New York Mets: Michael Young

Morning Briefing: Nats flirt with wild card

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Don’t look now, but the Mets are about to face a not-quite-dead-yet team.

The Washington Nationals (68-65) have won eight of their past nine games and have moved to within 6 games of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild-card spot.

Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69 ERA) opposes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (15-7, 3.32) in today’s 7:05 p.m. series opener at Nationals Park.

Zack Wheeler faces Dan Haren on Saturday, while Jonathon Niese faces Ross Ohlendorf in Sunday’s series finale.

Friday’s news reports:


Marc Serota/Getty ImagesDavid Wright has moved to Port St. Lucie to continue his rehab from a right hamstring strain.


David Wright resolved on Thursday to return to the majors this season, before departing for Port St. Lucie, Fla., to continue his rehab from a strained right hamstring. Wright has yet to run full throttle or cut on bases. He is not ready to enter a minor league game, but hopes to do so soon.

Wright described the Grade 2 tear as having a six-week recovery time. He was cautioned by Philadelphia Phillies infielder Michael Young to avoid overtaxing the muscle as he works back.

Wright added that he believes the Mets will add talent this offseason. “With the money we have coming off the books this year, I expect us to go out there and make this team better,” he said. “Whether it’s through free agency, whether it’s through trades, I still believe in vision that Sandy [Alderson] has.”

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

• The Mets completed their trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, announcing the acquisition of hard-throwing right-hander Vic Black after completing the waiver process. The Mets are expected to take advantage of a 72-hour reporting window to delay Black’s arrival until Sunday, the day rosters expand. Black will report directly to the majors. Read more in Newsday.

• Alderson emailed a letter to season ticket holders, addressing 2014.

• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com has a Q&A with Wheeler.

Carlos Torres returned to the rotation and took a scoreless effort into the seventh as the Mets split a four-game series with the Phillies with an 11-3 win Thursday afternoon. Daniel Murphy matched a career high with four hits and drove in two runs. Anthony Recker, on his 30th birthday and in his first start since John Buck was traded, belted a two-run homer. Matt den Dekker went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and a steal in his major league debut.

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

• Terry Collins essentially said he would be unable to drop Daisuke Matsuzaka from the rotation if he wanted because alternatives are lacking. The Mets may use Chris Schwinden, or another minor leaguer, as a sixth starter in September.

• Jacob deGrom is due to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, but the organization is not planning to give him a call-up. DeGrom departed his Wednesday outing with Las Vegas after two innings with shoulder tightness, but Paul DePodesta minimized the issue.

• Jorge Arangure in the Times delves into the Mets’ having two players with surnames beginning with lower-case Ds -- den Dekker and Travis d’Arnaud. The Mets will establish a new major league record next season assuming deGrom joins them in 2014. Writes Arangure:

As for the origin of his last name, d’Arnaud said that his great-great grandfather acquired it when he was adopted by a family of French origin.

A more formal explanation comes from Marcel den-Dikken, a linguistics professor at the City University of New York. “The ‘d’ is the truncated form of the preposition ‘de’ ‘of,’ he wrote in an e-mail. “So d’Arnaud is historically a name associating its bearer with a particular geographical location.”

As for den Dekker, his name is of Dutch origin and roughly translates to “the roofer.” He said his family traces its roots to Indonesia, which was long a Dutch colony, and from there to the Netherlands. Den Dekker’s father, Gerrit, was born in the Netherlands and later boarded a ship with his 10 brothers and sisters that took them to New York. Eventually, Matt den Dekker said, the family settled in San Diego.

• Read more on Murphy in the Journal.

• Dustin Lawley launched his first Triple-A homer as Las Vegas beat Colorado Springs, 10-7. Newly acquired Dilson Herrera drove in the tiebreaking run and reached base three times in his organization debut as Savannah beat Rome, 5-3. Kingsport, playoff-bound for the first time since 1996, clinched its division’s title with a 9-1 win against Bluefield. Brooklyn maintained a half-game division lead with a 2-1 win against Staten Island. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Binghamton first baseman Allan Dysktra and closer Jeff Walters have been named to the Eastern League’s end-of-season All-Star team. Savannah pitcher Gabriel Ynoa, who notched his 15th win Thursday, was named the South Atlantic’s top pitcher, while Gnats pitching coach Frank Viola was recognized on the all-league coaching staff.

BIRTHDAYS: Newest ex-Met Marlon Byrd turns 36. … The late Tug McGraw was born on this date in 1944.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets let Vic Black close games throughout September?

Phillies the go-to medical source for Mets

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
12:34
PM ET

Associated PressDavid Wright received hamstring advice from Michael Young this series.
NEW YORK -- The Philadelphia Phillies are practicing medicine without a license this series.

