New York Mets: Taylor Buchholz

Mets morning briefing 2.26.12

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
7:03
AM ET
Mets position players undergo physicals Sunday, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Monday. Ruben Tejada, who was due to land in Miami yesterday afternoon, has a meeting scheduled with Terry Collins for 8 a.m. today. Collins was disappointed his new first-string shortstop did not arrive to camp early.

Sunday's news reports:

• The Mets will wear a "KID 8" patch on their uniforms as a tribute to Gary Carter. Fred Wilpon presented the patch to Carter's widow Sandy after Friday's memorial service. Read more in the Daily News and Newsday.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger does a Q&A with Jason Bay, and gets to the bottom of why he routinely exchanges text messages with Eddie Vedder. "I was a huge Pearl Jam fan … Eddie’s a huge baseball fan," Bay told McCullough. "Huge Cubs fan. There’s a lot of guys who have met him. Sean Casey, who’s a diehard Pearl Jam fan, he’s hung out with Eddie numerous times. When I got traded to Boston, we played a game and that night Eddie was playing somewhere in Boston on his solo tour. And he signed this poster, 'Hey, Jason, welcome to the Red Sox.' And then Casey gave me his number. So we text back and forth. ... I’ve never met him. I’ve never actually technically met him. And that’s the funny part. Casey was like, 'Hey, here’s his number, he said text him.' So he was like 'Hey, sounds good, man. If I’m ever up in Seattle recording …' He’s never up there. He’s got a lot going on. I’m probably the last person [on his mind]. 'Oh, I've got to call Jason Bay!'"

Mike Pelfrey knows he needs to perform in 2012 or it may be his final season in Flushing. Pelfrey actually is under the Mets' control through the '13 season. But he settled for $5.6875 million this year and is arbitration-eligible again next winter, so he likely would be entitled to another raise. The Mets won't agree to that unless Pelfrey succeeds this season. "I want to play this game for as long as I can, and I can't do that with having the kind of year I had last year," Pelfrey told David Lennon in Newsday. "Going into the offseason, it kind of hits you like, 'Man, what happened?' So you go through it, you learn from it and you try to get better. I'm more determined not to let that happen again. Obviously, I need to have a good year or ... I might not be back." Pelfrey also tells Lennon he is far more serious now, not joking or accepting being the brunt of jokes from teammates about his palm-licking or balks. Pelfrey said he has now reincorporated a circle change, which he threw at Wichita State, instead of a split-finger fastball.

David Wright tells Mike Kerwick in the Record about Pelfrey: "He was coming off a good year, and then all of a sudden just because he's named the Opening Day starter … a lot of times he got matched up with [Roy] Halladay and Josh Johnson. There was numerous times where he pitched well and should have gotten a win. There were a couple times where we blew leads for him late. There were a couple times where he just had some bad luck because he's going up against other team's No. 1." Wright, Kerwick also notes, edged Pelfrey for the final playoff spot in the Mets' fantasy football league on the final day of their league's regular season. Pelfrey just needed to win his game to beat Wright, but lost his game by a half-point.

• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey drew positive reviews from the major leaguers who hit against him, including Ike Davis and Josh Thole, during a live batting practice session Saturday. Despite his goal to make the Opening Day roster, Harvey most likely is ticketed to open 2012 at Double-A Binghamton. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Andy Martino in the Daily News looks at Harvey and highly regarded pitching prospect Jeurys Familia, who pitched together last season in the minors. Writes Martino:

Neither is quite ready for the Mets. Harvey struggled upon rising to Double-A last year, and while he later stabilized, his secondary pitches need refining. Familia’s ultimate role is unclear, although when he and Harvey talk, they imagine him as a dominant reliever."We always laugh about it," says Harvey. "He says, 'I'll close your games!' "

• Former Mets reliever Taylor Buchholz, who is skipping this season, continues to be open about his battle with depression and anxiety. Buchholz is serving as the pitching coach at his former high school in Springfield, Pa. He told Wayne Coffey in the Daily News about not being at spring training for the first time in more than a decade: "It definitely feels weird. There's a strange void, and a little jealousy. ... I’m in a good place. I'm excited about getting my feet wet with coaching."

Mike Puma in the Post looks at the Mets' outfield defense, with Andres Torres in center field now joining Bay in left field and Lucas Duda in right field. "We know that Andres Torres is an outstanding defender," Collins said. "[San Francisco Giants manager] Bruce Bochy told me, 'If this guy stays healthy, he is an outstanding center fielder.'" Puma notes the Mets have no interest in using Duda in left field and switching Bay to right field. The elimination of the "Mo's Zone" nook in right field at Citi Field should make it easier for Duda anyway, lessening the difference in ground to cover between the corner outfield spots.

• Collins does a Q&A with Steve Serby in the Post. The skipper says R.A. Dickey would be his Opening Day starter if, for some reason, Johan Santana was unable. As for his expectations for Santana, Collins said: "What our expectations are and what our hopes are, are two different things. What our expectations are, is we don’t have any. If he’s healthy, he’ll be successful. We have hopes we can run him out there 28 times, and if it’s more than that, we’re gonna be really good. If it’s a little less than that, we’re still gonna be better. Is he gonna throw 95? Probably not. He has great command and still has that presence."

• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro compares Collins to New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. Writes Vaccaro:

In a very real way, Collins is like that other sporting skipper in town with the initials T.C. In Tom Coughlin’s early days with the Giants, much was made of "Coughlin Time," which meant if you were on time you were really five minutes late. “Collins Time” is less formal and it doesn’t really have a name. Players just understand that whatever the official reporting date is, you can alter that as early as you like. And every other important Met did that.

