New York Mets: Los Angeles Angels

Colon weighs in on homer barrage

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
8:20
PM ET

Kelvin Kuo/Associated PressAlbert Pujols rounds the bases after a first-inning homer against Bartolo Colon.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon was flattened by the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Colon matched a career high for earned runs allowed with nine in the Mets’ eventual 14-2 loss. The damage inflated his ERA to 6.00.

The barrage included four homers, highlighted by back-to-back-to-back shots in the first inning by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez.

“At that moment, you’re not thinking, ‘Why is this happening?’ It’s just part of the game,” Colon said through an interpreter afterward.

Colon eventually logged 81 pitches and five innings, trying to spare a heavily used bullpen more work.

The Mets relief corps tossed 13 1/3 innings in the three-game series. The teams played 11 innings on Friday and 13 innings on Saturday.

“He had to give us some innings,” Terry Collins said about Colon. “He knew it.”

Colon uncharacteristically missed with his fastball command Sunday.

“It just wasn’t Bart’s day today,” David Wright said. “And from what I’ve seen from him, these days are few and far between.”

Said Collins: “He was just up in the zone today with all his stuff today. That’s just not him.”

Rapid Reaction: Angels 14, Mets 2

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
6:42
PM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon surrendered four homers and nine earned runs in five innings and the New York Mets lost Sunday’s rubber game to the Los Angeles Angels, 14-2.

Three of the long balls came consecutively in the first inning, by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez.

The last time a Mets pitcher allowed three straight homers? That was Johan Santana in the start after his no-hitter, when the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones consecutively went deep in the Bronx on June 8, 2012.

Hank Conger capped Sunday’s long-ball barrage with a two-run homer in the fifth. It marked the eighth extra-base hit against Colon, a career high.

Colon had tossed seven scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday to begin the trip.

Colon’s nine runs allowed were only one shy of matching his career high -- 10 runs (five earned) on April 26, 2005 as a member of the Angels. That day, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez homered three times against Colon en route to a 10-RBI game.

The Angels added two runs in the sixth against Scott Rice, who issued a bases-loaded walk and run-scoring wild pitch. John Lannan uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and surrendered a two-run homer to Ian Stewart in the eighth.

With the five-homer game by the Angels, Mets pitchers have now surrendered an MLB-high 21 homers, in 12 games.

Yer out: David Wright and Daniel Murphy were ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Toby Basner for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. A scout at the game was highly critical of Basner’s strike zone low. It was Wright’s fourth career ejection.

What’s next: The Mets head to Phoenix for the final stop on their three-city trip -- a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25) in Monday’s 9:40 p.m. ET opener.

Sunday's Mets-Angels lineups

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
12:13
PM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Los Angeles Angels at 3:35 p.m. ET Sunday in the rubber game of the series.

Mets
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Andrew Brown, dh
Juan Lagares, cf
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Ruben Tejada, ss

Bartolo Colon, rhp

Angels
J.B. Shuck, lf
Mike Trout, cf
Albert Pujols, dh
Raul Ibanez, 1b
Kole Calhoun, rf
Howie Kendrick, 2b
Ian Stewart, 3b
Hank Conger, c
Erick Aybar, ss

C.J. Wilson, lhp

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Angels 6 (13)

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
1:37
AM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Anthony Recker had been poised to be a hero until a ninth-inning meltdown from Jose Valverde.

Recker, in only his second start of the season, ultimately highlighted the win anyway.

The backup catcher took Matt Shoemaker deep in the top of the 13th and John Lannan contributed his second scoreless inning in the bottom half of that frame as the Mets survived for a 7-6 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Papa not-so-grande: Oops, Raul Ibanez did it to Valverde again!

With the Mets one out from victory, Valverde allowed a pair of baserunners, then surrendered a game-tying three-run homer to Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth.

Fans of the crosstown Yankees might remember that Ibanez-Valverde pairing combining for dramatics in the ALCS two years ago.

On Oct. 13, 2012, Ibanez delivered a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth against Valverde in the Bronx, although the Tigers eventually won that Game 1 anyway in 12 innings en route to a series sweep.

On Friday, Mets relievers had run their scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings before Jeurys Familia uncorked a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to force in the game-ending run.

Backup power: Recker and Omar Quintanilla, who had no hits and one start between them entering Saturday, lifted the Mets to victory with a combined five RBIs.

