New York Mets: Scott Atchison

Scott Atchison defects to Indians

January, 6, 2014
Jan 6
Free-agent reliever Scott Atchison has signed a minor-league deal with the Cleveland Indians with a spring-training invite.

Atchison, 37, went 3-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 50 appearances for the Mets last season. He had stints on the DL for numbness in his fingers related to an elbow issue as well as a groin injury.

Mets non-tender Atchison, Quintanilla

December, 2, 2013
The Mets have non-tendered Scott Atchison and Omar Quintanilla, making them free agents.

Both players were eligible for arbitration.

The two subtractions puts the 40-man roster at 38.

Midnight for fringe Mets; non-tender looms

December, 2, 2013

Getty ImagesScott Atchison and Omar Quintanilla would appear among the vulnerable as the tender deadline approaches at midnight.
The Mets may cut loose at least two players today as the deadline to tender contract offers arrives at midnight.

Arbitration-eligible Scott Atchison and Omar Quintanilla would appear among the most vulnerable of getting non-tendered and becoming free agents.

Atchison earned $700,000 last season while posting a 4.37 ERA in 45 1/3 innings. He spent two months on the disabled list -- first with elbow inflammation that caused numbness in his fingers, then with a groin injury while throwing warm-up pitches in Atlanta in his first game after being activated. Atchison turns 38 during spring training.

While Quintanilla can be useful off the bench, the Mets have Justin Turner for a backup middle-infield role. And the Mets have resolved that Quintanilla cannot serve in a starting capacity.

So the question would be: Do the Mets want to cut Quintanilla loose, then consider re-signing him on a minor-league contract that includes a salary closer to the $500,000 major-league minimum? That way, Quintanilla also would be off the 40-man roster.

He hit .222 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 315 at-bats last season.

One player who should not be non-tendered: Ike Davis. That does not mean Davis will remain a Met in 2014. Quite the contrary. But the club plans to trade Davis -- or, in a less likely scenario, Lucas Duda -- not cut Davis loose for nothing in return. Davis earned $3.125 million last season. He is projected to command $3.825 million in 2014.

Before non-tendering players, the Mets' 40-man roster is full.

Player-by-player predictions for 2014

September, 30, 2013
NEW YORK -- Here is a player-by-player primer on each Met, broken down by contract status:

Free agents

LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.

Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.

David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.

Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.

Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.

Signed to contracts

Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.

David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.

Arbitration eligible

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.

• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.

Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.

Daniel Murphy, second baseman. hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.

Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.

Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.

Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.

Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.

Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.

Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.

Under control

Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.

Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.

• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.

Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.

Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.

Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.

Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.

Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.

Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.

Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.

Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.

Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.

Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.

Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.

Rapid Reaction: Brewers 4, Mets 2 (10)

September, 28, 2013
NEW YORK -- The good news: The Mets clinched a top-10 pick, ensuring they will not have to forfeit their first selection in next June’s draft no matter which free agent they sign this offseason.

The bad news: The Mets dropped to 32-48 at Citi Field, ensuring their worst home record since they went 28-53 in 1993.

Scott Atchison surrendered two runs, including a tiebreaking RBI single to ex-Met Carlos Gomez, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Mets, 4-2, in 10 innings Saturday.

The Mets now have played 57 extra innings this season -- three shy of matching the franchise record set in 1979 and duplicated in '85.

The Mets had pulled even at 2 in the bottom of the ninth on Eric Young Jr.'s RBI single against Donovan Hand, but David Wright grounded into a double play with runners on the corners with a chance for a walk-off win.

The Mets also wasted a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the seventh.

Record-setter: Juan Lagares produced his 14th outfield assist, extending his franchise rookie record. Lagares threw out Jonathan Lucroy trying to score from second base on Scooter Gennett’s sixth-inning single. The assist preserved a 1-all tie.

Thirteen of Lagares’ outfield assists have come as a center fielder, tying the franchise single-season record also accomplished by Del Unser (1975) and Carlos Beltran (2006), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The overall franchise record for outfield assists is 19 by Rusty Staub in 1974, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Lagares’ 14 are the most by a Met since Cliff Floyd had 15 in 2005.

Duck! Wright, in his return to the lineup after getting beaned by Johnny Hellweg on Thursday, had a pitch thrown behind his head by rookie Jimmy Nelson in the fourth inning.

