New York Mets: Jeurys Familia

Back end of bullpen looks much better

May, 28, 2014
May 28
NEW YORK -- The back end of the bullpen has been a work in progress for the New York Mets, ever since the early April day they lost closer Bobby Parnell to an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery.

They can't say they've solved it yet, but after watching Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia record six-out and five-out saves in a 24-hour span, manager Terry Collins has reason to feel better about the late innings than he maybe has all season.

[+] EnlargeJeurys Familia
Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJeurys Familia became the sixth Met to record a save this season.
With Mejia unavailable after throwing 37 pitches in his two-inning save Tuesday night, and with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Vic Black also unavailable, Collins turned to Familia on Wednesday, calling on him to face Ike Davis representing the tying run with one out in the eighth inning and then leaving him in for the save in a 5-0 Mets win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The results were impressive, enough so that in his postgame comments, Collins suggested that he could use both Mejia and Familia to close games in the days to come.

"We've reached the point that [Familia] has got to be in the back end," Collins said. "He's got to be a late-inning guy."

The Mets bullpen has been transformed several times in the first two months of the season, first by Parnell's injury and then by ineffectiveness from Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, two veterans who pitched poorly and were eventually released.

The difference now is that Mejia and Familia (both 24 years old) have earned their status by pitching well, and by displaying stuff worthy of pitching in the late innings of games.

"We've got some really good young power arms," David Wright said. "These guys have the ability to go out and dominate, shut the door on games."

Wright included Black in that mix, and Collins did the same. Black got four outs without allowing a run Tuesday, but also walked two batters.

Familia has had some command issues in the past, too, and has walked 12 in 24 2/3 innings this season. But his control has seemed to improve of late, and he threw 15 of his 19 pitches for strikes on Wednesday.

Collins had little choice but to count on him in this game, with so many of his other options unavailable. He said he was so committed to staying with Familia that he would have allowed him to bat for himself in the bottom of the eighth, even if he had come up with two out and the bases loaded.

As it was, Familia came to the plate only after Lucas Duda had padded the Mets' lead with a long two-run home run. And as it was, Familia added another hit himself.

Much more importantly, he became the sixth Met to record a save this season. No other team in the majors has more than four pitchers with saves.

The Mets haven't spread the saves around by choice, but rather because they keep searching for a combination that will work.

The way Mejia and Familia are pitching now, perhaps they're on the way to finding one.

Familia and Atchison begin rehab

May, 25, 2013
Injured Mets relievers Jeurys Familia (biceps) and Scott Atchison (elbow) both began their rehab assignments with the St. Lucie Mets on Saturday and pitched scoreless innings. Familia pitched a perfect eighth inning while Atchison followed with a perfect ninth in St. Lucie's 1-0 win over Bradenton.

Familia was placed on the disabled list on May 12, retroactive to May 9, with right biceps tendinitis. He is 0-0 with a 3.48 ERA spanning eight games. Atchison was placed on the disabled list on May 14 with inflammation in his right elbow that led to finger numbness. The veteran is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 games this season.

Notes: New-look lineup blanked by Kendrick

April, 26, 2013
Terry Collins' new-look lineup didn't show up Friday night.

After Collins tinkered with the top of the lineup, the New York Mets were blanked for the first time this season in their 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. The Mets managed just three hits against Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick.

Collins said after the game he hasn't decided if he will keep this lineup.

"[I will] make a decision tomorrow," Collins said.

The main changes to the Mets lineup involved moving Daniel Murphy from the second spot to the third and moving David Wright from third to cleanup. The move was aimed to give Wright more opportunities to drive in runners, with Mike Baxter and Ruben Tejada placed in the top two spots.

While Tejada and Wright both recorded singles during the game, the Mets offense never found a way to rally. They managed just one runner in scoring position the whole game, in the first inning, and did not advance a runner to third all game. Kendrick tossed just his second career shutout.

"He threw the ball well," Murphy said. "Sometimes, you have to tip your cap."

Murphy hit in the No. 3 hole for the first time all season and went 0-for-4 with three ground outs. The new spot didn't make a difference for him.

"I just want to be in the lineup; I don't really care where it is. It's nice to be in the three spot, I guess," Murphy said. "Skipper thinks I'm swinging the bat well. I still feel good in there. At-bats are at-bats no matter where you get them."

Below .500: The Mets' loss Friday dropped them below .500 for the first time as they are now 10-11. Collins said his team is aware.

"They are not naive. They are pretty aware of what's going on. They know they slipped below .500 tonight, and that's why we got to pick it up and get after it tomorrow," Collins said. "Come out here and fight. Certainly, I'm not going to go in and hold meetings and say, 'we're under .500, we got to pick it up.' They know better than that … We'll rally tomorrow and get the guys out there and hopefully get some hits."

No roster move yet: The Mets have not announced the roster move that will accompany Shaun Marcum's activation from the disabled list for his start Saturday.

Two of the candidates to be sent down, relievers Jeurys Familia and Josh Edgin, both pitched Friday. Familia went two innings, giving up one hit and striking out one. Edgin struck out two in the ninth. Familia said after the game he hadn't been notified about any roster move.

Ump leaves: With Wright coming to bat in the bottom of the first, the game paused for approximately 10 minutes as plate umpire Brian O'Nora left with flu-like symptoms. First base umpire Adrian Johnson took over behind the plate after O'Nora's departure.

"Brian O'Nora got very sick," Collins said. "It came on really fast and [he] came in the dugout because he was going to be sick to his stomach, and he really was. He couldn't go back out."