Recker dropped a two-run single in front of lunging center fielder Mike Trout in the seventh, after Fernando Salas inherited a pair of runners from Jered Weaver. That capped a three-run inning and provided the Mets with a 4-3 lead.

Quintanilla supplied a two-run single in the ninth as the Mets’ lead swelled to 6-3 before Valverde entered.

Less Cowgill: Until the Mets’ three-run seventh, it had been the Collin Cowgill show.

Cowgill, the Mets’ Opening Day starter in center field last season, threw out Eric Young Jr. at the plate attempting to tag on a shallow fly ball to end the top of the first inning, homered against Jonathon Niese and scored twice as the Angels carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh.

Entering that frame, Weaver had limited the Mets to one hit -- a solo homer by Lucas Duda with two outs in the second that had evened the score at 1.

Then, in the seventh, Curtis Granderson walked and Duda advanced him to third base with a single. With runners on the corners, Juan Lagares singled to plate Granderson, pulling the Mets within a run and ending Weaver’s night. Recker followed with the go-ahead two-run single.

Cowgill, who had a .180 average in 61 at-bats when he was traded to the Angels last June 25 for minor-league outfielder Kyle Johnson, had staked the Angels to a 3-1 lead in the sixth with a solo homer against Niese.

Niesely done: Niese surrendered a pair of homers in his second outing since returning from the disabled list, but ultimately departed with a 4-3 lead with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Former Rockie Chris Iannetta took the southpaw deep in the fifth to break a 1-all tie.

Niese’s line: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR. He threw 96 pitches (64 strikes).

Deep thoughts: Duda, who started at designated hitter, with Ike Davis at first base, now has a team-leading three homers. No other Met has more than one.

What’s next: The Mets conclude their three-game series against the Angels at 3:35 p.m. ET Sunday. Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.08 ERA) opposes left-hander C.J. Wilson (1-1, 4.61).

Saturday's Mets-Angels lineups

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
5:40
PM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Los Angeles Angels at 9:05 p.m. ET Saturday.

Omar Quintanilla starts for the first time this season.

Mets
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 1b
David Wright, 3b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Ike Davis, 1b
Lucas Duda, dh
Juan Lagares, cf
Anthony Recker, c
Quintanilla, ss

Jonathon Niese, lhp

Angels
Collin Cowgill, lf
Mike Trout, cf
Albert Pujols, 1b
Howie Kendrick, 2b
David Freese, 3b
Erick Aybar, ss
Raul Ibanez, dh
Chris Iannetta, c
Kole Calhoun, rf

Jered Weaver, rhp

Morning Briefing: Late show in Anaheim

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday’s news reports:

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TC doesn't second-guess loading bases

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
3:13
AM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Terry Collins offered no second-guessing of his strategy to walk two batters and load the bases with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning, after Raul Ibanez had reached third base.

Jeurys Familia, working his third inning of relief, subsequently plunked Hank Conger with a fastball to force in the winning run in the Angels' 5-4, 11-inning win.

The run snapped a 20.1-inning scoreless streak by Mets relievers.

It marked the first walk-off hit-by-pitch by a Mets pitcher since Scott Schoeneweis against the San Diego Padres on June 5, 2008. The Mets three times since then had lost on walk-off wild pitches (by Brandon Lyon, Pedro Beato, Fernando Nieve), twice on walk-off walks (Sean Green, Aaron Heilman ) and once on a walk-off balk (D.J. Carrasco).

"He pulled it across his body, and that's why it went there," catcher Travis d'Arnaud said about Familia's fateful pitch.

Collins still had closer Jose Valverde and John Lannan in his bullpen. But the manager said Valverde was being held back for a save situation. And Lannan, who has struggled mightily, was being held back for the long haul if Valverde had pitched with a lead and the Angels had somehow re-tied the score, according to Collins.

Familia had never tossed more than two innings in a big-league game as a reliever.

"Well, your options are pretty limited," Collins said about having a runner on third with one out. "You either play the infield in and then create a bunch of holes. Or you try to set up some force plays. It's the big leagues, and I know he's a young guy, but he actually has thrown the ball very well lately. I wasn't worried about him walking anybody. You've got to do what your supposed to do -- and that's get a force out at the plate -- and go down to the bottom of the lineup if you can. Conger hasn't played a lot. You play the cards."

