New York Mets: Peter Greenberg

Mets morning briefing 4.24.12

April, 24, 2012
Jose Reyes returns to Citi Field for the first time as a visitor this evening. He encounters a reeling Mets team that was swept in a doubleheader by the San Francisco Giants on Monday, 6-1 and 7-2, to fall to .500 for the first time this season.

The Mets being involved in doubleheader sweeps actually has become the norm. They were 2-3-0 in twinbills last season -- splitting none. The last split: June 10, 2010, against the San Diego Padres.

Read the Mets-Marlins series preview here.

Meanwhile, Larry Wayne Jones -- father of Shea Jones -- turned 40 today.

Tuesday's news reports:

•'s Jorge Arangure Jr. visited Reyes during the shortstop's weekend series at Nationals Park. Reyes opened up about his time in New York and just how emotional he is about his return to Flushing. Writes Arangure:

This particular conversation with Reyes seemed different from all the others. When Reyes tells you that he's genuinely excited about something, you take notice because you always assume that he's excited about everything.

"I'm going crazy thinking about going there," he said prior to the Miami Marlins' game against the Washington Nationals on Friday. He paused, then repeated, "I'm going crazy thinking about going there."

On Sunday night, Reyes arrived in New York with his Marlins teammates and for the first time in months he slept in his own bed at his house on Long Island. He spent his off day on Monday hanging out with his New York friends and family. Then on Tuesday night, the reunion that Reyes has awaited for months will arrive. Shortly before game time, Mets fans' love affair with their former shortstop will officially come to an end, if it hasn't already. Reyes, wearing the Marlins' fluorescent colors, will step into the batter's box and face the team with whom he spent almost half his life.

"I know he's excited about coming back and seeing how he's received," said Peter Greenberg, Reyes' agent. "I know he's had the date circled since he saw the schedule. I don't think honestly he can say it's another game. It's going to be emotional for him."

David Wright says it will be strange to see Reyes in a Marlins uniform. Because Wright was dealing with an abdominal issue during spring training, he did not see Reyes during any Mets-Marlins Grapefruit League games. So this will be the third baseman's first in-person glimpse at Reyes in garish Marlins colors.

Brian Costa in the Journal notes that minus Reyes, the Mets rank last in the National League in steals with three. Reyes' Marlins lead with 18. Writes Costa:

Baseball Prospectus keeps a statistic called base running runs, which measures the number of runs contributed by a player's advancement on the bases above what would be expected, based on the number and quality of opportunities to advance. Entering Monday, the Mets ranked 29th in the majors with -3.6 base running runs. "I think we have guys who can steal some bases and take some extra bases," said Mets first-base coach Tom Goodwin, who oversees baserunning. "It's just a comfort level we have to get to as a team. We need to get comfortable taking that chance and taking that extra base."

• Read more on Reyes' impending return in the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Star-Ledger, Post, Times, Daily News and Newsday.

Jason Bay injured his left rib cage attempting a catch on Gregor Blanco's fourth-inning shot to left field in Game 2. X-rays were negative, but Bay was not fully comfortable postgame and may undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning. Read more in Newsday, the Daily News, Record and Post.

• Backup middle infielder Ronny Cedeno landed on the disabled list with a strained left intercostal muscle on his left side. Jeremy Hefner was activated for Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader and tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Miguel Batista. Hefner then was optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo, and Jordany Valdespin was activated to serve as a backup middle infielder.

Mike Puma in the Post had this lead to his game story about the doubleheader defeat: If a baseball team creates a stench and nobody shows up to smell it, is an odor emitted?

Read other game recaps from a miserable Monday at damp, frigid and desolate Citi Field in the Times, Record, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post links Monday's stinker to Reyes' return. Writes Kernan:

These are the nights when Jose Reyes’ free-agent flight can be felt throughout a dead ballpark. This has nothing to do with Ruben Tejada, who is proving to be a competent replacement for the Mets, but Reyes always brought a large amount of energy to the team. On this cold night when Citi Field was nearly empty, energy was desperately needed against the Giants.

• Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News says who needs Reyes when the Mets have Ruben Tejada? (Our take? There's a wee bit of a drop-off.) Writes Smith:

If the early results are any indication of what the future holds, the Mets aren’t going to miss Reyes at all. They’re better off without him. All that hand-wringing over whether to let him leave was wasted. The Mets can live without him. Tejada has softened that blow.

• Columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger says the Reyes recognition video should include him bunting for a base hit and departing the final game of last season to preserve the batting title, because Bradley asserts that was a selfish play. Writes Bradley:

But now that Reyes is gone, and there doesn’t appear to be another player like him about to blow through the doors of the clubhouse, why not remember how it ended? Showing Reyes walking off again would symbolize, without saying a word, that the Mets have moved in a new direction. Reyes was a special player, an exciting player, a guy who played hard. But show that moment, and let Mets fans decide if it was a defining one. Walking the parking lots outside Citi Field last night were a few who believed it was. “Looking back, I’m kind of glad we might not have players like Jose Reyes anymore,” said Brad Jasper, a Mets fan from Manhattan who was one of the few to attend the first game of last night’s doubleheader with the Giants. “That was a ‘me’ move and we’ve got to be more of a team to be successful in the future.”

Ike Davis left the bases loaded three times and stranded 11 runners Monday, although the last called third strike, as a pinch hitter in Game 2, was a rough call by plate ump Dana DeMuth on a low pitch. Read more in the Post.

• If you thought, for sure, that former Mets first-round draft pick Philip Humber's appearance to read the Top 10 list on the "Late Show" with David Letterman would include a dig at the Mets, you were incorrect. Or, more precisely, the show's writers whiffed. The Amazin's escaped unscathed. The only dig at the expense of another team was directed at the Boston Red Sox. Said Humber for No. 3: "I see the Red Sox are up 9-0 on the Yankees -- that's an easy win."

Andres Torres and D.J. Carrasco began rehab assignments Monday with Class A St. Lucie. Carrasco pitched a scoreless inning. Torres went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two steals. Torres' return from a left calf strain will create an interesting situation about whether Kirk Nieuwenhuis merits sticking around -- and can get enough playing time to justify it. Interestingly, Terry Collins twice in the four-game San Francisco series started Nieuwenhuis and Scott Hairston against a southpaw and had Lucas Duda on the bench.

Dylan Owen, making a spot start with Hefner promoted to the majors, allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings and also homered as Triple-A Buffalo beat Lehigh Valley, 5-1. Read the full minor league recap here.

TRIVIA: Which city hosted the All-Star Game the year Reyes and Wright were selected to play for the first time? (Hint: Reyes was inactive because he had sliced his left pinkie on Mike Jacobs' cleat while sliding back into first base a week earlier in a game against the Marlins.)

Monday's answer: Tom Seaver pitched for only one minor league team in his career -- the Jacksonville (Fla.) Suns, in 1966. Seaver went 12-12 with a 3.13 ERA in 34 appearances (32 starts) spanning 210 innings. He became an All-Star the following season.

Mets morning briefing 3.8.12

March, 8, 2012
Today, Johan Santana is expected to throw a between-starts bullpen session, although there is no guarantee. Then Mike Pelfrey is due to take the mound for an afternoon Grapefruit League game against the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie. The Players Association also makes its annual visit to converse with Mets players today, so we may find out what union chief Michael Weiner thinks about the Mets' payroll level.

Also, please join me for a 12:30 p.m. online Mets chat. Click this link.

Meanwhile, live near Bellmore JFK High School on Long Island? You can hear alums Steve Levy and Adam Schefter of ESPN speak tonight at 7. I'm an alum of Mepham, one of the other two high schools in the district. Details on tonight's event here.

Thursday's news report:

• Not exactly a shocker, even though it was treated as such: Jose Reyes was looking for the most money as a free agent, just $1 more, Marlins team president David Samson reportedly told Miami businessmen. Reyes is not expected at today's Mets-Marlins game. He played the past two nights in exhibition games at the Marlins' new stadium in Miami against college teams -- the University of Miami and Florida International.

Andy Martino in the Daily News doesn't believe Samson. Writes Martino:

According to sources, Reyes would have strongly considered a somewhat smaller deal from the Mets, both in years and dollars, and was shocked when his longtime team did not make an offer.

My analysis: Reyes would not have defected from the Mets to Miami if the disparity in offers were $1, or probably even $1 million. But my information from reliable sources is that the Mets were willing to go to as much as five years guaranteed, with a vesting option for a sixth year that would have raised the value to $100 million if Reyes stayed healthy.

Don't get caught up in whether the Mets made a formal offer to Reyes. Sandy Alderson conveyed to agent Peter Greenberg the parameters the Mets could reach. And Reyes' side decided that would not be enough and went with the superior Marlins offer.

And, by the way, that's no crime. Players almost always go where the salary is highest. The union obviously encourages that, too. Tom Glavine never wanted to leave Atlanta for New York, for example. But the disparity in money offered was too much.

