New York Mets: Lance Berkman

Mets morning briefing 9.5.12

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
7:39
AM ET
Matt Harvey surrendered three runs in five innings and Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless frame in his major league debut as the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1, Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

Now, R.A. Dickey bids for his 18th win as the Mets try to avoid a sweep in the series finale. Dickey opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.90) at 1:45 p.m. ET as the Mets complete a three-city trip.

Wednesday's news reports:

David Wright tells Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com that he is "extremely optimistic" about reaching a long-term extension with the Mets this offseason.


Charles LeClaire/US Presswire
David Wright says he has "not a single complaint" as a Met.


"I've really enjoyed it here," Wright said. "... Although we haven't gotten things completely turned around, we've taken small steps in the right direction and have something to build on. ... There's not a single complaint that I have. [The Mets] drafted me as a kid. They developed me. They've given me an opportunity to make a living playing a game. There's a tremendous amount of mutual respect. They've gone above and beyond. ... My favorite player was Cal Ripken. The biggest reason for that was, I like that he stayed."

Keith Hernandez tells Richard Sandomir in the Times that his intention is to report for color-commentary duty for the Oct. 3 season finale in Miami without his signature mustache. Writes Sandomir:

Hernandez’s mustache faithfully accompanied him through nearly all of his baseball career, his guest appearances on “Seinfeld” and his singing duet with Mookie Wilson on "Put Down the Duckie" for Sesame Street. Still, he seems about to take it off, after a long season of letting it turn increasingly gray. The color has been fading longer than that but was artificially enhanced with Just for Men gel. He was, of course, a paid company endorser and a star, with Walt Frazier, of several kitschy TV commercials that suggested a better life through dyed facial hair.

In the first and most famous ad, Hernandez and Frazier played the bar-side analysts of a sad sack Mr. Graybeard being rejected by Miss Hottie. Their facial hair was blindingly dark. "No play for Mr. Gray," Frazier said, evoking his penchant for rhyming. In a commercial made in 2008 they confronted another Mr. Graybeard, Emmitt Smith. “Your beard is weird,” Hernandez told the retired Dallas Cowboys running back. But Combe Inc., which makes Just for Men, ended the campaign early this year and replaced it with one that stars a tuxedoed baby.

• Familia's major league debut began by striking out Lance Berkman with a 97 mph fastball. He then surrendered a single to Jon Jay, but immediately erased him by coaxing a double-play grounder from Matt Carpenter. Fred Lewis, 31, also made his Mets debut. He opened the ninth by grounding out to shortstop against Trevor Rosenthal. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and Record.

• Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, and Daily News.


Jeff Curry/Getty Images
Matt Harvey has one or two more starts remaining in 2012.


• Collins said postgame it was not yet resolved whether Harvey would have one or two remaining starts. The five innings logged Tuesday give him 47 1/3 in the majors and 110 with Triple-A Buffalo this season. Read more in Newsday.

Tim Byrdak is due to undergo surgery today to repair the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. That's the same surgery Johan Santana and Chris Young previously underwent. Team doctor David Altchek will perform the procedure. Byrdak's injury is career threatening, since he turns 39 next month. Byrdak also requires surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. The other knee required that procedure during spring training.

• The Mets are offering free tickets to up to three children age 12 and under with the purchase of an adult ticket to any September home game. The team announcement:

For "The Kids Go Free" ticket offer available via phone at (718) 507-TIXX and in person at the Citi Field Box Office, fans buying one regularly priced ticket will get up to three complimentary kids tickets. For the ticket offer available online at Mets.com/KidsFree, fans may purchase a Family Four Pack that includes four tickets for the price of two. All tickets must be picked up at Citi Field the day of the game and children must be present. For more information, contact the Mets Ticket Office at (718) 507-TIXX.

• Brooklyn lost to Lowell, 9-1, Tuesday. The Cyclones must win their regular-season finale today, or have Batavia lose at least one game in its doubleheader, in order to claim the New York-Penn League wild card. St. Lucie lost its Florida State League playoff opener, 3-1, at Jupiter in a game interrupted three hours by rain. Read the full minor league recap here.