As for having Familia pitch a third inning, Collins added: "Because that's all we've got. We have Valverde and Lannan. If you save Valverde for a save, if they happen to tie the game, you better have somebody behind him. And that's John Lannan. So that was all we had."

Collins went on to praise the bullpen's recent performance after it had allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in the season's first four games.

"They've done very well," Collins said. "But, you know, you go three nights in a row where your starters give you five, you're going to burn your bullpen out. They've done a great job. Jeurys did a good job tonight. You're not asking any guy like that to go out there for three innings. He went out there and did a nice job. We couldn't get him any runs."

Said Familia: "I felt all right."

Rapid Reaction: Angels 5, Mets 4 (11)

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
2:03
AM ET

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The bullpen could not be perfect forever.

With the relief corps' scoreless-inning streak at 20 1/3 innings, Jeurys Familia surrendered a leadoff single to Raul Ibanez, then uncorked a wild pitch in the 11th inning. Familia ultimately hit Hank Conger with a pitch after a pair of intentional walks had loaded the bases to force in the winning run and the Mets suffered a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Familia was pitching his career-high third inning of relief work.

The Mets' bullpen had allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in the season's first four games before the 180-degree turnaround.

Gee fizz: In his third 2014 start, Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of homers while failing to hold a two-run lead.

Mike Trout homered against Gee in the first inning. Then, with the Mets ahead 4-2 in the fifth, Gee walked Howie Kendrick and surrendered a two-run homer to J.B. Shuck. Shuck was making his season debut in place of injured Josh Hamilton.

Gee’s line in a no-decision: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

First thing: Josh Satin, starting for only the second time this season, delivered a tiebreaking two-run double in the fourth as the Mets took a 4-2 lead against Tyler Skaggs.

Satin entered the game with only six plate appearances this season. The Mets had faced only one other left-handed starter before Friday: Washington’s Gio Gonzalez in Game 2 of the season.

Deep thoughts: Travis d’Arnaud went deep for the first time in 110 at-bats when he took Skaggs deep in the third inning to even the score at 2. D’Arnaud’s only other big-league homer came last Aug. 25 against Detroit’s Rick Porcello.

Touched by an Angel fan: Curtis Granderson, who was throwing a ball back into the infield after catching a flyout in the right-field corner in the eighth inning, was touched in the back by a fan who reached onto the field. Granderson turned and said something to the fan, who subsequently was escorted from his seat by security.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese makes his second start of the season Saturday. Niese (0-1, 3.18 ERA) opposes right-hander Jered Weaver (0-2, 6.00) at 9:05 p.m. ET. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both are due to be in the lineup.

Friday's Mets-Angels lineups

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
6:42
PM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Los Angeles Angels at 10:05 p.m. ET. It marks the Mets' first game at Angels Stadium since 2008.

Mets
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Andrew Brown, dh
Curtis Granderson, rf
Josh Satin, 1b
Juan Lagares, cf
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Ruben Tejada, ss

Dillon Gee, rhp

Angels
Kole Calhoun, rf
Mike Trout, cf
Albert Pujols, 1b
Raul Ibanez, dh
David Freese, 3b
Howie Kendrick, 2b
J.B. Shuck, lf
Chris Iannetta, c
Erick Aybar, ss

Tyler Skaggs, lhp

Series preview: Mets at Angels

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
9:45
AM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets are due to face Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson this weekend in Anaheim.
METS (4-5, fourth place/NL East) at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (4-5, third place/AL West)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00), 10:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.18) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (0-2, 6.00), 9:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.08) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (1-1, 4.61), 3:35 p.m. ET

Angels short hops

• Left fielder Josh Hamilton, the reigning American League co-Player of the Week, fully tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide into first base Tuesday and may miss as much as two months. Ex-Met Collin Cowgill should see increased playing time in Hamilton’s absence, potentially platooning with J.B. Shuck. Cowgill, the Mets’ Opening Day starter in center field a season ago, was traded last June 25 to the Angels for minor-league outfielder Kyle Johnson, who currently is playing for Double-A Binghamton. Hamilton had been hitting .444 with two homers and six RBIs in 27 at-bats.


Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesWith Josh Hamilton injured, that means more Collin Cowgill in the starting lineup for the Angels.


• Ex-Mets reliever Joe Smith signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Angels as a free agent on Nov. 27. One reason for choosing L.A., aside from the money: His fiancée, Allie LaForce, is a CBS Sports host based at an Orange County studio. She is a former Cleveland sports anchor. While with the Cleveland Indians last season, the sidearmer jawed with now-ex-Met Justin Turner after a heated plate appearance.

