New York Mets: Randy St. Claire

B-Mets staff remaining intact

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
11:04
AM ET



The 2013 Binghamton Mets staff is returning intact for the upcoming season.

Pedro Lopez remains the manager, with Luis Natera serving as hitting coach and Glenn Abbott serving as pitching coach.

Last season, the B-Mets produced a franchise-record 86 wins and earned their first playoff appearance since 2004. Lopez earned Eastern League manager of the year honors.

The 2014 team should include catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, first baseman Jayce Boyd, third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez and potentially outfielder Dustin Lawley, who led the Florida State League in homers last year.

The Triple-A Las Vegas staff is Wally Backman as manager with Frank Viola as pitching coach and George Greer as hitting coach. The Class A St. Lucie staff is Ryan Ellis as manager with Phil Regan as pitching coach and Joel Fuentes as hitting coach.

Randy St. Claire, who served as Triple-A pitching coach last season, has left the organization. He has been named Triple-A pitching coach for the Blue Jays, in Buffalo.

Morning Briefing: Wheels up!

June, 14, 2013
6/14/13
8:35
AM ET

Al Pereira/WireImageIt not only feels like the first time. It is the first time Foreigner will play Citi Field.
FIRST PITCH: Foreigner plays Citi Field tonight.

The warm-up act: Shaun Marcum (0-7, 4.96 ERA) versus Chicago Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (2-8, 5.76) in the series opener at 7:10 p.m.

Read the series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

Matt Harvey limited St. Louis to one run in seven innings, but nonetheless suffered his first 2013 loss as the Cardinals won the rubber game, 2-1, Thursday afternoon. Marlon Byrd homered in the ninth, but the tying run was stranded at third base when Edward Mujica struck out pinch-hitter Josh Satin to end the game. Afterward, the highly competitive Harvey indicated he should have pitched better and matched Adam Wainwright zero-for-zero.

Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

It is not his fault. Harvey is doing all he can to raise the competitiveness and win total of the Mets. But unless he morphs into the baseball version of Bugs Bunny -- first base, Matt Harvey; second base, Matt Harvey -- the organization’s biggest issue will not be if Harvey can lift those around him, but whether they will take him down, as well.

Manager Terry Collins, in fact, was compelled to have a private chat with Harvey yesterday, to counsel his young ace to stave off frustration after more genius was soiled not by the opponent, but his own teammates. We could say Harvey is enduring friendly fire, but that would mean saying these Mets have fire.

Writes columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record:

That was the most depressing takeaway from the 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, that not even Harvey, the boy king, can slow the Mets’ march to 100 losses. Like everything else in Flushing lately, Harvey has been devalued. His most precious gift, a fastball that averaged 97.64 mph Thursday, took a back seat to the inevitability of the Fatal Flaw -- a lack of timely hitting, defensive mistakes, a game-ending strikeout with the tying run on third base -- that’s rendered the Mets toxic.

The dejection was written all over Harvey’s face in the postgame clubhouse. The right-hander managed to repeat all the right clichés, but his words lacked conviction after his first loss of the season. When Harvey said, “I needed to put up seven zeros” against Wainwright, it was nothing short of an indictment of an offense that ranks 12th in the National League in runs and 14th in OPS.

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


Larry Goren/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesZack Wheeler will deliver his next pitch in the majors.


• Zack Wheeler made his final start for Triple-A Las Vegas, allowing a solo homer but no other hits in 5 2/3 innings against Tacoma. Wheeler next is due to face the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday at Turner Field. The Mets will use a six-man rotation for at least one turn after Wheeler debuts, in large part because Dillon Gee (elbow) and Jonathon Niese (shoulder) have dealt with shoulder tendinitis.

“Everything feels good right now,” Wheeler said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I feel like I’m ready.”

Said pitching coach Randy St. Claire, alluding to an early season blister problem: “Once that finger started feeling better, he started throwing the ball a lot better. Especially when he executes pitches down in the zone, it’s electric stuff. Guys don’t have good swings on it when it’s down in the zone.”

Read more in the Post.

• Harvey told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News he does not like the six-man rotation plan, although Harvey is likely to be least affected by it, since he would be the priority and would probably pitch on regular rest next Sunday at Philadelphia after Tuesday’s outing against the Braves.

