New York Mets: Michael Conforto

Minors 7.21.14: Mathieu walk-off HR

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
12:18
AM ET
TACOMA 11, LAS VEGAS 8: Danny Muno's two-run homer in the top of the seventh against Logan Kensing pulled the 51s even at 8, but Zack Thornton surrendered three runs in the bottom half, including a two-run homer to Humberto Quintero. Rehabbing Taylor Teagarden caught a full game and went 1-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored. Wilmer Flores went 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 22 games. Box

PORTLAND 6, BINGHAMTON 4: Brandon Nimmo erased a two-run deficit with one swing in the seventh. Following a leadoff single by T.J. Rivera, Nimmo blasted the first pitch he

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saw from reliever Mike McCarthy over the left-center wall to even the score at 3. However, Portland broke the tie in the bottom half against the B-Mets bullpen. After allowing the first two batters he faced to reach, Ryan Fraser departed. Sean Coyle greeted Randy Fontanez by sending a chopper off the plate. The ball bounced high enough to prompt Derrik Gibson to score from third, giving Portland the lead for good. The Sea Dogs kicked their lead to two runs when Blake Swihart scampered home on a wild pitch. Brian Burgamy cut the deficit to 5-4 with a solo homer against McCarthy in the eighth. Burgamy’s 18th homer, and his third in two games, lifted him into a tie with Dustin Lawley for the team lead. The Sea Dogs returned serve yet again in the bottom half, though. Following Ryan Dent's double and a walk to Swihart, defensive replacement and ex-Mets farmhand Stefan Welch laced an RBI single against Fontanez. Robby Scott took over in the ninth and erased Rivera’s leadoff single by inducing Nimmo to bounce into a double play. The southpaw then retired Travis Taijeron to lock down his second save. Fraser (2-2) watched both runs on his tab score under Fontanez’s watch and took the loss. B-Mets starter Gabriel Ynoa allowed three runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision. Rivera went 4-for-4 to lift his average to .348. Box

TAMPA 5, ST. LUCIE 2: Danny Oh’s three-run triple in a four-run fifth against Domingo Tapia put Tampa ahead for good. For the second straight day the Mets scored a run in the first and went quietly the rest of the way. Cam Maron’s sacrifice fly against Rafael De Paula put the Mets ahead 1-0. Tapia blanked the Yankees over the first four innings, but ran into trouble in his fifth. Aaron Judge singled and Tapia mishandled a bunt from Angelo Gumbs. The error put runners on first and second. Tapia followed with a walk to Trent Garrison to load the bases. After Tapia struck out Jose Rosario, Oh tripled over the head of center fielder Gilbert Gomez, who was playing shallow, to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Oh scored one batter later when Cito Culver grounded out. The Yankees added a run in the seventh when Greg Bird's two-out infield single against Julian Hilario brought home Rosario. Gomez tripled to plate Eudy Pina in the eighth to make it 5-2. However, the Mets rally was squashed when Jeff McNeil struck out, L.J. Mazzilli grounded out and Maron struck out against Ramon Benjamin. Tapia (4-7) surrendered four runs (two earned) on four hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out three. Mazzilli was the lone player for either side to have a multi-hit game. He went 2-for-4. The start of the game was delayed by one hour, 50 minutes due to rain. Box

LEXINGTON at SAVANNAH (ppd.): The game will be made up in Lexington later this week as part of a doubleheader.

KINGSPORT 3, PRINCETON 1: Zach Mathieu delivered a walk-off two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Mathieu, a 16th-round pick in 2013 from Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, drove in all three K-Mets runs. His seventh-inning sacrifice fly had evened the score at 1. Starter Andrew Massie allowed one run on three hits and three walks in six innings. Matt Blackham, Persio Reyes and Ismael Tijerina (1-0) each contributed a scoreless relief inning. Box

BROOKLYN 5, WILLIAMSPORT 2: Marcos Molina surrendered two first-inning runs, then

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tossed six scoreless frames. Relievers Kelly Secrest and Shane Bay combined to retire the final six Crosscutters in order. Bay earned his sixth save. Michael Katz went 4-for-4 with two RBIs. Trailing 2-0 in the third, the Cyclones got on the scoreboard with singles by Tucker Tharp, Adrian Abreu and Amed Rosario. The Cyclones took a 3-2 lead an inning later against Williamsport starter David Whitehead. Michael Conforto had a leadoff double. He advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Katz's bloop single. Tyler Moore's single advanced Katz to third base. Michael Bernal then produced a fielder's choice groundout that plated Katz with the go-ahead run. In the fifth, Abreu and Jhoan Urena singled and Conforto notched his first professional RBI with a single to right-center. Katz then drove in a run with a single down the third-base line. Molina allowed seven hits and a walk and struck out eight in seven innings. Secrest struck out two in a perfect eighth. Box

GCL NATIONALS 8, GCL METS 3: Starter Eucebio Arias allowed five runs (two earned) in two innings. Box

Compiled with team reports

Minors 7.20.14: Oswalt blanks Cutters

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20
9:33
PM ET
SALT LAKE 3, LAS VEGAS 0: Caleb Clay went the distance in a three-hit shutout for the Bees. Rafael Montero allowed one run on five hits and three walks in four innings in his first Triple-A appearance since June 14. Montero had been dealing with a strained left oblique. Wilmer Flores went 1-for-4 with a seventh-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. That is the longest streak by a Las Vegas player since J.P. Arencibia had a 21-game streak in 2010 while Vegas was affiliated with the Blue Jays. The Vegas record is 37 games by Joey Cora in 1989. Erik Goeddel allowed two runs in the sixth. Box

BINGHAMTON 5, TRENTON 2: Brian Burgamy belted a pair of two-run homers and Dustin Lawley contributed his team-leading 18th long ball. With Kyle Johnson on second base,

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Burgamy launched the first pitch he saw from Dan Camarena in the first inning into the rail yard beyond the left-field wall. Burgamy snapped an 0-for-18 drought with the shot. Lawley followed by lining an 0-1 pitch just over the left-field fence, giving Binghamton a 3-0 lead. Burgamy struck again in the fifth. After Dilson Herrera ripped his first triple as a B-Met, Burgamy blistered the first pitch he saw off the message board in left field for his 17th homer and a 5-0 lead. B-Mets starter Greg Peavey retired the first five Thunder batters he faced before surrendering a double to Tyler Austin. Peavey responded by retiring 13 of the next 14 batters he faced. Trenton threatened in the seventh, putting the first two aboard via a hit batter and a single. Peavey rebounded with consecutive strikeouts before Francisco Arcia looped a single to shallow left. Rob Segedin scampered home from second with Trenton’s first run before Gary Sanchez was nabbed at third on the play. The Thunder pulled within three runs in the eighth against reliever Jack Leathersich. After Casey Stevenson advanced to third on a double play, Ben Gamel lined an RBI single. Cody Satterwhite worked around a two-out single in a scoreless ninth to secure his eighth save. Peavey (7-1) allowed one run on four hits while collecting seven strikeouts over seven innings. Box

