New York Mets: Prince Fielder

Series preview: Mets vs. Rangers

July, 3, 2014

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesRain in Baltimore on Thursday means Yu Darvish now faces the Mets in Friday's series opener at Citi Field.
METS (37-48, fourth place/NL East) vs. TEXAS RANGERS (37-48, fourth place/AL West)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (8-4, 2.42), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.88) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (5-5, 5.71), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.25) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch* (3-3, 3.65), 1:10 p.m. ET

* officially TBA

Rangers short hops

• With rain delaying the start by 56 minutes and threatening to interrupt Thursday’s Rangers series finale in Baltimore, manager Ron Washington decided to delay Yu Darvish’s scheduled start until Friday, pushing him into the Mets series. There never was a stoppage once the game began at Camden Yards.

Darvish, 27, has an MLB-best 11.04 strikeouts per nine innings. He ranks third in the American League in ERA at 2.42, trailing only the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (2.10) and Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka (2.27). Darvish snapped a two-start losing streak by tossing eight scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

• Texas leads the majors in uses of the DL (20) and current players on the DL (14). The absences include Prince Fielder (herniated disk), Mitch Moreland (ankle), Derek Holland (knee surgery), Jurickson Profar (shoulder), Geovany Soto (knee), Alexi Ogando (elbow), Tanner Scheppers (elbow) and Engel Beltre (fractured tibia).

Fielder, who had season-ending surgery for the neck issue on May 27, had been acquired during the offseason from the Detroit Tigers with $30 million for Ian Kinsler. Texas reportedly will recoup 50 percent of Fielder’s salary via an insurance policy that carried over from the Tigers, after a 90-day deductible period.

Soto, who underwent surgery, is due to begin a rehab assignment shortly. Beltre, an outfielder, has started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock.

• With Fielder and Moreland out, Carlos Pena has taken over at first base. He is hitless in his last 18 at-bats and 3-for-33 since joining the club. Pena, 36, originally signed a minor-league contract on June 17. He had been idle since being released by the Los Angeles Angels from spring training on March 23.

• The Rangers have lost five straight and 14 of 17. They have lost nine straight road games, their longest skid away from Arlington since 2005, when Buck Showalter managed the club during a nine-game road skid. They are 11 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2007 season at 75-87.

Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre is the one lethal weapon in Texas' decimated lineup.

Adrian Beltre hit .392 in June, the highest figure in any month of his career. The average trailed only Houston’s Jose Altuve (.411) in the American League for the month. Overall, he is hitting .335 this season, second to Altuve in the league.

Shin-Soo Choo signed a seven-year, $130 million deal with Texas on Dec. 13. He is hitting .254 with eight homers and 30 RBIs and has a .374 on-base percentage. Choo returned to the leadoff spot last Friday after two weeks in the No. 3 hole.

• The Rangers designated left-hander Joe Saunders (0-5, 6.13 ERA) for assignment on Tuesday. Miles Mikolas, who had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in December, stepped into the rotation.

• Mikolas’ promotion and insertion into the rotation pushed scheduled Wednesday starter Nick Tepesch into the Mets series … at least originally. Tepesch was due to start Friday, but has been dropped in place of Darvish. He now is the most likely candidate to start Sunday, in what is currently listed as TBA, unless he is needed in long relief before then. Tepesch has a 1.93 ERA over his past three starts. The Rangers will keep Colby Lewis on Saturday, as originally planned.

• The Rangers’ 4.62 ERA is the highest in the American League. They nonetheless have an AL-best 14 shutouts. They became the first AL team to reach that shutout total within 80 games since the 1968 Cleveland Indians, five years before the designated hitter came into effect.

• Closer Joakim Soria has allowed runs in consecutive appearances for the first time this season. He still has 17 strikeouts and one walk in his past 10 appearances. Former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz is currently pitching in Triple-A as he enters the final stages of a return from Tommy John surgery.

• Before a 3-for-4 performance Thursday at Baltimore, shortstop Elvis Andrus has been hitless in his last 10 at-bats and 5-for-his-last-30.

• Left fielder Michael Choice is hitless in his last 14 at-bats and 5-for-his-last-66.

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos has caught an MLB-high 19 would-be base stealers.

• Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller is due interview with the San Diego Padres regarding their vacant GM position.

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.

Wright tabs 3 as Derby teammates

July, 8, 2013

Getty ImagesDavid Wright tabbed Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and Michael Cuddyer as his NL teammates for the Home Run Derby.
SAN FRANCISCO -- NL Home Run Derby captain David Wright has selected Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and Michael Cuddyer to join him as teammates for the July 15 event at Citi Field.

Robinson Cano on the American League side selected Prince Fielder, Chris Davis and a yet-to-be-determined participant.

Wright said the rationale for his picks was straightforward: He picked the NL home run leader (Gonzalez), the leading vote-getter by a large margin by fans (Harper) and one choice for himself -- his childhood friend Cuddyer. Wright said all three accepted, so he never got further down on his list, despite other deserving candidates.

Told Phillies fans were upset about the omission of Domonic Brown, Wright said: "I'm sure there's a lot of people that are disappointed."

Added Wright: "I did it as easy as I knew possible. At the time when they needed to know who I was picking, I took the National League home run leader. I took the guy that won the fan poll -- the guy who the fans really wanted to see in the Home Run Derby. So you have CarGo and Bryce Harper. And that left me with the 'Ryder Cup captain's pick.' I grew up with Michael. I think that he's one of the more underrated players in the game. And, obviously, the friendship had something to do with it. And his production had a lot to do with it. You're talking about a guy that's got 15 or 16 homers. He had a 27-game hitting streak. For me, that was my choice.

"The other two I did it based on, like I said before, at the time who was leading the National League in home runs. That was CarGo. And then who the fans wanted to see. Because ultimately it's for the fans. And Bryce Harper won that running away. And then, like I said, the third pick I had to represent Virginia and the 757.