Nelson, making his first major league start, walked three batters that inning alone and did not appear to know where the ball was going.

Wright had skipped Friday’s game with a swollen right thumb, which he suffered landing awkwardly after the beaning in the series opener.

Man of steal: Daniel Murphy swiped his 22nd base of the season, this time catching the Brewers napping. Murphy stole second base in the second inning with Nelson holding the baseball and the middle infielders inattentive.

Murphy has now successfully stolen 21 straight bases, matching Kevin McReynolds for the second-longest streak in franchise history without being caught. McReynolds went 21-for-21 in 1988.

Howard Johnson owns the franchise record with 26 straight successful steals in 1989.

Murphy also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. His fourth-inning sacrifice fly evened the score at 1.

It’s a draw: Neither Jean Segura nor Young, who are tied for the NL lead in steals, swiped a base Saturday. So they remain tied at 44 entering the final day of the season.

Nothing to harangue: Free-agent-to-be Aaron Harang limited Milwaukee to one run on five hits and two walks in six innings. He finished with a 3.52 ERA in four starts with the club after a cameo with Triple-A Las Vegas.

What’s next: Game No. 162. Jonathon Niese (8-8, 3.74 ERA) opposes right-hander Marco Estrada (7-4, 4.02) in the season finale. Mike Piazza will become the 27th inductee into the Mets Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony. The Mets are asking fans to be in their seats by 12:45 p.m. The game will start later than the officially listed 1:10 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Brewers 4, Mets 2

September, 27, 2013
NEW YORK -- Carlos Torres allowed first-inning homers to Norichika Aoki and Khris Davis during a three-run frame and the Milwaukee Brewers ultimately beat the Mets 4-2 Friday at Citi Field.

The Mets had closed to within a run and loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against Yovani Gallardo. But Juan Lagares struck out. And Daniel Murphy then was tagged out at the plate to end the inning. Murphy unsuccessfully tried to score on a pitch that squirted not far from catcher Martin Maldonado.

Maldonado homered the following half-inning against Scott Atchison as the Brewers took a 4-2 lead.

What’s next: Aaron Harang (5-12, 5.57 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Jimmy Nelson (0-0, 0.00) at 4:10 p.m. Saturday in Game No. 161.

Morning Briefing: Watch Dice-K or Jets?

September, 8, 2013

John Munson/The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY SportsMark Sanchez will be watching the Jets, not the Mets, on Sunday afternoon.
FIRST PITCH: Are you ready for some … Daisuke Matsuzaka?

Going up against the Jets game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Matsuzaka faces the Cleveland Indians at 1:05 p.m. as the Mets look to avoid getting swept at Progressive Field.

Matsuzaka pitched for the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate for most of this season. He brings an 0-3 record and 10.95 ERA into his matchup with rookie right-hander Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.00).

The Mets (63-77) now have the eighth-worst record in the majors, which would translate into getting a first-round draft pick that is protected regardless of how aggressive they are in free agency next offseason.

A loss today would drop the Mets 15 games under .500, which would match the season’s low-water mark. They were 24-39 on June 15, and 25-40 two days later. A loss, or Atlanta Braves win, also would mathematically eliminate the Mets from NL East contention. The wild card tragic number is 5.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Whether it is because they are shorthanded or intend to trade him, the Mets decided to bring Frank Francisco back to the major league level with Binghamton’s postseason elimination. Francisco had been out the entire season after undergoing seemingly benign surgery last Dec. 18 to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. If the Mets were to trade Francisco, he would be ineligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster. Still, he could help a team like the Yankees get to October, while providing the Mets some salary relief.

Charles LeClaire/US PresswireThe Mets welcome back Frank Francisco today.

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez recalled the Yankees acquiring left-hander Rick Honeycutt on Sept. 25, 1995. (He subsequently faced only six batters.) More recently, the Mets considered trading Chris Capuano to the Boston Red Sox two years ago for one late-season start.

