New York Mets: Mike Baxter

Minors 7.11.14: Bowman nets 1st Vegas win

July, 11, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE 5, LAS VEGAS 2: In Game 1, Las Vegas right-hander Matt Bowman recorded his first Triple-A victory. He allowed one run on seven hits and two walks in six innings. The 51s built an 8-1 lead after four innings. Matt den Dekker went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Allan Dykstra was 2-for-3 with a three-run triple in the fourth inning. In the nightcap, starter Greg Peavey allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings. Ex-Met Mike Baxter capped the scoring with a solo homer. Box 1, Box 2

ERIE 7, BINGHAMTON 3: Four B-Mets errors led to three unearned runs as a four-game winning streak ended. Erie grabbed the lead against Rainy Lara in the first. Following

consecutive singles, Daniel Fields sent a potential double-play ball to third. It rolled under Dustin Lawley’s glove for an error. Runner Jamie Johnson collided with Lawley on his way to third and was tagged out after stopping between third and home when he incorrectly thought the play had been ruled dead. With runners at the corners, ensuing batter Steven Moya lifted a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. The B-Mets flirted with cracking the scoreboard in the fourth against Kyle Ryan. Travis Taijeron pulled a two-out single into left. T.J. Rivera attempted to score from second, but Johnson gunned him down. After surrendering four hits to the first seven batters he faced, Lara settled in. He stranded two in the second, starting a stretch in which he retired 11 of 12. Lara's run ended in the sixth when the SeaWolves loaded the bases. Lara then uncorked a two-out wild pitch, prompting Devon Travis to dash home with Erie’s second run. Catcher Xorge Carrillo’s toss to the plate sailed past Lara and allowed Steven Moya to also scamper home. Dixon Machado capped the three-run inning with an RBI double as Erie took a 4-0 lead.

Kyle Johnson's two-run single in the seventh pulled the B-Mets within two runs. An inning later, Darrell Ceciliani's RBI double made it 4-3. However, Bryan Augenstein recovered to strike out Taijeron and Angel Nesbitt entered and retired Brandon Nimmo. Erie then took advantage of more defensive misplays in the eighth. A pair of singles and a throwing error by Lawley put runners at second and third. Following a hit batter by Adam Kolarek and a pop out, Johnson sent a potential inning-ending double play ball to short. Rivera failed to field the hop cleanly, allowing a run to score and opening the door for a three-run inning. Lara (5-3) allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits while walking four over six innings. He suffered his first loss since May 28. Box

LAKELAND 9, ST. LUCIE 3: St. Lucie took a 1-0 lead in the first on L.J. Mazzilli's sacrifice fly, but Austin Green put the Flying Tigers ahead for good when he blasted a three-run

homer against Matt Koch in the second. Koch and Lakeland starter Edgar De La Rosa dueled through the middle innings until Lakeland put up four runs in the seventh. The rehabbing Austin Dirks crushed a pitch from Koch off the right-field wall for a double that plated Jared Reeves. Tim Peterson replaced Koch and surrendered a two-out, two-run single to Connor Harrell that gave Lakeland a 7-1 lead. Tyler Hanover singled in a run in the eighth. Peterson’s wild pitch later in the frame scored Reeves to make it 9-1. Mazzilli extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI triple in the eighth. He scored on Reeves’ throwing error on the play to make it 9-3. With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, Calvin Drummond struck out Jeff McNeil and got Mazzilli to fly out to end the game. Koch lasted 6 1/3 and was tagged for six earned runs. Entering the seventh he had retired 11 straight batters. Jared King went 3-for-4 for the Mets in his home debut. Box


KINGSPORT 12, ELIZABETHTON 0: Starter Yoryi Nuez tossed five scoreless innings and combined with Martires Arias on the four-hit shutout. Pedro Perez went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs. Luis Guillorme, Jean Rodriguez and Eudor Garcia had three hits apiece. Box