First, Roy Halladay offered elbow advice to Matt Harvey at Terry Collins’ request.

Now, David Wright has revealed Michael Young approached him this series about how to handle a hamstring tear.

“Michael Young was great,” Wright said Thursday morning at Citi Field, before heading to Port St. Lucie to continue rehab of a Grade 2 hamstring strain. “Roy talked to Matt the other day, and Michael came and found me. He had this thing and he tried to rush it back. And he said, ‘In all your rehab stuff, you’re balanced. And once you get into a game, everything becomes kind of unbalanced.’ He said the first pitch that he took -- he said he didn’t even swing -- he stepped hard with it and his hamstring went. It was a cautionary tale that he wanted to come find me and tell me, and I appreciated that.”

Wright has been on the DL since Aug. 3. He resolved to return this year, even though it might be more prudent to shut it down, because that’s his makeup and because he wants to know he’s fine.

“This is what I do. I want to play,” Wright said. “It’s against a lot of -- pretty much everything -- that I believe in just to shut the season down and get ready for next year. You’ve got 25 guys in that room battling right now, and obviously we’re in an uphill battle with some of the injuries and some of the trades and things that have happened. So I want to get back and join my teammates and try to help them finish strong.

“And then the second part of that is, personally, I don’t want the next time to take the field to be spring training, with the uncertainty of not being able to finish the season strong and healthy.”

Wright is not ready to enter minor league games -- “but hopefully soon,” he added. For now, he only is jogging, so at some point he still needs to test the hamstring running and rounding bases.

“The doctors, the medical staff have all said, ‘Look, this is a six-week injury,’” Wright said. “I think I’m ahead of schedule. …

“I’m progressing well. I’m running. I wouldn’t say it’s a run. It’s probably a quick jog -- maybe 60 percent, 70 percent. I’m swinging the bat fine. I’m fielding. I’m doing all that stuff. It’s just a matter of being able to run full speed, running the bases, starting and stopping. That’s the most important thing. I can simulate swinging and taking groundballs, but once you get in a game situation it’s a little different with starting and stopping and having to reverse direction and stuff like that. That’s what I need to get down before I get put in a game situation.”

As for the state of the Mets after learning of Harvey’s ulnar collateral ligament tear, Wright acknowledged it is a blow, but suggested the club could overcome it.

“I don’t think one injury that may or may not affect next year is going to affect the overall plan,” Wright said. “We’d like to have Matt lead that pitching staff, but we’ve got other young guys that hopefully can step up and not necessarily be Matt Harvey, but can give us a very deep pitching staff. And with the money we have coming off the books this year, I expect us to go out there and make this team better. Whether it’s through free agency, whether it’s through trades, I still believe in vision that [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] has.

“Although, for the time being, this looks like a step backwards, it gives other young pitchers the opportunity to step up and show what they have the rest of this year. And hopefully Matt’s back next year. If not, I’m still confident in the plan. And the success rate -- I don’t know the numbers -- but it seems pretty overwhelmingly in favor of Matt if he does need to have the surgery.

“We might have to take a few steps back, but when you’re accomplishing something that’s always the case. You usually have to take a few steps back before you move forward.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 0

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
9:30
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NEW YORK -- Jonathon Niese handled the roles of Matt Harvey and Marlon Byrd on Tuesday night.

Niese retired 17 straight batters at one point en route to his second career shutout, ran through Tim Teufel’s stop sign to score the game’s opening run, then produced a three-run double later as the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0, Tuesday night at Citi Field in the first game of the post-Byrd/John Buck era.

The Mets (59-71) moved back even with the Phillies (60-72) for third place in the NL East, albeit nearly a percentage point behind. The Mets snapped a five-game losing streak.

Niese, who you may recall actually was the Opening Day starter, not Harvey, was every much the ace on this night. After surrendering a leadoff single to Michael Young in the second inning, Niese erased him by coaxing a double-play grounder from Darin Ruf. The Phillies did not place another runner on base until Young doubled just beyond the range of Juan Lagares in left-center to lead off the eighth.

Niese’s line: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. He threw 113 pitches.

His other career shutout came June 10, 2010, in a one-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

The Mets had one other shutout this season: Harvey against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 7.

Niese returned Aug. 11 after missing nearly two months with a partially torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder. In the three starts subsequent to that return outing at Arizona, the southpaw has now limited opponents to two runs on 14 hits and five walks while striking out 22 in 22 innings.

Meanwhile, four innings after scoring from second base on Daniel Murphy’s single, Niese came to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. He fouled off one full-count offering from Kyle Kendrick, then delivered a three-run double into the left-center gap for a 5-0 lead.

