New York Mets: Randall Delgado

Series preview: Mets vs. D-backs

May, 23, 2014
May 23
9:41
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Chase Anderson, Josh Collmenter and Bronson Arroyo this weekend.
METS (21-25, fourth place/NL East) vs. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (18-31, fifth place/NL West)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (2-0, 5.06), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-4, 4.53) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (2-2, 4.02), 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 6.97) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (4-3, 4.45), 1:10 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• Tony La Russa, who is due to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27, was hired as the team’s chief baseball officer last Saturday. He last was affiliated with a team in 2011, when he managed the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title. La Russa more recently worked with commissioner Bud Selig, including on implementing the new instant-replay and plate-collision guidelines. La Russa has final say on all baseball matters, which means longtime GM Kevin Towers has been stripped of considerable power.


Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY SportsTony La Russa has taken over as D-backs chief baseball officer.


“Until I really get more time to sit down with Tony to really find out structure, process, reporting and job responsibilities, I’m taking the high road and looking at this as hopefully a good thing for the organization,” Towers told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I certainly don’t want to be a pseudo-GM. The front office role will be new to him, and I’m hoping I can help him in ways too, like with the daily calendar and what’s important come June and July.”

• Right-hander Chase Anderson’s third major-league start comes against the Mets. He debuted May 11, limiting the Chicago White Sox to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings. Bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. told the Arizona Republic that Anderson has the best changeup in their system. The 26-year-old Anderson, a ninth-round pick in 2009 from the University of Oklahoma, had been 4-2 with a 0.69 ERA and 0.718 WHIP in six starts at Double-A Mobile. He logged only 205 1/3 innings from 2011 through ’13 because of elbow troubles, which also prompted the organization to convert him to a reliever to close last season in Triple-A. Anderson had a 6.52 ERA in 13 relief appearances and reverted to starting this year.

• The Mets are seeing the reigning co-NL Players of the Week in consecutive series. Yasiel Puig has departed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but fellow winner A.J. Pollock now arrives at Citi Field with the D-backs. Pollock, a center fielder, hit .500 (11-for-22) with two homers last week.

• Left fielder Mark Trumbo, who was acquired during the offseason from the Los Angeles Angels, has been sidelined since April 21 with a stress fracture in his left foot. Trumbo had been hitting .210 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 81 at-bats. Righty-hitting Cody Ross primarily has played the position in Trumbo’s absence, with lefty-hitting rookie Ender Inciarte also seeing some action in left field.

Didi Gregorius, the expendable shortstop for the D-backs, is hitting .296 with three homers, 20 RBIs and a .386 on-base percentage in 186 at-bats with Triple-A Reno. Chris Owings, who beat out Gregorius for the D-backs’ shortstop job, is hitting .275 with two homers and seven RBIs in 142 at-bats. Gregorius has appeared in 30 games at second base and 18 games at shortstop in the Pacific Coast League this season as the D-backs try to increase his versatility in case they retain him.

• Ex-Met Oliver Perez has a 1.26 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over his past 15 appearances.

• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s 33 RBIs rank fifth in the National League. His .315 average is 10th. Goldschmidt hit a 437-foot homer against Shaun Marcum last season at Citi Field.

• After opening the season in the bullpen, Josh Collmenter entered the rotation April 14 to face the Mets in Phoenix. He allowed three runs in four innings. Collmenter swapped roles with Randall Delgado, who had allowed nine runs in 7 1/3 innings over a pair of early season starts.

Bronson Arroyo signed a two-year, $23.5 million contract with the D-backs on Feb. 7. The deal includes an $11 million team option for 2016 or $4.5 million buyout. Arroyo, 37, has reached the 200-inning plateau eight of the past nine years. The exception: 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, when he was one inning shy. The Mets battered Arroyo for nine runs in 3 1/3 innings on April 15 at Chase Field. Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered a two-run homer.

• Second baseman Aaron Hill returned Wednesday after missing three games with a sore shoulder.

• Third baseman Martin Prado departed Sunday’s game with a blurry left eye, but was prescribed medicine and did not miss a start.

Series preview: Mets at Diamondbacks

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
9:00
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Josh Collmenter, Bronson Arroyo and Brandon McCarthy during a series against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
METS (5-7, fourth place/NL East) at ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (4-11, fifth place/NL West)

Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25), 9:40 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 4.09) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 4.82), 9:40 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78), 3:40 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• After allowing nine runs in 7 1/3 innings in two starts, Randall Delgado has been reassigned to the bullpen. Josh Collmenter steps into the slot Monday against the Mets.

Collmenter made 49 relief appearances for the D-backs last season. He last started on Sept. 30, 2012. Collmenter had a four-inning save Wednesday, so he is reasonably stretched out for the starting duty.

Delgado, who began wearing glasses last year, incidentally has dropped using them because of comfort -- although it leaves his vision less than perfect.

Bronson Arroyo signed a two-year, $23.5 million contract with the D-backs on Feb. 7. The deal includes an $11 million team option for 2016 or $4.5 million buyout. Arroyo, 37, has combined to log only 9 1/3 innings over two starts. He has reached the 200-inning plateau eight of the past nine years. The exception: 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, when he was one inning shy.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOffseason acquisition Mark Trumbo leads the majors in homers and RBIs.


Mark Trumbo leads the majors in homers (six) and RBIs (18). The left fielder was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on Dec. 10 as part of a three-team trade that landed left-hander Tyler Skaggs back in Anaheim. Trumbo homered in four straight games April 3-6.

• Ex-Met Oliver Perez signed a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the D-backs on March 10. He has allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits, four walks and a hit batter in seven appearances spanning 5 1/3 innings.

• The D-backs signed veteran left-hander Randy Wolf on a minor-league deal Friday for pitching depth. Arizona lost 2013 NL All-Star Patrick Corbin for this season due to an elbow ligament tear that required Tommy John surgery. The D-backs have an MLB-worst 5.95 ERA. They also have allowed 20 homers. Only the Mets, with 21, have allowed more homers in the majors.

Wolf asked for his release from the Seattle Mariners last month after declining to sign an agreement that would have allowed the club to release him during the season’s first 45 days without being responsible for his remaining salary. John Lannan agreed to sign that type of stipulation with the Mets.

• Outfielder Cody Ross, who suffered a dislocated right hip last August against the Mets, is a week into a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno and may return during this series.

• Two-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Gerardo Parra has a .340 average (36-for-106) in 31 career games against the Mets.

