New York Mets: Mike Nickeas

Trade official

December, 17, 2012
Here's the Mets' Tweet that makes the trade official:

C Travis d’Arnaud, C John Buck, RHP Noah Syndergaard & OF Wuilmer Becerra from Blue Jays for Dickey, Thole & Nickeas

Read the full news story here.

Here's the press official release:

FLUSHING, N.Y., December 17, 2012 – The New York Mets today announced that they acquired catchers Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck, righthanded pitcher Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for righthanded pitcher R.A. Dickey and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas.

TRAVIS D’ARNAUD (pronounced “DAR-no”)
The 23-year-old d’Arnaud was ranked by as the 11th-best prospect in all of baseball and the best catching prospect this past September. The righthanded hitter batted .333 (93-279) with 45 runs scored, 21 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 52 RBI with a .380 on-base percentage in 67 games with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League, last season. The Long Beach, Calif. native missed the final two months of the season after suffering a tear to the posterior cruciate ligament of his left knee which did not require surgery.

He was named the Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player in 2011 after hitting .311 (132-424) with 72 runs scored, 33 doubles, 21 home runs and 78 RBI with a .371 on-base percentage with New Hampshire (AA). D’Arnaud also led the EL with a .542 slugging percentage and was named the league’s best defensive catcher by EL managers.

A former first-round compensation selection by Philadelphia in 2007, d’Arnaud was acquired by the Blue Jays in the trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies in December, 2009. The 6-2, 195-pounder has hit .286 (523-1,828) with 133 doubles, 66 home runs, 289 RBI with a .343 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage in six minor league seasons. D’Arnaud has been named to four minor league All-Star teams during that span and twice played in MLB’s Futures Game. His older brother Chase is an infielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Buck, 32, has 48 home runs over the last three years (2010-2012), the third-most in the majors as a catcher behind Brian McCann (63) and Matt Wieters (53). The 6-2, 230-pounder also has 160 RBI while playing behind the plate, ranking sixth in the majors during that span. Buck was an All-Star in 2010 when he hit 20 home runs and drove in 66 runs for the Blue Jays.

The Kemmerer, Wyo. native batted .192 (66-343) with 15 doubles, 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 106 games for the Miami Marlins last year. Buck has hit .235 (737-3,131) with 159 doubles, 118 home runs and 423 RBI during his nine-year career with the Royals, Blue Jays and Marlins.

NOAH SYNDERGAARD (pronounced “Sin-Der-Guard”)
Syndergaard, 20, went 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA (30 earned runs/103.2 innings) and finished third in the Midwest League with 122 strikeouts in 27 games, 19 starts, for Lansing (A) in 2012. The 6-5, 200-pounder issued 31 walks and allowed three home runs while holding opponents to a .212 batting average.

The Mansfield, Tex. native ended 2012 as the third-best prospect in the Blue Jays organization according to Syndergaard was Toronto’s first round selection (38th overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Syndergaard is 13-8 with a 2.35 ERA (46 earned runs/176.0 innings) and 196 strikeouts in 45 games, 35 starts in three minor league seasons.

WUILMER BECERRA (pronounced “Wilmer Ba-Ser-ah”)
Becerra, 18, hit .250 (8-32) with four doubles and four RBI in 11 games with the rookie-level Gulf Coast Blue Jays last year. The 6-4, 190-pounder is the son of former St. Louis Cardinals scout and Venezuelan star Wilmer Becerra.

Trade to be announced shortly

December, 17, 2012
The Mets and Blue Jays will formally announce their trade shortly, a person with knowledge of the trade told

Jon Heyman reports the final two pieces of the deal are the Mets receiving 18-year-old outfielder Wuilmer Becerra and Mike Nickeas also headed to Toronto.

Part I: Who won? Triple-A for d'Arnaud?

December, 16, 2012

Getty ImagesR.A. Dickey and Travis d'Arnaud are the principals in the yet-to-be-official Mets-Jays trade.

As we enter Day 3 without the New York Mets-Toronto Blue Jays trade being official, let’s use the time to attempt to answer a few questions. …
Is this a good deal for the Mets?

Well, if the construction of the trade centers on the Mets returning top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as well as highly regarded Class A right-hander Noah Syndergaard while swapping catchers Josh Thole and John Buck, certainly that’s a no-brainer for the Mets, whose window for winning arguably is beyond Dickey's prime years.

R.A. Dickey will be 38 years old next season. And while there is a chance he can follow the path of knuckleballer kin such as Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and Phil Niekro to capably pitch into his mid-40s, there is no guarantee -- particularly since Dickey throws harder than his brethren and may not have the same durability. Dickey has shown a susceptibility to injury. He acknowledged taking the painkiller Toradol for most of the 2011 season to deal with foot pain, while he pitched nearly all of 2012 with an abdominal tear that required offseason surgery.

