<
>

Morning Briefing: Cellar at stake

8/29/2014

NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: In 2007 and ’08, the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies went down to the wire for the NL East crown.

This year, they are jockeying for the basement.

In fact, the Phillies (61-72) arrive at Citi Field for a weekend series trailing the Amazin’s by only a half-game for fourth place in the division.

Meanwhile, the Mets (62-72) need to run the table over their final 28 games in order to achieve Sandy Alderson’s 90-win goal.

Courtesy of New York Mets

Dilson Herrera joins the Mets on Friday.

At least there are two things to look forward to on Friday at Citi Field: It’s Jacob deGrom day. And Dilson Herrera is poised for his major league debut.

DeGrom (6-6, 3.13 ERA) opposes right-hander David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener.

DeGrom had a streak of five straight winning decisions snapped when he allowed five runs in six innings at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.

The Mets are 11-5 against the Phillies in 2014.

Read the Mets-Phillies series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

• With Daniel Murphy landing on the disabled list with a strained right calf, Herrera has been promoted from Double-A, where the 20-year-old Colombian was hitting .340 with 10 homers, 48 RBIs and nine steals in 241 at-bats. If Herrera shows he can succeed in the majors, that could make it easier for the Mets to justify trading Murphy this offseason.

Murphy, who leads the NL in hits at the moment with 159, is due for a healthy raise from his $5.7 million salary this season. He is eligible for free agency during the 2015-16 winter.

Herrera was acquired with Vic Black from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 27, 2013 for Marlon Byrd and John Buck.

"He's a player that moves this team," Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "He brings a lot of energy. I think everybody feeds from that. Whenever you have a player like him that is excited to be out there and plays the game the right way, I think everybody else feeds from that."

Herrera joins Wilfredo Tovar in 2013 and Robert Carson in 2012 as prospects who made the jump directly from Double-A to the Mets.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Black, who has a herniated disk in his neck, was given a cortisone injection and landed on the DL before Thursday’s game. Daisuke Matsuzaka was activated from the DL.

• Terry Collins told the Daily News that team personnel have engaged in internal conversations about moving Travis d'Arnaud from catcher to left field, although the manager cautioned that it’s not some plan set to be put into action. The motivation would be to keep d’Arnaud’s bat in the lineup and avoid further concussions.

While d’Arnaud may be a capable hitter as a catcher, as an outfielder that production might be considered fairly ordinary. And moving d’Arnaud presumes Triple-A catching prospect Kevin Plawecki will succeed at the major league level.

• Alderson implied there is nothing overly active as another trade deadline approaches Sunday. Players must be dealt by Aug. 31 in order to be eligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster. Translation: Bartolo Colon looks like he is starting Saturday and will remain a Met at least into the offseason.

“I would say right now there’s a lot less going on than some people speculate,” Alderson said.

David Wright (neck/shoulder) returned to the lineup Thursday and Josh Edgin (elbow) supposedly was available had his services been required. Wright went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play.

Mike Minor held the Mets without a baserunner until Lucas Duda's leadoff single in the fifth and the Braves ultimately won Thursday’s rubber game, 6-1, at Citi Field. Jonathon Niese kept the deficit at 1-0 until surrendering two runs in the eighth. In his first major league action since July 24, Matsuzaka allowed a pinch-hit two-run homer to Ryan Doumit in a three-run ninth.

The Mets are 4-10 and are hitting .164 at Citi Field in August.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Record, Times, Journal and at MLB.com.

• The Mets extended their player-development agreement with Triple-A Las Vegas through the 2016 season. With no apparent vacancies on the East Coast, the Mets preferred having direct flights from Vegas over pursuing a home in an alternate Pacific Coast League city. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The Mets worked out lower-tier Cuban free agents Pavel Quesada and Roberto Carlos in the Dominican Republic, the Post’s Mike Puma reported.

Chris Young made his debut with the Yankees organization on Thursday. Young, who signed a minor-league contract this week, started in right field for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. If Young joins the Yankees after rosters expand, the Mets will save $73,700. That’s the prorated portion of the major league minimum the Yankees would need to pay Young for the final month of the season.

• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post says Curtis Granderson has been “simply dreadful.”

Rafael Montero allowed eight runs (five earned) in six innings as Albuquerque beat Las Vegas, 10-5. Luis Cessa and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout as St. Lucie remained on the fringe of the Florida State League playoff race with a 2-0 win against Palm Beach. Robert Gsellman contributed to a four-hit shutout as Savannah blanked Augusta, 3-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Marc Carig in Newsday chronicles a glut of hits d’Arnaud has lost because of Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons' fielding prowess.

From the bloggers ... Blogging Mets wonders if the Mets could have gotten Addison Russell from the A's before the Cubs did.

BIRTHDAYS: Anthony Recker turns 31. ... Noah Syndergaard turns 22. ... Henry Blanco is 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Would you have preferred Dilson Herrera or Matt Reynolds get the promotion?