• McCullough in the Star-Ledger writes about Adam Loewen's conversion from pitcher to outfielder. Loewen and Mike Baxter currently are competing for a lefty-hitting outfield spot, although the Mets just as likely could bring in someone from outside the organization late in camp. Writes McCullough:

The Rick Ankiel you’ve never heard about treats his tale with a blend of humility and simplicity. Nearly a decade ago, the Baltimore Orioles selected Loewen with the fourth pick in the MLB Draft. Half a decade ago, after breaking into the majors, the bones in Loewen’s left elbow separated and refused to reunite. He opted for another line of work -- converting into a position player after six years as a pitcher and a career mark of 8-8 with a 5.38 ERA.

Andrew Keh in the Times profiles center-field prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who is returning after missing the latter part of last season at Triple-A Buffalo following shoulder surgery. "There's no doubt this is an important spring for him because of the situation we’re looking at, with us in desperate need of guys who can play outfield," Collins told Keh. "We're going to give him a lot of playing time. He's going to get plenty of chances to prove himself."

TRIVIA: Which player in Mets big league camp has a father who coaches a college baseball team?

(Saturday's answer: Valentino Pascucci had the most RBIs by a Buffalo Bison in 2011, with 91.)

Buchholz back in baseball as HS coach

February, 20, 2012
2/20/12
2:41
PM ET
Taylor Buchholz's hometown newspaper, the Delaware County Daily Times, caught up with the former Mets reliever at his home in Springfield, Pa., and Buchholz continued to speak candidly about his depression and anxiety issues.

“It was all a big lie,” Buchholz told the newspaper about his baseball career. “I put this fake smile on and pretended everything was all right until I finally just cracked and said, ‘I need to get help.’ I hit a wall. There was something truly wrong with me. ... Being a perfectionist is a double-edged sword. You have to be one, to an extent, to succeed on that level. But I let that take over. Perfectionism led to a downward spiral for me.”

Buchholz, 30, is involved with baseball this season, he told the newspaper. He is serving as pitching coach for the Springfield high school program for which he played as a youth.

“He’s been progressively getting better,” said Jeff Smith, the program's head baseball coach, who was an assistant there when Buchholz was a player. “I wanted to make sure his health was good and that he was ready to get back to the game. He agreed and now he’s taking a leadership role and interacting with these kids and it’s great to see. He’s truly excited and perking up while keeping his foot in the game.”

Buchholz's agent, David Pasti, told ESPNNewYork.com on Jan. 30 that his client planned to skip the 2012 major league season, but would re-sign with the Mets if he decided otherwise.

"If he signs with anyone, it would be with the Mets," Pasti said. "The way they handled the situation with Taylor meant a lot to him. The Mets really cared about him. As of right now, Taylor is taking the year off. He's feeling great, but not ready to get back into baseball. He's taking it one day at a time."

Buchholz plans to skip 2012

January, 30, 2012
1/30/12
3:37
PM ET
Reliever Taylor Buchholz, who has dealt with anxiety and depression issues during his career, right now plans to skip the 2012 season, agent David Pasti told ESPNNewYork.com.

Buchholz, 30, went on the DL on June 2 with what was announced as shoulder fatigue. Buchholz and the Mets jointly announced a month later he was dealing with the emotional issues. He did not reppear during the season. The Mets granted him free agency after the season, even though he otherwise would not yet have been eligible.

"If he signs with anyone, it would be with the Mets," Pasti said. "The way they handled the situation with Taylor meant a lot to him. The Mets really cared about him. As of right now, Taylor is taking the year off. He's feeling great, but not ready to get back into baseball. He's taking it one day at a time."

Buchholz opened up about his depression issue to a community news site in his Springfield, Pa., hometown weeks after going public with his battle.

“You become very good at lying with depression, and the biggest lie is to yourself,” Buchholz told Patch.com in an article published last July 16. “This has been an ongoing thing for two-and-a-half, three years and I had no idea what was going on. I was totally irritable, but I was able to fake it around people. I would normally be the guy whistling and singing and smiling around the clubhouse. But with total anxiety, I had this tightness all of the time. I was constantly on edge and I’d come home to [wife] Ashley, and I hate to say it, I’d take it out on her. She’s my angel; I give her so much credit for putting up with me. Just that it wasn’t me. I shut off people, and I became a hermit. I wouldn’t go out in public."

Murph making 'Extreme' appearance

November, 5, 2011
11/05/11
12:21
PM ET
Daniel Murphy will appear alongside Shane Victorino and Clay Buchholz on next Friday's episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Here is the official press release with details:

TY PENNINGTON AND JEWEL HOST

“EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION VETERANS DAY SPECIAL”

BENEFITING VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES FRIDAY NOVEMBER 11

The Entertainment Industry Foundation Enlists Whoopi Goldberg, George Lopez, J.R. Martinez, Rachael Ray, Sherri Shepherd, Robin Williams and Major League Baseball players Clay Buchholz, Daniel Murphy, Shane Victorino To Participate in the Broadcast and Encourage Donations Benefiting Veterans Groups

ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is teaming up with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) to present a one-hour special, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition A Veterans Day Special,” airing on Veterans Day, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. Hosts Ty Pennington and singer/songwriter Jewel, will take us back to some of the most heartwarming military stories featured over the years. The EMHE crew will also pay a visit to select heroic families to find out what they’ve been up to since the makeover and how they are paying it forward by helping their fellow veterans. The special will culminate in a celebratory event that will feature an audience of active-duty service members and veterans in addition to a live musical performance by Jewel.