TAMPA 4, ST. LUCIE 1: The Mets mustered five hits, with their lone run coming on a two-out homer in the first inning from L.J. Mazzilli. Aderlin Rodriguez hit a ground-rule double later in the first, but the Mets ultimately stranded the bases loaded when Miguel Sulbaran got Gavin Cecchini to ground into a fielder's choice. Tampa relievers Jacob Lindgren, Brett Gerritse and Cesar Vargas held the Mets to one hit over four innings. Dante Bichette Jr. gave the Yankees the lead for good with an opposite-field two-run homer over the short porch in right field in the fourth. Eric Jagielo lined a homer just fair in the right-field corner and chased starter Luis Cessa in the sixth inning while making the score 3-1. Cessa pitched 5 2/3 innings and struck out six. Danny Oh added an RBI single against Robert Coles in the seventh. Box

SAVANNAH 5, LEXINGTON 0
SAVANNAH 3, LEXINGTON 1: John Gant came within five outs of a seven-inning no-hitter

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in Game 1. He notched his second seven-inning shutout of the season. Gant allowed one hit and one walk while striking out eight to earn his 10th win. With one out in the sixth, Lexington second baseman Carlos Garcia rolled a single through the right side of the infield. The Gnats plated three runs in the third inning. Yeixon Ruiz produced a two-run homer and Nelfi Zapata added an RBI double. In the fifth, Dominic Smith drove in two runs as part of a 3-for-3 game. In Game 2, Smith singled in a run in the fifth to complete the game's scoring. Savannah starter Alex Panteliodis held the Legends to one run in six innings. The lone run he allowed came on a lengthy homer by Legends first baseman Fred Ford. Matt Oberste singled in both games to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, the third-longest streak in the South Atlantic League this season. Box 1, Box 2

KINGSPORT 7, PRINCETON 3: Starter Andrew Church limited Princeton to two unearned runs in six innings. Pedro Perez's two-run homer in the sixth gave the K-Mets a 3-2 lead. Oswald Caraballo had a two-run double in a three-run seventh. Box

BROOKLYN 6, WILLIAMSPORT 0: Corey Oswalt tossed seven scoreless innings and

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combined with Scarlyn Reyes on a two-hit shutout. In a two-run first, Amed Rosario reached on an error by Williamsport starter Ricardo Pinto. Jhoan Urena singled to push Rosario to second base. First-round pick Michael Conforto advanced both runners on a groundout. Michael Katz followed with a routine line drive at left fielder Jiandido Tromp. The ball hit off the heel of Tromp's glove and dropped. Two runs scored on the two-base error. The Cyclones upped their lead to 5-0 in the second inning. Tomas Nido contributed an RBI single and Urena had a two-run double. Williamsport’s fifth error of the game came when shortstop Emmanuel Marrero could not track down a two-out grounder by Michael Bernal in the fifth. Conforto, who went 2-for-4 and started in left field in his second professional game, scored from second base on the play. Box

Compiled with team reports

Morning Briefing: Don't blow it

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20
5:30
AM ET
SAN DIEGO

FIRST PITCH: If the Mets want to be taken seriously in the second half, it sure would help to produce a win Sunday.

Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90 ERA) opposes Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) in the 4:10 p.m. ET rubber game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

Wheeler allowed one run and pitched into the seventh inning in each of his final three first-half starts.

Sunday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of solo homers and All-Star Tyson Ross tossed seven scoreless innings as the Padres beat the Mets, 6-0, Saturday at Petco Park. The Mets now trail the Braves and Nationals by seven games in the NL East. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• More than 250 folks spent Saturday night at Citi Field participating in a sleepover at the ballpark.

• Veteran San Diego sportswriter Bill Center deduced an interesting stat: Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle is the lone active major league player to have been a teammate of the late Tony Gwynn. Carlyle pitched for the Padres in 1999 and 2000.

Andrew Brown had a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth and Wilmer Flores extended his hitting streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the ninth as Las Vegas beat Salt Lake, 6-2. Phillip Evans drove in three runs with St. Lucie down to its final out and the Mets beat Brevard County, 8-6. Yoryi Nuez tossed six scoreless innings as Kingsport blanked Princeton, 3-0. First-round pick Michael Conforto went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single and run scored in his professional debut as Brooklyn beat Williamsport, 8-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Read more on Conforto’s debut in the Daily News and Newsday.

Jordany Valdespin returned to the majors with the Miami Marlins on Saturday. He batted second and played second base and went 1-for-4 in a loss to the San Francisco Giants. "This is an opportunity to bring up a guy who's been playing well in the minor leagues and hopefully can give us a little bit of a boost," Marlins manager Mike Redmond told Juan Rodriguez in the Sun-Sentinel. "Our offense has been sluggish, so we're looking for a guy that can hit at the top of the order, give us some good at-bats, get on base for the big boys and see if he can get us going a little bit."

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at Travis d'Arnaud’s success since returning from Triple-A.

• Billy Witz in the Times looks at Sandy Alderson’s task as the trade deadline approaches.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to play for the Mets celebrates a birthday Sunday, but Gisele Bundchen, Sandra Oh and Chris Cornell all were born on this date.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is Saturday’s loss a serious setback?

Minors 7.19.14: Evans lifts St. Lucie

July, 19, 2014
Jul 19
10:44
PM ET
First-round pick Michael Conforto reacts after going 1-for-4 in his professional debut Saturday as the DH with Brooklyn.

LAS VEGAS 6, SALT LAKE 2: Andrew Brown's three-run homer with two outs in the eighth gave the 51s a 3-2 lead after an error prolonged the inning. Matt Reynolds and Wilmer Flores added RBI singles in the ninth and Brown had a run-scoring groundout to cap the scoring. Flores' ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 20 games. Box

TRENTON 6, BINGHAMTON 1: Starter Matt Bowman allowed five runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings in his return after two starts in Triple-A. Binghamton had briefly owned a 1-0 lead on T.J. Rivera's first-inning RBI single. Box

ST. LUCIE 8, BREVARD COUNTY 6: With the bases loaded and the Mets down to their final out and trailing by a run in the top of the ninth, Phillip Evans lofted a shallow fly ball

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that dropped between left fielder Victor Roache and shortstop Brandon Macias, clearing the bases to give the Mets an 8-6 lead. Roache initially broke backward and eventually raced in and slid on the failed attempt. Gavin Cecchini had reached on a one-out single. Gilbert Gomez flied out for the second out. Stephen Peterson then got ahead of Maikis De La Cruz 1-2, but De La Cruz singled to keep the Mets alive. Jeff McNeil followed with an infield single to load the bases for Evans. Beck Wheeler pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half for his seventh save. The Mets fell behind 4-0 in the second and trailed 6-3 in the third, but the bullpen kept the Mets in the game. Jake Kuebler contributed three scoreless innings. Tim Peterson (2-0) retired all six batters he faced. Kuebler, Peterson and Wheeler combined to retire the last 14 Manatees hitters. McNeil finished 3-for-5 with an RBI double, three-run homer and four RBIs. Mets starter Matt Koch gave up nine hits, all singles, and six runs in three innings. McNeil gave the Mets life by hitting a three-run homer, his first with St. Lucie, in the third to make it 4-3. The Manatees scored two more against Koch in the bottom half. Box

LEXINGTON at SAVANNAH (ppd.): The teams will play a noon doubleheader Sunday.