That said, Dickey is more than a one-hit wonder. His three-year totals with the Mets are a 39-28 record with a 2.95 ERA and 616 2/3 innings. That ERA ranks ninth in the majors over that span among pitchers who logged at least 600 innings.

Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesClass A right-hander Noah Syndergaard reportedly also will be joining the Mets.

So the Blue Jays lost?

Not necessarily. They are in win-now mode in a ripe-for-the-taking AL East. We’ll only know the verdict once the careers of all the minor leaguers are established.

Case in point: Remember the Johan Santana trade? The Mets gave up prospects Philip Humber, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. From that perspective, in retrospect, the Mets did not lose. Yet when you consider the trade was contingent upon a six-year, $137.5 million extension for Santana, arguably in retrospect the Mets did not win, either, since the back end of that contract obligation now leaves them handcuffed from other maneuvers.

Ultimately, the Jays will be judged on three factors:

• What type of success did they have in the short term that was benefited by this deal?

• What type of careers do the players they surrender ultimately enjoy?

• And what type of commitment do they give Dickey -- and what value/albatross does that become?

Where would d’Arnaud start the 2013 season?

Let’s wait for Sandy Alderson to weigh in, but the sensible bet is Triple-A Las Vegas, catching Zack Wheeler on Opening Day in the Pacific Coast League, April 4 at Sacramento.

As a Blue Jay, d’Arnaud (pronounced Dar-No) was slated to begin 2013 in Buffalo (the former Mets affiliate, now with the Jays). That’s because his inaugural season in Triple-A ended June 25 with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, suffered sliding into second base.

Even if the Mets deemed d’Arnaud major league-ready for Opening Day and had a need, it makes sense to keep him in Triple-A the first three weeks of the season. The logic is identical concerning Wheeler.

Because both prospects are on the 40-man roster, technically they will be optioned (demoted) from the major league club to the minors at the end of spring training. If they are promoted back to the majors within the first 20 days of the season, they are re-credited that major league service time, even though they were at Las Vegas.

In order to avoid getting credit for a full year of major league service in 2013, a player must not reach 172 days at the major league level (based on a 183-day season). By waiting the 20 days in the minors and ensuring that time does not get credited back to him, d’Arnaud could achieve no more than 163 days of service time during the upcoming season. That means he would not be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season, not after 2018.

So who catches?

It’s too early to know precisely, but if you had to start the season today and Buck were in the deal, he would be the starter, with waiver-claim Anthony Recker the backup and Mike Nickeas sitting at Las Vegas as d’Arnaud’s mentor. Why Recker over Nickeas? He’s on the 40-man roster and Nickeas is not.

Let’s also see what Alderson says about now possibly bringing in a lefty-hitting catcher as a free agent or otherwise.

Part II will focus on the 2013 payroll and remaining offseason work

Nickeas opts for free agency

November, 6, 2012
After being outrighted off the 40-man roster, Mike Nickeas has elected free agency, a team official said.

Fred Lewis, who also had been removed from the roster, chose free agency as well.

The Mets currently have catchers Josh Thole and Anthony Recker on the 40-man roster.

Nickeas removed from roster

November, 2, 2012
Mike Nickeas has cleared waivers and been removed from the 40-man roster by the Mets. He was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Mets currently have Josh Thole and righty-hitting waiver claim Anthony Recker on the 40-man roster at the catching position.

Nickeas, 29, hit .174 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 109 at-bats during the 2012 season.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 3, Mets 1

September, 17, 2012

WHAT IT MEANS: R.A. Dickey’s road to 20 wins got a little more challenging.

Dickey surrendered three runs (two earned), including solo homers to Jimmy Rollins and Domonic Brown, in a 112-pitch effort over seven innings and was tagged with the loss as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Mets, 3-1, Monday.

The Mets dropped to 4-22 at Citi Field since the All-Star break and dipped a season-worst 15 games under .500. They failed to exceed three runs for the 14th straight home game, extending their franchise record.

Dickey (18-6) now needs two winning decisions in his final three starts to become the franchise's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. The knuckleballer is due to face the Miami Marlins on Sunday at Citi Field, then pitch at Atlanta on Sept. 28 and at Miami in the season finale on Oct. 3.

Dickey did reach 200 strikeouts for the season with a second-inning K of Brown. The knuckleballer became the 10th Mets pitcher to reach that plateau, joining David Cone (1988, 1990-92), Sid Fernandez (1986), Dwight Gooden (1984-86, 1990), Jerry Koosman (1976), Al Leiter (2000), Pedro Martinez (2005), Jon Matlack (1973), Johan Santana (2008) and Tom Seaver (1968-76).

