New York Mets: Michael Wacha

Morning Briefing: Happy Colon Day!

June, 18, 2014

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have lost 11 of 14 and are a season-worst nine games under .500.

Now, Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.14 ERA) will try to avoid the Mets getting swept at Busch Stadium when he opposes St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16) at 1:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s news reports:

David Wright and Lucas Duda homered, but the Mets lost to the Cardinals, 5-2, Tuesday. Jonathon Niese surrendered five runs (three earned) in six innings. Daniel Murphy had a pair of miscues in St. Louis’ two-run sixth.

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

• Terry Collins said it took him 75 minutes to construct Tuesday’s lineup. Wednesday’s lineup will return to the pitcher batting ninth, since Colon is hitless since 2005. Bobby Abreu also is expected to rest in the matinee after starting seven straight games. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Wright, in a prolonged slump, had two hits Tuesday, including the homer against Michael Wacha. He told reporters he’s had “sleepless nights” because of his struggles. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.

• Mike Puma in the Post writes this about Travis d’Arnaud, who has been tearing things up since he went to Las Vegas:

A club source indicated the changes to d’Arnaud’s mechanics have been minimal. The biggest adjustment is d’Arnaud’s back foot has been moved closer to the plate, allowing him to better reach outside pitches.

“He had no approach,” the source said. “He was going up there and changing his approach per pitch. He’s sticking with the same approach now about hitting. He’s focused on driving the ball through the middle. Whatever approach he takes up to the plate against a certain pitcher, he’s sticking with the plan instead of changing the plan throughout his at-bat.”

• ESPN’s Keith Law calls the Ike Davis trade for Zack Thornton and player-to-be-named Blake Taylor a fair swap. (ESPN Insiders read here.) Writes Law:

Taylor, who won't turn 19 until August, hasn't pitched this year because of a lat strain that kept him in extended spring training. When healthy, he has a fastball that's mostly 89-91 mph with some life, but he was clocked as high as 94-95 in high school. His main feature is a sharp-breaking curveball that should allow him to miss left- and right-handed bats as he fills out and adds a little velocity to the pitch.

At the time of the [2013] draft, I had him as a potential mid-rotation starter, but still with a ton of development ahead of him. He has below-average fastball command and is in need of a changeup.

• Brian Burgamy had a grand slam and Matt Bowman tossed six scoreless innings as Binghamton beat Richmond, 5-1. St. Lucie enters the final day of the first half still alive for a postseason berth after beating Charlotte, 10-5. Corey Oswalt tossed six scoreless innings as Brooklyn beat Hudson Valley, 5-1. Savannah pitchers had a rough time at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Jose Reyes says the Mets should have reached the World Series in 2006, Howie Kussoy writes in the Post.

From the bloggers … Blogging Mets says Curtis Granderson should not bat leadoff.

BIRTHDAYS: Felix Heredia turns 39. ... Sandy Alomar Jr. is 48. ... Ben Johnson turns 33.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets halt their freefall?

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 5, Mets 2

June, 17, 2014
ST. LOUIS -- How low will they go?

The Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Tuesday at Busch Stadium to drop a season-worst nine games under .500.

Jonathon Niese allowed three earned runs or fewer for the 18th consecutive start, the longest active streak in the majors, and David Wright homered, but finding silver linings these days requires a high-powered pair of orange-and-blue-colored glasses.

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressJon Niese was charged with five runs (three earned) in six innings Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

The Mets have lost 11 of their past 14 and now have sole possession of last place in the NL East.

Tuesday’s ugliness included a comedy of errors -- charged and mental -- in the bottom of the sixth.

Already trailing 3-1, Niese was poised to strand a runner in scoring position. However, second baseman Daniel Murphy dropped Daniel Descalso’s soft liner. Murphy had enough time to recover and retire Descalso at first base, but Lucas Duda -- presuming Murphy would catch the ball in the air -- was too late covering first base.

Pinch hitter Kolten Wong followed with an RBI single against Niese (3-4).

The ugliness continued.

With runners on the corners, Wong attempted to steal second. Murphy received the throw and appeared to have Wong out. Instead, Murphy -- concerned Descalso would race home on a double steal -- never attempted the tag of Wong and focused on the baserunner at third.

Even catcher Anthony Recker threw up his arms in disbelief.

The inning further prolonged and with two now in scoring position, Peter Bourjos had a run-scoring infield single as the Cardinals took a 5-1 lead.

Niese departed after the inning. His line: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Yadier Molina produced a solo homer in the second inning against Niese to open the scoring. It was Molina’s first long ball against the Mets since Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

In the fifth, Jon Jay had a tiebreaking, two-out RBI triple and Matt Holliday followed with a run-scoring double as St. Louis opened a 3-1 lead.

Deep thoughts: Wright, who had been 3-for-his-last-44, produced a fourth-inning homer against Michael Wacha to even the score at 1. It was Wright’s first road long ball this season. His four previous homers had come at Citi Field.

Wright followed with a double in his next at-bat and finished 2-for-4.

Wasted chances: With the score tied at 1 in the fifth, Murphy struck out against Wacha to strand two baserunners in scoring position. An inning later, trailing 3-1, the Mets again stranded a pair when Ruben Tejada struck out with runners on the corners.

Welcome back: Two days after he was forced to leave a start at Citi Field after one inning because of extreme stomach discomfort, Daisuke Matsuzaka handled the seventh inning at Busch Stadium. He allowed a leadoff double to Holliday and issued a wild pitch, but kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the frame. Matsuzaka remains on track to make his start Friday at Miami.

What’s next: Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.15 ERA) opposes right-hander Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16) in Wednesday’s 1:45 p.m. ET series finale as the Mets look to avoid getting swept. The Mets are 13-30 in St. Louis since 2001.

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

June, 16, 2014

Getty ImagesThe Mets are scheduled to face Cardinals right-handers Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn at Busch Stadium.
METS (31-38, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (37-32, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-3, 3.44) vs. RHP Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.67), 8:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.54) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.15) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

Adam Wainwright, originally scheduled to start Monday, will have his turn skipped because of tendinitis in the back of his pitching elbow. Carlos Martinez, whose fastball has averaged 97.1 mph out of the bullpen this season, will make his second career major league start in Wainwright’s place. St. Louis opted to use the 22-year-old Martinez rather than move up the other pitchers and have Michael Wacha pitch in the series opener on standard rest.