STATE COLLEGE 4, BROOKLYN 3: Brooklyn scored its three runs thanks to a wild pitch, passed ball and an error. Yet a missed call by the umpires led to the decisive run scoring in the seventh for the Spikes. Cleanup hitter Alex De Leon produced a two-run double against Cyclones starter Carlos Valdez in the first. A half-inning later, Michael Katz, Tomas Nido and Adrian Abreu each singled and Brooklyn had the bases loaded with two outs for Anthony Chavez. A passed ball charged to Spikes catcher Luis Cruz allowed Katz to score. Later in the plate appearance, Chavez was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. With Tucker Tharp at-bat, State College starter Austin Gomber uncorked a wild pitch to plate Nido and even the score at 2. Tharp then hit a slow grounder to third baseman Danny Diekroeger. He uncorked an errant throw that allowed Tharp to reach and Abreu to score as the Cyclones took a 3-2 lead. In the fifth, Robelys Reyes' RBI single evened the score at 3. Brooklyn's Gaither Bumgardner (0-2) found himself in trouble in the seventh, in his second inning of relief. With one out and a runner on first, Diekroger sent a ball own the left-field line that appeared to land in foul territory, just eluding a diving attempt from Katz. However, plate umpire Jacob Metz saw it differently, ruling a ground-rule double. Despite a spirited argument from Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa and a number of Cyclones in the vicinity, the ruling stood and the Spikes had two in scoring position with one out. With a drawn-in infield, De Leon singled to plate the tiebreaking run. Box

GCL METS 3, GCL NATIONALS 3 (suspended): Alfredo Reyes was 3-for-3 with an RBI before the game was suspended in the sixth inning. Box

Compiled with team reports

Mike Baxter claimed by Dodgers

October, 17, 2013

Mike Baxter has been claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baxter, 28, hit only .189 with four RBIs in 132 at-bats at the major league level this season.

"It's definitely sad that my time in New York is going to come to an end," said Baxter, a Queens native and 2002 Archbishop Molloy High School graduate. "I'm just thankful they gave me an opportunity to come in and fulfill a childhood dream playing for the Mets. I'll look at that time fondly. I really enjoyed playing in New York."

The Mets' 40-man roster stands at 36 (with eight pending free agents and eight players on the 60-day DL).

Of course, Baxter's signature play as a Met was his seventh-inning catch on a shot to left field off the bat of Yadier Molina that preserved Johan Santana's June 1, 2012 no-hit bid.

"Obviously that's the highlight of my time there, being involved in such a fun night like that -- a night that was historical for the Mets, being the first one and doing it behind Johan," Baxter said.

Baxter suffered a displaced right collarbone and fractured rib cartilage on the catch, which Terry Collins believes affected his performance this past season.

"Terry and I had a pretty good conversation about that toward the end of the year," Baxter said. "I thought he brought up some decent points. Maybe coming back from it I might have got away from some of the mechanical things in the past. So it will be good to work on those things this offseason and try to improve going forward, so I have pretty clear, set plan of what I need to do this offseason to improve.

"But, realistically, I wasn't injured this season. I was fine physically. There was no injuries or anything like that. I'm excited to get a new opportunity.

"It's not a totally sad day by any means. My time in New York is kind of up, but I'm excited for a new opportunity with a new club and to get a chance to hopefully help that team win."

Player-by-player predictions for 2014

September, 30, 2013
NEW YORK -- Here is a player-by-player primer on each Met, broken down by contract status:

Free agents

LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.

Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.

David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.

Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.

Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.

Signed to contracts

Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.

David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.

Arbitration eligible

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.

• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.

Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.

Daniel Murphy, second baseman. hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.

Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.

Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.

Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.

Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.

Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.

Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.

Under control

Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.

Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.

• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.

Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.

Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.

Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.

Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.

Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.

Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.

Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.

Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.

Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.

Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.

Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.

Why is Baxter getting late-season look?

September, 26, 2013
NEW YORK -- Mike Baxter is starting a third straight late-season game on Thursday night. So what gives?

After all, the playing time is coming at the expense of youngsters Matt den Dekker and Juan Lagares.

Den Dekker makes only his second start in the past nine games on Thursday. And that may only be because Lagares became a father early in the day and had not slept much.

"I just thought he's been swinging pretty good," Terry Collins said about Baxter. "It was about three games ago he put some good swings on the ball -- hit the ball hard. He doesn't have a lot to show for it, but he swung the bat very well."

As for not getting at-bats for den Dekker recently, the manager essentially said Andrew Brown and Baxter need to be evaluated, too. And that requires playing time.

"We're sitting here looking at where these guys are going to fit next year," Collins said. "Can they be bench players for us? Can they come off the bench and do what we expect? So we're just trying to get some guys in there to get some at-bats and see what they look like toward the end of the year."

Morning Briefing: Welcome home

September, 9, 2013
FIRST PITCH: The Mets return home for 11 games, beginning with a series against the Washington Nationals.

