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Morning Briefing: Subway Series rematch!

3/25/2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. --

FIRST PITCH: It’s a Subway Series rematch, Florida style.

Three days after Matt Harvey and the New York Mets blanked their crosstown rivals, 6-0, at Tradition Field, the Amazin’s pay a visit to the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Rafael Montero will take the three-hour bus trip to Tampa for the start. Montero, who is expected to be a member of the Opening Day bullpen, opposes Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET (YES/WOR).

In Manhattan, Zack Wheeler is due to undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday. In addition to replacing the fully torn ulnar collateral ligament, team doctor David Altchek will remove a calcium buildup and repair a damaged tendon in the right elbow. The additional repair work should not impact Wheeler’s recovery time. He hopes to be back in the majors about June 1, 2016.

WEDNESDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Daniel Murphy has been cleared to begin baseball activity on Wednesday as he works back from a pulled hamstring, manager Terry Collins said. Meanwhile, Vic Black resumed tossing a baseball on Tuesday after completing anti-inflammatory medication to combat shoulder weakness. Still, general manager Sandy Alderson and Collins portrayed Black landing on the disabled list to open the season as increasingly likely. Wilmer Flores resumed workouts Tuesday, except for running. Collins said Flores, who bruised his left foot while fouling off a pitch Sunday, could be back in a Grapefruit League game as soon as Thursday. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Record, Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • While Alderson suggested the major motivation in assigning Jacob deGrom to pitch the April 13 home opener was merit-based, the GM acknowledged maximizing ticket sales by having Harvey pitch the following day also was taken into consideration. Harvey’s first home start is scheduled for April 14 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Harvey offered no complaints about Bartolo Colon starting on Opening Day on April 6 in Washington and deGrom getting the home opener. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Journal, Times, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Dillon Gee tossed four scoreless innings and David Wright had a two-run homer, but the Mets lost to the Houston Astros, 4-3, Tuesday at Tradition Field. Carlos Torres surrendered two eighth-inning runs as Houston overcame an early three-run deficit. Read more at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • On the left-handed relief front, the Mets sent prospect Jack Leathersich to minor league camp, but are uninterested in signing Joe Beimel. Beimel was released by the Texas Rangers. Scott Rice, Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin and Dario Alvarez remain in camp. Read more at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Mike Vaccaro in the Post salutes Gee. Writes Vaccaro:

    He is exactly the kind of player a Mets fan can root for because he embodies the best things Mets fans believe about their team: He is a grinder, he is a gamer, he is nobody’s idea of an iconic athlete but he understands he doesn’t have to be. You don’t often hear right-handers called “crafty.” But Gee is crafty. And more.

  • Christopher Buchanan at ABC-affiliate WJCL writes that the Mets’ low-A partner, the Savannah Sand Gnats, will be on the move to Columbia, South Carolina. The story quotes Joe Shearouse, the leisure services bureau director for the city government, as saying the move is planned after the 2015 season. Jason Freier, the CEO of Hardball Capital, which owns the Sand Gnats, disputed the report to competing station WSAC. Columbia is building a new ballpark. The Mets have a player-development agreement with the Sand Gnats through 2016, so the organization’s minor league players would be obligated to spend at least one year in the new locale, presuming it materializes. The Mets had a South Atlantic League affiliate in Columbia from 1983 through 2004.

  • Michael Cuddyer has five homers in 37 Grapefruit League at-bats. He also is making the transition from right field to left field, which he suggested has been smooth. “I am starting to get a few more balls hit to me, which has been good,” Cuddyer told Mike Puma in the Post. “But the biggest thing has been just getting out there and seeing the game from the left side of the field. Even if I don’t get plays, that is still helpful.”

  • Ex-Met Heath Bell retired after getting released by the Washington Nationals. Bell, 37, originally was signed by the Mets after going undrafted in 1998. He amassed 168 saves and earned three All-Star selections. Read more at MLB.com.

  • President Barack Obama will be golfing in the Port St. Lucie area this weekend, TC Palm reported. The Mets and Nationals play Saturday at Tradition Field, but there is no word if the game is on the presidential itinerary.

  • From the bloggers … Faith and Fear doesn't think the Mets' choice of Colon rises to the occasion that is Opening Day. … Mets Report suggests Harvey’s first two regular-season assignments paint the Mets in a negative light.

BIRTHDAYS: Tom Glavine turns 49. ... Lee Mazzilli is 60.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets take ticket sales into consideration in deciding when Harvey pitches?