New York Mets: Tracy Boulware Strawberry

Morning Briefing: Kaz in Queens looms

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
5:45
AM ET

Ben Margot/Associated PressScott Kazmir is coming to town this week with the Oakland Athletics.
MIAMI

FIRST PITCH: The Mets will not be home for long, but they will get to head to NYC for a few days after completing a series at Marlins Park on Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

Jonathon Niese (3-4, 2.67 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander/New Jersey native Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.60).

The Mets are off Monday, then host the Oakland Athletics in a two-game series.

Scott Kazmir will pitch in Queens on Wednesday for the first time since he infamously was traded away by the Mets on July 30, 2004. He will be opposite Zack Wheeler.

Those two pitchers actually lined up last September in Cleveland, in Kazmir’s first-ever matchup against the Mets. Kazmir tossed six scoreless innings that day, striking out 12 in an 8-1 win by the Indians.

After the two-game series against the A’s at Citi Field, the Mets ship out to Pittsburgh and Atlanta to complete a stretch in which they will have played 25 of 33 on the road.

Sunday’s news reports:

• In his eighth major league start, rookie Jacob deGrom finally earned his first career win. DeGrom tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia as the Mets shut out the Marlins, 4-0. David Wright went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Lucas Duda added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Wright has a six-game hitting streak and has driven in a run in five straight games. He is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with two homers during the mini-spurt. Mets pitchers have a 1.27 ERA in the past five games.

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

• Read more on Wright in the Daily News.


Koji Sasahara/Associated PressWould the Mets actually fork over big money for Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? That remains to be seen.


• Will the Mets open up their wallets and pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? Writes Mike Puma in the Post:

General manager Sandy Alderson said it’s too early to say if he will pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas. But Alderson clearly seems intrigued by the 23-year-old.

“A corner outfielder with power?” Alderson said, smiling.

Tomas must establish legal residency and clear hurdles with the State Department before he can sign with a club, according to Alderson.

• Terry Collins has heard that MLB will institute a must-slide rule on contested plays at the plate next season. Read more on plate collisions and the Mets’ Friday dispute in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Juan Lagares (side muscle) played a full game in center field and went 0-for-4 in his second rehab appearance in the Gulf Coast League.

Jeremy Hefner plans to throw breaking balls off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery as well as increase his fastball velocity to near-normal levels during a throwing session Sunday at Marlins Park. Hefner, who underwent the procedure last Aug. 28, expects to be available to pitch in the majors this season. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Kaja Whitehouse in the Post wonders if embattled Mets minority owner Steve Cohen will be forced to sell his investment in the club.

• “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO will do a segment featuring Darryl Strawberry on Tuesday at 10 p.m. The program visits Strawberry and his wife Tracy Boulware Strawberry in St. Louis.

The 52-year-old Strawberry is now an ordained minister and founder of a recovery center for substance-abuse users. He discusses losing his entire baseball earnings, drug addiction, two bouts with colon cancer and jail time.

Strawberry tells the program he became a heroin user after his playing career.

“It was like I was completely out of my mind, sittin' there for four or five days, smokin' crack,” he says. “Doesn't matter if you Darryl Strawberry or, you know, you the richest man on earth. When -- if you're addicted, it will take you to places that you could never imagine.”

Strawberry and his future wife met at a Narcotics Anonymous convention, according to the program. She had her demons in check. He did not.

“The clothes are just hanging off of his body. He's sitting in a chair and he's like part of the fabric in the chair. He looks like the walking dead,” Mrs. Strawberry now says. “He told me not to get involved with him. ‘Girl, you have no idea what you're gettin' yourself into.’ He said, ‘You stay with me and I'm gonna take you through.’

“There were several times where he would go out to use and he would call me on the phone and just say, ‘I’m done. I can't do it anymore. I can't get well. I just -- there's no hope for a person like me. I’m tryin’ everything. Nothin’s enough. Love is not enough.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna use tonight until I die.’

“I’m running out and I’m banging down crack-house doors and I’m pulling him outta places that I used to be in.”

The future Mrs. Strawberry resolved at that point to leave Florida and head to her native St. Louis. Recalling how she told her parents, she said: “I call them halfway into the drive, ‘Mom and Dad, I'm coming home.’ And they're ecstatic. They're happy. They're crying. And, ‘By the way … I’m bringing Darryl Strawberry with me.’”

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two homers and five runs in 6 2/3 innings with Las Vegas. Steven Matz allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings in his Double-A debut, but the B-Mets rallied for a 7-6 win against Bowie. Michael Fulmer was struck with a line drive on the left forearm and departed after three pitches in Game 1 of a doubleheader. St. Lucie lost the opener, but rebounded for a 2-0 win against Fort Myers in Game 2 behind Matt Koch’s 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Champ Stuart stole the show in the 11th as Savannah beat Greenville, 7-6. Brandon Brosher had two homers in Kingsport’s 9-5 win against Danville.

Cory Mazzoni (lat) and Luis Mateo (elbow) both pitched in their first official games since suffering injuries as the GCL Mets were blanked by the GCL Nats, 8-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Outfielder Luke Bonfield, the Mets’ 21st-round pick, tweeted he will attend the University of Arkansas rather than sign with the Mets. Dale Burdick, the 40th-round pick, tweeted he will sign with the Mets. Fifteenth-round pick Gabriel Llanes, a prep right-hander from California, signed entering the weekend, he tweeted.

Burdick, a high school shortstop selected in the final round, will receive a $150,000 signing bonus to lure him away from attending Mississippi State, Chip Cirillo writes in the Tennessean. Burdick told the newspaper the Mets originally offered $100,000, but decided to give him an extra $50,000 since they had the sum remaining after agreeing to the monetary terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto. An agreement with Conforto has not yet been announced.

• Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin explains how B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez will attempt to juggle his overcrowded roster with the addition of five highly regarded prospects from St. Lucie.

• The St. Lucie Mets have been awarded the 2015 Florida State League All-Star Game. It will be played on June 20 at Tradition Field.

• Terry Collins explained why umpire Gary Cederstrom laughed before ejecting the manager on June 11 at Citi Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear decides it could do without most of the current Mets. ... Faith and Fear also noticed the arrival of summer coincided with deGrom's arrival in the win column.

BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Ron Hodges turns 65. ... Ex-Mets outfielder Willie Harris is 36. ... Binghamton outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, who is just returning from a concussion, is 24. ... Savannah right-hander Miller Diaz (5-1, 2.40 ERA) is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is a must-slide rule at the plate sensible in Major League Baseball?

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187