Furthermore, and I know this because I ended up on a plane with a Mets official after the winter meetings, who was candid: The Mets' strong suspicion is that the Marlins would not have been done bidding until they got Reyes. I don't want to minimize the Mets' economic woes as a factor in their tepid pursuit of Reyes, but the fact of the matter is the Mets likely would have just been increasing what Reyes would ultimately have received from Miami had they actively bid. At some point the Mets would have had to stop anyway because the contract would have reached what is beyond a prudent salary versus injury risk and expected decline in performance as Reyes ages.

Richard Sandomir in the Times notes that Fred Wilpon and family may be at a disadvantage in front of a jury because a group of average folk is probably not inclined to be sympathetic to multimillionaires. The Wilpons' attorneys unsuccessfully had tried to have the $386 million lawsuit heard by Judge Jed S. Rakoff alone. Writes Sandomir:

Rakoff, regarded as a brilliant but unpredictable jurist, alone will question the jury pool. He is a Yankees fan and a partial season-ticket holder. So his neutrality is assured and seems unlikely to be affected by his rooting interests. Anyway, the role of the opposing lawyers in shaping the makeup of the jury will be somewhat limited. Experts suggest that both sides probably already know the sort of jury makeup they want, and that mock trials have likely yielded juror profiles. But neither side will get all it wants. "The real challenge is to ferret out latent prejudices, so it's extremely important for lawyers to suggest questions to the judge beyond those the judge would use to elicit obvious biases," said Mark Zauderer, a partner at Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer in Manhattan. Rakoff need not use their questions. According to several lawyers and a jury consultant, the trustee will want jurors who resent millionaires. But Wilpon and [brother-in-law Saul] Katz’s team, they said, probably want less class-conscious people who might be more inclined to feel the trustee's pursuit of the Mets’ owners was overzealous and unfair.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger updates the progress of Jenrry Mejia, who is throwing off a mound -- albeit fastballs only. Pitching coach Dan Warthen estimated Mejia is already throwing in the low-90s mph. The Mets are targeting a May return to game action for Mejia, at the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery, which is the standard rehab time. Warthen told McCullough that Mejia's delivery looks somewhat calmer now than pre-elbow injury, which should reduce his susceptibility to future injury. It was Warthen a year ago, going against the prevalent organization philosophy, who said Mejia projected to him as a reliever because of the violence of his delivery. Meanwhile, Mejia sought advice from Edinson Volquez while rehabbing, and has been consoled by friend/fellow prospect Jeurys Familia when dejected because of the long rehab process.

Jon Niese tossed two scoreless innings and Justin Turner went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs Wednesday as the Mets beat the Marlins, 7-0, in Jupiter.

• Niese is trying to improve his changeup, notes Mike Puma in the Post.

Bobby Parnell -- who dined with his family at a Port St. Lucie pizza joint last night, according to an eyewitness -- had a perfect inning in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game, bouncing back from a woeful intrasquad appearance Sunday. He is the subject of a feature in the Daily News.

There are five bullpen locks -- Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Tim Byrdak and Manny Acosta -- and Parnell is not one of them. He does have a minor league option remaining, but continued outings like Wednesday's should get him onto the major league staff, even if it's not the late-inning role he struggled with last season.

The Mets have not written off Parnell. They were credibly approached at the winter meetings by a team interested in acquiring him and were rebuffed. The Mets were leery of trading a pitcher who throws 100 mph and is under their control for four more seasons and not even eligible for arbitration until next winter in all likelihood. Parnell has only two years, 132 days of major league service time and would essentially need to spend the year in the minors not to qualify for arbitration next offseason for the first of three times.

If Parnell is on the Opening Day roster -- again, no given as of now -- that leaves one more spot. D.J. Carrasco has an existing $1.2 million deal, giving him a leg up, but one team insider said to watch Miguel Batista for one of those final two spots. Relievers facing a more uphill battle to sneak onto the Opening Day roster include younger pitchers Pedro Beato and Josh Stinson as well as left-handers Chuck James, Garrett Olson and Daniel Herrera.

David Wright (left rib-cage discomfort) does not sound like he will be back for at least a week. Terry Collins said Thursday that Wright should start taking grounders this weekend, but not throw. And Wright may or may not start swinging a bat this weekend. Meanwhile, Beato was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday afternoon, a day after being pulled from a Grapefruit League appearance with right shoulder difficulty.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post uses ESPN's fantasy baseball rankings to note the declining state of third-base play in New York. Writes Sherman:

ESPN was displaying its top 12 fantasy third basemen, and I noticed Alex Rodriguez was ranked ninth and David Wright was not even among the 12 names shown. Now I do not want to confuse ESPN’s fantasy rankings with, say, The Dead Sea Scrolls for relevance. But it does provide a snapshot of third base right now in New York, which is to say the most uncertain since 2004. That was Rodriguez’s first season at his new position and Wright’s debut as a Met. Both are coming off injuries and their worst full years, so suddenly 2012 has a mandate-like feeling for the duo.