• The Cardinals promoted left-handed reliever Nick Greenwood from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday and demoted outfielder Randal Grichuk (.136). St. Louis is now carrying 13 pitchers and a four-man bench with Wainwright active but skipping a start. Greenwood could relieve Martinez in the middle innings, since Martinez likely will be capped between 50 and 60 pitches with his shift from a bullpen role.

Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesMatt Adams has homered in each of his first three games since returning from the disabled list.

• St. Louis pitchers tossed 30 straight scoreless innings and three straight shutouts last week, at Toronto and Tampa Bay. The Cardinals have blanked their opponents 14 times this season. The Texas Rangers rank second with 13 shutouts, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays with nine. The Mets have blanked their opponents five times.

• First baseman Matt Adams has returned from the disabled list with a bang after missing 13 games due to a calf injury. Adams has homered in each of his first three games upon reentering the lineup. The good news: All three weekend long balls came with his father, Jamie, in attendance at Busch Stadium. The elder Adams has now headed home. The first two homers provided the winning margin en route to a weekend sweep against the Washington Nationals.

• Rookie right fielder Oscar Taveras, who had hit only .189 with one homer in 37 at-bats, was demoted to clear the roster spot for Adams. Allen Craig, who had manned first base in Adams’ absence, has returned to right field. Taveras is ranked as the top prospect in the organization.

Matt Holliday is one RBI shy of 1,000 for his career. He has reached base safely in each of the first 31 Cardinals home games this season.

• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who signed a four-year, $53 million deal with St. Louis, is hitting .232 with a team-leading 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 241 at-bats.

• St. Louis is 18-2 against the National League East at Busch Stadium over the past two seasons. The Cardinals have outscored those opponents 89-43 during that span.

Yadier Molina leads NL All-Star balloting at catcher with 2,003,557 votes. San Francisco’s Buster Posey ranks second at 1,414,363.

• Center fielder Peter Bourjos is 0-for-his-last-10 and is now hitting .209. The righty-hitting Bourjos shares playing time with lefty-hitting Jon Jay. Bourjos was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in November with Grichuk for David Freese and Fernando Salas.

• Second baseman Kolten Wong was the NL Rookie of the Month for May, but is 1-for-his-last-18.

• Jay is 11-for-26 against left-handed pitching this season.

• Third baseman Matt Carpenter is the only Cardinal to appear in all 69 games.

Duda may land in cleanup spot ... in month

April, 22, 2014
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins did not say a specific date. But the manager suggested he might give this lineup a month -- with Curtis Granderson No. 2, Daniel Murphy No. 4 and Lucas Duda No. 6 -- before eventually placing Duda in the cleanup spot.

"We've put a lot on Lucas' plate in the past week," Collins said about the reluctance to use Duda as a cleanup hitter now. "I don't want to pile on."

Start of something: Bobby Abreu's first start as a Met likely will come in Thursday's matinee series finale. Collins likes the matchup with Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. Although Abreu's only fielding experience while with Triple-A Las Vegas was in right field, Collins advised Abreu to be prepared to play left field at the big-league level.

Off and running: Juan Lagares, on the DL with a pulled right hamstring, has started running in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He is eligible to return from the DL on April 30.

Q PT: Why is Ruben Tejada on the bench a night after making two stellar diving plays up the middle? Collins said he scripted out before the series that Omar Quintanilla's lone start against St. Louis would come Tuesday. Quintanilla is 4-for-12 with two doubles lifetime against Adam Wainwright. Collins added that Wednesday starter Michael Wacha "eats up" lefty hitters, so the only alternative would have been Thursday. Collins said Tejada will start the final two games of the series.

Close call: Collins did not know Tuesday afternoon if he would have Kyle Farnsworth available to close. Who is the alternative? The manager was not sure. Carlos Torres would be a natural choice, but likely is unavailable because of a heavy recent workload. So it might fall to Daisuke Matsuzaka ... or even Jose Valverde.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cards

April, 21, 2014

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressTyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to face the Mets on Monday at Citi Field.
METS (9-9, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (11-8, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (2-0, 3.32 at Triple-A), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.42), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Left-hander Tyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to start Monday’s game against the Mets. Lyons, 26, replaces Joe Kelly, who landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, which he injured running to first base after hitting a groundball.

Kelly’s absence likely will be short term. Otherwise, the Cards would have considered using 22-year-old flamethrower Carlos Martinez, who currently is excelling in late-inning relief -- including contributing multi-inning performances.

Lyons went 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances (eight starts) for St. Louis last season as a rookie. Right-hander Jorge Rondon will be demoted to clear the roster spot for Lyons.

David Goldman/Associated PressJhonny Peralta is off to a slow start at the plate after signing a $53 million deal with St. Louis.

• St. Louis struck quickly in free agency, signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta for four years, $53 million on Nov. 24 despite Peralta returning from a Biogenesis-related suspension. After going 0-for-4 Sunday to extend his hitless streak to 12 at-bats, Peralta’s average has sagged to .172. He has displayed some power, having produced four homers.

• The Cards have an entirely new look to their infield. Last year, it primarily was Allen Craig at first base, Matt Carpenter at second, Pete Kozma at shortstop and David Freese at third. Now, Matt Adams handles first base (with Craig in right field), Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis share second, Peralta is at shortstop and Carpenter is locked into third.

Carpenter, a 2013 All-Star, shifted with the trade of Freese to the Los Angeles Angels. Freese was sent to Anaheim with Fernando Salas for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

Adams lifted his average to .357 Sunday with a 2-for-4 game against the Washington Nationals.

The lefty-hitting Wong and righty-hitting Ellis are not in a strict platoon. For instance, Ellis started against the right-handed Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. Ellis had opened the season on the DL with left knee tendinitis. Ellis, who made his Cards debut last Tuesday, was signed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal in December after playing the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lance Lynn has the best March/April record in MLB history among pitchers with at least 10 starts. He is 11-0 in 12 starts, topping Babe Ruth’s previous-best .929 winning percentage (13-1 in 16 starts). The last unbeaten March/April pitcher was Ray Fisher, who was 9-0 from 1910 through 1920.

• Catcher Yadier Molina has an 11-game hitting streak. He has won six straight Gold Gloves behind the plate.

• The lefty-hitting Jon Jay and righty-hitting Bourjos share time in center field.

Adam Wainwright, who logged 241 2/3 innings in 2013, retired 18 in a row at one point while tossing a two-hit shutout against the Nats in his last outing. It was Wainwright’s 17th career complete game, which is seventh-most in the majors since 2007.

