ricocheted toward second baseman Dilson Herrera. He barehanded it and threw to first base, but Lucas Duda was unable to scoop the baseball. The infield hit plated Yelich.

DeGrom sliced his ERA to 2.87.

Kirk! Kirk Nieuwenhuis, inserted in the lineup over Curtis Granderson for the second time in four games, produced a two-run homer in the fourth against Tom Koehler that gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. Nieuwenhuis also walked three times (once intentionally).

The Mets improved to 14-2 in Nieuwenhuis’ starts this season.

Golden sombrero: A day after going 3-for-4 with two extra-base hits and three RBIs and feeling “dangerous” at the plate, David Wright went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.

Welcome back: Josh Satin pinch hit for deGrom in the seventh. In his first major league at-bat since May 9, Satin flied out to right field.

What’s next: The Mets take a day off on the road Thursday, then resume play with a weekend series in Cincinnati. Untraded Bartolo Colon (12-11, 4.01 ERA) opposes right-hander Alfredo Simon (13-9, 3.28) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

Collins full of praise for Dodgers' Turner

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
LOS ANGELES -- Terry Collins leaned back in a chair behind a desk in a cramped manager’s office underneath Dodger Stadium, hands folded.

And then someone brought up Justin Turner.

Collins propped up in the chair and started talking with his hands.

“He can hit,” Collins said with some enthusiasm. “Always could hit. He’s not the flashiest of the flashy, but he can walk up in any situation and hit.”

Turner was non-tendered by the Mets in December and the Dodgers signed him to a minor-league deal just before spring training. One cellar-dweller’s trash is a contender’s treasure in Turner’s case.

A season after hitting .280 with two home runs in 214 plate appearances and likely due a decent raise through arbitration, Turner is hitting .314 with four home runs in 249 plate appearances and smacked a game-winning home run against the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

Turner spent three seasons with the Mets and was always a favorite of Collins, who made it a point to seek out Turner before the game Friday.

“He was always ready for whatever we needed him for,” Collins said. “Play left field one day, third base, second base, whatever. It’s been a good situation with him over there [with the Dodgers].”

Injury updates: Appointed closer Jenrry Mejia is available tonight after missing Wednesday’s game in Oakland because of some back tightness. Mejia said it crept up on him Tuesday, but after a couple days off Collins declared him good to go.

This is the time of year when “wear and tear starts to show,” Collins said. Mejia’s workload has increased and become more stressful this season since he was named the closer in May. He has also pitched through or been sidelined by numerous ailments this year, including a hernia that will require offseason surgery.

Mejia has spent parts of four seasons in the majors and has battled injuries throughout his career, including in the minors. Collins said the training staff is monitoring Mejia closely because they want him to know what it feels like to pitch through September and not have to be shutdown at the end of the season.

Dana Eveland’s left elbow is feeling better after a cortisone shot. He is available to pitch against the Dodgers. Eveland described his ailment as “tennis elbow” in Oakland and took a shot Wednesday and played catch Thursday and reported no pain.

• Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis missed the last two games because of a stiff neck, but Collins said he is available off the bench Friday.

When asked how his neck was feeling in the clubhouse before the game, Nieuwenhuis replied, “It’s a little better.”

Undecided on Dice-K: The Mets still haven’t made a decision on what to do with Daisuke Matsuzaka, who threw five scoreless innings in his third rehab start Thursday.

He could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. But Collins said there hasn’t been a decision on where Dice-K will pitch next. If the team decides to give him another rehab start it would push his return back to September when rosters expand and no corresponding roster move is needed.

Morning Briefing: L.A. luck; Sandy speaks

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21

FIRST PITCH: The Mets take a day off in California on Thursday, then get to work against the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend.

The Amazin’s get a reprieve of sorts, too.

Clayton Kershaw, originally due to start Friday’s series opener against the Mets, instead faces the San Diego Padres on normal rest on Thursday. So the Mets draw Dan Haren in the series opener, followed now by Zack Greinke on Saturday and Kevin Correia on Sunday.