Wright told Sherman: "As far as I'm concerned it is a big motivator, not the doubt, but the fear of failure. I just don't like failing. But there is no doubt in me. I am very, very confident in what I am doing and what I need to do."

As for Wright's future with the club, Alderson said: "He is not trade bait. Is he part of the future? I hope the answer is yes. Let's see how he bounces back this season."

• Does Alderson have the autonomy -- there's that word again -- to guide the Mets properly? Columnist Bob Klaspich in the Record wonders if the GM will stand up to the Wilpons. Writes Klapisch:

Alderson has a track record to back up his promises. Then again, he’s never worked in an environment as toxic as this or for owners who are this unpopular. Fans are angry, they want the Wilpons out, many are vowing to stay away from Citi Field until regime change is complete. Alderson knows he’s about two years away from turning into a marked man, himself. It didn’t help matters last week when Fred Wilpon threw Alderson under the bus in explaining why Reyes signed with the Marlins. The owner had the audacity to say it was a "baseball decision" hatched entirely by Alderson. Don't blame me, blame him, is what Fred was saying. It was an outright lie and Alderson knows it. So does every discerning Mets fan who figured out long ago the Wilpons didn't have the resources to write a $100 million check.

David Lennon in Newsday profiles Ruben Tejada. Writes Lennon:

Just as Reyes did in his early years with the Mets, Tejada is still getting a better feel for English, which makes him come across as a bit shy on camera. "He's a different person from what you see on TV as opposed to what you get behind closed doors," Wright said. "During interviews and stuff, he's very introverted, but he's very outgoing when he's around us. He's got a dry sense of humor."

Read more on Tejada succeeding Reyes at shortstop with the Mets from Andrew Keh in the Times.

Santana is on track to start Sunday against the Marlins in Port St. Lucie, according to Collins. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times, Daily News and Post.

TRIVIA: Who played shortstop for the Mets the game before Reyes' major league debut?

(Wednesday's answer: The game before Wright made his major league debut with the Mets on July 21, 2004, Ty Wigginton started at third base for the Mets. Wigginton moved to first base for Wright's debut and was traded eight days after that to the Pittsburgh Pirates with now-slugger Jose Bautista and Matt Peterson for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger.)

Mets morning briefing 9.20.11

September, 20, 2011
After spending a team off-day golfing in St. Louis, the Mets open their final road series of the season, a three-game set at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals beginning Tuesday. St. Louis has closed to within 2 games of the wild-card-leading Atlanta Braves.

The Mets (73-80) are tied with the Washington Nationals (72-79) for third place in the NL East, 3 games ahead of the Florida Marlins (70-84). The Amazin's must win their final nine games to finish with a winning record.

Tuesday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson tells David Lennon in Newsday regarding Jose Reyes' free agency: "The focus is still on retaining Jose. But as with any situation that's open-ended, you have to keep alternatives in mind." Reyes told Lennon he plans to work out with Ruben Tejada on Long Island this winter. Tejada has the same agent as Reyes, Peter Greenberg. "I used to be 150 pounds," Reyes said, alluding to Tejada's slight frame. "Now I'm about 200. He's going to do more growing, and as you get older, you learn what you have to do to stay strong for a whole season."

Brendan Prunty in the Star-Ledger takes a closer look at Tejada, who would be in line to be the 2012 shortstop should Reyes depart. Tejada had four RBIs in Sunday's win against the Braves with Reyes resting.

Paul DePodesta tells Andy Martino in the Daily News that he was "mortified" the first time he started reading "Moneyball" and found himself being portrayed as anti-scout. DePodesta does not dispute the accuracy of the book in general, though, but says certain personality traits are accentuated and the character does not mirror him. The character in the movie known as Peter Brand, playing by Jonah Hill, is DePodesta. DePodesta requested another name be used besides his own. "People who know me always say, 'We know that character is not you,'" DePodesta told Martino. "That has never been the concern. The concern is all the people who don't know you, and that's 99.9 percent of the viewers. The thing that bothers you is all the people who don't know you, but think they do."