• Although his arsenal appeared just fine in 2013, right-hander Michael Wacha is trying to incorporate a cutter this season and become a three-pitch pitcher. He also is more frequently flipping a curveball.

• Ex-Yankee Randy Choate has been solid in lefty relief while producing a 1.59 ERA. He has not surrendered a homer since Aug. 1, 2012.

• The Cardinals planned to take a three-car Amtrak train from Washington to New York on Sunday night.

Cards 7, Mets 1: 0-3 in Grapefruit play

March, 2, 2014
JUPITER, Fla. -- Danny Muno's eighth-inning infield single plated Brandon Nimmo with the Mets' lone run in a 7-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday at Roger Dean Stadium. The Mets dropped to 0-3 in Grapefruit League play.

The major damage came in a four-run sixth, with all of the runs charged to lefty reliever Jack Leathersich. Two of the runs scored against Leathersich (0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB) came home after Joel Carreño relieved him.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jose Valverde and Logan Verrett allowed single runs Sunday.

The Mets produced only four hits for the second straight day.

Curtis Granderson had a first-inning double as the Mets loaded the bases with two outs against Michael Wacha. But Brandon Allen grounded out to strand three. Earlier in the inning, with one out and two in scoring position, Ike Davis struck out on three pitches against Wacha.

Besides Granderson's double, the other hits came on singles by Eric Campbell, Nimmo and Muno.

What's next: The Mets travel to ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Monday to face the Atlanta Braves. Top prospect Noah Syndergaard makes his Grapefruit League debut opposite Freddy Garcia. Closer Craig Kimbrel, who signed a four-year, $42 million extension this month, also is scheduled to pitch for the Braves. Also on the Mets' pitching list: Jacob deGrom, Miguel Socolovich, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin and Jeff Walters.

Morning Briefing: D-Day for A-Rod, etc.

August, 5, 2013

Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesIt's Biogenesis suspension day for the Trenton Thunder's Alex Rodriguez and others.

FIRST PITCH: After losing a rubber game to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday to drop to 1-4 since staying intact at the trade deadline, the Mets take a day off Monday.

It’s Biogenesis suspension day, although Alex Rodriguez reportedly will appeal MLB's planned suspension through the 2014 season, allowing him to play tonight at the Chicago White Sox and creating a circus atmosphere.

Cesar Puello, the Mets prospect implicated by “Outside the Lines” as having a connection to Biogenesis, has been held out of the Double-A Binghamton starting lineup for four straight games, although Paul DePodesta would only describe it as a managerial decision.

Puello, a 22-year-old right fielder, is hitting .328 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs in 329 at-bats with the B-Mets. He is on the 40-man roster, so he receives the major league protections specified in the collective bargaining agreement.

The Mets do have some off-day decisions to make:

Bobby Parnell, who has been unable to pitch since last Tuesday, is due for a reexamination of his troublesome neck. Given a 15-day disabled-list stint can be backdated to Parnell’s last usage, DLing Parnell may have to be a consideration.

Of course, that leads to the question: Who would close minus Parnell? David Aardsma blew a save chance Friday, then surrendered a homer in the 12th the following day.

The Mets also have to sort out how to cover third base during David Wright’s absence. Options include: Moving Daniel Murphy to third base (and Eric Young Jr. to second), as well as using Josh Satin or Justin Turner there, or promoting Wilmer Flores from Triple-A Las Vegas. Flores suddenly has started two straight games at third base for the 51s, after starting there only once earlier in the season (April 15).

Flores, who turns 22 on Tuesday, belted his 15th homer of the season Sunday at Memphis. He is hitting .322 and has a Pacific Coast League-leading 86 RBIs.

Meanwhile, when play resumes Tuesday, the Mets welcome the Colorado Rockies to Citi Field. The pitching probable:

Tuesday: Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 2.08) vs. RHP Tyler Chatwood (7-4, 3.15), 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday: Matt Harvey (8-3, 2.21) vs. RHP Chad Bettis (0-1, 9.00), 7:10 p.m.

Thursday: Dillon Gee (7-8, 3.97) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (10-5, 3.40), 12:10 p.m.

Monday’s news reports:

Marlon Byrd lost two fly balls in the sun, Zack Wheeler had a pair of wild pitches and John Buck had a passed ball in a three-run fifth by the Royals en route to a 6-2 win against the Mets on Sunday. Wheeler lost about 3 mph on his fastball when he got into trouble, potentially from trying to aim the ball. Terry Collins afterward told Wheeler he needed to step up and pick up his teammates after the miscues in right field. The Mets had been 5-0 in Wheeler’s July starts.

Writes columnist Larry Brooks in the Post:

It was sunny when the visitors from Kansas City were in the field, too, but Mets manager Terry Collins said: “We unfortunately couldn’t hit the ball that high to get their right fielder involved.”

Seriously, he said that.

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

• Lefty reliever Tim Byrdak, like Pedro Feliciano on the comeback trail, has been promoted to Las Vegas. Byrdak, 39, went 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 14 appearances spanning 12 1/3 innings with Class A St. Lucie. He allowed six hits and walked seven. Lefty batters were 1-for-12 with a walk against him. Byrdak underwent surgery on Sept. 6, 2012 to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

• Read more on the third-base options in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

• Rafael Montero allowed one run in eight innings and Las Vegas beat Cards prospect Michael Wacha at Memphis, 4-2. Jordany Valdespin went 2-for-4 in his return from a three-game suspension. Noah Syndergaard tossed five scoreless innings and combined with Armando Rodriguez and Ryan Fraser on a three- hit shutout as Binghamton blanked Harrisburg, 6-0. Rainy Lara allowed four runs in seven innings and Lucas Duda went 0-for-4 as Clearwater beat St. Lucie, 5-2. Greenville's five-run eighth against Shawn Teufel and Beck Wheeler resulted in an 8-6 Savannah loss. Kingsport was drubbed, 17-1, by Greeneville. Martires Arias and Edioglis Villasmil allowed seven earned runs apiece. Jamestown beat Brooklyn, 9-5, despite LJ Mazzilli's first professional homer.

• The Cyclones had five players selected to the Aug. 13 New York-Penn League All-Star Game at Thomas J. Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn. Right-hander Miller Diaz will start for the National League squad. Also selected: right-handers John Gant and Robert Gsellman, left-hander John Mincone and Mazzilli.

• Brendan Prunty in the Star-Ledger chronicles Feliciano’s three-year journey to return to the majors. Feliciano has retired all four batters he has faced -- all lefties -- since returning Friday.