Niese became the first Mets pitcher with three RBIs in a game since Al Leiter also had a three-run double, against Woody Williams of the Padres at Shea Stadium on Aug. 12, 1999. The last time a Mets pitcher had three RBIs against the Phillies: Pete Falcone on Sept. 29, 1981 at Veterans Stadium.

What’s next: Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his second Mets start. Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00 ERA) was roughed up for five runs in the opening two innings Friday against the Detroit Tigers before following with three scoreless frames. He opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

August, 25, 2013
8/25/13
8:19
PM ET

USA TODAY SportsRyne Sandberg has replaced Charlie Manuel as Phillies manager.
METS (58-70, third place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (59-71, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.03) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.51), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Matt Harvey (9-5, 2.27) vs. RHP Ethan Martin (2-2, 6.33), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16 and named former Chicago Cubs star Ryne Sandberg the interim manager. Sandberg most recently served as Philadelphia’s third-base coach. He previously managed the organization’s Triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate for two seasons.

Manuel, 69, began managing the club in 2005 and compiled a 780-636 record. He has the most wins in franchise history, and managed the Phillies’ 2008 World Series title team. Manuel’s firing came four days after he earned his 1,000th career win, combined with a 2-season stint managing the Cleveland Indians.


Laurence Kesterson/Associated PressEx-Nat Roger Bernadina signed with the Phillies last week.


Ryan Howard appears done for the season after undergoing left knee surgery on July 10. Although Howard has resumed baseball activities, Sandberg indicated it would not be productive to try to get the first baseman in major league shape by the season’s conclusion. Michael Young primarily has played first base minus Howard.

• Rookie Ethan Martin, the 15th overall pick in the 2008 draft, was acquired at last year’s trade deadline in the deal that sent Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martin has a 6.33 ERA in five major league starts. He is coming off an outing Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he was knocked out after recording only two outs. Martin surrendered three hits, including a homer to Martin Prado, and walked three.

That game ended up lasting 18 innings. Its length prompted scheduled Sunday starter Tyler Cloyd to pitch five innings in relief Saturday, which then prompted the Phillies to bring back Roy Halladay early from the disabled list to start Sunday. Halladay had planned to pitch in another minor league rehab game after recovering from right shoulder surgery. The Phillies also used outfielder Casper Wells and infielder John McDonald as relief pitchers in the 18-inning game.

• Wells was claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 8.

• The Phillies signed outfielder Roger Bernadina on Wednesday and optioned Michael Martinez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Bernadina had batted .178 with two homers and six RBIs in 85 games with the Washington Nationals this season.

• The Phillies have won two straight series, after winning only one other series since the All-Star break.

Darin Ruf has a National League-high nine homers in August. His long ball total is the most by a Phillies rookie in a calendar month since Howard had 10 in September 2005.

John Lannan will undergo left-knee surgery. Fellow starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone also is expected to miss the remainder of the season, with rotator-cuff inflammation.

Domonic Brown departed Saturday’s game with right heel soreness. He then pinch hit on Sunday. Brown recently missed 11 games with a concussion.

Jimmy Rollins needs two homers for 200 in his career.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
4:29
PM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Cole Hamels (Saturday), Kyle Kendrick (Friday) and Cliff Lee (Sunday) in the second-half-opening series.
METS (41-50, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (48-48, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.33) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.68), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies are 6-3 but averaging only 3.6 runs a game since losing Ryan Howard to left knee surgery. The debridement surgery is expected to cost Howard six to eight weeks. Rookie Darin Ruf has handled first base in Howard’s absence. Ruf slugged 38 homers last season with Double-A Reading. He has reached base safely in 18 straight games at the major league level.


Michael Perez/Associated PressBen Revere suffered a broken right ankle on foul ball while batting.


• Center fielder Ben Revere underwent surgery Tuesday for a broken right ankle and also is expected to miss six to eight weeks. It is a big blow to the offense. Revere, the team’s leadoff hitter, had been hitting .305 with 22 steals. Revere suffered the injury fouling a ball off the foot. He had two screws inserted.

GM Ruben Amaro has said the Phillies will shop for a fill-in center fielder. John Mayberry Jr. has handled the position the past two games. Prospect Cesar Hernandez has moved from second base to center field in the minors to provide another option.

• First-time All-Star Domonic Brown is third in the National League with 23 homers, trailing Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (25) and Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (24). Brown’s 67 RBIs rank fourth.

Cole Hamels has a 1.57 ERA with 19 strikeouts and one walk in his last three starts.

Cliff Lee is the only active left-hander to pitch in four All-Star Games.

• The Phillies could be buyers or sellers depending upon the direction their season takes before July 31. They reached .500 on Sunday for the first time since June 7, when they were 31-31. Before the first-half-closing win, they had spent only five days at or above .500 this season. They have won five of their past six series.

