New York Mets: Olympiakos

Morning Briefing: Relief for Lannan

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12

FIRST PITCH: John Lannan’s best bet to make the Opening Day roster appears as a second bullpen left-hander alongside Scott Rice, but Lannan continues to be evaluated at as a starter, too.

Lannan gets Wednesday’s Grapefruit League start against the St. Louis Cardinals at Tradition Field at 1:10 p.m. (SNY). He opposes right-hander Carlos Martinez.

Terry Collins expects Daniel Murphy to be in the lineup Wednesday for the first time since injuring his right calf on an aggressive slide into second baseman Kolten Wong in Friday’s Grapefruit League game. The manager added that Ike Davis (calf) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) may only be a day away from at least serving as designated hitters on the minor-league side of the complex.

Wednesday’s news reports:

USA TODAY SportsJohn Lannan is currently projected to join Scott Rice in the bullpen.

• Sources project to that if the Opening Day roster had to be named today, Jose Valverde and Lannan would make the bullpen and Kyle Farnsworth would not.

One source also asserts the Mets are leaning toward carrying Daisuke Matsuzaka over Jenrry Mejia as the fifth starter, although they still consider that a competition. If Mejia is not in the big-league rotation, a serious powwow would be convened to determine whether Mejia becomes a reliever, or is used as a starter at Triple-A Las Vegas. Regardless, Mets officials want to make a decision regarding Mejia’s role and stick with it, rather than continue to shuffle him between the rotation and relief.

Lannan, meanwhile, is receptive to a relief assignment if it will get him on the Opening Day roster.

Read the full roster projection and analysis here.

Read more on Lannan as a potential reliever in the Record.

• Collins became concerned Tuesday when a fastball from Jonathon Niese to open his outing registered only 79 mph. Still, after allowing four runs on six hits and two walks against the St. Louis Cardinals, Niese suggested his velocity was in the upper-80s by the end of his two-inning appearance. More importantly, he insisted his shoulder felt fine.

Niese remains lined up for Opening Day. Collins said he likely would use Bartolo Colon, or possibly Dillon Gee, on March 31 at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals if Niese’s final three exhibition starts reveal the southpaw is not ready for the season opener.

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

Wilmer Flores went 2-for-3 with a walk Tuesday, but it was his fielding assignment that was notable. Flores started a game at shortstop for the first time since 2011. He had a miscue on the first grounder to him, losing the handle as he transferred the ball from his glove to throwing hard. Regarding shortstop, “I definitely can play,” Flores insisted afterward. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Newsday and

Zach Lutz delivered a tiebreaking solo homer in the ninth against Trevor Rosenthal as the Mets beat St. Louis, 9-8, at Roger Dean Stadium. Josh Satin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis also went deep in the victory. Read more at

• Tuesday's game included a ninth-inning replay challenge initiated by the Cardinals, with St. Louis trailing by a run. It would have loaded the bases with none out against Miguel Socolovich if an out call at third base had been reversed. Dissatisfied that the call on the field was upheld by replay, manager Mike Matheny wants MLB officials in New York to weigh in.

• Palm Beach County commissioners discussed the future of baseball on the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida at an open meeting Tuesday. The Mets are among the handful of teams -- along with the Cards, Miami Marlins and Nationals -- that are isolated on this side of Florida, with only a few opponents within a two-hour drive. Read more in the Palm Beach Post.

On a related topic, Brian Costa in the Journal nearly watched eight different Cactus League games in Arizona in the time it took the Mets to drive from Port St. Lucie to Lakeland to face the Detroit Tigers.

Ruben Tejada tells Dan Martin in the Post he does not pay attention to any chatter about free-agent Stephen Drew. Columnist John Harper in the Daily News writes that the Mets continue to scout Seattle’s Nick Franklin and “are continuing to monitor the Diamondbacks’ shortstop competition and ‘could jump in’ to try to make a trade for either Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings before spring training ends.”

• Read updates on Murphy, Davis and Duda in the Post.

• AC Milan will play Olympiakos in a soccer match at Citi Field on July 24.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report revisits five questions heading into spring training.

BIRTHDAYS: Darryl Strawberry, who slugged a franchise-record 252 homers as a Met, turns 52. Watch out Straw: David Wright enters 2014 with 222 career homers.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets use Jenrry Mejia in the big-league rotation, big-league bullpen or Triple-A rotation?

Mets confirm international soccer match

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- AC Milan will play Olympiakos in a soccer match at Citi Field on July 24, while the Mets are in Milwaukee as part of a three-city trip to open the second half of their season, the Mets officially announced.

The soccer match is part of the eight-team preseason International Champions Cup that also includes Manchester City facing Liverpool FC at Yankee Stadium on July 30.

Tickets go on sale Thursday at, and (718) 507-TIXX.

Morning Briefing: Trade brewing?

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
Mets prospect Steven Matz (above) displays a non-pitching talent.


FIRST PITCH: One more day of exclusively pitchers-and-catchers workouts. Then the full squad has its first official workout Saturday.