Throughout the episode, celebrities will shine a light on issues veterans face after serving in the military, as well as the strengths and skills returning veterans bring to the work force and their communities. The Veterans Day program will include appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, George Lopez, J.R. Martinez, Rachael Ray, Sherri Shepherd, Robin Williams and Major League Baseball (MLB) players Daniel Murphy of the Mets, Shane Victorino of the Phillies and Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox. The celebrities will encourage the public to donate via phone and web at www.riseandhonor.org.

Net proceeds raised during this one-hour special will benefit the following veteran-serving organizations: Fisher House Foundation, Hire Heroes USA, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, USO (United Service Organizations), Volunteers of America, and Welcome Back Veterans. These organizations provide vital services and support to our nations veterans and their families including housing, job placement, career readiness, health care, rehabilitation and mental health treatment. This television event is made possible due to the generous support of ABC, The Clorox Company and MLB.

“We are thrilled to partner with ABC and the ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ team to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Entertainment Industry Foundation President and CEO Lisa Paulsen. “We hope this inspiring program will rally Americans to give back to our military families and support organizations that provide vital services to our veterans and their families.”

“We’ve highlighted the difficult struggles our veterans often face when returning home. We are so proud to take this a step further with a moving tribute to our nation’s heroes, while inspiring Americans to give back to those who’ve given our country so much,” said George Verschoor, Executive Producer of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” "In 200 episodes, we've seen thousands of armed forces volunteer to help us rebuild homes and lives. Now we're thrilled to be able to honor all veterans with this television special,” said Brady Connell, Executive Producer of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Less than one percent of America’s men and women currently serve in our military. For many, the return to civilian life is marked with physical and emotional wounds. As of June 30, 2010, Veterans Affairs treated 594,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran patients. Of those, 295,000 were diagnosed with at least one mental health condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In addition, some face a grim economic reality. As recently as January 2011, the unemployment rate among veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was 15 percent; that’s nearly double the national average. Furthermore, their sacrifice extends beyond themselves to their families as more than 700,000 children have experienced one or more parental deployments.

“All across the country, we have talented and dedicated veterans who have been unemployed for far too long,” said Hilda Solis, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. “These service men and women are right here and ready to get back to work. They just need a little help from all of us to find a good job at a fair wage and successfully transition from military to civilian life. We applaud ABC and the Entertainment Industry Foundation for broadcasting this special show to raise awareness of the needs of our returning veterans and their families.”

EIF, in collaboration with ABC, hopes to raise funds to combat challenges facing our veterans as well as educate Americans on how they can support our heroes through
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition A Veterans Day Special.” For more information and to make a donation to support veterans and military families, please visit
www.riseandhonor.org.

ABOUT THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY FOUNDATION

The Entertainment Industry Foundation, as a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry, has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support charitable initiatives addressing critical health, education and social issues. For more information, visit www.eifoundation.org.

ABOUT EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION

The Emmy Award winning reality program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, now in its 9th season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It is executive-produced by Brady Connell and George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Fridays from 8:00-10:00 p.m., ET on ABC.

ABOUT FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION

The foundation builds “comfort homes” on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times- during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness and disease, or injury. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 12,000 families and has provided more than 3 million days of lodging to family members since 1990.

ABOUT HIRE HEROES USA (HHUSA)

HHUSA offers transition assistance, job search assistance and job placement services to those who have honorably served in the US military and their spouses.

ABOUT INTREPID FALLEN HEROES FUND (IFHF)

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is a leader in supporting the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. Begun in 2000 under the auspices of the Intrepid Museum Foundation and established as an independent not-for-profit organization in 2003, the Fund has provided close to $120 million in support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans.

ABOUT USO

The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times a year at hundreds of places worldwide. A private, nonprofit organization, the USO provides a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. It also provides critical support to forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA (VOA)

Volunteers of America is a national, faith-based organization dedicated to helping America's most vulnerable groups—including seniors, at-risk youth, the homeless and disabled-- to rebuild their lives. Responding in particular to the challenges facing female veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, many of whom suffer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Volunteers of America is building housing villages for female veterans whose families are at risk of disruption. Single mothers and other female veterans who are finding it difficult to transition back in to civilian life are targeted and provided support services on site.

ABOUT WELCOME BACK VETERANS (WBV)

Welcome Back Veterans is a MLB Charities initiative, in partnership with the Robert R.McCormick Foundation, designed to support returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families in helping them make a successful transition to civilian life. The program is supported by MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network. Welcome Back Veterans has granted $12 million in grants to non-profit agencies targeting veterans’ and their families’ greatest needs, focusing on treatment and research of PTSD and TBI. Beneficiaries include the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, which is dedicated to providing free and confidential clinical care and support services to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Funds have been contributed by MLB and McCormick Foundation, including funds raised through auctions of game-used products and a donation of sales from Stars & Stripes caps.

Mets morning briefing 8.2.11

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
9:08
AM ET
For the second straight day, the Mets got a game-tying homer with two out in the ninth ... and subsequently lost. Sunday in D.C., Scott Hairston delivered the blast, off Nats closer Drew Storen. This time, Lucas Duda did the honors, snapping Marlins closer Leo Nunez's streak of successful save conversions at 11. Jason Isringhausen then allowed a grand slam to Mike Stanton in the 10th (snapping a streak of unanswered slams by the Mets since April 29 at 2-0).

The last team to hit game-tying homers with two out in ninth inning or later in consecutive games was the Devil Rays on Aug. 29 and 31, 2004. Tampa Bay also lost both games.

