New York Mets: Marvin Hudson

Series preview: Mets at Astros

April, 30, 2012

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Bud Norris, J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez during the final trip to Houston with the Astros an NL member.
METS (13-9, third place/NL East) vs. HOUSTON ASTROS (8-14, fifth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP R.A. Dickey (3-1, 4.44) vs. RHP Bud Norris (1-1, 5.84), 8:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (1-1, 4.70), 8:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Schwinden (0-0, 11.25) vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.72), 2:05 p.m. ET

Astros short hops

• The Astros, who debuted as a member of the National League alongside the Mets in 1962, originally as the Colt .45s, move to the American League West next season as part of the conditions of Jim Crane's purchase of the team from Drayton McLane. Crane received a $65 million purchase credit to balance the leagues at 15 teams apiece.

As for Astros fans’ negative reaction to the AL move, Crane told The Houston Chronicle: “I think it's calmed down considerably once people understand that was our destiny. That's the way baseball had decided -- whoever owned the Astros was going to be in the American League. You can argue anything I guess, but what they did does make some sense for baseball. When you look at the two Texas teams, it evens out that, keeps the Rangers from traveling more. Our TV partner Comcast feels it's a stronger deal for us with the East Coast teams like Detroit and Cleveland and some of the old traditional teams -- the Yankees and Boston. And we're going to do better on the network because of that.

“The downside that we'll see is the DH and a little more travel. And we'll try to get games scheduled so that when we get getaway games they'll be in the afternoon, so you're not going to see that many late-night games.”

Brad Barr/US Presswire
Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, is off to a solid start in Houston's bullpen.

• The Astros have lost six straight series, the latest secured with a 6-5 loss at Cincinnati in Sunday’s rubber game.

• Diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve is among the league’s hottest hitters. The 5-foot-5 Altuve went 3-for-5 Sunday to lift his average to .373. That trails only Matt Kemp (.425) and David Wright (.397) in the National League. Altuve, who turns 22 next Sunday, is the shortest player in the majors this season. He has runner-up Alexi Amarista of the Los Angeles Angels beat by two inches. Altuve had been the second-youngest too, behind Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison. But 19-year-old Bryce Harper and 20-year-old Mike Trout just made their major league debut/return. Altuve began last season at Class A Lancaster, but made his major league debut July 20 after jumping from Double-A.

• The Astros acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-hander Kyle Weiland from the Boston Red Sox on Dec. 14 for right-handed reliever Mark Melancon, Houston’s 2011 saves leader with 20. Lowrie opened the season the disabled list with a sprained right thumb. He made his Astros debut April 13. Weiland (0-3, 6.62 ERA) landed on the DL with shoulder bursitis, and Jordan Lyles was promoted for a spot start Sunday. Lyles was returned to the minors postgame.

• Catcher Jason Castro, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft, out of Stanford, missed last season while recovering from right knee surgery to repair a torn ACL. He also missed two games last week with a neck issue after a plate collision with Milwaukee’s Mat Gamel. Castro returned Friday. Opponents have been successful in all 13 steal attempts against Castro this season.

Carlos Lee left Friday’s game in the first inning with a left ankle sprain, which he suffered pursuing a low throw from third baseman Chris Johnson that eluded him at first base. X-rays were negative, but Lee (.273, 2 HR, 13 RBIs) likely will remain sidelined at least early in the Mets series. Lee exclusively has played first base this season, after splitting time evenly between that position and left field a season ago. Matt Downs has filled in at first base in Lee’s absence. J.D. Martinez is now the full-time left fielder.

• Backup infielder Marwin Gonzalez spent the weekend on paternity leave, but was activated for Monday’s series opener in the roster spot Lyles held for a day.

Wandy Rodriguez has a 1.72 ERA in five starts.

Bud Norris allowed seven runs in his last start, including two-run homers to Milwaukee’s Travis Ishikawa and Corey Hart.

• Closer Brett Myers is 4-for-4 in save chances.

• Right-hander Rhiner Cruz (1-0, 2.08 ERA) is Rule 5 pick from Metsm who is drawing rave reviews from scouts because of his 98 mph fastball from a “weird,” low arm slot. Cruz, who was not protected on the Mets’ 40-man roster, opened eyes with Cibao in the Dominican Winter League, before the December draft. He posted a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings over 21 relief appearances in winter ball. Cruz has not appeared since last Monday because of a twisted an ankle. Cruz, 25, had control issues last season between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in the Mets organization. He walked 45 and hit seven batters in 71 2/3 innings.

Fernando Martinez, who was claimed off waivers by the Astros from the Mets during the offseason, is hitting .318 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 22 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He primarily has played left field, while being assigned to DH the past two games.