Potentially on the block if things go south: centerpiece players Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and Lee as well as Delmon Young and Michael Young. Utley and Ruiz are eligible for free agency after the season. Lee is owed a combined $50 million in 2014 and ’15, and also has a $12.5 million buyout owed if a $27.5 million club option for 2016 is not exercised. Papelbon is signed at $13 million a season through 2015. He also has a vesting option at that amount for 2016.

Kyle Kendrick limited the Washington Nationals to one run in seven innings in a win in his last start, despite four errors committed by his fielders, including three by Utley.

• Since June 17, Papelbon has five blown saves in 12 chances. Manager Charlie Manuel told SiriusXM that Papelbon was dealing with occasional hip soreness. Papelbon nonetheless has reached 20 saves for the eighth straight season. That is the longest active streak in the majors and the eighth-longest in major league history. Mariano Rivera holds the record with 15 straight 20-plus save seasons, from 1997-2011.

Jimmy Rollins has gone 156 at-bats without a homer.

• Infielder John McDonald was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on June 27 for a player to be named or cash.

• Backup catcher Erik Kratz was activated from the disabled list Sunday after missing 4 weeks with a left knee injury.

• Manuel has 995 career wins. He is due to become the 59th manager in major league history to reach the 1,000-win plateau. There are seven active managers at that level: Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona, Davey Johnson, Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia and Buck Showalter.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 7

June, 22, 2013
6/22/13
7:25
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Jordany Valdespin did it again. This time it went for naught.

A half-inning after the Mets completed a rally from a six-run deficit, Carlos Torres served up a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to Kevin Frandsen as the Philadelphia Phillies survived for an 8-7 win against the Mets on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

A year after Valdespin burst onto the major league stage with a tiebreaking pinch-hit homer against Jonathan Papelbon for his first major league homer, JV1 again homered in the ninth inning against the closer. This time, the one-out solo shot pulled the Mets within 7-6. The Mets then benefited from some Phillies sloppiness to even the score.


H. Rumph Jr./Associated PressRyan Howard homered twice against Dillon Gee.


David Wright reached on third baseman Michael Young's error. Stealing second with two outs and Daniel Murphy at the plate, Wright scored on the play when Murphy punched a single through the vacated hole at shortstop and center fielder Ben Revere flubbed picking up the baseball.

Papelbon suffered his third blown save this season -- and this week.

Oh, Gee: Next time, Dillon Gee might want to pitch around Ryan Howard.

Howard continued to torment the right-hander, homering twice and driving in four runs against Gee.

Howard is now a career 7-for-15 with six homers and 14 RBIs against Gee. He has gone deep in five of the six games in which they have met.

Fellow nemesis Michael Young also had a solo homer against Gee, whose streak of stellar starts was snapped at four.

The all-time homer list versus Gee: Howard 6, Young 3, John Mayberry Jr. 2, Alex Gonzalez 2, Ian Desmond 2, Travis Ishikawa 2.

Gee ultimately was charged with six runs (five earned) on eight hits in a 67-pitch effort over five innings. He had produced a 1.53 ERA over his previous four starts.

Gee’s career numbers in Philly: 1-2 with a 10.38 ERA in six appearances (five starts).

Comeback: The Mets began their rally from a six-run deficit in the seventh -- the inning after Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone was forced to depart with lower-back tightness.

After Omar Quintanilla’s RBI single pulled the Mets within 7-2, Josh Satin walked to load the bases and chase Michael Stutes. Eric Young Jr. followed with a two-run double against Justin De Fratus. Valdespin then had an RBI groundout as the Mets pulled within two, 7-5.

The four-run frame ended when left-hander Jacob Diekman entered and struck out a perturbed Murphy looking, stranding two runners.

Satin, who is due to start at first base Sunday, has reached base in six straight plate appearances (three hits, three walks).

Buck-E: John Buck had a passed ball in the first inning that contributed to an unearned run charged to Gee.

With Greg Burke pitching in the sixth, Ben Revere stole second and third against the tandem and scored on Buck’s errant throw to third base as the Phillies took a 7-1 lead.

Welcome back: Burke, who surrendered the unearned run in one inning of work, was making his first appearance since returning to the majors this weekend. His promotion coincided with Jonathan Niese landing on the disabled list.

Burke may not be around long. The Mets will need to clear a roster spot Tuesday when Zack Wheeler is re-promoted to face the Chicago White Sox.