The Mets fell to 22-27 at Citi Field. The .449 home win percentage ranks fifth-worst in the majors, better than only Houston (18-36, .333), San Diego (22-35, .386), Florida (23-30, .434) and the Cubs (25-31, .446).

Tuesday's news reports:

Johan Santana, who was supposed to make a second rehab start for Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday, already with an extra day of rest, had that appearance pushed back further. Santana now is tentatively scheduled to pitch Thursday, because of what has been labeled a lack of arm strength. "He came back, didn't feel quite as strong as he would've liked. So rather than force it (he is) backing off a day," Sandy Alderson said. "... I wouldn't view that as a setback necessarily. I think it's a tweak in the schedule. We'll know tomorrow whether it constitutes something more significant." Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and Post.

• Right-hander Zack Wheeler, the 21-year-old pitcher acquired from the San Francisco Giants, was charged with four runs in four innings in his debut with the organization, for Class A St. Lucie at Dunedin. According to the Post, Wheeler topped out at 96 mph on one radar gun and 99 mph on another. Wheeler did not walk a batter, continuing a three-start stretch in which he has cut down on free passes since reverting to his high school mechanics. "There really wasn't that much pressure, I didn't feel like, going into it," Wheeler told Tim Bontemps in the Post. "It hasn't really been stressful, but I came out a little tight."

• Alderson indicated he actually was looking to acquire relief help as Sunday's 4 p.m. trade deadline passed. Waiver trades can be made in August, so the Mets could look to sell further by the end of the month. For now, Alderson said it was more important for the Mets to be competitive than to sell off pieces for second-tier prospects. Read more in Newsday and the Star-Ledger.

• Read game stories in the Times, Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News and Record.

David Wright's hitting streak since returning from the disabled list ended at 10 games. Wright had hit .455 during the 10-game road trip and had seven straight multi-hit games through Saturday, one shy of matching the franchise-record streak. Read more on Wright's recent success in Newsday.

Ike Davis has started to run at home in Arizona. A surgery decision may come later this week.

• Reliever Taylor Buchholz, who is dealing with depression and anxiety issues, is unlikely to return to the Mets this season, Alderson said.

BIRTHDAYS: South Korean reliever Dae-Sung Koo, who famously scored on a headfirst slide against the Yankees while accidentally carrying a weighted ball in his jacket pocket, turns 42. He injured his shoulder on the play.

Mets morning briefing 7.16.11

July, 16, 2011
7/16/11
9:00
AM ET
The Mets opened the second half with a loss at Citi Field to the Phillies, which dropped the Amazin's 12 games behind the division leaders as well as 8 games behind the Braves in the wild-card race.

Saturday's news reports:

Taylor Buchholz opened up to Patch.com of his Springfield, Pa., hometown about his depression/anxiety issues. Buchholz opens up about a May 2010 emotional breakdown in a hotel room while he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in the minors with Modesto.

“I really didn’t know what was going on,” Buchholz recalled to Joseph Santoliquito about the incident. “But when I think back on it, maybe it was a sign that the team psychologist [Ron Svetich] was there in Modesto when I broke down. I saw Svetich the day before in the clubhouse and I remember him asking me how I felt. I told him I was great. I lied to him. Then the next morning, I was showering, and I broke out into this crying fit. When I went back to the clubhouse later that day, I pulled Svetich aside.

“I literally broke down right then and let him know everything. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I’m there crying to another man. But Svetich recognized there was a problem. He was fantastic and someone that helped me get through this. At that point, I didn’t want anything to come out, because I was totally embarrassed about it. I’m a man’s man who’s supposed to be tough and not breaking down into tears for no reason. I didn’t feel like a man, I’ve been the one that’s been the rock in my relationships.”

Buchholz's agent, Dave Pasti, apprised Sandy Alderson of Buchholz's issue before signing last offseason.

Said Buchholz's wife Ashley: “He’d have such strong convulsions in the middle of the night that I used to think they were seizures. We’d watch a movie on the couch, or be lying up in bed, and he’d start crying. We like going out to eat, and he never went out. The times he did, he’d go out in sweatpants and really didn’t care what anyone thought. I know Taylor. He’s the most giving, caring person I ever met. This person wasn’t my husband. He was that different.”

Francisco Rodriguez and new agent Scott Boras waived his $17.5 million vesting option for $500,000. Instead, the sides converted it to a mutual $17.5 million option that both sides would have to approve. The Brewers will not do that, which means K-Rod will receive a $4 million buyout -- up from the original $3.5 million in his contract -- and the closer will hit the free-agent market next offseason. In the interim, the Brewers can freely use K-Rod in a closing role without regard for the games finished. "From my point of view and that of the staff, it will be nicer on us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "These things, these contracts, most of the time a manager doesn't know about them so you don't have to worry about anything. But when it's so public and I knew exactly all the numbers, it's just not comfortable." Read more in the Times and Newsday.

David Wright began a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie at Lakeland, Fla., by playing five innings at third base. Wright is expected to return Friday in Miami, when the Mets open a series against the Marlins. "A little rusty, and obviously I need a few more at-bats, but overall, I'm excited about how the first game went," Wright said. "So far, so good."

Carlos Beltran's days as a Met appear to be dwindling. Said Beltran: I've made it very clear to this organization that I want to finish my career here. But, at the same time, you understand that organizations have plans -- sometimes they're not plans you think of -- so like I said, I'm prepared for everything." Read more in Newsday and Daily News.

Jose Reyes ran at Citi Field. He will try to round bases on Sunday. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Jason Isringhausen would have received the first shot at closing on Friday night had the Mets held a late, narrow lead. Terry Collins indicated he will settle on one pitcher eventually, with Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato also in the mix. Izzy goes first because of his closing experience and the pressure of a packed stadium while facing the Phillies.

