New York Mets: Shaun Marcum
The Mets and Miami Marlins play a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 4:10 p.m.
Matsuzaka (0-3, 8.00 ERA), coming off a solid performance against the Cleveland Indians, faces right-hander Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 4.34) in Game 1.
Carlos Torres (3-4, 3.53) opposes right-hander Jacob Turner (3-6, 3.43) in the second game.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Lucas Duda produced a three-run homer and Andrew Brown also went deep to lift the Mets to a 4-3 win against the Marlins on Friday night. Giancarlo Stanton homered twice for Miami. Jonathon Niese improved to 7- 7. The southpaw allowed three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. LaTroy Hawkins earned his ninth save.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.
Yes Jason werth got hit by a pitch today, and no I wasn't there to see if anything happened before... But the guys in the New York booth are beyond clueless when it comes to knowing what goes thru the heads of the guys in that dugout!!! I even heard one of the idiots talking about Hefner, after he made a great pitch and have up a hit, talking about not knowing about Alfonso soriano's bat size. Last time I checked pitchers don't go thru th opposing teams dugout checking bat sizes. #getAclue
Let’s just say Marcum, who was released on July 23, collected more than $5 million from the Mets for a disgusting season … and wasn’t well-liked, to boot.
If Keith Hernandez had no class, he could borrow a line once directed at him and respond: “Voice from the grave.”
• Savannah won the South Atlantic League title with a 2-0 victory over Hagerstown in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Stefan Sabol provided the offense with a two-run double. Long Island native Steven Matz tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Jeurys Familia, in his fourth minor league appearance since returning from surgery to clean out his elbow, contributed a 1-2-3 eighth. Gnats pitchers did not allow a run in 27 innings at home during the postseason.
• David Wright plans to run the bases full throttle today, in advance of trying to return from a Grade 2 right hamstring strain by the middle of next week. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Justin Turner (Grade 1 right hamstring strain) is not expected to return to the lineup at least until Tuesday.
• Mike Kerwick in the Record features Juan Lagares.
• Bob Raissman in the Daily News sees a match between the Mets and ESPN New York 98.7.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing has a story about why gloating is never a good idea. ... John Delcos at Mets Report did not like Terry Collins' candor after Thursday's loss.
BIRTHDAYS: Submarine-style reliever Chad Bradford turns 39. He last pitched in the majors in 2009 with the Tampa Bay Rays.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should Shaun Marcum just shut up and go away?
2013 SAL CHAMPS!! pic.twitter.com/ejhA22KedE— Brandon Nimmo (@You_Found_Nimmo) September 14, 2013
Marcum underwent season-ending surgery last week for thoracic outlet syndrome, an artery obstruction or nerve pinching caused by compression between the collarbone and first rib.
Marcum's contract with the Mets expired at the end of the season anyway. He signed a one-year deal back in January, with a guaranteed salary of $4 million. But he was also eligible for $4 million in incentives, including $500,000 apiece for being on the active roster or disabled list for an injury unrelated to his right arm for 150 and 170 days. (Information from the Associated Press.)
So the Mets may be saving up to $1 million by releasing Marcum now.
The team announced Marcum's release via Twitter. Its only other comment thus far came via a second tweet: "...The #Mets initiated this release when it was confirmed that Marcum was unlikely to pitch competitively again this season."
Marcum, 31, was 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) this season.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Matt Harvey relishes being a bachelor in New York City.
FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey has big expectations off the field, too.
Here are more quotes from a Men’s Journal article we originally linked to in yesterday’s Morning Briefing …
On waiting to buy a Manhattan apartment: "No matter what, New York is now my home. I could buy a place now, but I've gotta wait for that $200 million contract. If I'm going to buy an apartment, it has to be the best apartment in the city."
On his social life philosophy: "I have a 48-hour rule. No drinking two days before a start. But those other days? Yes, I'm gonna go out. If I was locked up in my house all week, I don't know what I'd be like on the baseball field."
On living in the East Village: "I'm young, I'm single. I want to be in the mix."
On Derek Jeter: "That guy is the model. I mean, first off, let's just look at the women he's dated. Obviously, he goes out -- he's meeting these girls somewhere -- but you never hear about it. That's where I want to be."
On being a savior: "I love the idea of coming into a struggling franchise and seeing if I can help them win. First off, I hate to lose. At anything. Secondly, who doesn't want to be the guy to help turn something around?"
Thursday’s news reports:
• Speaking with David Lennon in Newsday, Sandy Alderson offered these thoughts:
The payroll will be “substantially higher” than $55 million, and could approach $100 million in 2014. "There's a substantial capacity there and hopefully we can use it,” the GM said.
On contracts such as the ones handed to Shaun Marcum and Frank Francisco, Alderson said: "Something that has disappointed me is the inability to get any real performance out of some of the bigger investments that have been made."