Ray Bartoszek, the original runner-up to David Einhorn to buy a minority share of the Mets, and actually a devout fan of the Amazin's, instead has bought a piece of the Yankees, reports David Waldstein in the Times. Writes Waldstein:

Bartoszek and the Yankees would not say how much his share represents, but he becomes one of about 30 partners with the team, including members of the Steinbrenner family, with Hal Steinbrenner acting as the team’s managing general partner. “My conversations with the Mets was a very interesting and positive experience, and I was able to parlay that into this great opportunity,” Bartoszek said. “I’m privileged now to be a part of this incredible group of owners.” Negotiations between the Yankees and Bartoszek, who is from Pelham, N.Y., began in June and were completed Friday. Bartoszek was at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon to watch Mariano Rivera break the career saves record in the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over Minnesota.

Carlos Beltran will consider re-signing with the San Francisco Giants, Scott Boras said. "Well, you have to remember when Carlos and I sat down to determine what teams he was going to go to, it was his choice," Boras told The Associated Press at the "Moneyball" premiere in Oakland. "He came to the Giants for a reason. Obviously he has played very well here. He has gotten a chance to get to know the city and the organization."

Steve Popper writes in the Record that Lucas Duda is relaxing and becoming more outgoing as he finds success at the major league level. Writes Popper:

If you really want to measure the growth this season for Lucas Duda, all you have to do is say hello. "He's a different personality completely now," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's a lot more open. I mean, this guy didn't say anything. He didn't say (anything) ever. Now, at least you can have a conversation with him." "Yeah," Duda said, staring into his locker. "I just kind of get more comfortable around the guys, try to have some fun."

David Wright reflects on a season gone awry for himself because of a stress fracture in his back and for his team with Andrew Keh in the Times. "It’s always going to be a frustrating season when you find yourself playing out the schedule with two or three weeks left, and I would say also it was very frustrating personally that I had to miss a couple of months,” Wright told Keh. “It’s pretty hard to judge your own performance when the team is 20-something games back and just playing the schedule.”

• Alderson speaks with Mike Puma in the Post about the Mets' closer situation. A detailed story on that topic is coming at later Tuesday.

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Bay turns 33. ... Former outfielder Dave Gallagher, who was raised in Trenton, was born on this date in 1960.

Mets morning briefing 8.9.11

August, 9, 2011
The Mets overcame a two-run deficit in the ninth against ex-Met Heath Bell to defeat the San Diego Padres, 9-8, and return to .500.

Tuesday's news reports:

Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy officially landed on the disabled list, with Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter taking those roster spots.

• How will Reyes' value as a free agent be affected by two DL trips in a month for a left hamstring strain? Intuitively, it has to drive down his price and improve the Mets' chances of re-signing the shortstop, right? Well, since it only takes one team to be super-aggressive, or even reckless, a major league executive is not so sure. "I think it will have a minor impact," a front-office executive from another club predicted. "Teams get crazy in free agency. And the tools, upside, positional scarcity still remain. It only takes one team. And it's hard to make the case that Carl Crawford as a left fielder had more upside than Reyes as a shortstop, especially if he wins a batting title."

David Lennon in Newsday notes the contrasting spins of the two parties who will be negotiating when bidding commences after the season -- Reyes' camp minimizing the issue and the Mets noting recurring injuries are part of Reyes' package.

Agent Peter Greenberg told reporters at Citi Field on Monday: "He's not Cal Ripken, but I think he's been a lot healthier than a lot of people give him credit for. When he's out of the lineup, obviously the team misses him, so it gets blown out of proportion because he is so important to the team. I think if you look over the course of time and compare him to a lot of players, he's as healthy or healthier than a lot of players in the league."

Said GM Sandy Alderson: "This is definitely a setback for him and for us, but as with all players, you've got to accept certain aspects of their performance, their makeup, their physical characteristics and evaluate it accordingly."

Andy McCullough quotes Reyes in the Star-Ledger saying: “You see Carl Crawford this year? He pulled a hamstring, too. It can happen to anybody.”

• Murphy could wind up in the outfield next season. Basically, assuming Ike Davis is healthy and nothing disrupts David Wright's tenure with the club, the open positions would be second base or outfield. Murphy said the left knee MCL tear is less severe than the right knee MCL tear he suffered last season at Triple-A Buffalo, so he knows this story will have a positive ending. "I know how this story ends," Murphy said. "My right knee felt great this year. I know that this injury isn’t as severe. So I know I’ll be back."

Watch video of Murphy discussing his injury and future here.

Read more on Murphy/Reyes in Newsday, the Post and Star-Ledger.

Lucas Duda had the two-run walk-off single. Read game coverage in the Times, Record, Newsday, Post and Daily News.

