New York Mets: Ronny Paulino

Jordany Valdespin reportedly has abandoned his Dominican winter-league team during the playoffs after getting upset at getting pinch-hit for during a playoff game by Ronny Paulino. Valdespin immediately packed up his belongings and bolted the clubhouse, according to the Spanish-language report.

Valdespin, who signed a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins this offseason that does not include a major league invite, has a long history of tantrums.

Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesJordany Valdespin has experienced his share of run-ins with authority.

His final major league act as a Met was throwing a fit directed at Terry Collins in Pittsburgh and demanding to be put on the disabled list when he learned he was being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Valdespin was uninjured at the time.

There are plenty of never-publicly-told stories as well about Valdespin's brash behavior.

According to team insiders, after getting promoted to the majors for the first time in 2012, Valdespin demanded closer Frank Francisco buy the rookie suits. Now, it often is a tradition for veterans to buy call-ups one nice suit for road trips since many of the young players do not yet have big bank accounts. But demanding suits? That's not quite how it works.

Major league players already had their antennae raised about Valdespin's antics that spring training.

In a Grapefruit League game, Valdespin reached first base, then started taunting All-Star catcher Yadier Molina from the St. Louis Cardinals, telling Molina he would steal. Mets infielder Ronny Cedeno subsequently pulled Valdespin aside and told him that is not how a player who has yet to appear in the majors ought to treat an esteemed veteran. Valdespin proceeded to curse out the well-meaning Cedeno, who was so upset he no longer wanted to talk to Valdespin.

Valdespin was cut loose by the Mets last month, at the tender deadline. He had served a 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension late in the season.

Series preview: Mets vs. Orioles

June, 18, 2012

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz during an interleague series against the Orioles.
METS (35-32, third place/NL East) vs. BALTIMORE ORIOLES (39-27, second place/AL East)

Monday: RHP R.A. Dickey (10-1, 2.20) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (3-8, 5.89), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Johan Santana (4-3, 3.23) vs. RHP Tommy Hunter (3-3, 5.58), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-5, 4.43) vs. LHP Brian Matusz (5-7, 4.94), 7:10 p.m. ET

Orioles short hops

• Center fielder Adam Jones (.311, 18 HR, 39 RBIs) signed a six-year, $85.5 million extension through 2018 on May 27, on top of the $6.15 million owed this season, and is having a breakout season. Jones, 26, has started every game in 2012 and is the lone healthy player among Baltimore’s top four outfielders. He had a 20-game hitting streak in May, which was tied for the longest in the majors this season until Cleveland’s Michael Brantley reached 22 games Friday before having a streak snapped. It was the longest streak by an Oriole since Brian Roberts had a 20-game streak in 2005.

• Roberts was activated from the 60-day disabled list last Tuesday after missing nearly 13 months with the effects of concussions. He retook his second-base job, pushing Robert Andino -- who had started 56 games at the position -- to a utility role. Once the DH resumes for Baltimore, Andino will probably start five days a week, with significant time at third base, where he is the best fielder on the roster, as well as through spelling shortstop J.J. Hardy and Roberts.

Gene Sweeney Jr./Baltimore Sun/Getty Images
Adam Jones signed a six-year, $85.5 million extension in May.

• The Orioles employ several ex-Mets. Backup catcher Ronny Paulino was promoted from Triple-A Norfolk on May 25, swapping spots with Luis Exposito. Paulino started for only the second time since the call-up Sunday. Matt Wieters started 19 of the previous 20 games. Sidearm reliever Darren O’Day (4-0, 1.72 ERA) was a Nov. 2 waiver claim from Texas. Endy Chavez, hitting only .162, landed on the DL after suffering a strained right hamstring last Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Reliever Matt Lindstrom also is on the DL with a torn ligament in his right middle finger. Another ex-Met, Luis Ayala, has been an effective bullpen arm.

• Baltimore acquired outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce from the Yankees on June 2 for cash. Pearce has started six of the past seven games in left field, in a spot in which Nolan Reimold and Chavez saw heavy duty before injuries. Reimold has been sidelined since April 30 with a herniated disc in his neck, but now is beginning baseball activities.

• Right fielder Nick Markakis underwent June 1 surgery to address a hamate bone fracture in his right hand.

• Wieters was a first-time All-Star last season. He also became the first Orioles catcher to win a Gold Glove.