On the ETA for competitiveness, Alderson said: "Was 2014 always a target year? Yeah. It should be an important year for us."
• At a charity golf event Wednesday to benefit Superstorm Sandy recovery, Ike Davis said via Zach Braziller in the Post: “I just want to play better and prove that I am a decent big leaguer, I am a good big leaguer. I feel pressure because I want to play better. I really don’t worry what they’re going to do, where they are, because I have no control in that. ... I want to play better just because obviously I don’t like doing bad and it doesn’t help the team when I do bad. It’s more self-driven to play better and help the team.”
Read more on Davis in the Journal, Daily News and Newsday.
• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger writes the Mets’ rotation has exceeded expectations.
• Mitch Williams picks Harvey for the Cy Young, writes Howie Kussoy in the Post. Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record picks Harvey as the runner-up to Clayton Kershaw.
• Michael Salfino in the Journal suggests the Mets ought not trade Bobby Parnell.
• Mike Kerwick in the Record assigns grades to the Mets. He also suggests five second-half games to watch and previews the second half.
• Justin Turner, who is expected to be activated from the disabled list for the weekend series against the Phillies, combined with shortstop Wilfredo Tovar to turn a triple play, but Binghamton lost to Richmond. Kyle Johnson, acquired in the trade for Collin Cowgill, had three RBIs as St. Lucie beat Brevard County, 9-3. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Ruben Tejada has switched agents, leaving Peter Greenberg (who represents Jose Reyes and Johan Santana, among others) for Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.
• The Mets confirmed Marcum underwent surgery Monday in St. Louis for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. Dr. Robert Thompson performed the surgery at Washington University Hospital.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing remembers Citi Field's longest day of 2013 and sets it to music. … The Eddie Kranepool Society reviews All-Star week. … John Delcos at Mets Report writes how the Mets responded to their first-half question marks.
BIRTHDAYS: Joe Torre, a player-manager for the Mets in 1977 and now MLB official, turns 73. He managed the Yankees between those two gigs.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: What do you make of Matt Harvey’s quotes in Men’s Journal?
Remember this? pic.twitter.com/MNFldAnIMS— Howard Johnson (@20Hojo) July 18, 2013
FIRST PITCH: Carlos Torres is the newest starting pitcher for the New York Mets, although he still had some relief work left to complete before switching roles.
Torres, now due to take Shaun Marcum’s rotation spot, worked two innings for the second straight day Tuesday night. He surrendered only his second run in 17 2/3 innings since a call-up from Triple-A Las Vegas, where he served as a starting pitcher.
Torres, 30, had an 8.44 ERA and allowed nine hits and four walks in 5 1/3 Grapefruit League innings before relocating to minor league camp.
Something clicked in mid-May for Torres in Triple-A. After a May 8 appearance against Round Rock in which he surrendered nine runs in four innings, Torres went on a tear. He finished his stint with the 51s with consecutive complete games, during which he allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out 15 in 18 innings.
“In spring training we were trying to make mechanical adjustments,” Torres said. “We were trying to do a couple of things like move me farther to the left side of the rubber and move my front side up higher. And it just didn’t end up working. We got to Las Vegas and they said go back to whatever you were doing.”
Torres’ June 15 call-up came after he forced the Mets’ hands. He exercised an out in his contract and had the right to become a free agent if the Mets did not promote him. Rather than watch him walk, the Mets brought him to the big-league club as a reliever.
Torres said there was some uncertainty after he exercised the clause about what the Mets would do.
“I just took the opt-out and would see what happened after that,” Torres said.
As for Wednesday’s 3:45 p.m. ET series finale against the Giants, the Mets will be aiming for their first sweep in San Francisco since 1994. Zack Wheeler, the former sixth overall pick by the Giants in the 2009 draft, opposes Matt Cain.
“I looked at the schedule before the season,” Wheeler said. “I was just looking through every game that we played, and supposedly when they were going to be calling me up in early June who I’d be facing. And I saw the Giants shortly after. Pretty cool.”
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Marcum will undergo season-ending surgery Monday in St. Louis for thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused numbness and coldness in his pitching hand. Torres will step into Marcum’s rotation spot at least until Jonathon Niese returns.
• Torres may actually start Saturday in Pittsburgh. The Mets are considering skipping Matt Harvey’s final first-half start to (1) allow a blister to heal, (2) start curtailing his innings so he can complete the season without hitting a cap and (3) give him ample rest to start for the NL All-Star team.
Read more in the Daily News and Newsday.
• The Mets are lobbying hard to get Harvey the All-Star Game start, writes Mike Puma in the Post. Still, writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:
There is something in my sense of right and wrong in the sport that feels wrong the Mets will rig their rotation and likely shorten Harvey’s workload on Saturday to make sure he is on the mound for the first pitch Tuesday night of what ultimately is an exhibition game. This seems too close a cousin to Jose Reyes bunting for a hit and being removed from Game 162 to secure a batting title. It is not a sacrilege, certainly not illegal, but even as it makes a bunch of people feel great, it still plays wrong on some level to me.
