New York Mets: World Baseball Classic

Morning briefing: Amazin' injury total

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
6:57
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: An alarming injury total keeps growing larger.

Injury-prone Shaun Marcum spent Tuesday’s off-day in New York getting a cortisone shot in his pitching shoulder for what the team labeled an impingement.


Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports
Justin Turner limped off the field during Saturday, one of an overwhelming number of Mets injuries.


Marcum will not make his planned start at 1:10 p.m. today against the St. Louis Cardinals at Tradition Field. Instead, Jeremy Hefner will start opposite Adam Wainwright, of curveball to now-teammate Carlos Beltran fame.

The Mets maintain that Marcum will miss only the one rotation turn. If he were to be unable to open the season, though, Aaron Laffey likely would fill the void, since Hefner already is filling in for Johan Santana.

A review of the significant camp injuries:

David Wright: Strained intercostal on left side. Opening Day status questionable, but Wright remains hopeful.

Daniel Murphy: Strained intercostal on right side. Terry Collins says it’s more likely Murphy opens the season on the DL than Wright.

Santana: Has not been on a mound in 15 days because of shoulder fatigue. DL-bound.

Marcum: Shoulder impingement.

Frank Francisco: Experienced elbow inflammation in camp, after undergoing surgery in December to remove a bone spur. DL-bound to open season.

Justin Turner: Suffered sprained right ankle Saturday. X-rays negative. Hope is he returns to a game Friday.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Served as DH in a minor league game Wednesday, his first game action in 2˝ weeks. He suffered a bone bruise on his left knee sliding March 3. Nieuwenhuis now is ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas to open the season.

Jenrry Mejia: Forearm tendinitis. The Mets say this is not alarming and not a harbinger of another Tommy John surgery.

Thursday’s news reports:


Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports
Dillon Gee has been roughed up in consecutive appearances.


Dillon Gee maintained he rediscovered his form in his fourth and final inning, when he struck out the side -- Tyler Greene, Jose Altuve and Brett Wallace. Overall, though, Gee was roughed up for a second straight game Wednesday, allowing five earned runs. The Mets rallied for a 7-5 win against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee as Matt den Dekker hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the seventh against his cousin and former high school and college teammate, Kevin Chapman. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Den Dekker, nonetheless, looks headed for minor league camp imminently.

• Read a full roster projection here, which includes Pedro Feliciano and Greg Burke claiming bullpen spots, Omar Quintanilla beating out Brandon Hicks (who committed his fourth error Wednesday), and Zach Lutz sneaking onto the roster with Murphy opening the season on the DL.

The Mets intend to carry two left-handers in the bullpen.

• The Mets plan to formally announce their rotation order in the next day or so. The plan appeared to be Jonathon Niese on Opening Day, followed by Marcum, Matt Harvey, Gee, back to Niese and then Hefner. It remains to be seen whether Marcum’s shoulder issue has disrupted that order.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News wonders who has a brighter horizon over the next five years -- the Mets or the Yankees. Writes Harper:

I can hear the Yankee fans screaming obscenities already, and I can understand why it may sound insulting at first, considering the Mets may not win 70 games this season. Then again, with age and injuries painting such an ominous picture in Tampa these days, what if the Yankees win 84 games and miss the playoffs?

That scenario is hardly far-fetched, especially now with Derek Jeter struggling with the after-effects of his broken ankle, to the point where GM Brian Cashman admitted Wednesday the Captain may open the season on the disabled list.

So if we’re looking at a five-year window with the two local teams, and the Yankees are now far from a lock to cash in on Year 1, suddenly the young talent the Mets are grooming to contend in 2014 and beyond becomes all the more enticing. …

However, Harper concludes:

Yes, there is absolutely an argument to be made here for betting on the Mets’ five years, and three major league executives I polled on Wednesday said they would be highly tempted to go that way. Yet all three said if they were putting their own careers on the line, ultimately they would bet on the Yankees.

The common denominator: They don’t trust the Wilpons, and they don’t believe Steinbrenner will stick to the $189 million figure if it means empty seats at Yankee Stadium and weak ratings on the YES Network.

• On Marcum, Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma in the Post: “Anytime there’s some sort of intervention that occurs there is at least minor concern. But this was largely precautionary.” Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday and Record.

• Read more on the status of Wright and Murphy in the Star-Ledger, Post, Newsday, Daily News and Times.

• Read more on Nieuwenhuis in the Record.

• Wright was named third baseman for the all-World Baseball Classic team. Ex-Mets Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan and Nelson Figueroa also appeared on the 12-player list.

From the bloggers Metsmerized Online wonders if Jordany Valdespin becomes the difference-maker the Mets never added this offseason. ... After hearing about Marcum, Mets Police has Jim Halpert Face.

BIRTHDAYS: Longtime Cub Shawon Duston, who hails from Brooklyn and played for the Mets in 1999, turns 50.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who will have a better next five years -- the Mets or the Yankees?

Wright: No WBC regret, opener unclear

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
10:19
AM ET

Adam Rubin
David Wright discusses his strained intercostal muscle upon returning to camp.


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets third baseman David Wright offered no regrets Sunday about playing in the Word Baseball Classic, suggesting the injury he sustained in the tournament could have just as easily occurred had he remained in spring training camp.

Wright, who rejoined the Mets on Sunday after being examined by team doctors in New York, added that he is unsure whether he will recover enough to be ready for Opening Day after straining an intercostal muscle on his left side.

"That's looking to predict the future, and I can't do that, and I won't do that, because it's the first day I've been back in camp," Wright said. "So I don't know how I'm going to feel tomorrow. I don't know how I'm going to feel the next day. I'll tell you that's my goal."

Read the full news story here.

Morning briefing: Mets need luck of Irish

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
6:53
AM ET

Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports
Justin Turner limps off the field during Saturday's fourth inning.


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and the injury-depleted Mets could use some luck of the Irish as they don green uniforms today against the Atlanta Braves at Tradition Field.

Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese opposes right-hander Julio Teheran at 1:10 p.m. Scott Rice, Brandon Lyon, Bobby Parnell and Greg Burke also are scheduled to pitch.

Sunday’s news reports:

Justin Turner, the primary fill-in for David Wright, suffered a sprained right ankle during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game. He had an X-ray last night that should be read today, but Turner was confident the injury was minimal.

Wright is due back in camp this morning, after a trip to New York resulted in the third baseman being diagnosed with a “moderate” strain of an intercostal muscle on his left side.

Zach Lutz is due to start at third base this afternoon against Atlanta.

Read more on the third-base injuries in the Star-Ledger, Post, Newsday, Times, Record, Daily News and MLB.com.

• Wright is likely to be named captain before Opening Day, although it has not yet been determined whether he will wear a “C” on his jersey, writes Andy Martino in the Daily News. Jeff Wilpon suggested to ESPNNewYork.com on March 13 that the honor was likely to come before the April 1 opener against the San Diego Padres.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday says Wright should have put the Mets, not country first. Writes Lennon:

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday was the first he had heard of the injury. Wright indicated that he initially felt the problem as far back as Team USA's early days in Phoenix, which is right around the time Mark Teixeira was sent back to the Yankees after complaining of wrist soreness.

From that point, Wright must have known any whisper of an injury would airmail him right back to Port St. Lucie, without a round-trip ticket. If he did as much as ask Team USA trainer Gene Monahan for a tissue, it was curtains for Wright and the WBC.

So he didn't say anything, and Wright continued to play at such a high level that nobody could have guessed he was hurting.

Daniel Murphy was too stiff to play in a minor league game Saturday, although Sandy Alderson insisted it was not a setback from his strained intercostal muscle. Read more in the Post.


Courtesy of New York Mets
The Mets will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with green uniforms.


• Kirk Niewenhuis (knee) only needs to run the bases before entering a minor league game.

Frank Francisco feels a “sting” when he exerts himself throwing on a mound. Read more in the Record, Newsday, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

Shaun Marcum logged four innings and allowed two runs as the Mets lost to the Marlins, 4-2, Saturday. Read more at MLB.com.

• Andrew Keh in the Times speaks with catcher Landon Powell about the death of his 5-month-old daughter Izzy shortly before spring training due to an autoimmune disease. Secondary to the tragedy but still relevant, the Powell family noted that medical bills piled up, especially when Powell was a free agent during the winter and uninsured, so making the major league roster is especially important.

• Willie Randolph, who coached for Joe Torre on Team USA in the WBC, tells Newsday he might still be managing had Carlos Beltran not struck out against Adam Wainwright in Game 7 back in the 2006 NLCS.

"No doubt about that,” Randolph said. “I'm not obsessive about it, but it took me a long time to get over that. I still think about that. I know that's the baseball gods. It happens that way sometimes. Carlos had a great year for me. He was one of my best players. He just got a hellacious curveball that he locked up on. Who knows?"

Randolph tells Lennon he did interview for the Houston Astros bench-coach job during the offseason but was not selected.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger has a Q&A with Omar Quintanilla, whose performance appears to warrant a spot on the Opening Day roster, despite the infielder not being on the 40-man roster (while Brandon Hicks is). Quintanilla said he had an invitation to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic but wanted to stay in camp to make the team.

• Mets farmhand Francisco Pena had an RBI single in the unbeaten Dominican Republic’s 2-0 win over Puerto Rico in the WBC. Read more at MLB.com.

• While Detroit Tigers minor leaguer Cesar Carrillo has been suspended by MLB as part of the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug investigation, Mets farmhand Cesar Puello cannot be similarly banned because he is on the 40-man roster, the Daily News reports.

From the bloggers Mets Police looks at what it believes are the Mets’ entire collection of St. Patrick's Day uniform designs throughout the years. … Faith and Fear in Flushing wishes the Mets would begin 2013 in modestly encouraging fashion and end it far less discouragingly than has become their custom.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets catcher Vance Wilson turns 40. He last played professionally in 2009 in the minors with the Kansas City Royals.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Where would the Mets be today had Carlos Beltran connected with that Adam Wainwright curveball?

Briefing: Wright wrong to put country first?

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
6:53
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins did not question David Wright’s judgment for trying to play through discomfort in the World Baseball Classic. Collins noted Wright’s toughness, including playing through a broken back for a month in 2011 before finally seeking a diagnosis of the precise injury.

But did Wright do the right thing when he put country first?

Columnist John Harper in the Daily News asserts Wright was wrong for trying to play through the injury in the WBC. Writes Harper:


David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT/Getty Images
David Wright has a strained intercostal muscle on his left side.


David Wright is a gamer, we all know that by now, and that’s at least partly why Mets fans have come to love him over the years. So you know his heart was in the right place when he continued to play for Team USA after feeling discomfort in his rib-cage area, hoping it wouldn’t amount to anything.

And let’s be honest, in the same situation Derek Jeter would still be playing, having said nothing to anyone about it. Even so, Wright should have known better. After all, while downplaying the idea that he felt any real pain, he admitted that it was enough to wake him up at night for a period of a week or so.


During a visit to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Friday, Wright was diagnosed with a strained intercostal muscle on his left side, Alderson said. The GM added that Wright, who is due in Port St. Lucie today, will be idle for three to five days.

Given Daniel Murphy has taken a month to get back from an intercostal muscle strain on his right side, and given Wright and Jason Bay took that long last spring training for rib-cage muscle injuries, Collins figures it is logical that Wright may open the season on the disabled list.

On Friday, Wright withdrew from the World Baseball Classic. He was poised to be replaced by San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley for the final round, but that is now moot since ex-Met Nelson Figueroa and Puerto Rico eliminated Team USA on Friday night in Miami with a 4-3 victory.

Collins indicated he will now get Justin Turner serious work at third base, since he knows Turner is a major league hitter. Zach Lutz, Brandon Hicks and Brian Bixler also will be considerations to plug the third-base void, according to Collins.