Carlos Torres (3-3, 2.89 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.49) in tonight’s 7:10 opener.

The Nats (73-69) are on the precipice of being KO’d from postseason contention. They trail the Atlanta Braves by 12 games in the division and the Cincinnati Reds by eight games for the second wild-card spot with only 20 games remaining.

Monday’s news reports:

Elsa/Associated PressMatt Harvey is headed to see Dr. James Andrews.

Matt Harvey is due to see Dr. James Andrews this week for a second opinion regarding whether he will require Tommy John surgery. Sandy Alderson stated as early as the initial press conference that Harvey likely would seek a second opinion, and likely with Andrews. The second opinion signals Harvey already has been reexamined by Mets doctors. Alderson’s tone consistently has suggested that he expects Tommy John surgery will be required for the torn ulnar collateral ligament. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

Frank Francisco, who coaxed a double play and earned the win in his first major league action this season on Sunday, says he legitimately was injured. Francisco pointed to receiving Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and cited a flexor pronator muscle tear in his elbow as an indication he had a real issue.

“I got nothing to be ashamed of because I know how hard I’ve worked,” Francisco told reporters. “I’m a fighter. I never stopped, and I don’t do it just to make everybody happy. I do it for myself, and to be satisfied with me -- because besides baseball and everything, I’ve got three children, a wife, I have my family back in the Dominican and all those people depend on me.”

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

• Outfielder Mike Baxter, right-hander Aaron Harang and catcher Juan Centeno officially were promoted for today’s series opener.

Ruben Tejada’s promotion apparently will wait. If the Mets stall promoting Tejada, they will delay his free-agency eligibility from after the 2016 season until after the 2017 season. A Tuesday call-up would give Tejada two years, 171 days of service time at the end of the season. Credit for a full MLB season comes at 172 days.

Harang, 35 , went 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts with the Seattle Mariners this season. He made two appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas, including allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings against Salt Lake on Saturday as the Los Angeles Angels affiliate eliminated the 51s in Game 4 of their Pacific Coast League series. Harang’s services are needed with the Mets having a doubleheader on Saturday against the Miami Marlins, and with Zack Wheeler facing an innings limit.

Centeno, 23, hit .305 with no homers and 28 RBIs in 213 at-bats with the 51s this season. He was a 32nd-round pick out of high school in Puerto Rico back in 2007 and needed to be added to the 40-man roster or he would have become a minor league free agent this offseason. (That free-agency eligibility if he is not added to the 40 also is true for fellow Triple-A catcher Francisco Pena, the son of five-time All-Star Tony Pena, who has not been called up.)

David Wright should be with the Mets today, although he is not game-ready. Wright was due to return to New York because activity had all but ceased at the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex.

Eric Young Jr.’s ninth-inning double against Chris Perez plated Matt den Dekker with the tiebreaking run and the Mets avoided getting swept in Cleveland with a 2-1 win against the Indians on Sunday. Daisuke Matsuzaka took a scoreless effort into the sixth and ultimately was charged with one run in 5 2/3 innings.

Read game recaps in the Post, Times, Star-Ledger and

• Low-A Savannah, the lone Mets affiliate still in the postseason, opens its best-of-five South Atlantic League championship series tonight at Hagerstown, a Nationals affiliate.

BIRTHDAYS: Player-turned-producer Todd Zeile is 48. … Mike Hampton, who loves the schools in Colorado, and whose defection from the Mets provided the draft pick used for Wright, turns 41. … Kazuhisa Ishii is 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should David Wright still be trying to return this season? Or should he just shut it down?

Mets promote Baxter, Centeno, Harang

September, 8, 2013
Right-hander Aaron Harang, outfielder Mike Baxter and third catcher Juan Centeno are due to join the Mets on Monday in New York.

The Mets did not announce anything regarding Ruben Tejada. By waiting until Tuesday, the Mets delay Tejada's free agency eligibility by a year.

TC expects 3 more call-ups

September, 8, 2013
Terry Collins expects Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and third catcher Juan Centeno will join the Mets in New York this week, after the team completes the current road trip on Sunday in Cleveland.

Tejada hit .288 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 240 at-bats with Las Vegas.

Morning Briefing: Watch Dice-K or Jets?

