New York Mets: Omar Infante

Series preview: Mets vs. Tigers

August, 22, 2013

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (58-67, third place/NL East) vs. DETROIT TIGERS (74-52*, first place/AL Central)

Friday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (5-8, 3.92 at Triple-A Columbus) vs. RHP Doug Fister (10-6, 3.63), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.25) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.52), 1:10 p.m. ET

* plays Thursday vs. Minnesota

Tigers short hops

Max Scherzer and Roger Clemens are the only pitchers since 1919 with 18 wins in their first 19 decisions of a season as a starting pitcher, according to STATS. Clemens went on to go 20-3 with the Yankees in 2001.

Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesMiguel Cabrera is hitting .358 with 40 homers.

Miguel Cabrera leads the American League in batting average (.358), RBIs (123) and on-base percentage (.449) and ranks second in homers (40). The Tigers appeared to dodge an injury bullet with Cabrera, who winced swinging at a slider during a game-ending at-bat on Tuesday night. The slugger has dealt with an abdominal strain for a month.

• Designated hitter Victor Martinez has been working out in catching gear of late in preparation for potentially playing a game behind the plate this weekend in the NL ballpark. Martinez last caught in 2011, when he started 26 games. Alex Avila has been on the DL since Aug. 11 with a concussion and is just due to begin a rehab assignment. Backup Brayan Pena injured a toe fouling a ball off his right foot Tuesday. Bryan Holaday started Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins. Detroit has allowed 16 straight steals, the longest active streak in the majors, according to STATS.

• The Tigers acquired rookie Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox on July 30 to man shortstop in anticipation of losing Jhonny Peralta to a Biogenesis-related suspension. The three-team deal sent Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox to Boston. Peralta will be eligible to return from a 50-game suspension with three games remaining in the season.

• First baseman Prince Fielder ranks fifth in the AL with 87 RBIs.

• Outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo played for the Mets last season, at Triple-A Buffalo. Wally Backman advocated a September call-up for Tuiasosopo, but the Mets instead selected Fred Lewis. Tuiasosopo is the younger brother of former University of Washington football players Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo. Marques went on to attempt 90 passes for the Oakland Raiders from 2001-08 and also belonged to the Jets. Their father, Manu, played for the Seattle Seahawks.

• Second baseman Omar Infante is hitting .323 (10-for-31) since returning from the disabled list Aug. 12. He missed more than five weeks with a left ankle injury. Infante departed last Saturday’s game with lower-back stiffness and a tight quadriceps, but returned to the lineup Tuesday.

• The Tigers released former closer Jose Valverde from Triple-A Toledo on Aug. 7. Valverde had been 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA and had nine saves in 12 chances earlier this season at the major league level before he was designated for assignment on June 21. He subsequently had accepted a minor league assignment. Joaquin Benoit has 14 saves as well as a 2-0 record and 1.21 ERA in his past 30 appearances. He has not blown a save chance this season.

• Detroit bolstered its bullpen by acquiring Jose Veras from the Houston Astros on July 29.

Rick Porcello is a product of Seton Hall Prep in West Orange. He hails from Chester, N.J. Porcello is coming off an outing in which he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

August, 6, 2012

US Presswire/Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Wade LeBlanc, Nathan Eovaldi and Josh Johnson during the midweek series against the Marlins.
METS (53-56, third place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (49-60, fifth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (8-5, 3.72) vs. LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 1.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Young (3-5, 4.22) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-7, 4.66), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (14-3, 2.82) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (7-7, 3.85), 12:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

Jose Reyes takes a career-high 24-game hitting streak into the series against the Mets. It’s the longest hitting streak in the majors this season, topping a 23-game streak by the Yankees’ Robinson Cano from June 24 to July 20. Reyes has the fourth-longest hitting streak in Marlins history, trailing only Luis Castillo’s franchise-record 35-game streak in 2002 as well as Emilio Bonifacio’s 26-game streak in 2011 and Kevin Millar’s 25-game streak in 2002. Reyes is hitting .371 (36-for-97) with eight doubles, two triples and four homers during the streak.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Reyes is the first reigning batting champ with a 20-plus-game hitting streak the following season since Nomar Garciaparra in 2000. His streak is the longest by a reigning batting champ since Wade Boggs had a 25-gamer in 1987. And Reyes is the first reigning NL champ with a streak of this length since Stan Musial had a 24-gamer in 1952.

• Reyes moved to the No. 3 slot in the order on July 27, with the second baseman Bonifacio moving into Reyes’ leadoff slot and Carlos Lee shifting from third to cleanup. Bonifacio suffered a sprained left thumb Friday and has landed on the DL, but Reyes remains third. Nick Green was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans. Rookie Donovan Solano started during the weekend at second base.

Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Jose Reyes takes the longest hitting streak in the majors this season into Citi Field on Tuesday.

Reyes and Bonifacio are the first Marlins tandem with 25-plus steals apiece since 2002, when Castillo (48 steals), Andy Fox (31) and Eric Owens (26) all exceeded that total.

• In their latest fire sale, the Marlins shipped Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers with Randy Choate on July 25 for Nathan Eovaldi and minor leaguer Scott McGough. Ramirez is owed $15.5 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014.