• Marlon Byrd’s grand slam capped a five-run eighth inning and Anthony Recker earlier produced a two-run homer as the Mets beat San Francisco, 10-6, Tuesday night at AT&T Park. Dillon Gee surrendered five runs and walked five in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Times and MLB.com.
• The Mets and a Native American group got into a squabble over a planned night celebrating the culture. The root of the problem, according to Scott Cacciola in the Times: The Mets scheduled the date coinciding with a visit by the Atlanta Braves, whose name is viewed as an insensitive. Writes Cacciola:
So in the past week, concerned that such activities might be interpreted by the Braves organization as a form of protest over its nickname, the Mets drastically reduced the day’s activities: no singing, no dancing. And now there won’t be any American Indians, either. On Monday, the A.I.C.H. pulled out of the event, citing frustration with the Mets for thwarting months of planning.
• After logging 16 innings Monday, the Mets had played 814 innings this season. That is the most innings through 86 games in MLB since the Houston Astros had the same total in 1995, writes Andrew Keh in the Times. The Mets are the first team to play four games of 15 innings or more before the All-Star break in major league history.
Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal:
The Mets entered Tuesday's contest here averaging 9.465 innings per game. Since 1920, the furthest back that Stats LLC tracks such curiosities, only two teams averaged more over a full season: the 1943 Boston Red Sox (9.471) and the 1969 Minnesota Twins (9.469).
• Gabriel Ynoa tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings as Savannah beat Augusta, 8-1. Jeff Diehl’s walk-off homer lifted Kingsport to a 3-2 win against Greeneville. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Tom Seaver will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the All-Star Games. Writes Bill Madden in the Daily News:
A year ago, on any given day, the mention of the Mets hosting the All-Star Game for the first time since 1964 might have easily drawn a blank look on Seaver’s face. Forget about not registering places and events, Seaver had trouble remembering names and faces of people he had known for years. Even scarier was the fact that he didn’t know why -- until finally, about six months ago, he went to see a doctor who, after administering a series of tests and scans, determined he did not have dementia, as Seaver had feared, but rather was suffering from Stage 3 Lyme disease. …
It has been a slow but steady road back -- Seaver still takes a bunch of pills, most of them vitamins, every day, has changed his diet and no longer drinks his beloved wine, not even the highly rated Cabernet he produces in his GTS (for George Thomas Seaver) Vineyard -- but Seaver, who was grateful a few months ago for feeling good for two to three straight days, now has mostly good days.
• Campbell Abbott in the Daily News reviews the charitable components of the All-Star festivities.
• Billy Witz in the Times profiles first-round pick Dominic Smith, and looks at the underrepresentation of African-Americans in baseball.
“That’s what some scouts like about me; that’s what some scouts hate about me. They see me play and feel like I’m not giving 100 percent, like I’m too cool,” Smith told Witz in the feature. “But it’s how I play -- I try not to get caught up in the antics or the emotion. I don’t play the game with emotion. If you play with emotion, you make emotional mistakes.”
• From the bloggers … The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests the Mets’ resiliency could get Terry Collins an extension. … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Collins’ obligation with respect to Harvey is to the Mets, not the NL All-Star team.
BIRTHDAYS: Bob Bailor was born on this date in 1951.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Manager Terry Collins said right-hander Carlos Torres will move into Marcum's rotation spot, at least until left-hander Jonathon Niese returns from the disabled list.
Torres may start Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in place of Matt Harvey. The decision is unresolved, Collins said.
Harvey has been dealing with a blister, although Collins said Harvey reported improvement Tuesday. Another motivation for potentially skipping Harvey on Saturday is that the Mets are looking for ways to limit his innings count without shutting him down at the end of the season.
Read the full news story here.
Associated PressShaun Marcum is likely to replaced on the active roster by Gonzalez Germen, but the move will not take place until Tuesday.
Because Germen has not been in the minors 10 days, he can only return if a major league player lands on the DL.
Germen is not due to arrive until late in Monday's game at the earliest, so he will not be active for the series opener and Marcum will not be placed on the DL tonight.
Marcum was examined by a specialist in St. Louis on Monday because of tingling and numbness in his cold right hand. Assistant GM John Ricco said full details would not be disclosed until Tuesday.
Dillon Gee visited the same specialist, doctor Robert Thompson, last July at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
"Dr. Thompson is one of the top guys in the country," Ricco said. "We were in Milwaukee, so we were close. It's close to Shaun's home. It's something he was comfortable with."
