New York Mets: Luis Rivera

Morning Briefing: Gee gets last tune-up

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
5:36
AM ET

Courtesy of Dillon GeeOpening Day starter Dillon Gee, pictured with wife Kari Ann and son Hudson, gets his final spring-training tune-up Wednesday night.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his final spring-training tune-up when the Mets play a 6:05 p.m. game Wednesday against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee. Gee opposes Scott Feldman (WOR 710 AM).

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The Mets handed Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100,000 retention bonus Tuesday, preserving the right to send him to the minors. However, it is not as simple as suggesting Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth starter’s job. The Mets want to preserve the eligibility of Matsuzaka and Mejia to be in the rotation if the elbow issue with Jonathon Niese flares up.

Matsuzaka is the one who can be held off the Opening Day roster and still sub for Niese on April 6 if needed. That’s because Matsuzaka is on a minor-league contract. Once Mejia is optioned to the minors, he would be ineligible to take Niese’s start, because Mejia would by rule need to spend the first 10 days of the regular season with Las Vegas.

Incidentally, relief is off the table for Mejia.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Newsday and MLB.com.

Matt Harvey and the Mets have settled on a rehab plan. During the season’s first couple of months, Harvey will rehab in New York when the Mets are at home and work out in Port St. Lucie when the big-league club is away from Citi Field. Once he begins expected mound work in June, the rehab will shift nearly exclusively to the team’s Florida complex.

“Certain situations I feel strongly about and I may approach them a little bit differently,” Harvey told David Lennon in Newsday. “But I’m all about this team. I’m all about the New York Mets and I’m all about winning. I can preach that until I’m blue in the face. …

“We had kind of gone back and forth, but it was never an alarming situation. It wasn’t me trying to get my way the whole time and it wasn’t them trying to get their way the whole time, which was kind of perceived through the media. We worked out a good deal and I think everybody is happy.”

David Wright was among those counseling Harvey on the subject. Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

Wright told Harvey when he was rehabbing the fractured bone in his lower back and had to be with the team because the rehab doctor was in New York, he made sure he arrived super-early to make sure he did not take away doctor/trainer time from active players. He advised Harvey do the same, and also to mimic what he has done in March -- attend the pitchers’ meetings and be an active cheerleader and information dispenser in the dugout. The message is simple: You have to be a supporting actor at Citi, not a star of the City; a dispenser of high fives, not a staple of Page Six.

“It’s been my philosophy that I am an employee, not the employer,” Wright said. “The advice I gave him was to find common ground with the Mets. To definitely do what is best for him, but also not to lose sight that he is the employee, not the employer.”

Read more on Harvey in the Star-Ledger.

Zack Wheeler allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer to Bryce Harper, as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 7-3, Tuesday in Viera. Wheeler next faces the Nats next Thursday, in Game 3 of the regular season.

• The Associated Press calculates the Mets’ payroll at $89 million, which ranks 22nd in MLB.

• Frank Viola will require open-heart surgery next Wednesday and will be unable to serve as pitching coach at Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in Newsday and MLB.com.

• The Wilpons’ settlement with the trustee collecting money for victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is down to $80 million, to be paid in equal installments in 2016 and 2017.

• Sandy Alderson expects Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both to be on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Kyle Farnsworth, who is due to be re-signed by the Mets, rode the bus to Viera on Tuesday with the team despite technically not being a member of the organization.

• Ex-Met Mike Pelfrey was the victim of a practical joke by Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and teammates.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post labels the Mets among the NL’s offseason winners, writing:

They finally spent some money, even if it was only to keep the payroll flat, to acquire Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Risky outfield acquisition Chris Young has enjoyed a good spring training.

• Luis Rivera is Double-A Binghamton’s new hitting coach. He replaces Luis Natera, who was promoted to assistant hitting coach with the big-league club.

• Granderson reminisces about his first Opening Day at MLB.com.

• Bovada sets the following over-unders for the Mets in 2014:

David Wright -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

David Wright -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 22.5

David Wright -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 85.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total HRs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 27.5

Curtis Granderson -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 89.5

Ike Davis -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .240

Daniel Murphy -- BA in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under .295

Daniel Murphy -- Total Stolen Bases in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 20.5

Daniel Murphy -- Total RBIs in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 70.5

Dillon Gee -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 12

Jonathon Niese -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 11.5

Bartolo Colon -- Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under 10.5

• Jonathan Lehman in the Post has a history quiz about Mets Opening Day starting pitchers.

John Lannan is getting acclimated to a relief role, Mike Vorkunov writes in the Star-Ledger.