Friday’s news reports:

• Four months after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey has been cleared to begin tossing a baseball. The Mets, trying to prevent Harvey form being a spring-training storyline, would not allow the rehabbing ace to speak with other media after he gave an interview to about being cleared, writes Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and

• The Mets may be able to upgrade at shortstop before Opening Day by trading for Seattle’s Nick Franklin, industry insiders tell Franklin became expendable with Robinson Cano having signed with the Mariners to play second base and with fellow 2013 rookie Brad Miller a capable shortstop.

Meanwhile, the Mets are not pursuing Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, a source told

• If Ruben Tejada remains the starter, perhaps New Jersey native and switch-hitter Anthony Seratelli could sneak onto the roster as a backup infielder. He also has corner-outfield experience. Writes Ken Davidoff in the Post:

The Old Bridge High School baseball team cut Anthony Seratelli as a freshman. Seton Hall welcomed him aboard only after he walked on to the program. No Major League Baseball team drafted him. Seratelli will turn 31 on Feb. 27, and he has yet to play in a big-league game.

“I’ve been beaten down,” the utility man said, laughing, Thursday at Tradition Field. “I just keep trying to get there.”

• Citi Field is expected to host a soccer match between AC Milan and Olympiakos on July 24, while the Mets are on the road.

Bobby Parnell is proceeding slowly while returning from herniated-disk surgery. Originally listed to throw a bullpen session Thursday, he decided to wait an extra day.

• Thursday was the report date for Mets position players. Omar Quintanilla arrived at the complex in the mid-afternoon, after the position players’ voluntary workout had ended. The only other player yet to be seen at camp is Wilfredo Tovar, who was due to land in Florida sometime Thursday, according to a team official.

• Marc Carig in Newsday asks if Juan Lagares will hit enough to find his way into the lineup. The bottom line: If Terry Collins proceeds with his preference of Eric Young Jr. as the leadoff hitter, it would seem Lagares is the odd-man out, unless a trade or injury opens a spot. Writes Carig:

According to Wins Above Replacement, the statistic that measures a player’s total contributions, the Mets saved more runs last season with Lagares’ elite glove (plus-24.4 above average) than they lost with his faulty bat (minus-12.0). In 2014, he’s again projected to be worth the tradeoff. Except the Mets have balked at penciling in Lagares, whose defensive contributions may be difficult to quantify.

Jared Diamond in the Journal is not fond of getting Young playing time at Lagares’ expense. Writes Diamond:

Young led the National League with 46 stolen bases in 2013, an achievement that makes him a useful cog on any roster. In the past, that statistic alone would have made him an acceptable fit for the leadoff spot, where he could use his legs to create early runs.

Nowadays, however, teams look for skills other than raw speed in a leadoff hitter, understanding that in order for a fast runner to steal second, he needs to be on first. Despite Collins' old-fashioned idea of the prototypical leadoff man, the Mets' front office seems to grasp this, basing its offensive philosophy on pitch selection. When asked to identify the key skill for a leadoff hitter, Young responded, “Ultimately, getting on base.”

But Young doesn’t do that nearly enough.

• Collins says Jeurys Familia has closer-quality pitches. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Collins and other Mets staffers planned to attend a session led by MLB’s Joe Torre and Tony La Russa on Thursday afternoon explaining the implementation of a home-plate collision ban and the expanded use of instant replay.

• Tim Rohan in the Times and Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger profile Cory Vaughn, the diabetic outfield prospect and son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn. The 24-year-old Vaughn hit .267 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs in 262 at-bats with Double-A Binghamton last season while missing substantial time with a right elbow strain that did not require surgery. He played college baseball alongside Stephen Strasburg at San Diego State, for coach Tony Gwynn.

• Anthony DiComo at profiles Jeff Walters, who had a Binghamton-record 38 saves last season.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear ponders promises made, promises kept and how much promise lies within newly acquired Mets. … At Mets Police, Mike V makes the case against lower case d’s on Mets uniforms. … John Delcos at Mets Report writes that strikeouts are an issue for the club.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Joe Foy, who played for the Mets 44 years ago, and who attended Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, was born on this date in 1943.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets acquire a Mariners shortstop or go with Ruben Tejada?

Citi Field again expected to host soccer

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- AC Milan is expected to play Olympiakos in a soccer match at Citi Field on July 24, while the New York Mets are in Milwaukee as part of a three-city trip to open the second half of their season.

The soccer match would be part of the eight-team preseason International Champions Cup that also includes Manchester City facing Liverpool FC at Yankee Stadium on July 30.

Alert fans spotted on the International Champions Cup's Twitter account that Citi Field was announced as the location for the AC Milan-Olympiakos match, but that it was eventually deleted. The official website now lists the location as TBA, but multiple soccer-oriented websites list Citi Field as the site.

A Mets official would neither confirm nor deny the event, saying there was nothing yet to announce.

Israel and Honduras played soccer at Citi Field in June. Ecuador and Chile played in August 2012 and Ecuador and Greece played in June 2011 at the Queens ballpark.



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