Francisco is owed $781,420.77 from today through the remainder of the season (22 days of a 183-day season). Mets insiders previously had predicted Sandy Alderson would release Francisco before letting him get to the major league level.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

• The Mets announced postgame Saturday that reliever Greg Burke would join the Mets today in Cleveland. The team also is expected to add veteran right-hander Aaron Harang before next Saturday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

Team insiders told that the Mets, as of Friday, also planned to call up Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and catcher Juan Centeno, but abruptly reversed course midday Saturday.

The Mets still may intend to call up Tejada at a later date -- the Daily News reported they will Monday -- but there was conflicting information because of the seemingly sudden reduction in the number of call-ups. If the Mets wait until Tuesday, they would delay Tejada’s free agency by a year, although it is now hard to envision him in the team’s plan four seasons down the road anyway. Alderson did not reply to a text message Saturday about whether Tejada eventually would be promoted.

• Las Vegas was eliminated Saturday in its best-of-five series. The lone Mets affiliate still alive is low-Savannah, which opens its South Atlantic League championship series Monday at Hagerstown, a Washington Nationals affiliate.

Jonathon Niese allowed five first-inning runs and Scott Atchison surrendered a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh as the Mets lost to the Indians, 9-4, Saturday. The Mets dropped into fourth place in the NL East.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Record and

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger revisits with Michael Bourn the Mets’ failed pursuit of him as a free agent last offseason. Mets officials visited Bourn at his home in Texas, but have suggested they backed off at the end because they may have needed to forfeit the first-round draft pick they eventually used on high school first baseman Dominic Smith.

• Marc Carig in Newsday discusses Travis d’Arnaud’s major league performance so far.

David Wright is returning to New York with minor league seasons complete and the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex barren. Wright, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, will take batting practice and do other baseball activities at Citi Field. He is not ready for games. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Parnell, on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck, turns 29.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think the Mets should call up Ruben Tejada?

Rapid Reaction: Indians 9, Mets 4

September, 7, 2013

Jonathon Niese nearly got knocked out in the first inning Saturday night. He ended up settling down, but the hole was too deep for the Mets to climb out.

Niese surrendered five runs on six hits in a 39-pitch first inning that prompted Terry Collins to have Scott Atchison begin warming. The Cleveland Indians ultimately beat the Mets, 9-4, at Progressive Field.

Niese ended up logging six innings, saving the bullpen from overwork, which is particularly important with unreliable Daisuke Matsuzaka due to start the series finale. The southpaw allowed only one more run -- on a second-inning solo homer by Nick Swisher.

Trailing 6-1, the Mets mounted a sixth-inning comeback bid after Indians starter Corey Kluber departed.

Justin Turner produced a two-run double against Vinnie Pestano, his former Cal State Fullerton teammate. Juan Lagares then delivered a run-scoring single as the Mets pulled within 6-4 with a three-run sixth.

Lagares extended his hitting streak to 12 games. It marks the longest hitting streak by a Mets rookie since Jose Reyes had a 17-game streak in 2003.

The Indians regained control in the seventh. Asdrubal Cabrera snapped an 0-for-19 drought with a three-run homer against Atchison to reopen a five-run lead.

What’s next: Matsuzaka (0-3, 10.95 ERA) faces rookie right-hander Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.00) in Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. finale. Matsuzaka had asked for his release from the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus affiliate immediately preceding signing with the Mets.

Morning Briefing: D'Arnaud cameo soon

August, 10, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Well, at least the Mets still occupy third place in the NL East after losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

The first-place Atlanta Braves now have won 14 straight, the longest single-season winning streak in the majors since the Oakland Athletics won 20 straight in 2002.

In the runner-up category in the NL East, Washington (55-60) has a two-game lead on the Mets (52-61), a three-game lead on Philadelphia (52-63) and an 11-game lead on Miami (43-71).

The Mets try to rebound at 8:10 p.m. ET today when Zack Wheeler (4-2, 3.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon McCarthy (2-5, 4.94).

Saturday’s news reports:

• Travis d’Arnaud is the catcher the Mets intend to call up when John Buck requires paternity leave sooner or later, a team insider told D’Arnaud played for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday night for the first time since fracturing the first metatarsal in his left foot on April 17. He went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Adam RubinTravis d'Arnaud is expected to fill in once John Buck goes on paternity leave.