"I really am sorry. Carlos Beltran, Domonic Brown, [Paul] Goldschmidt, [Joey] Votto, [Pedro] Alvarez -- the original list that I had, I had all of those guys. The three guys that I asked to do it all said yes and jumped at it. Those are the three guys I originally asked and those are the three guys that said yes last week. It's a lot tougher than you would think it is. And you don't want to leave anybody out. And there's obviously guys that I left out. I apologize for that. Some people had to get left out."

Read the full news story here.

Series preview: Mets vs. Brewers

May, 13, 2012

Associated Press/Getty Images
The Mets face Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke during a two-game miniseries at Citi Field.
METS (19-15, third place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (15-19, fourth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Miguel Batista (0-1, 5.89) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-3, 5.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-2, 4.78) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

• 2011 MVP Ryan Braun has nine homers since April 21, the most in the National League since that date. St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran, who again went deep Sunday, is second during that span with eight long balls. Braun successfully contested a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test by challenging the chain of custody of his sample. He has received mixed fan reaction on the road this season -- vociferous booing, for instance, in Atlanta and a rather tame response in San Francisco.

Rickie Weeks suffered a painfully bruised left hand/wrist injury when he was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Cubs reliever Lendy Castillo in the 13th inning Friday -- the second time he was plunked in that game. X-rays were negative, but the Brewers are waiting for swelling to subside to retest him for a possible hairline fracture. Weeks is not on the DL, but may miss both games of the Mets series. Edwin Maysonet started at second base Saturday in Weeks’ place and belted a grand slam after an intentional walk to Travis Ishikawa. Brooks Conrad manned second base Sunday with Maysonet at shortstop so that Cesar Izturis could have a day off, but the Mets may see Maysonet both games at second base.

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Ryan Braun has received a mixed reaction from fans on the road since successfully combatting a suspension.

• The Brewers actually are without three-quarters of their original infield. The other two absentees are not returning this season.

Mat Gamel, the successor to Prince Fielder at first base, was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez also is out for the season after suffering the identical injury. Ishikawa and Taylor Green, with limited Conrad, now are sharing first base. Milwaukee recently spoke with unsigned Derrek Lee, but could not reach terms on a contract. The defensively oriented Izturis has taken over at shortstop.

• Closer John Axford’s streak of consecutive saves ended Friday at 49 with a blown save against the Cubs. Axford was not around after that game to discuss his outing. His wife Nicole unexpectedly had gone into labor, and he left this playful note for reporters: "I put my wife into contractions with my performance tonight! The streak is over so now you can talk about it. The luck I’ve had in the past didn’t show up tonight! All I can do is start another streak and keep my head up! Cliché ... cliché ... cliché ... another cliché. Gotta go! Love, Ax."

Francisco Rodriguez is 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA through 17 appearances, but his numbers actually have been skewed by three bad outings; otherwise, he largely has produced in an eighth-inning role, albeit with his familiar tendency to allow baserunners. K-Rod produced his first save as a Brewer on April 10 at Wrigley Field. He had been offered arbitration last offseason with Milwaukee trying to get draft-pick compensation for him signing elsewhere. But with the closer market congested, Rodriguez accepted the arbitration offer and returned for this season for a guaranteed $8 million.

• The Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez to a three-year, $36 deal as a free agent to succeed Fielder in the cleanup spot, but the ex-Cub is hitting only .230 with two homers and 19 RBIs through 126 at-bats.

• Milwaukee brass has tabled extension talks with Zack Greinke, who is due to be a free agent after the season. The shelving of talks came shortly after Matt Cain signed a five-year, $112 million extension to remain with the San Francisco Giants. Greinke, who formerly acted as his own representative, has hired agent Casey Close to handle the negotiations.

• GM Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke received contract extensions last week. Melvin, who also gained the title president of baseball operations, was extended through 2015. Roenicke’s deal now goes through ’14, with a team option for the following season.

• Ex-Met Carlos Gomez has landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. He is due to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Wisconsin. Lefty hitters Norichika Aoki and Nyjer Morgan have shared center-field duties -- with Aoki starting against southpaws and the struggling Morgan (.200, no RBIs) against righties. Aoki joined the Brewers from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, where he was a .329 career hitter and won Central League batting titles in 2005, ’07 and ’10.

Yovani Gallardo’s season totals look a whole lot better if you subtract a pair of starts against the Cardinals. He is 0-2 with a 22.24 ERA (14 ER in 5.2 IP) against St. Louis this season. Against others, he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA.

• Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was batting .333 as a catcher (29-for-87) before going hitless Sunday in four at-bats. That average matched Carlos Ruiz’s for tops in the NL at that position. Overally, Lucroy now is hitting .326.

• Milwaukee has bunted in a run an MLB-leading five times this season.


Batista vs. Brewers (career: 1-0, 2.72 ERA)
Jonathan Lucroy .500, 1 RBI, 2 PA
Rickie Weeks .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Travis Ishikawa .333, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 4 PA
Cesar Izturis .222, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 28 PA
Aramis Ramirez .143, 2 BB, 16 PA
Ryan Braun .000, 2 K, 4 PA
Brooks Conrad .000, 1 PA

Gee vs. Brewers (career: 0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Corey Hart .333, 3 PA
Rickie Weeks .250, 2 K, 4 PA
Jonathan Lucroy .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Ryan Braun .000, 1 BB, 3 PA
Aramis Ramirez .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Nyjer Morgan .000, 3 PA

Gallardo vs. Mets (career: 2-2, 3.47 ERA)
Lucas Duda .500, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Mike Nickeas .500, 1 K, 2 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
Ronny Cedeno .300, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
David Wright .214, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 16 PA
Daniel Murphy .167, 1 RBI, 3 K, 6 PA
Justin Turner .167, 2 K, 6 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 BB, 2 K, 6 PA

Greinke vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 6.43 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .300, 1 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 2 PA