First baseman Gaby Sanchez was dealt to Pirates six days later with minor leaguer Kyle Kaminska for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and a draft pick. Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez landed in Detroit for right-hander Jacob Turner and minor leaguers Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn and a swap of draft picks. Edward Mujica was dealt to the Cardinals.

• Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (.284, 19 HR, 50 RBIs) began a rehab assignment Thursday after recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He should return for the series against the Mets.

• Eovaldi faced the Mets in his final start with the Dodgers. He allowed one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven in a 96-pitch effort that lasted only 4 1/3 innings at Citi Field.

• The Marlins acquired Lee from the Astros on July 4 for Matt Dominguez and minor leaguer Rob Rasmussen. Lee, who is playing first base, has an 11-game hitting streak. Houston picked up the $9 million owed to Lee, less the prorated major league minimum.

Heath Bell, who is in the first season of a three-year, $27 million deal, has not worked in a save chance since allowing three runs in a blown save at St. Louis on July 8. Steve Cishek is 5-for-5 in save chances since that point.

• Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was acquired from the Padres in a Nov. 22 trade for John Baker. He made 16 starts at New Orleans before joining Miami’s bullpen on July 1. He will be making his second Marlins start, as his audition to remain a starter continues. LeBlanc allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings while throwing 71 pitches at Atlanta on Wednesday.

LeBlanc displaced from the rotation Carlos Zambrano, who last Monday made his first relief appearance since Aug. 4, 2010.

• Center fielder Justin Ruggiano (.340) started Sunday for the first time in five days. He had been dealing with back spasms. The 30-year-old former Ray, a nine-year minor leaguer, was acquired from Houston on May 26 after playing in 39 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Last series results

Miami won, 2-1, at Marlins Park, May 11-13 (AP game recaps)

Marlins 6, Mets 5: Greg Dobbs’ two-out single in the ninth inning scored Emilio Bonifacio from second base with the winning run. The Marlins scored twice in the ninth off Frank Francisco to win for the ninth time in 10 games. Francisco blew his second save in 10 chances. His ERA rose to 6.59. More

Mets 9, Marlins 3: David Wright pulled an RBI single in the first inning, then sent three subsequent hits to the opposite field with a variety of trajectories. The net result: Three singles, one homer and three RBIs for Wright to help the Mets beat Ricky Nolasco. It was the fourth consecutive multi-hit game for Wright, hiking his NL-leading average to .402. R.A. Dickey (5-1) pitched six innings and sent the Marlins to only their second loss in the past 11 games. More

Marlins 8, Mets 4: Giancarlo Stanton's two-out slam capped a comeback Sunday by the Marlins, who scored six times in the ninth inning to beat an angry Frank Francisco. The Marlins trailed 4-2 when Emilio Bonifacio led off the ninth with his second triple of the game against the struggling Francisco (1-3). John Buck walked and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs followed with an RBI single. Francisco was then replaced, and he walked slowly toward plate umpire Todd Tichenor, hollering angrily. Manager Terry Collins stepped between Tichenor and Francisco, who was ejected even though he was already out of the game. Manny Acosta replaced Francisco, and Jose Reyes' sacrifice fly made the score 4-all. After a popup, Hanley Ramirez walked and Austin Kearns was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Stanton's pink Mother's Day bat then closed out the victory, launching the first pitch over the left-center wall near the animated home run sculpture. More

Mets morning briefing 7.26.12

July, 26, 2012

Getty Images/US Presswire
Dan Warthen and Josh Thole drew the ire of Tim Byrdak over pitch selection Wednesday.
PHOENIX -- After a 5-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday, the Mets had been swept in consecutive three-game series at Citi Field by the Dodgers and Nationals. It marked the eighth time in franchise history the Mets produced a winless homestand of six or more games.The Mets now head into Matt Harvey's debut against the Diamondbacks having lost 11 of 12 since the All-Star break. They are a season-low four games under .500.

Thursday's news reports:

Tim Byrdak clashed with Josh Thole and then pitching coach Dan Warthen after surrendering a homer to Adam LaRoche in the homestand finale. The incident helped prompt a postgame team meeting and tongue-lashing from Terry Collins. Getting the sign from the bench, Thole called for a fastball to LaRoche. Byrdak twice shook off Thole wanting a breaking ball, but the catcher continued to call for a fastball. Byrdak eventually threw a fastball over the heart of the plate -- not where Thole set up on the outside corner. LaRoche deposited the pitch into the right-field stands for a two-run homer in the seventh inning to provide the Nats with a four-run lead. In the dugout afterward, Byrdak first had an exchange with Thole, then with Warthen, the latter of which prompted David Wright to intercede. "I don't think anything can get any worse than this right now," Thole told reporters before the Mets departed for Arizona. "I can't wait to get out of here." Read more on the incident the Post.

Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:

Afterward, a heated Collins, while vowing such miscommunication will not happen again, made it clear he would not tolerate his players showing each other up. Without ever mentioning Byrdak by name, Collins talked about “standing up and being a man” and “accountability” while promising, “we’re gonna see a different team the next two weeks and we’re not gonna make any excuses.”