What’s next: Matt Harvey Day! Harvey (6-1, 2.16 ERA), who took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Atlanta in his last start, opposes left-hander John Lannan (0-1, 5.49) in the rubber game at 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

June, 21, 2013
6/21/13
12:50
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan this weekend.
METS (28-41, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (35-38, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (2-10, 4.40), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.56) vs. RHP Jonathan Pettibone">Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.40), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (6-1, 2.16) vs. LHP John Lannan (0-1, 5.49), 1:35 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cole Hamels’ 10 losses are tied with the Angels’ Joe Blanton for the major league lead. Hamels is the first Phillie with 10 losses before the All-Star break since Kyle Abbott in 1992.

• Left-hander John Lannan faced his former club, the Washington Nationals, on Monday in his first major league start in two months. Lannan allowed two runs in five innings. He had been on the DL since an April 17 appearance at Cincinnati with a strained tendon in his right knee. The Long Beach, L.I., native signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with Philadelphia on Dec. 18.


Matt Slocum/Associated PressJonathan Papelbon blew his first two saves this season against Washington this week.


Chase Utley, who has missed a month with a right oblique strain, began a rehab assignment Wednesday with Double-A Reading. He is expected to return at some point this weekend. Kevin Frandsen has started the past four games at second base. He is hitting .350 with two RBIs and a .435 on-base percentage over his last eight games (five starts).

Carlos Ruiz was activated from the DL on Tuesday after missing four weeks with a strained right hamstring.

Jonathan Papelbon blew his first two saves of the season in a three-day span against the Nationals this week.

• Rookie Jonathan Pettibone’s rotation spot may be in jeopardy. Carlos Zambrano tossed seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He will make another minor league start Sunday, but can opt out if he is not promoted by July 1. Zambrano is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in five minor league starts over three different levels. He signed with Philadelphia on May 15. Pettibone is coming off an outing at Colorado in which he surrendered seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and a walk in three innings.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .135 with no extra-base hits in 37 at-bats over his past 10 starts.

• Third baseman Michael Young notched his 1,000th RBI on Wednesday, on a two-run homer against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. He is the 18th active player to reach that threshold.

Ben Revere has a 10-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .391. Revere has spent the past seven games in the leadoff spot.

Cliff Lee, who potentially could be traded, has a 1.97 ERA in his last nine starts and has won seven straight decisions. He is owed $25 million a season in 2014 and ’15, and has a $27.5 million club option for 2016 with a $12.5 million buyout.

Morning briefing: Marcum debuts for Mets

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
7:01
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets will need to clear a roster spot for Shaun Marcum. The candidates (l to r): Jeurys Familia, Robert Carson and Josh Edgin.
FIRST PITCH: Shaun Marcum, who signed a $4 million deal on Jan. 30 that included the opportunity to double that amount by achieving incentives, is due to make his Mets debut today as the Mets oppose the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 p.m. at Citi Field.

Marcum received injections on April 4 to calm an inflamed nerve that was causing pain in his neck and shoulder. He never appeared in an official minor league rehab game, instead pitching in extended spring training against low-level competition. Marcum threw 52 pitches in five scoreless innings Monday in Florida, then continued to toss on the side to try to up his pitch count. He likely will be capped at roughly 90 pitches today, Terry Collins indicated.

The Mets will need to make a pregame roster move, subtracting a member from the bullpen, in order to clear room for Marcum. Josh Edgin has struggled badly, although he had a 1-2-3 ninth Friday. The alternatives: Jeurys Familia or, seemingly less likely, Robert Carson. Familia tossed two scoreless innings in the series opener against Philadelphia. That workload led to speculation he may be out.

Marcum faces right-hander Jonathan Pettibone in the rookie’s second major league start.

Saturday’s news reports:

• The Mets dropped below .500 for the first time this season with a 4-0 loss to the Phillies in Friday’s series opener. Dillon Gee matched zeroes with Kyle Kendrick until the sixth, when Gee surrendered a run-scoring single to Michael Young and three-run homer to Ryan Howard. Kendrick produced a three-hit shutout. It marked the fourth time in five games the Mets mustered five hits or fewer. Perhaps recognizing the Mets like to take pitches, Kendrick threw a season-high 71 percent first-pitch strikes, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Howard, the active home run leader against the Mets with 36, now has four homers in 12 career at-bats against Gee. That is the most homers Gee has surrendered to any player. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and MLB.com.

• Collins preached patience and insisted any consideration about demoting Ike Davis is a long way away. The manager tried to compare Davis’ struggles to the woes of Matt Kemp, who arrived in Queens with the Dodgers this week homerless. Yet Kemp still was respected by the Mets as a dangerous bat, according to Collins.

"I looked at Matt Kemp’s numbers the other day," Collins said. "They weren’t very good for Matt Kemp. I’m still scared to death of him. And you can be sure that the Philadelphia Phillies, when Ike Davis gets in the batter’s box, they’re worried, because they know he’s going to get out of it."