The Mets’ lone run came on a fifth-inning flare by Daniel Murphy over Rollins at shortstop that scored Mike Nickeas and made the score 2-1. Nickeas had opened the inning with a surprise bunt single against Cliff Lee.

That partly atoned for a passed ball by Nickeas when Rollins struck out to open the game. Rollins reached first base on the play, advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw by Dickey and eventually scored on a sac fly by Chase Utley.

WHAT’S NEXT: Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92 ERA) makes his final 2012 start when he opposes Phillies right-hander Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Cloyd, whose primary pitch is a cutter, made his major league debut Aug. 29 against the Mets in Philly in place of scratched Cole Hamels. The Mets are one loss from clinching their fourth straight losing season.

TC originally had Shoppach catching Dickey

September, 17, 2012
Terry Collins sounded inclined to pair Kelly Shoppach with R.A. Dickey on Monday night, since the Philadelphia Phillies are starting a left-hander, Cliff Lee.

But, according to the manager, Shoppach wanted to maximize the knuckleballer's comfort level as he pursues 20 wins. So, upon further review, Collins instead decided to give the fellow righty-hitting Mike Nickeas his first start since the third catcher's September call-up.

"Actually, Kelly is the one who brought it up the other day because I told him he was going to get Lee," Collins said. "He said, 'You know, it's R.A.'s day.' He said, 'Although I might be a little comfortable, he may not be.' He was more concerned about R.A. He brought up a good point."

Mets morning briefing 9.4.12

September, 4, 2012
Collin McHugh's second major league start lasted only four innings, with McHugh surrendering four runs. The drama, though, came late. With the Mets trailing by a run in the ninth, Andres Torres seemingly led off with a double. But at the instruction of injured ex-Met Carlos Beltran, the St. Louis Cardinals successfully appealed to rookie ump Dave Rackley that Torres missed the first-base bag. The Mets, deprived of the baserunner, lost shortly thereafter, 5-4, on Monday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Daniel Murphy jaws at first base ump Dave Rackley after the final out.

Two-run homers by Kelly Shoppach and Daniel Murphy had clawed the Mets within a run. Despite only 33 at-bats as a Met, Shoppach now has three homers with the club, more than the combined total of Josh Thole (one), Mike Nickeas (one) and Rob Johnson (none). Murphy, meanwhile, produced his first extra-base hit in his past 22 games (18 starts).

Rackley and crew chief Dale Scott stood by the call, despite vehement protest from the Mets. The crew noted neither Torres nor first base coach Tom Goodwin initially complained about the call.

Rackley told Terry Collins he would not have made the ruling had he not been positive it was correct.

"He went over the front corner with his toe and it just kicked dirt up onto the base," Rackley said.

Said Scott after reviewing the video with his crew: "It was exactly what [Rackley] described. His foot went over [the bag], the toes hit the ground, the heel never did [hit the bag]. And did you see where [Rackley] was? He was right there to make the call."

Countered Murphy: "We had access to video. I'm sure you guys did, too. So we know the answer to that."

Now, Matt Harvey makes potentially his second-to-last start of 2012 in Game 2 of the series, tonight at 8:15. Harvey, whose innings cap will be reached with two to three more starts, opposes left-hander Jaime Garcia (3-6, 4.52 ERA).

Tuesday's news reports:

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

Mike Janes/Associated Press
Fred Lewis, 31, has been rewarded for a solid season at Buffalo with a September call-up.

• With Buffalo's season complete, the Mets have summoned six additional minor leaguers to St. Louis: Jordany Valdespin, right-handers Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Elvin Ramirez, left-hander Justin Hampson and outfielder Fred Lewis. Buffalo manager Wally Backman is due to join the Mets on Sunday. Zach Lutz, Nickeas and McHugh already had been added -- giving the Mets nine extra players in total.

Dillon Gee joined the Mets in St. Louis. He already has been cleared to begin tossing a baseball following surgery to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger reviews Harvey's early success, including the influence of former major league pitcher Don Carman on the mental side of the rookie's game.

"Sometimes in the minors, it was, 'I have to get this guy out. I have to go seven innings, eight innings, and completely dominate this game in order to get to the big leagues,'" Harvey said, according to Brian Costa in the Journal, while constrasting minor league struggles with major league success. "Whereas here, it's, 'I have to win.'"

Read about Harvey's impending shutdown after two to three more starts in the Post.

Stephen Strasburg's final start of the season will be Sept. 12 against the Mets at Citi Field.

• Buffalo was rained out at Lehigh Valley on Monday in what is expected to be its final game affiliated with the Mets. Las Vegas has been widely speculated as the Mets' next Triple-A home, but a minor league source said do not rule out Nashville over Las Vegas if the Mets have a choice between those markets. The Brewers currently are affiliated with Nashville and may re-up, though. Meanwhile, Brooklyn sliced its magic number to one with two games remaining to clinch the New York-Penn League's wild card. Like Buffalo, Binghamton and Savannah completed their seasons Monday. St. Lucie opens the Florida State League playoffs tonight at Jupiter. Read the full minor league recap here.