Shaun Marcum starts today at 1:10 p.m. as the Mets host the Miami Marlins at Tradition Field.

Right-hander Henderson Alvarez starts for Miami. Also scheduled to pitch for the Mets: Greg Burke, Brandon Lyon, Jeurys Familia and Pedro Feliciano.

Saturday’s news reports:

• Read more on Wright in the Star-Ledger, Record, Journal, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday and MLB.com.

• Infielders Wilmer Flores and Josh Satin and right-hander Carlos Torres were dispatched to the minor league side of the complex Friday, leaving 42 remaining in major league camp. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Andrew Brown had a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth as the Mets beat the Braves, 5-2, Friday at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Jeremy Hefner allowed a pair of solo homers but struck out the final six batters he faced in five innings. Left-hander Aaron Laffey, the next fallback for a rotation spot with Hefner plugging in for Johan Santana, tossed 2 1/3 no-hit innings. Lucas Duda homered. Read more in the Record, Post and MLB.com.

• Collins said Jenrry Mejia has forearm tendinitis, but there is no damage and the right-hander is not in danger of needing another Tommy John surgery.

• Murphy played five innings at second base and ran the bases, but did not bat, in a minor league game.

• Hitting coach Dave Hudgens will return to managing Caracas in the Venezuelan winter league next offseason.

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday interviews Dr. Ajay Nangia, an associate professor of urology and male infertility specialist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, about why failing to wear a cup is no laughing matter and how Jordany Valdespin is fortunate to escape unscathed.

From the bloggers Faith and Fear in Flushing finds that when a Mets cap leads to small talk, the news can sometimes be pretty big. … Metsmerized Online examines the Alderson Plan and growing the Mets fresh from the vine. … Dan Twohig at Mets Police thinks it's still possible to enjoy the WBC even without Wright.

BIRTHDAYS: Longtime Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Abraham Nunez, whose career ended with two games for the Mets in 2008, turns 37.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe David Wright will be at third base on Opening Day?

David Wright redirected to New York

March, 15, 2013
3/15/13
7:43
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright will proceed directly to New York to have his sore ribs examined by Mets doctors and not stop at the team's complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Sandy Alderson said the Mets should have results of Wright's tests on Saturday, the day Wright is due to return to camp.

San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley reportedly already has been approached as Wright's replacement should Team USA advance to the final round with a victory over Puerto Rico tonight.

Alderson on Friday morning in Port St. Lucie did not want to address third base alternatives should Wright need to open the season on the DL. The GM indicated that those options would not even be discussed internally, in all likelihood, until after Wright was examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

If the Mets did need a third-base sub, Zach Lutz and Justin Turner might be most equipped to handle the role. Brandon Hicks and Brian Bixler also remain in camp.

Read the full news story here.

Morning briefing: Wright's side stop in PSL

March, 15, 2013
3/15/13
6:45
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Captain America, it turns out, is not invincible.

David Wright should be back at the Mets’ spring-training complex today, not with Team USA as it faces an elimination game in Miami against Puerto Rico. And that is worrisome. (UPDATE: Wright will fly directly to New York this morning to be examined by team doctors. He is due in Port St. Lucie on Saturday.)

Wright was scratched from Thursday night’s game, an eventual 3-1 loss to the Dominican Republic, with rib soreness on the back left side. He is due to be examined today by Mets doctors in Port St. Lucie.

Wright said he began feeling discomfort a week ago. He has had difficulty sleeping in recent days, but maintains his body feels better playing than while idle. He was scratched after going through batting practice as the Mets exerted their influence.


Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
David Wright should be back in Port St. Lucie getting a rib-cage issue checked out.


During the 2011 season, Wright played through discomfort before eventually being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back. Last spring training, the now-30-year-old Wright dealt with a left rib-cage strain, although he told reporters last night this injury seemed different.

Wright insisted he could have played last night.

If Wright is not ready for Opening Day, however, Zach Lutz, Justin Turner or Brandon Hicks would be capable of playing third base.

On the field, the Mets travel to Disney today to face the Atlanta Braves.

Jeremy Hefner, who is poised to open the season in the rotation in place of Johan Santana, starts for the Mets opposite Tim Hudson. Also scheduled to pitch: Aaron Laffey, Bobby Parnell, Josh Edgin and Scott Atchison.

Terry Collins said Laffey should pitch at least two innings as he begins to get stretched out, presumably as the next alternative should another starting pitcher be needed.

Also today, Mets officials must ship out prospects on the 40-man roster or face additional risk the remainder of spring training. If Travis d’Arnaud or Wilmer Flores remained in camp beyond Friday and subsequently became injured, they would need to open the season on the disabled list and accumulate major league pay and service time. So prospect cuts from major league camp may be looming before today’s close of business.

Friday’s news reports:

• Read more on Wright’s injury in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

• Tom Seaver has been battling a serious case of Lyme disease that included some memory loss, Bill Madden reports in the Daily News.

Dillon Gee allowed six runs on three hits, four walks, two hit batters and three wild pitches in two innings and the Mets lost to the Tigers, 9-1, Thursday at Tradition Field. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday, Post, Daily News and MLB.com.

• The Post’s Mike Vaccaro and Mark Hale spoke with Sandy Alderson on a Podcast. (Listen here, beginning at the 4:30 mark.)

On whether a multiyear deal will come up to cover the remaining three years of arbitration for Ike Davis and beyond, Alderson said: “It has to fit for us. It has to fit for the player. So, in his case, and maybe one or two others, we keep an eye on it. Sometimes the player is not interested. Sometimes the agent is not interested. It’s one of those things that has to work for both sides.”

As for why Collins is managing a lame-duck season rather than getting an extension, the GM said: “In part a desire just to see how the team continues to develop … we felt that this was the best thing for the Mets. That doesn’t mean that Terry won’t be with us long term. And it doesn’t mean that he’ll be judged strictly on the basis of wins and losses either.”