Last series results

Milwaukee won, 3-0, at Citi Field, Aug. 19-21, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Brewers 6, Mets 1: The Mets became the first team in major league history to lose the opening game in their first 10 homestands of a season, STATS LLC said. Prince Fielder hit a pair of RBI singles and later confronted Mets reliever Tim Byrdak in a late dustup that caused the benches and bullpens to empty. Shaun Marcum pitched the Brewers to their 20th win in 23 games. They closed out this testy victory at 12:51 a.m. Fielder already was 2-for-2 with two walks when he came up in the eighth. Byrdak's first pitch was a fastball at Fielder's chest that backed him away from the plate. Fielder grounded out on the next pitch, then took a sudden right turn after hitting first base, curling back to intercept Byrdak on the way to the dugout. Terry Collins, Josh Thole and plate umpire Angel Campos intervened to prevent any escalation. Order was quickly restored. Brewers reliever Frankie De La Cruz plunked Mike Baxter in the ninth, without incident. Ryan Braun wasn't around at the end. He looked at strike three in the third inning, loitered in the batter's box and was eventually ejected by Campos. Marcum (11-3) improved to 4-0 in nine starts since losing at Yankee Stadium on June 29. He allowed one run in seven innings.

Brewers 11, Mets 9: Prince Fielder hit a long home run early and a key single in the ninth inning, spoiling the Mets' chances of a win against former closer Francisco Rodriguez. Casey McGehee followed Fielder's tying hit with a two-run single off Manny Acosta, capping a four-run rally. The Brewers blew a late 7-1 lead, but came back after Angel Pagan hit a two-run homer off Rodriguez (5-2) in the eighth. Mets reliever Jason Isringhausen (3-3) couldn't get an out in the ninth and left after a bases-loaded walk. Fielder, Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt all homered for the Brewers, who have won eight of their last nine games. John Axford pitched the ninth for his 37th save.

Brewers 6, Mets 2: Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run on a botched potential double-play grounder in the eighth and Yovani Gallardo shut down the Mets for seven innings, leading Milwaukee to its first series sweep in New York. Casey McGehee homered off R.A. Dickey in the fourth and Ryan Braun had three hits, an RBI and scored twice after stealing bases for the Brewers. Gallardo (14-8) gave up six hits in the finale to match a career high for wins.

Mets morning briefing 4.2.12

April, 2, 2012
Facing their opening weekend opponent, the Mets will not take a starting pitcher to Disney to meet the Braves. Instead, Bobby Parnell officially gets the start as the Mets get their relievers work. Tim Hudson starts for Atlanta has he works back from November surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. Hudson will open the season on the DL.

Monday's news reports:

Terry Collins officially named Johan Santana his Opening Day starter, a day after Santana completed an intense bullpen session. It will be Santana's fourth opening game as a Met. The all-time leader is Tom Seaver, with 11 Opening Days for the franchise, followed by Dwight Gooden with eight and then Tom Glavine and now Santana at four apiece, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Santana will face Atlanta's Tommy Hanson on Thursday. R.A. Dickey opposes Jair Jurrjens in Game 2 on Saturday, followed by left-handers Jon Niese and Mike Minor in the series finale. Collins said Santana likely will be capped between 80 and 95 pitches in his April outings. The southpaw threw no more than 88 pitches in a Grapefruit League game. Santana recently received a shot of Toradol for general aches, Andy Martino reports in the Daily News. (Dickey received the anti-inflammatory medication Toradol before all of his second-half starts last season, and Mike Pelfrey has acknowledged significant use as well, so the Mets do not appear conservative in dispensing it.) Read more on Santana and the rotation in the Times, Star-Ledger, Post, Journal, Record and Newsday.

• Niese and the Mets are working out the details of a contract extension that should be comparable to the five-year, $28.5 million deal fellow left-hander Derek Holland signed with the Texas Rangers, a major league source told Holland, like Niese, would not have been eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. Holland's deal includes team options, at $11 million and $11.5 million -- potentially sacrificing three years of free agency as part of the contract, if fully exercised by the club. Read more in the Journal, Newsday, Times, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Closer Frank Francisco has been bothered by a sore knee during camp and will not pitch today, Collins said. He's expected to instead pitch in Tuesday's exhibition game, the manager added. The Post's Mike Puma said Francisco limped in the players' parking lot Sunday and said he had a toe problem, although Collins said it's really the knee. Columnist John Harper in the Daily News wonders about the revamped-but thus-far uninspiring Mets bullpen.

• Collins expressed confidence center fielder Andres Torres would be with the Mets on Opening Day. That's because the manager indicated Torres likely would be in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees in Port St. Lucie. Using Torres in that game would eliminate the Mets' ability to backdate any DL stint into spring training -- meaning the organization expects Torres to be ready for Thursday's season opener. Torres being ready would push Vinny Rottino to Triple-A Buffalo.

Also Sunday, left-hander Josh Edgin's solid Grapefruit League showing, which included 10 1/3 scoreless innings, ended with the prospect being informed he is headed to Double-A Binghamton to serve as the closer. Tim Byrdak may be ready for Opening Day as he returns from March 13 surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Otherwise, Daniel Herrera temporary will be with the team, and Byrdak would be expected to be activated for Game 5.

R.A. Dickey required two stitches to his right heel after getting spiked, but the knuckleballer completed his outing and limited Detroit to one run on three hits, including a monstrous homer by Prince Fielder, in four innings. Herrera and Jon Rauch combined to be charged for eight runs in 2 1/3 innings, though, as the Mets lost to the Detroit Tigers, 9-2, on Sunday. Ike Davis' two-run homer provided one of the Mets' two hits.

• Here are 13 Mets farmhands who might appear at Citi Field in 2012.

• Versatile ex-Cub Bobby Scales signed a minor league deal with the Mets and will join Buffalo.

• Yankees writers received an intro to the Marlins' new stadium Sunday. Here's Wally Matthews' take at Read more in the Times and Journal.