Beck Diefenbach/Associated PressThe Mets get a reprieve in L.A. with Clayton Kershaw moved out of the series.

The L.A. shakeup allows Greinke two extra days of rest for a cranky right elbow that will not be 100 percent the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile, the Mets will activate a pair of starting pitchers for the series.

After Jonathon Niese starts the series opener, Jacob deGrom is due to be activated from the disabled list to pitch Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Bartolo Colon will be activated from bereavement leave for Sunday’s series finale. Colon then plans to return to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his mother, who died Monday at age 63 after battling breast cancer.

The Mets ultimately will need to make as many as three roster moves -- for deGrom, Colon and, presumably, for Daisuke Matsuzaka early next homestand.

Matsuzaka, currently on the DL with right elbow inflammation, is due to make his third minor-league rehab start Thursday. He pitches for the Brooklyn Cyclones at 7 p.m. against the Staten Island Yankees at Coney Island.

The Mets have a number of potential maneuvers to clear as many as three spots. Gonzalez Germen, promoted when Colon went on bereavement leave, could return to Las Vegas. So could Rafael Montero, who otherwise would be working out of the bullpen with deGrom reentering the rotation. Perhaps the Mets also could find a DL candidate among some banged-up players.

Jenrry Mejia, who has a hernia and cranky calf, was unavailable Wednesday in Oakland because of tightness in his lower back on the right side, which is a recurring issue. Dana Eveland required a cortisone shot in his left elbow. And Kirk Nieuwenhuis was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup with neck discomfort.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson joined Seth Everett on WOR, reminiscing about his days in Oakland and also commenting about the state of the Mets. (Listen here.)

On the team’s offensive funk (Wednesday notwithstanding), the GM said: “It’s been pretty much across the board, starting with the top of our lineup all the way through. When you only get three or four hits a night, there’s a collective issue. We’ve got some young players in the lineup who we’ve got to give some time, but I think it’s been a collective thing. I do believe that offensively we will get better. The question is how much better.”

Addressing David Wright's subpar production, Alderson added: “First of all, no player is ever going to be at the top of his game consistently throughout a season, or over ‘X’ number of seasons. And part of dealing with the adversity is how it’s handled. David handles it very well. We certainly recognize this is a collective thing.”

On the evaluation process for Matt den Dekker and Wilmer Flores, Alderson said: “The one thing that we have to do is be patient and not reach those judgments prematurely.”

And on how Terry Collins will be judged, Alderson said: “It’s more than wins and losses. It’s how the team approaches each game and how it conducts itself over the course of an entire season. All those things are important.”

Eric Campbell and Lucas Duda homered in a five-run second inning against Jeff Samardzija and the Mets survived a pair of errors by Daniel Murphy en route to an 8-5 win against Oakland on Wednesday.

Zack Wheeler (9-8) allowed four runs (two earned). He was pulled after 5 2/3 innings and 103 pitches as the Mets kept him on a tight pitch limit after he threw 120 his previous outing. Wheeler improved to 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his past 10 starts and climbed above .500 for the first time this season.

With Mejia unavailable, Jeurys Familia produced a five-out save. Familia inherited the bases loaded in the eighth from Vic Black and walked in a run, but otherwise kept the A’s in check.

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

• Read more on Colon’s temporary return for Sunday’s start in the Daily News and Newsday.

• Read more on Eveland’s “tennis elbow” and cortisone injection in the Star-Ledger.

• Matt Bowman allowed one run in seven innings but suffered a hard-luck loss as New Orleans beat Las Vegas, 4-0. Behind three RBIs from Dustin Lawley, Binghamton trimmed its magic number to clinch an Eastern League playoff berth to one with an 8-5 win at Erie. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Felix Millan turns 71 today. ... John Stearns is 63.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How should the Mets clear spots for deGrom, Colon and Matsuzaka?



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187