New York Mets: Wade LeBlanc

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

June, 6, 2013
6/06/13
7:58
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Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face (l to r) Jose Fernandez, Kevin Slowey and Tom Koehler this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (23-33, fourth place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (16-44, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 2.17) vs. RHP Jose Fernandez (3-3, 3.34), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-6, 5.71) vs. RHP Kevin Slowey (1-5, 4.16), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.40) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (0-4, 3.70), 1:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

Giancarlo Stanton, who has been out since straining his right hamstring against the Mets on April 29, began a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Jupiter. Also in the midst of rehab assignments: Donovan Solano (intercostal muscle), Joe Mahoney (hamstring) and Logan Morrison. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (shoulder) has one remaining rehab start before returning from the disabled list.


Laurence Kesterson/Associated PressCasey Kotchman returned Monday, after a two-month absence.


Once Stanton returns, Chris Coghlan should get exposure at third base and rookie Marcell Ozuna in center field and left field. Coghlan hasn’t been an everyday third baseman since 2009 in Triple-A, but he manned the hot corner during his college career at Ole Miss.

• Ozuna, who has been starting in right field in Stanton’s absence, lost a 16-game hitting streak last Saturday against the Mets. It was the second-longest streak for a rookie in Marlins history, trailing only Edgar Renteria’s 22-game streak in 1996.

• After last weekend’s series against the Mets, the Marlins activated first baseman Casey Kotchman from the DL and promoted left-hander Edgar Olmos from Double-A. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment and outfielder Jordan Brown was demoted to Triple-A.

• Highly regarded outfield prospect Christian Yelich, who excelled against the Mets during spring training, landed on the disabled list at Double-A Jacksonville with an abdominal strain. That will delay his promotion.

Ed Lucas, whose first major league hit came last weekend in Miami against the Mets, is the oldest position player ever to make his major league debut with the Marlins. The oldest players ever to debut for the Marlins, regardless of position: Joe Strong (2000, 37 years 245 days), Lucas (2013, 31 years 9 days), Chuck Smith (2000, 30 years 326 days), Joe Dillon (2005, 29 years 289 days) and Tommy Phelps (2003, 29 years 27 days).

Lucas’ four-hit game Sunday made him the fastest ever to accomplish that feat to begin his major league career with the Marlins -- his third game, and second start. Hanley Ramirez had a four-hit game in his fourth career game. Ozuna did it in his sixth career game, earlier this season.

Tom Koehler is a Stony Brook University product.

• Closer Steve Cishek blew a save Tuesday, serving up an extra-innings homer to Philadelphia’s John Mayberry Jr. He has converted five of seven chances.

• Former Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who remains a presence around the organization, underwent heart bypass surgery Monday. He is 82.

• Miami is 6-3 against the Mets this season.

Juan Pierre has a .322 career average against the Mets. His 157 hits against the Mets are his most against any club. Only Jimmy Rollins (245) has more hits against the Mets among active players.

Ricky Nolasco and reliever Ryan Webb are available via trade, but not Cishek or left-hander Mike Dunn, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Marlins 6

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
3:44
PM ET


WHAT IT MEANS: Jordany Valdespin was “El Hombre” Wednesday afternoon.

With the Mets in danger of getting swept by the lowly Miami Marlins, Valdespin produced a pinch-hit three-run homer in the sixth against Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos to stake the Mets to a one-run lead.

John Buck added a two-run double an inning later -- which it turned out the Mets would desperately need -- and the Amazin’s narrowly held on to salvage the finale, 7-6, at Marlins Park. The Mets (11-15) snapped a six-game losing streak.

Scott Atchison, protecting a 7-4 lead in his second inning of work in the seventh, surrendered three straight one-out singles. On the third of those hits, by Justin Ruggiano, Donovan Solano and Greg Dobbs had stopped in scoring position. But the ball got by left fielder Lucas Duda and both restarted and scored as the Marlins pulled within 7-6 with the pair of unearned runs.

The Mets had failed to protect one-run leads with three outs to go three times in the first two games of the series. This time, they stranded the potential tying run at third base in consecutive late innings and eked out a win.

Atchison left Ruggiano at third base in the seventh by getting Chris Valaika to fly out. An inning later, after Nick Green doubled against LaTroy Hawkins and reached third with two outs, Scott Rice entered and retired Juan Pierre on a groundout.

Bobby Parnell, who was upset he went unused Tuesday in a game Brandon Lyon uncorked a game-ending wild pitch, this time handled the ninth. Parnell retired the Marlins 1-2-3 on seven pitches for his third save.

SPIN-SANITY: Valdespin had set a franchise record with five pinch-hit homers a season ago. He had been 1-for-10 with a single, RBI and four strikeouts this season as a pinch-hitter before Wednesday’s three-run shot.