• Barry Federovitch at insists the Mets cannot bring back Ike Davis in 2014.

From the bloggers … Rising Apple suggests that while Davis’ overall numbers are poor, his numbers since his return from Triple-A are fine. … John Delcos at Mets Report offers a plan to use Flores.

BIRTHDAYS: John Olerud turns 45.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How should the Mets handle third base in David Wright’s absence?

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 9, Mets 2

June, 11, 2013
NEW YORK -- Roster changed. Same stinkin' result.

In the first game since a shuffle that included Ike Davis' demotion, newly installed first baseman Daniel Murphy's error opened the doors for five unearned runs in the fifth inning and the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2 on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

The Mets (23-36) dropped to a season-worst 13 games under .500. That is their largest hole this early in a season since they were 20 games under .500 on June 11, 1993, en route to a 103-loss season.

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsKirk Nieuwenhuis misplayed Yadier Molina's seventh-inning fly ball into a two-base error.

Murphy, who had borrowed a first baseman’s glove from Justin Turner pregame, tried to field Jon Jay's grounder on the backhand to begin the fifth inning. The ball kicked off the glove, and Murphy’s ensuing flip after regaining it errantly sailed over Jeremy Hefner's head as the pitcher covered first base.

By the time the five-run inning had ended, opposing pitcher Michael Wacha had an RBI groundout. David Wright was unable to cleanly field Yadier Molina’s grounder, which meant Wright had to settle for a run-scoring groundout at first base rather than a potential inning-ending double play. And Allen Craig belted a three-run homer to give National League Central-leading St. Louis a 6-2 lead.

It has not been a good showing this year for Mets with borrowed gloves against St. Louis. On May 13 at Busch Stadium, now-departed Rick Ankiel had a critical drop in center field in his Mets debut while using Jonathon Niese's glove because Ankiel's had yet to arrive from Houston.

The Mets actually allowed seven straight unearned runs Tuesday.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who replaced Ankiel on the roster last weekend, dropped Molina’s fly ball in right field for a two-base error in the seventh. Matt Holliday followed with an RBI single against reliever Greg Burke. Josh Edgin ultimately inherited the bases loaded with two outs from Burke in the southpaw’s big league return and proceeded to force in a run by walking Jay.

The next issue: With all the dialogue about Davis' demotion, the Mets have another looming decision: How to clear a rotation spot after next week's promotion of Zack Wheeler to face the Atlanta Braves.

Hefner breezed into the fifth Tuesday, when things unraveled after Murphy’s error.

Hefner’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.

Walk-a Wacha: Wacha, the St. Louis rookie phenom, earned his first major league win despite surrendering a solo homer to Omar Quintanilla and three walks in a two-run first by the Mets in which Wacha threw 37 pitches.

Wacha stranded the bases loaded in the first by coaxing an inning-ending groundout from Nieuwenhuis, then posted five scoreless frames. He departed with an 8-2 lead.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (4-6, 5.20 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Shelby Miller (7-3, 1.91) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cardinals

June, 10, 2013

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright during a midweek series at Citi Field.
METS (23-35, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (41-22, first place/NL Central)

Tuesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.36) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (0-0, 5.40), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-6, 5.20) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (7-3, 1.91), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 2.10) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (9-3, 2.34), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Rookie phenom Michael Wacha makes his third major league start when he faces the Mets in the series opener. Wacha, 21, was the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft out of Texas A&M. He was selected with a pick obtained from the Los Angeles Angels after Albert Pujols defected in free agency. (The Mets took high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini 12th overall last year. He is slated to play at Brooklyn beginning later this month.)

The Cardinals did not show the same Super 2 hesitancy in promoting Wacha as the Mets have with Zack Wheeler. In reality, St. Louis usually locks up its young players as they approach arbitration eligibility. So Wacha might end up a little more expensive, but St. Louis does not care. Past examples of Cardinals who were locked up as their arbitration years began: Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Allen Craig. Lance Lynn may be next in line.

The 6-foot-6 Wacha throws overhand with a steep downward plane and has the best changeup in the organization.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesMatt Carpenter has hit .418 during an 18-game hitting streak.

• Three Cardinals enter the series with double-digit hitting streaks: third baseman David Freese (19 games, during which he is hitting .375 with 16 RBIs), second baseman Matt Carpenter (18 games, .418) and old friend Carlos Beltran (10 games, .362).

• Beltran -- who has moved into third in NL All-Star balloting in the outfield, passing Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun -- had a proud moment today. He attended the first graduation ceremony at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, which he founded in his native Puerto Rico. Of the 44 graduating students, all have college baseball offers. Two were drafted, including shortstop Jan Hernandez in the third round (96th overall) to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yadier Molina (.354) leads the National League in batting average, three points ahead of Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. Since getting a rare day off against the Mets on May 15 at Busch Stadium, Molina has started all but three games. The last one backup Tony Cruz started came last Wednesday, when Molina served a one-game suspension for bumping umpire Mike Everitt. Molina had been called out on a close play at first base by fellow ump Clint Fagan.

• Rookie Shelby Miller leads the National League with a 1.91 ERA, narrowly ahead of L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw (1.93) and Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (1.98). Miller sports a deceptive power fastball that he elevates in the zone. He recently has started tinkering with a sinker.

• Wainwright is tied with Corbin and Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann for the NL wins lead at nine. How bored has Wainwright become? In addition to sporting arguably the game’s best curveball, Wainwright has started changing his mechanics during games to toy with opponents. He sometimes will add a pause in his delivery like Dan Haren does, and sometimes with quick pitch. He also will change his spot on the rubber between hitters. Sometimes he will start his delivery with his hands upward, and sometimes at the belt.

Jake Westbrook (elbow) is due to return from the DL and reenter the rotation Friday.

• The Cardinals are hitting an MLB-best .341 with runners in scoring position, a full 34 points better than runner-up Tampa Bay.

Mets morning briefing 6.4.12

June, 4, 2012

They're the first-place New York Mets. Well, at least co-owners of the division lead with the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins. (See the standings here.)

The Mets ran their scoreless streak to 25 innings, all against St. Louis, before Elvin Ramirez allowed an eighth-inning run in his major league debut. The Amazin's nonetheless beat the Cardinals, 6-1, to improve to 31-23. Kirk Nieuwenhuis produced a career-high three RBIs, including a two-run homer.

The Mets, incidentally, have the two longest scoreless streaks in the majors this season -- 28 (May 25-28) and now 25 innings. Texas and Toronto each had 23-inning streaks.