Regardless, Terry Collins said before Monday's opener against the Giants that he will use a four-man rotation the remainder of the first half, taking advantage of Thursday's off-day between series in San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
Matt Harvey will return on standard rest Saturday, with Gee closing the first half on Sunday.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets witnessed firsthand the wreckage from the plane crash that killed two Chinese teenagers as the team charter landed Sunday night at San Francisco International Airport.
Tweeted Dillon Gee: “Still thinking about the people affected by the ASIANA crash in SF! We just landed right next to it!!”
It is a noteworthy series for Harvey and Zack Wheeler, who pitches Wednesday.
Harvey gets to demonstrate to NL manager Bruce Bochy that he merits starting the All-Star Game. Wheeler faces the organization that traded him two years ago to the Mets for Carlos Beltran.
“Any time you’re traded, you want to show the people that traded you they made a mistake,” Terry Collins said. “I think that’s human nature. Obviously, he’ll be pitching against guys that he knows, which also is a ‘mano a mano’ challenge. Anything that motivates somebody, I’m all for it.
“Matt’s got some motivation. He’s had motivation all year. The best thing I like about his approach is it’s not just pitching in front of ‘Boch.’ It’s to be the best in the game. You keep that attitude all year long, each and every start you’re motivated.”
Read the Mets-Giants series preview here.
Monday’s news reports:
• Josh Satin went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles after a two-day absence from the lineup and Jeremy Hefner took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning as the Mets beat the Brewers, 2-1, in Sunday’s rubber game. Collins said Satin is not in a platoon with Ike Davis, although Satin should play somewhere when the Mets face left-hander Barry Zito on Tuesday.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Times, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Shaun Marcum was due to fly to St. Louis to be checked out for numbness and tingling in his cold right hand. It was during a visit to the specialist in that city last July that Gee ultimately was diagnosed with a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder as well as a blood clot and underwent surgery. The Mets appeared leaning toward skipping Marcum’s final first-half start anyway and essentially using a four-man rotation for the rest of the first half. Carlos Torres would be the primary candidate to replace Marcum if he had an absence into the second half.
Read more in the Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.
• Marcum is not the only starting pitcher due for a medical exam. Jonathon Niese is scheduled for a follow-up MRI in New York today to determine whether a partial tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder has started to heal. He could be cleared to begin tossing a baseball. Or, although the Mets portray this as not the likelihood, season-ending surgery could be recommended.
• The Mets may be neither buyers nor sellers at the trade deadline, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com. Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:
If, as it now looks, the Mets take a pass at the trading deadline, they shouldn’t be faulted. They’re not going anywhere anyway and they need to be upgrading for the long term. Interestingly, in Bobby Parnell, they do have about the hottest commodity a team could have at this year’s trading deadline -- a young, inexpensive, hard-throwing closer. …
Still, as one scout who’s followed the Mets a lot this season told me: “I’m sure those clubs could really tempt the Mets on Parnell -- the Red Sox with the outfielder, Jackie Bradley Jr., and one of their top pitching prospects like [Rubby] De La Rosa, but that remains to be seen. And if they want to be able to compete next year, as they say they do, there’s no way they can trade him.”
• Ruben Tejada has some things to prove before returning to the majors, Collins said.
• ESPN The Magazine released more photos of Harvey in the “Body Issue,” which hits newsstands Friday.
• Wally Backman and Zach Lutz were ejected in Las Vegas’ 4-3 loss at Tucson. Michael Fulmer made his first Florida State League start since undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in spring training. Miller Diaz tossed five scoreless innings as Brooklyn blanked Lowell, 3-0. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Ex-Met Scott Hairston has been traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Washington Nationals.
• From the bloggers … Mark Berman at Blogging Mets says the Mets have a Satin problem. … Faith and Fear in Flushing revels in the progress of a pitcher who is proving himself not Hef bad.
BIRTHDAYS: Mid-’60s pitcher Gary Kroll was born on this date in 1941.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Dillon Gee was treated by a St. Louis specialist for hand numbness that was caused by a clot in his pitching shoulder and a damaged artery. Gee ended up requiring surgery and missing the season's second half.
Terry Collins summoned Marcum into the manager's office Sunday morning to discuss the right-hander's status, a day after Marcum surrendered six runs (five earned) in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers to drop to 1-10.
The maneuver is doable because the Mets have an off-day Thursday, between series at San Francisco and Pittsburgh, on the day Marcum next would be scheduled to pitch.
If the plan materialized, the Mets seemingly would use a first-half-ending rotation of:
Monday: Matt Harvey
Tuesday: Dillon Gee
Wednesday: Zack Wheeler
Friday: Jeremy Hefner
That also would allow Harvey to definitely move up a day to Saturday and give him about 35 pitches to work with in the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Assistant GM John Ricco said the DL has not been discussed with Marcum. Still, Collins said, giving Marcum extra rest heading into the All-Star break might be beneficial. Marcum complained of tingling, numbness and coldness in his right hand again during Saturday's start.