Omar Quintanilla appears likely to beat out Anthony Seratelli for the backup middle-infield job. But Seratelli has hopes of making his MLB debut at age 31, writes Tim Rohan in the Times.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets infielder Jose Vizcaino turns 46.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Where do you stand on the above over-unders?

Mets tab Rivera as Double-A hitting coach

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
4:56
PM ET
VIERA, Fla. -- Luis Rivera has been anointed hitting coach for the Double-A Binghamton

lastname
Rivera
Mets. Rivera replaces Luis Natera, who was promoted Monday to assistant hitting coach of the big-league club.

Rivera, 30, served as the organization's short-season hitting coordinator the past two seasons, and previously was the hitting coach at Kingsport.

He spent six seasons as an infielder with the Chicago Cubs and Mets organizations. Rivera was a New York-Penn League All-Star in 2006.

The B-Mets also named Jason Griffin their strength and conditioning coach, replacing Jake Henderson.

Mets' AFL contigent named

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
3:02
PM ET
lastname
Robles
NEW YORK -- The Mets will send right-handers Chasen Bradford and Hansel Robles, catcher Cam Maron, infielder Aderlin Rodriguez and outfielder Cory Vaughn to the Arizona Fall League along with two additional pitchers named later.

The group will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions along with prospects from the Braves, Giants, Pirates and Yankees.

Luis Rivera from the Mets will serve as hitting coach.

Farm report: Johnson meets the Mets

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
10:01
AM ET
Outfielder Kyle Johnson did not expect to receive word he had been traded to the Mets for Collin Cowgill when he was summoned to the front of the Burlington Bees team bus in late June.

“We were just pulling off the highway getting something to eat,” said Johnson, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels out of Washington State University in the 25th round last year. “And my manager, [Jamie] Burke, called me up to the front and handed me a cell phone and said, ‘Hey, take this.’ It was Bobby Scales, our farm director. He’s just like, ‘Hey, Kyle, how are you doing?’


Courtesy of St. Lucie MetsKyle Johnson


“If you’re going up or down, that’s not really the guy you talk to. The manager usually just tells you. He’s like, ‘Hey, I just want to say congratulations. You’ve been traded to the Mets.’ I was just like, ‘OK.’ I was caught really off-guard. I didn’t really know anything about it. He asked if I had any questions, and I was just kind of speechless.”

Johnson, 23, and his fiancée subsequently drove 16 hours over two days from Burlington, Iowa, to join the Mets’ low-A affiliate in Savannah. After eight games, he was on the move again, having been promoted to St. Lucie.

“It was kind of at the point right where I was really getting used to those guys when I moved,” Johnson said about the Gnats. “And then you come here and you start over. It’s great, too, because I’ll know a lot more people heading into spring training instead of just 25 or 30 guys I would have known if I was just in Savannah or came straight to Port St. Lucie. Now I know about 60 guys.”

Johnson fits the Mets’ profile because of his penchant for posting a high on-base percentage. He also puts up big stolen base numbers.

In his two-year pro career between the Angels and Mets, Johnson has hit .290 with a .395 on-base percentage. He has stolen 46 bases in 53 attempts in 128 career games. He also has been hit by 16 pitches. In his final college season at Washington State, Johnson had a .408 OBP and 17 steals in 22 attempts while appearing in 48 games (41 starts).

“I’ve always been a top-of-the-order-type guy,” Johnson said. “I get on base any way I can. One thing I learned in college is a hit by pitch and a walk is just as good as a hit -- just getting on base for those big Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 hitters to get those RBIs and get me in. I’ll get RBIs every once in a while, but I kind of pride myself on stolen bases and scoring runs.”

As for the trade, Johnson said: “Just being wanted makes it a lot easier and makes it exciting. I think the Mets are giving me a real cool opportunity that maybe I wouldn’t have had with the Angels, just because of the Angels’ depth with outfielders all the way up to the top. The Mets organization is rebuilding and developing from within. So I’m really excited about that. I think I’m going to have a great opportunity here.”

Organization leaders

Average: Victor Cruzado, Kingsport, .344; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .334; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .333 Cesar Puello, Binghamton, .333; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .322; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .313; Joe Tuschak, Kingsport, .308; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, .296; LJ Mazzilli, Brooklyn, .296; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .292.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 20; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 18; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 17; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 14.

RBI: Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 85; Dustin Lawley, St. Lucie, 76; Cesar Puello, 73; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 69; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 69.