• Ex-Brave Jordan Schafer was ejected Sunday after disputing a caught-stealing call by ump Marvin Hudson in the second inning. Before that, the 25-year-old center fielder extended his streak of reaching base at least once to 22 games, the longest to open a season by an Astro since Ricky Gutierrez had a 23-game streak in 1998. Denis Menke owns the franchise record -- 25 games in 1969.

• Ex-Mets/Astros outfielder Richard Hidalgo is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday’s series opener.


Dickey vs. Astros (career: 1-2, 3.82 ERA)
Travis Buck .667, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Jason Castro .667, 3 PA
Jed Lowrie .500, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Matt Downs .500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 PA
Jordan Schafer .429, 1 K, 7 PA
Carlos Lee .381, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K, 21 PA
Chris Johnson .286, 1 RBI, 14 PA
Brian Bixler .200, 1 K, 5 PA
Chris Snyder .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA

Niese vs. Astros (career: 1-1, 1.80 ERA)
Brian Bixler .333, 2 K, 6 PA
Chris Johnson .333, 1 RBI, 6 PA
Carlos Lee .250, 1 RBI,1 BB, 9 PA
Jordan Schafer .000, 2 K, 8 PA
Jason Castro .000, 3 PA
Chris Snyder .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Schwinden vs. Astros (career: never faced)

Norris vs. Mets (career: 1-1, 4.85 ERA)
Daniel Murphy .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Justin Turner .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Josh Thole .250, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 10 PA
Ike Davis .250, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Scott Hairston .200, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA
David Wright .000, 3 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 K, 3 PA

Happ vs. Mets (career: 2-2, 4.82 ERA)
Mike Nickeas .500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 PA
David Wright .462, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 15 PA
Andres Torres .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .286, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 7 PA
Justin Turner .200, 1 RBI, 5 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 RBI, 2 PA

Rodriguez vs. Mets (career: 3-2, 2.91 ERA)
Scott Hairston .462, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 15 PA
Justin Turner .333, 3 PA
David Wright .316, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 21 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 PA
Josh Thole .000, 1 BB, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Minute Maid Park, May 13-15, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 6, Astros 4: David Wright hit a go-ahead homer to cap a four-run eighth inning that rallied the Mets. Wright's two-run shot was the last of three late homers by the Mets that helped them overcome a 4-0 deficit for their sixth win in eight games. Jason Bay got New York going with a solo shot in the seventh and pinch-hitter Fernando Martinez cut it to 4-3 with a long, two-run drive in the eighth. Jose Reyes walked and, with two outs, Wright homered off reliever Jeff Fulchino (0-1) into the Crawford Boxes in left field to put New York on top. It was the sixth home run of the season for the slumping Wright, who had been given the previous day off in Colorado to rest a sore neck and back.

Astros 7, Mets 3: Carlos Lee delivered his 2,000th hit with an RBI single during a four-run first inning. Lee also hit one of three Astros homers. J.A. Happ (3-4) pitched six innings for the win, scattering five hits and three walks. Michael Bourn tripled to open the game against knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey (1-5) and scored on a groundout by Clint Barmes. Hunter Pence and Lee followed with singles, and three more runs scored on a double by Brett Wallace and singles by Chris Johnson and Bill Hall. Dickey allowed six hits in the first inning, then held the Astros in check until the sixth, when Hall and pinch hitter Matt Downs hit solo homers. Dickey pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowed 11 hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out two. Lee became the 17th active player to reach 2,000 hits, and he is the ninth active player to have at least that many hits while also belting 300 or more home runs. The Mets got one run in the third when Jose Reyes doubled and scored on a single to right field by Justin Turner, then added another in the fourth, when Daniel Murphy led off the inning with his third homer of the season. Reyes had an RBI single off reliever Mark Melancon in the ninth. Carlos Beltran sat out the game with swelling in his right eye.

Mets 7, Astros 4: Justin Turner homered and drove in a career-high five runs and Jason Pridie hit a go-ahead single and stole home for the Mets. Chris Capuano (3-4) allowed six hits and two runs in five innings. He struck out six. Aneury Rodriguez (0-2) didn't allow a hit until the fifth, but finished with five earned runs and four walks in his third major league start. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th straight save. He has not allowed a run in 14 appearances since April 14.

Mets morning briefing 4.29.11

April, 29, 2011
After having their six-game winning streak snapped Thursday, the Mets bused to Philadelphia, where they draw call-up Vance Worley in Game 1 in place of Joe Blanton (elbow), then Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Mike Pelfrey starts the opener despite dealing with an illness that has dropped him 11 pounds in the past week-plus. Ronny Paulino joins the team, and should get his first catching assignment Sunday against the southpaw Lee as Terry Collins mostly uses a platoon, except for Josh Thole catching R.A. Dickey regardless of the opposing pitcher.

