New York Mets: Michigan Wolverines

View from St. Lucie: Princeton-Michigan

March, 7, 2014

Adam RubinFred Wilpon, a big University of Michigan baseball booster, addresses Wolverines players before Friday's game against Princeton at the Mets' complex.

Adam RubinPrinceton senior Bobby Geren, son of Mets bench coach Bob Geren, takes BP Friday. Bobby's brother Brett also plays for the Tigers.

Morning briefing: Mets to lose $10M+?

February, 25, 2013
Mr. Met (Money Issue) Illustration by Remie Geoffroi

FIRST PITCH: The Mets can sleep in Monday before continuing Grapefruit League play with a 6:10 p.m. game at Tradition Field against the Washington Nationals.

Collin McHugh, Gonzalez Germen, Scott Rice, Elvin Ramirez and Greg Burke are due to pitch for the Mets. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nats, who already have listed this batting order:

Eury Perez, cf
Steve Lombardozzi, 2b
Corey Brown, rf
Tyler Moore, dh
Chris Marrero, 1b
Carlos Rivero, lf
Matt Skole, 3b
Chris Snyder, c
Zach Walters, ss

(See Nats’ full travel roster here.)

Monday’s news reports:

• Josh Kosman in the Post reports the Mets again will lose money this season. Writes Kosman:

The team is expecting to lose more than $10 million this year, after bleeding red the past two seasons, while attendance is projected to fall for a fifth straight year, The Post has learned.

The owners can expect to take about $65 million from separately owned SportsNet New York cable network, which airs Mets games. However, Citi Field saps $43 million in debt payments, leaving a net gain of $22 million from those two assets. That means there won’t be much left to sink into the ballclub. …

The team should have more financial freedom next year, when some $50 million in payroll comes off the books, thanks to expiring contracts with Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco, although Bay will continue to receive deferred payments.

However, the Mets have paid only some of the $320 million in principal due lenders in 2014, making next year’s talks potentially tense if the Mets do not hit their own not-so-rosy projections, the source said.

Associated Press
The Mets miscalcuated in their bid to acquire Justin Upton or Michael Bourn.

• John Harper in the Daily News says the Mets pitched trading Daniel Murphy or Ruben Tejada to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Justin Upton late in the offseason. As for the draft-pick issue with Michael Bourn, Harper reported the Mets received a favorable initial reaction from MLB about getting the No. 11 draft pick protected, but other teams began to complain when the Mets’ desire became public. MLB then changed its stance.

Pedro Feliciano will be held out from baseball activity for two weeks while he wears a monitor that will allow team doctors to gauge the severity of his heart issue.

Feliciano is in camp on a minor league contract. While of secondary importance to Feliciano’s health, the inactivity could make it difficult for the southpaw to make the Opening Day roster.

If he fails to do so, the Mets may just carry one left-hander in the bullpen, Josh Edgin. That’s because the Mets should have a serious 40-man roster crunch at the end of spring training, so it would be easier to carry an extra righty reliever already on the 40 from a group that includes Burke, Jeurys Familia and Jeremy Hefner.

“When I come back I hope I pitch good, surprise everybody and make the team,” Feliciano told reporters Sunday.

Read more on Feliciano’s health situation in the Post, Times, Daily News, Star-Ledger and

Matt Harvey and Travis d’Arnaud served as a battery for the first time as the Mets and Astros tied, 7-7, in a nine-inning Grapefruit League game Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla. Jamie Hoffmann and Jordany Valdespin homered for the Mets. Edgin suffered a blown save in the ninth, but rallied to strand the bases loaded and preserve a tie.

Read more on d’Arnaud and Harvey in the Post, Newsday, Record, Daily News, Times and Star-Ledger.

Lucas Duda, who is adjusting his routine at the plate, struck out in all four plate appearances against the Astros and is now 0-for-7 with six strikeouts in Grapefruit League play. Terry Collins said Duda is getting caught with his front foot still in the air as the ball reaches the plate. Read more in the Record and Star-Ledger.

• In the other split-squad game, the Mets beat the University of Michigan, 5-2. Wilmer Flores homered. Dillon Gee pitched for the first time since emergency surgery at last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder that was causing numbness in his arm. Jonathon Niese and prospect Rafael Montero also tossed two innings apiece.

• Noah Syndergaard, the right-handed pitching prospect acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays along with d’Arnaud in the R.A. Dickey trade, has reported to the complex for the Mets’ camp for top prospects. Syndergaard threw his first bullpen session as a member of the organization and admitted to being nervous with team personnel, his parents and plenty of media watching.