Jake Arrieta, the Opening Day starter, was bumped to the bullpen after allowing nine runs in four innings against the Phillies on June 8. But Arrieta got a reprieve when Brian Matusz’s scheduled start had to be pushed back two days because he bloodied and bruised his nose in a bunting drill while preparing for NL play. Given a second chance, Arrieta limited Pittsburgh to one run in seven innings while matching a season high with nine strikeouts to snap a personal six-game losing streak and earn another start. Arrieta has been erratic. Against the Phillies, he allowed six runs in the second inning, then struck out the side the following frame.

• Matusz had allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 7 2/3 innings over his past two starts, at Boston and Atlanta. His career interleague numbers: 0-6 with a 7.32 ERA.

• DH Chris Davis, who served as first baseman early in the season, spent the weekend starting in right field at Atlanta. Davis had not appeared at that position since playing two games at the beginning of his professional career in that spot in 2006, with Class A Spokane. He had played 52 career minor league games in left field.

Tommy Hunter was acquired from Texas with Davis last July 30 for right-hander Koji Uehara.

• First baseman Mark Reynolds is hitting .341 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his past 13 games, lifting his average 40 points, to .238. Reynolds is one of seven major leaguers to have reached the 30-homer plateau each of the past three seasons. The others: Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira and Dan Uggla. Reynolds has led his league in strikeouts the past four seasons with Arizona and Baltimore, with 204, 223, 211 and 196.

• Closer Jim Johnson ranks second in the majors with 20 saves (in 21 chances), trailing only Chris Perez’s 21 saves with Cleveland. Johnson was named MLB Delivery Man of the Month after going 9-for-9 in save conversions in May. His streak of 25 straight save conversions from Aug. 14, 2011 through June 2 was second-longest in franchise history, trailing only a 34-save streak by Randy Myers in 1997.

Dan Duquette was hired as executive vice president in November. He had not been a major league executive since being fired by the Boston Red Sox in March 2002. Duquette acquired Jason Hammel (7-2) from Colorado with Lindstrom for Jeremy Guthrie and signed Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (7-2) to bolster the rotation.

• The Orioles have assembled a veteran cast in the minors: Miguel Tejada, Jamie Moyer, Nate McLouth, Bill Hall, Dontrelle Willis and Joel Piñeiro.

Last series results

Mets won, 3-0, at Camden Yards, June 11-13, 2010 (AP game recaps)

Mets 5, Orioles 1: R.A. Dickey baffled the Orioles for seven innings and Chris Carter hit his first major league homer. Dickey (4-0) gave up one run and seven hits to win his fourth straight start. He had a career-high eight strikeouts, including Corey Patterson three times and Adam Jones twice. Carter hit a three-run shot in the fourth to stake the Mets to a 4-0 lead against Jeremy Guthrie (3-7). David Wright had three hits and two RBIs. More

Mets 3, Orioles 1: Jeff Francoeur homered to back a strong pitching performance by Hisanori Takahashi and the Mets, after going nearly 11 months without winning two straight on the road, finally broke through. Jose Reyes also homered for the Mets, who are now assured of winning the three-game series after going 0-7-2 away from home -- their longest series drought to start a season since 1983. Takahashi (5-2) gave up one run, six hits and a walk in seven innings. More

Mets 11, Orioles 4: David Wright hit two homers, Chris Carter and Jason Bay also connected, and the Mets amassed a season-high 18 hits. New York came to Camden Yards with a 9-18 record away from home, but now has earned its first three-game road sweep since September 2008, in Milwaukee. Bay entered in an 0-for-16 skid before going 4-for-4 and scoring four of New York's season-high 11 runs. Wright and Alex Cora each had three hits, and Carter hit his second homer in three games. Mike Pelfrey (9-1) gave up three runs, nine hits and three walks in six rocky innings but received enough offensive support to win his fifth straight decision. More

O's sign Paulino

January, 30, 2012
Former Mets catcher Ronny Paulino has signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and received a spring-training invite.

The Mets cut the then-arbitration-eligible Paulino loose in December. Team officials expressed dissatisfaction with calling games and adhering to game plans as well as what was described as lethargy.

The Mets' plan is to pair defensively capable but light-hitting righty Mike Nickeas with lefty-hitting Josh Thole.

Mets conducting enhanced physicals

January, 5, 2012
Sandy Alderson said the gap from when a free agent reaches agreement on terms with the Mets until when that deal is announced is longer this offseason because the Mets are doing more intricate pre-signing physicals.