TRIVIA: Who preceded Tony La Russa as Cardinals manager?

Monday's answer: Jason Bay's first grand slam as a Met came on June 28, 2011 at Detroit. He and Beltran both had slams that day as the Mets snapped a historic streak in which their opponents had hit an MLB-record 18 consecutive unanswered slams.

Mets morning briefing 9.2.12

September, 2, 2012
Trailing by two runs entering the ninth after being stymied by Josh Johnson, the Mets rallied for four runs and beat the Miami Marlins, 5-3, Saturday night. Lucas Duda had an RBI single, then Kelly Shoppach cleared the bases on a single that was misplayed by Justin Ruggiano in center field.

The Mets aim for the sweep this afternoon when Chris Young (3-7, 4.64 ERA) opposes left-hander Mark Buehrle (12-11, 3.62).

Sunday's news reports:

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post advocates trading David Wright and R.A. Dickey this offseason. Writes Sherman:

In the coming weeks, general manager Sandy Alderson will present ownership three avenues the Mets could follow this offseason: 1. Go the Dodgers route. Expand payroll greatly to try and purchase your way out of a variety of problems. 2. Extend David Wright and, perhaps, R.A. Dickey on long-term contracts, but essentially follow a similar course to the present: Continue to grow the farm, use about $10 million in available funds in a roughly $90 million-ish payroll to address needs and just keep running out the clock on the horrible contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana. 3. Think bigger picture by trading Wright, Dickey and Jonathon Niese to add eight-to-10 prospects and truly begin to address what has long been the Mets’ downfall: Lack of depth up and down the organization. I would pick Door No. 3, because the Mets can’t lie to themselves any longer that they are close to success.

That said, Sherman expects No. 2 -- trying to re-sign Wright with a status quo payroll while biding time until contracts for Jason Bay and Johan Santana come off the books.

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

Zack Wheeler completed his 2012 season by limiting Lehigh Valley to one run in five innings and the Bisons beat the IronPigs, 6-3. St. Lucie posted its 82nd win, breaking a 12-year-old club record. Brandon Nimmo homered and Brooklyn maintained a one-game lead over Batavia in the New York-Penn League wild-card standings. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.

Mike Nickeas and Zach Lutz joined the Mets on Saturday. Collin McHugh is due to be promoted to face the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday at Busch Stadium. The other September call-ups, who will join the Mets after Buffalo's season ends Monday, are expected to be Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Elvin Ramirez, Jordany Valdespin, Fred Lewis and possibly Matt Tuiasosopo,

Terry Collins believes Dickey is Cy Young worthy. "We've had a tough time scoring runs, especially in the second half of the season, and he continues to win," Collins said, according to Anthony Rieber in Newsday. "We are [eight] games below .500 and he's [13] games over .500. That says a lot. ... I know we've had a collapse in the second half, but when you look at what he's done the entire year, he's racked up numbers against every team in baseball. No matter who he's faced, he's pitched great."

Seth Berkman in the Times looks at Collins' playing career, which included six seasons in Triple-A, but no major league experience. Writes Berkman:

Collins, who as a minor leaguer played shortstop, third base, first base and outfield and even pitched in six games (0-0, 1.00 earned run average, two strikeouts), said he stuck around the minors out of passion more than a belief that he would ever reach the majors. “I had one year where the big club, the Dodgers, had some injuries and I thought maybe, due to the fact that I played all over the place, I had a shot, but I didn’t and that was fine,” he said. “My years in Triple-A, I was not an everyday player. Backup players in Triple-A, you got to be in the right place at the right time.” During his last few years with Albuquerque, in the early 1980s, Collins was a player-coach. The Dodgers had initiated a system for developing older players into managers, who could also fill in for a game or two if a player was injured. Collins was recruited.

TRIVIA: For which major league team did the expected call-up Fred Lewis play for parts of four seasons?

Saturday's answer: Ike Davis had the Mets' first homer at Marlins Park, off Buehrle in the Amazin's first game there, on May 11.

Mets morning briefing 9.1.12

September, 1, 2012
R.A. Dickey delivered a complete game to pick up his 17th win and Ike Davis produced a two-run homer as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 3-0, Friday night.

Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto, Washington's Gio Gonzalez and Dickey share the major league lead in wins. Dickey's 190 strikeouts rank second in the NL, two behind the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. The knuckleballer's innings count (191 1/3) also trails only Kershaw (192 2/3) in the league. Dickey's third shutout this season is the most by a Met since David Cone produced five in 1992.

Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.65 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Johnson (7-11, 4.00) today at 7:10 p.m.