• The Queens native Baxter, a waiver claim from the Padres, had a run-scoring double in the eighth inning in his first Mets at-bat. Baxter won a CHSAA championship in 2002 at Shea Stadium with Archbishop Molloy. He then attended Columbia University for a year before transferring to Vanderbilt, where he played with current Rays pitcher David Price. Read more in the Post and Times.

Jason Bay became the third Canadian to reach 200 homers. He became the first player to hit No. 200 of his career in a Mets uniform since Carlos Beltran on Aug. 26, 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• Alderson said Mets staff will reconvene Wednesday or Thursday to put a plan in place for Johan Santana, who will not resume throwing at least until then.

Gary Carter's next MRI at Duke University will be on Oct. 11. He will begin taking a high-dosage chemotherapy pill next Tuesday. The latest MRI revealed the malignant brain tumors had diminished by 80 percent.

BIRTHDAYS: Tommie Agee was born on this date in 1942. The '69 Met died in 2001. .. Reliever Pat Mahomes turns 41.

Mets morning briefing 7.7.11

July, 7, 2011
The Mets began the process of placing Jose Reyes on the disabled list, summoning Nick Evans from Triple-A Buffalo. Reyes said after Wednesday's 5-3 win against the Dodgers that he was unable to do any physical activity before the game because his left hamstring strain had not improved. The shortstop added that he did not expect to be able to perform physical activities Thursday either, which will trigger him landing on the DL, team sources said. Read the full story here.

Meanwhile, the Mets are 4-0 since Reyes' injury took him out of the starting lineup. They now begin that challenging stretch in which they face Clayton Kershaw in Thursday's series finale in L.A., then Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in San Francisco, followed by Philadelphia's Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels in some order coming out of the All-Star break.

Thursday's news reports:

• The Post reports the Mets will engage in secret in-season negotiations with Reyes. Writes Mike Puma:

Don’t be so sure the Mets are waiting until after the season to talk turkey with Jose Reyes. Multiple sources with knowledge of the process told The Post yesterday that indications are the Mets have begun -- or will soon begin -- secret talks with the Reyes camp in hopes of reaching agreement in the coming weeks on a new contract with the All-Star shortstop.

If that's true, that directly contradicts what Sandy Alderson indicated last month. Alderson told reporters he approached agent Peter Greenberg and was informed there would be no in-season negotiations.

• The Times' Richard Sandomir profiles the judge who took Irving Picard's $1 billion-plus lawsuit against Fred Wilpon and family out of bankruptcy court and into his federal courtroom. The article portrays Judge Jed S. Rakoff as appearing sympathetic to the arguments of the Wilpons' attorneys that securities law should apply, and that the Wilpons should not be at risk of losing their principal because they were simply investors who trusted their broker and had no legal responsibility to do due diligence. The article suggests that the $300 million in alleged "fictitious profits" still likely would be in play for Picard because that's not a securities question -- that's a question of whether the Wilpons profited from a Ponzi scheme in which there were net losers, requiring money to be returned.

The article paints an interesting picture of Rakoff. Writes Sandomir:

In 2002, Jed S. Rakoff, a federal district court judge in Manhattan, declared the death penalty unconstitutional. No one -- neither defense lawyers nor prosecutors -- had asked him for such a ruling. But Rakoff, who felt strongly about the growing number of exonerations of death row inmates through DNA evidence, went ahead and did it. ... Rakoff, 67, is a former federal prosecutor and defense lawyer with an independent streak and a flair for phrase-making. He has been called an activist judge. He has been called a maverick. He has been called other things, a number of them probably unprintable. But few observers of the federal bench would dispute that he is capable of the unexpected.

• Alderson described the Mets as "relevant" as a team over .500 and indicated what to do at the trading deadline would be recalculated after the next 10-12 games. Read more in the Record, Times and Star-Ledger.

• Post columnist Kevin Kernan sees Boston as a logical landing spot for Carlos Beltran in a trade. Writes Kernan:

The Yankees have no interest in Beltran, but the Red Sox could wind up a landing place for the slugger, who upped his hitting streak to 11 games with a fourth-inning double. The Red Sox could stick Beltran in right field, and general manager Theo Epstein has told reporters that adding a bat is more important than adding pitching right now.

• Read game stories from Wednesday's victory in the Newsday, the Times, Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

R.A. Dickey plans to pitch Friday against the Giants despite a strained glute that provided a dull pain while he threw a bullpen session Wednesday. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey was roughed up in his third Double-A outing Wednesday. Next up for Harvey is one inning in Sunday's ESPN2-televised Futures Game, where he will be joined by St. Lucie third baseman Jefry Marte. Read a profile of Harvey here.