Rather than just the orthopedic look, the Mets now are conducting all bloodwork and other internal-medicine tests on prospective signees before a deal is announced rather than wait until routine spring-training physicals.

Alderson said the motivation was last year's debacle with Ronny Paulino. Paulino passed an orthopedic physical, but his blood screening in spring training turned up anemia and he was unavailable for part of the early season beyond the remaining time on his performance-enhancing drug suspension. Now, conceivably, issues like that will be flagged before the team agrees to a deal.

"They're getting, essentially, a full physical, which requires a blood panel and so forth," Alderson said. "So from the time a [signing] rumor starts until something perhaps is confirmed might be a little longer than usual. But we feel it's important to do a complete physical on anybody that we potentially sign and not wait for the internal medicine, the non-orthopedic aspects, until spring training with regard to these potential free agents."

Alderson said he was unaware how many teams do physicals this intricate on free agents before deals are announced.

"I don't know that it's something that every club does, but I think it makes sense to do it with regard to free agents, where we don't have a complete or a direct medical history, or medical association with the player," Alderson said. "... As we found out last year, it just makes sense to get it all done and out of the way prior to the contract being guaranteed. I mean, it's prudent to do, particularly where there's a possibility of some sort of illness that may be prevalent in a particular player's offseason area of residence."

Paulino, Baxter out at deadline

December, 13, 2011

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Mike Nickeas (left) is the beneficiary of Ronny Paulino (right) being cut loose Monday.
Ronny Paulino was cut loose at Monday's deadline to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Queens native Mike Baxter was let go as well.

The decision signals the Mets likely are prepared to use righty-hitting Mike Nickeas as the backup at catcher to lefty-hitting Josh Thole, which results in roughly a $1 million savings. Paulino earned $1.35 million last season.

The Mets also have signed Lucas May and Vinny Rottino, who is a part-time catcher, to minor league contracts so far this offseason to provide depth.

The Mets did tender contracts to arbitration-eligible Mike Pelfrey and Manny Acosta as well as newly acquired center fielder Andres Torres and right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez.

Paulino, 30, hit .268 with two homers and 19 RBIs and had a .312 on-base percentage in 248 plate appearances in 2011.

With Paulino and Baxter's departures, the Mets' 40-man roster is at 38. Relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch have yet to be officially added.

Baxter was not yet eligible for arbitration, but the Mets apparently needed the roster spot. The decision would not preclude the organization from re-signing Baxter to a minor league contract.

Paulino decision day arrives

December, 11, 2011
Monday is the deadline for teams to decide whether to cut loose arbitration-eligible players (generally those with at least three years, but less than six years of major league service time).

If the player is not cut loose, the team by definition "tenders" the arbitration-eligible player a contract, which gives the player the right to go before an arbitrator if the salary is not settled beforehand.

Ronny Paulino appears the lone uncertainty for the Mets.

Team officials have been down on Paulino, who disregarded pitch-sequence game plans and was lethargic. Still, a team source said at the winter meetings in Dallas last week that the organization had all but resolved to stay internal with its major league catching for 2012 because the free agents had warts as well and the preference was to concentrate the available dollars on bullpen spending.

Keeping Paulino would be an indication the Mets are uncertain whether Mike Nickeas, while defensively capable, has enough offense from the right side of the plate to complement Josh Thole. Still, it's entirely conceivable the Mets cut loose Paulino and then bring in Triple-A depth with major league experience as a hedge against Nickeas.

Paulino made $1.35 million in 2011 and would see no more than a modest raise, so the Mets would save about $1 million going with Nickeas over Paulino.

Angel Pagan ($3.5 million in 2011), Mike Pelfrey ($3.925 million) and Manny Acosta also are eligible for arbitration this offseason, but the Mets shipped Pagan to the San Francisco Giants last week for a pair of players who also are eligible -- center fielder Andres Torres ($2.2 million) and right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez ($1.65 million).

Pelfrey is not a free agent until after the 2013 season and could see a raise to $5.5 million or so for 2012. It would make little sense to non-tender him, especially given the free-agent prices for starting pitchers, including Chris Capuano departing for the Dodgers on a two-year deal that guarantees the southpaw $10 million.

If Paulino remains, the Mets will need to make a different 40-man roster move in order to have room to add free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, whose signings have yet to be officially announced.