It does not quite set up meaningful games in September, but the Mets (62-70) trail Philadelphia (63-69) by a game for third place in the NL East. The Amazin's have opened a three-game cushion on cellar-dwelling Miami (59-73).

Saturday's news reports:

• Catcher Mike Nickeas and corner infielder Zach Lutz are due to rejoin the Mets today in Miami, as rosters expand. Collin McHugh will return to face the St. Louis Cardinals on Labor Day at Busch Stadium. The Mets have not yet announced the remainder of the contingent, but Jordany Valdespin, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Elvin Ramirez would be expected to be promoted after Triple-A Buffalo's season ends Monday at Lehigh Valley. The Mets also could reward a veteran such as Matt Tuiasosopo or Fred Lewis. Wally Backman is expected to join the Mets' coaching staff for the next homestand, which begins Friday against the Atlanta Braves. Read more in the Record.

• Dickey is now 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA against the Marlins this season. "When he makes his speech for Cy Young Award, make sure he mentions the Marlins, please," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters postgame. Read Saturday's game recaps in the Post, Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record and Daily News.

Josh Thole went 0-for-3 and is now hitless in his past 28 at-bats. The Mets had recently tried to change Thole's approach at the plate to have him produce more power, but they have abandoned that attempt and instructed Thole to revert to his gap hitting while choking up on the bat. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.

Wilmer Flores and Allan Dykstra had consecutive homers as Binghamton beat Trenton, 8-5. St. Lucie notched its 81st win, tying the club record, originally set in 2000 by a team that included Heath Bell and Endy Chavez. Brooklyn's Hansel Robles upped his streak of innings without allowing an earned run to 36 and Alex Sanchez homered off rehabbing Pedro Feliciano in a 5-1 win against Staten Island. The Cyclones remained a game ahead of Batavia for the New York-Penn League wild-card lead. Read Friday's minor league recap here.

Mike Pelfrey, who lives in Wichita, Kansas, is due to visit the Mets during the next leg of their trip, in St. Louis. Pelfrey recently resumed throwing. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1. Pelfrey is likely to be non-tendered in December because he is making $5.6875 million this season and is eligible for arbitration. The collective bargaining agreement requires him to make at least 80 percent of that amount if he is not cut loose.

• The Mets spent the most per win in Major League Baseball over the past five seasons, with only the Minnesota Timberwolves and St. Louis Rams less efficient in all of the major sports, according to Business Week.

TRIVIA: Which Met had the team's first homer at first-year Marlins Park?

Friday's answer: Jose Reyes' first hit against the Mets came in his only hit during a 1-for-12 series at Citi Field in April. Reyes singled against Jon Rauch.

Mets promote Nickeas, Lutz

August, 31, 2012
Catcher Mike Nickeas and corner infielder Zach Lutz are due to join the Mets on Saturday in Miami as rosters expand.

Collin McHugh will be added for Monday's start in St. Louis. The remainder of the call-ups should join the Mets on Tuesday, the day after Triple-A Buffalo's season ends.

The remainder of the call-ups figure to include right-handers Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Elvin Ramirez as well as Jordany Valdespin. The Mets also may reward a Triple-A veteran such as Matt Tuiasosopo or Fred Lewis.

Wally Backman is expected to assist the major league coaching staff.

Despite his struggles at the major league level, which included a .168 average, Nickeas hit .364 in 22 Triple-A games with the Bisons.

Lutz, 26, hit .299 (73-for-244) with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 72 games with the Bisons. He was 1-for-8 at the major league level earlier this season.

September call-up projections

August, 28, 2012

Getty Images
Likely September call-ups (l to r) should include Collin McHugh, Jenrry Mejia and Mike Nickeas.
PHILADELPHIA -- Major league roster expand Saturday, although many call-ups may wait until after Triple-A Buffalo’s season ends Monday at Lehigh Valley to join the big league club.

Here are’s projected call-ups from Buffalo in three categories …

YOU MAKE THE CALL: The most probable.

Collin McHugh, rhp. Even had he not been summoned to start in Johan Santana’s place last Thursday, McHugh was a probable call-up, since he needed to be protected for this December’s Rule 5 draft. He’s a no-brainer now, after tossing seven scoreless innings against the Rockies in his major league debut. McHugh starts for Buffalo today. He should be capped at 75 pitches/five innings to ensure he is fresh for his return to the major league rotation.

Jenrry Mejia, rhp. Terry Collins said he expects Mejia to get an occasional start for the Mets in September. Mejia still projects as a reliever, but he has shown far better results in Triple-A this season as a starter. Mejia has a 1.94 ERA and .220 opponent batting average in nine starts with Buffalo. He has a 5.48 ERA and .303 opponent batting average as a reliever.