This was the second time in a week that Collins had to come to the defense of Thole. Last Wednesday, the manager called a team meeting in Washington following a 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Nats that was decided on a wild pitch by Pedro Beato, who inferred afterward he thought Thole should have blocked the pitch. “Emotions happen out there,” Thole said after Wednesday’s debacle. “It’s what happens after you lose 11 of 12 or whatever it is. I was caught off guard with it a little bit, but everything’s good.”

Adam Rubin
Matt Harvey makes his major league debut tonight against the Diamondbacks.

• When Harvey arrived at Citi Field on Monday, three days before his scheduled major league debut, Sandy Alderson and Collins met with the 2010 first-round pick and told him not to try to be a savior. With the Mets on their second six-game losing streak in two weeks, though, the Mets desperately need a quality performance from the UNC product, who was selected seventh overall in the same draft in which Bryce Harper was the top pick by Washington.

Harvey, 23, went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 starts with Triple-A Buffalo. In 110 innings, he allowed 97 hits, walked 48 and struck out 112. In his final minor league start, Saturday against Charlotte, Harvey was touched up for six runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter in five innings.

Steve Serby in the Post did a Q&A with Harvey. If Harvey, a Yankees and Patriots fan growing up in Connecticut, could have three dinner guests, they would be: Jennifer Aniston, Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan. "He was my idol growing up," Harvey told Serby about Jeter. "I loved the way that Paul O’Neill played. And I loved how everyone respected Derek Jeter for the person that he was and the stand-up guy that he was -- the hard worker and the gamer, and he did it day in and day out, never showed anything, never did anything bad in the media or anything like that. People looked up to him everywhere he went. He was like every kids' idol growing up. Just getting a chance to talk to him and see how he handled everything and how he went about his business, I think that would be helpful."

Read more on Harvey's debut in the Hartford Courant, Post and Newsday.

• The Mets continued to shuffle the roster on the margins. A day after officially demoting Pedro Beato and Lucas Duda, Mike Nickeas was dispatched to Triple-A Buffalo. Fellow righty-hitting catcher Rob Johnson will replace Nickeas. Harvey this week named Johnson as being invaluable in terms of guidance in Buffalo. Johnson undoubtedly will catch Harvey's major league debut considering the Mets are facing Arizona rookie left-hander Wade Miley in the series opener at Chase Field.

Nickeas hit .168 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 101 at-bats. It had been a mild surprise when Nickeas, not Johnson, remained at the major league level once Thole had returned from a concussion on June 1, although Andy McCullough subsequently reported in the Star-Ledger that pitchers liked throwing to Nickeas and Mets staffers were displeased that Johnson "preferred to attack a hitter’s weaknesses rather than accentuate his pitchers’ strengths."

Johnson, appearing on the Buffalo pregame show Wednesday after receiving word of the promotion, looked forward to likely catching Harvey's debut and thought Harvey would benefit from being with the major league team for three days before his start against the Diamondbacks.

Debby Wong/US Presswire
Rob Johnson is replacing Mike Nickeas on the major league roster Thursday and is likely to catch Matt Harvey's debut.

"It's going to be a cool moment for him and I to share together," Johnson said. "I got to catch him all year here. He kept on getting better and better. So, hopefully, we can bring that up to the big leagues. ... I'm looking forward to seeing how he does. The first time that you're up there, if you have to pitch on that first day, I think it's a lot more nerve-wracking, rather than getting your feet wet. Obviously he hasn't played at all, but he's up there. And he's got the stuff to be up there. I'm looking forward to competing with him.

"I think mentally he's strong enough to be there. It's just going to be a matter of if he can compose his emotions. And that's hopefully what I'll take leadership in, and be able to get through this thing together. I think one of the biggest differences between Triple-A and the big leagues is the speed of the game. And so, [me] having experience up in the big leagues for three or four years, I think that will help him and I -- just because we have a good relationship. I think that he trusts me, and I trust him."

Frank Francisco failed to complete an inning with Double-A Binghamton in the closer's first minor league rehab game since straining his left oblique and landing on the disabled DL June 23. Francisco surrendered three hits, including two doubles, and walked one among the six New Britain batters he faced. Francisco's rehab tour twice had been delayed -- by a cranky oblique when he was due to pitch for Class A St. Lucie, then by knee discomfort earlier this week that required a cortisone shot. Mets officials had said Francisco might need as few as two rehab appearances before being activated in Arizona, but that was before Francisco's struggles with the B-Mets on Wednesday. Alderson indicated Francisco was accompanying the B-Mets back to Binghamton, where they open a four-game series against Portland tonight, Lynn Worthy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin tweeted.

Mike Baxter went 1-for-3 and walked twice while logging a full game in right field in Buffalo's 5-4 loss at Louisville. Baxter is now 5-for-11 in three games with the Bisons, after also playing three games with Class A St. Lucie. Baxter's two previous rehab games in the outfield in the minors had come in left field. But Duda since has been demoted, so the exposure to right field makes sense. Baxter actually has appeared in 392 minor league games in right field in his career -- far more than any other position.