Mike Sielski of the Journal wonders in a world of Brian Wilson's beard and Heath Bell's sliding entrance at the All-Star Game whether Parnell is too normal to be a closer. "I try not to be weird," Parnell told Sielski. "Some of the good ones have been. I don't think it's a necessity."

Post columnist Joel Sherman notes the Mets no longer being reliant on one closer follows the major league trend. In fact, the Phillies -- because of assorted injuries -- have gone through Brad Lidge (injured all season), Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo yet only have three blown saves. Writes Sherman:

In other words, this is the model that another big-market, northeast team called the New York Mets must follow. The Phillies have built a team structurally and mentally that can navigate through one closer after another for half a season, never flinch and never make a concession in seeking a fifth straight NL East title. Terry Collins is trying to impart the same mental toughness now in this group. He met with the team after Thursday's workout to say the clubhouse would remain a no-excuse zone despite the money-centric trade of K-Rod. The Mets manager told his players opportunities, not alibis, were now available.

Read more on the closing situation in the Record and Post.

• Read game stories from the Mets' second-half-opening 7-2 loss in the Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Post, Daily News and Newsday.

BIRTHDAY: Catcher Norm Sherry, who spent the bulk of his career with the Dodgers, was born in 1931. Sherry compleyed his major league career in 1963 with the Mets, hitting .136 in 63 games.

Mets morning briefing 7.2.11

July, 2, 2011
7/02/11
9:57
AM ET
The Mets lost to the Yankees, 5-1, on Friday before a Citi Field-record crowd of 42,020.

Saturday's news reports:

• A judge agreed to move Irving Picard's lawsuit from bankruptcy court to federal court for the Southern District of New York, the Daily News reported. The move was requested by Fred Wilpon and family's attorneys.

Jose Reyes was ruled out at third base in the seventh inning by ump Jerry Layne, although replays appeared to suggest otherwise. Read more in Newsday, the Post and Daily News.

• Reliever Taylor Buchholz, originally diagnosed with shoulder weakness, will remain on the DL for the foreseeable future with depression and anxiety issues. Read more in the Times, Post and Star-Ledger.

Ike Davis will attempt to run next week. If his ankle, which has cartilage damage, has not improved, Davis likely needs season-ending surgery. Johan Santana, meanwhile, threw off a mound Wednesday in Port St. Lucie. One more session like that and the clock starts on a spring-training-like program, Sandy Alderson said. David Wright could be in rehab games in a week and return right after the All-Star break. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

Terry Collins visited Jon Niese in the first inning and told him not to throw so many stinkin' fastballs. Niese incorporated his curveball more in ensuing innings and tossed five more frames, all scoreless, after a three-run first. He said he had no issue with the rapid heartbeat that affected his previous start at Texas. Read more in the Post and Record.

• Read game stories in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

BIRTHDAY: Angel Pagan turns 30.

Buchholz suffering from depression

July, 1, 2011
7/01/11
4:32
PM ET
Taylor Buchholz, originally placed on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue, will remain on the DL with depression/anxiety for the "foreseeable future," the team announced.

Buchholz is at home in suburban Philadelphia and has been prescribed medication, the organization announced. Sandy Alderson added that Buchholz has been participating in the employee assistance program.

“Last season with the Rockies, I experienced some depression and anxiety before returning from Tommy John surgery,” Buchholz said in a statement. “I thought I had it under control, but recently, at the end of May of this year, the depression and anxiety began to resurface. After consulting with my doctor, I agreed to try different medications and it was recommended that I not pitch while I adjusted to the new medications. I am in regular contact with the Mets and have kept them informed of my progress. I am extremely grateful for the way the Mets have cared for me and my family.”

Said Alderson: "Taylor felt that it was important for his situation to be clarified. We did, too, to the extent that he's home resting with a strained shoulder, that doesn't really portray it as it is. He felt it was important. We felt at some point we need to disclose this. And, at the same time, he had become comfortable with the disclosure, which is a separate issue unto itself."

Also, Alderson said:

Johan Santana threw a bullpen session on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie with no complaints of soreness. Shoulder discomfort had promoted Santana to refrain from throwing off a mound last month. After one more bullpen session without issue, Santana will advance to a spring-training-like program.

Ike Davis, who is at home in Arizona because of a cartilage damage in his left ankle, will attempt to run next week. If discomfort resurfaces at that point, he likely will proceed with season-ending surgery.

• 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens, a second baseman who has been dogged by oblique issues, landed on the DL with Double-A Binghamton with a lower-back strain.

Pregame notes: Niese, Wright ...

June, 28, 2011
6/28/11
7:49
PM ET
Jon Niese passed a battery of heart-related tests Tuesday at Henry Ford Hospital, assistant GM John Ricco said. Niese experienced a rapid heartbeat Saturday at Texas. He is wearing a heart monitor for a day to ensure no abnormalities before being cleared to pitch Friday against the Yankees. Ricco said trainers have labeled what Niese has experienced on occasion as tachycardia, which by definition is a rapid heartbeat.

Also injury-wise:

David Wright took groundballs and played catch in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday. Terry Collins expected Wright would begin hitting off a tee Wednesday.

Johan Santana, who halted throwing off a mound at the beginning of the month after experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired left shoulder, was scheduled to return to a mound Tuesday. However, inclement weather in Port St. Lucie delayed that occurring. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana “feels good.”

Ike Davis, who has cartilage damage in his left ankle that may require season-ending surgery, is at home in Arizona doing what Ricco labeled “light rehab.”