September, 8, 2013

John Munson/The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY SportsMark Sanchez will be watching the Jets, not the Mets, on Sunday afternoon.
FIRST PITCH: Are you ready for some … Daisuke Matsuzaka?

Going up against the Jets game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Matsuzaka faces the Cleveland Indians at 1:05 p.m. as the Mets look to avoid getting swept at Progressive Field.

Matsuzaka pitched for the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate for most of this season. He brings an 0-3 record and 10.95 ERA into his matchup with rookie right-hander Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.00).

The Mets (63-77) now have the eighth-worst record in the majors, which would translate into getting a first-round draft pick that is protected regardless of how aggressive they are in free agency next offseason.

A loss today would drop the Mets 15 games under .500, which would match the season’s low-water mark. They were 24-39 on June 15, and 25-40 two days later. A loss, or Atlanta Braves win, also would mathematically eliminate the Mets from NL East contention. The wild card tragic number is 5.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Whether it is because they are shorthanded or intend to trade him, the Mets decided to bring Frank Francisco back to the major league level with Binghamton’s postseason elimination. Francisco had been out the entire season after undergoing seemingly benign surgery last Dec. 18 to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. If the Mets were to trade Francisco, he would be ineligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster. Still, he could help a team like the Yankees get to October, while providing the Mets some salary relief.

Charles LeClaire/US PresswireThe Mets welcome back Frank Francisco today.

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez recalled the Yankees acquiring left-hander Rick Honeycutt on Sept. 25, 1995. (He subsequently faced only six batters.) More recently, the Mets considered trading Chris Capuano to the Boston Red Sox two years ago for one late-season start.

Francisco is owed $781,420.77 from today through the remainder of the season (22 days of a 183-day season). Mets insiders previously had predicted Sandy Alderson would release Francisco before letting him get to the major league level.

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

• The Mets announced postgame Saturday that reliever Greg Burke would join the Mets today in Cleveland. The team also is expected to add veteran right-hander Aaron Harang before next Saturday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

Team insiders told that the Mets, as of Friday, also planned to call up Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and catcher Juan Centeno, but abruptly reversed course midday Saturday.

The Mets still may intend to call up Tejada at a later date -- the Daily News reported they will Monday -- but there was conflicting information because of the seemingly sudden reduction in the number of call-ups. If the Mets wait until Tuesday, they would delay Tejada’s free agency by a year, although it is now hard to envision him in the team’s plan four seasons down the road anyway. Alderson did not reply to a text message Saturday about whether Tejada eventually would be promoted.

• Las Vegas was eliminated Saturday in its best-of-five series. The lone Mets affiliate still alive is low-Savannah, which opens its South Atlantic League championship series Monday at Hagerstown, a Washington Nationals affiliate.

Jonathon Niese allowed five first-inning runs and Scott Atchison surrendered a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh as the Mets lost to the Indians, 9-4, Saturday. The Mets dropped into fourth place in the NL East.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Record and

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger revisits with Michael Bourn the Mets’ failed pursuit of him as a free agent last offseason. Mets officials visited Bourn at his home in Texas, but have suggested they backed off at the end because they may have needed to forfeit the first-round draft pick they eventually used on high school first baseman Dominic Smith.

• Marc Carig in Newsday discusses Travis d’Arnaud’s major league performance so far.

David Wright is returning to New York with minor league seasons complete and the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex barren. Wright, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, will take batting practice and do other baseball activities at Citi Field. He is not ready for games. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Parnell, on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck, turns 29.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think the Mets should call up Ruben Tejada?

Burke, Harang lone initial call-ups

September, 7, 2013
With Triple-A Las Vegas' elimination, the Mets' call-ups are expected to be Greg Burke and Aaron Harang.

Harang, the ex-Seattle Mariners right-hander, just pitched six innings in Saturday's Pacific Coast League playoff game. The Mets likely are eyeing next Saturday's doubleheader at Citi Field for a Harang start.

The initial plan, according to team insiders, also was to promote Ruben Tejada, third catcher Juan Centeno and Mike Baxter. Team sources believed those largely may be off the table now, for whatever reason.

Mets officials already planned to snub Robert Carson and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, a source told

Tejada may be promoted later, but there was conflicting information. Waiting until Tuesday does delay his free agency by a year because of MLB service time calculations.

Passing over Tejada would be particularly surprising and a major snub. Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson recently had mentioned him as an intended September call-up. Mets officials also had mentioned calling up a third catcher during the final month. Baxter would have qualified for Super 2 status with a call-up.