Collins has indicated Baxter is likely to return for the series opener at San Francisco on Monday. Baxter landed on the DL on June 1 with a displaced right collarbone and fractured rib cartilage, which he suffered making a no-hitter-saving-catch for Johan Santana. Read more in the Record.

• Despite surrendering second-inning homers to Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa, Jeremy Hefner limited the Nationals to three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings. It was Hefner's first major league start since June 6. Collins expects Santana will return after the 11-game road trip, on either Aug. 8 or 9 against the Marlins. That likely means two starts for Hefner on the road trip. Read Wednesday's game recaps in the Times, Newsday, Record, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post:

You’ve got to give props to these Mets. They don’t merely slump. Year, after year, they spontaneously combust. They come apart at the core.

Stephen Strasburg limited the Mets to a solo homer by Ike Davis while striking out 11 in seven innings. Read more in the Post.

• Post columnist Joel Sherman tweets that Scott Hairston and Byrdak will be available in trades if the deals improve the Mets in 2013. That is consistent with what Alderson stated Monday at Citi Field -- that he wants to try to keep this year's team competitive, so players in the final years of contracts would be available only if the move helped the major league team in the short term, not for rebuilding.

Michael Salfino in the Journal notes the Mets have been swept in six series this season, one shy of the Cubs' MLB-leading total. But the Mets also have swept five opponents. The 11 sweeps in which the Mets have been involved is the MLB high.

Zack Wheeler, who had allowed a career-high eight runs in his previous start, surrendered six runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two hit batters in four innings in Binghamton's 11-2 loss at New Britain. In Louisville, Collin McHugh tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings for Buffalo. But Fernando Cabrera surrendered four runs in the eighth and Beato, in his return to the minors, served up a walk-off homer to Didi Gregorious as the Bisons lost, 5-4. Duda arrived too close to game time and did not appear for Buffalo.

Johnson said about McHugh: "He's got four pitches that he can throw for strikes. Anytime you do that, you're going to be successful at this level. As long as he continues to pound the zone and stays down in the zone, he's going to be successful. I really like Collin. He's got a good, live fastball -- a big, slow breaking ball that keep guys honest. He's got a good changeup and a nice cutter that he throws."

Read Wednesday's minor league recap here.

• While the Mets have been quiet as Tuesday's trade deadline approaches, that hardly has been the case elsewhere in the division.

The dismantling Marlins sent Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers two days after shipping Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. There are rumblings Josh Johnson could be dealt as well. “None of us envisioned where we are today,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald. “These are tough trades. But when you underachieve at the level this team has underachieved, we talked about a restructuring and this was part of it.”

Sherman in the Post wonders if Jose Reyes is on the block. He writes:

Reyes will have five years at $96 million left after what is a down season for him. Miami might not be willing to eat money or even trade Reyes so soon after his signing. But if Reyes were to become available, I think there would be suitors. Seattle is hungry for offense and a leadoff successor to Ichiro Suzuki. If the A’s could ever add significant dollars, Reyes would work. The team to keep an eye on, though, is Toronto. The Blue Jays were very interested in Reyes as a free agent, but were worried about his constant hamstring problems and have an organizational mandate not to give more than five-year contracts -- which is what Reyes would have left after the season. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has shown a willingness to take risks with talented players feeling that is the only way to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox within the AL East.

Meanwhile, the Phillies signed Cole Hamels to a six-year, $144 million extension. Writes's Jerry Crasnick about the Phillies' salary commitments:

The move allows them to maintain their core of Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the rotation and the hallowed but aging infield nucleus of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins through at least the end of Utley's contract next season. The financial math is daunting: Those six players and closer Jonathan Papelbon will earn about $123 million combined in 2013 -- which is more than all but four teams' Opening Day payrolls this season. That doesn't leave much wiggle room for the other 18 spots on the roster.

TRIVIA: Which player did the Mets send to Cleveland in the three-team deal that landed J.J. Putz as well as Sean Green in Flushing?

Wednesday's answer: Jordany Valdespin's fifth pinch-hit homer passed Mark Carreon (1989) and Danny Heep (1983) for the franchise's single-season record. Valdespin is two pinch-hit homers shy of matching the major league record, held by Craig Wilson (Pirates, 2001) and Dave Hansen (Dodgers, 2000).

Rapid Reaction: Marlins 6, Mets 5

May, 11, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: The Miami Marlins turned the tables on Frank Francisco and the comeback kids.

Charged with protecting a one-run lead in the ninth, Francisco suffered a blown save after Giancarlo Stanton produced a leadoff double and Emilio Bonifacio plated him with a one-out single.

Bonifacio then swiped second -- his franchise-record 18th straight successful steal to open the season -- and scored the winning run in Miami’s 6-5 victory when Greg Dobbs singled with two out.

Francisco (1-2) suffered his second blown save in 10 chances.

To that point, the Mets had been poised for their MLB-high 12th comeback win of the season.

Pinch hitter Mike Baxter delivered a tiebreaking two-run double with the bases loaded against reliever Ryan Webb in a three-run eighth to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

Instead, the loss snapped the Mets’ five-game winning streak.