Source: Mets handle catching from within

December, 6, 2011
Rather than pursue a righty-hitting free-agent catcher, the Mets resolved Tuesday to handle that position from within and use the money that might be devoted to that position to add to the pot available for pitching.

Josh Thole would be the lefty-hitting starter, which is straightforward.

Defensive-oriented Mike Nickeas very well could be the righty-hitting complement. Still, a team insider insisted the organization has not resolved to non-tender Ronny Paulino at the Dec. 12 deadline.

There is widespread organization disappointment with Paulino's lack of following of pitching game plans, but team officials nonetheless aren't yet committed to tossing him aside, a team official said, partly out of concern for whether Nickeas can hit at the level to be a full-season major leaguer.

Paulino made $1.35 million last season and is eligible for arbitation.

Free-agent catchers include Josh Bard, Ramon Castro, Ivan Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach and Jason Varitek.

The Mets presumably would employ catchers with at least limited major league experience at Triple-A Buffalo as a hedge.

Report: Mets tell Posada no; agent disputes

December, 1, 2011
With dissatisfaction over Ronny Paulino's adherence to game plans as well as lethargy, the Mets are likely to non-tender Paulino on Dec. 12 and go another direction for a righty-hitting catcher to complement Josh Thole.

It's certainly possible Mike Nickeas, already in-house, gets the shot. But it will not be Jorge Posada. reports Posada inquired with the Mets about any possible interest and was told the Amazin's were looking for a defensive-oriented catcher to pair with Thole.

Omar Minaya once tried to lure Posada to the Mets, but his skills have greatly diminished even since that point.

The Mets reportedly have expressed interest, however, in Jason Varitek.

UPDATE: Agent Seth Levinson vehemently refuted the report. “It’s just not right. It’s not fair. He deserves better from the New York media,” Levinson said. “He deserves better from the media. I don’t understand where this comes from. There isn’t a scintilla, a shred of truth to any of it. It is completely erroneous. It is completely fabricated. Somebody came up with it for some unknown reason.”

Paulino a hit in Taiwan

November, 3, 2011
Ronny Paulino had a game-tying RBI in the sixth inning Thursday to help lift the MLB All-Stars to a 5-3 win over their Taiwanese opponents at Taichung Intercontinental Stadium in Game 2 of the tour of that country.

Dillon Gee also is representing the Mets on the trip, but has not yet appeared on the mound.

Postgame: Bay progress, Paulino on toe

September, 4, 2011
Jason Bay has produced what seemed like a breakout game before, only to slip right back into a funk. But given his work in recent days with hitting coach Dave Hudgens to revert his swing to its 2009 Boston Red Sox look, Bay felt his game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning Saturday against Nats left-hander Tom Gorzelanny was a sign of progress.

“I kind of felt like the old me -- the process anyway,” Bay said. “And it was nice to get that result.”

Ronny Paulino threw to second base for one caught stealing from his knees and managed to get through his first game since Aug. 22 despite dealing with a broken big right toe. Paulino was uncomfortable, but said he would be able to continue his resumption of catching duties.

“I felt it, but I feel that I can play through,” Paulino said.

Manny Acosta tossed two scoreless innings with five strikeouts and has now contributed five straight run-free outings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out 11 in 6 2/3 innings during that span.

“Everything was working tonight,” Acosta said. “A couple of sliders I threw out of the zone, but my fastball, my changeup, everything was OK. And a couple of sliders I threw good when I needed it.”

Jose Reyes said he will remain in the lineup Sunday. Terry Collins said pregame Saturday there was a chance Reyes would get his first game off since returning from the disabled list in the series finale.

Lucas Duda, who played with Tom Milone at Southern Cal, did not know the southpaw was capable of the three-run homer he slugged off Dillon Gee in his first major league plate appearance. Duda said Milone was solely a pitcher with the Trojans -- not on a position player who batted on non-throwing days.

“I didn’t know he could swing it that well,” Duda said. “It was surprising actually. I didn’t know he was that good.”

Said Gee: “We were told going into the game that he was a good hitting pitcher. We had heard he liked to go the other way real well, though. At that point I was just trying to get ahead with a fastball middle-in, trying to make it hard for him to go the other way. He put a good swing on it and pulled it. I definitely wish I could have it back.”

Rapid Reaction: Nationals 8, Mets 7

September, 3, 2011
Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Bobby Parnell's grooming/audition for 2012 closer hit its first rough patch.

