- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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Matt Harvey appeared on ESPN as a pitchman for Qualcomm. An appearance earlier in the day did not go very well.NEW YORK
FIRST PITCH: Ruben Tejada, quite literally, suffered a bad break.
Given a limited opportunity to prove he merits being the 2014 shortstop, Tejada’s audition of sorts is now over. He suffered a broken fibula in his right leg colliding with left fielder Andrew Brown while catching a pop fly in the top of the ninth during Wednesday’s 5-4 come-from-behind win against the San Francisco Giants.
Tejada, who turns 24 next month, hit .143 (3-for-21) in seven September starts after returning from a banishment to Triple-A Las Vegas. He finished the season hitting .203 overall in 208 at-bats. Sandy Alderson said it was “like pulling teeth” to get Tejada to do extra work.
With Ruben Tejada done for the season, Omar Quintanilla is back to being the regular shortstop.
The Mets delayed Tejada’s call-up until Sept. 10, which will leave him one day shy of three full years of major league service at season’s end. Tejada still will be first-time arbitration-eligible as a Super 2, but his salary -- if the Mets choose to retain him -- should not be that far north of the $500,000 major league minimum in 2014.
By delaying Tejada’s free agency until after the 2017 season, the Mets do make Tejada marginally more marketable in a trade.
It would be no great surprise if the Mets’ Opening Day shortstop is not currently with the organization, since Omar Quintanilla is widely considered in baseball as a backup. All-Star Jhonny Peralta, currently serving a 50-game suspension related to Biogenesis, headlines the list of free agents at the position. (Nelson Cruz, another All-Star serving a 50-game suspension, also is a pending free agent, if the Mets are not averse to the Biogenesis route for adding outfield bats.)
Thursday’s news reports:
• Josh Satin’s two-run single against All-Star Sergio Romo capped a four-run ninth as the Mets rallied to beat the Giants. In his major league debut, catcher Juan Centeno had two hits, including a run-scoring infield single earlier in the ninth-inning rally. The Mets, who entered the frame trailing 4-1, overcame their largest ninth-inning deficit since June 16. That day, they also had a four-run ninth, and beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ three-run homer.
• Matt Harvey publicly apologized to The Dan Patrick Show and Qualcomm on Wednesday afternoon, after his appearance that morning irked the host. Companies often pay for athletes to appear on shows, with the understanding the athlete will be given a brief opportunity to promote a product while otherwise answering topical sports questions.
When Harvey appeared with Patrick, he only wanted to talk about the wireless technology company, not his decision to forgo -- at least for now -- Tommy John surgery.
Asked about the scariness of the Tommy John surgery decision, Harvey said: “Every pitcher can relate to what’s going on. I did all of those answers yesterday. Maybe at the appropriate time we can talk about that. But obviously today’s about Qualcomm.”
Asked by an incredulous Patrick if he really did not want to talk about his elbow, Harvey added: “We can set up another call, if you’d like to, about that subject, but today we’re honoring and supporting Qualcomm.” (Watch on YouTube here.)
Presumably after getting some P.R. advice, Harvey did discuss with ESPN his decision to rehab rather than immediately undergo Tommy John surgery. Watch here.
Harvey eventually tweeted: “I’ve had a few rough outings on the mound, that was a rough outing on the radio this morning... Been an exhausting couple of days. Apologies to @DanPatrick and @Qualcomm”
The Daily News reported Harvey fired a publicist earlier this year after an ill-fated Men’s Journal article, and that this was his first time doing interviews as a paid spokesman for a company.
• Billy Wagner, who had Tommy John surgery while with the Mets, tells Mike Puma in the Post that Harvey is delaying the inevitable. “You can get it done now and be done with it, and the rehab is not a hard rehab,” Wagner told Puma. “… When I was rehabbing at 80 or 85 percent, I couldn’t tell anything was wrong. But as soon as I let it go a little bit, there’s a big difference.”
• Richard Sandomir in the Times writes that Tommy John surgery first is paid by workers’ compensation, with the difference covered by the team.
• Terry Collins, appearing on WFAN, cited Harvey’s determination as a reason why he may very well avoid Tommy John surgery. Said Collins: “I told one of the coaches today: I would not be afraid to have someone bet me that Matt Harvey will be the Opening Day pitcher, because I think he will be.”