• Right-handed reliever Taylor Buchholz is at home in suburban Philadelphia. He was placed on the disabled list June 2 with what the team labeled shoulder weakness.

Carrasco returns, Buchholz not close

June, 12, 2011
6/12/11
11:21
AM ET
The demotion lasted longer than he planned. But seven weeks after he was dispatched to Triple-A Buffalo on April 24, right-hander D.J. Carrasco is back with the Mets.

Carrasco acknowledged his mechanics got way out of whack during his season-opening stint with the Mets. He speculated that things began to go awry during the offseason when he compensated while trying to work out and ready for the season through a rib-cage tear. His leg kick became different, and other parts of his delivery followed suit in deviating from his usual form. Now, he is striding longer and has picked up 3-4 mph on his cutter.


Dale Zanine/US Presswire
D.J. Carrasco rejoined the Mets on Sunday for the first time since late April.


“Basically it was just getting back to what I’m capable of doing,” Carrasco said about the nine-appearance, eight-start minor league stint. “I think it was a combination of my mechanics at that time and my release point were really everywhere. There was nothing repetitive about any of that. Me and [Triple-A] pitching coach Ricky Bones did a great job of just keeping me focused and keeping me on track. It’s something that at that time I was like, ‘Well, I want to get this done this week. I want to be ready to go this week.’ And it wasn’t that quick.”

Carrasco allowed one run in his final 15 2/3 innings with the Bisons. He took a no-hit bid two out into the sixth inning of his most-recent start, but that ended on an infield single. First baseman Lucas Duda made a diving stop, but Carrasco was late covering first base.

“There was a lefty that loves high fastballs,” Carrasco said. “He’s chasing. I threw a high fastball. He jerked one foul -- a hard groundball foul. I tried to climb the ladder even more and I left it up a little bit lower. The same kind of swing. The same kind of result. But it stayed fair. And Duda made a great play. He stopped it. I just brain-farted and I didn’t cover first in time.”

Terry Collins said Carrasco, who replaced Dale Thayer on the roster, will settle into the previously intended role of longer relief in the middle innings.

“Certainly D.J. is going to be that guy to give us multiple innings if we need it,” Collins said.

Taylor Buchholz, who is eligible to return from the disabled list on Tuesday, is not close to returning from a shoulder injury. Buchholz has been limited to playing catch.

Tim Byrdak will not be placed on the bereavement list. He is due to miss only one game in Atlanta on Wednesday to attend a funeral. Barring a formal roster move or using Chris Capuano as a reliever on what could be considered a bullpen-session day between starts, the Mets will be without a southpaw in their bullpen that day.

• Duda sits Sunday, and likely Monday too in Pittsburgh with the Mets facing Pirates southpaw Paul Maholm in the series finale. Collins said he will try to get Scott Hairston into Monday’s game, since Hairston has one plate appearance this month and hasn’t started since May 18. But the manager added that finding a place for Hairston will be a difficult chore since he wants to keep Jason Bay in the lineup and Angel Pagan is hitting .400 with a homer in 17 career plate appearances against Maholm.

Taylor Buchholz to DL

June, 1, 2011
6/01/11
10:30
PM ET
The Mets will place Taylor Buchholz on the disabled list before Thursday's game with a "fatigued shoulder," Terry Collins said. The roster spot will be used for Jose Reyes' activation from the bereavement list.

Buchholz said he's pitched through pain for most of the season but it became more difficult to do so in the past week. He will huddle with the coaching staff in the coming days to put a rehabilitation plan together. He said there are no plans to have an MRI at this point.

"It's been getting worse and worse and we decided to give it a rest," Buchholz said.

The right-hander said his injury had been affecting his ability to throw offspeed pitches, which he relies on heavily.

"Hopefully this rest will help it out," he said.

Buchholz was 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 23 games pitched. He allowed 20 hits and nine earned runs in 23 2/3 innings.

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 7, Mets 3

May, 21, 2011
5/21/11
9:59
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: After reaching .500 for the first time since April 9 with Friday’s victory, the Mets slipped back under at 22-23 with a 7-3 loss to the Yankees on Saturday night.

ROOKS: A pair of Mets rookie records fell, so move over Ron Swoboda and Jack DiLauro.

Justin Turner drove in a run for the seventh straight game, establishing a new franchise rookie mark. Swoboda had RBIs in six straight games in August 1965. Turner’s line-drive single to right plated Daniel Murphy as the Mets took a 2-0 first-inning lead.

The last rookie in the majors to drive in a run in seven straight games was Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez of the Bronx from Sept. 21-27 of last season.

Meanwhile, Pedro Beato has now pitched 18 2/3 innings this season without allowing an earned run, setting a record for the longest streak to open a major league career as a Met. In 1969, DiLauro opened his career as a Met with 17 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Beato, who recorded five outs, was making his first appearance in six days and second since returning from the disabled list for elbow tendinitis.

FOUR-LORNED: Chris Capuano surrendered four long balls -- two-run homers to Russell Martin and Mark Teixeira and solo shots to Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez -- as the Yankees took a 6-3 lead. Capuano was pulled after A-Rod’s long ball.

The four homers allowed were one shy of matching the franchise record, set by Roger Craig on May 4, 1963 against the San Francisco Giants. Johan Santana and Oliver Perez also allowed four homers apiece last May.

Capuano’s line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay batted with six runners on base and produced one RBI. He had a bases-loaded, no-out sacrifice fly in the first inning. In the fifth, he stranded Carlos Beltran with a fielder’s choice groundout. In the seventh, with runners on the corners, Bay popped out to first base.