KINGSPORT 3, PRINCETON 0: Yoryi Nuez tossed six scoreless innings and combined with David Roseboom and Ramon Estevez on a six-hit shutout. The K-Mets scored three third-inning runs, on consecutive RBI singles by Oswald Caraballo, Eudor Garcia and Luis Ortega. Box

BROOKLYN 8, WILLIAMSPORT 4: First-round pick Michael Conforto went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his professional debut and Octavio Acosta allowed one run (unearned) in eight innings as the Cyclones snapped an eight-game losing streak. The lone run against Acosta came after shortstop Amed Rosario allowed Robinson Torres to reach on a sixth-inning error. Torres stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Chase Harris' single as Williamsport opened the scoring. Adrian Abreu had a three-run homer in a six-run bottom half as the Cyclones grabbed a 6-1 lead. Luis Mateo allowed three runs in the ninth. Box

GCL CARDINALS 5, GCL METS 3 (11 innings): After recording two outs in the 11th, Mets reliever Waldo Rodriguez surrendered four straight singles, then hit a batter to force in a run in a two-run frame for the Cardinals. The Mets had pulled even at 3 on Dionis Rodriguez's sacrifice fly and Milton Ramos' RBI single in the seventh. Starter Darwin Ramos limited the Cardinals to two unearned runs in five innings. Box

Compiled with team reports

Morning Briefing: Still rolling

July, 19, 2014
Jul 19
5:41
AM ET
SAN DIEGO

FIRST PITCH: The Mets did not cool off during the break.

Now winners of nine of their past 11, they have climbed to four games under .500.

They try to keep the momentum going Saturday, with Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56 ERA) opposing right-hander Tyson Ross (7-10, 2.85) at 8:40 p.m. ET.

Saturday’s news reports:

Travis d'Arnaud continued his solid production since returning from Las Vegas. Playing at the site of his major league debut last August, the rookie catcher finished 3-for-5 and drove in the tiebreaking run against Joaquin Benoit in the ninth as the Mets beat the Padres, 5-4, Friday at Petco Park. The Mets gained a game on the Washington Nationals, but remained seven games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves.

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

• Sandy Alderson said pregame that not much had transpired so far in terms of trade conversations with other teams. The GM also indicated that he did not intend to rent a player who would be a free agent at season’s end. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

Jenrry Mejia pulled a Mark Messier and guaranteed to SNY the Mets are making the playoffs … or something like that.

“We’re gonna make it because we believe in ourselves,” Mejia told the network, via the Post. “We’ll be ready, and we’re gonna make the playoffs. We’re gonna be there.”

• Daisuke Matsuaka is headed to the bullpen, although the Mets do not intend to use him there Saturday or Sunday. They first want to be 100 percent sure Jonathon Niese will be able to come off the disabled list on Monday to face the Seattle Mariners. Niese threw a bullpen session Friday at Petco Park and pronounced himself ready for that assignment in Seattle. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record and Daily News.

• Top prospect Noah Syndergaard returned from a save in the All-Star Game and proceeded to allow seven runs in five innings on Thursday for Las Vegas at Salt Lake. Syndergaard now has a 5.74 ERA in 17 Pacific Coast League starts.

He told Jared Diamond in the Journal that most of his issues have been mental, including paying too much attention to the Super 2 deadline. "I was thinking about that almost constantly," Syndergaard said.

Pitch selection, and an overreliance on fastballs, also has been an issue. "I've had a hard time knowing what to throw in certain situations," said Syndergaard, whose fastball comfortably hit 98 mph Thursday.

• Jay Schreiber in the Times notes that the last time the Mets finished with a winning record and the Yankees with a losing record was back in 1990. Could it happen again?

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger lists six surprising stats for the Mets, including Ruben Tejada possessing the third-highest OBP among major league shortstops and the Mets leading the NL in home runs since June 17.

• Anthony Seratelli had a three-run homer and Cory Mazzoni earned the win in his Triple-A debut as Las Vegas held on against Salt Lake, 7-6. Robert Gsellman had a 10-strikeout game on his 21st birthday as Savannah beat Lexington, 5-1. Taylor Teagarden’s rehab assignment shifted to St. Lucie, which lost to Brevard County, 4-3. 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini was pulled from that game for an apparent disciplinary reason. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• First-round pick Michael Conforto is due to make his professional debut Saturday for the Cyclones as the designated hitter. Brooklyn hosts Williamsport at 6 p.m.

• Closer Huston Street was traded by the Padres to the Los Angeles Angels. Read more in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

• Benjamin Hoffman in the Times writes that San Diego may end up with the worst offense in major league history.

Dan Uggla was released by the Braves despite $18 million remaining on his contract through 2015. Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

• Nick Forrester in the Daily News profiles Cyclones GM Steve Cohen.

From the bloggers …Faith and Fear made it through the All-Star break, but just barely.

BIRTHDAYS: Rick Ankiel turns 35. ... Preston Wilson is 40. ... David Segui turns 48.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets finish with a better record than the Yankees?

Conforto to make pro debut Saturday

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
3:30
PM ET

Adam RubinMichael Conforto officially was introduced as a Met last Friday, with agent Scott Boras on hand.
SAN DIEGO -- First-round pick Michael Conforto will make his professional debut as the DH for the Brooklyn Cyclones on Saturday.

Conforto, the 10th overall pick in the draft, officially signed a week ago. The Oregon State outfielder attended the Golden Spikes Award ceremony on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was one of three finalists, but did not win the award.

Keith Law rates Conforto as the No. 32 prospect in MLB. Law writes about the two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year:

Conforto was the most advanced college bat in the draft class this year, leading Division I in OBP despite playing in a major conference (Pac-12, for Oregon State), while showing above-average power and adequate defense in left field. He doesn't have huge upside, but he's very close to major league ready and should be at least an above-average regular with a higher ceiling if the power exceeds expectations. The Mets should fast-track him if his performance warrants it.

Morning Briefing: Back to work!

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
5:04
AM ET
SAN DIEGO

FIRST PITCH: Play ball!

After a four-day All-Star break, the Mets get back to business, trying to build on their 8-2 homestand that closed the first half.

The Amazin’s resume play against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park at 10:10 p.m. ET Friday. Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.99 ERA) opposes right-hander Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.47).


USA TODAY SportsThe Mets open the second half facing Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Odrisamer Despaigne in San Diego.


That kicks off a 10-game trip that also includes stops in Seattle and Milwaukee.

The Padres rank last in the majors in runs (279), average (.214), OBP (.273) and slugging percentage (.334). They lost consecutive 1-0 games to the Los Angeles Dodgers to close the first half. However, San Diego’s staff has a 2.08 ERA in 24 games since June 18.

Read the Mets-Padres series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

Daniel Murphy tells Marc Carig in Newsday that his agents have not had any extension talks with the Mets. Murphy, making $5.7 million this season, is eligible for arbitration a final time this winter. He is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

"I think that anybody would be willing to listen to an extension," Murphy told the newspaper. "They're not just passing out at-bats in this league. I don't know what the years or anything would look like. But at the point you come and say, 'Hey, we trust you with 600 at-bats [in each] of the next three to five years,' you're like, 'Yeah, I would like that.'”

• Former Mets GM Omar Minaya tells Mike Puma in the Post that the contribution of holdovers from his regime -- including Juan Lagares, Jacob deGrom, Murphy, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia -- does not feel like vindication.