Jeff Robertson/Associated Press
Ike Davis is hitting 357 during spring training.


• Despite an 0-for-3 performance Thursday, Davis is still hitting .357 in Grapefruit League play. “Yeah!” Davis told Anthony Rieber in Newsday.

Davis discusses how badly Valley fever knocked him out last spring training with Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. Writes Ackert:

Every night last spring, after a day fighting through fatigue at the ballpark, Ike Davis would go back to his place and just crash. Still, lying there in his bed at night, there was no relief from the fatigue of Valley fever, the fungal infection that attacked Davis’ lungs and sapped his strength. He’d get dizzy, he’d struggle to breathe -- and every night he would hardly sleep at all.

Jenrry Mejia, who has recently rediscovered his cutter, has not pitched since Monday because of tendinitis, Mike Puma writes in the Post.

Mike Baxter mourned the death of legendary prep coach Jack Curran, whom Baxter played for at Archbishop Molloy.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record reviews the recent outings of Bobby Parnell.

• Steven Marcus in Newsday reports that Sunday’s college lacrosse doubleheader marks only the second time the sport has been played at a major league stadium on an intercollegiate level. The other instance came when Navy faced Johns Hopkins in the Houston Astrodome in 1971.

From the bloggers … In light of Wright's plot-twist, Mets Police is convinced The Mets is actually a scripted television series.

BIRTHDAYS: No player to appear in a game for the Mets was born on March 15, but Eva Longoria, Kellan Lutz, Bret Michaels and Fabio celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: If David Wright were to start the season on the DL, whom would you like to see at third base -- Zach Lutz, Justin Turner, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Hicks or Brian Bixler?

Captain America mortal (Wright scratched)

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
7:02
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright has been scratched from tonight's World Baseball Classic game against the Dominican Republic with sore ribs. He told reporters the issue had existed for a week and he will be examined in Port St. Lucie on Friday.

Read the rest of the story, here.

Morning briefing: Jay Horwitz dresses up

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
6:30
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Dillon Gee and the Mets face the Detroit Tigers this afternoon at 1:10 at Tradition Field.

Detroit hit five Mets batters with pitches in two games in the past week, including Jordany Valdespin in the groin.

Right-hander Doug Fister starts for the Tigers. Also due to pitch for the Mets: LaTroy Hawkins, Pedro Feliciano, Greg Burke and Josh Edgin.

Thursday’s news reports:

Johan Santana spoke with ESPNNewYork.com about the state of his shoulder. As for criticism he is not in pitching shape, Santana said: “I've been here every single day. I've been doing everything the way they asked me to. I've been working out, keeping track of everything.” Terry Collins said Santana is “not too close” to stepping on a mound. Sandy Alderson and Santana spoke earlier this week to get on the same page. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Record, Post and MLB.com.


Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports
Matt Harvey allowed a three-run homer to Bryce Harper but no other damage in four innings Wednesday.


Matt Harvey surrendered a three-run homer to Bryce Harper and Bobby Parnell allowed four runs (three earned) in an inning of work that included an error by Lucas Duda in left field as the Mets lost to the Nationals, 8-5, Wednesday at Space Coast Stadium. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Record and Daily News.

• If David Wright is dubbed “Captain America,” it stands to reason he will be captain of the Mets as well, right? Well, the Mets are being tightlipped, but it looks like that honor will happen once he returns to camp.

Wright and Team USA try to advance to the semifinals in San Francisco when they face Robinson Cano and the Dominican Republic tonight at 7 in Miami. The loser would need to subsequently defeat Puerto Rico in order to join the Final Four at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Writes David Lennon in Newsday:

Wright's teammates had a laugh with the whole Captain America nickname Wednesday morning at the team's breakfast meeting. Instead of the usual place-setting with his name, Wright's card had his head superimposed on the costumed body of Captain America.

"They were having fun with it," Wright said. "I think they're about as tired of it as probably everybody else is. It's a cool superhero, so I'm thrilled about that, at least."

One person who hopes that Wright keeps his comic-book powers for another game is tonight's starter, R.A. Dickey, who didn't have his best knuckleball in the first-round loss to Mexico. As for the nickname, Dickey thinks it's a good fit, but added, "We don't have a shield for him or anything.

"I think he's stepping forward on a team full of superstars," Dickey said, "and kind of becoming that visual leader."

Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News and MLB.com.

Daniel Murphy (side-muscle strain) should play in a game this weekend on the minor league side. … Kirk Nieuwenhuis (bruised knee) may resume outdoor baseball activities today.

• Valdespin said he erred in not wearing a cup -- a mistake he vows never to repeat. Read more on Valdespin in the Journal.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger notes Mets pitchers began hitting in Grapefruit League games Wednesday. Writes Andrew Keh in the Times:

As a group, the Mets’ pitchers batted .155, the third-highest average in the National League after the Nationals’ and the Cincinnati Reds’ [in 2012]. And their pitchers boasted the lowest strikeout rate of any N.L. team, at 27.7 percent.

Hitting numbers for pitchers involve small sample sizes -- N.L. teams tend to get just under 400 total plate appearances from their pitchers -- and many circumstantial factors. Owing partly to this, perhaps, the Mets’ statistics have varied significantly from year to year.

In 2010, the Mets’ pitchers batted .171, the league’s fourth-best average. One season later, their .104 average was the league’s second worst. Relative to the batting averages of players at other positions, even the highest averages among pitchers seem comically low. But players and coaches insist they matter.

• The Mets have only “marginal” interest in outfielder Brennan Boesch, according to the Post. Boesch was released by the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. The lefty hitter had a .240 average and .286 OBP with 12 homers in 470 at-bats last season.

From the bloggers … Shannon from Mets Police isn't having trouble finding 12 seats together for Opening Day and wonders how ticket sales are going. … John Delcos at New York Mets Report makes a case for Matt den Dekker to make the club. … Faith and Fear in Flushing explores the inevitable downfall of Santana -- and every other superstar athlete.