Jason Bay may end up being in a platoon after April if he underperforms, according to the Post. Bay is hitting .195 with no RBIs in 41 Grapefruit League at-bats. He has 13 strikeouts and 10 walks. One major issue would be with whom the righty-hitting Bay would platoon. Mike Baxter is the lefty-hitting outfielder the Mets plan to carry, and it's hard to foresee him chipping away significantly at Bay's at-bats. Perhaps if it's that dire lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be promoted. Bay's playing time will be significant to watch since a $17 million vesting option for 2014 will kick in -- raising the total value of his contract to five years and $80 million -- if Bay has 500 plate appearances apiece this season and next. If Bay does not reach that threshold, he also can trigger the vesting option with 600 plate appearances in 2013. If he falls short of both, he is entitled to a $3 million buyout on top of his $16 million salary for '13.

TRIVIA: Who started on Opening Day for the Mets in 2000?

Sunday's answer: Carlos Beltran, despite being traded with more than two months remaining in the season, led the Mets in RBI with 66.

Tigers 9, Mets 2: Dickey in stitches

April, 1, 2012

R.A. Dickey

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets


Grapefruit Stats
5 1 1 4 12 3.63
R.A. Dickey was spiked in the right heel by Corey Jones while covering first base in the third inning and eventually required two stitches. But the knuckleballer maintained it was nothing serious and eventually completed his allotted four innings anyway in his final tuneup for Game 2 of the regular season, opposite Jair Jurrjens at Citi Field on Saturday.

The Mets lost to Detroit, 9-2, Sunday at Digital Domain Park.

Dickey limited the Tigers to a titanic solo homer by Prince Fielder and only two other hits while striking out three and walking none.

"I was just covering the bag, and I had my foot a little too far over the bag, reaching for the ball from [Ronny] Cedeno," Dickey said. "The guy cleated my heel. That was it. That will be a nonissue -- a superficial wound only."

Mets relievers, though, continued to be hit hard. Daniel Herrera, who will make the bullpen if Tim Byrdak is not ready for Opening Day, was charged with five runs in 1 2/3 innings. Part of that tally was the result of Jon Rauch entering and forcing in a run with the bases loaded, then surrendering a grand slam to James McCann.

Ike Davis delivered a two-run homer off Thad Weber after David Wright walked in the fourth. The lone other hit by the Mets on the afternoon belonged to Lucas Duda.

Mets morning briefing 3.15.12

March, 15, 2012
The Mets face the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, where Jose Reyes is expected to start at shortstop against his former squad. Reyes did not participate in either of the first two Grapefruit League games between the teams. R.A. Dickey starts for the Mets.

Thursday's news reports:

David Wright returned to camp Wednesday and revealed he actually had torn an abdominal muscle. Wright received an ultrasound-guided cortisone shot Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He predicted he would begin easing into activity as soon as today. He noted his return is going to be a deliberate process, from hitting off a tee, to swinging at flipped balls, to actual batting practice. Regardless, Wright predicted his Opening Day availability was not in jeopardy. Read more in the Record, Newsday, Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

Barry Meier in the Times writes about the Mets' injury track record:

When combining injuries sustained in spring training and the regular season, the Mets led all other teams in both 2008 and 2009 in the number of player days lost to injury, according to data complied by Baseball Prospectus, a sports analysis and opinion Web site. Using those same measurements, the Mets ranked sixth in 2010 before dropping down to a more respectable 12th place last year, Baseball Prospectus found. ... Measuring injuries over the 162-game season, the team ranked second in 2008, third in 2009, sixth in 2010 and ninth in 2011 in days lost to player injures, Baseball Prospectus said.

• Judge Jed S. Rakoff caught legal experts off-guard Wednesday by ruling the burden of proof in the $386 million lawsuit falls on Fred Wilpon and family, not trustee Irving Picard, who filed the lawsuit. A week after expressing skepticism Picard could prove the Wilpons acted in bad faith and with "willful blindness" with respect to their investments in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, Rakoff on Wednesday ruled the burden doesn't rest with the trustee. Instead, the Wilpons' attorneys must convince the jury by a preponderance of the evidence that the family acted in good faith.

The ruling is a win for Picard. After all, it's more difficult for a defendant to have to prove he's not guilty than being assumed innocent at the start of the trial.

Perhaps Rakoff's ruling should not have been a surprise, given Rakoff wrote last week that the trustee would have to rebut the Wilpons demonstrating good faith.

Should the trial end adversely for the Wilpons, the judge's decision could be one area their attorneys try to appeal. Picard will have grounds for appeal as well, including the judge using a "willful blindness" as opposed to "inquiry notice" ("should-have-known") standard. Picard also believes he is entitled to recover money from the six years before Madoff's arrest, not the two years at which the judge capped the recovery period.

Read more in the Times, Post and Daily News.

Dillon Gee allowed a two-run homer to Prince Fielder but no other damage in four innings. The Mets ultimately lost to the Detroit Tigers, 7-6, in 10 innings Wednesday.

• The Mets suspended bullpen catcher Eric Langill for a week without pay, three days after he was charged with driving under the influence.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey looked sharp in a minor league intrasquad game, tossing 58 of 75 pitches for strikes and registering as high as 96 mph on a radar gun. Read more in the Post, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

Steve Cohen, the only known intended purchaser of a $20 million minority share of the Mets without some existing tie to the organization, may not be able to be a partner after all. Cohen has emerged as the top candidate to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, USA Today reports. That would prevent Cohen from also having a stake in the Mets.

TRIVIA: Who has the most homers by a Mets shortstop in a single season in franchise history?

Wednesday's answer: Mets PR man Jay Horwitz is in the Fairleigh Dickinson University Hall of Fame. He served as the school's sports information director before Frank Cashen hired him with the Mets in 1980.

Tigers 7, Mets 6: Gee sharp

March, 14, 2012
Dillon Gee mostly breezed through four innings, with the exception of surrendering a two-run homer to Prince Fielder in the right-hander’s final frame, but a skeleton Mets squad lost to the Detroit Tigers, 7-6, in 10 innings on Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.

Rutgers product Jack Egbert, borrowed from minor league camp, allowed a walk-off RBI single to Quintin Berry.

Gee allowed two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out five in four innings.