“I am not fond of it, but I don’t make these decisions,” Harvey told Ackert. “It’s always been five days, at least as long as I can remember. I don’t necessarily like the extra rest. I take pride pitching every five days, getting as many starts as I can,” Harvey said. “Obviously I don’t have a say in that. I guess I will have to make adjustments.”

• The Mets considered partnering with a cougar dating web site to help promote David Wright’s All-Star candidacy before abandoning the idea. Wright, meanwhile, revealed that he has asked the team to tone down its in-game promotion of his All-Star candidacy because it’s not appropriate to single him out with the team doing poorly. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

Ike Davis went 0-for-3 for Las Vegas on Thursday. Read more in Newsday.

• Responding to a Newsday article that suggested Mets brass was upset with Wally Backman’s pronouncement he could fix Davis, Backman told the Daily News on Thursday: "I'm sorry if I ruffled any feathers. If you've got an issue with me, call me."

• Terry Collins indicated Scott Atchison should be ready to be activated from the DL after working consecutive days with Double-A Binghamton -- although the B-Mets were rained out at Trenton last night, preventing the second straight night of relief work.

Rick Ankiel, designated for assignment during the weekend, has elected free agency, officially ended his Mets career.

• The St. Louis telecast of Thursday’s Mets-Cards game caught a fan tumbling at Citi Field. Read more in the Daily News.

• Collins as well as Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson will serve on Bruce Bochy’s NL staff at the July 16 All-Star Game. Jim Leyland’s AL staff also will have a Mets accent, with ex-Amazin’s Robin Ventura (Chicago White S0x) and John Gibbons (Toronto Blue Jays). Read more in Newsday, the Post and Daily News.

• Left-handed strikeout machine Jack Leathersich has been promoted from Binghamton to Vegas. He made his debut in relief of Wheeler, striking out his first Pacific Coast League batter. Gonzalez Germen surrendered four eighth-inning homers as Tacoma routed the 51s after Wheeler’s departure. In the Florida State League, T.J. Rivera had a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth as St. Lucie beat Clearwater, 5-4. Jayce Boyd went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and walk as Savannah moved closer to clinching the first-half title with a 9-4 win against Greenville. Boyd as well as Kevin Plawecki should get promoted to St. Lucie within days. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud is due to get his fractured left foot reexamined Monday.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear rues the day the Mets couldn't get Harvey off the hook. … John Delcos at Mets Report advocates extending Collins. … Rising Apple wonders when Wilmer Flores will get a big-league shot. … Mark Berman at Blogging Mets looks back at one of the stranger moments in Mets history.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to play for the Mets was born on this date, but Donald Trump and Boy George celebrate birthdays today. Not together.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What is your favorite Foreigner Song?

Morning Briefing: No Wally in Queens?

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
7:16
AM ET

USA TODAY SportsShelby Miller faced the Mets on Wednesday. Now, weather-permitting, it's Matt Harvey's turn to face St. Louis.
ESPN Stats & Information’s Mark Simon kicks off Thursday’s discussion by delivering the First Pitch …

FIRST PITCH: Last week, ESPN.com held its third annual “Franchise Player Draft,” in which writers and analysts selected the player with whom they would start a team with for the next 10 years.

The first pitcher taken was Clayton Kershaw, fifth overall by ESPN The Magazine writer Molly Knight. Matt Harvey was the next, to senior writer Tim Kurkjian with the No. 8 pick.

“Risky move given that he has only made 22 starts," Kurkjian wrote explaining his pick, “but he just turned 24, and in 142 1/3 innings, he already has over 100 more strikeouts than walks. He’s a maniacal competitor, and will win more than one Cy Young before he is done.”

The next two pitchers taken were American Leaguers: (Yu Darvish at No. 13 and Justin Verlander at No. 16). The next National League pitcher was selected by Curt Schilling at the No. 23 spot (one pick after this writer took David Wright). Schilling went with Wednesday’s Cardinals starter, Shelby Miller.

"Regardless of your position in the standings, you need ‘that guy.’ That guy you can count on every fifth day to give your team a far better than even shot at winning,” Schilling said. “Matt Harvey would be the guy in a perfect world, but I am not so sure Miller is far behind. He won't turn 23 until October. He’s younger than the other options I considered (Matt Moore, Chris Sale and Felix Hernandez) with better command of ace stuff than the lefties.”

The gap between the two was 15 picks, and the difference between the two is notable -- Harvey is a four-pitch pitcher, Miller seems to be fastball-curveball -- but the overall gap between them is very small.