“I feel like my timing is back,” d’Arnaud told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin before departing Double-A Binghamton on Thursday. “I feel good at the plate. I feel good behind the plate. I just feel good in general.”

• David Laurila at has a Q&A with Mets manager of baseball analytics Ian Levin.

“Trying to better quantify defense is something teams are working on, and some of that information isn’t necessarily in the public domain,” Levin tells Laurila. “To find a way to value defense appropriately -- within the environment of how we value it with offense and pitching -- would be extremely valuable. That’s where some players get a lot of their value, and ideally you can quantify just what that value is. That’s easier said than done.

“While we’re very good at quantifying offensive performance, I think there are variables that can’t be completely measured. There are still things that aren’t quantifiable in terms of projecting how players are going to develop and perform in future situations. Fielding is the same way, but with fewer clearly measurable variables. First, we’ll need to be confident in our explaining past defensive performance properly through objective metrics.

“If we can do that, we might be able to get to where we want to be. Some of the information that can help is available at the major-league level but isn’t available at the minor-league level, and probably isn’t going to be anytime soon. I think there is always going to be a strong need for the scouting perspective. I think scouting is the most important component of defensive metrics, and it may continue to be.”

Scott Atchison surrendered a walk-off homer to Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks beat the Mets, 5-4, at Chase Field. Jeremy Hefner allowed four runs in five-plus innings. Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares were thrown out on the bases. Justin Turner contributed three RBIs.

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

Jeurys Familia, who had surgery to clean out his right elbow in early June, is due to step on a mound for the first time since the procedure any day. Meanwhile, Frank Francisco has not been on a mound in weeks.

David Wright remains in New York getting treatment on his strained right hamstring, and Terry Collins is unsure when he will return. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Josh Rodriguez produced a tiebreaking RBI double and Chase Huchingson recorded his first professional save as Binghamton earned a doubleheader split with a 7-6 nightcap win against Erie. Pedro Perez drove in three runs for Kingsport. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger writes about Ike Davis sitting Friday against left-hander Patrick Corbin, as has been Davis’ pattern against southpaws since returning from the minors.

LaTroy Hawkins retweeted an story quoting Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being critical of MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Cuban accuses Selig of being the equivalent of a mafia boss.

Asked if he endorsed that sentiment given his retweet, Hawkins would only say: “I like Mark Cuban. I like Mark Cuban a lot.”

Earlier in the week, Hawkins retweeted this in which a person writes about Biogenesis and PEDs in baseball: “Selig allowed it to happen, got rich because of them & is now backstabbing all of them for it. He should be tried & jailed.”

BIRTHDAYS: Brandon Lyon, released earlier this season by the Mets, turns 34. He subsequently pitched briefly for Triple-A Pawtucket, but opted out at the beginning of the month and has not resurfaced. … Gerald Williams is 47. … Chuck Carr is 46.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How do you think Travis d’Arnaud will perform at the major league level this season when he finally gets his chance?

Notes: Atchison on HR, Hef on struggles

August, 10, 2013
PHOENIX -- Paul Goldschmidt now shares the NL home-run lead with Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez.

No. 27 came at a costly time for the Mets.

Goldschmidt sent a 1-1 cutter from Scott Atchison over the right-field wall with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Arizona Diamondbacks produced a 5-4, walk-off win against the Mets on Friday night at Chase Field.

“I work him like anybody else -- try to be aggressive, get in there and get ahead,” Atchison said about the dangerous Goldschmidt. “I was able to do that and then just left a cutter up. He’s a good hitter and obviously has good power to all fields, especially there. He made me pay for a bad pitch.”

Oh, Jeremy: Jeremy Hefner is now 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA (23 ER in 22.2 IP) over his past five starts. The four earned runs Hefner allowed in five-plus innings snapped a string of 10 straight outings in which the Mets starter allowed three runs or fewer.

“I wasn’t missing too many bats,” Hefner said. “I had the outfield running all over the place. I just wasn’t very good.”

Said Terry Collins: “Especially in the fifth inning, and even the start of the sixth inning, if you look back, he had two strikes on a lot of the hitters. He couldn’t put anybody away. He’d get two strikes on them and leave something in the middle of the plate and they’d certainly get a good swing at it.”