Didi Gregorius, who was made available in trade talks by the D-backs, instead ended up in Triple-A, where he is now splitting time between shortstop and second base. Gregorius, who was born in Amsterdam, is hitting .357 with one homer, four RBIs and five walks in 11 games with Reno.

Chris Owings, who won the big-league shortstop job, is hitting .295 with a .340 on-base percentage after going 2-for-3 with a walk Sunday as the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep in Phoenix.

Addison Reed, who had a career-high 40 saves for the Chicago White Sox last season, was acquired on Dec. 13 for third baseman Matt Davidson. That has pushed incumbent closer/ex-Met J.J. Putz to a setup role.

• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished second in 2013 NL MVP voting after hitting .302 with 36 doubles, 36 homers and 125 RBIs. Goldschmidt is hitting .317 with two homers and nine RBIs so far this season.

Morning Briefing: Niese check-up on tap

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
7:18
AM ET
FIRST PITCH: Jonathon Niese’s Fourth of July plans are expected to include an MRI of his left shoulder.

The medical exam at the Hospital for Special Surgery was planned two weeks ago when Niese originally was diagnosed with a partially torn rotator cuff.

The expectation -- or, at least hope -- is Niese’s injury shows signs of healing and he can be cleared to begin tossing a baseball, with an eye toward returning to the majors in early August. Otherwise, he may face season-ending surgery.


Courtesy of Major League BaseballThe Mets wear "Stars & Stripes" hats at Citi Field today.


Today at 11:59 p.m. is also the deadline to complete a ballot online for the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field. David Wright held a seemingly commanding 842,186-vote lead over San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval for the NL starting nod in a tally released Tuesday, but there should never be complacency when it comes to casting a ballot. (Vote here.)

The All-Star squads will be announced Saturday.

Meanwhile, with game No. 81 having been completed last night, the Mets season is now halfway in the books. Their 35-46 is their worst at the midway point since Art Howe’s first season as manager in 2003, when they had the identical record.

The Mets nonetheless aim for the series win when Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60 ERA) opposes right-hander Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.36) at 1:10 p.m. today.

The Mets will wear special “Stars & Stripes” caps. All of MLB’s proceeds from the sale of the caps go to Welcome Back Veterans, which was co-founded by Fred Wilpon in 2008.

Thursday’s news reports:

• After a nearly two-hour rain delay, Matt Harvey was charged with a career-high-matching five runs as the Mets lost to the Diamondbacks, 5-3, before a season-high, sellout crowd of 41,257 on Fireworks Night at Citi Field. The big blow: Cody Ross belted a three-run homer in the sixth on a hanging two-out slider, which got Arizona on the scoreboard. The final run charged to Harvey scored after he departed with a pair of runners in scoring position in the seventh and none out. Harvey’s ERA rose to 2.27, which ranks fifth in the NL. Leader Clayton Kershaw is at 1.93.

The Mets produced three solo homers. Wright and Josh Satin had long balls in the fourth against Randall Delgado to stake the Mets to a 2-0 lead. Daniel Murphy blasted a homer to the base of the Shea Bridge in right-center in the eighth against David Hernandez to complete the game’s scoring. It was Satin’s first career major league homer.


ESPN The MagazineMatt Harvey declared his independence from clothing in ESPN The Magazine.


Harvey’s next start comes Monday in San Francisco, with NL skipper Bruce Bochy watching from the home dugout.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and MLB.com.

• ESPN The Magazine has released a handful of behind-the-scenes photos of Harvey’s shoot for the “Body Issue,” which is due to hit newsstands July 12.

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday could not care less whether Harvey starts the All-Star Game. Writes Rieber:

Confession: I used to love the All-Star Game. I used to follow the voting closely in the papers in the age before Twitter. I'd get really ticked if the players from my favorite team didn't make the squad or the starting lineup. I never missed an inning.

Then I turned 11.

Please remember this if you're stressing about whether Matt Harvey hurt his chances of starting the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field by allowing five runs in six-plus innings in a 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. If you're a Mets fan, you should be more concerned with when Harvey is going to start Game 1 of a playoff series. In his lifetime, hopefully?


Courtesy of New York MetsMrs. Met returned to Citi Field on Wednesday night.


• Mrs. Met was reintroduced to Citi Field on Tuesday night, now sporting a ponytail. She last regularly appeared at Mets games in 2005, according to a team marketing official. She also appeared alongside Mr. Met in a 2008 SportsCenter commercial, minus the ponytail, and with kids in the backseat. The plan is to have Mrs. Met make regular game appearances, although not on an everyday basis.

Ike Davis homered for a second straight day, this time off former Mets farmhand Yusmeiro Petit. Davis finished 3-for-4 as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 2-0. He is hitting .293 with seven homers and 13 RBIs through 75 at-bats. Ruben Tejada, getting his first start with the 51s, went 0-for-4. Mexican League signee Giancarlo Alvarado tossed six scoreless innings for the second straight outing.

In Double-A, Cory Mazzoni allowed six runs (five earned) in six innings as Binghamton lost to Altoona, 6-3. Domingo Tapia, Hamilton Bennett and Tim Byrdak combined on a two-hit shutout as St. Lucie beat Jupiter, 1-0. Matt Oberste’s walk-off sac fly scored Patrick Biondi as Brooklyn snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win against Staten Island. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Terry Collins indicated that Shaun Marcum is on track to start Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers, his former organization. Still, Carlos Torres is being kept on standby just in case and likely will not be inserted in a game in relief beforehand.

Collins acknowledged Marcum underwent an MRI on his tight upper back Tuesday after experiencing tingling in his fingers during Monday’s start. Marcum had a similar issue that landed him on the disabled list to open the season.

The Mets weighed putting Marcum on the DL before Tuesday’s game, but instead demoted Zach Lutz to open the roster spot for reliever Gonzalez Germen. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

• Read more on Satin’s performance in the Record.

John Franco is facing a civil lawsuit alleging he intimidated a sales agent, the Staten Island Advance reports.

• Ten of the 25 active players on the Mets also saw action at Las Vegas this season, notes Jared Diamond in the Journal.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear notices the Mets have a tendency to make their fans wait and wait some more. … John Delcos at Mets Report notes one-third of the Mets’ roster has turned over since Opening Day and analyzes the impact for 2014.

BIRTHDAYS: Former shortstop Jose Oquendo, now the third base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, turns 50.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you approve of the reintroduction of Mrs. Met? Or should Mr. Met be able to be a bachelor at the ballpark?