“I don’t think that way,” said Minaya, who is currently helping oversee the Padres in an interim capacity after the firing of Josh Byrnes as general manager. “You do your job. And when teams don’t win in [New York], people’s opinions are a product of it. We felt very comfortable and believed we had a plan in place to get athletes, to get good players to the major leagues. And it’s an organization, not just one person. Part of it has been Paul DePodesta and Sandy Alderson. They are part of bringing these guys along. It’s not an individual thing.”

• In a lengthy ESPNNewYork.com article by Andrew Marchand on Mets fandom, Jonathon Niese said: “We are not filling the stadium. Where are the Mets fans when we are down-and-out? They were here in '06 and '07 when we were really good, but we have struggled and they are not coming to the stadium."

• Puma in the Post chats with Terry Collins on the eve of the second half.

On the Mets’ postseason potential, Collins said: “We’ve got 67 games to go and we’ve got 39 in our division. If we end up having a good record against our division, I think we’re going to be in the mix at the end.”

On whether key bullpen pieces are overworked, the manager said: “Hell, I won’t know that until the end of August. That last month of the season is when those guys who are in the big leagues for that first full season, some of that stuff starts to show up. The fatigue, the pressure of 145 games at that time, and you can start to see it … because their minor-league seasons would have been over and they’re still playing. So how they handle that situation will determine how that last month will go.”

Carlos Torres leads all major league relievers with 59 1/3 innings. Familia’s 45 relief appearances trail MLB co-leaders Brad Ziegler (Arizona) and Will Smith (Milwaukee) by four.

• Back from the Futures Game, Noah Syndergaard allowed seven runs in five innings as Las Vegas lost to Salt Lake, 7-6. Dustin Lawley had a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs as Binghamton beat Trenton, 8-4. Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings in the nightcap as St. Lucie split a doubleheader with Brevard County. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Ron Darling is “extremely optimistic” about the Mets, he tells Bob Raissman in the Daily News.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal asks three questions: Can the Mets continue to produce at the plate? Will the Mets wheel and deal before July 31? And will Syndergaard debut this season?

• Diamond in the Journal also revisits signing Chris Young over Nelson Cruz.

• Justin Terranova in the Post writes that the Mets can become deadline buyers.

• Matt Ehalt in the Record lists five people under scrutiny in the second half: Collins, Alderson, Travis d'Arnaud, Ruben Tejada and deGrom.

• Tim Healey at MLB.com revisits last August’s trade of Marlon Byrd, which yielded Vic Black and Dilson Herrera.

Jeremy Hefner tossed two innings in the Gulf Coast League on Thursday, in his second game since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Zack Wheeler is one of nine candidates in MLB who could demonstrate significant second-half improvement, Baseball Prospectus suggests. The site writes:

Wheeler has walked more than two batters just twice in past 11 starts (after cracking that threshold five times in his first eight games), and he entered the All-Star break with a string of three consecutive starts in which he pitched six or more innings and surrendered just a single run. He has also honed his stuff since last season, adding 0.5 mph to his fastball (which is now averaging 95.9 mph) and diversifying his pitch mix. He has doubled the frequency of his changeup, and though it is still the weakest offering in a repertoire that features a pair of plus breaking pitches, Wheeler has the potential to be dominant if he can refine el cambio. He has also kept the ball on the ground this season, upping his ground-ball rate by 10 percentage points while surrendering just seven bombs across 108.3 innings (only two homers have come since he turned 24 on May 30th), while his component stats have all trended in positive directions.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at the value of catchers framing pitches.

• Mets first-round pick Michael Conforto was in L.A. on Thursday as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. The honor went to the University of Kentucky product A.J. Reed. Conforto is due to rejoin Brooklyn on Friday and make his professional debut shortly thereafter.

• Keith Law placed four Mets prospects in his top 50 in MLB: Syndergaard at No. 16, Conforto at No. 32, Brandon Nimmo at No. 34 and Dominic Smith at No. 49. ESPN Insiders can read the commentary here.

• Friday is the MLB deadline to sign players from June’s draft. The Mets do not plan to sign any more of their remaining picks, DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com. Eleven college-bound prep players went unsigned: Luke Bonfield (21st round), Richard Moesker (23rd), Tommy Pincin (26th), Keaton McKinney (28th), Chris Glover (32nd), Brady Puckett (33rd), Jordan Hand (34th), Jonathan Teaney (35th), Garett King (36th), Tristan Gray (37th) and Kyle Dunster (38th). Bonfield and McKinney are headed to the University of Arkansas.

• The Padres have narrowed their GM search to four finalists, Scott Miller tweets: Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, MLB senior VP Kim Ng and Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Joe Torre, who finished his playing career with the Mets, turns 74. ... Minor-league pitcher Robert Gsellman is 21.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Which Mets player will take the biggest leap forward in the second half?

Farm report: Mazzoni finally Vegas-bound

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
9:26
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Cory Mazzoni was slated to be part of a standout Triple-A rotation to open the season with Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom.

Instead, the honor of starting the Grapefruit League finale on getaway day for the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., became a major setback for the 2011 second-round pick out of NC State.

With the Mets wanting to avoid using Bartolo Colon against the Nationals since he also was due to face them in his first regular-season outing, Mazzoni took the March 27 start at Tradition Field. He was forced to leave the game against Washington in the second inning because of what eventually was diagnosed as a right lat-muscle strain.


Courtesy of New York MetsCory Mazzoni


Only now is the 24-year-old Mazzoni due to head to Las Vegas.

In what was expected to be his final tune-up before joining the 51s, Mazzoni tossed seven innings for Binghamton at Erie on Saturday. That was his fourth minor-league appearance as he gets back into pitching shape.

“I thought it was going to be a couple-of-week thing,” Mazzoni said. “It was tough being out that long, seeing all of your friends pitching well and stuff in Double-A and Triple-A. It’s definitely tough to watch.

“You see what deGrom did in Triple-A and now he’s in the big leagues, pitching really well. Obviously everything gets pushed back a little bit now. But you still have to keep the same mindset and you can’t dwell on that.”

Mazzoni went 5-3 with a 4.36 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) with Binghamton in 2013 before requiring season-ending surgery on Aug. 2 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Mazzoni’s fastball sits at 92-94 mph. He also throws a slider and changeup. He is projected to pitch in relief in the majors.

“He’s come with some high recommendations from the people in the organization that this kid can be an absolute late-in-the-game kind of bullpen guy, because he’s got three quality pitches,” Terry Collins has said.

Said Mazzoni: “I can always work on fastball command. I’m still developing my splitter. It needs to be a little bit more consistent. But my arm feels good, and I feel like my stuff is pretty good. It’s just refining and tweaking it a little more.”

Organization leaders

Average: Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .350; John Mora, GCL Mets, .338; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .336; Enmanuel Zabala, GCL Mets, .329; Oswald Caraballo, Kingsport, .323; Matt den Dekker, Vegas, .312; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, .312; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .312; Kevin Plawecki, Vegas, .308.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, Binghamton, 16; Andrew Brown, Vegas, 15; Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 15; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 12; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 12.

RBIs: Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 59; L.J. Mazzilli, St. Lucie, 58; Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 53; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 53; Kevin Plawecki, Vegas, 53.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 19; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 17; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, 15.