“I thought today was a really positive day for me,” Gee said. “The past couple of outings I haven’t really felt that great. Me and Dan [Warthen] did a lot of work this week and really got me feeling good. … We made it a point to throw more curveballs today. The other day against the Braves I think I only threw one curveball, maybe two at the most. Today I threw maybe almost 10 curveballs. Because the fastball command has been getting better, it was time to start the next step to really start getting the off-speed stuff going.”

“More curveballs, better changeup, more command,” Terry Collins said.

As for the location of the 0-2 pitch that Fielder pummeled, Gee said: “Not far enough in for that guy, I guess. He’s so strong.”

Chuck James, primarily vying with Garrett Olson and Josh Edgin for the left specialist role in the bullpen in Tim Byrdak’s absence, walked three in a four-run fifth inning as the Tigers took a 6-4 lead. Still, Collins partly excused the control issue, noting James’ last outing was scrubbed because of rain, meaning he had not worked in a game in five days.

“One of the things we want to see is command of his pitches,” Collins said. “It’s been a while since he’s been out there. … We’ll run him out there again in a few days.”

• All four runs with James on the mound were unearned. That’s because third baseman Wilmer Flores committed two errors on a two-out grounder by Brandon Inge. Flores booted the ball, then threw late and wide to first baseman Zach Lutz, allowing a run to score and Inge to advance to second. James only allowed two hits in the messy inning, with one being an infield single by Fielder.

Flores, who has split time evenly between second and third base in winter ball in Venezuela the past few years, exclusively had played shortstop in the Mets organization since signing at 16 years old. He now is transitioning to primarily third-base duty, but also should see time at second base and shortstop. He also committed two errors in an inning at third base Monday against the Tigers.

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 8.20.11

August, 20, 2011
In the latest Mets game to start in New York since May 16, 2007, the Mets lost to the Miwaukee Brewers, 6-1, on Friday night. The benches cleared in the eighth inning after Prince Fielder and Tim Byrdak exchanged words. Meanwhile, the Mets dropped into fourth place in the National League East, because Washington got a Ryan Zimmerman walkoff grand slam in a six-run ninth and beat the Phillies to pass the Amazin's in the standings. Friday's Mets-Brewers first pitch was at 9:56 p.m. The '07 game against the Cubs at Shea Stadium began at 10:17 p.m., according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Saturday's news reports:

Fred Wilpon and family's attorneys were in federal court in lower Manhattan late Friday afternoon, arguing the Mets owners had no idea they invested in a Ponzi scheme and trying to get the case tossed. Judge Jed S. Rakoff said he would rule on that request by late September, but set a March 5 trial date. Trustee Irving Picard is suing Wilpon, brother-in-law Saul Katz and other relatives and their businesses and charities, trying to recover $300 million in alleged profits from the Ponzi scheme and $700 million in principal. The latter request is based on a claim Wilpon ought to have known what was going on with the Ponzi scheme because of warning signs.

The consensus among experts is the Wilpons probably will escape being responsible for the $700 million portion, although Rakoff did inquire in court about Ponzi scheme fraud insurance the Wilpons are alleged to have discussed purchasing. The judge also freed Picard's team to seek more discovery evidence.

With respect to the $700 million amount, which is based on the "should-have-known" principle, Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson in The Times write:

A lawyer for the team’s owners argued to Rakoff that Picard’s evidence fell far short of proving that the men were willfully blind to any possible evidence or warnings about Madoff. “There is no material, admissible evidence to support any standard here -- certainly not a willful blindness standard or any standard,” said the lawyer, Karen Wagner. Rakoff sounded as if he were inclined to agree. He defined the legal meaning of being willfully blind as this: “You purposely turn away from learning something because you knew there was a high probability that you would learn something bad.”

The judge also quipped to the lawyers in the case: “Fortunately you gave me so much paper. Otherwise, I would have had to watch a Mets game, which would have been a very painful process.” Read more courtroom coverage in Newsday.

• Byrdak and Fielder labeled the eighth-inning incident a miscommunication. Byrdak said he thought Fielder was yelling at him, whereas Fielder subsequently explained to Byrdak he was muttering to himself in frustration after the inning-ending groundout. Byrdak had jawed back at Fielder, but thought the incident was over when he noticed the benches clearing. Read game/confrontation reports in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and Daily News.

Jose Reyes indicated he is making progress from a strained left hamstring, but the shortstop has yet to run the bases, and may not do so for a few more days. Terry Collins called it a "stretch" to assume Reyes would be ready to be activated Tuesday when he is eligible. Reyes is running straight ahead and took grounders during batting practice Friday with teammates. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Newsday and Record.

• Baseball America tabulates the Mets' draft spending at $6,782,500, which ranked 14th in baseball. (A lot of that is tied to when a team drafts in the first round, so the figure is not overly relevant in isolation.) First-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who made his professional debut Friday in the Gulf Coast League with a 1-for-6 performance as DH, signed for $2.1 million. That was above the $1.656 million recommended for the 13th overall slot in the draft by Major League Baseball.

Baseball America calculated that the Mets spent $5.07 million to sign their picks from the top 10 rounds (11 selections). That was 16 percent over what MLB recommended the Mets ought to have paid for those picks. Nineteen teams paid a higher percentage over the MLB recommended amount for their picks from the top 10 rounds.

Francisco Rodriguez returned to Citi Field with the Brewers and said he would welcome coming back to New York as a free agent. "I'm not the type of person that is going to burn bridges and say, 'No, I'm not coming this place because they traded me' or whatever," Rodriguez said. "I'm open-minded and open to come here to New York once again in the future."

K-Rod also analyzed Bobby Parnell's candidacy as a closer with the Mets. K-Rod essentially said Parnell needs to pitch with a chip on his shoulder. Informed of the remark, Parnell said: "He always told me I'm too nice."