Series preview: Mets vs. Diamondbacks

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
10:11
AM ET

Associated Press/Getty ImagesThe Mets face two southpaws to open a four-game series vs. Arizona: Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin.
METS (33-45, fourth place/NL East) vs. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (42-39, first place/NL West)

Monday: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-9, 5.08) vs. LHP Wade Miley (4-7, 4.55), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 3.72) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.22), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (7-1, 2.00) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (0-2, 4.05), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.36), 1:10 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• Closer J.J. Putz was activated from the disabled list Saturday. The ex-Met had been sidelined since May 7 with a right elbow strain, which had caused tingling in his fingers. Fellow-ex Met Heath Bell handled the closing duties for seven weeks minus Putz. Although Bell has flirted with danger, he has converted 10 of his last 11 save opportunities.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJ.J. Putz returned from the disabled list Saturday.


• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt leads the NL with 67 RBIs, four ahead of runner-up Allen Craig of St. Louis. Goldschmidt’s 4.2 WAR rating ranks third in the NL, trailing only Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez (5.0) and David Wright (4.5).

• Outfielder Gerardo Parra had been 1-for-20 on the road trip before producing two hits Sunday. Atlanta nonetheless completed a weekend sweep, dropping Arizona to 1-5 on its NL East tour. Parra (.301, 7 homers, 26 RBIs) has been caught stealing nine times in 15 attempts.

Patrick Corbin, while unbeaten, is bidding for his 10th win for his sixth straight start. He last earned a win June 2. In his string of five straight no-decisions, Corbin has a 2.55 ERA and .197 opponent batting average.

Arizona starters actually are winless in 22 straight games. That is the longest streak in the majors since San Diego Padres starters went winless in 25 straight games in April/May 2009, according to STATS. The streak is the second-longest in Diamondbacks history -- trailing only a 24-game winless streak by their starting pitchers in 1998.

• Right-hander Randall Delgado, who starts Wednesday, arrived with Martin Prado as well as Brandon Drury, Nick Ahmed and Zeke Spruill in the Jan. 24 trade that sent Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to the Braves. After 13 starts for Triple-A Reno, Delgado made his Diamondbacks debut June 3, coinciding with Brandon McCarthy landing on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

Delgado twice has faced the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate this season. He surrendered a homer to Andrew Brown while getting charged with five runs in 3 1/3 innings on May 1. Delgado rebounded to limit Las Vegas to one run, albeit on nine hits and two walks, in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision on May 28.

McCarthy has advanced in his rehab to throwing bullpen sessions.

• Third baseman Eric Chavez (oblique) returned from the disabled list Friday. Eric Hinske, who had started only three games this season and was hitting .173, was designated for assignment to clear the roster spot for Chavez’s return.

• Outfielder Cody Ross is hitting .389 against left-handed pitching and .187 against right-handed pitching this season. He signed a three-year, $26 million contract as a free agent in December.

• Catcher Miguel Montero signed a five-year, $60 million extension last season that locks him up through 2017. It was the largest contract in Diamondbacks history. The workhorse Montero (.226, 5 HR, 27 RBIs) has started 70 of the Diamondbacks’ 81 games behind the plate, including 21 straight before Wil Nieves handled the duty Sunday.

ESPN Stats analyzes Braves-Dbacks swap

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
4:06
PM ET
From ESPN Stats & Information ...

The Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks announced a seven-player trade Thursday. Atlanta gets outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson. Arizona gets infielder Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado, minor-league infielders Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury and minor-league pitcher Zeke Spruill.


J. Meric/Getty Images
Brothers B.J. and Justin Upton are reunited with the Braves.


NOTES & GRAPHICS

From Elias: B.J. and Justin Upton could become only the fourth pair of brothers to play at least 100 games each in the outfield for the same team in the same season. The only brothers to do so were Paul and Lloyd Waner for the Pirates (10 times from 1927 to 1938), Jesus and Matty Alou for the Giants (1965), and Tony and Billy Conigliaro for the Red Sox (1970).

Justin Upton Highest BA by Ballpark
Chase Field .307
Turner Field .293
Petco Park .291
Citi Field .283
<< Minimum 10 games

* The Upton brothers provide a power upgrade over the men they replace in the Atlanta outfield, Martin Prado and Michael Bourn, but besides home runs, the jump isn't substantial.

Justin and B.J. Upton
vs Michael Bourn and Martin Prado Last Season

Uptons, Bourn/Prado
BA .263, .288
HR 45, 19
XBH 106, 103
Slug pct .442, .414

* Justin Upton had a down season in 2012 compared to his 2011 campaign. While his averages were often similar, his power was down.

Justin Upton Last 2 Seasons
2011, 2012
BA .289, .280
OBP .369, .355
HR 31, 17
RBI 88, 67

Highest OPS Among NL Outfielders Since 2008
Ryan Braun .933
Matt Holliday .924
Carlos Beltran .870
Andrew McCutchen .858
Matt Kemp .855
Andre Ethier .844
Justin Upton .842
<< Minimum 500 games

NEXT LEVEL
* Justin Upton really struggled against offspeed pitches in 2012. He batted .300 against the fastball, but that average was just .245 against offspeed stuff.

Justin Upton vs Offspeed Pitches in 2012
BA .245
Slug pct .368
OPS .675
K pct 23.2 >> << 16.8% vs fastball

* Martin Prado ranked 10th in the NL in WAR last season (5.4), providing more than twice Upton's value (2.1). Prado has accumulated 12.1 wins above replacement since 2010. In that span, Upton has 9.2 wins above replacement.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
4:44
PM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Tommy Hanson this weekend.
METS (65-72, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (78-60, second place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (10-8, 3.55) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.79), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.52) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (7-1, 1.56), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Chris Young (4-7, 4.48) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (12-7, 4.45), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones makes his final appearance in Queens as a player this weekend. He famously named his son Shea (now 8 years old) after the Mets’ former homer because of his success there.

Jones hit his second walk-off homer of the season Sunday, when he slugged a three-run shot against Philadelphia. He now has nine career game-ending homers, breaking a tie with Hank Aaron for the franchise record. Aaron had two with the Milwaukee Braves and another six after the move to Atlanta. Jones’ two walk-off homers in a season match the major league record for a player who has turned 40. Andres Galarraga also performed the feat twice, in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants.

Jones has 2,714 career hits, one shy of matching Bill Buckner for 60th on the all-time list.