Friday's news reports:

• The Mets are willling to give up some control to a minority owner, the Post reports. A winning bid is expected to be picked by the May 12 owners' meetings. The article states:

Within the last several days, the team has told some suitors it will give a new investor veto power over a limited number of financial decisions, two sources close to the situation said. The budgetary items covered by the proposed veto power include overall payroll levels as well as larger player contracts, a source said. ... Under the veto plan proposed, the Mets would form a board of directors and each person on the board would have the right to veto decisions on team payroll. This would prevent the Mets from gutting payroll to boost the bottom line, though the Wilpons and Katz have said that is not their intent. The veto plan, whether or not it is included in the final deal, can be seen as a sweetener of sorts for the Mets in order to attract a $200 million bid because it offers potential buyers an added sense of financial security.

There are two groups seen as leaders among the suitors. They are hedge-fund titan Steven Cohen, and the team of former Glencore International commodity trader Ray Bartoszek and private investor Anthony Lanza, sources said. A third bidding group led by Steve Starker and Ken Dichter has dropped back.

• Newsday's David Lennon looks at the rash of rib-cage injuries, including Jason Bay at the end of spring training and Angel Pagan in-season that landed him on the disabled list. Switch-hitting Jose Reyes injured a right oblique muscle last summer in San Juan during batting practice before a game against the Marlins, and then sat only a short period of time before batting righty against right-handed pitchers, never allowing it time to heal. Still, Lennon explains, Collins' suspicion that the injury is more frequent now than in his playing days may be off-base. Writes Lennon:

Reyes and Pagan are two of the Mets' more highly tuned athletes, but [orthopedic surgeon Bal] Raj disagreed with the notion the oblique injuries are related to the greater focus on conditioning the core these days. In fact, he said it's the best defense against oblique injuries -- for a sport that's prone to them -- and Reyes' proactive approach seems to be working. Or at least it seems to be a better strategy than what Collins believes protected the players of the past. He said with a smile, "We were too fat before."

• Reyes and Marvin Hudson exchanged apologies Thursday, a day after the third base ump incorrectly ruled Reyes out on a would-be eighth-inning triple and Reyes went ballistic.

• Turns out Livan Hernandez, who beat the Mets on Thursday, was the subject of a federal investigation while a member of the Mets in the summer of 2009. The money-laundering suspicions reportedly partly involve a drug trafficker having fancy cars registered in Hernandez's name. Writes David Waldstein in the Times:

Evidence presented in court connects Hernandez, at least indirectly, to a convicted drug trafficker in Puerto Rico, and the news broke Wednesday, the day before his fifth start of the season. ... In the summer of 2009, when he was a member of the Mets, Hernandez was questioned by the authorities, apparently regarding the same case, according to three people in baseball with direct knowledge of the situation who did not want to be identified discussing a matter under investigation. But Dan Warthen, the Mets’ pitching coach then and now, said Hernandez never allowed the issue to interfere with his pitching. “That came up two years ago, when he was in New York,” Warthen said. “It didn’t affect him then and I doubt that it’s going to affect him now. These three hours during the game are what Livo lives for.”

Ike Davis ranks ninth in the National League with 19 RBIs, four behind leader Prince Fielder of Milwaukee. Davis is on pace for 123 RBIs, one shy of matching the franchise single-season record, which is shared by David Wright (2008) and Mike Piazza (1999). "He's a big reason why we're doing what we're doing," hitting coach Dave Hudgens tells Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal. "You can get a lot of RBIs in the No. 6 spot because all your best hitters are in the middle of the order and you can get on base a lot. It's a good spot for him." Writes Costa:

Could he drive in 125 runs? His high batting average on balls in play (.403 entering Thursday) suggests he'll cool down somewhat. And if the Mets trade Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran in July, it will hurt his chances. But for now, the Mets can dream. "That would be nice," Hudgens said. "We'd be happy about that. RBIs to me are a team stat, so it's hard to project that. If Jose Reyes gets on at a .350 clip and Jason [Bay], David [Wright], all those guys are getting on base, then he's going to get a bunch of RBIs, because he figures out ways to get hits. He takes his walks, too." If nothing else, Davis will have more than his share of chances to drive in runs. Entering Thursday, he had a team-high 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position and a team-high 42 at-bats with runners on base.

• Pelfrey had been tested for an ulcer because he got a burning sensation whenever he ate, but tests revealed he only had a blockage in is system, the right-hander said. Watch Pelfrey talk about his illness in this video. "They told me they're going to watch," Pelfrey said about being closely monitored during Friday's start. "Terry told me all he can do is go off what I tell him. I told him I'd be honest with him. I told him I was fine and I was ready to go. He said they were going to watch me. I don't see any restrictions." Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and Record.