Read more on Rodriguez in Newsday, the Post, Record, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Post columnist Joel Sherman compares the Yankees' A.J. Burnett with Mike Pelfrey, labeling both No. 4 starters whose primary strength is innings contributed. The expectations are higher than that for Burnett among Yankees fans because he is being paid like a frontline starter. The expectations are higher with Pelfrey because he was the No. 9 overall pick in the draft in 2005. Collins even anointed him Opening Day starter. Pelfrey allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings Friday night and fell to 6-10 with a 4.61 ERA. Still, his 154 1/3 innings logged are only shy of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's 160 for the team lead. Coincidentally, Pelfrey and Burnett actually have logged the identical innings total so far this year.

Sherman predicts Pelfrey will remain with the Mets at least until next season's July 31 trade deadline. Writes Sherman:

This is the conundrum for the Mets: They probably missed their best window to trade Pelfrey, coming off his 15-win 2010 and still three seasons removed from free agency. The Mets certainly will weigh trades this offseason. But Pelfrey's value is diminished because his salary will rise to about $6 million, his 2011 is underwhelming and with Scott Boras as his representative it all but guarantees Pelfrey will test free agency after the 2013 season. Still, to the group of teams that cannot play for the top free-agent starters such as Yu Darvish (he is expected to be posted this offseason), C.J. Wilson and perhaps CC Sabathia, Pelfrey is affordable. He feels like the type that St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan has been resuscitating for years.

• Daily News columnist Tim Smith discusses Collins keeping his composure as the Mets fade far from contention. Said Collins: "The minute I see them giving up is the minute I will explode."

BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Cory Sullivan and right-hander Lance Broadway, who both had small contributions to the 2009 Mets, celebrate birthdays. Sullivan turns 32. Broadway turns 28.

Byrdak calls incident 'miscommunication'

August, 20, 2011

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Prince Fielder confronts Tim Byrdak after the top of the eighth inning.
The eighth-inning confrontation in foul territory between Prince Fielder and Tim Byrdak after the southpaw retired Fielder on a groundout to end the top of the eighth resulted from a misunderstanding, Byrdak suggested.

"Just a miscommunication," Byrdak said of the incident, which caused both benches to clear, though no punches were thrown and no players were ejected. "He had said something coming out of the box that I thought was directed toward me. I said something back. When he hit first base, he came back and asked me who I was talking to. And I asked him who he was talking to. He said he was talking to himself. I said, 'OK.' And I started walking toward the dugout and I see everybody hopping the fence to go back out. It's way blown out of proportion.

"It was something, like I said, it was said in passing. I thought it was going to stay that way. But I turned around and everyone was out there and everything, so I was kind of shocked."

Said Fielder: "It's all handled now. He said something I didn't like, so I just asked him, and I think we got it solved. ... I guess it came from both of us. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I had a question I had to get off my chest. It's settled now. It's cool."

Both sides said the Fielder-Byrdak issue had nothing to do with an inside pitch during the at-bat.

Rapid Reaction: Brewers 6, Mets 1

August, 20, 2011
WHAT IT MEANS: After a two-hour, 46-minute delay, the Mets dropped to 25-33 at Citi Field this season with a 6-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

With Washington’s six-run rally in the ninth to beat Philadelphia, the Mets (60-64) relinquished third place in the National League East for the first time since July 18. The Brewers opened a 7½-game lead on second-place St. Louis in the Central.

Mike Pelfrey was charged with four runs (three earned) in five innings, while D.J. Carrasco allowed a pair of runs in the sixth inning. David Wright’s two-out error prolonged the first inning. The miscue led to an unearned run scoring once Prince Fielder followed with the first of two RBI singles against Pelfrey. Fielder, who homered three times in a two-day span against the Mets in June at Miller Park, also was intentionally walked twice. He later instigated a bench-clearing incident.

The Mets finally got on the scoreboard against Shaun Marcum in the seventh on Josh Thole’s RBI single.

BENCH-CLEARING BRAWL: Fielder confronted Tim Byrdak in foul territory on the first-base side after grounding out to end the top of the eighth. Fielder appeared to object to an inside pitch from Byrdak earlier in the at-bat. The benches and bullpens spilled onto the field, but the hostility did not escalate beyond that as calm prevailed.

Mike Baxter was plunked in the posterior in the ninth inning by Frankie De La Cruz.

LOW BLOW: Ryan Braun was ejected by plate umpire Angel Campos for arguing balls and strikes in the third inning. Braun protested what appeared to be a low pitch that was called a third strike by Campos. Mark Kotsay replaced Braun in left field.

K-ROD TRACKER: Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez warmed in the bullpen but did not appear in the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: Ex-Brewer Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.58 ERA) opposes southpaw Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30) Saturday at 4:10 p.m. Capuano turned 33 on Friday.

W2W4: Brewers at Mets (Friday)

August, 19, 2011
Hot Hitter2Watch4
Lucas Duda is hitting .351 with a .982 OPS and seven RBIs in his past 10 games. One of the things Duda has shown is the ability to handle the bat well against offspeed pitches from right-handers.

Though he misses on about one-fourth of his swings against such pitches, that’s not a bad rate at all. The major league average is about 28 percent. Duda has a .998 OPS against right-handers curves, sliders and changeups.

Among those who have seen at least 200 such pitches this season, only Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (1.082) and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (1.067) rate higher.

Shaun Marcum What2Watch4
Because of his propensity to throw changeups and a rather unintimidating fastball, Marcum rates high on an unusual list. As we noted on an ESPN game telecast earlier this season, his average pitch comes to the plate at 81 mph.

The only non-knuckleball throwing starting pitcher with a slower average pitching velocity is Livan Hernandez of the Nationals (79 mph).

Mike Pelfrey What2Watch4
In fairness to Pelfrey, he hasn’t had the best opportunity to take advantage of pitching in Citi Field this season. He’s made only 10 of his 25 starts there and has only one home loss this season.

Pelfrey has fared particularly well against lefties at Citi Field this season. One of the reasons is he has kept opponents from getting the fat part of the bat on the ball. Lefties are only hitting line drives one out of every nine balls in play against Pelfrey in Mets home games. They’re hitting them at double that rate in Mets road games.

Pelfrey has made a start in each of the last three seasons against the Brewers and has looked pretty good, allowing five runs in 21 innings.