Asked to protect a one-run lead in the ninth, Parnell surrendered a leadoff single to Jesus Flores, then delivered a wild pitch before walking Jonny Gomes. Ian Desmond's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners, and an intentional walk to Roger Bernadina loaded the bases.

Ryan Zimmerman then lifted the Nats to the 8-7 victory with a two-run flare to right field beyond Lucas Duda's range. Duda's pursuit of the catch by leaving his feet allowed the ball to get behind him and the winning run to score.

OR SO IT SEEMED: Until Parnell’s blown save, Duda's seventh-inning sacrifice fly that plated Willie Harris for a 7-6 lead stood to be the decisive shot.

Daniel Herrera, in his second appearance since joining the Mets as a player to be named in the Francisco Rodriguez trade, would have earned the win. He entered with the score tied at 6 and runners on the corners in place of Pedro Beato with one out in the sixth. With his second pitch, Herrera induced Ivan Rodriguez into an inning-ending double play. It was Rodriguez's first major league plate appearance since July 6. He had been sidelined with an oblique injury.

Slumping Jason Bay's two-run homer off left-hander Tom Gorzelanny a half-inning earlier had tied the score at 6. Bay homered for the first time since Aug. 8, against San Diego's Tim Stauffer. He had been 0-for-his-last-35 on the road before the long ball, a franchise record for a position player, surpassing Cleon Jones' 0-for-32 in 1972, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Including pitchers, Al Leiter has the franchise-record with an 0-for-70 road skid.

Manny Acosta tossed two scoreless relief innings, including striking out Chris Marrero in the eighth to strand the potential tying run at third base, before turning the ball over to Parnell. Acosta struck out five.

GEE FIZZ: Dillon Gee matched a career high by surrendering three homers (also Aug. 7 against Atlanta). He was charged with six runs in five innings in a no-decision.

Desmond opened the bottom of the first with a homer, but the long ball that must have stung was served up to opposing pitcher Tom Milone, who was making his major league debut. In the first pitch of his first career plate appearance, Milone -- Duda's college teammate at Southern Cal -- took Gee deep for a three-run homer to cap a four-run second as Washington grabbed a 5-0 lead.

The last pitcher to homer in his first career plate appearance was reliever Mark Worrell of the St. Louis Cardinals off Washington's Tim Redding on June 5, 2008, according to Elias. Adam Wainwright, also working in relief with the Cardinals, was the last pitcher to homer on the first pitch of his first career plate appearance, two years earlier.

The last pitcher to homer in his first major league game, regardless of at-bat, was Colorado's Jason Jennings off Donne Wall of the Mets on Aug. 23, 2001.

NICK KNOCK: Nick Evans, who has started 10 straight games at first base, homered in the fourth inning against Milone to cut the Mets' deficit to 5-4. Angel Pagan had produced a two-run single earlier that frame. Evans has homered in consecutive games and has four long balls this season.

FOOT NOTE: Ronny Paulino caught a full game in his return to the lineup. Paulino had last started Aug. 22 and is playing with a broken right big toe.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets and Nationals complete this series as Mike Pelfrey (7-11, 4.65 ERA) opposes Washington right-hander Livan Hernandez (8-12, 4.29) Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

Pregame: Santana pitches; Paulino back

September, 3, 2011
For the first time since July 28, Johan Santana appeared in a minor league game Saturday. His line with Class A St. Lucie: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 0 BB. Santana threw 30 pitches (21 strilkes).

Santana is due to up his workload to three innings and 45 to 50 pitches next Friday in another minor league game. The location will be based on which Mets affiliate has a playoff game that day, with St. Lucie, Brooklyn and Savannah considerations.

Terry Collins said Santana still may very well appear in a major league game this season.

“All it would be is it would ease a lot of minds -- ours and his -- that’s he’s healthy instead of sitting all winter long and waiting to see what happens with his arm in spring training,” Collins said.

Still, the manager added that he is comfortable Santana will be healthy in 2012, so it’s not essential the southpaw logs innings in the majors this year.

Said Collins: “A while ago I was really pretty much set at, ‘Hey, look, I think it would be great for you to pitch so we can have an idea.’ But I know he’s feeling so much better again. I’m pretty confident that even if he doesn’t pitch this year for us, he’ll come to spring training ready.”

Collins is not enthusiastic about Santana potentially appearing in winter ball, but that is far from set anyway. The manager will speak with Santana early next week, when Santana is in Miami to visit as the Mets play the Marlins.