RALLY RECAP: Ike Davis began the rally from an early 3-0 deficit, delivering a solo homer in the fifth against Mark Buehrle. It was Davis’ second straight game with a homer. He belted a mammoth three-run shot off the second-deck fašade against Jose Contreras in the eighth inning Wednesday at Philadelphia.

In the seventh, Mike Nickeas’ one-out RBI double against Buehrle pulled the Mets within a run, prompting Terry Collins to pinch hit for Johan Santana. But Justin Turner flied out. And after a walk to Andres Torres prompted Ozzie Guillen to go to his bullpen, southpaw Randy Choate struck out Daniel Murphy and the Mets headed to the bottom of the seventh trailing 3-2.

In the eighth, David Wright (3-for-5) dropped a leadoff double inside the right-field line against Edward Mujica. Wright moved to third on Lucas Duda’s groundout. Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit for Scott Hairston and delivered a game-tying double. After an intentional walk to Davis and unintentional walk to Ronny Cedeno loaded the bases, Baxter pinch hit for Nickeas against Webb and improved to 6-for-15 with five RBIs as a pinch hitter this season. Baxter’s two-run double gave the Mets a 5-3 lead.

THE NEW FELICIANO: Tim Byrdak appeared to save the day for the Mets yet again. In each of the first two games in Philly, the southpaw stranded an inherited runner at third base in the eighth inning. After Bobby Parnell surrendered a run in the eighth inning on Friday night as the Marlins pulled within 5-4, Byrdak entered with two out and Omar Infante on second base and struck out Logan Morrison to end the threat.

Byrdak is on pace for 96 appearances, which would break the single-season relief record set by Feliciano in his final three seasons as a Met (86, 88 and 92).

NO WAY, COURTESY JOSE: Jose Reyes quickly ensured game No. 8,000 would be the Mets’ 8,000th game without a no-hitter. Reyes, who went only 1-for-12 in New York last month, opened the bottom of the first inning against Santana with a triple narrowly beyond the reach of Torres, who awkwardly played the shot to center field.

Reyes (1-for-4) scored when the newly installed No. 2 hitter Infante dropped a single into shallow left field. Austin Kearns delivered a two-run homer later in the frame. Kearns had been a late replacement in left field for the scratched Morrison, after Guillen decided he liked Kearns matching up better against Santana.

Santana’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K.

SHORT STORY: In his first action since April 20, Cedeno returned from the disabled list and went 1-for-2 with two walks. Cedeno will be in the regular shortstop until Ruben Tejada returns from the DL, Collins said.

FIELDING OF DREAMS: Santana and Wright, both former Gold Glove recipients, turned in fielding gems on consecutive plays in the fifth. Santana lunged to catch a bunt attempt from Buehrle in the air. Then, Wright barehanded a grounder from Reyes and threw to first in time to retire his former teammate. An inning earlier, Santana caught Stanton stealing with a pickoff move.

WHAT’S NEXT: Other than a postgame LL Cool J concert after Friday’s game at Marlins Park? R.A. Dickey (4-1, 3.76) opposes Ricky Nolasco (4-0, 2.72 ERA) on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

April, 24, 2012

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Ricky Nolasco during a midweek series that marks Jose Reyes' return to Flushing with the Marlins.
METS (8-8, third place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (7-8, fourth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Johan Santana (0-2, 3.97) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (0-2, 5.94), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (2-1, 5.71) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (1-2, 2.66), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jon Niese (2-0, 2.89) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-0, 3.93), 1:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

Jose Reyes is off to a slow start in his first season with the Marlins, with a .230 average, .294 on-base percentage and five errors through 15 games, albeit with a handful of highlight-reel defensive plays as well. After the Mets failed to make an offer, or even send a box of chocolates, Reyes signed a six-year, $106 million deal with Miami.

• Manager Ozzie Guillen served a five-game suspension after making comments praising Fidel Castro, which angered those in the Cuban-American community, particularly among the Marlins’ fan base. Other than at the off-day press conference held by Guillen in Miami to apologize, which drew about 50 protestors, there have been no visible demonstrations outside Marlins Park.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Ozzie Guillen served a five-game suspension for praising Fidel Castro.

Heath Bell, who did not blow consecutive saves at any point during his San Diego Padres career, opened his era with the Marlins by failing to convert his first two opportunities. The ex-Met Bell, who was traded to San Diego with Royce Ring for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson on Nov. 15, 2006, nonetheless has the fourth-highest save percentage in the majors over the last three-plus seasons, at 89.3 percent. He trails only John Axford, Jose Valverde and Mariano Rivera. Bell signed a three-year, $27 million free-agent deal and was introduced as a Marlin during the winter meetings. After the two blown saves, both of which deprived Carlos Zambrano of wins, Bell saved his next two chances.

• Miami’s new stadium, known as Marlins Park, is a pitcher-friendly ballpark with a seating capacity of 37,442. The dimensions (from left to right): 344, 386, 418, 392, 335. Despite the imposing dimensions, the Marlins have out-homered opponents 5-1 at the stadium so far, with Hanley Ramirez producing three of the long balls. Owner Jeffrey Loria also rebranded the Marlins, dropping “Florida” for “Miami” and changing the team logo to more of a South Beach feel.