“Just being traded for a Cy Young Award winner has put a little nerves on me,” Syndergaard told reporters. “I’m sure after the first week I’ll be fine.’’

Read more on Syndergaard and the organization’s younger arms in Newsday, the Post and

• Andrew Keh in the Times goes fishing with the Mets, which plenty of players do to kill time during spring training. “It’s Port St. Lucie. It’s about the only thing there is to do,” Bobby Parnell tells Keh, who also writes:

Once, while playing for the St. Lucie Mets, [Ike] Davis and [Reese] Havens were climbing out of their two-man boat when they were confronted on the bank by a water moccasin, a venomous snake. “He wasn’t backing off, and he started coming at us,” Davis said. “We had an oar with us. He tried to get on the boat, and we hit him off. That was pretty freaky.”

• Jared Diamond in the Journal suggests naming David Wright captain is unnecessary since he already is the de facto leader, without the formal title. Writes Diamond:

Making Wright captain would allow the Mets to hold a news conference, jam dozens of television cameras into Citi Field for a formal announcement, and generate some goodwill before what could deteriorate into another losing season. It would allow them to plaster a "C" on Wright's uniform so they could sell replica jerseys and T-shirts.

In the clubhouse, where it matters, naming Wright captain would change nothing. The designation alone wouldn't transform him into a better leader. Keith Hernandez, one of the three captains in Mets history, called it strictly an "honorary position."

From the bloggers Metsmerized Online is concerned the work-in-progress Duda is the Mets' longest-tenured outfielder and most experienced, too. … Faith and Fear unspools its annual "In Mets-moriam" reel to remember, Oscars-style, those players who have left the organization during the past year. … At Mets Police, Mike V's Countdown to Opening Day continues with 2008: Shea Stadium's last home opener, when $35 got you in the upper deck.

BIRTHDAYS: Ed Lynch, who went on to become general manager of the Chicago Cubs, turns 57.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets’ money woes are behind them?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

Mets 5, Michigan 2: Gee returns

February, 24, 2013
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Back in Port St. Lucie, Dillon Gee made his first game appearance since undergoing emergency surgery at last season’s All-Star break for a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. Gee surrendered one run on three hits while striking out three and walking one as the Mets beat the University of Michigan in a split-squad game, 5-2.

Mike Janes/Associated Press
Michigan's Kyle Jusick accepts a throw as Mets farmhand Charlie Thurber dives back into first base.

“It feels good just to get back out there and try to get people out,” Gee said. “Obviously I still have a lot of work to do, and obviously I’m still not where I want to be. At this point, it’s OK. A lot of work to do before the start of the season, but at this point, we have plenty of time. I was excited just to play again and compete. I wasn’t nervous at all. I’ve been throwing for months now and I feel great. The arm felt fine, but it’s just a little mechanical work.”

Game tidbits:

NIESELY DONE: Jonathon Niese started and also surrendered one run on three hits in two innings. Niese struck out three and walked none.

“I need to work ahead and throw strikes early. I came into this outing thinking they would be swinging a little bit more. I kind of got behind on some counts, but when I needed to execute a pitch, I was able to do that.”

PROSPECTUS: Right-hander Rafael Montero, who has received a lot of early hype in camp, tossed two no-hit relief innings against the Wolverines. Montero went 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA in 20 starts last season at Class A Savannah and St. Lucie.

"He's pretty electric,” Wally Backman said. “He kept the ball at the knees the whole time. He's a big-time prospect for us. He's behind these guys a little bit, he's pretty exciting to watch pitch."

SECOND COMING: Wilmer Flores produced a solo homer in the sixth that capped the scoring. Marlon Byrd, Justin Turner and Matt den Dekker also had RBIs.

Morning briefing: Matt Harvey show next up

February, 24, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The Mets put their undefeated record on the line on Day 2 of the Grapefruit League season with a pair of games Sunday.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
A day after Zack Wheeler's appearance, it's Matt Harvey's turn today.

Terry Collins takes Matt Harvey and a split squad to Kissimmee to face the now-AL West-member Houston Astros. (See full travel roster here.)

Meanwhile, back at Tradition Field, devout Ohio State fan Jonathon Niese as well as Dillon Gee pitch against Fred Wilpon’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. The Wolverines won two of three games from Fordham this weekend at the Mets’ complex.