Steals: Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 23; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 20; Patrick Biondi, Brooklyn, 15.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.36; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.19; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.31; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.48; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 2.48; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.56; Octavio Acosta, GCL Mets, 2.59; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.61; Carlos Valdez, Boroklyn, 2.78; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 2.80.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 11; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 9; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 9; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Binghamton, 30; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 15; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10; Hamilton Bennett, St. Lucie, 8.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 113; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 110; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 104; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 104; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 98.

Short hops

Jayce Boyd, who is hitting a combined .334 between Savannah and St. Lucie this season, exclusively has served as DH since June 29 with the Florida State League club. Boyd, a first baseman drafted in the sixth round last year out of Florida State, has been instructed not to throw by team doctors. He is due to undergo shoulder surgery after the season. The injury does not restrict Boyd’s hitting.

Travis d’Arnaud, who has played in six Gulf Coast League games since returning from a broken first metatarsal in his left foot, is expected to move to Double-A Binghamton.

• 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini returned to shortstop for Brooklyn Saturday after missing more than three weeks with an ankle injury. He is 1-for-16 since returning from the DL.

• Trying to limit left-hander Steven Matz’s innings, the Mets skipped his last turn with Savannah. Matz has logged 81 innings this season. His previous two seasons were limited because of a prolonged recovery from Tommy John surgery and other injuries.

Matz should be an interesting case this offseason. He will be Rule 5 draft eligible, so the Mets may have to protect him, despite Matz -- the organization’s top pick in 2009 -- never having pitched above low-A. Still, despite a 2.33 ERA through 16 South Atlantic League starts and being left-handed, there is no guarantee. One scout’s report on Matz had his fastball extremely straight.

• Left-hander Pedro Feliciano last Thursday made his first Triple-A appearance since 2006, when the Mets were aligned with Norfolk. Feliciano has retired all six batters he has faced -- four lefties, two righties -- over three appearances since the promotion from Binghamton to Las Vegas.

• After a torrid start, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo’s average has dipped to .261 with Savannah. Nimmo has struck out 99 times in 283 at-bats.

Jordany Valdespin, the reigning Pacific Coast League Player of the Week, continues to put up gaudy numbers with Vegas. Despite losing a six-game hitting streak in Tuesday’s rain-shortened game at Nashville, Valdespin is hitting .453 (24-for-53) with three homers and 24 RBIs in 14 games since a demotion.

Of course, Valdespin triggered a bench-clearing brawl against Sacramento. After admiring a homer, Valdespin then was hit by a pitch later that night. When the Mets retaliated, with Armando Rodriguez hitting a Sacramento batter, both benches emptied. Valdespin, Rodriguez and manager Wally Backman were ejected. Valdespin went 9-for-14 in the weekend series against Sacramento.

“Valdespin being Valdespin,” said one observer. “He pimped singles more than the home run, though. He also hit .600 against this team. LOL. That will piss people off.”

Bradley Marquez, a 16th-round pick in 2011, has returned to Texas Tech for another college football season. While splitting time between left field and center field with Kingsport, the 20-year-old Marquez hit .250 with one homer and nine RBIs in 84 at-bats. A Mets official said Marquez for the first time does plan to attend spring training in 2014, so the shift from college football to baseball as the priority looks like it will begin then.

• Right-hander Noah Syndergaard earned Eastern League Player of the Week honors. Syndergaard is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in seven starts since a promotion to Binghamton.

Syndergaard logged 103 2/3 innings last season in the Blue Jays organization with Class A Lansing. He has thrown 99 2/3 innings this season between St. Lucie and the B-Mets, so he probably has slightly more than 30 innings remaining this season before reaching his cap.

• Right-hander Akeel Morris, a 10th-round pick in 2010 out of the U.S. Virgin Islands, continues to post remarkable numbers with Brooklyn. Morris has tossed 25 scoreless innings. He has allowed 12 hits and 12 walks while striking out 31.

• The Mets are talking with 2011 10th-round pick Matt Budgell about returning to the organization for spring training. Budgell, a right-handed pitcher who made 12 appearances for Kingsport last year, had decided to retire from baseball earlier this year.

• Mets prospects will be assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, on a team with farmhands from the Braves, Yankees, Pirates and Giants. Luis Rivera, the Mets’ short-season hitting coordinator, will serve as hitting coach for that AFL squad.

• 2012 seventh-round pick Corey Oswalt, a right-handed pitcher selected out of high school in San Diego, is due to undergo surgery today to repair a knee injury.

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TEAM LEADERS

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