If there’s a key moment with Prince Fielder up late in the game, expect to see Tim Byrdak. Fielder has one of the oddest splits in the majors as far as facing left-handed pitching is concerned. In Miller Park, he’s hitting .370 with five home runs in 73 at-bats against lefties. In other ballparks, he’s hitting .210 with no home runs in 62 at-bats against lefties.

Since giving up a home run to Fielder on Aug. 8, 2009, Byrdak has retired him six of the eight times they’ve matched up.

Defensive Player2Watch4
It’s not so much a player to watch for when you’re watching the Brewers defense, but an overall style of play. Milwaukee is one of the most aggressive shifting teams in the league. This has been viewed in baseball circles as done to compensate for the lack of range throughout its infield.

The advanced defensive metrics from Baseball Info Solutions had the Brewers infield costing the team 31 runs last season (-31 Defensive Runs Saved). This season, that cost has been reduced to 14 runs (-14 Defensive Runs Saved).

The player who has benefited the most in terms of turning batted balls into outs is second baseman Rickie Weeks, who rated as costing the Brewers 11 runs last season. This season, he is credited with 1 Defensive Run Saved. Weeks is currently on the DL.

Mets morning briefing 6.28.11

June, 28, 2011
After a team off-day Monday, the Mets open an interleague series at American League Central leader Detroit. Read the series preview here.

Tuesday's news reports:

• Even those in the know are surprised Carlos Beltran has been able to play more games than any other Met while batting .278, only four points below his career mark. Writes David Waldstein in the Times:

Those figures are more impressive considering that the doctor who performed the (January 2010) operation told the Mets he could not believe Beltran was even able to play. He added that in the future Beltran might be able to play only three or four days a week, and never in a day game after a night game. But a year and a half later, Beltran has become the most durable Met. “I’m just so happy that everything has worked out,” Beltran said.

Beltran told Waldstein about the bone bruise diagnosis: “It wasn’t like I wanted to have the operation. But when I met with the doctor in New York, the team doctor, he told me there was nothing he could do for me. The team doctor is saying there is nothing he can do for you. I was thinking: ‘Well, that’s the end of my career? I’m not going to play baseball anymore?’ No, no. Come on, man. For a bone bruise? I’m not going to be able to play this game anymore? I wasn’t going to give up. I felt that I needed to search for the best doctor in the world, and (agent) Scott (Boras) was able to find the doctors, and thank God I feel good.”

Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal notes the Mets make up for their lack of long balls with speed on the basepaths. Statistically, they're the best on the bases in baseball by at least one measure. (The Mets' 78 percent success rate in steals is tied for third-best in the majors.) Writes Costa:

The analytics company Baseball Info Solutions measures each team's overall contribution on the basepaths by looking at its success in three areas: stolen bases, avoiding double plays and taking extra bases while avoiding being thrown out. By adding extra baserunning advances and steals, subtracting for baserunning outs and unsuccessful steal attempts and comparing the total to the major-league average, BIS calculates each team's net gain on the basepaths. Entering Monday, the Mets led the majors with a +60 net gain. By contrast, they have hit only 10 home runs since May 22, the fewest in the majors over that span. Through Sunday, only four teams had fewer than the Mets' 47 home runs this season.

Jeff Roberts in the Record also discusses how the Mets use speed to overcome their deficiency with homers.

Bud Collins, the 92-year-old father of Terry Collins, will travel from Midland, Mich., to attend the Mets-Tigers series. Collins expects two busloads of people from his hometown, writes Mike Puma in the Post. “The team is doing OK for having all the injuries and the quality of their players,” Bud Collins told Puma. “They’ve got some good players and then they’ve got some mediocre players. That’s just my opinion.”

• Newsday's David Lennon looks at the pros and cons of trading Jose Reyes in-season. The summary ... Pros: getting a prospect in return, preparing for 2012 life without him by getting Ruben Tejada time at the position, and a fresh start for organization. Cons: He's irreplaceable, clubhouse sees organization is giving up on season and he's unlikley to re-sign with Mets once he plays somewhere else.

Prince Fielder could sign with the Mets as a free agent, his father Cecil Fielder told the Daily News. "I don't think the Yankees are gonna get him," Fielder said. "But I think if everything goes well on the other side, the Mets are one of those teams that if they get that situation all squared away, they could get him." Of course, there are two major problems: The Mets won't have big money to spend on free agents. And first base is one position where they actually are set with a cost-effective player in Ike Davis, who will not even be arbitration-eligible until after the 2012 season.

Andy Martino of the Daily News profiles 8-1 Dillon Gee, who would have attempted to be a firefighter in Fort Worth like his father Kevin if the Mets had not selected him in the 21st round out of Texas-Arlington.

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff says Fred Wilpon and family owe a thank-you note to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Writes Davidoff:

The Wilpons (and Saul Katz) have been publicly crushed here in New York -- deservedly so, IMO. But think of how much more space they'd be occupying in the yakosphere (trademark Neil Best ) if not for McCourt's legendarily kooky travails.

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger looks at the switch-hitting Reyes' performance from his natural right side (.295, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 88 at-bats) versus the left side (.358, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 243 at-bats) this season. Writes McCullough:

Perhaps the disparity is a product of coincidence: Reyes has faced lefties only 96 times this season, compared to 263 plate appearances against righties. But to Reyes, the scarcity of southpaws heightens the difficulty. “Sometimes you get a stretch where you only face right-handed pitching,” Reyes said. “You forget about your right side. That’s when you get in trouble.”

• July 31 really isn't the trading deadline. The explanation is here.

Gary Carter is halfway through radiation treatments for malignant brain tumors. He also is dealing with walking pneumonia.

• Rangers president Nolan Ryan dismissed having interest in acquiring Francisco Rodriguez or Beltran.