ERA: Marcos Molina, Brooklyn, 0.94; Rob Whalen, GCL Mets, 1.67; Octavio Acosta, Brooklyn, 1.86; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 2.14; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 2.41; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 2.89; John Gant, Savannah, 2.97; Corey Oswalt, Brooklyn, 3.16; Matt Bowman, Vegas, 3.43; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 3.51.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 10; John Gant, Savannah, 9.

Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 12; Robert Coles, St. Lucie, 12; Randy Fontanez, Binghamton, 10; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 8.

Strikeouts: Darin Gorski, Vegas, 96; Dario Alvarez, Savannah, 89; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 87; Matt Bowman, Vegas, 85; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 82.

Short hops

• First-round pick Michael Conforto is due to head to Los Angeles for Thursday’s Golden Spikes Award. Conforto, who officially signed on Friday after a standout career as an outfielder at Oregon State, is one of three finalists for the award, which goes to the nation’s top amateur player. The winner will be revealed on “SportsCenter.” The other finalists are LSU right-hander Aaron Nola (selected seventh overall by Philadelphia) and Kentucky left-hander/infielder A.J. Reed (a second-round pick by Houston). Conforto is due to rejoin the Brooklyn Cyclones on Friday and should make his professional debut shortly thereafter.

Matt Reynolds has continued his offensive surge since a promotion to Triple-A. In 24 Pacific Coast League games, the former second-round pick out of Arkansas is hitting .337/.389/.453. Not known for being accomplished defensively, Mets personnel nonetheless say he is showing better range at shortstop than Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla possess. That’s not a terribly high bar, but suggests he may be viable at the position in the majors.

Allan Dykstra, who won Monday’s Triple-A Home Run Derby in Durham, N.C., topped a familiar face in the finals. Former Mets minor-league teammate Francisco Pena finished as the runner-up.

Pena, a catcher like his All-Star father Tony Pena, left the Mets last offseason as a minor-league free agent and signed with Kansas City. The 24-year-old Pena made his major league debut on May 20, catching the final inning, but was returned to Triple-A Omaha without a plate appearance. He did throw out the first would-be base stealer against him. His father formerly managed the Royals and his brother Tony Jr. played there. He is hitting .254 with a career-high 18 homers and 40 RBIs in 205 PCL at-bats this season.

Dykstra will serve as the PCL’s DH for Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game.

• The Eastern League All-Star Game also will be played Wednesday night. Representing Binghamton at Altoona, Pa.: infielder Brian Burgamy, outfielder Kyle Johnson and right-handers Cody Satterwhite and Jon Velasquez.

• Left-hander Blake Taylor, the player-to-be-named acquired from Pittsburgh with Zack Thornton in the April 18 trade for Ike Davis, has been promoted from the Gulf Coast League to Kingsport. Taylor, who turns 19 on Aug. 17, made three GCL appearances. In 10 2/3 innings, he allowed two unearned runs and one hit while walking seven and hitting a batter. In his K-Mets debut Monday, Taylor was pulled one out into the third inning. He was charged with four earned runs on six hits and two walks.

• Binghamton right fielder Travis Taijeron has been named Eastern League Player of the Week. For the week ending Sunday, the 25-year-old Taijeron hit .400 (8-for-20) with three homers and 10 RBIs and had a league-leading .900 slugging percentage. The former 18th-round pick out of Cal Poly Pomona is hitting .251 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs in 227 at-bats this season with the B-Mets.

• Binghamton reliever Hamilton Bennett, 26, was released by the organization last week. The former 29th-round pick in 2010 out of Tennessee Wesleyan College had produced a 3.38 ERA in 10 appearances with Double-A Binghamton this season. A Mets official said the release came at Bennett’s request.

• Montero is nearing a return to Vegas. He tossed four scoreless innings for Class A St. Lucie on Monday. Five days earlier he had logged two innings in the Gulf Coast League. Montero had been sidelined since leaving a Triple-A start on June 14 after only five pitches with a strained left oblique.

• Catcher Ali Sanchez, right-hander Adonis Uceta and infielder/catcher Victor Moscote represent the Mets on the Dominican Summer League All-Star team.

Morning Briefing: Mets big-game hunters?

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
5:38
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have been giant slayers during their current 6-2 homestand, roughing up Yu Darvish, Julio Teheran and now Henderson Alvarez during that stretch.

That trio of pitchers continues to be ranked in the top 10 in ERA in their respective leagues despite allowing a combined 15 runs in 13 1/3 innings against the Mets.

“We go out every night and try to compete,” Terry Collins said. “No matter who is on the mound, we try to make sure that [the batters] do what we want, and that’s get a good ball to hit and try not to chase.”

The Mets look to keep rolling when they send Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.32 ERA) to the mound opposite Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.98) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.

Huey Lewis and The News perform a postgame concert at Citi Field.

Saturday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings, David Wright finished 4-for-4 with a two-run homer and Lucas Duda also had a two-run shot as the Mets won Friday’s series opener, 7-1, against the Marlins. Wheeler improved to 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five career starts against Miami. He has allowed one run and pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past three starts to head into the All-Star break on a high note.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler limited the Marlins to one run in 6 2/3 innings on Friday.


Alvarez, who had a 1.04 ERA over his previous nine starts and had dominated the Mets this season, allowed six runs in five innings.

“We’ve seen him really, really sharp,” Collins said. “He wasn’t quite as sharp tonight. That’s what you’ve got to do when you get a guy who is not on his best game -- hopefully take advantage of it.”

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

• Read more on Wheeler in the Post.

• Read more on Wright in the Star-Ledger.

• Scott Boras appears to favor a more conservative rehab plan for Matt Harvey than even Sandy Alderson and the Mets. The agent said the optimal rehab time following Tommy John surgery before entering a game is 14 to 16 months. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• First-round pick Michael Conforto officially was introduced at Citi Field on Friday. He is due to begin his pro career with the Brooklyn Cyclones, although he will be eased into games and actually will travel to Los Angeles next week because he is one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award. Read more in the Times, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Jeremy Hefner is due to pitch an inning in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday, less than 11 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.

• Left-hander Scott Rice has a bone spur in his left elbow that may require surgery to remove, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

• Matt Bowman earned his first Triple-A win and Allan Dykstra had a three-run triple as Las Vegas beat Albuquerque, 8-1, in Game 1 of a doubleheader Friday. Kingsport routed Elizabethton, 12-0, behind a combined shutout from Yoryi Nuez and Martires Arias. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Michael Salfino in the Journal writes that the Mets have the worst winning percentage in the National League in games in which they score first.

• John DeMarzo in the Post profiles former second-round pick Matt Reynolds, who has been on a tear this season with Binghamton and now Las Vegas as a middle infielder.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear soaks up some Polo Grounds memories on a very nice Citi Field night.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets left-hander Dick Rusteck was born on this date in 1941.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What is your favorite Huey Lewis song?

Mets introduce 1st-round pick Conforto

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
5:35
PM ET

Adam RubinMichael Conforto and agent Scott Boras attend a press conference introducing the first-round pick.
NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto’s first trip to New York City included viewing the Freedom Tower, heading to the top of the Empire State Building and taking batting practice with the New York Mets at Citi Field. It also included sampling the local cuisine. And it will soon include playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

“We’ve been eating a whole lot since we got here,” said Conforto, the Mets’ first-round pick out of Oregon State, who officially passed a physical and was introduced Friday at Citi Field. “We’re Italian, and we’ve had some pretty good Italian food. I mean, really good. Usually you can only get that from family back home.”