Six of Valdespin’s 10 career homers have come as a pinch hitter, which is one reason Terry Collins uses to justify using Valdespin in that role rather than as a more frequent starter.

That pinch-hit homer total does not include his walk-off grand slam last Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which came two innings after Valdespin entered that game as a pinch hitter and then took over in center field, also for Juan Lagares.

This afternoon, Ramos had inherited two baserunners with two outs from left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc. The righty reliever’s insertion prompted Collins to counter with the lefty-hitting Valdespin for the righty-hitting Lagares.

GEE FIZZ: Dillon Gee surrendered four runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings. He was pulled with his pitch count at a modest 70 after Valdespin provided the 5-4 lead. Gee’s ERA ballooned to 6.16.

WRIGHT STUFF: David Wright and Buck each had three hits. Wright scored three times.

Wright put the Mets in position for Valdespin’s three-run shot to be meaningful. He pulled the Mets within 3-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. And Wright doubled to lead off the sixth against LeBlanc and scored on Marlon Byrd’s two-out single to make it 4-2.

Wright has three homers this season. The other two came against Juan Nicasio in Colorado on April 16.

WHAT’S NEXT: After an off-day in Atlanta, the Mets play a weekend series against the first-place Braves at Turner Field. Shaun Marcum (0-2, 7.94 ERA), who pitched in relief on Monday, starts Friday night’s series opener opposite left-hander Mike Minor (3-2, 3.13).

Pregame notes: TC mulls Turner OF use

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
11:00
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MIAMI -- Trying to get Justin Turner into the lineup while also leaving his infield intact, Terry Collins said he weighed using Turner in the outfield Wednesday for the first time since brief usage there in 2006 at Class A Billings.

Collins opted to leave Turner out of the lineup rather than have his reintroduction to the position come in a spacious ballpark with tricky outfield walls.


Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Justin Turner may get a look in the outfield soon.


Collins did not want to sit Daniel Murphy or Ike Davis. They are a combined 7-for-15 with two homers in their careers against Marlins left-hander Wade LeBlanc.

FRANK TALK: Frank Francisco is due to have a two-inning appearance today or tomorrow in Port St. Lucie, Fla. After a day to recuperate, Francisco then may work back-to-back days for the first time since opening the season on the DL with elbow inflammation. Collins said Francisco's fastball has been about 92 mph, with some 94s.

Meanwhile, Pedro Feliciano -- who is back to appearing in Florida State League games -- was registering 85-86 mph with his fastball before a recent shutdown due to food poisoning, according to Collins. Feliciano has resumed pitching with the FSL club.

O YES? Collins, perhaps toeing the party line, said he is pleased with the Mets' approach at the plate, despite the recent futility. The Mets have scored three or fewer runs in eight of their past 12 games.

Collins noted even talented starting pitchers are not going deep into games against the Mets. During the past dozen games, the Mets drove up pitch counts and got pitchers out of the games early. Stephen Strasburg logged six innings, Gio Gonzalez four, Jordan Zimmermann five, Clayton Kershaw five, Ted Lilly five and Jose Fernandez four.

Collins suggested that the Mets just are not squaring up balls against opposing bullpens.

BP SPIEL: Bobby Parnell and Collins spoke late Tuesday, after the closer was upset he was unused with a one-run lead in the ninth. Collins affirmed Parnell was the closer and told him he did not intend to overdue early season use. Last season, Collins said, Parnell developed a sore elbow, which might have resulted from overuse. "I'm not going to blow you out," Collins told Parnell.

ENCOURAGING SIGN: Collins was particularly pleased that Zack Wheeler didn't walk a batter until his seventh and final inning in a solid outing for Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday. The manager, who spent 13 years in the Pacific Coast League, said he understands balls can be difficult to grip with the high altitude and dryness. Collins noted in his days in that league, it was not uncommon for pitchers to have pine tar lathered in their glove in order to illegally use to grip baseballs.

Mets morning briefing 8.7.12

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
9:41
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After an 11-game road trip, then an off-day Monday that included Zack Wheeler's Triple-A debut and several medical diagnoses, the Mets begin a three-game series against Jose Reyes and the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night. The team will also have a press conference to reveal the logo for the 2013 All-Star Game, although images already have leaked.

Tuesday's news reports:

• Reliever Tim Byrdak has an anterior capsule tear in his left shoulder. That's a career-threatening diagnosis since Byrdak is 38 years old. Johan Santana and Chris Young both had anterior capsule tears, and required surgeries that cost significant time. The Mets did not announce a firm surgery decision for the lefty reliever, who is 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA and National League-high 56 appearances. The list of pitchers to be diagnosed with anterior capsule tears and have surgery is a short one: Bret Saberhagen (1996), Mark Prior (2008), Chien-Ming Wang (2009), Santana (2010), Dallas Braden (2011), Young (2011), Rich Harden (2012).