• Center fielder Mike Trout, a 22-year-old Millville, N.J., native, signed a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Angels on March 28. Based on average annual value, the contract became the largest ever for a player who had not yet reached three years of MLB service, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The deal is worth $24.08 million per year, which tops Buster Posey’s $18.56 million average annual salary that runs through 2021. By total value, Posey’s $167 million guarantee ranks No. 1 for a player with less than three years of MLB service, although that contract covers nine years. Trout would not have been eligible for arbitration for the first time until after this season. He was not eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season.

Albert Pujols, 34, had career lows last season with a .258 average, 17 homers, 64 RBIs, 99 games played and 443 plate appearances. He has a 10-year, $240 million contract that includes full no-trade protection. The contract runs through 2021, escalating to $30 million the final year. After a slow start to 2014, Pujols has homered in two straight games, giving him 494 long balls for his career. He would become the 26th player to reach the 500-homer plateau. Pujols also crossed 1,500 career RBIs this week, making him the only active player at that level -- unless you count Alex Rodriguez as active.

• The Angels are an MLB-best 84-44 in interleague play since 2007.

• When manager Mike Scioscia took over as manager of the Angels for the 2000 season, he essentially succeeded Terry Collins in that role (although Joe Maddon had managed the final 29 games in 1999).

• The Angels acquired third baseman David Freese and right-handed reliever Fernando Salas from the St. Louis Cardinals on Nov. 22 for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

• Left-hander Tyler Skaggs limited Houston to one unearned run in eight innings in his season debut. The 22-year-old southpaw had been traded by the Angels to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 7, 2010 in the Dan Haren deal. He was reacquired from the D-backs in a three-team deal this past offseason that included Mark Trumbo landing in Phoenix.

• Catcher Chris Iannetta is hitless in his past 15 at-bats.

• DH Raul Ibanez, who is 41 years old and off to a 5-for-26 start, is two hits shy of 2,000 for his career. He would become the 12th active player with 2,000 hits and 300 homers.

• The Angels desperately need lefty relief help in a division that now includes Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo and Robinson Cano. The two planned left-handers in the bullpen have experienced medical issues. Rule 5 pick Brian Moran will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. And Sean Burnett, limited to 13 appearances last season due to an elbow injury that required surgery, had renewed discomfort during spring training and is not active. The lone lefty in the bullpen right now is Nick Maronde, who made his first career Opening Day roster. But lefty batters are hitting .323 with a .450 on-base percentage against Maronde in his three-year big-league career. Among the lefty relievers in Triple-A for the Angels: ex-Met Robert Carson.

• Hitting coach Don Baylor broke his right thigh bone catching the ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day. Baylor, 64, hopes to return to the Angels by late May, but the standard recovery time for a fractured femur can be four to six months.

Jered Weaver, plagued by shoulder tendinitis for the past three seasons, has allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 12 innings through two starts. He has surrendered four homers. Weaver’s fastball velocity is averaging 85.9 mph this season. It has steadily declined each season since 2010, from 89.9 to 89.1 to 87.8 to 86.5 and now to its current level.

Lefty Carson claimed by Angels

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
5:14
PM ET
Left-hander Robert Carson's tenure with the Mets has ended.

Carson, 24, was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.

The Mets also removed relievers Greg Burke and Sean Henn from the 40-man roster.

Carson allowed nine homers in 19 2/3 innings at the major league level this season while compiling an 8.24 ERA. He was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas after an Aug. 28 appearance, ostensibly to help the Pacific Coast League team in the playoffs, but suffered two losses in the first-round series and was not recalled in September.

Henn has the right to declare free agency, while Burke will become a free agent after the World Series.

Morning Briefing: Drive for 2nd place?

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
5:40
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Second-place Mets?

It could be true soon, although that would be a commentary on the state of the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals as much as about the Mets.


Courtesy of New York MetsHowie Mandel visited family friend Josh Satin in the clubhouse after Thursday's win.


With those two former NL East titans struggling, the Mets actually enter the weekend even with both clubs in the loss column at 53 apiece.

The Mets (45-53) have played four fewer games than those 49-53 clubs.

It is a split doubleheader today for the Amazin’s. Jenrry Mejia makes his first 2013 major league appearance in the 1:35 p.m. matinee at Nationals Park, opposite right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. In the 7:05 prime-time affair, Matt Harvey opposes spot-starting right-hander Ross Ohlendorf.