Opposing pitcher Patrick Corbin got a two-out rally started in the fifth with a double. Adam Eaton and Martin Prado followed with doubles, too, as the D-backs took a 2-1 lead at that point.

In Hefner’s previous outing, against Kansas City, it also was the opposing pitcher who helped start to unravel Hefner’s performance. After two scoreless innings against the Royals, George Kottaras opened the next frame with a solo homer and then pitcher Bruce Chen singled in what became a three-run frame.

“I got two outs, and two outs really quick,” Hefner said about Friday’s fifth at Chase Field. “And I fell behind [Corbin]. I’m not trying to walk the guy. If the guy puts the ball in play and gets a hit, then I’ll tip my cap. I just didn’t execute the pitch and left it down the middle. He put a good swing on it.”

Hefner said his problem is pitches he intends to get inside drifting over the plate.

“It’s an easy fix,” he said. “Instead of missing over the plate, you either hit the corner or you miss at them.”

Collins said he left Hefner in for what became a two-run sixth after the fifth-inning struggles because the starter was only at 80 pitches and the bottom of the order was due up.

Running into trouble: Collins said he spoke with Juan Lagares about making the final out of the seventh trying to stretch an extra-base hit into a triple with the Mets trailing by two runs.

While applauding the hustle, Collins said he told Lagares: “You have to understand the circumstance.”

As for Marlon Byrd getting thrown out at the plate attempting an inside-the-park homer, Collins noted that was Tim Teufel’s call, since Byrd had his back to the play. And Collins was not going to question his third-base coach.

“The one thing we’ve talked about all year long is to try to be more aggressive on the bases, to try to make the opponent make big plays and make throws,” Collins said. "And they did. Tonight in two situations they made good relay throws.”

JT: Justin Turner drove in three runs -- his first multi-RBI game since April 20 against Washington.

“You always feel good when he’s up at the plate because you know you’re going to get a good at-bat,” Collins said. “So I’m not surprised he got some RBIs.”

Rapid Reaction: D-backs 5, Mets 4

August, 10, 2013

PHOENIX -- The Mets' charge toward second place had a hiccup Friday night in the opener of a four-city western swing.

The Arizona Diamondbacks produced a 5-4 walk-off win at Chase Field as Paul Goldschmidt produced a one-out homer against Scott Atchison in the ninth.

The Mets have 10 walk-off losses this season, second-most in the majors. Miami has 12.

Turner classic: Justin Turner drove in three runs, the final on a bases-loaded groundout against ex-Met Heath Bell in the eighth that pulled the Mets to within 4-3 (and ended Bell's streak of 11 straight scoreless appearances). With two then in scoring position and one out, Wilmer Flores followed with a game-tying groundout.

Turner drove in the Mets’ first two runs against Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, who ended up saddled with a no-decision. Starting at shortstop over Omar Quintanilla against the left-handed Corbin, drove in Josh Satin in the fourth as the Mets took a 1-0 lead. Turner then evened the score at two and plated Daniel Murphy in the sixth with a single.

Turner’s three RBIs were his most since producing four against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 6, 2011. Flores had five RBIs in his first four major league games.

Jeremy’s song: Jeremy Hefner surrendered five doubles in a two-inning span, including a two-run double to Wil Nieves in the sixth as Arizona took a 4-2 lead.

Hefner’s final line: 5+ IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. He threw 93 pitches.

Three straight two-out doubles in the fifth against Hefner staked Arizona to a 2-1 lead. The barrage began with a two-bagger by the opposing pitcher Corbin. Adam Eaton and Martin Prado then followed with run-scoring doubles.

Base threats: Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares both were thrown out on the bases.

Byrd was retired at the plate attempting a leadoff inside-the-park homer in the second inning. Byrd’s ball bounced awkwardly off the center-field wall and third-base coach Tim Teufel waved him home, but a 7-4-2 play retired Byrd at the plate.

The Mets have 26 inside-the-park homers in franchise history. The last two were legged out by Angel Pagan (May 19, 2010 at Washington and Aug. 23, 2009 versus Philadelphia).

Lagares made the final out in the top of the seventh, trying to stretch an extra-base hit into a triple.