Kris Medlen is the reigning NL Pitcher of the Month. He went 4-0 with an 0.50 ERA (2 ER in 35 2/3 innings) while striking out 35 and walking four in August. Medlen is 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA in seven starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31.


Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Dan Uggla's .207 average is the lowest in the National League among qualifiers.


He produced a 34 2/3-inning scoreless streak that began with a start against the Mets on Aug. 11. It marked the longest scoreless streak by a Brave since Greg Maddux went 39 1/3 run-free innings in 2000.

Medlen is now 12-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 25 career major league starts. The Braves have won his last 18 starts, a franchise record. The record previously was held by John Smoltz (15 in 1996). The last major league team to win that many consecutive starts by a pitcher was the Yankees in 2000 with Roger Clemens on the mound (20 straight).

• After three games out of the starting lineup, slumping Dan Uggla has now made consecutive starts at second base. Uggla’s .207 average is last among National League qualifiers, a full 13 points worse than runner-up Drew Stubbs of Cincinnati. Uggla’s 150 strikeouts are six shy of matching the franchise record he set last season. Andruw Jones previously held the record, with 147 strikeouts in 2004. Martin Prado started the three games with Uggla on the bench. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he would pick spots for Uggla to start.

• Catcher Brian McCann went hitless in four at-bats Thursday and is hitting .155 (13-for-84) with no extra-base hits in 24 games since Aug. 1. McCann received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder after Saturday’s game and did not return to the lineup until Wednesday. McCann also received a cortisone shot Aug. 7. He has a frayed labrum and a cyst and may require offseason surgery. David Ross handled the catching duty with McCann unavailable.

• Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been sidelined since July 8 with a fractured right pinkie, will complete his rehab assignment with Class A Lynchburg and should be activated during the weekend series against the Mets. Ex-Red Paul Janish primarily has handled shortstop in Simmons’ absence. Jack Wilson, who fractured a finger against the Mets in July, was released last week before being activated.

Miguel Batista, who signed a minor league contract with Atlanta on July 27 after declining to go to Triple-A with the Mets, returns to Citi Field in a Braves uniform. He was called up on Aug. 25 and has allowed one run in five innings spanning four relief appearances.

Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran received September call-ups. Teheran received the promotion despite a 7-9 record and 5.08 ERA in 26 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett. Jair Jurrjens was bypassed for a call-up. He had a 6.89 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) earlier in the season in the majors. Backup first baseman Lyle Overbay also was among the September call-ups. He had been signed Aug. 20 after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is one homer shy of becoming the fourth player in Atlanta history to reached double digits in homers, triples and steals in the same season. The others: Ralph Garr (1974), Marquis Grissom (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2003 and 2005).

• Atlanta acquired infielder Jeff Baker from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named or cash last Friday, at the non-waiver trade deadline.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel notched his 34th save Thursday. He has struck out 94 in 51 1/3 innings.

• The Braves enter the weekend off consecutive 1-0 victories against the Colorado Rockies. Both Braves runs were unearned. The last time a team won consecutive games by that score using unearned runs came in July 1984, with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Cincinnati Reds, according to STATS LLC. Mike Minor took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in the Wednesday victory. Atlanta went 3-for-35 with runners in scoring position during the four-game series against Colorado.

• Call-up Jose Constanza, who injured Daniel Murphy on a slide in 2010, won the International League batting title. Constanza hit .314.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Citi Field, Aug. 10-12 (AP game recaps)

Braves 4, Mets 0: Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter in his second start for Atlanta and the Braves got two-run homers from Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla. Heyward connected in the first inning to help spoil Matt Harvey's home debut with the Mets. Uggla went deep in the eighth off reliever Josh Edgin for his first homer in more than a month. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: Freddie Freeman had five RBIs in the first two innings and the Braves battered Johan Santana in his return from the disabled list. Michael Bourn had three hits, Chipper Jones chased Santana with an RBI single in a seven-run second inning and Atlanta roughed up the two-time Cy Young Award winner in the worst start of his career. Kris Medlen (3-1) pitched effectively into the seventh inning, striking out seven while improving to 2-0 since joining the rotation. More

Mets 6, Braves 5: Jon Niese handed a five-run lead to the bullpen, then watched from the bench as it started to unravel. Frank Francisco walked a pair of batters with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, then gave up a two-run double to Martin Prado that put the potential tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second. When Jason Heyward then swung and missed at strike three, the slider was in the dirt and rolled under catcher Rob Johnson. Johnson took his time, however, and his throw just beat Heyward for the final out. More

Series preview: Mets at Braves

July, 13, 2012
7/13/12
9:27
AM ET

Getty Images/Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Ben Sheets during a weekend series at Turner Field.
METS (46-40, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (46-39, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Chris Young (2-2, 3.41) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.56), 7:35 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.40) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Johan Santana (6-5, 3.24) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (0-1, 5.06 at Double-A Mississippi), 1:35 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• Retiring Chipper Jones’ farewell tour took him to the All-Star Game as a selection for the eighth and final time. Jones addressed the National Leaguers pregame. “I was honored that Tony [La Russa] asked me to say something, and I just wanted the guys to know that nothing’s a given, you don’t know when your last one’s going to be,” Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Soak up this opportunity. I quoted the late, great Lou Brown in ‘Major League,’ saying ‘Two’s nice, but three’s a winning streak.’ [In the All-Star Game] we got on a little bit of a roll and we’ve won three in a row. Somebody in this clubhouse is going to be real happy to have home-field advantage come October.”

The Braves will have a Sept. 28 ceremony to honor Jones before facing -- you guessed it -- the Mets. (The Amazin’s happen to be the final home series for the Braves during the regular season.)

• Second baseman Dan Uggla, center fielder Michael Bourn and closer Craig Kimbrel also represented the Braves in Kansas City. Bourn replaced Nats shortstop Ian Desmond.


David Eulit/Getty Images
Chipper Jones had his final All-Star appearance Tuesday.


• On Sunday, ex-Brewer Ben Sheets will make his first major league start since July 19, 2010, when he was with Oakland. Sheets has undergone a pair of elbow surgeries. Sheets, who turns 34 on Wednesday, signed a minor league deal with Atlanta on July 1. In two starts with Double-A Mississippi, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out 10 in 10 2/3 innings. Sheets will bump either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado from the rotation.

Tim Hudson has received two cortisone shots in the past month to try to alleviate left ankle discomfort. The second injection came last Friday, after Hudson nonetheless blanked the Phillies for seven innings in what eventually became a weekend sweep. Hudson reportedly has bone spurs in the ankle, but will wait until the offseason for surgery.

• Defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons suffered a broken right pinkie on a headfirst slide into second base Sunday and was placed on the DL. The Braves will make a corresponding roster move to replace the rookie before Friday’s game. Original starting shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who is playing for Triple-A Gwinnett, is a candidate for promotion. Jack Wilson is expected to start in the series opener.

Simmons had won the NL Rookie of the Month award for June, after hitting .333 for the month. An NL scout said about Simmons’ defense: "For someone as young as he is, and who has played the position as little as he has -- he was a pitcher -- it’s extremely impressive to be as good as he is. In my mind, he’s only going to get better." Said an AL scout: “Future star if he hits. And, defensively, already All-Star type.”

• Catcher Brian McCann homered in his final four games of the first half.

• Left fielder Martin Prado’s .321 average ranks seventh in the National League. Since May 8, Prado is hitting .349 and has a .399 on-base percentage and 21 RBIs. He has nine steals without being caught during that 55-game span.

• Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters landed on the disabled list July 5 with elbow inflammation. Luis Avilan was promoted to fill a lefty relief role.

Jair Jurrjens, who will not face the Mets, is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts since returning from a two-month stint in the minors.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward has 14 homers, matching his 2011 total.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Turner Field, April 16-18 (AP game recaps)

Mets 6, Braves 1: Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Dillon Gee pitched four-hit ball over seven innings. With the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Atlanta intentionally walked hot-hitting David Wright with two outs to get to Davis -- a move that certainly made sense, given the first baseman was batting just .118. The strategy backfired when Davis drove a 2-2 curve from Tommy Hanson (1-2) it into the right-field seats. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: The Braves handed Johan Santana the shortest start of his career. Two costly errors -- Jason Bay dropped a fly ball, Ike Davis made a wild throw -- led to a pair of unearned runs against Santana (0-2), who had allowed just one run in his first two games. He was lifted after 1 1/3 innings, finished off by Jason Heyward’s run-scoring single that made it 6-0. Santana had never gone less than three innings in his previous 265 starts. Santana remembered that his last appearance in 2010 before undergoing major elbow surgery also came at Turner Field. More

Braves 14, Mets 6: Dan Uggla, Juan Francisco and Freddie Freeman hit two-run homers off R.A. Dickey. Uggla had been 0-for-24 against the knuckleballer before his long ball capped a four-run third and gave Atlanta a 6-3 lead. Francisco homered in the second and Freeman hit an opposite-field drive to left in the fifth, his first of the season. That chased Dickey (2-1), who allowed eight runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in his worst outing in four years. There was light rain through the early innings, making it more difficult for Dickey to grip his knuckleball. More

Is Kirk rookie of the month?

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
10:32
AM ET

Getty Images
Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a strong case to be made for NL Rookie of the Month over Wade Miley (center) or Matt Carpenter (right).
Only one Met has won the NL's Rookie of the Month award since the award's introduction in 2001. That would be Justin Turner last May.

Could he have company when the April 2012 award is announced Wednesday? It looks very possible.

Center fielder-turned-left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis produced a .325 average, two homers and eight RBIs in April, and remained in the leadoff spot Monday even upon Andres Torres' return from the DL.

Despite his game-altering misjudgment against the San Francisco Giants, when the ball dropped behind him and prolonged a game the Mets eventually salvaged, Nieuwenhuis since has continued to have highlight-reel catches. That includes taking an extra-base hit away from Jose Reyes in the ex-Met's first at-bat upon returning to Citi Field as well as Sunday in the fifth inning at Denver on a shot to left-center by Jonathan Herrera that preserved a scoreless outing for Johan Santana.

Nieuwenhuis posted the third-highest April rookie average in franchise history. Rey Ordonez hit .354 in 1996 and Ron Gardenhire hit .345 in 1982.

No other NL rookie batters jump out. Shane Robinson hit .419 with a homer and five RBIs, but that was in only 31 at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals. Nieuwenhuis had 80 at-bats, second only to Zack Cozart's 85 with the Cincinnati Reds. St. Louis' Matt Carpenter hit .267 with a homer and 14 RBIs in 60 ABs. (Check the full NL rookie batter list here.)

On the pitching side, Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley looks like he would have the best case. In five appearances (two starts), Miley went 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings. He allowed only 10 hits while striking out 15 and walking seven. Only one other NL rookie pitcher exceeded one win. That would be Atlanta's Randall Delgado, who had a 6.30 ERA along with his 2-2 record. (Check the full NL rookie pitcher list here.)

Of course, beginning next month, Bryce Harper will be on the ballot.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 9, Mets 3

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
8:34
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Johan Santana's feel-good comeback hit a speed bump.

Santana, hampered by two errors behind him, had the shortest start of his career, recording only four outs.

The Braves scored six runs (four earned) against Santana, whose last pitch before his Sept. 14, 2010, surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder also came at Turner Field.

He departed with the Mets trailing 6-0 and their bid to win a fifth straight game against Atlanta to open the season -- which would match the franchise record for the season series, set in 1989 -- in jeopardy.

The Mets ultimately lost, 9-3.

Santana's previous shortest career start had been three innings, which happened three times: with the Mets at Yankee Stadium on June 14, 2009, and twice with the Minnesota Twins, in '04 and '07.

Santana entered Tuesday's start having allowed only one run and seven hits while striking out 13 and walking five in 10 innings spanning two starts.

He will be winless in his first three starts of a season for the first time since 2006.

Santana coaxed a fly ball to left field off the bat of Michael Bourn to open the bottom of the first. But Jason Bay, who robbed Jack Wilson of a homer Monday night, this time dropped the chance for a two-base error. Bourn eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Chipper Jones -- the 155th RBI of the retiring third baseman's career against the Mets, trailing only Willie Stargell's 182 and Mike Schmidt's 162.

An inning later, the wheels fell off. Dan Uggla opened the frame with a walk. Matt Diaz lined a single back through the box. Freddie Freeman and Tyler Pastornicky consecutively doubled. Randall Delgado then tried to sacrifice bunt. Ike Davis aggressively tried to make the play at third base and threw the ball errantly past David Wright. After Bourn grounded out and Jason Heyward produced an RBI single to make it 6-0, Santana was pulled.

Santana's line: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. He threw 55 pitches (35 strikes). It also was the first start of Santana's career without a strikeout.

PENWORK: Manny Acosta was forced to work three innings in relief, matching his career high. He allowed a solo homer to Juan Francisco.