BUCH SHOT: Taylor Buchholz, like Beato, worked for the first time in six days. He allowed an eighth-inning run. Buchholz said he was briefly unavailable earlier in the week because of shoulder soreness after working three games in four days, including two innings Sunday at Houston.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not pitch Saturday. He has finished 18 of the Mets’ first 45 games. K-Rod is on track for 65 games finished, 10 over the threshold for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.

WHAT’S NEXT: Mike Pelfrey (3-3, 5.11 ERA) opposes right-hander Ivan Nova (4-3, 4.33) in Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. rubber game.

Quick hits on the Mets bullpen

April, 27, 2011
4/27/11
12:08
PM ET
There's been some buzz around the blogosphere regarding the recent performance of the Mets bullpen, so we figured we'd chime in with a few quick-hit nuggets.

Perhaps the most encouraging stat on Mets relievers during the team's five-game winning streak is the bullpen's strikeout-to-walk rate.

In their last 13 1/3 innings, Mets relievers have whiffed 14 and walked two, a significant improvement in their performance. Prior to the streak, the Mets bullpen was averaging four walks per nine innings.

Francisco Rodriguez


Relief Pitcher
New York Mets

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
9 1 0 6 13 2.08
Francisco Rodriguez, who earned another save Tuesday, is off to an encouraging start in one area. Rodriguez has successfully recorded outs against 12 of the 14 lefties against whom he's gotten to a two-strike count. He retired Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina in such a manner Tuesday night.

Video review indicates Rodriguez is throwing his changeup in such situations more than half the time (57 percent), which in the early going is about twice as frequently as he had thrown it in two-strike situations against lefties last season.

After some control issues at the start of the season, Taylor Buchholz has had 6 1/3 straight walk-free innings. Buchholz's curveball has come as advertised. He's gotten 16 outs with the pitch this season, yielding one base hit.

Jason Isringhausen, for the most part, has avoided the sort of contact that causes trouble. Rick Ankiel's single Tuesday night is the only line drive he has allowed in his 6 2/3 innings.

Lastly, there figures to soon be a clamoring for Pedro Beato to be used in more meaningful situations. Seven of Beato's eight entrances have come with the Mets trailing, although Terry Collins now appears leaning toward a common progression with a narrow lead of Beato to Isringhausen to K-Rod.

Within a VERY small sample, Beato has shown good swing-and-miss ability with his fastball. In his last three appearances, opponents have swung at 18 fastballs, missing eight. So far, hitters have swung and missed at it 27 percent of the time, a rate that is nearly double the major league average.

Mets morning briefing 4.27.11

April, 27, 2011
4/27/11
8:50
AM ET
R.A. Dickey tries to extend the Mets' winning streak to six games when he opposes Nats left-hander Tom Gorzelanny in the middle game of the series.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Newsday's Steve Marcus reports Fred Wilpon expects to select a new minority owner in May, with the sale closing in June and raising $200 million to pay off debt, including a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball. Among the four reported finalists, it is "too close to call" who will be selected, a source tells Marcus. The Post previous identified the finalists as one-time commodity trader Ray Bartoszek, hedge fund operator Steve Cohen, BTIG co-founder Steve Starker and hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci.

• The Mets had an uneventful voluntary visit Tuesday morning to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Last year, when Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez did not attend, it caused drama inside the organization that spilled into the media. ("I said I had feelings about [the missing players]. I just didn’t want to talk about it," Dickey tells the Record's Steve Popper about the 2010 situation.) This time, Taylor Buchholz and Francisco Rodriguez did not attend, but both had been permitted to travel to Washington on Tuesday so they could spend the Monday off-day with their families. Read more in the Record, Times, Newsday and Daily News.

• In Newsday's game story, David Lennon asks Jon Niese about a report that the southpaw might have been assigned to the bullpen had he had a poor outing Sunday, with Dillon Gee remaining in the rotation. "With a big-market team, if you don't do your job, they'll find somebody who will," Niese told Lennon. An organization source told ESPNNewYork.com that while the potential move was discussed, it was not overly likely to occur Sunday.

Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal identifies two benefits of Beltran's ability to play every day and produce. In the short term, it gives the Mets a bona fide No. 4 hitter. Secondly, if the Mets drift out of contention, it gives the organization a viable trade piece. At the July 31 deadline, Beltran still would be owed $5,964,480.87 -- 32.3 percent of his $18.5 million salary. So the Mets may need to pick up a portion. But Beltran has been producing. Even his outs Tuesday were mostly hard-hit, including a shot deep to right-center that Nats center fielder Rick Ankiel needed an extraordinary effort to corral in the first inning. Beltran also had a rocket to right field in the sixth that was caught.

After sitting matinee games in the first four series of the season, Beltran has now started 11 straight games in right field. Of course, there's always the concern that the cumulative pounding of a season will begin to catch up with Beltran's arthritic right knee. Beltran tells Costa: "I've been feeling good, so there's no reason not to play right now. I don't even ice my right knee. I don't think about it. I put my brace on there, but it's kind of like a habit now. I come to the ballpark and put my brace on, but I don't feel anything."

Costa also notes Beltran received a no-trade clause in his original seven-year, $119 million deal. Beltran tells Costa about a potential trade: "I would listen to my agent, because they're going to approach my agent first and then me. There's a possibility that can happen if we're not in contention. I might not be the only one [traded]. There's a lot of players kind of in the same situation."

Chris Young said he felt no discomfort in his shoulder in his first outing back from the disabled list (watch video here). He allowed three solo homers and departed after 4 2/3 innings. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Post and Star-Ledger.