While the 21-year-old Conforto will be assigned to Brooklyn, Sandy Alderson suggested the first-round pick could rise to a higher level by season’s end. He will join the Cyclones on Saturday for their game at Connecticut, but will not immediately jump into games. In fact, Conforto will be in Los Angeles next week for the Golden Spikes Award presentation. The finalists are Conforto as well as LSU right-hander Aaron Nola and Kentucky left-hander/infielder A.J. Reed.

The New York-Penn League also was the professional launching point for the three other position players selected in the first round out of college by the organization in the past decade: Kevin Plawecki in 2012 and Ike Davis and Reese Havens in 2008.

“Since I’ve been home I’ve been making sure I’ve been staying in shape and doing the things I need to keep my swing feeling good,” Conforto said. “Throughout my life I’ve learned how to do that in those times I’m not actually on the field. I had some teammates from Oregon State that came back home with me and I was able to take some swings and work out and do all those things.”


Adam RubinConforto took batting practice with the Mets on Friday afternoon.


A two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, Conforto hit .345 with seven homers and 56 RBIs in 203 at-bats as an outfielder for Oregon State during his junior season. He produced a .504 on-base percentage. He set a single-season school record with 55 walks. He has been praised by Mets officials for his combination of power and selectivity at the plate.

His father Mike, who accompanied him at Citi Field on Friday, played linebacker at Penn State under Joe Paterno. His mother Tracie Ruiz-Conforto won two gold medals in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles in synchronized swimming, then a silver four years later in Seoul, South Korea.

Conforto, who grew up in Seattle, said he revered fellow lefty hitter Ken Griffey Jr. growing up.

“His outstanding on-base approach as well as his left-handed swing and the power potential that he brings are sort of the natural fit for our organization and this ballpark, as sort of a gap-to-gap kind of hitter,” Alderson said.

How quickly could Conforto reach the majors?

Only one player taken in last year’s first round -- right-hander Corey Knebel, the 39th overall pick by the Tigers out of Texas -- has made his MLB debut.

From the 2012 draft, five first-rounders have reached MLB, although four are pitchers: Kevin Gausman, fourth overall, LSU, Orioles; Michael Wacha, 19th, Texas A&M, Cardinals; Marcus Stroman, 22nd, Duke, Blue Jays; and Eddie Butler, 46th, Radford, Rockies. The lone college position player from that class to reach the majors: Mariners third overall pick Mike Zunino, a catcher out of Florida.

Of the 25 players selected in the first round out of four-year colleges in 2011, nine have appeared in the majors, including six position players: Anthony Rendon, George Springer, C.J. Cron, Kolten Wong, Jackie Bradley and Jace Peterson.

Meanwhile, agent Scott Boras and the Mets had agreed to the monetary terms of a deal three weeks ago. Conforto will receive $2,970,800 -- the precise amount recommended by MLB for the 10th overall pick.

So why the delay? Boras said it was haggling over things that are not uniform to all contracts, but perhaps should be. A Mets official suggested there was nothing really substantive to it at all.

“We’re two of the more stubborn people in the game,” Alderson said, referring to himself and Boras. “Whatever delay occurred had absolutely nothing to do with Michael.”

Morning Briefing: Now don't stumble!

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
5:37
AM ET

Marc Serota/Getty ImagesMiami's Jose Fernandez (left) is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the Marlins have won the last 10 games started by Henderson Alvarez (right).
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets portray themselves as still part of the NL East race.

If they want to validate a series win against the Atlanta Braves, then they better head into the All-Star break strongly by taking care of business against the Miami Marlins, too.

Zack Wheeler (4-8, 4.07 ERA) opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez (6-3, 2.27) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener. The Marlins have won Alvarez’s past 10 starts. He is 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA since May 22.

Friday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon allowed a pair of first-inning runs and that proved enough as the Atlanta Braves snapped the Mets’ season-high four-game winning streak with a 3-1 win Thursday at Citi Field. The Mets fell short of claiming their first four-game sweep against Atlanta in 25 years.

Colon has allowed 18 first-inning runs, trailing only Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick (23) in the majors this season. The total matches the most allowed by a Mets pitcher before the All-Star break in the past 40 years, according to STATS. Dwight Gooden in 1993 and Paul Wilson in 1996 also surrendered 18 first-inning runs.

Opponents are hitting .363 against Colon in the first inning this season, compared with .246 the remainder of his outings.

After limiting the Mets to one run in seven innings Thursday, Aaron Harang -- who finished last season with the Amazin’s -- now has held his former club to two runs and six hits in 20 innings this season.

With 70 games remaining, the Mets (42-50) trail the co-division-leading Braves and Nationals by eight games.

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

• Columnist George Willis in the Post takes the position that it is best to trade Colon this month. Writes Willis:

Trading Colon and what’s left on his two-year contract worth $20 million should be a no-brainer, but now that the Mets fancy themselves as a contender, general manager Sandy Alderson might decide to wait until they have no chance of making the postseason or wait until a team becomes desperate enough to make him an offer for Colon that he can’t refuse.

Clearly, Collins seems reluctant to move one of his more dependable starters, especially now that Jon Niese is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. Collins is not only battling to get into a pennant race, but also is trying to keep his job and probably isn’t concerned about the young prospects a Colon trade might bring in return.


Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY SportsFirst-round pick Michael Conforto appears headed to Brooklyn, pending a physical.


• First-round pick Michael Conforto’s long-awaited deal with the Mets is complete pending a physical, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. Conforto, who receives a $2.97 million signing bonus, is expected to be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones. The outfielder was a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year at Oregon State.

• The heavy dependence on a handful of core relievers may be using up all of their bullets and leave the Mets in trouble down the stretch. This week, Jeurys Familia's velocity sagged in one outing. Then he had trouble loosening up for his next appearance, although the fastball zip returned. Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal about the relief workload:

Entering Thursday's series finale against the Atlanta Braves, Familia had appeared in 35 games since May 1, the most of any pitcher during that span. He worked more than one inning in 10 of those outings, giving him 46 total innings on the year -- fourth-most among National League relievers. (Famila threw 19 2/3 innings between the majors and minors in 2013 as he recovered from elbow surgery.)

Even more alarming, the leader in that category also plays for the Mets: Carlos Torres, the 31-year-old righty who entered Thursday with 57 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, the most of any reliever in baseball.

David Wright’s jersey is the eighth-most popular in the majors in terms of sales via MLB.com since Opening Day.

• Lloyd Carroll at Latino Sports reviews Sandy Alderson’s press conference from earlier this homestand.

• The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow, but will try to rehab rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. That should sound familiar to Mets fans, who watched Matt Harvey deliberate for two months before ultimately undergoing the procedure. Of course, all partial ligament tears are not created equal, and Tanaka’s tear reportedly is considered small. Read about Harvey’s advice for Tanaka in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Although Terry Collins pinch-hit for Ruben Tejada in the eighth inning -- leading Eric Campbell to play his first major league inning at shortstop in the ninth -- Tejada has been producing, Michael J. Fensom writes in the Star-Ledger.

• Colon batted eighth for the first time in his career, Mike Puma noted in the Post. Colon ended up coming to the plate, and striking out, with two runners aboard to end the second inning. Previously, Collins had only used pitchers Jacob deGrom and Jonathon Niese in the No. 8 slot (three times apiece).