Gee will pitch in his first game since undergoing emergency surgery during last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. He already was throwing off the mound in September at Citi Field before shutting things down for the offseason, so Gee said he has zero concerns about this start.

“I feel great,” Gee said. “I feel normal. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Sunday’s news reports:

Pedro Feliciano returned to camp Saturday after an examination at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Feliciano said he has an irregular heartbeat and small “hole” in the exterior of the heart. Feliciano will wear a heart monitor and is not yet cleared to resume baseball activities. Collins said the issue potentially is serious. Sandy Alderson plans to address the issue further with media this morning. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post, Record and

• Outfielder Jamie Hoffmann also returned to camp after his initial physical required a follow-up exam in New York. Hoffmann said he was diagnosed with a non-alarming heart condition 10 years ago that routinely gets flagged when he switches teams.

Zack Wheeler wowed in his Grapefruit League debut, limiting the Washington Nationals to one hit and one walk while striking out two in two scoreless innings. Collins nonetheless reiterated that Wheeler is ticketed for the minors to open the season, regardless of Johan Santana’s situation.

“He’s very similar to Doc,” Wally Backman told columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post, referring to Dwight Gooden. “I think Doc’s breaking ball was a little bit bigger, but this kid has got, to me, real high expectations.”

Said Joe McIlvaine, a scout for the Mariners who once drafted Dwight Gooden: “Easy gas. Wheeler is very similar to [Stephen] Strasburg. He threw about as hard. He’s the same type of breaking ball. The same type of elongated body. Strasburg is a little bit stronger, but he’s a little bit older. The only differential I would say at this point is that [Wheeler’s] control is not as good as Strasburg’s. That’s the biggest difference, and that’s why he is still in the minor leagues.”

Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with man-of-few-words Wheeler. The exchange includes:

Q: Tell me about the day you were traded to the Mets.

A: I rolled out of bed, saw it on Twitter. I went downstairs, it was on ESPN.

Read more on Wheeler’s Grapefruit League debut in the Star-Ledger, Times, Post, Newsday, Daily News and

• Also in the 5-2 win against the Nats, Ruben Tejada belted a two-run homer against Strasburg, Shaun Marcum surrendered three runs in two innings and Collin Cowgill delivered a game-deciding RBI double. Read more in Newsday.

David Wright will get three more Grapefruit League starts before departing Saturday for the World Baseball Classic, Collins said. Read more in Newsday.

• The Mets signed 29-year-old first baseman Rhyne Hughes to a minor league deal. Justin Turner played with Hughes in the Baltimore Orioles organization and said the lefty hitter has power to all fields when on his game. Hughes’ career got sidetracked when the Orioles tried to expose him to right field and made him a part-time player, according to Turner.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jason Bay homered in his first plate appearance as a Mariner.

Jason Bay belted a two-run homer in his first at-bat as member of the Seattle Mariners. Bay is competing with Casper Wells for the final outfield slot. Read more in The Seattle Times and Newsday.

• Andrew Keh in the Times looks at the tradition of baseball players having offseason jobs. Collin McHugh works during the winter with a company that does fundraising for schools.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News contrasts John Buck with predecessor Josh Thole. “Josh just didn’t have a feel for calling a game,” a Mets person told Harper. “We needed somebody that was going to help make our young pitchers better.”

Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger has a Q&A with Buck about his Glove Guardian company.

• Should the Mets instruct Travis d’Arnaud to do swipe tags instead of blocking the plate in order to protect the young catcher? Mark Hale asks Paul DePodesta in the Post. “I’d say it’s to be determined,” DePodesta said.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News is critical of Wright’s agents over other clients being tied to a South Florida clinic.

• Minor league field coordinator Dicky Scott notes in the Star-Ledger that the plan is to keep prospect Wilmer Flores in the infield. “A lot of guys go to the outfield because they can really run – they’re great defenders -- and with other guys it’s because they don’t like fielding groundballs,” Scott told the newspaper. “We have a guy who has good hands, who can play multiple positions. I think we’re going to stick with that.”

• Mike Kerwick in the Record profiles pitching coach Dan Warthen, including his influence on a young Erik Hanson.

From the bloggers ... With 1986 nearly three decades in the past, Shannon from Mets Police wonders when the Mets become one of those teams that never wins. … Mets Merized looks at center-field prospect Matt den Dekker.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Eddie Murray turns 57.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What record and ERA will Matt Harvey produce in 2013?

Please use the comments section to weigh in



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