BIRTHDAYS: Reliever Josh Stinson, a waiver claim by the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of last year’s spring training, turns 25.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What do you make of Jay Horwitz dressing up as Captain America’s sidekick Bucky?

Mets tightlipped, but captaincy looming

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
5:05
PM ET
VIERA, Fla. -- Like anyone watching the World Baseball Classic, Jeff Wilpon is aware of the accomplishments of David Wright for Team USA. Wilpon also is aware of Wright being labeled Captain America" on the telecasts.

"It's nice that they're calling him Captain America, and he's living up to it," Wilpon said.

So doesn't Wright merit being the Mets' captain, too?

Wilpon said he could not talk about that yet -- implying there would be something to talk about.

So stay tuned, but all signs point to Wright receiving the recognition before Opening Day. He would become the fourth captain in team history, joining Keith Hernandez (1987-89), Gary Carter (1988-89) and John Franco (2001-04).

Of course, Wright -- who has 10 RBIs in four Team USA games -- may not be returning to camp anytime soon. Team USA next plays Thursday at 7 p.m. at Marlins Park in Miami, with a berth in the Final Four in San Francisco at stake.

Should Team USA advance, the championship game is next Tuesday at AT&T Park, so Wright may be absent from Mets camp another full week.

Morning briefing: Wright: Captain America

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
6:19
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: After enjoying an off-day Tuesday, it’s back to business, with Matt Harvey on the mound in Viera, Fla., against a Washington Nationals split squad. Jordan Zimmermann pitches for the Nats in the 1:05 p.m. game.


David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT/Getty Images
David Wright's five RBIs Tuesday included a bases-loaded double in the eighth.


Wednesday’s news reports:

David Wright drove in five runs, including with a bases-loaded double in the eighth, and Team USA beat Puerto Rico, 7-1, in their opening game of the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Wright is 7-for-16 (.438) with 10 RBIs in four WBC games. Team USA next plays the Dominican Republic on Thursday, with the winner earning one of the Miami bracket’s two berths in the finals, which will be held in San Francisco.

"Obviously the adrenaline gets pumping for this tournament," Wright said. "You wear that uniform, you want to go out there and represent your country. Hitting in this lineup is ridiculous. You have some of the best hitters in the game, and it creates some matchup problems."

Read more in the Daily News, Newsday and Post.

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday notes the Mets and Yankees both open at home on April 1 shortly after 1 p.m.

"Our feeling is that while it's not ideal to have both teams opening at home on the same day at the same time, it's also an interesting opportunity to have the entire city and the surrounding area celebrate Opening Day in New York regardless of which particular team you follow," Mets executive VP David Howard told Rieber. "We think there's actually some upside to it even though, again, we wouldn't have chosen it."

Howard added that the Mets did not consider changing their game time to avoid a direct conflict.

• Frank Viola tells Dan Martin in the Post that Harvey, at least demeanor-wise, reminds him of a young Roger Clemens. “On the field, you knew Roger was the man and he showed you why he was the man,” said Viola, who was Clemens’ teammate for three seasons with the Boston Red Sox. “Matt’s the same way. Off the field, that’s a different story. I don’t know Matt’s personality very well, but when I got here, he stood out immediately and he’s set the precedent for what’s going on here.”

• Kristie Ackert in the Daily News chats with Jeremy Hefner, who is slated to step into the rotation for Johan Santana. Santana was at the Mets’ complex during Tuesday’s off-day, but did not throw. Santana does expect to throw at the team’s facility today.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger profiles Marlon Byrd, who is hitting .348 this spring and is due to be one of the outfielders the Mets take north, seemingly with Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin.

• Mike Puma in the Post discusses Matt den Dekker’s offense. As for his fielding gems, den Dekker tells Mike Kerwick in the Record: "There’s a lot of good center fielders out there, a lot of good players. I just think I’m getting a lot of opportunities to show it out there -- a lot of balls in the gaps that I can go get. I’m just trying to do my part out there."

• 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini donated $10,000 to Hurriance Sandy relief, writes the Daily News.

From the bloggers … Dan Twohig at Mets Police advocates turning the World Baseball Classic into The Midseason Classic. … Rising Apple examines the Mets’ inability to maintain a consistent Triple-A affiliate.

BIRTHDAYS: Johan Santana turns 34. … Terry Leach turns 59.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should David Wright be named captain of America?

Morning briefing: 'Spin in? Seems so

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
5:01
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets enjoy their second straight Tuesday off-day today.

Meanwhile, in Miami, David Wright and Team USA open second-round play in the World Baseball Classic. The American squad faces Puerto Rico at 8 p.m. at Marlins Park.

When the Mets regroup Wednesday, Matt Harvey will start against the Washington Nationals in Viera, Fla.


Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Jordany Valdespin is never dull.


Tuesday’s news reports:

Jordany Valdespin tweeted that nobody can stop him. Then, Justin Verlander did, in a manner of speaking. After Valdespin opened Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers with a homer, he was plunked in the groin with a 94 mph fastball in the fifth inning. He was not wearing an athletic supporter.

Valdespin indicated afterward he was fine. His performance appears to be making him a shoo-in for the Opening Day roster, seemingly over Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

As for Valdespin getting hit by a pitch, Valdespin will be susceptible for more reason than his brashness.

“Valdespin will continue to get hit because he dives into the plate and he jumps at the pitcher, which prevents him from getting out of the way of inside pitches,” a scout said. “It had become a regular occurrence, and won’t change until Valdespin tones down his hitting approach.”

Writes columnist John Harper in the Daily News regarding Valdespin:

Jordany Valdespin makes the Mets nervous, mainly because they don't trust him with a glove on his hand or a tweet-dispensing iPhone within reach. Of course, he also makes their eyes light up at times with his ability to turn on a fastball -- or, as was the case Monday, the Justin Verlander changeup that Valdespin launched over the right-field fence leading off the game against the Tigers.