Mejia will be the 26th man for the Mets, which is now permitted under a rule for doubleheaders scheduled more than 48 hours in advance.

Read the Mets-Nats series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler picked up his first home win despite allowing four runs (three earned) in six innings as the Mets split a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves with a 7-4 win Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.

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

Eric Young Jr. left Thursday’s game with right-knee pain, which began during his contact with Tim Hudson on Wednesday night. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News suggests the Mets are blissful … for not having drama like the Yankees. Writes Bondy:

It’s amazing how adults can behave when they put their minds and ligaments to it. Eric Young Jr. strained his knee on Wednesday, had it X-rayed on Thursday, started the game, then told Terry Collins his joint ached a bit after running the bases. Young was pulled in the fourth inning and hopes to play one of the doubleheader games on Friday.

End of story. No second doctor’s opinion. No controversy.

John Buck is hitting .349 (15-for-43) with 13 RBIs in his past 11 games. He drove in three runs Thursday. “An adjustment that I had to make to just shorten up and take the single with a couple of RBI rather than the big blast,” Buck suggested was the reason for the production upswing. Read more in the Daily News and Post.

• Darin Gorski tossed a complete game, but Binghamton was one-hit in a 2-0 loss against Trenton. Persio Reyes also tossed a complete game, and Kingsport beat Elizabethton, 3-1. Read the full minor league recap here.

• In their second games since returning from injury, Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda each played seven innings in the field for the Gulf Coast League Mets. D’Arnaud had a two-run double, although the play originally was scored an error. He also had a high pickoff throw to first base, which was charged as an error to him. “It feels great -- normal,” d’Arnaud told Walter Villa in Newsday about the foot he fractured April 17.

• The Mets made a minor trade Thursday, getting $360,500 in extra international cap space from the Los Angeles Angels for minor leaguers Julio Concepcion and Andres Perez.

• Howie Mandel visited family friend Josh Satin in the clubhouse Thursday afternoon.

• Danny Knobler at CBSSports.com speaks with a scout about Double-A slugger Cesar Puello, who has been implicated by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” in the Biogenesis scandal.

• Jeff Pearlman at jeffpearlman.com suspects Marlon Byrd’s production may be impure and chastises beat writers for not investigating. Writes Pearlman:

Last year, Byrd’s season was interrupted when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for Tamoxifen, a medicine that blocks the effects of the estrogen hormone in the body. Byrd’s statement was predictable nonsense -- ”Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance-enhancement reasons.” Blah, blah, blah.

He cheated, he was caught, he was suspended, he lied about the story. Happens all the time. Here’s the thing: Why isn’t anyone questioning Byrd’s season?

• The Mets’ TV ratings on SNY are down this season, reports Justin Terranova in the Post. The Yankees are down, too. Writes Terranova:

The Mets have experienced a similar, though less severe, decline on SNY with their ratings down 30 percent from this time last year, going from 2.61 to 1.82. There’s no great mystery why -- as the team has spent most of the year under .500. Though recent seasons have ended bitterly, they have started off successfully.

The positive is the uptick that has occurred when Matt Harvey (1.96 rating) and Zack Wheeler (2.34 rating) start. The significant advantage Wheeler holds is likely because of the small sample size of starts he has had.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes the Mets are 20-13 since Wheeler’s major league debut. That is comfortably the best record in the NL East during that span.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing wonders if the Mets understand the object of the game is to bring runners home, not merely land them on base. … Mark Berman at Blogging Mets advocates trading Bobby Parnell.

BIRTHDAYS: No players to appear in a game for the Mets were born on July 26, but Sandra Bullock, Mick Jagger and Kevin Spacey celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would it be meaningful for the Mets to finish in second place in the division … if they also had a below-.500 record?

Mets trade for international cap space

July, 25, 2013
7/25/13
9:22
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The Mets traded outfielder Julio Concepcion and right-hander Andres Perez to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday for a reported $360,500 of the AL West team's cap space for international teenager signings.

Concepcion, 23, had appeared in six games for Brooklyn this season. Perez, 22, had a 5.52 ERA in seven appearances (one start) for Kingsport.

The current collective bargaining agreement limits the amount a team can spend on talent from international locales such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, but allows for a team to shift some of its cap space to another team as part of a trade.