“That would only be because he wants to face some hitters, and he wants to make sure his shoulder is OK,” Collins said about winter ball. “I don’t think there’s a lot of value in it. I concern myself sometimes with the condition of the mounds. Certainly he would dictate down there in the winter-ball situation when he’s going to pitch and how much he’s going to pitch. I’d caution him to make sure he’s in the right spot if he wanted to do something like that.”

Like Santana, Ike Davis will be with the Mets in Miami for the series. Assistant GM John Ricco said there have been no issues related to Davis’ ankle relayed to him through two days of the first baseman's modest baseball activities in Port St. Lucie.

“If he can take a week of that, we’re pretty confident he won’t need the surgery,” Ricco said.

HEIGHTY ISSUE: When left-hander Daniel Herrera struck out Jonny Gomes to end Friday’s game, he became the shortest player ever to represent the Mets -- at least according to heights entered into’s database.

Herrera is listed at 5-foot-6.

The other diminutive Mets, in ascending order: Ricky Otero (1995), Sergio Ferrer (1978-79) and Yogi Berra (1965) at 5-7; and Willie Collazo (2007), Raul Gonzalez (2002-03), Desi Relaford (2001), John Cangelosi (1994) and Frank Estrada (1971) at 5-8. Willie Harris checks in among the 5-9 group.

TOE JAM: Ronny Paulino realizes he will be dealing with pain, but is reasonably confident he can get through Saturday night’s start behind the plate with a broken right big toe. Paulino is making his first catching appearance in a game since Aug. 22. He will wear a toe guard attached to the end of his shin guard.

“I’ve played with injuries before -- never anything like this,” Paulino said. “We’ll see through nine innings how it feels.”

Paulino has been working on the side to test the toe.

“He’s been doing a lot of squatting,” Collins said. “My concern is going to be, I told him, ‘You haven’t squatted down 200 times yet in a row.’ So we’ll see how he is.”

FREE REIN: Collins said Saturday night starter Dillon Gee is not going to be on any strict pitch count or innings limit as the season draws near the close. Gee is at 133 2/3 innings.

Collins said as a longtime member of the Dodgers organization, he was taught that a general rule for a young pitcher's workload is 10 innings for every year the player is old, including spring-training workload. In Gee’s case, that would be 250 innings allowed, since he is 25 years old.

“Those guys are quite short of that,” Collins said about his young pitchers, including Gee.

DAY OF REST: Collins will chat with Jose Reyes about giving the shortstop Sunday’s matinee in D.C. off, but the respite may not occur. It will partly depend on Ruben Tejada’s availability to return from a hand injury. Plus, Collins said, Reyes may not need the time off.

“If he doesn’t get on, if he doesn’t run much tonight, there’s not that much fatigue on his legs,” Collins said.

Pregame: Johan game on, injury updates

September, 2, 2011

Brad Barr/US Presswire
Johan Santana is due to return to game action for Class A St. Lucie on Saturday. He last pitched in the minors July 28 with that club.
Johan Santana is due to pitch two innings or 40 pitches with the St. Lucie Mets on Saturday, according to two organization insiders. It will mark Santana’s first minor league action since getting shut down due to shoulder discomfort days after his lone appearance with that Florida State League club, on July 28.

GM Sandy Alderson recently said there is an outside chance Santana will appear for an inning or two with the Mets at the very end of the season.

Santana is trying to return from Sept. 14, 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

Meanwhile, Ike Davis has joined Santana at the organization’s Florida complex to test his left ankle, which was pain-free recently while Davis ran. Davis played catch, hit off a tee and with soft tosses, and took 20 grounders. He will repeat that activity Saturday.

Davis is due to spend time with his teammates when the Mets open a three-game series against the Marlins in Miami on Monday.

While Terry Collins indicated recent progress suggested Davis could avoid surgery, assistant GM John Ricco noted the organization must first be assured that no discomfort arises as Davis ramps up his workload with lateral movement to test the ankle in coming days.

CATCHING ON: Josh Thole was due to rejoin the Mets in Washington on Friday night, after undergoing an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan in the morning. Thole has a “bad bruise” where the hand meets the wrist, Collins said, and may miss several days. Thole was struck by a fastball when he was expecting a slider from Miguel Batista.

Mike Nickeas is due to start at catcher Friday night. Collins said Ronny Paulino, who has not caught in a game since Aug. 22 because of a broken big toe, is ready to start Saturday’s game.