For a team that is expected to struggle to score runs, in fact, the Mets can hardly ignore Valdespin's offensive potential. They're going to have to find a way to get his bat in the lineup, at least against right-handed pitching.

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


Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Matt den Dekker had a near-miss on this shot to the track in right-center Monday, but later came up with another stellar grab.


Jonathon Niese, in line to become the 22nd Opening Day starter in franchise history, limited the Tigers to one hit and four walks in 4 2/3 scoreless innings Monday. Jenrry Mejia rediscovered his cutter and tossed a scoreless frame. Matt den Dekker had another highlight-reel catch and drew a comparison to Jacoby Ellsbury for his fielding, but den Dekker also struck out twice against Verlander. The Mets ultimately beat Detroit 11-0 behind homers from Brandon Hicks, Brian Bixler and Valdespin. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Record and MLB.com.

• Read more on den Dekker’s growing catch collection in the Daily News, Star-Ledger and Journal.

• Nieuwenhuis, whom the Mets hoped would be ready to return to Grapefruit League action Wednesday, will take a little longer before entering a game. Terry Collins indicated Nieuwenhuis instead should get onto the field and perform baseball activities tomorrow for the first time since suffering a bone bruise on his left knee sliding nine days ago. Daniel Murphy (side muscle) remains on target to enter Grapefruit League action late this week, Collins said. Read more on Murphy in the Post and Nieuwenhuis in the Times.

• Collins confirmed Jeremy Hefner is the rotation alternative to Johan Santana, who appears destined to open the season on the disabled list.

Pedro Feliciano appears the wild card as the Mets try to assemble a bullpen. With Frank Francisco likely to open the season on the disabled list, Bobby Parnell, Josh Edgin, Brandon Lyon, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison appear safe bets. That seemingly leaves one or two spots, depending on Feliciano’s fate. Jeurys Familia has pitched so well, repeatedly getting groundballs with his sinker, it is hard to fathom he is left off. So submariner Greg Burke’s fate may be tied to whether Feliciano can prove he is worthy of a roster spot.

Of course, Burke over Feliciano would give the Mets only one lefty reliever, so Robert Carson cannot be entirely written off, even if the organization believes he needs more Triple-A seasoning.

Andrew Keh in the Times notes the Mets are deferring to veterans with track records in the bullpen.

• Mark Herrmann in Newsday asks catchers how they settled on that position. "Honestly, I just got thrown back there when I was 13 or 14,” Travis d’Arnaud told Herrmann. “I pitched and played shortstop. But one of my teammates threw hard and somebody said, 'Trav, can you handle this?' I said sure.”

• Will the Mets lose more than R.A. Dickey’s production with his trade to the Toronto Blue Jays? Michael Salfino in the Journal notes Mets starters who pitched against the same team as Dickey the following day had a 2.38 ERA in 2012. Writes Salfino:

If this phenomena is to be believed (the Dickey hangover didn't exist in 2010 and 2011), then there's reason to believe the rest of the Mets staff will see some drop-off this season. Though Jonathon Niese had the most starts after Dickey (seven, with a 2.34 ERA), the effect was staff-wide. Even Jeremy Hefner (2.16 in five post-Dickey starts) and Chris Young (2.08 in two) benefited. And Mets fans are left to imagine if fireballing Matt Harvey can replicate last year's results (1.37 ERA with 25 Ks in 19.2 innings) following Dickey's floaters.

Coincidence or not, the Mets bullpen is bound to suffer without their bearded comrade. Since Dickey joined the Mets in 2010, Mets relievers had a 3.44 ERA after taking the ball from Dickey versus a 4.26 in all other games.

• Right-handed prospect Michael Fulmer will undergo surgery today to repair torn meniscus cartilage. Fulmer, the 44th overall pick in the 2011 draft, went 7-6 with a 2.74 ERA in 21 starts with low-A Savannah last season. “Only a very minor setback in a long career. Looking forward to getting back to 100%,” Fulmer tweeted.

From the bloggers Mets Police celebrates the overturn of New York City’s ban on large sugary beverages with a photo gallery of large Mets cups. … Rising Apple offers competing viewpoints on issues facing the Mets. ... The Eddie Kranepool Society hopes the Mets salute the '73 edition.

BIRTHDAYS: Darryl Strawberry turns 51. … Former Mets reliever Carlos Muniz turns 32.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Jordany Valdespin be an everyday player, at least against right-handed pitching?

Morning briefing: The Wheel demotion deal

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
6:19
AM ET

Adam Rubin
Zack Wheeler was dispatched to minor league camp Sunday, on the day he faced batters after an oblique injury.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets make their second 2˝-hour drive to Lakeland, Fla., in four days. This time, they get to face Justin Verlander, who mowed down all nine Mets he faced at Tradition Field on March 1.

Jonathon Niese starts for the Mets. Also due to pitch: Aaron Laffey, Greg Burke, Scott Rice and Pedro Feliciano.

Meanwhile, Mookie Wilson has arrived at Port St. Lucie and will be at the Mets complex beginning today.

Monday’s news reports:

• The Mets dispatched Zack Wheeler to minor league camp along with nine other players. Later in the day, Wheeler threw batting practice -- his first time facing hitters since straining his right oblique on Feb. 27. Also optioned to the minors: left-hander Darin Gorski, right-handers Gonzalez Germen, Collin McHugh, Elvin Ramirez and Hansel Robles, infielders Reese Havens and Wilfredo Tovar, and outfielders Juan Lagares and Cesar Puello. Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Record, Post and MLB.com.

David Wright hit .455 with three walks and five RBIs in three first-round games and Team USA advanced in the World Baseball Classic with a 9-4 win against Canada on Sunday at Chase Field. Wright scored three times in the clincher. Team USA next plays Puerto Rico on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Miami.

“It would have been a long trip to go back to St. Lucie and answer questions from my own teammates on why we couldn’t get the job done,” Wright said. “At least we made it out of this round, and plan on making it out of the next round.”

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Times and Newsday.