• Read Thursday's game stories in the Record, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Post and Daily News.

Sandy Alderson downplays his swift roster moves with underperforming players, including dropping Blaine Boyer and Brad Emaus and demoting D.J. Carrasco."I think you have to be careful about that," Alderson tells the Daily News' Andy Martino. "I don't really see it that way. If we have been proactive, we have been proactive at the margins. ... Where we have been proactive, it has been towards trying to see what else we have. You try not to make irrevocable decisions. We lost Boyer, but it wasn't really on purpose. We didn't know it would be irrevocable until he decided not to come back."

• Braves pitching coach/ex-Met Roger McDowell allegedly had an incident with a fan last year as well, the Daily News reports.

• ESPN analyst John Kruk has this commentary about Pelfrey and the Mets in the Post: "The Mets are counting on a guy who would be the fifth starter in the Phillies’ rotation, if that. He has the stuff to be a No. 1 starter, but he doesn’t have the consistency. Pelfrey has to be the guy who wins games for them, otherwise they would be sunk. He is their best pitcher, so he has to perform like he is a No. 1 guy. ... Offensively, they can be as good on anyone in the division. Getting Jason Bay back adds some credibility to the middle of their lineup. [Carlos] Beltran hit a triple the other night and looks like he’s running well. Reyes keeps getting on base.”

• Thole had a three-hit game Thursday, and earlier in the series against the Nats had a career-high three RBIs. "He's not a power guy," Hudgens tells the Post's Dan Martin. "We've gotta make sure he still focuses on hitting to the left side and the middle. Sometimes, I think he's starting to come too much off the ball and that might have led to a few strikeouts."

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets catcher Omir Santos, who hit a replay-reviewed homer off Jonathan Papelbon at Fenway Park in 2009, turns 30. ... Ed Charles, a third baseman with the Mets from 1967 to 1969, was born on this date in 1933. ... Reliever Wes Gardner, who was traded to Boston in the Bobby Ojeda deal before the '86 season, was born in 1961.

Reyes, ump make amends

April, 28, 2011

Brad Mills/US Presswire
Jose Reyes reacts to Wednesday's call by ump Marvin Hudson. The two made up Thursday.

One day after umpire Marvin Hudson blew a call at third base and ruled Jose Reyes out on a would-be triple in the eighth inning, the pair exchanged apologies during Thursday's game.

Reyes said Hudson called him over between half-innings midway through the game to admit he was incorrect in ruling Reyes' hand had come off the base. Reyes apologized for his outburst over the call.

"He talked to me during the game. He said he looked at the replay and he missed it out there," Reyes told "I said, 'It's good you let me know. I think I overreacted too.' So I apologized because of that. I went crazy a little bit. But that's in the past."

Paulino activation may wait until Saturday

April, 28, 2011
Terry Collins said Ronny Paulino's return from the DL, first scheduled for Tuesday, then Friday, may actually wait until Saturday. Collins said he would like Paulino to get additional at-bats with Triple-A Buffalo. Paulino so far is 3-for-21 (.143) in six games with the Bisons. That comes on the heels of going 3-for-17 (.176) in five games with Class A St. Lucie.

When Paulino is activated, the righty-hitting catcher mostly will platoon with lefty-hitting Josh Thole, according to Collins. The exception: Because Paulino, who arrived late to spring training, then was shut down with anemia, has not caught R.A. Dickey, Thole will catch the knuckleballer, even if the Mets are facing a southpaw.

• With Mike Pelfrey, who has been ill, declared ready for Friday's start, Collins said he would not hold back Dillon Gee as a precaution. If the situation calls for Gee to be used Thursday night, he will be summoned for relief duty.

• Collins would like to give Carlos Beltran a day off in Philly this weekend. The logical game would be Saturday's matinee after a night game. However, Beltran is hitting .316 with two homers in 42 career plate appearances against scheduled starter Roy Halladay that day. And Collins believes Beltran is such a competitor he would want to face Halladay no matter what. So the manager may give Beltran off Sunday against Cliff Lee instead.

• Despite Daniel Murphy's surge, Collins reiterated it's still a platoon. So Justin Turner should start the next time the Mets face a southpaw, which is Sunday with Lee.

• Collins said he does not expect an apology from Marvin Hudson, Wednesday's third base ump. The manager said he cannot recall an umpire ever apologizing to him for a missed call, and added that he has a short memory anyway. "It's over," Collins said.



Bartolo Colon
8 3.99 89 121
BAD. Murphy .294
HRL. Duda 14
RBIL. Duda 48
RD. Murphy 56
OPSL. Duda .829
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 105