Morning briefing: Crunch time for roster

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
6:49
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Prospect Domingo Tapia starts for the Mets as they make a trip to Viera to face left-hander Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals today at 1:05 p.m.

Tapia, a 21-year-old right-hander, went 6-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) with Class A Savannah last season.

Thursday’s news reports:


Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Justin Turner suffered a left calf strain Wednesday.


Justin Turner suffered a strained left calf and now may end up on the disabled list to open the season. The Mets had been debating carrying Kirk Nieuwenhuis over Omar Quintanilla on the Opening Day roster. Now, both may fit if Turner opens the season inactive. Read more in Newsday and the Times.

• The Mets plan to have Shaun Marcum (neck) start Tuesday in a minor league or simulated game, then presumably have him activated from the DL to start the sixth game of the regular season, April 7 against the Miami Marlins. That would alleviate the need to carry Aaron Laffey and open a 40-man roster spot -- and presumably allow the Mets to squeeze relievers Greg Burke and Jeurys Familia on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Record.

Daniel Murphy should play in his first Grapefruit League game today, signaling he will be ready to break camp with the club. David Wright, similarly optimistic, will stick to a minor league game. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

• See ESPNNewYork.com’s updated roster projection here.

Jeremy Hefner survived Tuesday’s sharp comebacker that struck him in the right elbow and is slated for Game 4 of the regular season. Read more in the Times.

Jonathon Niese tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a 74-pitch effort in his final work before facing the San Diego Padres on Opening Day. Marlon Byrd homered and had a two-run double and the Mets beat the Astros, 6-2, Wednesday. Read more in Newsday and MLB.com.

• Niese opposes Edinson Volquez on Monday at Citi Field. Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee also face the San Diego Padres. Check the projected pitching matchups for the first two series here. Read more in the Daily News and Star-Ledger.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Reliever Elvin Ramirez has been traded to the Angels.


• The Mets traded Elvin Ramirez to the Angels for cash to clear a 40-man roster spot. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Forbes values the Mets at $811 million. The Mets annually dispute the assessment. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

Bobby Parnell struck out the side in closing out Wednesday’s Grapefruit win. “I felt pretty strongly about him last year, going into the season, but still worried about him being the guy we wanted late in the game,” pitching coach Dan Warthen told Mike Puma in the Post. “But I think that maturity showed up toward the end of last year and hopefully it will carry on for the rest of his career.”

Pedro Feliciano, who accepted a minor league assignment, said he will pitch with Class A St. Lucie, not Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Sports Illustrated has a lengthy piece this week remembering former Mets top prospect Brian Cole, who died in an automobile accident departing spring training in 2001. The Herald-Tribune has a summary.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post describes the Mets as undermanned but keeping the faith. Writes Kernan:

These Mets, of course, had better be ready because there is no help coming over the hill. The Yankees run into major injuries and the next thing you know, they’re dropping $14 million on trying to salvage Vernon Wells’ career. The move may not work, but the Yankees are throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

That is not happening here. This is it as far as talent coming through the Mets’ clubhouse door. And make no mistake: It is going to be a supreme challenge.

“It’s going to be a long year for the Mets,’’ a scout who has followed the team all spring told The Post last night. “I like Matt Harvey and I like Jon Niese, but the other guys in the rotation are all the same kind of guys. They don’t have enough offense and they will have trouble catching the ball.’’

• Jared Diamond in the Journal is unimpressed with the Mets’ options for a second lefty in the bullpen to complement Josh Edgin.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report writes the club should back off readying Wright for Opening Day. … At Mets Police, in 2002 Mets fans were greeted by long post-9/11 security lines and Mo Vaughn.

BIRTHDAYS: Brad Emaus, the Opening Day second baseman two seasons ago, turns 27. … Generation K member Paul Wilson turns 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think Shaun Marcum will be ready to start Game 6 of the season?

What if the Mets did trade David Wright?

October, 29, 2012
10/29/12
9:10
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AP Photo/Tony TribbleHow chagrined would David Wright be if he were traded?

There are probably conversations taking place this week between David Wright and his reps with Sandy Alderson and his crew, trying to get a handle on the Mets future plans, with the intention of making Wright a long-term offer.

The hope is that the sides will come to an agreement, one that will probably be worth well more than $100 million.

But what if the groups emerge from these meetings without a contract?

Then, the Mets would have to look into trading Wright.