WRIGHT STUFF: Wright singled with two out in the ninth, his second hit of the game. He extended his franchise-record streak of reaching base at least twice by hit or walk to start a season to eight games.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets complete their six-game trip with R.A. Dickey (2-0, 2.08 ERA) opposing Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 7.71) in Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. series finale.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

April, 15, 2012
4/15/12
6:23
PM ET

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Tommy Hanson, Randall Delgado and Jair Jurrjens during a three-game series at Turner Field.
METS (6-3, second place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (5-4, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.06) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.70), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Johan Santana (0-1, 0.90) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.60), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (2-0, 2.08) vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 7.71), 12:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones, who underwent March 26 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, made his season debut last Tuesday in Houston with a two-hit game that included a homer against Astros starter Kyle Weiland. Jones had a two-hit game the following day as well. He then was forced out of the lineup for two games with swelling in the surgically repaired knee. He had fluid drained and returned Sunday, when he again homered. The retiring Mets killer turns 40 on April 24. Jose Constanza was optioned to the minors to clear the roster spot for Jones.


Pat Sullivan
Chipper Jones' retirement tour includes parting gifts from opponents. In Houston, Jones received a cowboy hat, which was presented by Craig Biggio.


• Since an 0-4 start, Atlanta has won five straight games.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward is hitting .345 average with two homers and five RBIs, including a long ball Sunday against Milwaukee’s Chris Narveson. Heyward had worked since January with Jones and new hitting coach Greg Walker to rediscover his swing. He developed bad habits last season while dealing with a strained shoulder. His batting average dropped 50 points, to .227, in 2011. His on-base percentage dropped from .393 as a rookie to .319 last year.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn was hitting .188 with one RBI entering Sunday, when he had a three-hit game.

Tim Hudson, who underwent Nov. 28 back surgery, has started a rehab assignment. In his second minor league start Thursday, Hudson allowed five runs on nine hits in four innings with Class A Rome. Hudson is due to make two starts with Triple-A Gwinnett before being activated from the disabled list, beginning Wednesday.

• Right-hander Randall Delgado has tossed exactly five innings in each of his last six major league starts. His pitch counts in those games: 94, 93, 101, 92, 82, 89.

Matt Diaz broke a 311 at-bat homerless drought by going deep against Milwaukee left-hander Randy Wolf on Friday. Diaz had started in left field against southpaws.

Livan Hernandez’s relief appearance against the Mets during the opening weekend was historic. Hernandez’s only other relief appearance came in his major league debut, in 1996. He had made 474 consecutive starts. The only two other pitchers to have 400-plus starts between relief appearances, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Roger Clemens (681 starts from 1984-2007) and Steve Carlton (544 from 1971-1986).

Chad Durbin, released by the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training, has allowed homers in each of his three relief appearances with the Braves.

• Rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky’s average has slipped to .136. After struggling for the first two-plus weeks of spring training, the 22-year-old Tyler Pastornicky started producing and beat out fellow prospect Andrelton Simmons. Pastornicky hit a combined .314 with seven homers and 45 RBIs in 117 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last season. He arrived in the shortstop swap that sent Yunel Escobar to the Toronto Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez in July 2010.

Matchups

Gee vs. Braves (career: 2-2, 3.46 ERA)
Jack Wilson 1.000, 1 PA
Jason Heyward .400, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 16 PA
David Ross .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Michael Bourn .300, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 12 PA
Matt Diaz .250, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Martin Prado .235, 18 PA
Dan Uggla .188, 2 RBI, 3 K, 17 PA
Brian McCann .182, 3 BB, 2 K, 14 PA
Freddie Freeman .091, 1 RBI, 1 K, 11 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 BB, 2 K, 8 PA

Santana vs. Braves (career: 3-6, 2.14 ERA)
Matt Diaz .500, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 35 PA
Michael Bourn .357, 1 K, 15 PA
Jack Wilson .333, 9 PA
Chipper Jones .259, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 29 PA
Brian McCann .258, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K, 32 PA
Martin Prado .182, 2 K, 23 PA
Jason Heyward .100, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Dan Uggla .048, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 12 K, 22 PA
David Ross .000, 2 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 K, 5 PA
Freddie Freeman .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Tyler Pastornicky .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Dickey vs. Braves (career: 2-4, 3.90 ERA)
Chipper Jones .500, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, 11 PA
Freddie Freeman .333, 2 BB, 2 K, 14 PA
Jason Heyward .308, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K, 18 PA
Michael Bourn .304, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 26 PA
Brian McCann .176, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K, 22 PA
Eric Hinske .150, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 PA
Martin Prado .150, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 21 PA
Dan Uggla .000, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 26 PA
Jack Wilson .000, 3 K, 4 PA
David Ross .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Juan Francisco .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Tyler Pastornicky .000, 2 PA
Matt Diaz .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Hanson vs. Mets (career: 3-4, 3.48 ERA)
Justin Turner .667, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .625, 1 K, 8 PA
Josh Thole .444, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 19 PA
Ronny Cedeno .400, 1 K, 5 PA
Lucas Duda .375, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, 8 PA
Jason Bay .273, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 13 PA
Ike Davis .167, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 14 PA
David Wright .150, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 22 PA
Ruben Tejada .000, 1 BB, 8 PA
Mike Baxter .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Delgado vs. Mets (career: never faced)

Jurrjens vs. Mets (career: 8-5, 3.10 ERA)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis .500, 1 K, 2 PA
Justin Turner .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .333, 3 PA
Josh Thole .308, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 14 PA
Daniel Murphy .280, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 28 PA
David Wright .250, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 34 PA
Lucas Duda .250, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 5 PA
Jason Bay .222, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 21 PA
Ruben Tejada .167, 2 BB, 9 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 BB, 5 K, 11 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Mike Nickeas .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 3-0, at Citi Field, April 5-8 (AP game recaps)

Mets 1, Braves 0: Johan Santana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in his long-awaited return from shoulder surgery and David Wright hit an RBI single. New York's revamped bullpen picked up for Santana and shut down the Braves, who fielded an Opening Day lineup without Chipper Jones for the first time since 1996. Atlanta was punchless at the plate, managing only four hits. Santana struck out five and wriggled out of a fifth-inning jam in his first big league appearance since beating the Braves 4-2 on Sept. 2, 2010. He had surgery 12 days later. Tommy Hanson allowed one run on four hits in five innings with three walks for Atlanta. Andres Torres left the game with a left calf injury.