Shaun Marcum tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings and Jordany Valdespin had a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth as the Mets beat the Cardinals, 3-0. Read more in the Record, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

• Valdespin is securing a spot on the Opening Day roster. Read more in the Post.

Frank Francisco threw off a mound for the first time since developing elbow inflammation upon arriving at camp. Read more in the Times.

Johan Santana appears destined for the disabled list to open the season, but Sandy Alderson will not proclaim that yet. "His condition will dictate his schedule," Alderson told reporters. "At this point, I'm not going to concern myself with any sort of emotional response. It's all about, ‘Let's get him ready.’” Read more in Newsday, the Post and Daily News.

• Bill Parcells attended Sunday’s Mets-Cardinals game and was presented with an autographed Mets jersey to recognize his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times visits Mariners camp, where Jason Bay is trying to resurrect his career, as Oliver Perez has done in Seattle. The Mets still owe Bay $21 million, although they deferred $15 million of that sum as part of a buyout. Writes Kepner regarding Bay, whose offseason home is in Seattle:

[GM Jack] Zduriencik said the Mariners hoped to add offense and leadership in the offseason without sacrificing young talent. They accomplished that, he said, by acquiring Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and the former Yankee Raul Ibanez. But the first move was a modest deal for Bay, who is guaranteed $500,000, an amount that doubles if he makes the opening day roster. Bay, Zduriencik and their wives had dinner before he signed.

“It made a lot of sense for him to try to make a go of it where he’s living,” Zduriencik said. “He can drive his kids to school in the morning and then play baseball. I walked away thinking, ‘What a good guy, what a genuine person.’”

From the bloggers … At Mets Police, Mike V's Countdown to Opening Day stops at 1999, when the Mets slogan asked, "Are You Ready?"

BIRTHDAYS: Jeremy Hefner turns 27.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Given the state of the Mets’ outfield, should they have kept Jason Bay, since they’re paying him anyway?

David Wright, Team USA advance

March, 10, 2013
3/10/13
7:26
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright will not be returning to camp just yet.

After losing to Mexico in its World Baseball Classic opener, Team USA consecutively beat Italy and Canada to advance to Round 2 in Miami. The latter victory came in an elimination game Sunday, with a 9-4 win over the Canadians.

Wright had a stellar opening round, highlighted by a tiebreaking grand slam against Italy on Saturday. He went 5-for-11 with three walks and five RBIs in three games. All three walks and a double came in the clincher against Canada.

Team USA opens Round 2 at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Miami against Puerto Rico, which lost to the Dominican Republic later Sunday.

Morning briefing: When will Santana pitch?

March, 10, 2013
3/10/13
6:58
AM ET

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
Bill Parcells will again watch the Mets play Sunday. The Mets will present him with a gift for being selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: It is becoming pretty clear that Johan Santana will open the season on the disabled list and Jonathon Niese will get the Opening Day start against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field.

So the question becomes: Will Santana be ready to be activated April 7, the first time the Mets need to go to a fifth starter? Or will Jeremy Hefner plug the rotation hole for at least a few turns?

Santana did not work out with teammates outdoors Saturday morning. After a 9-6 win against the Houston Astros, Terry Collins said Santana spent his day indoors trying to increase his shoulder flexibility and strength.

If you accept the Mets are not going to be in contention in 2013, perhaps there is a silver lining to Santana likely opening the season on the DL.

It was a long shot anyway that Santana would reach 215 innings and trigger a $25 million vesting option for 2014. A season-opening DL stint removes even minimal suspense, though.

Secondly, the Mets don’t need Santana contributing in peak form in early April if they’re not going to be competitive. They need him clicking on all cylinders closer to the trading deadline, when they might be able to deal Santana to a contender, albeit eating nearly all of the southpaw’s salary.

On that subject, remember this: The trade deadline with respect to Santana will be Aug. 31, not July 31. That is because Santana would clear waivers in August, making him eligible to be traded.

No team would dare claim Santana off waivers, since that would allow the Mets to dump Santana’s remaining contract on that team, including the $5.5 million buyout of 2014.

On the field Sunday, the Mets travel to Jupiter, Fla., to face the St. Louis Cardinals. Shaun Marcum, Robert Carson, Greg Burke, Pedro Feliciano and Scott Atchison all are due to pitch for the Mets. See the Mets’ full travel roster here.

Left-hander Jaime Garcia starts for St. Louis.

The Mets will present Bill Parcells with an autographed Mets jersey pregame in recognition of Parcells being selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Back in Port St. Lucie, Zack Wheeler is due to pitch in a simulated game -- his first game-type action since being scratched 11 days earlier with a right oblique strain. Frank Francisco (elbow inflammation) may step on a mound for the first time during spring training.


Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
David Wright belted a tiebreaking grand slam for Team USA against Italy on Saturday night.


Sunday’s news reports:

David Wright belted a tiebreaking grand slam and Team USA beat Italy, 6-2, Saturday night at Chase Field. The American squad faces Canada on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the second round in Miami. "It's emotional," Wright said. "You hear the 'USA' chants, you look up in the stands and see the flag."

Mexico was eliminated. Italy had clinched the second-round berth before facing Team USA. Read more in the Times and Newsday.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes Sandy Alderson’s honeymoon is nearing an end. Writes Sherman:

Alderson took a 79-win team that got Omar Minaya fired and turned it into a 77-win team, then a 74-win team. And it would surprise few watching the Mets this spring if they won 73 or fewer in 2013. Fine, it is a process. Alderson took over a disaster -- little high-end talent in the majors or minors -- that grew worse as the Madoff money went away from ownership. Disasters are not fixed in a day or a season or even two. Sacrifice has been necessary.

The Mets could have won more games in 2011 had Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez not been traded during the season. They probably would exceed 74 wins this year with R.A. Dickey. But Alderson has stressed the long view. It is not about a few more wins now. It is about constructing a serial contender. So Beltran and Dickey were surrendered for Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud, changing the perception of the Mets’ farm system from a wasteland to a legitimate pipeline of talent.