Collins reiterated that if the Mets eventually did need someone to step into the rotation, Carlos Torres would be the logical choice.
FIRST PITCH: After two days on the bench, Josh Satin is due to be back in the starting lineup today, according to Terry Collins.
Satin, who has a 10-game hitting streak, benefited from the Milwaukee Brewers making a late switch in pitching assignment. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny replaces right-hander Wily Peralta, to allow Peralta a couple of extra days to rest a strained hamstring.
Collins would not reveal where Satin will start. First base would not seem the best bet, since Ike Davis just returned and now has reached base in seven of 11 plate appearances. Perhaps it will be second base, where Satin worked pregame Saturday -- although Daniel Murphy’s bat seemed to wake up with a three-hit game after going 0-for-11 the previous two days. Or might it be in left field, where Satin has only appeared in one minor league game, plus a brief and ill-fated stint in winter ball in Venezuela in October 2011?
Meanwhile, Anthony Recker should find himself at catcher. Recker was in Saturday’s original lineup, but Shaun Marcum preferred to throw to John Buck, and Collins obliged and made the switch.
Jeremy Hefner (3-6, 3.54 ERA) pitches for the Mets. Hefner has a 1.70 ERA and has struck out 29 in 37 innings over his past six starts.
Sunday’s news reports:
• After trailing 5-0, the Mets rallied to within a run three different times, only to lose 7-6 to the Brewers on Saturday night. Marcum dropped to 1-10, becoming the quickest Met to double-digit losses since Steve Trachsel in 2001. Afterward, Marcum acknowledged he again dealt with numbness, tingling and coldness in his pitching hand.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• David Wright and Matt Harvey will represent the Mets in the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field. Wright topped San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval by more than 1.9 million votes for the NL starting assignment at third base. Harvey received the most votes among starting pitchers on the players’ ballot.
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• See more photos from Harvey’s ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” shoot in the Daily News.
• Ruben Tejada no longer is on the disabled list. Instead, he officially is a minor leaguer, having been removed from his rehab assignment and optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Davis told Newsday he appreciated Jeff Wilpon dropping by Las Vegas two days before the first baseman's promotion to assure him he still was part of the future. "It's nice to hear that the guy that I'm working for has confidence in me," Davis said. "If they didn't have confidence in me and they didn't want me here, [it] would have been a little tougher."
• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Hefner. Hefner revealed he tries to pattern his delivery after Adam Wainwright. Among the other exchanges:
Q: What is it like watching Matt Harvey?
A: "We played together in Buffalo last year, we both started the year in Triple-A together, and to see where he was then, to where he is now, is not even the same person. If you would have told me last year at the beginning of the year that he would be doing what he is now, I would have told you no way. Not that he didn’t have it in him, but I didn’t see it on the field in Buffalo, as far as that killer instinct, the stuff. ... The stuff was there, but not what it is right now, as far as velocity, location, the delivery being repeated, the ability to throw strikes with all of his pitches -- his changeup was nonexistent at the beginning of the year last year."
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis banged his right knee getting tangled with Eric Young Jr. on an eighth-inning-ending catch by Young on the track in left-center, but did not suffer serious damage.
• Mookie Wilson will have an autobiography coming out next year. “People know me, but they only know me because of that groundball,” Wilson tells the Daily News, referring to Bill Buckner’s World Series gaffe. “Basically [the book] is going to provide a little more light on who I am, how I came to be who I am and where I’m headed.”
• Binghamton launched five homers and Darrell Ceciliani had a career-high five RBIs as Binghamton routed New Hampshire, 14-3. Charley Thurber, Jayce Boyd and Dustin Lawley homered in St. Lucie’s 6-3 win against Fort Myers. Steven Matz had a seven-inning shutout as Savannah split a doubleheader. Patrick Biondi had three hits and scored three runs in Brooklyn’s 5-3 win at Aberdeen. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Wayne Coffey in the Daily News profiles lefty reliever Scott Rice, who spent 14 seasons in the minors before making his major league debut this year.
• Ken Belson in the Times reports how technology has allowed players to scout rivals on their iPads at their lockers or on planes.
• Zack Wheeler is looking forward to facing the San Francisco Giants, his former organization, on Wednesday, notes the Daily News.
• Anthony McCarron in the Daily News catches up with 72-year-old Ron Hunt, who represented the Mets as a starter in the 1964 All-Star Game at Shea Stadium.
• BIRTHDAYS: John Buck turns 33. … Third-base coach Tim Teufel is 55. … Infielder Andy Green, now the manager of Double-A Mobile for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is 36.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets let Shaun Marcum continue in the rotation, put him on the disabled list or designate him for assignment?