Marc Serota/Getty Images
Zach Lutz

Mike Nickeas, c. The Mets, like other MLB teams, customarily add a third catcher once rosters expand. And with Rob Johnson (thumb) done for the season, Nickeas is the obvious choice. He’s hitting .317 in 60 at-bats with Buffalo since his demotion.

Jeurys Familia, rhp. Erratic is the right way to describe Familia’s 2012 season with the Bisons, but he’s already on the 40-man roster. Viewed by many scouts as a reliever, he is 8-9 with a 4.78 ERA in 27 starts. Familia has walked 72 in 130 innings.

Zach Lutz, 3b/1b. Lutz was poised for a September call-up a year ago, but suffered his second concussion of the season and had to end his Triple-A season early. Known for offense, not fielding, Lutz is hitting .303 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 69 Triple-A games.

Elvin Ramirez, rhp. Ramirez, 24, has a 7.30 ERA in 11 major league relief appearances this season.

CALL ME MAYBE? Bubble players.

Jordany Valdespin, if/of. Probably a little harsh to put Valdespin here, but there are at least some organizational rumblings of considering sending him a message about how to carry himself. The Mets did bypass a September call-up for Valdespin a season ago as a wakeup call. Valdespin is expected to primarily play second base during the final week of the Triple-A season.

Fred Lewis, of. Lewis left Monday’s Buffalo game with an injury, which could further compromise any call-up potential. The 31-year-old former San Francisco Giant is hitting .290 with 11 homers and 24 steals.

Matt Tuiasosopo, of/3b. Hitting .244 with 11 homers with the Bisons. He appeared in 71 games with Seattle from 2008 to 2010.

SEPTEMBER MOURN: While not unfathomable, these call-ups look like longer shots.

Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Matt den Dekker

Matt den Dekker, cf. Drafted in the fifth round in 2010 out of University of Florida, den Dekker does not need to be added to the 40-man roster to be protected for the Rule 5 draft, making his odds long for a call-up. A lefty-hitter and lefty-thrower who covers plenty of ground in center field, he hit .340 with eight homers in 238 at-bats during the first half with Double-A Binghamton. Den Dekker has produced extra-base hits since a promotion to Buffalo, but his average is only .218 and he has struck out 86 times in 275 at-bats, suggesting more development time is needed.

Zack Wheeler, rhp. Due to be shut down for the season because of innings limits after a final start Friday for the Bisons at Rochester.

C.J. Nitkowski, lhp. Signed by the Mets in July after spending the previous four seasons in Asia, Nitkowski would be an intriguing call-up at age 39 for lefty-lefty matchups now that Tim Byrdak is done for the season to lessen the burden on Josh Edgin. But the Mets being out of contention puts a major obstacle in Nitkowski’s path for a call-up. After mostly summoning Nitkowski for lefty-on-lefty matchups once he joined Buffalo, the now-sidearmer has been asked to contribute longer stints more recently, with less effective results.

Drew Carpenter, rhp. Appeared in six games in relief for Toronto this season.

Adam Loewen, 1b/of. Loewen may be on the outside looking in, despite competing with Mike Baxter during spring training for a roster spot. He’s hitting .239 with eight homers in 55 games and missed more than two months with a stress fracture in his right foot.

Josh Satin, if. Already off the 40-man roster, Satin is expected to instead play for Israel in World Baseball Classic qualifying.

Around the minors 8.25.12

August, 25, 2012
BUFFALO 5, ROCHESTER 3: With Buffalo down 3-0, Matt den Dekker and Mike Nickeas singled to open the third. Fred Lewis then produced an RBI double in what became a four-run inning. Starter Chris Schwinden allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. Drew Carpenter, Garrett Olson and Fernando Cabrera combined for 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings. Valentino Pascucci's solo homer in the seventh capped the scoring. Box

BINGHAMTON 5, PORTLAND 1: Darin Gorski matched a season high with nine strikeouts while limiting Portland to one run. Reese Havens contributed a two-run homer that snapped his 0-for-21 drought. The Sea Dogs needed a break in the first to score their lone run. With two outs and Jeremy Hazelbaker on first, Bryce Brentz lifted a fly ball to right. Dustin Martin got a late read and the ball landed inside the line for a single, plating Hazelbaker. The B-Mets cracked the scoreboard in the third against starter Drake Britton. Allan Dykstra drove in Wilmer Flores from first by doubling. Dykstra scored the go-ahead run when shortstop Xander Bogaerts booted Jefry Marte's groundball. After allowing a single to Derrik Gibson in the second, Gorski retired 12 straight Sea Dogs. The B-Mets added to their lead and chased Britton in the fourth. After consecutive one-out singles, Britton walked Pedro Zapata to load the bases. Havens then rolled a groundball to shortstop and beat out the potential double play, allowing a run to score. Will Latimer replaced Britton and got the final out of the frame. In the sixth, Havens blasted his 10th homer, kicking Binghamton’s lead to four. Brentz snapped Gorski’s impressive stretch in the sixth with a two-out single. Travis Shaw walked to increase the threat, but Gorski induced Boagaerts to line out. With a runner aboard in the eighth, Gorski racked up his ninth strikeout, painting the outside black against Hazelbaker. Ryan Fraser recorded the final out of eighth and tossed a scoreless ninth. Gorski (9-7) earned his third win in his last four starts, allowing five hits over 7 2/3 innings. Box