What’s next: Zack Wheeler (4-2, 3.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon McCarthy (2-5, 4.94) at 8:10 p.m. Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Marlins 2 (10)

July, 30, 2013
MIAMI -- Zack Wheeler went from flirting with history to flirting with disaster in a span of three batters.

The rookie took a no-hit bid one out into the seventh inning, when he walked Logan Morrison, then surrendered consecutive singles to Ed Lucas, Donovan Solano and Jake Marisnick. By the time Wheeler coaxed a double-play groundout from Jeff Mathis, the Marlins had evened the score at 2.

Although Wheeler did not factor into the decision, the Mets ultimately beat the Marlins, 4-2, in 10 innings on Tuesday night at Marlins Park. John Buck produced a tiebreaking two-run single against Steve Cishek with the bases loaded and none out.

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler ended up with a no-decision after taking a no-hit bid into the seventh inning.

Wheeler’s effort marked the fifth time this season a Mets starting pitcher had taken a no-hit bid into the seventh inning. Matt Harvey has done so three times. And Dillon Gee held the Atlanta Braves hitless until Freddie Freeman produced a leadoff single in the seventh only eight days ago at Citi Field.

The Mets, of course, did not record a no-hitter until the 8,020th game in franchise history, when Johan Santana ended the drought on June 1, 2012.

Wheeler’s final line Tuesday: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. He threw 87 pitches (64 strikes).

Wheeler flirted with the feat in his eighth career game.

The last pitcher to record a no-hitter quicker to begin a major league career: Clay Buchholz with the Boston Red Sox in his second major league outing, on Sept. 1, 2007 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Opportunity lost: The Mets wasted a golden opportunity in the eighth. With the score tied at 2, Marlon Byrd belted a leadoff triple against Chad Qualls. But Ike Davis struck out and Buck grounded out to third base, forcing Byrd to hold. After Juan Lagares then walked, Omar Quintanilla struck out to strand Byrd at third as the score remained even.

Qualls was so excited by the Quintanilla strikeout, he wildly pumped his fist, lost his balance and fell down.

Davis twice failed to drive in a runner from third base with less than two outs. He popped out to second base in the fourth with David Wright on third and one out. Lagares bailed Davis out that time -- with a two-out, two-run triple against Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi to stake the Mets to a 2-0 lead.

What’s next: The trade deadline is at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Jenrry Mejia, who tossed seven scoreless innings in his first major league appearance of the season, then opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez (1-1, 2.64 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 0

July, 21, 2013

NEW YORK -- Party on!

Matt Harvey won for the first time in his past 10 home starts and David Wright, Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares all went deep as the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 in Sunday’s rubber game at Citi Field.

Associated PressMatt Matt Harvey tossed seven scoreless innings and Juan Lagares hit a three-run homer as the Mets won Sunday's rubber game.
Harvey (8-2) had not won at home since April 19. He held the Phillies hitless until Chase Utley’s one-out single in the fourth and ultimately limited Philadelphia to three hits and no walks in a 112-pitch effort over seven scoreless innings.

He now has a 2.38 career ERA -- one-hundredth of a point better than Jerry Koosman (2.39) for the franchise record through 30 games (minimum 100 innings).

Harvey struck out the side in the third and fifth innings en route to a 10-strikeout performance. It was his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and eighth of his career.

All-Star Cliff Lee (10-4) surrendered a season-high-matching five runs in six innings.

Wright and Byrd became the first Mets to consecutively go deep this season, with their back-to-back shots against Lee giving the Mets a first-inning lead. Lagares then delivered a replay-awarded three-run homer in the fourth as the Mets opened a 5-0 advantage.

Wright went 2-for-4 on the ninth anniversary of his major league debut, against the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium on July 21, 2004. Lagares matched a career high with three RBIs.

Harvey combined with Scott Atchison on the shutout.

What’s next: The Mets welcome the first-place Atlanta Braves for four games. Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.32 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.35) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

Morning Briefing: Harvey Coronation Day

July, 15, 2013

Kathy Willens/Associated PressMike Piazza and Rickey Henderson fool around during Sunday's celebrity softball game at Citi Field, which will be televised by ESPN tonight after the Home Run Derby.