It was trendy to look at this a month ago, as a number of writers (including Joe Posnanski and Dayn Perry) did. Jim Bowden touched on this at about that time for Insider, giving Harvey the edge by a hair.

We thought it was cool to run through about a dozen pertinent numbers for each in the chart on the right. The two have been virtually identical in their brief, ultra-impressive stints and could be dueling not just for who will start this year’s All-Star Game, but for hardware (and maybe someday) pennants down the road.

Miller got his turn to show what he could do against the Mets once earlier this season with 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and then again last night in a start that featured some good (10 strikeouts, no walks) and some bad (four runs, two homers). Harvey gets his crack at the Cardinals (and another pretty good pitcher in Adam Wainwright) today.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson affirmed publicly on Sunday that Terry Collins and his staff were not the issue, implying no jobs were in jeopardy and the Mets’ issues were player-performance related. David Lennon in Newsday reports that more emphatically. Lennon also asserts Wally Backman is definitely not the manager in waiting. Writes Lennon:

The Mets have assured Terry Collins that his job is not in danger and his future with the team will be discussed when his contract expires at the end of this season, two sources told Newsday. Not only is Collins safe, there have been no conversations about Wally Backman as a potential replacement, either for this year or beyond. In fact, Backman's bold guarantees this week about fixing Ike Davis have rubbed some in the organization the wrong way after so much time and effort trying to help Davis at the major league level.

When asked about the possibility of Backman eventually taking over for Collins, one person familiar with the situation replied, "There's zero chance of that happening. Zero."

Dillon Gee continued to signal Zack Wheeler’s promotion will not affect his rotation standing. Gee limited the St. Louis Cardinals to one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Mets won, 5-1, Wednesday night at Citi Field. Gee acknowledged afterward that he had been battling elbow tendinitis and cramping and was concerned he would not have been able to make the start without rainout-induced extra rest.

Meanwhile, the Mets do not need to immediately decide which pitcher to bounce from the rotation, because they have a doubleheader in Atlanta next Tuesday and need an extra starter. Collins suggested the Mets even will go a turn through the rotation afterward with six starters.

Gee has a 1.29 ERA and has averaged seven innings per start over his past three outings. Lucas Duda, Wright and Marlon Byrd homered Tuesday. The rookie phenom Miller surrendered a career-high four runs.

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

• Inclement weather is expected today, which may very well again rain out Harvey Day. If so, that also would disrupt Harvey being able to be the other half of a day-night doubleheader with Wheeler on Tuesday in Atlanta. Wheeler appears more likely to make his major league debut in the nightcap at Turner Field either way. The Mets already have had an MLB-high six rainouts. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

• Las Vegas pitching coach Randy St. Claire, who previously held that role in the NL East with Washington and Miami, likens Wheeler to Josh Johnson.

“He kind of has the same power fastball and slider,” St. Claire told Dan Martin in the Post. “Josh didn’t throw a curveball, though, until last year. Zack has the curveball. His changeup is a work in progress. …

“His ceiling is being a No. 1 starter,” St. Claire added about Wheeler. “But he’s not a No. 1 starter right now. As he progresses, it’ll be up to him whether he takes that No. 1 spot. No one can predict that. That’s for him to answer.”

• Tyler Kepner in the Times looks at the disparity in success between the Mets and Cardinals organizations. Writes Kepner:

The Cardinals reached the N.L. Championship Series in 1996, also the first season for their former manager Tony La Russa, and have returned seven times since. The more they have won, [GM John] Mozeliak said, the more empowered they have been to adhere to their principles.

“The key is remaining disciplined enough to that process where you don’t start deviating because it just doesn’t feel right,” Mozeliak said, adding later, “Once you start doing an exception, you’re going to start making multiple exceptions. One irrational decision can lead to multiple irrational decisions. So don’t do it.”

What, exactly, do the Mets believe in? For years after that 2000 pennant, they mostly believed in overspending for veterans. A few, like Beltran, helped out for a while. Most have been major disappointments.

• The Mets are nearing the announcement of an agreement with first-round pick Dominic Smith. Smith, 17, is expected to begin his pro career playing first base in the Gulf Coast League in Port St. Lucie, Fla.


Julie Jacobson/Associated PressIke Davis had two hits last night for Las Vegas.