Davis was dropped to No. 7 in Friday’s lineup and went 0-for-2 with a walk. His average dipped to .169. Read more in the Record, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Collins’ Friday lineup juggling also included Daniel Murphy moving into the No. 3 slot and David Wright to cleanup, both for the first time this season. Read more in the Times.

• Read more on Marcum’s Mets debut and the impending roster move in the Journal, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post analyzes the state of the struggling Phillies and Washington Nationals, and wonders if the Mets will make a trade if those teams stumble and the Mets end up more in contention than they thought. Writes Davidoff:

The Mets say they have the funds to add payroll during the season, and their prospect/trade chip base has grown with the development of pitchers like Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Cory Mazzoni. Will they have cause to make a move, courtesy of the Phillies and Nationals? I’d like to see it, just to learn whether the Mets would live up to their word. After a night like this, though, you wonder whether the possibility of the 2013 Mets being relevant is the true mirage.

• In a batter of young NL East phenoms, Matt Harvey is scheduled to oppose Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez on Monday in Miami. Fernandez, who limited the Mets to one run in five innings in his major league debut on April 7, had allowed nine runs in nine innings over his past two starts -- at Cincinnati and at Minnesota.

In Miami, lightning-rod owner Jeffrey Loria denied influencing which game of a doubleheader Fernandez pitched at Minnesota this week, according to Manny Navarro in the Miami Herald.

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz is due to join the Phillies on Sunday after completing a 25-game suspension for amphetamines. "It's been a little hard for me," Ruiz told John Smallwood in the Philadelphia Daily News while rehabbing with Double-A Reading. "Definitely, I would like to be with the team. I want to help the ballclub win games. But now it's just about over. I'm real close, and I can't wait to see [Sunday]. It was tough, but at the same time, you had to prepare yourself to be ready for when you came back. I'm not happy with what happened, but there was nothing I could do except work every day."


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Aaron Laffey was ineffective Friday night in the Bronx after being claimed by the Jays.


Aaron Laffey, claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays a day after being designated for assignment by the Mets, started in the Bronx on Friday night in place of Josh Johnson, who had triceps tightness. Laffey lasted only 2 2/3 innings and walked five. He was charged with two runs. Brad Lincoln inherited the bases loaded from Laffey and stranded three by striking out Ichiro Suzuki.

Richard Griffin in the Toronto Star notes Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has made a massive number of waiver claims. Writes Griffin:

The Jays have made 21 such claims since Oct. 17, 2012. That is crazy high. Here is the list: OF Scott Cousins; RH Cory Wade; RH Tyson Brummett; C Bobby Wilson; RH David Herndon; RH Chad Beck (twice); LH Scott Maine; C Eli Whiteside; RH Mickey Storey; IF Russ Canzler; RH Tommy Hottovy; 1B Lars Anderson; RH Guillermo Moscoso; RH Todd Redmond; 1B Clint Robinson; RH Alex Burnett; RH Edgar Gonzalez; 1B Mauro Gomez; OF Casper Wells and Laffey. Only eight of the 20 different claims (Beck twice) are still in the organization. Only Laffey is on the Jays’ 25-man roster. Only Laffey, Robinson, Gomez and Redmond remain on the 40-man roster.

• Howard Johnson, back in baseball as the first-year hitting coach for Triple-A Tacoma (Seattle Mariners), is in Las Vegas this weekend facing Mets-affiliate Las Vegas. Regarding 51s manager Wally Backman getting a major league managerial gig, HoJo told the Las Vegas Sun: “One of these days, Wally is going to get a shot. I would love to be one of his coaches. It’s important to have people that you know and trust. We go back a long way and share a lot of the same experiences.”

• Zack Wheeler is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in five starts with Las Vegas. He has allowed 26 hits and 15 walks while striking out 28 in 23 1/3 innings. Opposing Pacific Coast League batters are hitting .283 against him.

“His velocity is good and his mechanics are good,” Sandy Alderson told columnist John Harper in the Daily News. “That’s what’s most important. And he threw well for four innings [Thursday]. We’re looking for his development as opposed to his line scores. But there’s no question it’s a big adjustment pitching in that league.”

Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Rafael Montero suffered his first 2013 loss as Binghamton was blanked by Akron, 4-0. Montero (3-1, 1.95 ERA) allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out eight. Dustin Lawley homered twice as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 5-2. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Jonathan Lehman in the Post profiles Binghamton left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich. Although he allowed two hits and a walk last night, Leathersich also struck out three in a scoreless ninth to keep his ERA at 0.00 for the season. The 2011 fifth-round pick from UMass-Lowell has 157 Ks in 95 2/3 professional innings.