Wow! What an honor it truly is to be selected to the @AllStarGame! Best of all, it is at home with all you mets fans. Thank you all...— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) July 7, 2013
"But, like I told Terry [Collins], I'm not going to pull myself out of the game," Marcum said after surrendering six runs (five earned) in five innings in the Mets’ 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. "I'm going to continue to pitch and pitch as long as I can."
Marcum had an MRI of his upper back after his previous start, but team doctors cleared him to proceed in Milwaukee.
He said the issue worsens as he gets deeper into games.
"As the pitch count builds up, that's when I usually notice it and feel it," Marcum said. "You can tell, too, because my velocity drops a little bit. I looked up at one point and I was 87, 88. And I looked up again and I was 83, 84. It's just something I'll deal with and try to find a way to get these guys out when it’s my turn to go."
Would extra rest between starts help?
"To be honest, I don't know," Marcum said. "I've never really experienced this before. It's just something we'll try to figure out -- whether I have to make an arm slot adjustment where I don't get it. We'll figure it out and go from there."
Marcum surrendered six runs and became the quickest Met in 12 years to compile double-digit losses in a 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night at Miller Park.
Marlon Byrd produced a two-out solo homer in the ninth against ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out to end the game.
The Mets do not have a ton of rotation depth, but Carlos Torres had been highly successful starting with Triple-A Las Vegas before a promotion for relief work. He likely would step in if the Mets decided to designate Marcum for assignment at some point, as they did with Lyon at the end of the last homestand.
The Mets, trailing 5-0, did claw back to within a run multiple times.
John Buck had a solo homer in a two-run fifth against Yovani Gallardo. Buck then produced a two-run single an inning later that pulled the Mets within 5-4. (Buck was not in the original starting lineup, but Marcum requested him over Anthony Recker and Collins made the adjustment.)
After sloppy fielding gave back a run in the bottom half of the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with one out in the seventh against John Axford. Byrd delivered a sacrifice fly to pull the Mets within 6-5. But Nieuwenhuis, who was 4-for-4 with two walks in the series opener, then lined out to left field.
Marcum's line: 5+ IP, 11 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.
He dropped to 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA. The last Met with 10 losses this early in a season: Steve Trachsel, who suffered his 10th defeat on July 5, 2001, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
As for the ugly bottom-of-the-sixth play: After Logan Schafer had a leadoff single, Gallardo tried to bunt him ahead. Marcum fielded the ball in front of the plate and tossed to first base, but Daniel Murphy missed the throw for an E-4. Schafer scampered all the way home as the Brewers took a 6-4 lead that ended Marcum's night.
LaTroy Hawkins surrendered a seventh-inning run -- snapping a streak of 14 appearances without surrendering an earned run -- as Milwaukee took a 7-5 lead. Hawkins was making his 909th appearance, passing Eddie Guardado for 21st all time. Next up: Gene Garber with 931.
Murphy flied out to strand two runners in scoring position a half-inning later.
The day after: In his second day back with the big league club, Ike Davis went 0-for-2 with three walks. He has reached base in seven of 11 plate appearances since his return from Vegas.
Ouch: Nieuwenhuis walked off gingerly after slamming his right knee into teammate Eric Young Jr. on the track in left-center on Young's eighth-inning-ending catch.
What's next: Jeremy Hefner (3-6, 3.54 ERA) opposes left-hander Tom Gorzelanny (1-1, 2.43) in the 2:10 p.m. ET rubber game on Sunday. Wily Peralta originally had been slated for the start, but he will be pushed back two days to allow more time for a hamstring strain suffered in his latest start to heal.
Because the Mets are facing a southpaw rather than a righty, that might afford Collins an opportunity to get Josh Satin a start after two games out of the lineup.
Morry Gash/Associated PressKirk Nieuwenhuis reached base six times on Friday night.
FIRST PITCH: Shaun Marcum faces his former employer on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET when the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers continue their series at Miller Park.
Marcum (1-9, 5.03 ERA), who pitched the past two seasons for the Brewers before signing with the Mets as a free agent, opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78).
Although Marcum experienced tingling in his fingers during his last start and subsequently underwent an MRI on his upper back, Terry Collins said he expected no health impediments to Marcum’s start today.
“Shaun feels great, so I don’t plan on anything happening,” the manager maintained.
Also on tap today: The All-Star teams will be announced at 6:30 p.m. ET. David Wright and Matt Harvey figure to represent the Mets, although the starting pitching assignment is not due to be officially announced by NL manager Bruce Bochy until the day before the July 16 game at Citi Field.
Saturday’s news reports:
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and MLB.com.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis became the first Met in 13 years to reach base six times in a nine-inning game without benefting from an error and Zack Wheeler notched his second major league win as the Mets beat the sloppy Brewers, 12-5, at Miller Park.