Still, Collins suggested, there may be the need for a fourth catcher to be summoned from the minors. Raul Chavez has major league experience and leads the International League in caught stealings, so he may be the best option if the need arose, followed by Dusty Ryan or Salomon Manriquez.

KNUCKLED UNDER: Justin Turner started at second base over Ruben Tejada on Friday. Collins described the knuckle on Tejada’s left middle finger, where the infielder was struck by a pitch the previous night, as “still sore.” Tejada was going to attempt to swing a bat pregame and maintained before doing so: “It’s good.”

WELCOME ABOARD: Left-hander Daniel Herrera, acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers as one of two players to be named to complete the Francisco Rodriguez trade, joined the Mets on Friday and was assigned No. 19.

Collins welcomed having a second left-hander in his bullpen, because it would decrease the frequency of Tim Byrdak needing to be up in the bullpen for potential use.

Collins also indicated that Herrera is not particularly a lefty specialist because his screwball is a weapon against right-handers. Still, in 115 career major league appearances -- primarily with the Cincinnati Reds -- lefties are hitting .213 and righties .373 against Herrera.

The 5-foot-6 Herrera sports only a mid-80s fastball. And he lightheartedly noted about his pitching: “A lot of movement. Not a lot of heat. I wish I did. It would make my job a little easier.”

ATTENTION ADAM SANDLER: Yes, newly promoted Josh Satin is Jewish and had a bar mitzvah.

Satin recalled his senior year of college at Cal-Berkeley finishing as runner-up to Arizona State’s Ike Davis as one magazine’s top Jewish college baseball player. (Davis’ mother was raised Jewish, but the first baseman never practiced the religion.)

STAYING PUT: Batista will proceed with Tuesday’s start against the Marlins, despite Collins mentioning after Batista’s Mets debut that the organization may use a minor leaguer the next time Jon Niese’s turn comes around.

Regardless, it is still expected that Chris Schwinden will join outfielder Mike Baxter and first baseman Valentino Pascucci as call-ups after Buffalo’s season ends Monday. Pat Misch is the other possible addition.

The Mets will need a spot starter for Thursday’s makeup doubleheader at Citi Field against the Atlanta Braves, so Schwinden (with Misch as the alternative) would be the logical candidate.

LITTLE REST: R.A. Dickey pitcher Friday night on three days’ rest for the third time in his career as a starter. The first time he returned on the short rest, in July 2008 with Seattle, Dickey allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings at Toronto. Earlier this season he tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings against St. Louis. … Lucas Duda played for two seasons at Southern Cal alongside left-hander Tom Milone, who makes his major league debut Saturday for the Nationals against the Mets. “He speaks even less than me,” Duda said. … Fox has picked up the Mets’ Sept. 17 game at Atlanta, moving it to 4 p.m.

Mets morning briefing 9.2.11

September, 2, 2011
Miguel Batista notched his 100th career win in his Mets debut and the Amazin's took four of five from the Florida Marlins with a 7-5 victory in the series finale on Thursday.

Friday's news reports:

• In a partnership that fizzled, David Einhorn is out as prospective minority owner. Fred Wilpon relayed the news in a meeting in Manhattan on Thursday. Sources tell the Wilpons instead will attempt to raise a comparable figure to the $200 million infusion sought from Einhorn by selling small pieces to family members and friends, say in the $15 million range. Einhorn alleged the Wilpons changed agreed-upon terms in the deal. Insiders say the Wilpons feel Einhorn thought he was preying on the weak and betting they'd fail, giving him an eventual path to majority ownership.

Read coverage of the parting in the Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Record.

• What's the impact of the deal falling through on the Mets this offseason? Read the analysis here. Or here in the Post.

• Mets players expressed no interest in the parting between the Wilpons and Einhorn. "I think it has zero effect on us," David Wright said. Said R.A. Dickey: "Ask me again in spring training, you may get a different answer. But the truth of it is, in this moment, I'm neither curious nor anxious about it." Read more in Newsday.

Josh Thole suffered a bone bruise at the base of his left hand when he was struck by a pitch from Batista while catching, while Ruben Tejada eventually also left Thursday's win after getting struck on a knuckle on his left hand by Florida's Steve Cishek.