• Ramirez (.263, 4 HR, 12 RBIs) has moved to third base to accommodate Reyes after logging his first 829 career major league games in the field at shortstop. He has committed only one error and generally looked solid. Slowed by a left shoulder injury last season, Ramirez hit only .243 with 10 homers in 92 games. Ramirez currently is tied with Miguel Cabrera for third on the Marlins’ all-time home run list with 138. He trails Dan Uggla (154) and Mike Lowell (143).

Josh Johnson’s 2011 season ended after a five-inning start on May 16 against the Mets at Citi Field because of right shoulder inflammation. He actually was removed from that outing after getting hit in the right forearm with a comebacker off the bat of Carlos Beltran. Johnson threw live batting practice at the end of September, but ran out of time to return during that season. He did not undergo surgery. This season, Johnson rebounded from allowing six runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Phillies on April 11 by limiting the Cubs to two runs on seven hits in seven innings in his most recent start.

• Second baseman Omar Infante (left groin tightness) expects to return to the lineup for Tuesday’s series opener at Citi Field. Infante has not played since last Tuesday, except for a pinch-hit appearance Saturday in D.C. Donnie Murphy (three games) and Emilio Bonifacio (one game) started at second base in Infante’s absence. Bonifacio otherwise has exclusively served as the Marlins’ starting center fielder. He had not taken grounders at second base this season, but Guillen wanted a lefty-dominated lineup Saturday against Washington phenom Stephen Strasburg. Infante was on fire before being sidelined. He is hitting .325 with four homers in 40 at-bats. The pinch-hit out against the Nats snapped Infante’s eight-game hitting streak.

• The Reyes-Bonifacio combo gives Miami two switch-hitters atop the order as well as a pair of speedsters. The Marlins’ 18 steals (in 21 attempts) leads the majors. Bonifacio already has nine steals, the most in the first 15 games of a season by a Marlin in franchise history. Quilvio Veras formerly held the record with eight.

• Marlins newcomer Mark Buehrle texted former White Sox teammate Philip Humber congratulations on becoming one of the 21 major league pitchers to throw a perfect game in the sport’s history. Buehrle tossed his perfecto against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 23, 2009. Despite a 13-year major league career, Buehrle has never faced the Mets. That is largely because the Mets and Buehrle’s former club, the Chicago White Sox, have not met in interleague play since 2002 -- the longest stretch the Mets have gone in not seeing an American League opponent. Buehrle signed a four-year, $58 million deal with the Marlins on Dec. 8. He is the only major league pitcher to log 200 innings each of the past 11 seasons. His 10-plus wins per year for the past 11 seasons is tied with CC Sabathia for the longest active streak in the majors.

Logan Morrison played only five spring-training games because of right-knee soreness. Giancarlo (formerly Mike) Stanton appeared in only eight spring-training games because of left-knee inflammation. Neither is 100 percent, so they are spotted days off in the outfield. Stanton’s full name is Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton. Teachers in middle school in Los Angeles butchered his first name so frequently, he requested to be called Mike. But he has now decided to revert to his actual name. Morrison is one of the most active (and tawdry) players on Twitter at @LoMoMarlins.

• The Marlins are featured in the second-annual Showtime series “The Franchise.” The first episode debuted Saturday night. The first episode included Guillen being informed of his suspension. The San Francisco Giants were featured last season.

Ricky Nolasco is two wins shy of matching Dontrelle Willis’ franchise record for wins as a Marlin at 68.


Santana vs. Marlins (career: 6-1, 1.47 ERA)
Gaby Sanchez .800, 5 PA
Chris Coghlan .333, 1 RBI, 6 PA
Jose Reyes .250, 4 PA
John Buck .235, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 18 PA
Omar Infante .205, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K, 42 PA
Hanley Ramirez .143, 2 BB, 7 K, 23 PA
Austin Kearns .133, 3 K, 15 PA
Emilio Bonifacio .083, 4 K, 12 PA
Donnie Murphy .000, 2 K, 3 PA

Dickey vs. Marlins (career: 5-2, 3.91 ERA)
Omar Infante .500, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 24 PA
Hanley Ramirez .400, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 16 PA
Gaby Sanchez .333, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 19 PA
Austin Kearns .333, 1 K, 3 PA
John Buck .300, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Chris Coghlan .286, 2 BB, 3 K, 9 PA
Emilio Bonifacio .200, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Greg Dobbs .200, 3 K, 10 PA
Logan Morrison .182, 2 BB, 4 K, 13 PA
Brett Hayes .167, 1 K, 6 PA
Donnie Murphy .143, 3 K, 7 PA
Giancarlo Stanton .125, 3 K, 8 PA
Jose Reyes .000, 2 K, 6 PA