“Just to come in here and not drag our feet and get some momentum after yesterday, that was big for us," Nieuwenhuis said postgame Friday, referring to a 15-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on Thursday.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• Wheeler next gets to face the Giants -- the organization that traded him to the Mets two years ago. He will oppose Matt Cain on Wednesday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
As for Friday’s five-inning outing in which he surrendered three runs (one earned) in five innings, Wheeler greatly increased the percentage of fastballs he threw. Wheeler tossed 80 fastballs among his 98 pitches. The heater averaged 95.9 mph and topped out at 97.1 mph.
“I don’t know about command-wise, but I’m feeling more comfortable,” he said. “Command will come once I start settling down a little bit and focus on getting ahead of guys. That’s the biggest thing.”
• A Mets source tells Fox’s Ken Rosenthal the organization would not trade Bobby Parnell unless they are “blown away” by a trade proposal.
• Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey are the opposing pitchers Saturday as the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays play, notes David Waldstein in the Times.
• Michael Salfino in the Journal determined the Mets’ .220 average at Citi Field is the seventh-worst in the majors for a team at home since 1921.
• Jeyckol De Leon’s three-run homer helped lift Kingsport to a 5-3 win against Johnson City. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Gonzalez Germen was demoted before Friday’s game without the rookie making a major league appearance to clear a roster spot for the additions of Davis and Greg Burke. Brandon Lyon had been designated for assignment Thursday.
• Hunter Atkins in the Times reviews the Mets’ 2008 draft class five years later.
• From the bloggers … With Davis’ promotion, the Mets have important decisions to make, writes John Delcos at Mets Report.
BIRTHDAYS: Willie Randolph turns 59. … Lance Johnson is 50.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Do you feel better about Ike Davis returning after seeing Friday’s results?
WHY THE HELL IS #mets ALWAYS TRENDING— The Half-Minute Man (@thirty_second) July 6, 2013
MILWAUKEE -- It was ugggggly, but at least the Mets won.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached base six times and produced a career-high five RBIs, Zack Wheeler completed five innings for his second major league win and Ike Davis had three hits, a walk and two RBIs in his return from exile as the Mets beat the NL Central-doormat Milwaukee Brewers 12-5 Friday night at Miller Park.
Six unearned runs were scored between the teams. And Milwaukee’s three errors only began to tell the story.
The Brewers’ unsightly missteps included:
• Starter Johnny Hellweg walking Nieuwenhuis to force in a run.
• A high throw by shortstop Jean Segura to first base while trying to complete a double play later in the first inning, which allowed Juan Lagares to safely reach and a run to score.
• Norichika Aoki getting thrown out at the plate on an ill-fated double-steal attempt.
• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s error in the fourth on John Buck’s two-out grounder allowing the Mets’ seventh run to score.
• Carlos Gomez, after producing an RBI double in the seventh that pulled Milwaukee within 8-4, getting thrown out attempting to make it a triple.
On the positive side, Gomez did reach over the wall to rob pinch hitter Marlon Byrd of a would-be homer.
Welcome back: Davis’ rejiggered stance turned out to be more hype than radical adjustment, but the first baseman did go 3-for-5 with a walk, two RBIs and strikeout in his first major league game since June 9.
Davis walked on four pitches in the first inning, then contributed a fluky RBI single an inning later that staked the Mets to a 3-2 lead. He sent a soft, two-out tapper to shortstop with the bases loaded for a run-scoring infield single.
He had a hard-hit single to right field in the fourth before striking out looking in the sixth. After an intentional walk to David Wright in the seventh, Davis lined out to right field. He had an RBI single in the ninth.
Growing pains: Wheeler labored, but managed to complete five innings to earn his second major league victory.
Wheeler (2-1) surrendered a pair of runs in the first, although those ended up unearned because of second baseman Daniel Murphy’s fielding error. Wheeler also surrendered a mammoth solo homer to Juan Francisco in the fourth.
But Wheeler escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth to preserve a 7-3 lead and complete his outing. Wheeler retired Jonathan Lucroy on a shallow fly ball to center that prevented a tag up, then struck out Francisco looking.
Wheeler’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. He threw 98 pitches (56 strikes).
Career fare: Nieuwenhuis (4-for-4, two walks) became the first Met to reach base six times in a nine-inning game without an error contributing since Mike Piazza on May 27, 2000.
He staked the Mets to a 1-0 lead in the first when Hellweg walked him with the bases loaded. An inning later, the Mets grabbed a 5-2 lead on Nieuwenhuis’ two-run single through the right side of the infield. Nieuwenhuis also had an RBI single in the fourth. He added an RBI triple in the ninth.
What’s next: Ex-Brewer Shaun Marcum, who dealt with tingling in the fingers on his pitching hand during his last start, faces his former employer Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET. Marcum (1-9, 5.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78).