“We recognize the impact falls disproportionately on the long term over the short term,” Alderson said of his philosophy. “And many Mets fans get it all.”

Bobby Parnell would remain closer if he is effective in the role, even once Francisco returns, pitching coach Dan Warthen tells the Post.

Matthew Leach at MLB.com chats with Parnell.

• Read more on Santana in the Star-Ledger, Post, Times, Record, Newsday, Daily News and MLB.com.

Lucas Duda went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, Ike Davis scored three times, Hefner tossed three scoreless innings and Matt den Dekker had another highlight-reel catch as the Mets beat the Astros Saturday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday, Post and MLB.com.

• Mets radio broadcaster Josh Lewin speaks with Mike Kerwick in the Record about an offseason tumor scare near his left ear, in a salivary gland. "So my initial worry was, ‘Am I going to be able to create saliva?’" Lewin told Kerwick. "I can’t really do a three-hour broadcast with a dry mouth. That’s not going to work." The tumor ended up being benign, but Lewin still has a dull numbness on that side of his face from nerves a surgeon needed to clip to get to the tumor.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger has a Q&A with Collin Cowgill. On the “More Cowgill” saying picking up momentum, the outfielder said: "It’s great. We have fun with it. Somebody said something in the clubhouse, and it’s funny, man."

• The Mets sent Cory Mazzoni, Rafael Montero and Juan Centeno to minor league camp, leaving 55 players.

• Hefner’s wife Sarah is now blogging here.

From the bloggers … From Mets Police, turning ahead the clock never works out in Queens. … Metsmerized says there is reason for hope in Flushing and despair in the Bronx.

BIRTHDAYS: No player to appear in a game for the Mets was born on March 10, but Chuck Norris, Carrie Underwood and Prince Edward celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: When do you think Johan Santana will deliver his first 2013 pitch for the Mets -- Opening Day, April 7, later in April, or beyond then?

Morning briefing: Make or break for Duda

March, 9, 2013
3/09/13
6:43
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Jeremy Hefner, the alternative if Johan Santana is not ready for the beginning of the season, gets the start as the Mets welcome the Houston Astros to Port St. Lucie for a 1:10 p.m. game today.

Also scheduled to pitch: Brandon Lyon, Darin Gorski, Jeurys Familia, Bobby Parnell and Robert Carson.

Parnell will be working back-to-back days for the first time in spring training. He tossed a 1-2-3 frame Friday against the Detroit Tigers.

Right-hander Alex White starts for the Astros, who now belong to the American League West.


Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Lucas Duda's window to prove himself is closing, so he must have a big 2013.


Saturday’s news reports:

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes this is a make-or-break year for Lucas Duda, who must show something offensively. Writes Sherman:

Plenty of teams will throw away defense for power, specifically lefty power -- think the Tigers with Prince Fielder, the Phillies with Ryan Howard, the Diamondbacks with Jason Kubel. But it can’t be a rumor, a promise of those 30-35 homers. And it can’t be a continuing victim of ebbing confidence and nuisance injuries -- two issues that have handcuffed Duda, up to and including this spring.

Sherman notes the issue that caused Duda to be scratched earlier this spring training and was not disclosed at the time related to his eye and “turned out to be nothing.”

Jordany Valdespin continued to stake his claim to an Opening Day roster spot with a solo homer, but Cory Mazzoni surrendered a tiebreaking long ball to Tyler Collins in the eighth and Detroit beat the Mets, 3-2, in Lakeland, Fla., on Friday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Newsday.

• Travis d’Arnaud was hit just below his right elbow while batting Friday and was removed from the game with forearm tightness. Read more in the Daily News.

Dillon Gee walked three but surrendered only one hit and one run in four innings. Contrasting his feeling now to last season, before surgery to repair an artery that was obstructed with a clot, Gee said: "I think I had just been pitching with it for so long that I just threw. I felt like crap some days and I didn’t feel like crap some days. You just kind of get used to pitching and not feeling so good. Looking back, I felt pretty normal in my mind. A lot of people deal with dead arm, but I had it almost every day." Read more in the Star-Ledger and Times.

R.A. Dickey surrendered four runs in four innings and David Wright went 2-for-4 with an RBI as Team USA dropped its World Baseball Classic opener 5-2 to Mexico at Chase Field. Read more in the Times and Newsday.

Jenrry Mejia, who was checked out for a hyperactive thyroid, said he needs to limit his fish intake but is OK to resume baseball. Read more in the Times.

• Dan Martin in the Post talks expectations for Ruben Tejada.

“I’m not talking [Derek] Jeter hitting .320, but there’s no reason he can’t hit .290 and get his walks and play his position well,” Terry Collins told Martin. “He’s got a great arm. But I don’t want to compare him to anybody because everyone talks about [Jose] Reyes. Reyes is a sensational player. This kid is a good player. Last year, he just tried to play his game and that’s what he has to keep doing.”

• Mike Kerwick in the Record profiles Josh Edgin.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes there are six players in Mets camp with animal-sounding aspects to their surnames: John BUCK, Marlon BYRD, Tim BYRDak, Collin COWgill, LaTroy HAWKins and Brandon LYON. Writes Diamond:

When presented with this bit of life-altering information, the players reacted in various ways. There was perplexed apathy ("Let me guess -- that's going to be a story," Hawkins said), bemused curiosity ("Wow, that's colorful," Cowgill said) and appreciative laughter ("Ha, wow, I actually never noticed that before," Byrd said).

From the bloggers Faith and Fear in Flushing notices what ballplayers do in spring training is eerily similar to what house cats do all year long. … Metsmerized chats with 2012 12th-round pick Rob Whalen, who grew up a Mets fan. … Mets Police asks, "What was your favorite night at the ballpark?"

BIRTHDAYS: C.J. Nitkowski, who appeared in five games for the Mets in 2001, then pitched in the minors for the organization last season, turns 40.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Lucas Duda will have a big year? Or will he flop?

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