Mike Pelfrey visited his teammates in St. Louis in part to participate in the players' fantasy football draft. Pelfrey, who underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1, is likely to be nontendered in December since he is eligible for arbitration and is making $5.6875 million this season. Players must make at least 80 percent of their previous year's salary if tendered a contract, and rarely receive a salary cut. Still, Collins said he would consider Pelfrey in a bullpen role (presumably if the Mets re-signed Pelfrey for a lower salary after making him a free agent). Read more in the Post, Newsday, Times and Record.

TRIVIA: Which active player has the second-most homers against the Mets, behind Chipper Jones?

Tuesday's answer: Technically, Mike Jorgensen preceded Tony La Russa as Cardinals manager. Jorgensen completed the 1995 season after Joe Torre was fired with a 20-27 record in his fifth season at the helm.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cardinals

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
10:00
AM ET

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Carlos Beltran returns to Citi Field as a visitor this weekend.
METS (28-23, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (27-24, second place/NL Central)

Friday: LHP Johan Santana (2-2, 2.75) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.45), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (7-1, 3.06) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (8-1, 2.54), 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (3-2, 4.55) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (4-4, 3.69), 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

Monday: RHP Miguel Batista (1-1, 3.95) or RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-2, 5.60) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (5-1, 3.36), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Ex-Met Carlos Beltran leads the National League with 15 homers, while his 42 RBIs trail only Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier (44). Beltran did not start Wednesday because of right-knee discomfort, although he entered in the eighth and singled. Beltran nonetheless has started 43 of St. Louis’ 51 games in right field and has appeared in all but two games. He signed a two-year, $26 million deal with St. Louis on Dec. 23. Beltran’s next steal will be the 300th of his career. He has 317 career homers, and will become the eighth member of the 300/300 club. He will join Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Sanders.


Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Yadier Molina signed a $75 million contract extension during spring training.


• Left-hander Jaime Garcia, originally scheduled to face the Mets in the series opener, will be skipped this turn in the rotation because of elbow inflammation. Thursday’s off-day allows the Cardinals to slide the other members of the rotation up a game, including moving Kyle Lohse into the Mets series.

Lance Lynn is tied with Cole Hamels for the major league lead in wins with eight.

Mike Matheny has taken over for Tony La Russa as manager, and is one of two former players who has stepped right into managing without any coaching experience. The other: ex-Met Robin Ventura as skipper of the Chicago White Sox. Matheny was a catcher for the Cardinals from 2000 through 2004, during a 13-year career.

Skip Schumaker will land on the DL after pulling a hamstring Wednesday against the Braves. He likely will be replaced by first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig, who is due to be activated. Schumaker began the season on the DL with an oblique strain, but had seen considerable playing time with center fielder Jon Jay (shoulder) and Craig (hamstring) sidelined. Also on the injury front, third baseman David Freese has missed three straight starts with right wrist soreness, although he entered Wednesday’s game as a replacement.

• Minus Albert Pujols, and with Lance Berkman lost for at least another eight to 10 weeks following surgery last Friday to repair damage in his right knee, rookie Matt Adams had settled in of late at first base.

Adam Wainwright has a pedestrian 4-5 record and 4.45 ERA as he returns from Tommy John surgery. But he has allowed one run in 15 innings over his past two starts, against San Diego and Philadelphia, as he puts more distance between himself and the procedure.

• Catcher Yadier Molina signed a five-year, $75 million extension during spring training. Molina left Sunday’s game in the fifth inning with dizziness, which was attributed to dehydration. Molina has caught 46 of the team’s 51 games, the most in that span to start a season in his career.

• The Cardinals promoted Maikel Cleto from Triple-A during Thursday’s off-day. Cleto originally was a Mets farmhand. He was traded to Seattle in the deal that returned J.J. Putz and Sean Green. Cleto made his major league debut last season with St. Louis, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings over three relief appearances.

• Left fielder Matt Holliday scored an MLB-high 25 runs in May. He hit .340 with six homers and 21 RBIs during the month. He also walked 17 times, for a .432 on-base percentage.