CHARLOTTE 2, ST. LUCIE 1 (12 innings): Todd Glaesmann’s leadoff homer against Jeff Walters in the 12th inning proved to the difference. Mets left-hander Chase Huchingson came within one out of a complete-game shutout, before Glaesmann’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth tied the score. Huchingson pitched 8 2/3 innings and allowed one run and three hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Adam Kolarek tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings and worked around a hit and walk. Walters allowed one run and three hits in two innings. Richard Lucas had scored from third on a wild pitch in the second inning for the lone run by the Mets. Darrell Ceciliani finished 3-for-5 with a walk. T.J. Rivera went 2-for-6. The Mets finished 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 14 on base. Box

ROME 4, SAVANNAH 1: Rome did all the Game 1 scoring in the fifth inning, on Ross Heffley two-run homer. Rome starter A.J. Holland shut out the Gnats through six innings. Savannah starter Yohan Almonte (0-2) surrendered Heffley’s long ball. In Game 2, the Gnats opened the scoring in the third on Yucarybert De La Cruz's sacrifice fly. The Braves rallied in the sixth against Savannah starter Alex Panteliodis.(4-8). With two outs and the bases empty, three singles evened the score at 1. Robbie Hefflinger then produced a three-run homer against Panteliodis. Rome starter Greg Ross threw a complete-game shutout. Box 1, Box 2

BLUEFIELD 7, KINGSPORT 0: Starter John Gant allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings. Right-handers Brandon Welch (fifth round) and Rob Whalen (12th round) made their professional debuts in relief, each allowing one run in one inning. Kingsport committed five errors, three from shortstop Anthony Chavez. Box

BROOKLYN 11, STATEN ISLAND 0: Hansel Robles tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He leads the New York-Penn League with a 1.20 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. Robles has not allowed an earned run in his last 31 innings, dating to July 28, and has not allowed any run in 22 innings. In the first, Dimas Ponce and Phillip Evans singled and Eudy Pina reached on a throwing error by shortstop Claudio Custodio. With the bases loaded, Kevin Plawecki delivered a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Yankees starter Gabriel Encinas surrendered another two runs. Jeff Reynolds walked and Julio Concepcion singled. Reynolds scored on Brandon Nimmo's double. Evans' ensuing single scored Concepcion. Brooklyn batted around in an eight-run seventh. Ponce hit a two-run triple. Zach Woods replaced Encinas, but Evans hit his third single of the night to plate Ponce. Pina and Alex Sanchez walked later in the inning. Jeff Glenn contributed a two-run single. Reynolds then blasted his second homer of the season, a three-run shot, to make it 11-0. Logan Taylor and Tyler Vanderheiden each threw an inning of hitless relief for the Cyclones. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 8.20.12

August, 20, 2012
SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE 7, BUFFALO 5: With the score knotted at 2, Chris Schwinden fanned Scranton/Wilkes-Barre second baseman Corban Joseph for what looked like the third out of the fifth inning. But the ball hit the dirt and skipped past catcher Mike Nickeas, allowing Joseph to reach first base safely. The Yankees jumped on the extra chance and took control of the game. After a second wild pitch moved Joseph to second, Eduardo Nunez singled for the 3-2 advantage. Nunez then stole second and scored on a single from Brandon Laird. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tacked on two more runs an inning later as Chris Dickerson and Nunez drove in runs for a 6-2 cushion. That rally capped six unanswered runs by the Yankees that followed Matt Tuiasosopo's two-run homer in the second. Buffalo pulled to within 6-3 with a Josh Satin sacrifice fly in the seventh. The Herd scored two more in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate. Former Bisons reliever Ryota Igarashi retired Fred Lewis on a sharply hit lineout to center to end the contest. Schwinden allowed four runs in five innings. He struck out eight batters, giving him 216 for his Bisons career. The total is the sixth most in the Buffalo modern era. Prior to the game, the International League named Collin McHugh its pitcher of the week. The righty allowed one run over two starts and picked up the win with seven shutout frames Saturday at Fenway Park. Box