Niese vs. Marlins (career: 1-4, 5.67 ERA)
Emilio Bonifacio .500, 3 PA
Logan Morrison .429, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 10 PA
Brett Hayes .333, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Hanley Ramirez .273, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 13 PA
Gaby Sanchez .214, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 17 PA
Chris Coghlan .200, 1 K, 11 PA
Omar Infante .167, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 19 PA
Giancarlo Stanton .000, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 6 PA
Donnie Murphy .000, 3 PA
Austin Kearns .000, 3 PA
John Buck .000, 1 K, 3 PA

Johnson vs. Mets (career: 8-1, 2.68 ERA)
Justin Turner .500, 1 RBI, 2 PA
Jason Bay .417, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 K, 12 PA
Daniel Murphy .294, 2 BB, 2 K, 19 PA
David Wright .207, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 30 PA
Josh Thole .200, 2 K, 5 PA
Ike Davis .143, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 BB, 2 K, 6 PA
Ruben Tejada .000, 1 BB, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 1 PA

Buehrle vs. Mets (career: never faced)
Ronny Cedeno .444, 1 RBI, 1 K, 9 PA
Jason Bay .235, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 19 PA

Nolasco vs. Mets (career: 5-7, 5.27 ERA)
David Wright .389, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 15 K, 57 PA
Daniel Murphy .353, 1 RBI, 3 K, 18 PA
Ruben Tejada .333, 1 K, 6 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 6 PA
Jason Bay .273, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 24 PA
Josh Thole .250, 1 K, 8 PA
Ike Davis .182, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 1 K, 6 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 6 PA
Mike Nickeas .000, 1 K, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Dolphin Stadium, Sept. 5-7, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Marlins 9, Mets 3: Chris Capuano failed to reach the fifth inning for the first time in 27 starts this season, lasting only four innings and taking the loss. Capuano (10-12) allowed six runs and eight hits, walked one and struck out three. Florida took a 2-0 lead in the first. Emilio Bonifacio opened with a double, took third on Omar Infante's sacrifice and scored on Capuano's wild pitch. Gaby Sanchez doubled with two outs and scored on Logan Morrison's single to center. Jose Lopez homered with two outs in the third to make it 3-0. Angel Pagan's RBI groundout in the fourth cut Florida's lead to 3-1. The Marlins responded with Bryan Petersen's RBI single and Bonifacio's two-run single in the bottom of the inning. Mike Cameron had an RBI double in the fifth and Sanchez had a two-run single in the sixth to stretch the lead to 9-1. Javier Vazquez pitched seven solid innings for the win. Jason Bay hit his 11th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Chris Hatcher, in the ninth.

Mets 7, Marlins 4 (12 innings): Nick Evans drove in three runs, including a go-ahead single in the 12th inning, to lead New York over Florida. Jose Reyes, Justin Turner, Angel Pagan and Evans each had three hits for New York, which lost a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. Marlins reliever Jose Ceda (0-1) gave up three straight hits to begin the 12th, including Evans’ soft liner to center that scored Pagan. Later in the inning, Reyes hit an RBI single and Lucas Duda drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Mets a 7-4 lead. Ryota Igarashi (4-1) got the win in a game that lasted 4 hours, 29 minutes, including a 1:14 rain delay.

Mets 1, Marlins 0: R.A. Dickey made an early run stand up, blanking Florida for seven innings. Dickey is 3-0 against the Marlins this season. The knuckleballer allowed only one run -- it was unearned -- in 20 innings over that span. Jose Reyes led off the game with a single and scored on a one-out double down the left-field line by Lucas Duda for the only run. Dickey (8-11) and relievers Josh Stinson and Manny Acosta combined on a five-hitter. The Mets played their final game at the Marlins’ stadium before Florida moves into a new home next season. The Mets finished 75-74 at the park the Marlins had shared with the Dolphins since 1993. Dickey gave up four hits and three walks. He struck out three. Brad Hand (1-6) allowed one run, three hits and four walks in six innings. In the eighth, the Marlins put Emilio Bonifacio on third base, but Stinson struck out Gaby Sanchez swinging to end the inning. Acosta pitched the ninth and recorded his first save since Aug. 11, 2010, at Houston.

Infante homers twice off Capuano

August, 2, 2011
Omar Infante smashed his second homer of the day off the Mets’ Chris Capuano.

Infante hit his second and third home runs of the season into the left field seats to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead in the fifth. The Mets responded in the bottom of the inning and Capuano scored a run off David Wright's groundout. The score is tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth.

Walking the pitcher dooms Niese

September, 17, 2010
NEW YORK -- Jonathon Niese can trace his struggles Friday night during the Mets' 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves back to one at-bat, versus opposing pitcher Tommy Hanson.

All Niese had to do was get one out. Retire his fellow starter, who came into the game hitting just .109 on the year, and he would head to the dugout still up 3-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth inning.

Only, it wasn't that easy. Niese's fastball kept cutting on him, moving out of the zone and being called a ball. The count went full before Niese missed with a cutter to walk the pitcher, a cardinal sin in baseball.

Three batters and six runs later, his walk cost him the ballgame.

"One minute I'm winning 3-0 and then before I know it, we're down 6-3," Niese said. "I tried to get through it, but I couldn't get through it."