Last series results

St. Louis won, 2-1, at Busch Stadium, Sept. 20-22 (AP game recaps)

Cardinals 11, Mets 6: Pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot’s go-ahead double with the bases loaded in the seventh inning gave St. Louis its 11th win in 13 games kept it 2 behind the Braves in the wild-card chase. The Cardinals scored six times in the seventh to come back from an early 4-0 deficit after the Braves beat Florida 4-0. Albert Pujols went 4-for-5. Theriot hit a pitch from Tim Byrdak into the gap in left-center to bring in Pujols and Lance Berkman, who both singled against Josh Stinson (0-2), for a 7-6 lead. More

Cardinals 6, Mets 5: David Freese drove in five runs with a go-ahead three-run homer and a triple. The Cardinals moved within 1 games of Atlanta in the National League wild-card race. Jaime Garcia (13-7), making his 30th start, pitched around four unearned runs in 7 2/3 innings. The Mets led 4-3 after six and the Cardinals were going quietly in the seventh when Albert Pujols singled off reliever Miguel Batista with two outs. Terry Collins brought in lefty Daniel Herrera (0-1) to make Lance Berkman bat right-handed, but Berkman foiled the strategy by singling. Collins then went to Pedro Beato, and Freese tagged him for a 389-foot, opposite-field homer to give the Cardinals a 6-4 advantage. More

Mets 8, Cardinals 6: Tony LaRussa insisted his playoff-hopeful team wouldn't be crushed after blowing a four-run cushion in the ninth inning. The loss dropped St. Louis two games behind idle Atlanta for the wild card, with each team having six games left. The Cardinals lost for only the third time in 16 games. Shortstop Rafael Furcal misplayed a potential double-play grounder at the start of the Mets' six-run burst, fueling the comeback. Ahead 6-2, the Cardinals walked three batters in helping the Mets take the lead. Willie Harris drew a walk to begin the inning and capped it with a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs. It was the Mets' biggest ninth-inning comeback since they scored five to beat the Cubs 6-5 on May 17, 2007. More

Mets morning briefing 5.21.12

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
4:40
AM ET

The Mets salvaged the finale of their interleague series in Toronto, holding on for a 6-5 win when former Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco struck out three straight batters in the ninth after allowing a leadoff walk to Yunel Escobar, then single by Jose Bautista through the barren right side of the infield.

Monday's news reports:

Miguel Batista landed on the DL on Sunday morning with a strained oblique or lower-back muscle. Jeremy Hefner is likely to start Thursday's game against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field in that rotation slot. Chris Schwinden was promoted for Sunday's game as a hedge against Dillon Gee having a short outing, but was not needed. The Mets plan to make another roster move before Monday's series opener in Pittsburgh to add a position player. Vinny Rottino -- who had a three-homer game for Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday -- would appear a logical choice to return to the major league roster. Schwinden is the easiest to return to Buffalo. Manny Acosta would be an alternative, but seemingly less likely choice to get dismissed to free the roster spot.

Terry Collins for the first time Sunday morning allowed for the possibility of Ike Davis getting sent to the minors if his performance does not show improvement on this trip. Despite a seeming roster crunch looming with Ruben Tejada slated to begin rehab games as soon as today and Jason Bay due to take batting practice in Pittsburgh for the first time this afternoon, there are demotion candidates. Davis is one. And Kirk Nieuwenhuis' production considerably has slowed since the rookie's torrid start.

The added benefit of Nieuwenhuis returning to the minors is it could delay his free agency a year. If Nieuwenhuis were to stay at the major league level continuously, he would be eligible for free agency after his sixth season, during the 2017-18 offseason. If he logs a total of 20 days in the minors this year, he would not get credit for a full major league season in 2012 and would be delayed in free agency at least until the following winter -- 2018-19. Read more in the Daily News, Post and Newsday.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger writes about Davis' issues:

- He’s hitting too many grounders (50 percent of his balls in play before Sunday, according to FanGraphs.com). In the first inning, Davis hacked at a low, 91-mph sinker and tapped the ball back to Alvarez. With the bases loaded in the fifth, he rolled a fastball into what should have been a double play, except second baseman Kelly Johnson fumbled the exchange.