As for the Mets being in first place, Terry Collins said: "Well, I wasn't aware of that. I do know that they should be very proud of where they are. They've played very hard. They've come through in big games. The one thing that makes them: They've never hung their heads. After a bad game, after a tough loss where somebody may come back and beat you late in the game, they get up, they come in, take their showers, go back to their apartments and come back the next day ready to play. And that's one of the things that, I think, makes these guys special. They just don't get down about stuff."

Monday's news reports:

• Political commentator Bill Maher, the host of HBO's "Real Time," acknowledged Sunday at Citi Field that he has purchased a minority stake in the Mets. Maher, 56, declined to specify the share he purchased as part of Fred Wilpon and family's sale of stakes totaling $240 million. He joked to reporters pregame: “I had my money in Lehman Brothers in 2008, so this looked pretty good."

Writes J.P. Pelzman in the Record:

Maher won’t be making any decisions for the team, nor does he want to. "I have enough stress in my real job," said Maher, wearing a Mets cap. "I don’t need to worry about this." Maher, a graduate of Pascack Hills High School, said he has been a Mets fan "my whole life," adding that he "vividly" remembers the 1969 World Series champions. He also said he watched the historic Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at the famed comedy club in Los Angeles, The Improv, with fellow comic Jerry Seinfeld. He was asked why Seinfeld, also a Mets fan, hasn’t bought a share of the team. "Why he didn’t, I have no idea," Maher said, smiling. "He’s sure got more money than I do."

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

Jon Niese experienced a rapid heartbeat during Sunday night's game. It was the same issue that forced Niese from a game last June 25 at Texas. The southpaw said his heartbeat had normalized before the game's completion. He underwent extensive testing after last year's episode and doctors could not detect anything alarming, he said.

• Flanked by former teammates from the Mets and St. John's as well as his family, John Franco became the 26th inductee to the Mets Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. During his speech, Franco spoke about his affinity for the Mets growing up. He suggested the 2012 Mets have a vibe like the 2000 edition that reached the World Series. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

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

• Mets fans apparently are a minority in New York State by a wide margin. A Quinnipiac University poll found 60 percent of state residents support the Yankees, with 22 percent supporting the Mets, 5 percent the Red Sox, and 2 percent for the Phillies.

Broken down by region: In New York City, the Yankees have a 62-21 edge over the Mets. The Yankees' edge drops to 56-38 in the city's suburbs. Upstate, the Yankees lead 59-22. Other teams account for the remainder.

The poll was conducted from May 22-28 and surveyed 1,705 New York State adults. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

• With Johan Santana requiring extra rest, the Mets revamped their rotation for the upcoming week. Dillon Gee now pitches on standard rest opposite Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse in Monday's matinee series finale. Chris Young, returning from the same surgery Santana underwent on the anterior capsule of the pitching shoulder, starts Tuesday's series opener in Washington.

R.A. Dickey tentatively starts on short rest for the third time in his Mets career on Wednesday, although that it not set in stone yet. Dickey first wants to see how he feels during a between-starts bullpen session today. If Dickey is uncomfortable, Jeremy Hefner will take Wednesday's start. Either way, the hope is that Santana can start Thursday in D.C., with Niese going Friday at Yankee Stadium. Santana also will throw a bullpen session today, after which he will have a better gauge whether he requires more than one extra day rest.

Miguel Batista, meanwhile, will be activated from the DL on Tuesday and be available in case Young has a short start in his first major league game since May 1, 2011.

Read more on the rotation juggling in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday and Record.

Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Santana. The exchange included:

Q: When you said after the game, “Yeah, baby, believe it!” was there anything special about that?

A: I always say that. It’s my thing with my fans and teammates.

Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) will begin a rehab assignment today with Triple-A Buffalo. Wally Backman indicated Tejada is scripted for five innings apiece Monday and Tuesday, seven innings Wednesday and a full game Thursday with the Bisons. Collins expects Tejada to be activated from the DL for Friday's game in the Bronx.

Jason Bay is due to play the field Monday with Class A St. Lucie after DHing in a pair of rehab games with the Florida State League club the past two days. Bay may be back for the midweek series in Washington. Collins added that it's logical for Bay to DH in American League parks, which the Mets visit this weekend to face the Yankees and then immediately thereafter at Tampa Bay. Read more in Newsday.

Mike Baxter, who had the no-hitter-saving catch for Santana, officially landed on the DL with a displaced collarbone and fractured rib cartilage Sunday. The Mets promoted corner infielder Josh Satin from Buffalo. The Mets also brought left-hander Robert Carson to New York, but Ramon Ramirez -- who injured a hamstring en route to the Santana postgame celebration -- remains active at least until a doctor's exam today.

• In light of Ramirez's injury, Jared Diamond in the Journal looked at celebration-induced baseball injuries. Writes Diamond:

Pitcher Jake Peavy broke his rib celebrating after the Padres clinched the National League West in 2005 and missed the playoffs. Former utility man Denny Hocking broke his nose after hitting a walk-off home run when his teammates pounded his head and smacked the bill of his helmet into his face. Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan tore his meniscus while attempting to smash his teammate with a shaving-cream pie. Those injuries seem insignificant compared to what happened to Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales. In May 2010, Morales tried to jump onto home plate to celebrate hitting a dramatic walk-off grand slam. He landed unnaturally and severely fractured his leg, missing nearly two full seasons as a result.

Matt Harvey did not surrender a run, but the highly touted prospect lasted only four innings in Buffalo's 5-3 win against Toledo because he walked five and his pitch count reached 84. Matt Tuiasosopo belted a grand slam and Brad Emaus added a solo homer in the Bisons' win. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.

• The three-day MLB draft begins Monday night with the first and supplemental rounds. The Mets pick 12th overall. They also will pick at No. 35 on the first night as one of two selections attained for losing Jose Reyes as a free agent to the Marlins. The Mets have been linked to Alabama high school outfielder David Dahl, Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini and Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha. There may be an outside chance the Mets select California high school shortstop Tanner Rahier.

• Former Mets GM Jim Duquette is due to donate a kidney to his daughter Lindsey during a transplant Monday. Lindsey suffers from the kidney disease FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) and has been on constant dialysis. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• Serby gives his take on the Amazin's in the Post. Tim Smith gives his take in the Daily News.

• Two fans who allegedly ran onto the field celebrating Santana's no-hitter Friday each were charged with two misdemeanors and released after being held for 38 hours. The penalty will include a Citi Field ban. Read more in the Post, Times, Journal and Newsday.