FIRST PITCH: Barring a shocking turn of events, Matt Harvey is expected to be on the dais at a 1:30 p.m. press conference in the Caesars Club at Citi Field today, being introduced as the National League starting pitcher for Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Harvey should become the fifth All-Star pitcher to start in his home ballpark since MLB expanded 52 years ago. He will join Roger Clemens (Houston, 2004), Esteban Loiaza (Chicago, 2003), Pedro Martinez (Boston, 1999) and Steve Rogers (Montreal, 1982), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“I’d be very surprised,” David Wright said about anything other than Harvey being named the starter occurring. “I think he’s deserving. It sucks that he missed this start [in Pittsburgh], but hopefully he’s ready to pitch on Tuesday.”

He will be ready. Harvey’s blister issue is resolved, according to Terry Collins.

Wright takes center stage Monday evening, when he competes on ESPN at 8 p.m. in the Home Run Derby. It is Wright’s first time participating in the event since finishing as the runner-up to Ryan Howard in Pittsburgh in 2006, in his inaugural All-Star year. That time, Paul Lo Duca pitched to Wright. This time, bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello draws the assignment.

“I’d say lefties probably have the better chance, just with the porch,” Wright said. “It’s probably a little more left-handed friendly down the line.”

Meanwhile, since dropping 15 games under .500 on June 17 with a series-opening loss at Atlanta, the Mets have posted a 16-10 record. The positive spurt happens to coincide with Eric Young Jr.’s arrival.

Still, the Mets (41-50) have dug a deep hole. They are nine games under .500 and own their worst All-Star break record since 2003, when they were 40-53 in Art Howe’s first season as manager.

For the optimists, the Mets are 10 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild-card spot and 11 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

“Well, we’re disappointed,” Collins said. “We’re not happy with where we’re sitting. We got off to such a good start.

“We’ve had ups and downs. Heck, we’ve lost three-fifths of our starting rotation (Johan Santana, Shaun Marcum and Jonathon Niese). We’ve been scrambling to find guys to replace them. Ike [Davis] had a bad first half. We’re hoping he has a tremendous second half, like he did last year. We’ve lost Lucas [Duda]. We’ve lost [Justin] Turner. We’ve had a lot of injuries. We lost our closer.

“Fortunately, we had a guy pick up that (Bobby Parnell). We’ve had to play through a lot, as all teams have. But we’re certainly not satisfied with where we are. That’s why I’m saying: I’m very proud of the way they’ve played in the last month. I had one of the guys that’s not on our team the other day tell me: ‘You know, a lot of teams could have cashed it in in your situation. And your team hasn’t.’ That’s a pat on the back to those guys in that clubhouse.”

Said Wright: “You always want to win games, no matter what position you’re in. I think it’s nice that … we have a little more confidence moving forward into the second half. But there’s still a long way to go. But we had a nice month after a couple of pretty bad months. It’s nice that we’re progressively getting better. So hopefully the best is yet to come and we continue that trend.”

Monday’s news reports:

Jordany Valdespin reportedly had a temper tantrum with dismayed teammates watching after getting demoted Saturday, according to the Star-Ledger. The Post subsequently reported Valdespin cursed out Collins and demanded to be placed on the disabled list. Given Valdespin’s past baggage, who knows if we’ll see him again?

Mike Piazza will become the 27th member of the Mets’ Hall of Fame. He will be inducted before a Sept. 29 game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Daily News, Newsday and

Dillon Gee allowed one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings and the Mets completed a first-half-closing road trip with a 4-2 win against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Scott Atchison returned from the disabled list and stranded two runners inherited from Gee.

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

William Perlman/USA TODAY SportsYou could find Brandon Nimmo on Sunday at the Futures Game. He went 0-for-2.

• Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero each tossed scoreless innings in the Futures Game at Citi Field, with Montero requiring only nine pitches for a 1-2-3 frame. Brandon Nimmo, who spoke about his season playing for Savannah pregame, went 0-for-2. See a photo of the Mets’ trio of prospects here.

Writes columnist John Harper in the Daily News about Syndergaard:

He’s the new phenom, with [Zack] Wheeler in the big leagues now, showing the same type of stuff that again has scouts drooling.