Getty ImagesZack Wheeler and Ike Davis figure to be the two primary storylines Friday.
Davis’ demotion ended on Day 25 when the first baseman was instructed to rejoin the Mets on Friday in Milwaukee, according to a source. Also en route: sidearmer Greg Burke. He will take the bullpen spot previously held by Brandon Lyon, who was designated for assignment.
The Mets, who are carrying an extra bullpen arm, will have to make another roster move before the game. The simplest transaction would involve returning Gonzalez Germen to Las Vegas unused. But if there is concern about Shaun Marcum’s durability on Saturday and the Mets want to keep the extra arm around, perhaps that endangers Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Jordany Valdespin.
Anyway, Wheeler actually will have more major league experience than his opponent in tonight’s series opener versus the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park at 8:10 p.m. ET.
Wheeler -- who needs to throw more fastballs, according to Terry Collins -- will oppose Brewers rookie right-hander Johnny Hellweg. Hellweg (0-1, 20.25) has two appearances and one start on his major league résumé.
Read the Mets-Brewers series preview here.
Friday’s news reports:
• The Mets got game-tying solo homers from Anthony Recker in the 13th and Nieuwenhuis in the 14th but did not have an answer when Scott Rice surrendered an RBI single to Cliff Pennington in the 15th as Arizona beat the Mets 5-4 Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. It marked the longest four-game series in Major League Baseball since 1989 -- rain delays excluded -- and left the Mets exhausted, according to Collins.
The Mets became the first team with a pair of game-tying homers in the 13th inning or later since the Braves did so against the Mets on the exact anniversary -- July 4, 1985 -- according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Mets dropped to 0-3 in 15-plus-inning games this season. They are the first team in the expansion era (since 1961) to lose three or more games of that length in two different seasons.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
Collins has said Davis is not returning for a part-time role.
Assuming Collins is obligated to play Davis a lot at first base, little room exists for Satin. He can play third base, but David Wright is not ceding much time there. Satin is a natural second baseman, but the Mets mostly have abandoned using him there because of his non-ideal fielding prowess. Satin also has dabbled in the outfield, but the Mets have shown no inclination to use him there. There is little room anyway in the outfield since Eric Young Jr. (switch-hitter), Marlon Byrd, Juan Lagares and Andrew Brown all hit righty, as Satin does.
Davis hit .293 with seven homers in 75 Triple-A at-bats.
Read more on Davis’ return in the Post, Newsday, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger and Record.
• The follow-up MRI of Jonathon Niese’s left shoulder (partial rotator cuff tear) will wait until Monday. Niese originally was due to see a team doctor Thursday, but Independence Day vacation plans in the Hamptons -- for the doctor, not Niese -- resulted in the delay.
• A brief media session with Wheeler on Thursday got a little awkward. Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:
Why underperforming reliever Brandon Lyon -- who was designated for assignment after the game -- felt it necessary to mock the proceedings was a mystery. That the respected veteran LaTroy Hawkins chose to grab a tape recorder, stick his hand into the circle and pretend to be a reporter was just silly and stupid. As soon as Hawkins intervened, Wheeler clammed up, clearly self-conscious about what was happening, even though it was exactly what is supposed to happen in a major-league clubhouse, especially in New York. Reporters ask questions of players, who choose to answer them or not.
Some are better at handling this relationship than others, but it's all part of the learning curve, one that suddenly has become Matterhorn-steep for Wheeler. And that's OK. He seemed fine answering questions about Wednesday's side session; it was his two teammates who made him uncomfortable, which then cut things short.
As for that side session, the between-starts throw day that lets pitchers recalibrate while on the mound, Wheeler didn't sound too pleased by the adjustments he tried to make. Location has been a problem, along with tipping his pitches, and it was unclear what progress he made. "Going into a game when you're struggling a little bit, and your side is horrible, it sucks,'' Wheeler said. He described the session as "really just a wasted bullpen."
• All-Star voting has concluded. The rosters will be announced Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
• Collins said John Buck will still get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate, even though his average has plummeted to .205. Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.
• Bob Costas apologized to the Mets after the fact, but still believes his ribbing of the Mets’ June 16 walk-off celebration -- saying it was an indication of the decline of western civilization -- was unnecessarily inflamed. "Of all the faux controversies, this is among the dumbest I've ever seen or heard,” Costas told ESPN Radio, according to Newsday.
• Danny Muno had two homers and seven RBIs as Binghamton beat New Hampshire 7-6. In the Gulf Coast League, first-round pick Dominic Smith produced his first professional homer. Read the full minor league recap here.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report believes All-Star voting is a joke, including the Mets’ efforts on behalf of Wright. … Mets Police asks: Is Mr. Met wearing a knockoff cap or is it just faded?
BIRTHDAYS: Former submarine reliever Jeff Innis turns 51.
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