TRIVIA: Wyoming high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo was selected by the Mets with their first draft pick last June. Whom did the organization select with its second pick?

Sunday's answer: Bay was a member of the St. Lucie Mets as an actual minor leaguer in 2002. He was acquired that spring training in a trade that sent Lou Collier to the Montreal Expos. Bay then was dealt that July to San Diego along with Bobby Jones for right-handers Steve Reed and Jason Middlebrook.

Mets morning briefing 6.3.12

June, 3, 2012
R.A. Dickey followed Johan Santana's no-hitter with the Mets' second straight shutout and the Amazin's moved seven games over .500 for the first time since July 15, 2010 with a 5-0 win against the Cardinals on Saturday at Citi Field.

Mets pitchers produced back-to-back complete-game shutouts for the first time since Dickey and Santana also combined on the feat on Aug. 12 and 13, 2010. Dickey upped his scoreless streak to 17 1/3 innings. The knuckleballer did not have a three-ball count until he faced the final batter of the game, Carlos Beltran. The ex-Met ultimately flied out. Dickey picked up his eighth win, matching Philadelphia's Cole Hamels and St. Louis' Lance Lynn -- whom Dickey opposed Saturday -- for the NL lead.

David Wright capped the scoring with a solo homer in the eighth. It was Wright's 734th run scored as a Met, pulling him within one of matching Jose Reyes' franchise record.

In tonight's ESPN-televised game at 8:05, Jon Niese (3-2, 4.55 ERA) opposes Cardinals right-hander Jake Westbrook (4-4, 3.69). The Mets will induct John Franco into the team's Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. He will be the 26th person enshrined.

Sunday's news reports:

• Coming off his historic no-hitter in which he logged a career-high 134 pitches, Santana is expected to pitch on extra rest in his next outing, likely against the Yankees on Friday in the Bronx. As a result, the Mets have abandoned their plan to give Chris Young two more minor league starts. Young is expected to jump into the major league rotation as soon as Tuesday in D.C.

Adam Rubin
Chris Young should make his season debut with the Mets in D.C.

Young is returning from May 16, 2011 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder -- the same procedure Santana underwent the previous September. Young has made four minor league appearances, most recently with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday. He limited Columbus to two hits and three walks in six scoreless innings while throwing 87 pitches. None of Young's minor league starts came on standard rest.

• Read more Santana day-after reaction in the Times, Newsday, Post, Daily News and Record.

• The Hall of Fame is calling for Santana game-used items, Tom Pedulla writes in Newsday. "It is one of those events everybody is talking about," Hall spokesman Barry Horn told Pedulla. "In the 50th anniversary of the team, certainly interest is heightened. ... We have game-used baseballs from every no-hitter since 1940, so we requested that. We don't need to have everything, but we would certainly welcome one of them to document the moment."

Terry Collins has yet to announce his upcoming rotation, but Miguel Batista is eligible to return from the DL on Monday and seems like a fit for the series finale against the Cardinals. That was Jeremy Hefner's actual day anyway, so he is an option. Or Dillon Gee can pitch on standard rest that day since he last pitched Wednesday, with Batista potentially going in D.C. along with Young.

Mike Baxter suffered a displaced right collarbone as well as fractured rib cartilage in the collision with the wall on the no-hitter-saving catch on Yadier Molina's seventh-inning shot. The no-hitter was costly for reliever Ramon Ramirez as well. Ramirez strained a hamstring running in from the bullpen during the postgame celebration, Collins said. The manager estimated Baxter would miss six weeks. Baxter said he did not suffer a concussion. Baxter's left shoulder had the initial jolt and that arm went numb, but it was his right side that ultimately suffered the brunt of the damage. "That'll tell you how hard he hit it," Collins said, referring to the wall. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Record and Newsday.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post is prepared to push aside Dwight Gooden's no-hitter with the Yankees for Santana's feat as the most notable he has observed. Writes Sherman:

Because this is baseball, we knew all of this and, thus, we were there in the dugout agonizing with Collins on Friday night. We knew these two main storylines were now at war: Was it worth jeopardizing Santana’s health by pushing his pitch count higher, higher, higher than it had ever been, even pre-surgery, all to make the toothache go away forever? Collins, his humanity and honesty on full display, admitted the next day there were parts of him hoping the Cardinals would get a hit, part of him regretting a decision he said “went against everything I stand for.”

Jay Horwitz, the Mets' PR man since 1980, told columnist John Harper in the Daily News: “Even I’m a little bit overwhelmed by the reaction. It’s almost that ‘Now-I-can-die-in-peace’ type of thing.’’

• Columnist Bob Klapsich in the Record wrote:

One major league executive who watched the no-hitter on TV said, “I actually felt sorry for Terry because he knew the consequences. I’d bet you a million bucks he was rooting for a base hit after the seventh inning.”

• The Mets did not announce corresponding moves after Saturday's game for Baxter and Ramirez heading to the DL, but Pedro Beato is expected to join the Mets as soon as today, the day he is eligible to be activated. Beato, who developed a shoulder issue during spring training, has made eight relief appearances between St. Lucie and Buffalo, including tossing two scoreless innings Saturday for the Triple-A club. The Mets would have to make a 40-man roster move since Beato did not count while on the 60-day DL.

Jason Bay went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts while serving as the DH in a rehab game for Class A St. Lucie on Saturday. He should be close to rejoining the Mets. The organization preferred Bay rehab with Buffalo, but Bay opted for the Florida locale. Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) had been scheduled to run Saturday and should test the balky muscle circling the bases today.

• St. Lucie ended up sweeping a doubleheader from the Tampa Yankees to clinch its division's first-half title in the Florida State League. St. Lucie owns a 43-12 record. The clincher came in Game 1 behind six scoreless innings from Angel Cuan, but the nightcap had the dramatics. With the score tied in the bottom of the final frame, Cory Vaughn walked, moved to second when Blake Forysthe was hit by a pitch and scored on a subsequent error. For Binghamton, Robert Carson notched his second Eastern League save. With Buffalo, Fernando Cabrera surrendered a game-winning homer at Toledo. Read Saturday's full minor league recap here.