David Wright will not be ready to return immediately after the All-Star break, Alderson said. The Mets are being deliberate in ramping up Wright's physical activity because he had been idle so long, so the third baseman will not be ready for minor league rehab games during the All-Star break. Wright has not started facing live pitching in batting practice, Terry Collins said.

Mike Sielski of The Wall Street Journal discusses slugger Jose Bautista's brief -- as in few-hour-brief -- tenure as a Met. The Mets acquired Bautista from the Kansas City Royals for catcher Justin Huber on July 30, 2004 in order to send Bautista to the Pirates in a package for Kris Benson. That was near-simultaneous with the other trade of Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano that day.

Justin Turner has been hit with pitches a team-high six times, on pace to flirt with the franchise single-season record of 13 held by Ron Hunt and John Olerud. The Journal's Brian Costa writes:

Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens said Turner's propensity for being hit by pitches is partly a byproduct of his success. He batted .325 during May, showing an ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. As a result, opponents have pitched him inside more often, which increases the chances that an errant pitch will hit him.

BIRTHDAY: Tim Teufel, who won a World Series in '86 with the Mets, turns 53. He manages the Mets' Triple-A Buffalo affiliate.

Mets morning briefing 6.22.11

June, 22, 2011
Dillon Gee walked six batters, the most in any game of his professional career, and suffered his first 2011 loss as the Mets dropped the series opener to the Athletics, 7-3. Terry Collins wondered aloud afterward why Gee only attempted a couple of curveballs, since that was his second or third best pitch. But Gee countered that he could not find the command of his fastball, so throwing the breaking pitch was futile.

Wednesday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson approached Peter Greenberg, the agent for Jose Reyes, last week and asked to begin trading extension figures for the free-agent-to-be. Greenberg was in Japan and had a chance to meet with his client Monday. After a two-hour chat with Reyes at the shortstop's Long Island home, they advised Alderson there would be no in-season discussions. Reyes said he did not want any distractions for his on-field performance. There is a limited exclusive negotiating window after the season, since other teams cannot negotiate with Reyes until the sixth day after the World Series. The Mets actually had donned Reyes-style skullcaps before the game as Collins tried to keep the mood light in the clubhouse. Watch Reyes and Alderson discuss the situation in a video here. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Daily News and Record.

• Post columnist Joel Sherman says Alderson's inclination to keep Reyes is a positive to take out of Tuesday's announcement. Writes Sherman:

The belief was that he disdained mega-deals, especially to offensive players who did not have plate patience as a main skill. But as athleticism and defense have grown in importance around the majors, and Reyes’ positive connection to the fan base has become more overt, Alderson clearly has become more enamored with Reyes. Still, right now, he would be bidding on Reyes as an MVP front-runner hitting 50 points above his career average. If Reyes retains this, then he almost certainly will reach or exceed Crawford’s dollars. So the Mets will wait to see if his health/production falter and take Reyes’ price south -- especially because the Wilpon’s financial situation remain a major character in any negotiation.

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff notes what the Mets are offered at the trade deadline for Reyes must be weighed against the fact they can collect two draft picks if they keep Reyes for the season and then lose him in free agency. Davidoff also does not buy that the Mets have to keep Reyes for attendance/revenue purposes in the second half. He writes:

As for the fans . . . puh-leeze. If the Mets are eliminated by September, Citi Field will be a ghost town, with or without Reyes. Alderson noted how quickly things can change in the game. How the A's endured a 10-game losing streak and, after beating the Mets, have won six straight and are very much alive. He should remember that in these coming weeks. For as Alderson knows, the best public relations in baseball comes from putting together a winning baseball team. Trading Reyes might prove the best realistic means to that end.

• Daily News columnist Tim Smith believes Reyes is a goner.

Jason Bay went 3-for-3 and homered for the first time since May 13, off Houston's Bud Norris. Bay snapped a 104 at-bat homerless drought, the second-longest of his career. He also had gone a career-high 89 at-bats without an extra-base hit. Bay nearly had two long balls, but A's center fielder Coco Crisp jumped at the wall and the ball kicked off his glove and back into play. Umpires reviewed the play on video, but that only affirmed Bay's triple. Collins says Bay may move back up to a prime spot in the order Wednesday. Current cleanup hitter Daniel Murphy is only 3-for-his-last-29. Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Newsday.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey and fifth-round pick Matt den Dekker have been promoted from St. Lucie to Binghamton.