Collins expects David Wright (hamstring strain) to return from the disabled list this weekend in Philly. The manager also predicted Wilmer Flores would open next season in the minors if there is no defined position for him, whereas Brown and Satin could be righty-hitting major league bench pieces in 2014.
As for Daniel Murphy, Collins said he again would expect to see him at second base next season -- “not at this moment” at first base next year. The manager did allow, though, for a scenario not currently foreseeable in which Eric Young Jr. mans second base and Murphy slides over to first base. “I don’t know what the winter is going to hold,” Collins said. Of course, that latter scenario would logically involve the departures of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.
Collins noted the Mets will need to bring a veteran starting pitching hedge to camp, even if Harvey is OK in a rotation alongside Zack Wheeler, Niese and Dillon Gee. That veteran would compete with Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero among others and also serve as a safety net in case of an injury. Asked if it could be a re-signed Aaron Harang, Collins said: “We’ve got to have one of those [veteran-type] guys coming into camp. Who that is I don’t know yet.”
(Alderson, who not too long ago said he would look to sign a major starting pitcher, did a 180-degree turn Tuesday on that topic.)
Listen to Collins’ full interview here.
• Missed Jerry Seinfeld appearing on Tuesday’s Mets telecast? You can watch the highlights here.
At one point, Seinfeld -- a Mets fan -- mocks the publicity Dr. James Andrews is getting for examining Harvey on Monday in Gulf Breeze, Fla.
Davey Johnson, as well as his Nats, wore Navy hats pregame only.
“I want to know why these doctors are getting billing now. Who the hell is this guy? He’s a big star now -- Dr. Andrews?” Seinfeld said. “Why do I got to hear about him for? … I mean, do we get free treatment out of this guy for all of these plugs? ‘I’m Dr. Andrews. I talked to Matt Harvey. I didn’t do a damn thing. Did you hear me on the broadcast? They said my name four times. I’m Dr. Andrews.’”
• Keith Olbermann scolded Major League Baseball and, to a lesser extent, the Washington Nationals over wearing “Navy” hats during batting practice, but not in-game after the shooting at the Navy Yard, blocks from the team’s ballpark.
The issue is nearly identical to the Mets -- during games on the anniversary of 9/11 -- no longer wearing the caps of New York City first-responder agencies.
MLB has licensing agreements and does not grant in-game waivers for unauthorized caps it cannot market. The Nats did not even bother to ask about wearing the Navy caps in-game this time, Olbermann suggested, because MLB’s policy is clearly established and inflexible.
Nats manager Davey Johnson responded about Olbermann (via @JamesWagnerWP): “He’s not high on my list.”
• Wheeler is at 168 2/3 innings between the majors and minors this season, and the Mets likely want to cap the rookie at no more than 180 innings. So Collins said Wednesday it is unresolved whether Wheeler’s final start will be Monday in Cincinnati, or he also will appear in the regular-season finale the following Sunday at Citi Field against the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a continued six-man rotation. Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame that day. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Travis d’Arnaud could return to the lineup today after missing a game. D’Arnaud was struck by a foul ball in the right shoulder off the bat of Hunter Pence on Tuesday. D’Arnaud has repeatedly gotten hit in the head of late as well, primarily from backswings.
"It’s more than I’ve ever seen, and it’s a little bit concerning," Mets bench coach Bob Geren told Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger about the beating d’Arnaud is taking.
Geren told Marc Carig in Newsday there is a “conundrum” because typically you move closer to the plate when getting hit by too many foul balls and farther away from the plate if you’re getting by backswings. And d’Arnaud is a victim of both.
Read more in the Record.
• Howard Megdal at Capital New York finds Alderson’s unwillingness to speak about the team’s 2014 payroll troubling.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing would like Howie Rose to reunite with Gary Cohen on the season’s final day.
BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Randall K. Myers turns 51.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
I like when money makes a difference but don't make you different
— Dominic Smith (@TheRealSmith22) September 19, 2013
YOU’RE UP: Does Ruben Tejada deserve to be a part of the 2014 Mets?
NEW YORKFIRST PITCH: Ruben Tejada, quite literally, suffered a bad break.Given a limited opportunity to prove he merits being the 2014 shortstop, Tejada’s audition of sorts is now over.