• Wright reiterated Saturday what he said the previous day that was lost in the no-hitter hoopla: He does not want to negotiate a contract extension in-season. The third baseman said he had resolved with his agents not to negotiate in-season even before the year started. Wright's side informed the front office Thursday of the policy, he said. Wright said his 2006 in-season extension was a distraction. "We let the front office know ... just so everybody is on the same page and we can just focus on baseball," Wright said. "And that's it. It's just not necessary. With the good vibes that are going on right now and just the 'good' surrounding this club, I just feel somewhat selfish in the middle of the season to be talking about myself, talking about me, when we should be talking about we."

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

• Beltran had high praise for Santana before Saturday's game. The ex-Met did not grouse above being deprived of an extra-base hit by an incorrect foul call Friday by ump Adrian Johnson. "What can I say? I think it was meant to happen," Beltran said, according to David Lennon in Newsday. "That's the only way I can put it. Honestly, I'm happy for Johan because he's a good man and he really has battled, last year and this year. He's a competitor and he loves to win. I love to win also, but sometimes God rewards people for how hard they work. He has really gone through a lot and now he's getting good results."

• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch put an asterisk on its sports front next to "NO-HITTER." View here.

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden, who was placed on waivers Thursday to clear a 40-man roster spot for Elvin Ramirez, was claimed by Toronto. In parts of two seasons at the major league level, Schwinden was 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in seven appearances (six starts).

Fernando Martinez, who was claimed off waivers from the Mets during the offseason, was promoted Saturday and made his Houston Astros debut. Martinez went 1-for-5 with two RBIs and three strikeouts. His subpar route and diving attempt on Brandon Phillips' shot to right field did allow the Reds to take a 10-9 lead en route to a 12-9 win. The promotion coincided with Travis Buck landing on the DL. Martinez, 23, was hitting .319 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 188 at-bats at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Read more in the Houston Chronicle.

• The MLB draft begins Monday. The Mets pick 12th. Baseball America projects the Mets will take David Dahl, a high school outfielder from Birmingham, Ala. Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha and Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini are projected as the primary alternatives. The Mets will get extra picks at No. 35 and No. 71 overall for losing Reyes to the Marlins, before their own second-round pick at No. 75. Dahl and Cecchini worked out Friday at Citi Field for Paul DePodesta, Sandy Alderson and other Mets honchos, Brian Costa of the Journal tweeted.

Omar Minaya weighed in on Santana's no-hitter in the Daily News.

• Columnist George Vecsey in the Times notes not every devout Mets fan saw Santana's no-no. Writes Vecsey:

Every fan had long been aware that no Met had ever pitched a no-hitter. In true biblical wandering, the fans consoled themselves by muttering, “Someday it will happen,” yet some of them inevitably took their eye off the ball. I know one Mets fan who on Friday night went to watch his daughter in a school play. Never saw a pitch of their 8,020th game. That will teach him to be a good dad. Another Mets fan left a despondent monotone message on my answering machine at 11:30 p.m. Friday: “I go out for a good time and this is how God punishes me. It just isn’t fair.” That guy has not sounded so disconsolate since the Mets traded Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell for some mope in 1989. His message then was: “It stinks. It just stinks.” Of course, it stinks. You’re a Mets fan. It’s part of the deal.

• The web site, which chronicled the Mets' no-hit futility, is now irrelevant. Site founder Dirk Lammers told Brian Costello in the Post he may turn over the domain name to a Padres fan. “It’s not like the thing was profitable,” Lammers told Costello. “It’s not going to hurt me financially. If I made 12 cents on Google ads, that was a good day. It wasn’t going to make me rich. I will miss it. It was a fun thing.” With the site overwhelmed with traffic Friday, many who clicked on the web page in the wake of Santana's feat got a message that read: "Error establishing a database connection." Read more in the Journal.

TRIVIA: Bay appeared for Class A St. Lucie on Saturday to begin a rehab assignment. What year did he play for that club as an actual minor leaguer?

Saturday's answer: The San Diego Padres are the lone major league team without a no-hitter.

Mets morning briefing 5.16.12

May, 16, 2012
David Wright jawed with his manager, Terry Collins, in the dugout, but insisted afterward he was upset in the heat of the moment with the situation, not at his manager. The Mets ultimately lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-0, Tuesday at soggy Citi Field. Collins pulled Wright in the bottom of the seventh along with Daniel Murphy, trying to protect the third baseman from getting drilled a half-inning after D.J. Carrasco served up a homer to Rickie Weeks, then plunked Ryan Braun with the next pitch. Wright wanted to stand in the batter's box to take the expected retaliatory blow and end the drama.

"At this level, somebody is going to get hit," Collins said about retaliation, to which the Mets skipper felt the Brewers were entitled. "And it wasn't going to be David Wright tonight. I can't control what's going to happen down the road. He's not going to get hurt in this game, in this situation, tonight."

Please join me for a Mets chat at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday here.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Before the T.C.-Wright dugout spectacle, Dillon Gee had let down the Mets. Gee served up a pair of homers to Travis Ishikawa and was charged with seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. "Mistakes that he makes are in the middle of the plate," Collins said. "I mean, when I took him out of the game, Nicky [catcher Mike Nickeas] said every mistake he made tonight they drilled."

Said Gee: "I don't know. I'm at a loss for words today. I felt good out there. I felt like I made a lot of good pitches. In my mind, I only made a couple of mistakes."

Meanwhile, Murphy extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games before departing the game.

Read game recaps in the Record, Times, Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post summarizes the Wright-Collins argument this way:

Whether [the hit by pitch] was intentional or not isn’t important. Neither is the transaction of removing Wright from the game. This was: Both Collins and Wright care enough about this team and this season as it approaches the quarter pole that they were willing to fill the dugout with noise and rancor, even for a lost cause. They are a fine match, a manager who cares and a player who cares even more.

Read my take here. Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News also opines on the topic.

• Mayor Michael Bloomberg, MLB commissioner Bud Selig and Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon will participate in a ceremony at City Hall during which the 2013 All-Star Game officially will be awarded to Citi Field. The long-planned event was delayed in being announced for months as MLB worked out contracts with the Javits Convention Center for a fan fest as well as logistics such as NYPD staffing costs for a midtown parade of All-Stars and Central Park concert. You can watch the official announcement live at 11:30 a.m. on the city's web site here. Read more in Newsday, the Times, Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Collins told Anthony McCarron in the Daily News that Jason Bay "absolutely" will get his left-field job back when he returns from the DL after dealing with a fractured rib. Collins acknowledged the challenge will be finding playing time for Kirk Nieuwenhuis as well, but the manager will make it work. “He didn’t come here to be an extra player," Collins told McCarron about Bay. Nieuwenhuis went 0-for-3 Tuesday. He is hitting .294 with two homers, 12 RBIs, 14 walks and 39 strikeouts in 119 at-bats.