• ESPN West Palm launched a weekly video segment featuring the St. Lucie Mets. Watch the first installment here.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing realizes some losses are less miserable than inevitable. … Shannon from Mets Police has some thoughts about the Mets’ efforts on social media.

BIRTHDAYS: Smithtown, Long Island’s Frank Catalanotto is 39. … Orber Moreno turns 36. … Eric Hillman is 47. … Brian Giles turns 53.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should the Mets demote/release from the bullpen to clear a roster spot for Shaun Marcum?

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 3

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
9:36
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Dillon Gee had the shortest start of his major league career and the New York Mets had a three-game winning streak snapped with an 8-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Gee allowed six hits in a four-run second inning, then surrendered solo homers to Ryan Howard, Michael Young and John Mayberry Jr. the following frame. He became the first Met to allow three homers in an inning since Johan Santana on June 8, 2012 at Yankee Stadium, in the southpaw’s first start after the historic no-hitter.


Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsDillon Gee had the shortest start of his major league career.


Gee ultimately was charged with seven earned runs on 10 hits while striking out two in a 56-pitch effort. The three-inning performance replaced a 3 2/3-inning start in Philadelphia on Aug. 22, 2011 as the shortest of Gee’s career.

The seven runs allowed by Gee were one shy of matching his career high, which came in that 10-0 loss to the Phillies two seasons ago.

Howard, who had not produced an extra-base hit this season before going deep to open the bottom of the third, now has three hits against Gee in nine career at-bats -- all homers.

Lee (2-0) came within an out of tossing a complete game. Three of the past six complete games against the Mets have been produced by Phillies (Roy Halladay 2011, Roy Oswalt 2010, Cole Hamels 2010).

BUCK SHOTS: John Buck continued his torrid start, belting a two-run homer in the fourth against Cliff Lee to pull the Mets within 7-2.

Buck now has four homers and 14 RBIs. Mets catchers combined to produce five homers and 48 RBIs all of last season.

The Mets have now homered in eight straight games -- matching the franchise record to begin a season. They also went deep in eight straight to open the 1987 season.

LEFT OUT: Lucas Duda was double-switched out of the game for the bottom of the fourth inning when Greg Burke replaced Gee. Jordany Valdespin entered in left field, tripled in his first at-bat and scored on a passed ball to pull the Mets within 8-3 in the fifth. Lee passed on getting retribution in Valdespin's next at-bat, after Valdespin demonstrably celebrated his triple.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94) in Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. rubber game.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 7, 2013
4/07/13
10:09
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Getty Images/USA TODAY Sports
The Mets face (l to r) Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick this week in Philly.
METS (4-2, second place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (2-4, fourth place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (0-1, 13.50), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-1, 1.42) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (1-0, 0.00), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94), 7:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Roy Halladay’s fastball averaged 89.6 mph and he used it far less often than is customary while surrendering five runs in 3 1/3 innings in his season opener at Atlanta. The fastball velocity is down from an average of 90.6 mph last season, 92.0 mph in 2011 and 92.6 mph in 2010. Halladay dealt with shoulder issues last season. He is seeking his 200th career win Monday. He is 7-0 with a 1.78 ERA against the Mets since 2010.

• Phillies pitchers have surrendered an NL-leading 32 runs. The relief corps has allowed 10 of 11 inherited runners to score.


Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
Former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg is Philadelphia's new third-base coach.


Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have started 962 games as a middle-infield combo, second to the Yankees’ Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (1,036 games) among active double-play partners. Rollins passed Richie Ashburn on Thursday for the second-most games played in Phillies history, with No. 1,795. Mike Schmidt is the franchise leader with 2,404 games played as a Phillie.

• Third baseman Michael Young was acquired from the Texas Rangers in December for right-handers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla.

• Center fielder Ben Revere was acquired from the Minnesota Twins in December for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May. Revere has played 166 straight error-free games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Revere has 1,092 career plate appearances without a homer -- the most among active players. The next 35 on that list are pitchers.

• Opening Day starter Cole Hamels, whom the Mets do not face, is 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA.

• First baseman Ryan Howard is hitting .167 with no homers and eight strikeouts in 24 at-bats. He has yet to produce an extra-base hit through six games.

• Backup outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Indians last Tuesday, originally was signed by the Mets out of Venezuela. He was part of the three-team trade on Dec. 11, 2008 that landed J.J. Putz and Sean Green in Flushing.