- His luck has been poor. In the fourth inning, Davis smashed a fastball toward the opposite field -- right into the glove of third baseman Yan Gomes. Entering Sunday's game, Davis was hitting line drives 17.4 percent of the time, or slightly better than 2011’s 17 percent mark. Except his batting average on balls in play was a miniscule .184, nearly 200 points below his career average. “He just needs those [line drives] to fall,” hitting coach Dave Hudgens said.

- He’s not drawing walks. Davis saw exactly three pitches in his first three at-bats Sunday.

• Regarding Nieuwenhuis, Barbara Barker writes in Newsday:

A week ago, he led all major-league rookies with a .302 batting average and was second with 35 hits. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and two walks in the Mets' 6-5 win Sunday and is now batting .277 with 38 hits, seven doubles, two home runs, 13 RBIs and 16 walks. "This kid doesn't deserve to go back to Triple-A with the way he's swung the bat so far," Buffalo manager Wally Backman said. "But he needs to play. I think for his development, he needs to play every day." Nieuwenhuis says he can't worry about what the future holds, other than to try to perform his best each day he plays. "It's been pretty cool playing up here with the guys," he said, "but whatever happens, happens. I don't make those decisions. I just have to take one day at a time and focus."

David Wright returned from a day off Saturday and delivered a two-run double in the first inning as part of a 2-for-4 series finale that raised his average to .412. Wright, still sick, passed Jose Reyes for second on the franchise's all-time hit list with 1,302. He needs 116 more hits to match Mets record-holder Ed Kranepool.

Mike Baxter had a career-high three hits Sunday while starting for the second straight game with the Mets using an extra position player in their lineup in the AL ballpark. Collins pledged to find Baxter playing time in Pittsburgh, although the manager said not at first base yet, and not on Monday against Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Gee had a new look and better results. Read more in the Post.

• Read game recaps in the Record, Times, Daily News, Journal, Newsday and Post.

• Collins reiterated Jenrry Mejia is far more likely to help the Mets as a reliever at the major league level in 2012. Read more in Newsday.

Tim Kurkjian catches up with hot-hitting ex-Met Carlos Beltran at ESPN.com. Kurkjian notes Beltran is two steals shy of 300 swipes and 300 homers in his career, a club that is currently limited to Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Andre Dawson, Bobby Bonds, Reggie Sanders and Steve Finley. Writes Kurkjian:

If it weren't for Matt Kemp, Beltran, 35, would be the most valuable player in the National League six weeks into the season. If it weren't for the remarkable Josh Hamilton, May would have been all about Beltran. Not only has he replaced the 2011 production of Albert Pujols in the Cardinals' lineup, he has greatly exceeded it while helping take St. Louis to the front of the National League Central, all while dazzling his new teammates. "When I ran out on the field with him the first time in spring training,'' said Cardinals third baseman David Freese, "I knew he was the most complete player I'd ever played with.''

Lance Berkman, who also was Beltran's teammate during that prolific 2004 postseason with Houston that set up Beltran's seven-year, $119 million contract with the Mets told Kurkjian: "It's funny. An elite player has some things happen to him for three or four years, like injuries, then he becomes an elite player again, and people ask, 'What's going on here?' Just look at the back of his baseball card. He is as complete a player as I've ever played with. He does everything well, and he looks good doing it. When you look at what a player is supposed to do, he's about as good as it gets.''

Corey Wimberly stole home for Buffalo's lone run in a 4-1 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday. It was the second time a Mets farmhand has swiped home this season. Wimberly had a pure steal of the plate, while Binghamton's Josh Rodriguez stole home on April 21 as part of a double-steal. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.

• Forty-thousand Orthodox Jews packed Citi Field on Sunday to decry the internet. Read more in the Daily News.

Michael Howard Saul in the Journal revealed that Citi Field, now in its fourth season, still does not have all its full permits from the city in order. Mayor Michael Bloomberg at last week's All-Star Game press conference dismissed the issue as procedural and insignificant and insisted the stadium was safe. Wrote Saul, alluding to the City Hall announcement about next season's Mid-Summer Classic:

Unmentioned was the embarrassing fact that the three-year-old stadium in Queens still hasn’t received a certificate of occupancy from the city. The stadium has a temporary certificate, which means it is “safe and legal to occupy,” said Tony Sclafani, a spokesman for the Department of Buildings, in an email.