“There’s a lot of buzz about him,” was the way GM Sandy Alderson put it on Sunday. “Every call I get [regarding trades] starts with, ‘What about Syndergaard?’ ”

Alderson all but hangs up at that point. Though he doesn’t say it, he doesn’t argue either when it is suggested that the 20-year old right-hander has become an untouchable.

Indeed, another person in the organization says flatly, “We’re not trading Syndergaard.”

Read more in the Times, Journal, Daily News, Ledger and Newsday.

• Wright was booed each plate appearance during all three weekend games in Pittsburgh. The faulty reasoning? He did not originally put Pedro Alvarez on the NL’s Home Run Derby squad. Alvarez eventually replaced Carlos Gonzalez last Thursday. Collins said the booing was misguided. Read more in Newsday.

Josh Satin reached base twice in four plate appearances, while Ike Davis grounded into a double play as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Afterward, Collins was noncommittal about playing-time distribution at first base after the All-Star break.

• Read more on Harvey in the Star-Ledger.

• Erik Goeddel tossed six scoreless innings and Pedro Feliciano inherited and stranded the bases loaded as Binghamton beat Portland, 4-0. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Wilmer Flores, who has been selected as the Mets’ lone representative in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Reno, Nev., only suffered a “mild” ankle sprain when he left Saturday game, Paul DePodesta said.

• Anna Benson appeared on “America’s Most Wanted” in the 1990s. She reportedly was suspected of being linked to an execution-style murder. Read more in the Daily News.

• The Post All-Star preview package includes Steve Serby’s joint Q&A with Harvey and Wright, things to see around the All-Star Game, a look back at the ’64 game in the inaugural year at Shea Stadium, and a fan vote for an all-time Mets team by position.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal details what goes into readying a stadium for an All-Star Game. Diamond also gives out midseason Mets awards.

From the bloggers … Mets Police takes a look at some tweaks to Citi Field for All-Star Week. … Trading Bobby Parnell or Marlon Byrd just creates further holes, writes John Delcos at Mets Report.

BIRTHDAYS: Jerry Manuel-favorite Fernando Nieve, currently in Triple-A with Cleveland, turns 31. … Wilson Delgado is 41. … James Baldwin is 42. … Don Clendenon was born on this date in 1935. He died in 2005.


Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Pirates 2

July, 14, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- The Mets head into the All-Star break with a 41-50 record.

John Buck’s two-run single highlighted a three-run first and the Mets avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesKirk Nieuwenhuis greets Eric Young Jr. at the plate after a first-inning run.

Dillon Gee (7-7) limited the Pirates to one run, unearned, on five hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings.

Gee departed with two runners on base and two outs in the seventh and the Mets holding a 4-1 lead. In his return from the disabled list, Scott Atchison entered and struck out Starling Marte looking on a full-count offering to preserve the three-run cushion.

LaTroy Hawkins, who had battled a triceps issue the past week, surrendered an eighth-inning run, but stranded Andrew McCutchen at third base by coaxing a flyout from Garrett Jones.

“You look at the games we’ve played here, we’ve had a chance to win them,” Terry Collins said. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out. So you’ve got to take that and say, ‘Listen, let’s take this break. Let’s rebound. Let’s come out in the second half strong.’

“That’s what we haven’t done the last two years. We’ve come out in the second half after having great first halves and been flat. I think we’ve got to realize that the way we played in the last two weeks, or two and a half weeks, is a positive.

“We’re moving this way,” the manager continued, motioning upward, “and not any other direction. Let’s just get some energy back, get your legs strong again, and let’s get after it. But certainly you don’t want to get swept going into the break.”

Satin streaks: Josh Satin, starting over Ike Davis at first base, went 1-for-3 with a walk. Davis pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded into a double play.

What’s next: Some rest, except for David Wright and Matt Harvey. Harvey is widely expected to be named the NL All-Star starter at a 1:30 p.m. press conference Monday in the Caesars Club at Citi Field. Wright will compete in the 8 p.m. Home Run Derby, which will be televised by ESPN.

The Mets regroup Thursday with a late-afternoon workout at Citi Field. Jeremy Hefner is slated to face right-hander Kyle Kendrick on Friday as the Mets open the second half against the Philadelphia Phillies.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187