Cliff Lee -- who was winless until a July 4 victory at Citi Field last season, and who went 6-9 overall in 2012 despite a 3.16 ERA -- is off to a more favorable start this season. Lee tossed eight scoreless innings at Atlanta on Thursday, limiting the Braves to two hits and no walks while striking out eight. Lee’s victory snapped Atlanta’s streak of winning 23 straight games started by Kris Medlen. Lee has made 18 straight starts of six-plus innings with one or fewer walks. That is a modern-era record, topping the 14 straight by Christy Mathewson (1908) and Greg Maddux (1997).

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz is serving a 25-game MLB suspension to open the season after testing positive for the stimulant Adderall. Fill-in Erik Kratz caught 40 percent of would-be base stealers last season.

• The Phillies overhauled Charlie Manuel’s coaching staff. The newcomers: third base coach Ryne Sandberg, hitting coach Steve Henderson, assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner and bullpen coach Rod Nichols.

Delmon Young, who signed with the Phillies in January, is playing in extended spring training games. He underwent ankle surgery in November.

• The Phillies’ primary batting order is:

Revere, cf
Rollins, ss
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Young, 3b
Domonic Brown, lf
John Mayberry Jr. (RH)/Laynce Nix (LH), rf
Kratz, c

Toxicology report -- bad MLB contracts

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:18
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US Presswire
Vernon Wells, Juan Uribe and Chone Figgins (l to r) are among the bloated contracts around Major League Baseball.
The Mets’ first task this offseason regarding Jason Bay, and for that matter Johan Santana, likely should be to see if any team has trade interest. A swap appears unlikely, though, even discounting the no-trade clause each possesses.

After all, Bay is hitting .155 with eight homers in 187 at-bats. And he is owed $19 million next season including a 2014 buyout, making it a toxic contract.

Similarly, Santana -- despite the June 1 no-hitter -- finishes the season on the DL after allowing six-plus runs in each of his final five starts. Santana is owed $31 million next season including a ’14 buyout.

Still, if the Mets were to find another team with toxic contracts to swap, who is logical? With the help of reporters around baseball, here’s a look …

THEY’VE GOT POTENTIAL

Angels: “Oh, you've come to the right place,” our friend who covers the Angels says. “The Angels have the deadest of dead weight -- Vernon Wells. The Angels are paying Wells $21 million this year to be their fourth outfielder. They owe him $21 million more in 2013 and again in 2014.”

Blue Jays: Left fielder/first baseman Adam Lind (.240, 10 HR, 40 RBIs) is owed $5 million in 2013. With buyouts of option years, the minimum owed is $7 million. “He cleared waivers at one point this season and the Blue Jays would love to get rid of his contract -- even though it's unlikely that can happen,” a team observer said.

Braves: Second baseman Dan Uggla (.215, 19 HR, 73 RBIs) is owed $39 million over the next three seasons.

Cubs: Alfonso Soriano ($18 million apiece in 2013 and ’14) and Carlos Marmol ($9.8 million next season) are the remaining sizable contracts.

Dodgers: The Dodgers inherited Carl Crawford ($102.5 million through 2017) and Josh Beckett ($31.5 million through 2014) while acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but both should contribute. The least-productive contract: Juan Uribe, who finally pinch hit Sunday after going unused for nearly a month. Uribe, with one year remaining, is still owed $8 million.

Mariners: Left fielder Chone Figgins (.183, 2 HR, 11 RBIs) is owed $8 million next season. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (.258, 4 HR, 14 RBIs) is owed $7.5 million in 2013 with a buyout of the following season. Says one observer: “Gutierrez has been hurt or sick for most of his deal and might produce if ever healthy. Figgins is literally dead weight.” Bay does live in the offseason in Seattle. And the combined $15.5 million owed to those two are close to Bay's $19 million.

Marlins: Heath Bell has two years, $18 million guaranteed remaining. He also has a $9 million option for 2015 based on games finished -- 55 the previous season or 100 combined in 2013 and '14. (The Mets have been down that route before.)

Pirates: Clint Barmes is signed for 2013 at $5.5 million. He's hitting .228/.266/.325 with eight homers.

Red Sox: John Lackey (12-12, 6.41 ERA) has two years left for a combined $30.5 million, with a 2015 club option at the major league minimum because of a preexisting elbow injury.

Twins: Nick Blackburn (4-9, 7.39 ERA) and middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- both relegated to the minors -- are under contract for 2013 and “practically sunken cost.” Blackburn is owed $5.5 million. Nishioka is owed $3.25 million including a 2014 buyout. The Twins likely would never trade Joe Mauer, despite him being owed $23 million annually through 2018.

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez to Flushing? Don't hold your breath. Still, A-Rod is owed $114 million over the next five seasons. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia could emerge as bad contracts, with $90 million over four seasons and $119 million over five seasons owed, respectively.

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.296 9 54 74
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 81
RD. Murphy 74
OPSL. Duda .817
WB. Colon 13
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173