The Mets confirmed Burke's call-up postgame Saturday. Harang presumably will wait to be added until his start is required.

Minors 9.7.13: Vegas ousted in PCL

September, 7, 2013
SALT LAKE 4, LAS VEGAS 3: The 51s were eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who had homered in the first inning, struck out to end the game with Dustin Lawley at third base. The 51s left a runner at third base in four different innings. That also included Rylan Sandoval striking out to end the eighth with Mike Baxter at third base as the potential tying run. Starter Aaron Harang allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. In his Triple-A debut, Jeff Walters recorded the final five outs, allowing one hit while striking out three. Walters set Binghamton single-season and career saves records with 38 in 2013. The loss leaves Savannah as the lone Mets affiliate remaining in the postseason. The Gnats have advanced to the South Atlantic League championship series. Box

Tejada drama, but Super 2 mostly non-issue

September, 6, 2013

Getty ImagesLucas Duda is comfortably eligible for arbitration, while Mike Baxter is on the Super 2 bubble. Ruben Tejada's question is of free-agency eligibility.
Ryan Galla of the sports agency CAA estimates this offseason's Super 2 deadline at 2 years, 121 days (via MLB Trade Rumors).

That is unlikely to pose a problem for the Mets, with no one other than seemingly Mike Baxter within days of that threshold. Generally speaking, the top 22 percent of players with two-plus years service time qualify for arbitration a year early. It does not affect when they are eligible for free agency.

For instance, because Ike Davis had 2 years, 168 days of service time after last season, he qualified as a Super 2 and is making $3.125 million this year instead of close to the $490,000 major league minimum.

Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada will be first-time arbitration-eligible this winter, but the drama with Tejada is of a different sort.

Tejada, before his September return, has 2 years, 151 days of MLB service time -- already well over the projected Super 2 threshold.

The question becomes: Will Tejada cross three years of service time and be eligible for free agency after the 2016 season instead of after the 2017 season?

A full year of service time is considered 172 days (of a 183-day season). So Tejada needs 21 more days to get to three years. That means Tejada would need to join the Mets by Monday if he is to get those 21 days. (The season ends Sept. 29.)

By waiting until Tuesday for a promotion, the Mets would appear able to delay Tejada's free agency by a year. (You would presume the Mets would wait to have Tejada join the major league club even if Las Vegas is eliminated tonight. Tejada may not be a big-time future piece, but why not wait a couple of days and ensure you have that extra season of control?)

Duda entered the season 35 days shy of three years of major league service, so he is eligible for arbitration without the Super 2 provision.

As for other Mets, Dillon Gee, Justin Turner and Eric Young Jr. all will have crossed three years and be eligible for arbitration for the first time, too. Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell and Omar Quintanilla all will have exceeded four years, giving the Mets only two more years of control in each case.

The biggest loser by his demotion: Baxter. He entered the season at 2 years, 15 days. That means he needs 106 days at the major league level this season to be a Super 2, assuming the CAA estimate is accurate. Baxter will be very close. While our calculation may be off by a day or two, it looks like Baxter has 92 days at the major league level this season. So he needs about 14 more days -- or, in other words, to be up at the major league level by the end of next weekend.

Therefore, Baxter potentially would be a big winner if Las Vegas is soon eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs.

Meanwhile, several Mets are not yet remotely close to Super 2 status and again next season will make close to the major league minimum, which rises to $500,000 in 2014. Those players include Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeremy Hefner, Anthony Recker, Andrew Brown, Carlos Torres, Scott Rice, Jenrry Mejia and Greg Burke.

Minors 8.29.13: Herrera lifts Gnats in debut

August, 29, 2013
LAS VEGAS 10, COLORADO SPRINGS 7: Dustin Lawley, the Florida State League Player of the Year and home run leader, launched his first Triple-A long ball. Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter also went deep as the 51s pummeled Sky Sox starter Sean Gallagher for 10 runs on 14 hits in four innings. 51s starter Matt Fox allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Chris Schwinden entered to record the final out after D.J. Mitchell surrendered four ninth-inning runs. Box