Josh Thole was examined Tuesday at Citi Field and expected to imminently gain clearance to begin athletic activities. The catcher said he should learn the results of a concussion test Wednesday. Thole, who suffered what may be the fourth concussion of his professional career nine days ago in a plate collision with Ty Wigginton, said his headaches ended Friday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

Jenrry Mejia and Chris Young are slated to move to Triple-A Buffalo to continue their returns from surgeries that both were performed on May 16, 2011. Mejia soon should be exposed to relief work to gauge his ability to contribute at the major league level in that capacity, an organization source told Young was due to pitch for Class A St. Lucie on Tuesday night, but the game was rained out. He presumably will pitch Wednesday morning for the Florida State League club before moving to Triple-A.

• A special screening of the Andres Torres-centered documentary "Gigante," about the center fielder's battle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, will be held at NYU School of Medicine (550 First Ave.) on May 31 at 7 p.m. The free event is open to the public, but preregistration is mandatory at

• Wright was noncommittal on his receptiveness to discussing a contract in-season if the Mets approached his representatives.

Brian Costa in the Journal profiles sudden pinch-hitter-extraordinaire/local product Mike Baxter. Baxter is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with five RBIs as a pinch hitter this season, including a sixth-inning double Tuesday. The contribution also includes a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth inning Friday at Marlins Park.

Plenty of players have found success in pinch-hit roles, but they tend to be veterans who were starters at one point. Baxter, 27, entered Tuesday with just 58 games of major-league experience and just 10 career starts. "Mike is becoming really good at it in a short window," said Mets third-base coach Tim Teufel, who had 192 pinch-hit appearances during his 11-year major-league career. "Usually for a young player, it takes time. He's taken to the role. He's found a way." The Mets' depth was a perceived weakness going into the season. But despite several injuries, they entered Tuesday with a 20-15 record, thanks in part to some unexpected contributions from players at the fringes of the roster. Players like Baxter.

Michael Salfino in the Journal looks at the Mets' patience at the plate under hitting coach Dave Hudgens. Among the relevant stats: Through Monday, the Mets had seen the most pitches per plate appearance in MLB (3.98), according to Stats LLC, better than runner-up Oakland (3.97) and No. 3 Arizona (3.94). Writes Salfino:

The epitome of the Mets desire to work counts as much as possible, though, is their place as the only team in baseball yet to swing at a 3-0 pitch (70 opportunities). That's widely regarded as the optimal hitter's count. But the Mets clearly don't want to help pitchers work their way out of trouble. New York's patient approach seems to be organization-wide. A spate of injuries have seen four opening day starters head to the disabled list, but replacements Justin Turner (4.22 pitches per plate appearance), Mike Baxter (4.23) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (4.22) have actually improved the Mets average.

• Baseball America projects the Mets taking Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the 12th overall pick in the draft next month. The magazine also says the Mets have been "strongly linked" to Texas high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins and Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha.

Brandon Brown had three RBIs and Dustin Lawley homered as Savannah held on for a 4-3 win at Charleston. Read Tuesday's full minor league recap here.

• Collins is not a fan of prescribed roles in the bullpen, but the manager said pregame Tuesday that he needs to accept it as part of the evolution of the game. “Guys are here to do certain jobs,” Collins said. “That’s what they’re paid for. That’s what they prepare for. I mean, you have pitchers in the game today who don’t even go to the bullpen until the sixth inning. They’re not even out there. They’re doing stuff in the clubhouse. They’re stretching. They’re getting rubdowns. That’s the way it is and you have to adjust. I don’t have to like it, but I have to accept it.” Writes columnist Mark Bradley in the Star-Ledger:

No one could have blamed Collins if he took a match and some gasoline to his bullpen roles after Francisco blew the lead twice last weekend in Miami, which was potentially damaging to the psyche of his entire team. And when Francisco got into trouble in the ninth inning on Monday, and the fans were letting him hear it, you wondered, was Collins willing to let another one get away? “The one thing I don’t want to do is turn our bullpen inside out because we have a couple of blown saves,” Collins said. “Everybody has blown saves. But if you start changing everybody’s roles, then all of the sudden it’s very uncomfortable for some guys.” And then Collins repeated, “That’s something I’ve come to accept.”

Johan Santana and Chris Capuano appear on columnist Bob Klapisch's list of 10 early season MLB surprises in the Record. Writes Klapisch on Santana:

You don’t dominate hitters with an 88-mph fastball without brains and guts, both of which are still Santana’s most precious currencies. His arm has been rebuilt by surgeons, who couldn’t restore the left-hander’s 94-mph heater of his prime. Still, Santana is so good, he’s averaging more than a strikeout an inning. It’s hard to believe Santana was on the DL for the entire 2011 season. Put it this way: The 2.92 ERA isn’t just surprising, it’s magic.

• SNY will televise its "Yearbook" show for the 1962 season for the first time on Thursday at 8 p.m., Ken Belson writes in the Times. Writes Belson:

To sports fans, the show, which is called “1962 Yearbook,” is a wonderful example of how sports was covered a half-century ago, complete with fawning announcers, eager players and a lack of whiz-bang technology that predominates on sports networks these days. “They were trying to generate interest and enthusiasm among the fans,” said Gary Morgenstern, senior vice president for programming at SNY, said of the show and others that would follow. “They weren’t terribly successful, so it was about getting people to fall in love with the team.” The tapes were discovered in 2008, when the Mets were cleaning out Shea Stadium and moving to Citi Field. The video was not meant to be shown on television. Rather, it was to be used by the team’s sales staff to drum up ticket sales in the off-season.

Miguel Batista remains on target for his next start, despite dealing with a groin issue while tossing seven scoreless innings Monday. He is due to pitch at Toronto on Saturday.

• Mets players already were wearing hockey jerseys in the clubhouse Tuesday, in preparation for a dress-up en route to Toronto after Thursday's homestand finale. Mike Kerwick in the Record spotted R.A. Dickey in a Predators jersey (he lives in Nashville), the Whitestone native Baxter wearing a Rangers jersey, and Nieuwenhuis -- a Denver-area product -- wearing an Avalanche jersey.

TRIVIA: Who hit the homers off Braden Looper to spoil Pedro Martinez's Mets debut in Cincinnati on Opening Day in 2005?

Monday's answer: Gee attended the University of Texas-Arlington.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187