NEW HAMPSHIRE 3, BINGHAMTON 2: The B-Mets struck out 14 times for the second time in a week and the Fisher Cats took advantage of shaky glove work by first baseman Jefry Marte to break a scoreless tie in the fourth. With one out and the bases loaded, Brian Jeroloman chopped a potential double-play ball to Marte. Playing in just his fifth game at first, Marte bobbled the grounder, allowing a run to score. The Fisher Cats plated another run one batter later when Marte dropped a throw from third baseman Wilmer Flores that would have ended the inning. Binghamton answered against New Hampshire starter Sean Nolin in the fourth. Flores doubled and scored when Allan Dykstra also doubled. It was the only run Binghamton managed against the southpaw in his Double-A debut. Reliever Marcus Stroman took over in the sixth, walked the first two batters, uncorked a wild pitch and surrendered a game-tying sac fly to Eric Campbell. The tie score did not last for long. Darin Gorski loaded the bases in the seventh on two hits and a walk. John Tolisano then worked the count full and took ball four low to force in the go-ahead run. Gorski (8-7) struck out a season-high nine, but allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks over seven innings. Ryan Fraser closed Binghamton’s pitching tab with two scoreless innings. Box

ASHEVILLE 5, SAVANNAH 2: The Gnats took a 2-0 lead two batters into the bottom of the first inning. Brandon Brown led off with a single and Matt Reynolds homered off the left-field foul pole to put the Gnats up 2-0. Reynolds' seven-game hitting streak is his longest as a professional. Asheville had runners aboard in three of the first four innings against starter Alex Panteliodis, only to break through in the fifth. With two outs, two singles followed by a three-run homer from Sam Mende gave the Tourists a 3-2 lead. Panteliodis made it through 5 2/3 innings before hitting his pitch limit. He was charged with his seventh loss. The Tourists added two unearned runs on a throwing error on Brown in the ninth. Box

BURLINGTON 5, KINGSPORT 4 (12 innings): Carlos Valdez failed to protect a lead in the 11th for a blown save, then suffered the loss an inning later when he surrendered a game-ending RBI single to Fred Ford. The K-Mets had taken the 4-3 lead in the top of the 11th when Jorge Rivero singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Box

BROOKLYN 6, ABERDEEN 2: Eudy Pina and Stefan Sabol each connected on his fifth homer this season and Julian Hilario (3-3) tossed six scoreless innings. In the second inning, Juan Gamboa reached on an error and Nelfi Zapata followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Pina then connected on a homer to center, clearing the 405-foot mark with ease, to give Brooklyn a 3-0 lead. Brandon Nimmo kept the rally going, beating out an infield single and stealing second. Phillip Evans singled to plate Nimmo. The combination of Nimmo and Evans again led to a run in the sixth. Nimmo walked for the second time in the game and scored when Evans' single was misplayed by right fielder John Wooten, giving Brooklyn a 5-0 advantage. Hilario scattered five hits and three walks while striking out four. He is now 3-0 with a 0.56 ERA in August. With Hilario out of the game in the seventh, Vermont got on the scoreboard. Jacob Tanis welcomed reliever Logan Taylor by reaching on a fielding error. Taylor made quick work of the next two batters, but Brett Vertigan connected on a two-out triple to score Tanis and slice Brooklyn's advantage to 5-1. The unearned run is the only blemish through the first 13 2/3 innings of Taylor’s pro career. The Cyclones tacked on a run in the ninth on Sabol's solo homer. The Lake Monsters scored another unearned run in their half, but Tyler Vanderheiden limited the damage. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 8.13.12

August, 13, 2012
PAWTUCKET 5, BUFFALO 1: Pedro Beato surrendered four eighth-inning runs, including consecutive homers to Mauro Gomez and Andy LaRoche. Starter Collin McHugh limited Pawtucket to one run on three hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. Buffalo's lone run came on a first-inning sacrifice fly by Josh Satin. Satin lost an 11-game hitting streak. Pawtucket retired 21 straight Bisons batters from Mike Nickeas' second-inning single until Zach Lutz's two-out single in the ninth. Box

SAVANNAH 4, LEXINGTON 3: The first two Savannah runs scored on balks from Legends starter Chris Devenski. Dustin Lawley drove home the Gnats’ third and fourth runs, in the third and fifth innings, with sacrifice flies. Savannah starter Michael Fulmer kept Lexington off the scoreboard through four innings. In the fifth, the Legends broke through against Fulmer on a Chan Jong Moon RBI single. Fulmer struck out four and walked three while allowing one run to earn his seventh win. The Gnats took a comfortable-looking 4-1 lead into the ninth. However, reliever Chasen Bradford walked the first three batters in the inning to put the tying run at first with no outs. Savannah called on T.J. Chism, who walked the first batter he saw to force in a run. A groundout on the right side brought home the third Lexington run and moved the tying run to third with one out. Chism then struck out Moon and induced a flyout to shallow right to close out his 17th save. Box

Compiled from team reports



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187