TRIVIA: For which former Pirate Pirate is the yellow bridge spanning the Allegheny River adjacent to PNC Park named?

Sunday's answer: Jason Bay was the last Pirate to have a multi-homer game against the Mets. At Shea Stadium on July 24, 2007, Bay went deep off John Maine and Guillermo Mota.

Reyes finalist for comeback player

October, 21, 2011
10/21/11
4:27
PM ET
Jose Reyes is one of three finalists for the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award voted on by his peers, the MLB Players Association announced.

The other finalists are St. Louis' Lance Berkman and San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong.

Reyes, fighting through an oblique issue and early thyroid scare in 2010, hit .282 with 11 homers and 30 steals that season. He upped his totals to an NL-leading .337 average with seven homers and 39 steals this past season.

The winner will be announced Nov. 3.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Cardinals 2

July, 19, 2011
7/19/11
9:46
PM ET
Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: With scouts from a bevy of teams -- including the Phillies -- watching, Carlos Beltran as well as Jose Reyes successfully returned to the lineup in a 4-2 win against the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Beltran, who missed three games and lost five pounds with the flu, went 3-for-3 with two walks. He doubled in each of his first two plate appearances. He then walked in his third and fourth trips to the plate. Beltran is now hitting .564 (22-for-39) with 11 walks in 51 career plate appearances against Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse.

Reyes went 2-for-5 and demonstrated no ill effects from the left hamstring strain that had sent him to the disabled list.

GEE WHIZ: In his first major league action in 12 days, Dillon Gee took a no-hit bid one out into the fifth inning. Gee walked Lance Berkman, then failed to field a comebacker from David Freese. Official scorer Howie Karpin properly ruled it an infield hit, although the crowd groaned. Later in the inning, opposing pitcher Lohse -- placed in the No. 8 hole by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa -- singled up the middle past Gee to score Berkman with the game’s opening run.

Gee surrendered a monstrous solo homer in the seventh to Berkman -- the former Astro’s National League-leading 26th long ball. The shot landed on the Shea Bridge. Gee nonetheless limited St. Louis to two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in seven innings.

Unlike Lohse, Gee (9-3) could not come through with runners in scoring position. Gee batted with a runner on third base and two out in the second and fourth innings and was retired each time. Mets pitchers entered the series batting an NL-low .080, with long-departed Chris Young accounting for three of the 13 hits.

LIVE AT FIVE: Angel Pagan, who struggled in the leadoff spot, returned to the No. 5 hole with Reyes’ activation and produced a two-run double in the fifth inning with the bases loaded to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Jason Bay then struck out and, after Lucas Duda walked, Ronny Paulino lined out softly to second base as the Mets stranded the bases loaded.

No matter. Daniel Murphy upped the Mets’ lead to three runs an inning later with a two-run double off ex-Met Raul Valdes, with both runs charged to Lohse. Murphy entered the game hitting .360 (71-for-197) since May 21, the second-highest average in the majors during that span, trailing only Reyes’ .406.

POST-K-ROD TRACKER: In the first save opportunity since the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth inning and notched career save No. 294. Isringhausen produced his first save since Aug. 1, 2008 with the Cardinals against Philadelphia. Izzy's last save as a Met came July 6, 1999.

Bobby Parnell turned over a two-run lead to Izzy for the ninth. Barely. St. Louis loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Albert Pujols grounded into his second double play of the game. On the preceding play, Parnell benefited from a diving stop by Reyes on a Jon Jay grounder. That grab kept the ball in the infield for a single and loaded the bases but kept St. Louis off the scoreboard.

It marked only the second time in four years Pujols has grounded into two double plays in the same game, according to STATS.

WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey (4-8, 3.70 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle McClellan (6-6, 4.24) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday in Game 2 of the series. Josh Thole should return to the active roster after missing one game on paternity leave, with Ruben Tejada expected to be sent to Triple-A Buffalo. Thole’s wife Kathyrn gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Camden, at 8:41 p.m.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .298
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180