- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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FIRST PITCH: The fan base may be calling for blood, but they are unlikely to receive it before the Mets reconvene this weekend.
Although the Mets enter Thursday’s team off-day 11 games under .500 and 10 games out of first place -- both season worsts -- no firings or releases are imminently expected, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com.
That means Terry Collins, the coaching staff and even Chris Young should be able to exhale for a day.
After completing a stretch in which they played 25 of 33 games on the road, the Mets will host the injury-decimated Texas Rangers this weekend. Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88 ERA) opposes right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-3, 3.65) in the Fourth of July series opener.Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Terry Collins expects David Wright back in the lineup Friday.
The Mets will have a moment of silence before Friday’s game to remember the late Frank Cashen, who served as the team’s GM from 1980 through 1991.
Collins reiterated postgame Wednesday that he expects David Wright to reenter the lineup Friday. That would come a full week after the captain was scratched from a game in Pittsburgh with what subsequently was diagnosed as a bruised left rotator cuff.
Incidentally, online voting for the All-Star Game concludes at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. In the final intermediate tally released Tuesday, Wright trailed Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez by 235,060 votes for the starting nod for the National League at the hot corner. Daniel Murphy was nowhere to be found among the second-base leaders.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Chris Johnson delivered a three-run double past third baseman Eric Campbell’s backhand with two outs in the first inning and the Braves completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory Wednesday. Collins said postgame that the Mets sorely missed Wright for the past week.
The Amazin’s went 1-6 on a trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Only a six-game losing streak by the Philadelphia Phillies has kept the Mets out of last place.
• Citing the team’s run differential being close to even, Sandy Alderson suggested the Mets are better than their record indicates. Alderson added that he is uninterested in trading Jonathon Niese. Overall, the direction the Mets take at the trade deadline will be dictated by how the team plays in the next 10 to 12 days, the GM added. Read more at CBSSports.com and in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Beginning Friday, the Mets will wear a patch for the remainder of the season honoring Cashen on their right sleeves, below a patch recognizing Ralph Kiner. Cashen died Monday at age 88.
• Will the Mets trade Murphy before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline?Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Assistant GM John Ricco indicated the Mets have not had serious recent dialogue about trading Daniel Murphy.
“We haven’t specifically talked about Dan recently,” assistant GM John Ricco told Tim Rohan in the Times. “He is one of the more valuable guys we have. He leads the league in hits. He’s settled in as one of the best second basemen in the game, certainly offensively, and is a leader on our team.”
Asked about the optics of trading Murphy, Ricco added to the newspaper: “It depends what the return is.”
• The Mets signed 11 players on the day international 16-year-olds are eligible to ink contracts: shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin, outfielder Yordin Araujo, right-handers Jhoander Chourio and Jurgen Jimenez and left-hander Daniel Guzman from Venezuela and right-handers Agustin Casilla and Jose Moreno, outfielder Claudio Geraldo, shortstop Hansel Moreno and catcher Luis Lebron from the Dominican Republic.
None ranked in the top 30 in Baseball America’s rankings.
On Romero, who turned 16 in April and received a reported $300,000 signing bonus, Paul DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com: “He’s a very solid defender at shortstop -- definitely stays at the position.”
Baseball America also forecasts the Mets will sign Venezuelan shortstop Kenny Hernandez, who is not eligible to sign until turning 16 on Aug. 13. The magazine ranks Hernandez the 13th-best international prospect and writes:
He fits better at third base or possibly second than he does at shortstop, but he stands out most at the plate with one of the sweetest swings in the class. Two of the Mets’ top signings last year -- Dominican outfielder Ricardo Cespedes and Venezuelan shortstop Luis Carpios -- were also two of the youngest players in their class. It looks like they’re ready to go that route again.
• Although the Mets have agreed to the financial terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto at the recommended $2,970,800 slot figure, the Oregon State outfielder is not yet officially on board. A source familiar with the negotiations recently told ESPNNewYork.com that no snags are expected and Conforto just wants some time to relax after the college baseball season.
Alderson told Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com about Conforto: “There are three or four [mostly] non-financial clauses that we are talking about. … I certainly expect this deal to get done.”
• St. Lucie rallied in the ninth to beat Charlotte, 7-6, as Gilbert Gomez doubled and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. Jon Leroux doubled and scored the tiebreaking run as Savannah beat Charleston, 7-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: Moises Alou turns 48. ... Frank Tanana is 61.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
I swear I feel bad for David Wright! He's being penalized for displaying loyalty...bc let's face it my #Mets are awful!!!!!!
— Justin (@IAmGoalDigger) July 3, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Who should represent the Mets at the All-Star Game?