BOWIE 13, BINGHAMTON 1: The Baysox blasted five homers, four against starter Erik Goeddel, to hand the B-Mets their most lopsided loss of the season. Trailing 7-0, the B-Mets finally got on the board in the fifth against Daniel McCutchen. Travis Taijeron

deposited a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall for his 14th Double-A homer. Brandon Waring, who entered the game with a .159 batting average in August, launched three homers -- the final against Armando Rodriguez in the sixth. He became the first opponent to hit three homers against the B-Mets since Danny Espinosa performed the feat with Harrisburg on Aug. 4, 2010. Adam Kolarek and Chasen Bradford each contributed two scoreless relief innings. Goeddel (9-7) allowed 10 runs on 12 hits, both career-highs, in 4 2/3 innings. McCutchen (2-0) surrendered one run over 4 1/3 innings after taking over for rehabbing major leaguer Jason Hammel. Goeddel is the first B-Mets pitcher to allow four homers in a game since Brandon Moore surrendered four to Harrisburg on Sep. 3, 2010. it was Binghamton’s worst margin of defeat since they fell, 16-3, to New Hampshire on April 26, 2012. Earlier in the day, the Eastern League named Allan Dykstra and closer Jeff Walters to the end-of-season All-Star team. Box

JUPITER 12, ST. LUCIE 3: Alex Panteliodis allowed eight runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings and St. Lucie was eliminated from postseason contention. T.J. Rivera drove in two of the Mets' three runs. Box

SAVANNAH 5, ROME 3: Second baseman Dilson Herrera, acquired from the Pirates,

batted cleanup and drove in the tiebreaking run in what became a three-run sixth. Herrera's single scored Brandon Nimmo for a 3-2 lead. Jeff Reynolds followed with an RBI single on which two runs scored. Herrera finished 2-for-3, was hit by a pitch and scored twice in his Gnats debut. Gabriel Ynoa earned his organization-leading 15th win. Ynoa, who was named the South Atlantic League's Most Outstanding Pitcher for the season, limited Rome to two runs in six innings. Paul Sewald notched his eighth save. Cole Frenzel's two-run homer in the fourth had evened the score at 2. Box

KINGSPORT 9, BLUEFIELD 1: The K-Mets clinched the division title. Kingsport is playoff-bound for the first time since 1996. First-round pick Dominic Smith went 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBIs off the bench. He has reached base in all four plate appearances since a promotion from the Gulf Coast League. Sixth-round pick Champ Stuart went 3-for-5 with a double and his first professional homer. Starter Gaby Almonte allowed one run on three hits and threw walks in six innings in his Appalachian League debut. Edioglis Villasmil tossed three no-hit relief innings for his first save. Box

BROOKLYN 2, STATEN ISLAND 1: The Cyclones maintained a half-game lead over Aberdeen for first place in their division with their sixth win in seven games. Miller Diaz limited Staten Island to one hit in six scoreless innings while walking three and striking out nine. Brooklyn took a 1-0 lead in the first. Jonathan Clark walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throw into center by catcher Trent Garrison. Ismael Tijerina then double. In the third, Brooklyn loaded the bases on Tijerina's single and walks to Jared King and James Roche. Alex Sanchez then hit a grounder to shortstop Tyler Wade. He flipped the ball to John Murphy for the out at second, but Sanchez beat the relay throw to first as Tijerina scored for a 2-0 lead. In the eighth, Staten Island pulled within a run. Murphy singled and moved to second on reliever Cameron Griffin's wild pitch. Michael O’Neill then hit a fly ball to deep center that allowed Murphy to tag up and move to third base with two outs. Griffin's night ended after walking Eric Jagielo. Juan Urbina entered with runners on the corners. A fielding error by Tijerina then allowed Mike Ford to reach, making it a 2-1 game. Urbina avoided further damage by striking out Yeicok Calderon with the tying run on third base. Brooklyn hosts a two-game series at MCU Park against second-place Aberdeen beginning Saturday. Box

GCL METS 4, GCL MARLINS 1: Marcos Molina limited the Marlins to one run in five innings. Ryan Chapman, Waldo Rodriguez, Gaither Bumgardner and Yoryi Nuez tossed a scoreless inning apiece. Luis Guillorme and Ivan Wilson each drove in two runs. Box