The Mets have promoted Garrett Olson to pair with Josh Edgin as a left-hander in the bullpen, although the team has not announced the corresponding roster move. The most likely casualty is rookie Elvin Ramirez. Olson had split duty between starting and relieving with Buffalo, and is not a true lefty specialist. In fact, lefties are hitting .270 and righties are hitting .272 against him this season in Triple-A. Byrdak already had landed on the disabled list with the shoulder discomfort when Frank Francisco was activated in San Diego.

Also on the injury front, the Mets announced Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot -- not a full tear. He will not undergo surgery. And catcher Rob Johnson is listed as day-to-day with a bruised right hand. The Mets face a southpaw tonight at Citi Field, Miami's Wade LeBlanc, so presumably Johnson would start over lefty-hitting Josh Thole if capable.

Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Newsday and Times.

• Wheeler made his Triple-A debut Monday at Syracuse and largely had success, despite control issues. He allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings while tossing 101 pitches. Wheeler struck out seven and allowed three hits while walking four batters and hitting another. He has now logged 120 2/3 innings this season in regular-season games. Sandy Alderson has said there will be an innings limit imposed on Wheeler this season at roughly 150 innings or so, meaning it is unlikely he will join the Mets in September. Wheeler had been 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA in Double-A before the promotion.

“I was happy about the outing until that last inning,’’ Wheeler told Mike Waters in The Post-Standard, referring to the fifth inning, when he surrendered two runs and turned a pair of baserunners over to reliever Justin Hampson. “I was rushing out of my stretch. That’s what happens when you rush to the plate. Your arm drags and the ball stays up. That’s basically what happened.’’

• Reyes and current shortstop Ruben Tejada both carry hitting streaks into Tuesday's game. Reyes has hit in a career-high 24 straight games -- the longest streak in the majors this season -- while Tejada's streak is at 11. This is Reyes' second trip to Citi Field since signing with Miami in the offseason. But the complexion of the Marlins is vastly different than during his last trip, with a fire sale meaning the departure of several top players, including Hanley Ramirez in a trade to the Dodgers. Read more in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.

Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald chronicles the Marlins going from kings of the offseason on a wild spending spree to their current state. Writes Spencer:

Eight months after stunning the baseball world by storming through the winter meetings in Dallas and spending $190 million on big-ticket free agents, the Marlins smolder like twisted wreckage at the bottom of the standings. “We set ourselves up for it,’’ acknowledged Marlins president David Samson of a grand makeover that failed miserably. “We paraded around Dallas. We signed those guys. We opened a new ballpark. We said we’re ‘all in.’ ’’ Not only have the Marlins been a bust on the field, but attendance at their new ballpark has fallen short of expectations, creating an uncertain future on and off the field.

Andy Martino in the Daily News asserts the Mets should bring back the struggling Jason Bay for the 2013 season instead of departing ways with him. Writes Martino:

The case for Bay has little to do with his hustle, or attitude, or desire. No athlete wants to be a charity case because he is a nice guy -- or be allowed to hang around because of a large contract. Bay should be invited back for 2013, rather than sent away as the team swallows the $17 million remaining on his contract, because he can platoon with Duda, play excellent defense and provide meaningful leadership.

Jeremy Hefner has pitched well for the Mets, but he'll be going back to the bullpen with Santana scheduled to come off the disabled list this week.

TRIVIA: Jon Niese starts Tuesday's night. Against which National League team does the lefty has his worst winning percentage?

Monday's answer: The Los Angeles Kings took Tom Glavine in the fourth round, 69th overall, in 1984.

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

August, 6, 2012
8/06/12
11:47
AM ET

US Presswire/Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Wade LeBlanc, Nathan Eovaldi and Josh Johnson during the midweek series against the Marlins.
METS (53-56, third place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (49-60, fifth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (8-5, 3.72) vs. LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 1.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Young (3-5, 4.22) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-7, 4.66), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (14-3, 2.82) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (7-7, 3.85), 12:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

Jose Reyes takes a career-high 24-game hitting streak into the series against the Mets. It’s the longest hitting streak in the majors this season, topping a 23-game streak by the Yankees’ Robinson Cano from June 24 to July 20. Reyes has the fourth-longest hitting streak in Marlins history, trailing only Luis Castillo’s franchise-record 35-game streak in 2002 as well as Emilio Bonifacio’s 26-game streak in 2011 and Kevin Millar’s 25-game streak in 2002. Reyes is hitting .371 (36-for-97) with eight doubles, two triples and four homers during the streak.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Reyes is the first reigning batting champ with a 20-plus-game hitting streak the following season since Nomar Garciaparra in 2000. His streak is the longest by a reigning batting champ since Wade Boggs had a 25-gamer in 1987. And Reyes is the first reigning NL champ with a streak of this length since Stan Musial had a 24-gamer in 1952.