The team that would take Wright on a one-year deal, without the promise of re-signing, would have to be one that thinks his acquisition betters their chances at playing in the 2013 World Series.

It would have to be one that can absorb Wright’s salary for next season.

And the team would have to be one with enough talent at positions of Mets need (outfield, catching, pitching depth, not to mention a replacement for Wright) to pique their interest.

There are three teams that we can’t see the Mets sending Wright to, even though a personnel fit may exist: the division-rival Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies and the crosstown-rival New York Yankees.

But what other teams might give Alderson a call?

Here are a few guesses:

Arizona Diamondbacks
The conversation starts with …The Diamondbacks have a spare outfielder in 25-year-old Gerardo Parra, who has put up good defensive numbers at the corner positions and has stolen 15 bases in each of the last two seasons.

Parra is two years removed from a good season, one in which he posted a .357 on-base percentage, .784 OPS and 2.8 WAR.

The Diamondbacks have a potential replacement for Wright in Chris Johnson (.281 BA, 15 home runs), whose 132 strikeouts and 31 walks (and an 0.7 WAR) may be a turnoff for Mets management.

The alternative to Johnson would be Matt Davidson, a 21-year-old who rated borderline top-100 in both Keith Law’s and Baseball America’s prospect rankings last spring. Davidson had 20 and 23 home runs the last two seasons, the latter with Double-A Mobile.

The conversation gets intriguing if …It includes one of the Diamondbacks top pitching prospects- Archie Bradley, Trevor Bauer, or Tyler Skaggs. The three were all ranked ahead of Zack Wheeler in Keith Law’s preseason Top 100 prospects ranking from 2012 spring training.

The one caution: the Diamondbacks shut down both Bauer and Skaggs at the end of the season because of drops in their velocities.

Chicago White Sox
The conversation starts with …an understanding that the White Sox may not have the pieces to make this kind of trade. One of the pieces would probably be centerfielder Alejandro De Aza, who had a .349 on-base percentage and 26 steals last season.

The conversation gets intriguing if …the White Sox show a willingness to move some of their young arms, such as Jose Quintana, who had a 2.04 ERA in his first 10 appearances in 2012 before fading and finishing with a 3.76 ERA, or closer Addison Reed (29 saves, 4.75 ERA).

Cincinnati Reds
The conversation starts with ...the combination of centerfielder Drew Stubbs and starting pitcher Mike Leake, but that's not too appealing considering they were worth a combined 0.4 WAR last season.

The conversation gets intriguing if ...the Reds open the door to some of their more appealing names. Homer Bailey and Todd Frazier seem like unrealistic asks (unless the Reds were in immediate position to sign Wright long-term), but catching prospect Devin Mesoraco would seem to have significant value if the Mets deem him ready for everyday work.

Los Angeles Angels
The conversation starts with …remembering that last year there were reports that the Mets were interested in outfielder Peter Bourjos and pitcher Garrett Richards.

Despite posting a 4.8 WAR in 2011, Bourjos, a defensive stud, was demoted to a fourth-outfielder role in 2012 due to the presence of Mike Trout, Vernon Wells and (now free-agent) Torii Hunter. When Bourjos did play (he also had a hip injury), his offensive numbers were terrible, including a .606 OPS, down from .765 in 2011.

The 24-year-old Richards has a 4.87 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 85 major-league innings. The Angels primarily used him out of the bullpen last season.

The conversation gets intriguing if…it includes Jordan Walden, the former Angels closer, who lost his job early in 2012 and missed time due to a bicep injury. Walden’s appeal is his velocity. His fastball peaks at 99 miles-per-hour, but he doesn’t have an effective second pitch. He threw his slider for strikes less than half the time last season.

Los Angeles Dodgers
The conversation starts with …the thinking that this might be a tougher fit than dealing with the White Sox.

Beyond Matt Kemp, the Dodgers roster is crowded with expensive players (such as Hanley Ramirez) that the Mets probably wouldn’t want and young players (like Dee Gordon) who play positions at which the Mets don’t have a need. At 31 years old, A.J. Ellis, who recorded a .373 on-base percentage, would be the most appealing major leaguer and realistic get for the Mets.

The conversation gets intriguing if …The Dodgers offer up No. 1 pitching prospect Zach Lee, one of the few blue-chippers left in the organization after the deals for Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford.

Who would you want in a package for David Wright?

Share your thoughts in the comments section

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.298 9 54 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180