• Davis went 2-for-5 with a double and a strikeout in his second game with Triple-A Las Vegas. Andrew Keh, in Vegas, writes in the Times:

On Wednesday, Davis for a second straight day took extra batting practice, more than five hours before the Las Vegas 51s’ game against the Tacoma Rainiers at Cashman Field. It was the same foursome as Tuesday afternoon -- Davis, outfielder Mike Baxter, 51s Manager Wally Backman and the hitting coach George Greer -- and it was the same scene, too, the four maintaining an animated conversation through the session, more and more baseballs dotting the outfield grass.

Opinions have seemed mixed, even within the organization, on the extent to which Davis needs to revamp his swing.

Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post says it’s too early to write off Davis. One NL personnel chief compares Davis to Carlos Pena.

“Pena was a solid contributor to Tampa Bay during an impressive run for the Rays in the AL East, and that’s what I think Ike can be -- a contributing piece to a winning team,” the personnel chief told Sherman. “Winning and contributing pieces aren’t falling out of trees. The Mets have had major problems adding any long-term winning pieces in any of the three years under the Alderson administration, so they can’t give up on guys like Ike because even if he is Carlos Pena, that is OK and still valuable and can help you win.

“The problem with Ike is that he can’t be the guy, but he can be a winning piece if used properly like Carlos Pena. Davis is Pena: He is going to strike out and hit some balls out, but if you expect him to change or adjust at this point in his career, it is not likely to happen. The Mets cannot simply flush him away because he is not a superstar, but they also need to realize that he can only be a contributing piece and find a way to surround him with better talent. And I am not sure if Sandy Alderson & Co. can do that.”

Read more on Davis in the Journal.

• Wright speaks with columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post about losing and trailing Pablo Sandoval in NL All-Star balloting at third base.

• Dave Caldwell in the Journal profiles Double-A lefty reliever Jack Leathersich, who has struck out 194 batters in 114 innings since turning pro.

• Reliever Scott Atchison’s rehab assignment has shifted to Double-A Binghamton, where he tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts at Trenton on Tuesday night. Atchison had experienced numbness in his fingers related to inflammation in his pitching elbow.

Read Wednesday’s full minor league recap here.

• Dwight Gooden joined 540 AM WLIE for a half-hour. Listen here.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to play for the Mets was born on June 13, but Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen turn 27. Chris Evans and Steve-O also celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you upset with the report that Wally Backman is not a consideration to one day succeed Terry Collins?

Mets tidbits: Piazza, Wells, Flores

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
9:58
PM ET
Mike Piazza, whose autobiography "Long Shot" is due to be released Feb. 12, will deny steroid use in the book.

"Anybody who's looking for Mike's answer to PED questions will find it there. ... I believe he's clean," co-author Lonnie Wheeler told Newsday.

• Right-hander Kip Wells has drawn interest from the Mets on a minor league deal, MLB.com reported. Wells, 35, went 2-4 with a 4.58 ERA in seven starts last season with the San Diego Padres after un-retiring. He made five starts for the Long Island Ducks in 2010, then did not pitch in 2011.

• During a Twitter Q&A, Mets executives indicated prospect Wilmer Flores will not be moved to the outfield and instead will continue to play third base and second base. Flores obviously is, in all likelihood, precluded from reaching the majors at third base now that David Wright is locked up for eight years.

Flores, 21, hit a combined .300 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs in 493 at-bats bewteen Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2012 -- in his first year away from his natural shortstop position.

With Maragarita in his native Venezuela this winter, Flores hit .272 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 195 at-bats while primarily playing third base.

• The Triple-A Las Vegas 51s this week confirmed Wally Backman will be joined by Randy St. Claire as pitching coach and George Greer as hitting coach. St. Claire formerly served as pitching coach for the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos. Pedro Lopez is expected to continue managing Double-A Binghamton, while Rich Donnelly is likely to again manage Brooklyn.

St. Claire expected to join Mets organization

January, 3, 2013
1/03/13
7:15
PM ET

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
Randy St. Claire most recently served as pitching coach of the Miami Marlins.


Randy St. Claire is expected to join the Mets' organization as Triple-A Las Vegas pitching coach, working alongside Wally Backman, a baseball source told ESPNNewYork.com.

St. Claire, 52, appeared in the majors during parts of nine seasons as a reliever, primarily with the Montreal Expos.

He has served as a pitching coach in the division with the Nationals and Marlins -- the latter until he was fired along with manager Ozzie Guillen after this past season.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187