Mets 4, Braves 2: Lucas Duda homered twice and became the first player to take advantage of the pulled-in fences at Citi Field, leading R.A. Dickey and the Mets over Atlanta. David Wright kept hitting with a homer and two singles as the Mets improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2009. Josh Thole lined a go-ahead single with two outs in the fifth inning off well-traveled Livan Hernandez, making his first regular-season relief appearance since his major league debut in 1996. Martin Prado hit a two-run homer for Atlanta. Dickey (1-0) kept the Braves off-balance with his knuckler for six innings, allowing five hits and working around four walks.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Jon Niese took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first start since signing a rich contract and the Mets completed a season-opening sweep. Niese (1-0) allowed just two balls out of the infield through six innings and retired 15 in a row before walking Dan Uggla on a 10-pitch at-bat leading off the seventh. On the next pitch, Niese's 99th of the game, Freddie Freeman singled cleanly to right. Pitching for the first time since the Mets gave him a $25.5 million, five-year deal, Niese allowed four runs (two earned) and two hits in six-plus innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. Mike Minor (0-1) gave up six runs, six hits and four walks in five-plus innings.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
12:25
PM ET

Getty Images
Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Mike Minor (l to r) face the Mets in the opening series, at Citi Field.
METS (77-85, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (89-73, second place/NL East)

Thursday: LHP Johan Santana (DNP) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (11-7, 3.60), 1:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (8-13, 3.28) vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (13-6, 2.96), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (11-11, 4.40) vs. LHP Mike Minor (5-3, 4.14), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones, 40, announced during spring training his intention to retire after the season. He then underwent March 26 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, the same procedure Tim Byrdak required with the Mets.

The Braves responded to Jones’ injury, which may only sideline him for the regular season’s first road trip, by acquiring 24-year-old third baseman Juan Francisco from the Reds. Francisco made his Grapefruit League debut with his new team Monday, against the Mets. Atlanta sent expendable right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover to Cincinnati. The lefty-hitting Francisco was boxed out with the Reds by Scott Rolen. Francisco has a .284 average with five homers and 29 RBIs in 169 career major league at-bats. One of the long balls was a monstrous 502-foot shot last Sept. 12 off the Cubs’ Rodrigo Lopez. It was the second-longest homer in Great American Ball Park history, trailing only a 535-foot homer by Adam Dunn in 2004.


Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire
Tyler Pastornicky will make his major league debut as Braves shortstop Thursday.


Even with the Francisco acquisition, Martin Prado still should man third base against lefties, with southpaw-killer Matt Diaz (.329 career average versus lefties) positioned in left field. The Mets start two left-handers in the series. Still, Francisco’s arrival allows Prado to primarily play left field in Jones’ absence.

• After struggling for the first two-plus weeks of spring training, 22-year-old Tyler Pastornicky started producing and beat out fellow prospect Andrelton Simmons for the shortstop job. The strong-armed Pastornicky hit a combined .314 with seven homers and 45 RBIs in 117 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last season. He arrived in the shortstop swap that sent Yunel Escobar to the Toronto Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez in July 2010. His father, Cliff Pastornicky, played 10 games for the Kansas City Royals at third base in 1983. Simmons had not played above Class A.

Livan Hernandez -- released by the Houston Astros late in spring training after a Grapefruit League outing in which he surrendered eight runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings against the Mets, which included a grand slam by David Wright -- quickly landed with the Braves. He will work as a long reliever and spot starter. That frees Kris Medlen to work in more integral spots rather than be held back as a long man.

• At 25 years old, Tommy Hanson becomes the youngest Opening Day starter for the Braves since John Smoltz at 23 in 1991. Hanson suffered a concussion in a single-car accident when he reportedly blew a tire and went off the road en route to the first spring-training workout. He did not make his first official start until March 16.

• 2011 All-Star Jair Jurrjens has missed the past two Septembers with knee injuries. He looked awful in his first four Grapefruit League appearances, allowing 16 runs (15 earned) in 13 1/3 innings. Since then, he has allowed a combined two runs and eight hits in 13 innings spanning two starts. However, both of those outings came against meager Houston Astros split squads, albeit with Carlos Lee in the latter game.

• Left-hander Mike Minor had the best production of any Braves pitcher during spring training. He had four straight scoreless outings until the Mets ended that streak March 23 at Disney. The Mets wanted Minor in trade talks with Atlanta regarding Carlos Beltran last July, but the Braves were uninterested in trading the 24-year-old southpaw.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn, who arrived in a trade with the Astros last July 31 for four players, including Jordan Schafer, is due to be a free agent after the season. He led the National league with 61 steals last season.

• After his production plummeted as a sophomore, right fielder Jason Heyward has worked since January with Jones and new hitting coach Greg Walker to rediscover his swing. Heyward developed bad habits last season while dealing with a strained shoulder. His batting average dropped 50 points, to .227, in 2011. His on-base percentage dropped from .393 as a rookie to .319 last year.

• Right-hander Tim Hudson is due back as soon as late April after undergoing offseason back surgery to address a herniated disc. In his absence, Randall Delgado beat out Julio Teheran for a spot in the rotation, although both young prospects struggled during spring training.

• Reliever Cristhian Martinez was charged with DUI on Monday morning near Atlanta, Gwinnett County police spokesman Corporal Jake Smith told the Journal-Constitution.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman appears poised for a monster year after hitting .282 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs in 571 at-bats during his rookie season. The lefty-hitting Freeman showed significant power to the left side of the field during spring training.

• Left-hander Jonny Venters, who had a National League-leading 85 appearances, and closer Craig Kimbrel, who accumulated 46 saves and made 79 appearances last season, have been lightly used during spring training. In fact, Venters was idle for 10 days with arm soreness before returning March 29. Last year, Kimbrel set the major league rookie saves record, previously held by Texas’ Neftali Feliz, who had 40 in 2010. Venters and Eric O’Flaherty form a dynamic one-two attack against lefty batters out of the bullpen. The duo combined to hold opposing batters to a .163 average last season, with two homers in 166 at-bats.

• The Braves signed right-hander Chad Durbin to round out the bullpen on the eve of the season. Durbin, 34, had been released by the Nationals despite posting a 2.35 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League appearances. The addition bumped left-hander Yohan Flande to the minors.

• Overshadowed by the Boston Red Sox’s late freefall, Atlanta had its own 2011 collapse. The Braves held a 10½-game lead on St. Louis for the wild card in late August.