X-rays for both players were negative. Thole nonetheless had significant swelling and stayed behind in New York for a Friday a.m. MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He expected to rejoin the Mets by the evening in D.C. Terry Collins said a prolonged absence for Thole, if that materialized, would require a minor league call-up. Veteran Raul Chavez would be the most logical choice at Triple-A Buffalo. Perhaps alleviating the need for a call-up is progress for Ronny Paulino, who said his broken big toe feels passable enough to catch.

• Infielder Josh Satin and reliever Josh Stinson joined the Mets on Thursday as rosters expanded. Stinson had a $400 taxi ride (paid for by the team) from Erie, Pa., to Binghamton to retrieve his car. He then drove to New York. Satin nearly made his major league debut, but he was left in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the eighth when Jose Reyes made the Mets' final out. Watch video of the rookies discussing their promotions here. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Batista limited the Marlins to two runs in six innings to pick up his 100th career win. Batista also became the fourth Met to get his first win with the organization in his 40s, joining Roberto Hernandez, Orel Hershiser and Warren Spahn.

Terry Collins intimated afterward that Batista may not get another start Tuesday in Miami, however, when the Mets again face the Marlins. Collins said the start may go to a minor leaguer. Right-hander Chris Schwinden makes sense, but the organization's concern is his innings count -- 144 1/3 this year, which is 30 2/3 more innings than 2009. Pat Misch is at Triple-A as well and also may get called up after Buffalo's season ends Monda.

Position-player candidates to be called up: first baseman Valentino Pascucci and outfielder Mike Baxter. The 32-year-old Pascucci, named Triple-A Buffalo's MVP, last appeared in the majors in 2004 with the Montreal Expos.

• The Mets completed the trade involving Francisco Rodriguez and the Milwaukee Brewers by selecting ex-Reds left-hander Danny Herrera and Class A right-hander Adrian Rosario from a list of five candidates. Herrera is due to join the Mets in D.C. on Friday. Read more in the Record.

• Newsday's Zach Schonbrun caught up with former GM Omar Minaya. Regarding Reyes, Minaya told Schonbrun: "I don't know what's going on, but my guess is (the Mets are) going to do the best they can to keep him. That's my guess. I think it's fair to say, I know Jose and I'm pretty sure this is his favorite place."

• Read game reports from Thursday win in the Star-Ledger, Times, Record, Newsday and Daily News.

BIRTHDAYS: Marvelous Marv Throneberry, a Met during the first two years of the franchise, was born on this day in 1933. He died in 1994.

Pain, but no clear breaks for Thole, Tejada

September, 1, 2011

AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
Assistant trainer Mike Herbst escorts Josh Thole off the field on Thursday night.
Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada appear to have avoided broken hand bones, but the two did suffer pain as the result of getting hit with pitches -- one by a teammate.

Thole called for a slider from Miguel Batista in their first work together, but instead received a fastball in a cross-up. Emilio Bonifacio swung through the second-inning pitch. Thole was struck at the base of his left hand.

X-rays were negative, but Thole still had significant swelling postgame. He will get an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Friday morning. Thole expects to be in Washington by the nighttime game against the Nationals.

“As the night progressed, it was getting better,” said Thole, who said medical staff at Citi Field labeled the injury a bone bruise.

Thole said he dislocated a thumb in 2009 and “this definitely hurt worse.”

The Mets have three catchers on the roster, but Ronny Paulino has not appeared behind the plate since Aug. 22 because of a broken big toe. Paulino has resumed trying to catch on the side and said he would be capable of playing should Mike Nickeas have an in-game injury and Thole be unavailable.

“I think I could handle it,” Paulino said.

Still, if there were an absence for Thole of several games after Friday’s more extensive exam, Terry Collins said the Mets would have to consider a call-up from the minors, where Raul Chavez and Salomon Manriquez are at Triple-A and Dusty Ryan is at Double-A. Chavez would be the logical candidate. He leads the International League in caught stealings and is a veteran of 263 major league games.

As for Tejada, he was hit by pitches twice in the game Thursday. The latter, by Florida’s Steve Cishek, struck Tejada on a knuckle on his left middle finger. X-rays were negative. Tejada described himself as in pain, but predicted he would be available Friday. With Justin Turner available to play second base, it would stand to reason Turner starts Friday in D.C. regardless. Turner replaced Tejada for the ninth inning of Thursday's game.

"Right now it's pain, but I think it's good for tomorrow," Tejada said.



Bartolo Colon
10 3.88 106 141
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 57
RD. Murphy 60
OPSL. Duda .856
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121