Ryota Igarashi stranded two runners in scoring position inherited from Young by striking out Jayson Werth. David Waldstein in the Times takes you through the Igarashi vs. Werth at-bat.

Johan Santana is throwing at a distance on flat ground up to 120 feet and should be atop a mound within days. The Star-Ledger identifies the potential date as Sunday, which happens to be the precise May 1 date the Mets had targeted when Sandy Alderson outlined a plan at the start of spring training. Other reports said Santana will be on a mound within two weeks.

Andy McCullough delves into Josh Thole's slump, which the catcher may have freed himself from by producing a tiebreaking two-run double and career-high three RBIs in the series opener. Writes McCullough:

Before last night, Thole languished behind the rest of the regulars, burrowing deeper into a slump. His frustration mounted with each swing-and-miss. In the past, Thole avoided strikeouts. Hitting coach Dave Hudgens believes Thole possesses the best plate coverage on the team. In 2010, Thole made contact with 97.5 percent of the pitches he swung at inside the strike zone, according to FanGraphs. In the spring, Thole vowed to change. He tired of tapping two-strike pitches for easy outs. He hoped to add power and stop reaching outside the zone. Through 22 games, the results were unseemly. He entered last night striking out 25.8 percent of the time, more than twice his rate from 2010. “I’ve never struck out this much,” Thole said. “Makes it tough.”

• Daily News columnist (and Dickey co-biographer) Wayne Coffey speaks with new set-up man Jason Isringhausen, who did allow an eighth-inning run Tuesday. Writes Coffey:

Go ahead and ask Jason Isringhausen how his body feels. Watch as he points to a right elbow that has had six operations (including three Tommy Johns), to a shoulder that has had three operations and a hip that has had two. "It's as good as it's going to get," he said. "I'm an old man. It's worn out. I'll keep going until it pops."

• The Mets are 5-0 since Jason Bay returned to the lineup. Bay's wife Kristen is soon due with the couple's third child, although the birth is expected during the Mets' home stand next week, which would not disrupt Bay's play, the Post writes. As for being unbeaten since his return, Bay tells Dan Martin: "I'd like to take all the credit, but it's obviously more complicated than me coming back and everyone all of a sudden hitting. We've got a lot of good hitters, and it was only a matter of time before a few of them started clicking."

BIRTHDAY: Co-tallest Met Eric Hillman turns 46. Hillman, a lefty, measures 6-foot-10, the same height as Young. Hillman was 4-14 in his Mets career from 1992 to 1994. Amazingly, there are six pitchers with worse career winning percentages for the Mets than his .222 (minimum 10 decisions). -Mark Simon

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 10, Mets 7

April, 6, 2011
4/06/11
9:58
PM ET

Recap | Box score | Photos

Don't blame Mike Pelfrey. At least not technically.

After getting charged with seven runs in the second-shortest start of his career, Pelfrey was let off the hook when Daniel Murphy’s RBI single capped a five-run fifth and pulled the Mets even at 7.

However, a half-inning later, after a two-out double by Shane Victorino against Blaine Boyer, Placido Polanco sent an opposite-field, sinking liner toward Carlos Beltran in right field. The ball dropped under Beltran’s glove, Victorino scored and the Phillies ultimately retook the lead en route to a 10-7 win on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Boyer, who allowed three runs and five hits in two innings, including a solo homer to Ben Francisco in the sixth, was charged with the loss.

The Mets’ three-game winning streak and brief occupation of first place both ended.

Had the Mets (3-2) won, overcoming the seven-run deficit would have matched the second-largest comeback in franchise history. A 10-run eighth inning on June 30, 2000, capped by Mike Piazza’s three-run homer, lifted the Mets to an 11-8 win against the Atlanta Braves that day to overcome a seven-run deficit.

The largest comeback in franchise history was from an eight-run deficit on Sept. 2, 1972, in an 11-8 win at Houston.

Other details:

K-ROD COUNTER: Francisco Rodriguez, who had not appeared since Saturday’s blown save, pitched the eighth with the Mets trailing by three runs. Because he was the last Mets pitcher used in the game, he was credited with his first game finished of 2011. Rodriguez now needs to finish 54 of the Mets’ final 157 games for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.

TAYLOR TANKS: Pelfrey left the bases loaded and none out in the third, and Taylor Buchholz allowed all three inherited runners to score -- two on a single by opposing pitcher Joe Blanton.

Buchholz, who worked two innings, did strike out five batters. That was his highest K count since July 16, 2007 for the Colorado Rockies against Pittsburgh, before he required Tommy John surgery.

JO-SE, JO-SE: Jose Reyes reached base to open the game for the third straight time. This time, Reyes bunted toward the first-base side of the mound. Blanton fielded it, but his rushed throw at Ryan Howard’s feet wasn’t handled and Reyes was credited with an infield hit.

Reyes then swiped second and reached third on a throwing error by ex-Met Brian Schneider. But for a second straight game, he was stranded on third in the first inning despite reaching there with none out. This time, Willie Harris and David Wright struck out and Beltran flied out to left field.

Reyes appeared to hurt his left hand on the headfirst slide into second base on the steal, but showed no ill effects later.

Wright ultimately struck out three times.

CAREER NIGHT: Howard matched a career high with four hits. He homered off Pelfrey and also had a pair of doubles and a walk.

IGNITION: Angel Pagan’s two-run homer in the fourth off Blanton, the center fielder’s first long ball of 2011, began the Mets’ rally from a 7-0 deficit.

NEXT: Jon Niese opposes Roy Halladay in a 3:05 p.m. rubber game Thursday.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187