BIRTHDAY: Former outfielder Richard Hidalgo turns 36. Hidalgo holds the Mets record for consecutive games with a home run. He went deep in five straight games in 2004, after arriving in a trade with the Houston Astros for pitchers David Weathers and Jeremy Griffiths. -Mark Simon

Mets morning briefing 6.9.11

June, 9, 2011
The Mets grabbed a 6-2 lead with a five-run eighth, then watched it erased the following half-inning against Pedro Beato and Jason Isringhausen. They suffered their first walk-off loss of 2011 an inning later, 7-6 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

"Right now there's an empty feeling because we thought we had that one wrapped up," Terry Collins said.

Thursday's news reports:

• Isringhausen allowed Prince Fielder's second two-run homer of the game. "I made a mistake. I know I have first base open," Isringhausen said. "And as hot as he's been, I shouldn't give him anything to hit right there. That ball caught a lot of the plate. Mistake on my part. As soon as I came in the game, Terry said, 'Don't forget you have a base open.' The last thing I wanted to do is leave one in the middle of the plate -- especially a straight one." Read game stories in the Record, Times, Star-Ledger, Post, Daily News and Newsday.

Jason Bay does not believe a vision issue is contributing to his struggles. He's now 0-for-23. Writes Newsday's David Lennon:

During day games, Bay is hitting .304 (14-for-46) with a .429 on-base percentage. At night, that plummets to .165 (15-for-91) and .243, respectively. Bay was curious when asked about the splits, but doubted that his eyes were the reason. The leftfielder said he has astigmatism in his left eye, but that hasn't been an issue, and the 32-year-old doesn't wear glasses or contacts. When he was last checked, during his spring training physical, Bay said his vision was 20-20. Bay did say, however, that the subject had come up, and for the moment, no eye exams are scheduled. ... [Hitting coach Dave] Hudgens believes it's more of a mental block.

Collins indicated he is sticking with Bay in the lineup. Still, Bay told Mike Puma in the Post he is aware the bench could be looming if he does not pick up his performance. "That's the reality of the situation we're in," Bay said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that is not an option. I'm pretty aware of what's going on."

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff writes Jose Reyes will be the most high-impact player -- position player or pitcher -- available at the trading deadline.

Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal looks at the Reyes trade/free agency issue as well. Writes Costa:

The better Reyes plays, the more expensive he likely will be to re-sign, and the more value he figures to command on the July trade market. As a result, it becomes harder for the Mets to hold onto him. At the same time, the longer Reyes keeps playing this way, the more difficult a break-up becomes. How could a big-market team allow a homegrown star in his prime to sign elsewhere? Vince Gennaro, author of "Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball," said it would be unwise to value Reyes based on a performance spike in a contract year. But failing to re-sign him would be a hard sell to a fan base that is already frustrated. "The odds that this is the new Jose Reyes and that he's going to have a five-year run that even remotely resembles this are minuscule," Gennaro said. "But that's not where the fan base is going to come from."

David Waldstein in the Times looks at the relationship between Isringhausen (293 career saves) and Francisco Rodriguez (285 saves). Writes Waldstein:

Rodriguez needs nine to vault Isringhausen, who has now made it his goal to assist him in doing just that. “If I can help him achieve something that he wants, then that makes me feel good,” Isringhausen said. “Hopefully he ends up with 500.”

BIRTHDAYS: Billy Baldwin, the former Met and not the Hollywood actor, turns 60. Like June 7 birthday boy, Esix Snead, Baldwin’s only Mets home run was a walk-off, on Sept. 24, 1976 against the Cubs. He played in nine games for the Mets. The team won seven. -Mark Simon

Rapid Reaction: Brewers 7, Mets 6

June, 8, 2011
WHAT IT MEANS: Pedro Beato surrendered a two-run double to Ryan Braun and Jason Isringhausen served up a game-tying two-run homer to Prince Fielder later in Milwaukee’s four-run eighth.

The Mets, who had taken a 6-2 lead with a five-run top half of that inning, squandered their largest lead of the season in a defeat. They previously had coughed up a three-run lead against San Francisco in a 7-6, 10-inning loss on May 3.

The final blow Wednesday: Nyjer Morgan's RBI off Dale Thayer in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets suffered their first walk-off loss of the season.

The five-run top of the eighth against reliever Kameron Loe included an RBI double by Carlos Beltran, RBI single by Angel Pagan and three-run homer by Ronny Paulino -- the first long ball of his Mets career. Pagan was starting in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career.

WOLF THE MAN: Randy Wolf still owns the Mets. Wolf fell behind in the fourth inning after plunking Jason Bay with a pitch on the left knee, then eventually letting Bay trot home on the first balk of the southpaw’s 13-year career. But Fielder answered with a two-run homer on a 3-0 pitch from Mike Pelfrey in the bottom half of that inning as Milwaukee took a 2-1 lead.

Fielder’s two-homer game gave him 209 as a Brewer, passing Gorman Thomas for third on that franchise’s all-time list.

Wolf, who departed with a one-run lead, received a no-decision. He was bidding for his seventh straight winning decision against the Mets, which would have matched Roy Halladay for the longest streak among active pitchers. Wolf also was bidding for his 13th career win against the Mets, which would have matched Tim Hudson and Livan Hernandez for the most by an active pitcher. He also would have joined Ron Villone as the only pitchers to beat the Mets with five different teams, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Pelfrey was lifted from the hook after the Mets’ eighth-inning rally. His line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.

0, NO: Bay, despite reaching base on the hit-by-pitch, went 0-for-3 and is hitless in his last 23 at-bats. Nick Evans, meanwhile, went 0-for-3. The righty-hitting Evans struck out twice and grounded into a double play as the starter at first base against the southpaw Wolf. Evans is hitless in 12 at-bats in the majors this season. The Brewers’ Casey McGehee snapped an 0-for-27 skid with a seventh-inning single off Bobby Parnell.

STREAKING: Jose Reyes opened the game with a double, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not appear and remained at 24 games finished. He is on pace for 64 games finished, nine over the threshold for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (4-5, 3.75 ERA) opposes Yovani Gallardo (8-2, 3.72) in Thursday’s 8:10 p.m. ET rubber game. Gallardo has won his last six starts.



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