• Starter Tyler Pill allowed four runs in the fifth inning in his Triple-A debut on Thursday, but Las Vegas already had staked him to a seven-run lead by that point en route to a 9-4 win against Reno. Brandon Allen homered and produced five RBIs in the 51s win. Travis Taijeron had a three-run homer and Darrell Ceciliani and Xorge Carrillo each had two hits and two RBIs as Binghamton beat Portland, 13-3.

John Lannan allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings, but St. Lucie lost at Bradenton, 4-1. Ricky Knapp was credited with a rain-shortened, seven-inning complete game as Savannah beat Charleston, 4-1. Starter Yoan Gonzalez allowed three runs (two earned) in four innings as Kingsport lost to Elizabethton, 4-2.

Casey Meisner allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings as Brooklyn lost at State College, 4-1. Kevin Canelon allowed two runs in the 12th inning as the GCL Mets lost to the GCL Nats, 7-5. Dash Winningham had two extra-base hits and two RBIs in the defeat.

Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Citi Field is hosting the “Bacon and Beer Classic” on July 26, while the Mets are on the road. Read more here.

• Evan Drellich in the Houston Chronicle writes that the Houston Astros and Nationals are making progress toward becoming spring-training neighbors of the Mets in a shared complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., come 2017.

• Right-hander Kevin McGowan, the Mets’ 13th-round pick in 2013 out of Franklin Pierce University, is featured in The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H.

From the bloggers … Blogging Mets says the Mets must find a way to keep Campbell in the lineup.

BIRTHDAYS: Blaine Boyer turns 33 today. … Minor-league right-hander Greg Peavey is 26. … 11th-round pick Connor Buchmann is 21. ... Donne Wall was born on this date in 1967.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets actually make a run in the NL East?

Conforto deal to be complete after physical

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
9:36
AM ET

Steve Conner/Icon SMIOregon State outfielder Michael Conforto should be a Met after completing a physical.


NEW YORK -- First-round pick Michael Conforto officially will be a Met assuming he passes a physical, a source familiar with the process confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.

The sides had agreed to the $2,970,800 salary, which MLB recommended for the 10th overall pick, weeks ago.

Conforto is the two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year.

He hit .345 with seven homers and 56 RBIs in 203 at-bats with Oregon State during his junior season and produced a .504 on-base percentage. He set a single-season school record with 55 walks.

Conforto is likely to be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Morning Briefing: Safe (from ax) at home

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
5:30
AM ET
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: The fan base may be calling for blood, but they are unlikely to receive it before the Mets reconvene this weekend.

Although the Mets enter Thursday’s team off-day 11 games under .500 and 10 games out of first place -- both season worsts -- no firings or releases are imminently expected, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com.

That means Terry Collins, the coaching staff and even Chris Young should be able to exhale for a day.

After completing a stretch in which they played 25 of 33 games on the road, the Mets will host the injury-decimated Texas Rangers this weekend. Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88 ERA) opposes right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-3, 3.65) in the Fourth of July series opener.


Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesTerry Collins expects David Wright back in the lineup Friday.


The Mets will have a moment of silence before Friday’s game to remember the late Frank Cashen, who served as the team’s GM from 1980 through 1991.

Collins reiterated postgame Wednesday that he expects David Wright to reenter the lineup Friday. That would come a full week after the captain was scratched from a game in Pittsburgh with what subsequently was diagnosed as a bruised left rotator cuff.

Incidentally, online voting for the All-Star Game concludes at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. In the final intermediate tally released Tuesday, Wright trailed Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez by 235,060 votes for the starting nod for the National League at the hot corner. Daniel Murphy was nowhere to be found among the second-base leaders.

Thursday’s news reports:

Chris Johnson delivered a three-run double past third baseman Eric Campbell’s backhand with two outs in the first inning and the Braves completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory Wednesday. Collins said postgame that the Mets sorely missed Wright for the past week.

The Amazin’s went 1-6 on a trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Only a six-game losing streak by the Philadelphia Phillies has kept the Mets out of last place.

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

• Citing the team’s run differential being close to even, Sandy Alderson suggested the Mets are better than their record indicates. Alderson added that he is uninterested in trading Jonathon Niese. Overall, the direction the Mets take at the trade deadline will be dictated by how the team plays in the next 10 to 12 days, the GM added. Read more at CBSSports.com and in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Beginning Friday, the Mets will wear a patch for the remainder of the season honoring Cashen on their right sleeves, below a patch recognizing Ralph Kiner. Cashen died Monday at age 88.

• Will the Mets trade Murphy before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline?


Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesAssistant GM John Ricco indicated the Mets have not had serious recent dialogue about trading Daniel Murphy.


“We haven’t specifically talked about Dan recently,” assistant GM John Ricco told Tim Rohan in the Times. “He is one of the more valuable guys we have. He leads the league in hits. He’s settled in as one of the best second basemen in the game, certainly offensively, and is a leader on our team.”

Asked about the optics of trading Murphy, Ricco added to the newspaper: “It depends what the return is.”

• The Mets signed 11 players on the day international 16-year-olds are eligible to ink contracts: shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin, outfielder Yordin Araujo, right-handers Jhoander Chourio and Jurgen Jimenez and left-hander Daniel Guzman from Venezuela and right-handers Agustin Casilla and Jose Moreno, outfielder Claudio Geraldo, shortstop Hansel Moreno and catcher Luis Lebron from the Dominican Republic.

None ranked in the top 30 in Baseball America’s rankings.

On Romero, who turned 16 in April and received a reported $300,000 signing bonus, Paul DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com: “He’s a very solid defender at shortstop -- definitely stays at the position.”

Baseball America also forecasts the Mets will sign Venezuelan shortstop Kenny Hernandez, who is not eligible to sign until turning 16 on Aug. 13. The magazine ranks Hernandez the 13th-best international prospect and writes:

He fits better at third base or possibly second than he does at shortstop, but he stands out most at the plate with one of the sweetest swings in the class. Two of the Mets’ top signings last year -- Dominican outfielder Ricardo Cespedes and Venezuelan shortstop Luis Carpios -- were also two of the youngest players in their class. It looks like they’re ready to go that route again.

• Although the Mets have agreed to the financial terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto at the recommended $2,970,800 slot figure, the Oregon State outfielder is not yet officially on board. A source familiar with the negotiations recently told ESPNNewYork.com that no snags are expected and Conforto just wants some time to relax after the college baseball season.

Alderson told Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com about Conforto: “There are three or four [mostly] non-financial clauses that we are talking about. … I certainly expect this deal to get done.”

• Left-hander Scott Rice, on the Triple-A disabled list with an elbow injury, is traveling to New York for an MRI. He has been dealing with a nerve issue, SNY correspondent Robert Brender tweeted.

• St. Lucie rallied in the ninth to beat Charlotte, 7-6, as Gilbert Gomez doubled and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. Jon Leroux doubled and scored the tiebreaking run as Savannah beat Charleston, 7-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• The bullpen has become sturdy with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia at the back end, Jared Diamond writes in the Journal.

• Collins said he did not believe Julio Teheran’s pickoff move, which caught Eric Young Jr. on Wednesday, is legal. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Moises Alou turns 48. ... Frank Tanana is 61.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should represent the Mets at the All-Star Game?