• Read game stories from the 7-3 loss in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• With the spotlight on Reyes, Star-Ledger columnist Jeff Bradley speaks to another free-agent-to-be, Carlos Beltran, who is more likely a goner at the trading deadline. Beltran obviously was traded during the 2004 season from the Royals to the Astros. His eight homers in 12 postseason games prompted some s------ to offer him a seven-year, $119 million contract as a free agent that offseason. “The difference then was that I didn’t have a no-trade," Beltran told Bradley. "The last time, when I was in this position, I knew I’d be traded but I didn’t know when or where. I came to the park every day a little bit worried, expecting them to trade me. Now, they have to come to me and let me know what they’re doing. It’s my decision, and I like it better knowing it’s up to me.”

• There was a sighting of ex-Met Dave Kingman in Stockton, Calif.

• The Mets continued their regular involvement with the children of victims of 9/11 on Tuesday at Citi Field. Read more in the Post.

Ike Davis (ankle) is due to be examined by team doctors Wednesday. David Wright (back) goes Thursday.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets catcher Ron Hodges turns 62. Hodges made his Mets debut in 1973 and had a huge game-winning hit that season in a comeback victory against the Pirates, best known as “The Ball on the Wall Game.” It is called that because the key play was a ball that should have been a home run, but instead hit the top of the fence, and the Mets were able to throw out a potential go-ahead run at home plate. ... Mets outfielder Willie Harris turns 33. ... Ex-big league pitcher Esteban Yan turns 36. Why is he significant to Mets history? Yan homered in his first major league at-bat, against the Mets in 2000. He finished a perfect 2-for-2 in his career. -Mark Simon

Source: Reyes happy with agents

June, 18, 2011
Jose Reyes plans to discuss the status of his representation before Saturday's game at Citi Field, according to a source briefed on the topic. The source indicated Reyes will discuss his intention to remain with agents Peter and Ed Greenberg and may express displeasure contact with Scott Boras, which was not initiated by Reyes, was disclosed.

Chris Leible, one of Reyes' agents, is godfather to two of his children.

Mets morning briefing 6.18.11

June, 18, 2011
The Mets returned home and lost to the Angels, 4-3, to slip two games under .500.

Saturday's news reports:

• It may be a long shot, but the Mets want to move one of their full-season minor league affiliates to Long Island, Newsday reports. The Mets offered a statement that read: "The level of classification of the Mets-affiliated minor league team for the new ballpark is not yet determined, but it would be a full-season club. The provisions and terms of the response are not being made public." The ballpark would be at Mitchel Field, and would be part of the project to build a replacement for Nassau Coliseum, which needs voter approval, and is hardly a given. The owners of the independent Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks also bid. That league wants to put another team in Nassau County.

• Fox's Ken Rosenthal reports Jose Reyes met with agent Scott Boras about a possible representation switch. If that materialized, Reyes would be going after straight dollars, and he is likely playing elsewhere in 2012. Still, it's hard to believe Reyes would walk away from longtime agents Peter and Ed Greenberg and Chris Leible. Leible actually is the godfather to one of Reyes' children. The Greenbergs did lose Rafael Soriano to Boras last year. The original report stated Boras met last offseason with Reyes in the Dominican Republic, then again during the Mets' visit to Colorado -- and I did see Boras at Coors Field then -- but that part of the report has since disappeared.

• correspondent Mike Mazzeo writes: Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter was rushed to the emergency room on Thursday night after experiencing a "serious coughing attack" and having "shooting pains in his back," his daughter, Kimmy Bloemers, wrote on a private family website Friday. During Friday's game against the Angels, the Mets placed a huge get-well card for Carter in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field so fans could sign it before it is sent to the Hall of Fame catcher.

Francisco Rodriguez did not get to face his former team Friday night, but says it will be no big deal when he does pitch against the Angels.

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

Irving Picard filed his response opposing the request of Mets owners to try to move the $1 billion-plus lawsuit out of banruptcy court, Newsday's Anthony M. Destefano reports. Writes Destaefano:

Irving Picard, the trustee trying to clean up the financial mess left by Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, said in filings Friday in federal district court that the Wilpons and their partners in Sterling Equities are trying to do an end run around the bankruptcy court because they aren't happy with the way the case is going. Picard called the move to get the case transferred to Manhattan federal court a "transparent attempt at forum shopping" that has no merit, according to the trustee's filings.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets outfielder Dave Schneck turns 62. ... Former catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. turns 45. Sandy Jr. was 3-for-22 for the 2007 Mets, in his 20th and final major league season. Coincidentally, Alomar’s father Sandy Sr. also had 22 at-bats for the Mets. He was 0-for-22 in 1967. -Mark Simon



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