Matchups

Santana vs. Braves (career: 3-6, 2.28 ERA)
Matt Diaz .500, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 33 PA
Michael Bourn .455, 1 K, 12 PA
Jack Wilson .333, 9 PA
Brian McCann .276, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, 30 PA
Martin Prado .150, 2 K, 21 PA
Jason Heyward .125, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Dan Uggla .053, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K, 20 PA
David Ross .000, 2 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 K, 5 PA

Dickey vs. Braves (career: 1-4, 4.01 ERA)
Jose Constanza .500, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Freddie Freeman .333, 2 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Jason Heyward .250, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 15 PA
Michael Bourn .238, 3 RBI, 4 K, 23 PA
Brian McCann .214, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K, 19 PA
Eric Hinske .150, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 PA
Martin Prado .118, 1 BB, 2 K, 18 PA
Dan Uggla .000, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 23 PA
Jack Wilson .000, 3 K, 4 PA
David Ross .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Matt Diaz .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Niese vs. Braves (career: 3-2, 3.55 ERA)
Michael Bourn .571, 2 BB, 9 PA
Jason Heyward .500, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
David Ross .462, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 14 PA
Freddie Freeman .429, 1 RBI, 3 K, 7 PA
Jose Constanza .333, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Dan Uggla .318, 3 RBI, 5 K, 22 PA
Martin Prado .263, 1 BB, 1 K, 20 PA
Matt Diaz .125, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 10 PA
Brian McCann .000, 3 K, 6 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 K, 4 PA

Hanson vs. Mets (career: 3-3, 3.69 ERA)
Justin Turner .667, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .600, 1 K, 5 PA
Lucas Duda .500, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
Josh Thole .438, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 17 PA
Ronny Cedeno .400, 1 K, 5 PA
Jason Bay .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Ike Davis .200, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 12 PA
Andres Torres .200, 1 K, 5 PA
David Wright .111, 2 RBI, 8 K, 19 PA
Ruben Tejada .000, 6 PA

Jurrjens vs. Mets (career: 8-4, 2.94 ERA)
Andres Torres .500, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 5 PA
Ronny Cedeno .333, 3 PA
Justin Turner .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .304, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 25 PA
Josh Thole .273, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 12 PA
Ruben Tejada .250, 1 BB, 6 PA
David Wright .207, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 31 PA
Jason Bay .200, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 18 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Mike Nickeas .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Minor vs. Mets (career: 2-0, 6.75 ERA)
Lucas Duda .667, 3 PA
Jason Bay .500, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 8 PA
Justin Turner .429, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 9 PA
Ruben Tejada .286, 1 K, 7 PA
Scott Hairston .200, 1 K, 5 PA
David Wright .125, 1 BB, 3 K, 9 PA
Daniel Murphy .000, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Turner Field, Sept. 16-18, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 12, Braves 2: David Wright drove in five runs with two homers as the Mets pounded the Braves. Atlanta leads St. Louis by only 3½ games in the NL wild-card race with 11 games remaining. The Cardinals gained ground by beating the Phillies. The Mets matched their season high with 20 hits and ended a six-game losing streak. Chris Capuano (11-12) gave up two runs on six hits in five innings. Lowe (9-15) gave up nine hits and six runs in only 2 1/3 innings while losing his third straight start.

Braves 1, Mets 0: Tim Hudson struck out 10 batters to guide Atlanta over New York, shoring up the Braves' lead in the wild-card race. Hudson (15-10) held the Mets scoreless over his eight innings. Closer Craig Kimbrel struck out all three batters in the ninth to notch his 45th save of the season. Chipper Jones' RBI single in the eighth inning was enough for the Braves, who increased their wild-card lead to 4½ games. R.A. Dickey (8-13) walked a season-worst six batters in 7 2/3 innings for the Mets, who have lost seven of eight.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Ruben Tejada had four RBIs, Lucas Duda homered off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning and New York slowed the Braves' wild-card bid with a walk-filled victory. Atlanta lost two of three to the Mets, who arrived with a six-game losing streak. New York went 6-4 at Atlanta this year, its first winning record at Turner Field since 2008. After pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino's bases-loaded walk in the eighth against Jonny Venters (6-2) tied it at 5, Tejada singled to put the Mets ahead for good. Duda's homer was just the second this year off Kimbrel, the NL saves leader. Tim Byrdak (2-0) won despite allowing a go-ahead single in the seventh to Freddie Freeman, who had been on an 0-for-15 slide.

Mets 5, Braves 3: The Matt Harvey Show

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
4:53
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Matt Harvey breezed through two perfect innings in relief of Dillon Gee and Matt den Dekker delivered a tiebreaking two-run triple in the eighth as the Mets beat the Braves, 5-3, on Friday at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

The Mets produced three second-inning runs against Randall Delgado, who is the frontrunner over Julio Teheran for the fifth-starter’s spot, with Tim Hudson slated to be sidelined into May following offseason back surgery.

• Harvey retired all six batters he faced -- a sharp contrast from his first Grapefruit League appearance, when he walked three and plunked another among the eight batters he faced.

Teammate Tim Byrdak had advised Harvey recently to tune out opponents’ names and their résumés and just concentrate on making quality pitches, as cliché as that sounds. Harvey nonetheless took that to heart as he faced formidable Braves hitters.

Harvey began his outing by retiring Chipper Jones on a groundout and Eric Hinske on a flare to left field. He then struck out Jason Heyward on a 95 mph fastball above the strike zone in a flawless first frame.

Harvey said earlier in camp that he hoped to use a two-seam fastball (sinker) more this season, and use the four-seam (straight) fastball to go up the ladder and strike out batters, which seemed like the method of attack with Heyward.

“I threw a couple of two-seamers down,” Harvey said. “The last time it was running a little bit too much. Today I was locating well down. I didn’t really mean to go up that high with Heyward. I was trying to go in.”

When Sandy Koufax visited Mets camp Thursday, the Hall of Famer wanted to meet Harvey and fellow top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Koufax got a chance to watch Wheeler pitch in a minor league intrasquad game.

He also chatted with Harvey, who was in “disbelief” that Koufax asked for an introduction.

“After I said, ‘It’s an honor to meet you,’ he was like, ‘It’s an honor to meet you,’” Harvey recalled. “He was like, ‘I told Terry [Collins] I wanted to meet you.’ It’s kind of surreal, I guess.”

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.294 7 37 56
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 14
RBIL. Duda 49
RD. Murphy 56
OPSL. Duda .832
WB. Colon 8
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 105