Niese's walk to Hanson led to six Braves runs in the top of the fourth, as the Mets' four-game winning streak was snapped at Citi Field. While none of the runs were earned, as third baseman David Wright made a throwing error that prolonged the frame, Niese unraveled with two outs, allowing four straight runners to reach base, including a game-winning three-run homer by Jason Heyward.

"Walking Hanson, there's no excuse for that obviously," Niese said. "But other than that, I felt good. Really [Heyward's] three-run homer is what broke it open, but other than that, I thought it wasn't too bad."

Niese cruised through the first three innings of the game, giving up just one hit, a single to Heyward in the third inning. Meanwhile, Niese's teammates gave him an early cushion as they scored three runs in the second against Hanson, including RBIs from Lucas Duda, Jose Reyes and Niese himself.

In the fourth, though, it all went amuck. Wright's throwing error on a groundball by Matt Diaz put two men on with one out, and loomed large after Niese retired Alex Gonzalez for the second out. Melky Cabrera then singled to slice the lead to 3-1, and then came the dooming walk to Hanson to load the bases.

Omar Infante followed with a chopper down the third-base line that scooted past the glove of a diving Wright and plated two runs to tie the game, and Heyward then smoked a 1-2 curveball off the Subway sign in the right-field bleachers to give the Braves a 6-3 lead.

Niese (9-9) lost for the fourth time in his past five starts, and has now dropped two straight decisions. He said he felt strong going into the game and felt strong as the game progressed, although fatigue did start to set in as he labored during the fourth inning.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Niese is the first Mets pitcher to give up six or more runs with none being earned since Al Leiter on April 13, 2002. It's also the most team runs allowed, with none being earned, in Mets history.

"It's tough, obviously I want to get through it and help my guys," Niese said about the error that extended the inning. "And it's frustrating not being able to do that."

While the final outcome wasn't pretty for the Mets, as they dropped back to .500 at 74-74, manager Jerry Manuel didn't seem too discouraged about what he saw from his starter. But, like most in the park on this night, he was left wondering what could've been had Niese just been able to retire the opposing pitcher.

"That was probably the biggest swing of the game, that brought back the top of the lineup and they put some good swings on him," Manuel sad. "But I thought Jonathan Niese had good stuff going into tonight. Those first couple of innings, I really thought he had good stuff, but it got away from us, we made an error and was not able to overcome it."

Game 148: Braves @ Mets

September, 17, 2010
9:46 p.m.: The Mets four-game win streak is over. Billy Wagner shuts down the Mets in the ninth and New York loses 6-4 and falls to 74-74. Niese loses for the fourth time in his last five starts, while Hanson wins for just the second time in 14 starts. Thanks for reading.

9:32 p.m: The Mets are going to have to win in a walkoff. It's 6-4 Atlanta entering the ninth.

9:12 p.m.: Mets waste a pinch-hit double from Nick Evans, and trail 6-4 going to the 8th inning.

9:04 p.m.: The Braves make the call to the bullpen, as Jonny Venters is replacing Hanson. We go to the bottom of the 7th.

8:55 p.m.: The Mets still trail 6-4 as we head to the 7th.

8:25 p.m.: Lucas Duda gets his second hit of the night, a home run to nearly the same spot Heyward hit his to make it a 6-4 game. Niese has been pinch-hit for by Mike Hessman in the bottom of the fourth here. We go to the fifth, Sean Green is in.

8:17 p.m.: Things just got out of hands quickly. Niese walks Tommy Hanson to load the bases, and Omar Infante follows with a chopper down the third base line that squeaks by a diving David Wright to make it 3-3. Heyward then clobbers a home run to right off the subway sign on the Pepsi Porch and it's 6-3 Braves.

8:11 p.m.: The Braves finally crack through with a run. A throwing error to second base by David Wright on a fielder's choice by Matt Diaz prolongs the inning, and Melky Cabrera singles in a run to make it 3-1.

7:58 p.m.: For the first time tonight, Jon Niese has to work himself out of a jam. He walks Omar Infante with two outs, and then gives up a single to Jason Heyward, who reaches second when Carlos Beltran throws to third. Niese works out of it by retiring Martin Prado to end the frame. 3-0 going bottom three.

7:43 p.m.: The Mets strike first and in a big way. Ike Davis works a walk and moves to third when Josh Thole singles to right-center. Davis then scores when Lucas Duda singles to left. Thole later scores when Jon Niese bloops a single to left field to give the Mets a 2-0 edge. Jose Reyes follows with a single to right field past the diving glove of Derrek Lee and it's 3-0. Going to the third.

Braves manager Bobby Cox has aloso been ejected from the game for arguing after Davis' at-bat. It was unsure what his argument was.

7:04 p.m.: Angel Pagan has been scratched from the game because of family issue. Chris Carter is in right field instead and still batting second.

6:17 p.m.: Lineups

Jose Reyes SS
Angel Pagan RF
Carlos Beltran CF
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Josh Thole C
Lucas Duda LF
Ruben Tejada 2B
Jon Niese LHP


Omar Infante 2B
Jason Heyward RF
Martin Prado 3B
Derrek Lee 1B
Brian McCann C
Matt Diaz LF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Melky Cabrera CF
Tommy Hanson RHP



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