Compiled from team reports

Minors 8.28.13: K-Mets clinch playoffs

August, 29, 2013
LAS VEGAS 12, COLORADO SPRINGS 8: Right-hander Jacob deGrom departed Game 1 after two innings with an apparent injury. The 51s suffered a walk-off loss in the eighth as Justin Hampson suffered the defeat. Las Vegas had loaded the bases in the final regulation inning, but Mike Baxter flied out to end the threat. Ex-Met Xavier Nady had a two-run homer against deGrom before he departed. Dustin Lawley started in left field and went 1-for-4 in his Triple-A debut. Las Vegas then posted a seven-run fourth inning in Game 2 to earn a split. Jamie Hoffmann contributed a three-run homer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a two-run homer in the nightcap victory. Box 1, Box 2

BINGHAMTON 7, BOWIE 4: Starter Mark Cohoon's outing ended after two scoreless innings because of a rain delay. Box

ST. LUCIE 2, CHARLOTTE 1 (10 innings): Rylan Sandoval's sacrifice fly scored Cam Maron in the bottom of the 10th for the walk-off win. Starter Hansel Robles allowed one run on three hits and three walks in eight innings. Randy Fontanez (9-7) earned the win with two no-hit relief innings. St. Lucie remains mathematically alive for a postseason berth with four games remaining, but faces near-impossible odds because the two teams ahead of the Mets in the division finish the season playing head-to-head. Box

ROME 4, SAVANNAH 1: Starter Julian Hilario (7-7) allowed three runs on nine hits and and three walks in five innings. Box

KINGSPORT 7, BLUEFIELD 6 (10 innings): Jeyckol De Leon delivered his third walk-off hit of the season, this time scoring Yeixon Ruiz in the 10th. Combined Johnson City's loss

De Leon
to Burlington, Kingsport (38-27) clinched its first postseason berth in nearly two decades. With Greeneville losing to Danville, the K-Mets also moved into first place in the Appalachian League's West Division by a half-game. The four postseason participants have been determined. The order in terms of division winners and runner-ups is unresolved. With two games remaining in the regular season, Bluefield leads Pulaski by a half-game in the East. The two division winners earn the right to host Game Nos. 2 and 3 in the opening round. Kingsport lost seven of its first nine games, but got into the playoff chase by tallying 21 wins in July.

Bluefield jumped to a 4-1 lead by having more success against Rob Whalen than arguably any Appy League team to date. A wild bottom of the seventh then got the K-Mets back into the game. Kingsport scored five runs on three hits in that inning, and benefited from three consecutive errors by the Jays. Bluefield forced extra innings thanks to Franklin Barreto's two-out, two-run double in the ninth against Ricardo Jacquez. Kingsport broke through in the 10th. After Ruiz's infield single, Jeff McNeil's line single advanced him to third. An intentional walk to the newest K-Met position player, 2013 first-round draft pick Dominic Smith, loaded the bases for De Leon, whose flare single to right scored Ruiz with the decisive run. McNeil went 4-for-6. Ruiz, the only K-Met to make the Appalachian League All-Star team, had two hits and scored twice. Smith walked twice off the bench in his K-Mets debut. Box

BROOKLYN 1, TRI-CITY 0: John Gant tossed a one-hit shutout and faced the minimum 27 batters as Brooklyn moved into first place. It marked only the fourth time in Cyclones history that a starting pitcher went nine innings. The last to do so was Hansel Robles against Hudson Valley on Sept. 7, 2012, in Game 1 of the NYPL semifinals. Gant needed 91 pitches to complete his gem. The lone run came in the fifth. Anthony Chavez singled to lead off and moved to second on Kyle Westwood's errant pickoff throw. Eris Peguero then squared to sacrifice Chavez to third, but his bunt went directly down the third-base line for a hit. With men on the corners and nobody out, Gavin Cecchini grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Chavez and giving the Cyclones a 1-0 lead. With Aberdeen's loss to Lowell, Brooklyn has a half-game division lead with seven games remaining in the regular season. Box

GCL MARLINS 3, GCL METS 2: Starter Craig Missigman (0-4) allowed three runs in five innings. Christian Montgomery tossed three scoreless relief innings. Box

Compiled from team reports

Minors 8.27.13: Walters breaks saves record

August, 28, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS 13, LAS VEGAS 12: Mike Baxter had a three-run homer in a five-run eighth as Las Vegas rallied to even the score at 9, but D.J. Mitchell surrendered four runs in the bottom half of the frame. Trailing 13-9, Francisco Pena doubled to open the ninth and scored on Brandon Hicks' single. Brian Bixler and Kirk Nieuwenhuis then walked to load the bases with none out. Ruben Tejada struck out. With Baxter then batting, a wild pitch scored Hicks to pull the 51s within two runs. Baxter then walked to reload the bases. Zach Lutz delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 13-12, but Eric Campell grounded out to strand the tying and winning runs on base. Starter Giancarlo Alvarado allowed six runs in six innings. Box

BINGHAMTON 3, BOWIE 2: The B-Mets packed their runs into the second inning and held on for a franchise-record 83rd win. Jeff Walters notched his 37th save, displacing Tim Lavigne for the B-Mets' career record. The Baysox opened the scoring in the first inning.