• Reyes moved to the No. 3 slot in the order on July 27, with the second baseman Bonifacio moving into Reyes’ leadoff slot and Carlos Lee shifting from third to cleanup. Bonifacio suffered a sprained left thumb Friday and has landed on the DL, but Reyes remains third. Nick Green was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans. Rookie Donovan Solano started during the weekend at second base.


Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Jose Reyes takes the longest hitting streak in the majors this season into Citi Field on Tuesday.


Reyes and Bonifacio are the first Marlins tandem with 25-plus steals apiece since 2002, when Castillo (48 steals), Andy Fox (31) and Eric Owens (26) all exceeded that total.

• In their latest fire sale, the Marlins shipped Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers with Randy Choate on July 25 for Nathan Eovaldi and minor leaguer Scott McGough. Ramirez is owed $15.5 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014.

First baseman Gaby Sanchez was dealt to Pirates six days later with minor leaguer Kyle Kaminska for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and a draft pick. Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez landed in Detroit for right-hander Jacob Turner and minor leaguers Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn and a swap of draft picks. Edward Mujica was dealt to the Cardinals.

• Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (.284, 19 HR, 50 RBIs) began a rehab assignment Thursday after recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He should return for the series against the Mets.

• Eovaldi faced the Mets in his final start with the Dodgers. He allowed one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven in a 96-pitch effort that lasted only 4 1/3 innings at Citi Field.

• The Marlins acquired Lee from the Astros on July 4 for Matt Dominguez and minor leaguer Rob Rasmussen. Lee, who is playing first base, has an 11-game hitting streak. Houston picked up the $9 million owed to Lee, less the prorated major league minimum.

Heath Bell, who is in the first season of a three-year, $27 million deal, has not worked in a save chance since allowing three runs in a blown save at St. Louis on July 8. Steve Cishek is 5-for-5 in save chances since that point.

• Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was acquired from the Padres in a Nov. 22 trade for John Baker. He made 16 starts at New Orleans before joining Miami’s bullpen on July 1. He will be making his second Marlins start, as his audition to remain a starter continues. LeBlanc allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings while throwing 71 pitches at Atlanta on Wednesday.

LeBlanc displaced from the rotation Carlos Zambrano, who last Monday made his first relief appearance since Aug. 4, 2010.

• Center fielder Justin Ruggiano (.340) started Sunday for the first time in five days. He had been dealing with back spasms. The 30-year-old former Ray, a nine-year minor leaguer, was acquired from Houston on May 26 after playing in 39 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Last series results

Miami won, 2-1, at Marlins Park, May 11-13 (AP game recaps)

Marlins 6, Mets 5: Greg Dobbs’ two-out single in the ninth inning scored Emilio Bonifacio from second base with the winning run. The Marlins scored twice in the ninth off Frank Francisco to win for the ninth time in 10 games. Francisco blew his second save in 10 chances. His ERA rose to 6.59. More

Mets 9, Marlins 3: David Wright pulled an RBI single in the first inning, then sent three subsequent hits to the opposite field with a variety of trajectories. The net result: Three singles, one homer and three RBIs for Wright to help the Mets beat Ricky Nolasco. It was the fourth consecutive multi-hit game for Wright, hiking his NL-leading average to .402. R.A. Dickey (5-1) pitched six innings and sent the Marlins to only their second loss in the past 11 games. More

Marlins 8, Mets 4: Giancarlo Stanton's two-out slam capped a comeback Sunday by the Marlins, who scored six times in the ninth inning to beat an angry Frank Francisco. The Marlins trailed 4-2 when Emilio Bonifacio led off the ninth with his second triple of the game against the struggling Francisco (1-3). John Buck walked and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs followed with an RBI single. Francisco was then replaced, and he walked slowly toward plate umpire Todd Tichenor, hollering angrily. Manager Terry Collins stepped between Tichenor and Francisco, who was ejected even though he was already out of the game. Manny Acosta replaced Francisco, and Jose Reyes' sacrifice fly made the score 4-all. After a popup, Hanley Ramirez walked and Austin Kearns was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Stanton's pink Mother's Day bat then closed out the victory, launching the first pitch over the left-center wall near the animated home run sculpture. More

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
8 4.12 95 126
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .287
HRL. Duda 15
RBIL. Duda 50
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .841
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112