Conforto content not being eager Beaver

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
11:30
AM ET

Steve Conner/Icon SMIA deal with first-round pick Michael Conforto will be done soon, but he's enjoying a brief period to exhale after a long college season.


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The dollar figure for first-round pick Michael Conforto already has been settled. The Oregon State outfielder will receive $2,970,800, which is the precise MLB recommendation for the 10th overall pick.

So what's the snag in the deal not yet being announced?

There is none, a source briefed on the talks told ESPNNewYork.com.

Conforto had a long Pac-12 season and did not mind a breather to exhale with his family in Washington state before beginning his professional career. And agent Scott Boras had other first-round picks to handle anyway.

So the sides, while knowing all along a deal would be done, have slow-tracked it.

Morning Briefing: Kaz in Queens looms

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
5:45
AM ET

Ben Margot/Associated PressScott Kazmir is coming to town this week with the Oakland Athletics.
MIAMI

FIRST PITCH: The Mets will not be home for long, but they will get to head to NYC for a few days after completing a series at Marlins Park on Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

Jonathon Niese (3-4, 2.67 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander/New Jersey native Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.60).

The Mets are off Monday, then host the Oakland Athletics in a two-game series.

Scott Kazmir will pitch in Queens on Wednesday for the first time since he infamously was traded away by the Mets on July 30, 2004. He will be opposite Zack Wheeler.

Those two pitchers actually lined up last September in Cleveland, in Kazmir’s first-ever matchup against the Mets. Kazmir tossed six scoreless innings that day, striking out 12 in an 8-1 win by the Indians.

After the two-game series against the A’s at Citi Field, the Mets ship out to Pittsburgh and Atlanta to complete a stretch in which they will have played 25 of 33 on the road.

Sunday’s news reports:

• In his eighth major league start, rookie Jacob deGrom finally earned his first career win. DeGrom tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia as the Mets shut out the Marlins, 4-0. David Wright went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Lucas Duda added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Wright has a six-game hitting streak and has driven in a run in five straight games. He is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with two homers during the mini-spurt. Mets pitchers have a 1.27 ERA in the past five games.

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

• Read more on Wright in the Daily News.


Koji Sasahara/Associated PressWould the Mets actually fork over big money for Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? That remains to be seen.


• Will the Mets open up their wallets and pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? Writes Mike Puma in the Post:

General manager Sandy Alderson said it’s too early to say if he will pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas. But Alderson clearly seems intrigued by the 23-year-old.

“A corner outfielder with power?” Alderson said, smiling.

Tomas must establish legal residency and clear hurdles with the State Department before he can sign with a club, according to Alderson.

• Terry Collins has heard that MLB will institute a must-slide rule on contested plays at the plate next season. Read more on plate collisions and the Mets’ Friday dispute in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Juan Lagares (side muscle) played a full game in center field and went 0-for-4 in his second rehab appearance in the Gulf Coast League.

Jeremy Hefner plans to throw breaking balls off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery as well as increase his fastball velocity to near-normal levels during a throwing session Sunday at Marlins Park. Hefner, who underwent the procedure last Aug. 28, expects to be available to pitch in the majors this season. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Kaja Whitehouse in the Post wonders if embattled Mets minority owner Steve Cohen will be forced to sell his investment in the club.

• “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO will do a segment featuring Darryl Strawberry on Tuesday at 10 p.m. The program visits Strawberry and his wife Tracy Boulware Strawberry in St. Louis.

The 52-year-old Strawberry is now an ordained minister and founder of a recovery center for substance-abuse users. He discusses losing his entire baseball earnings, drug addiction, two bouts with colon cancer and jail time.

Strawberry tells the program he became a heroin user after his playing career.

“It was like I was completely out of my mind, sittin' there for four or five days, smokin' crack,” he says. “Doesn't matter if you Darryl Strawberry or, you know, you the richest man on earth. When -- if you're addicted, it will take you to places that you could never imagine.”

Strawberry and his future wife met at a Narcotics Anonymous convention, according to the program. She had her demons in check. He did not.

“The clothes are just hanging off of his body. He's sitting in a chair and he's like part of the fabric in the chair. He looks like the walking dead,” Mrs. Strawberry now says. “He told me not to get involved with him. ‘Girl, you have no idea what you're gettin' yourself into.’ He said, ‘You stay with me and I'm gonna take you through.’

“There were several times where he would go out to use and he would call me on the phone and just say, ‘I’m done. I can't do it anymore. I can't get well. I just -- there's no hope for a person like me. I’m tryin’ everything. Nothin’s enough. Love is not enough.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna use tonight until I die.’

“I’m running out and I’m banging down crack-house doors and I’m pulling him outta places that I used to be in.”

The future Mrs. Strawberry resolved at that point to leave Florida and head to her native St. Louis. Recalling how she told her parents, she said: “I call them halfway into the drive, ‘Mom and Dad, I'm coming home.’ And they're ecstatic. They're happy. They're crying. And, ‘By the way … I’m bringing Darryl Strawberry with me.’”

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two homers and five runs in 6 2/3 innings with Las Vegas. Steven Matz allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings in his Double-A debut, but the B-Mets rallied for a 7-6 win against Bowie. Michael Fulmer was struck with a line drive on the left forearm and departed after three pitches in Game 1 of a doubleheader. St. Lucie lost the opener, but rebounded for a 2-0 win against Fort Myers in Game 2 behind Matt Koch’s 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Champ Stuart stole the show in the 11th as Savannah beat Greenville, 7-6. Brandon Brosher had two homers in Kingsport’s 9-5 win against Danville.

Cory Mazzoni (lat) and Luis Mateo (elbow) both pitched in their first official games since suffering injuries as the GCL Mets were blanked by the GCL Nats, 8-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Outfielder Luke Bonfield, the Mets’ 21st-round pick, tweeted he will attend the University of Arkansas rather than sign with the Mets. Dale Burdick, the 40th-round pick, tweeted he will sign with the Mets. Fifteenth-round pick Gabriel Llanes, a prep right-hander from California, signed entering the weekend, he tweeted.

Burdick, a high school shortstop selected in the final round, will receive a $150,000 signing bonus to lure him away from attending Mississippi State, Chip Cirillo writes in the Tennessean. Burdick told the newspaper the Mets originally offered $100,000, but decided to give him an extra $50,000 since they had the sum remaining after agreeing to the monetary terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto. An agreement with Conforto has not yet been announced.

• Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin explains how B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez will attempt to juggle his overcrowded roster with the addition of five highly regarded prospects from St. Lucie.

• The St. Lucie Mets have been awarded the 2015 Florida State League All-Star Game. It will be played on June 20 at Tradition Field.

• Terry Collins explained why umpire Gary Cederstrom laughed before ejecting the manager on June 11 at Citi Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear decides it could do without most of the current Mets. ... Faith and Fear also noticed the arrival of summer coincided with deGrom's arrival in the win column.

BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Ron Hodges turns 65. ... Ex-Mets outfielder Willie Harris is 36. ... Binghamton outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, who is just returning from a concussion, is 24. ... Savannah right-hander Miller Diaz (5-1, 2.40 ERA) is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is a must-slide rule at the plate sensible in Major League Baseball?

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.288 7 37 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 14
RBID. Wright 50
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .829
WB. Colon 8
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112