Kyle Hudson had a leadoff single against Logan Verrett, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a single and scored on another wild pitch. Binghamton answered in the second against Bowie starter Tyler Wilson. Cory Vaughn launched his 10th B-Mets homer, ending the team's five-game long-ball drought. Following Travis Taijeron's single and Blake Forsythe's double, Richard Lucas gave Binghamton its first lead since Saturday with a sac fly. Wilfredo Tovar then doubled to plate Forsythe with Binghamton’s third run. Verrett (12-6) completed his outing with four scoreless frames. The right-hander allowed six hits and walked one over five innings, but held the Baysox to 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners. Chasen Bradford worked around a one-out single to put up a zero in the sixth, but ran into trouble an inning later. Garabez Rosa's solo homer cut Binghamton’s lead to one. Two batters later, Josh Horton singled, putting the potential tying run on base. Adam Kolarek entered and induced an inning-ending comebacker. The Maryland native returned for the eighth and used a double play to erase a leadoff single in a scoreless frame. Walters posted a perfect ninth. Verrett took the sole possession of the Eastern League lead with his 12th win. Box

ST. LUCIE 4, CHARLOTTE 2: Rylan Sandoval had an RBI double in the first inning and T.J. Rivera and Kevin Plawecki had run-scoring singles in the second as St. Lucie built a 4-1 lead. Starter Angel Cuan (8-3) allowed two runs in six innings. Cody Satterwhite and T.J. Chism combined for three scoreless relief innings. Chism earned his 19th save. Box

ROME 14, SAVANNAH 1: Starter Marco Camarena was charged with eight runs in four innings. Reliever Wanel Mesa allowed six runs in two innings. Box

KINGSPORT 5, PULASKI 3: The K-Mets overcame a three-run deficit, evening the score in the fifth on Victor Cruzado's RBI single and taking the lead an inning later on Pedro Perez's run-scoring triple. Alberto Baldonado and Robert Coles combined for three no-hit relief innings. Box

TRI-CITY 5, BROOKLYN 3 (16 innings): L.J. Mazzilli's eighth-inning homer evened the score at 3 and forced extra innings, but the Cyclones ultimately lost the marathon. Cristian Chivilli surrendered two runs in the top of the 16th, after walking and hitting with a pitch the first two batters of the inning. Gavin Cecchini, Mazzilli and Jared King consecutively struck out in the bottom half. Box

GCL CARDINALS 11, GCL METS 6: Frank Francisco tossed a scoreless inning, albeit allowing two hits, in his third Gulf Coast League game in six days. Reliever Ramon Estevez was charged with four runs without recording an out as the Mets failed to hold a two-run lead in the eighth. Gaither Bumgardner was charged with another four runs in the ninth. Dominic Smith drove in two runs in the loss. Box

Compiled from team reports

Duda returns; Baxter demoted

August, 24, 2013

Chris Trotmanamee/Getty ImagesLucas Duda is returning to the majors.

NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda, who has not appeared in a major league game since June 21, is returning to the major league club.

Duda had been playing rehab games with Triple-A Las Vegas when he was taken off the rehab assignment on Aug. 7 and officially optioned to the 51s. Because the Mets are returning Duda to the majors within 20 days of that option, this year will not count as an option year being used for Duda.

Mike Baxter has been demoted to Las Vegas.

Duda exclusively had played first base in his past 12 starts. He went 2-for-5 for the 51s on Friday night and is hitting .308 with eight RBIs and 14 walks in 62 at-bats in Triple-A, including the rehab numbers.

Terry Collins will address later how he plans to use Duda. Options would be to share time with Eric Young Jr. in left field, chip away at Ike Davis' time against righties at first base, or serve as a lefty bat for the bench. Davis is hitting .172 (5-for-29) with two homers in his past nine games (seven starts).



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