Sources: Burke, Familia both make pen

March, 29, 2013

Sources tell that Greg Burke and Jeurys Familia have made the Opening Day roster.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Submariner Greg Burke and right-hander Jeurys Familia both have made the Opening Day roster, sources told

Assuming the Mets proceed with carrying two left-handers in the bullpen, that suggests the Mets will have eight relievers to open the season: Bobby Parnell, Brandon Lyon, LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison, Josh Edgin, Burke and Familia as well as Robert Carson or Scott Rice.

Carson is on the 40-man roster and presumably has the advantage.

The Mets would then need to shed a bullpen piece when Shaun Marcum would be activated from the DL to make the Game 6 start.

Hefner bounces back from flub vs. Philly

September, 26, 2012
Jeremy Hefner couldn't get his previous start out of his head.

Facing Philadelphia on Sept. 20, the starter did not record an out and was tagged for seven runs while getting pulled in the first inning in an eventual 16-1 drubbing. The past six days had him thinking constantly about the nightmare outing and all his failures that night.

[+] EnlargeJeremy Hefner
Alex Trautwig/Getty ImagesJeremy Hefner
Wednesday, he helped himself dispel that memory.

Hefner bounced back from the worst start of his career with his best outing of the year as he threw seven scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh. He gave up just three hits and struck out seven as he recorded his first victory since Aug. 4.

"You could say you try to forget about that, you try to turn the page quickly, but that was tough to swallow," Hefner said. "Just tried to do my best again and it worked out. Tried to pick up the bullpen -- they picked me up last time, I picked them up tonight. Wish I could have thrown a complete game, but seven strong is pretty good."

Hefner was efficient and worked quickly against Pittsburgh as he kept them from threatening. He said the key was to throw a strike during his first two pitches and then work from there. He improved to 3-7 with the win, although his ERA is still just 5.32.

The starter was also pleased to pitch deep into the game, saying he planned to give the team length whether he was putting up zeroes or giving up runs. His success came on a night when he wasn't going to have support from the 'pen, as manager Terry Collins planned to give the top relievers in the bullpen the night off to get ready for R.A. Dickey's quest for 20 wins Thursday.

"We were going to make sure that tomorrow that we had our main guys ready for R.A.'s game," Collins said.

FRANK SORE: Closer Frank Francisco did not play catch, as planned, before the game. The closer is likely done for the season as he battles elbow tendinitis as he has not pitched since Sept. 16.

"He just doesn't feel real good," Collins said. "He just said it's still tight and still aches so he didn't throw today."

FAMILIA IN: Jeurys Familia will start in Collin McHugh's start in the rotation during the final series against the Marlins. He threw two scoreless innings to end Wednesday's game.

Collins said he used Familia on Wednesday because he will be making that start next week and stressed that it will be important for the youngster to develop a secondary pitch as he moves forward.

"I think he knows he's got a great arm, he knows he has good stuff but he had an up and down season," Collins said. "There were some games he was very good, and some games he had a tough time. He knows one thing, he has to learn but we see the stuff, you guys see the stuff, it's lights-out stuff."

The series in Metrics (Mets at Cardinals)

September, 5, 2012
Really Awesome in the daytime
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that R.A. Dickey improved to 11-1 in day games this season. His win on Wednesday gave him 10 straight daytime wins, breaking the team mark of nine set by David Cone in 1988.

Dickey's 11 daytime wins are tied with Dwight Gooden (1985) for third-most in Mets history. Tom Seaver (13 in 1972 and 12 in 1975) is the only Mets pitcher with more.

Dickey's 18 wins are the most by a Mets pitcher since Frank Viola won 20 and Dwight Gooden won 19 in 1990

Be Like Ike Ike Davis hit a three-run home run on Wednesday, his 19th road home run of the season. His next home run would make him the eighth player in Mets history to hit 20 home runs on the road in a single season, the first since Carlos Beltran in 2007.

Davis would be the third Mets hitter to hit at least 20 home runs on the road as a left-handed batter in a single season. Beltran, a switch-hitter, had 22 in 2006 and Carlos Delgado had 20 also in 2006. Darryl Strawberry’s high for road home runs in a season was 19 in 1987.

Davis has seven three-run homers this season, most by a Met since Todd Hundley hit nine for them in 1996.

Wright of Way
Adam Wainwright’s home run against Dickey on Wednesday made him the 100th batter and first pitcher to hit a home run against Dickey.

Wainwright is the first pitcher to homer against the Mets since Tommy Milone, then of the Nationals, did so last season.

He’s the first Cardinals pitcher to hit a home run against the Mets since Jeff Suppan in the 2006 NLCS, the first in the regular season since Suppan in 2005.

The Mets had lost nine of the past 10 games in which the opposing pitcher homered. They are 2-7 in regular season games in which a Cardinals pitcher homered. The only other win came against Bob Gibson in 1969.

Single Occurrence
The Mets had nine singles and no-extra base hits in Tuesday’s loss. The last time the Mets had at least nine hits, but no extra-base hits against the Cardinals was in the 20-inning game in St. Louis, April 17, 2010 (also started by Jaime Garcia).

The last time the Mets had nine hits or more, all singles, in a nine-inning game against the Cardinals was June 20, 1983 (five days after the Mets received Keith Hernandez in trade), in a 3-1 loss.

With a cap-tip to Gary Cohen and Bob Waterman of the Elias Sports Bureau for inspiration, we can tell you that this was the first Mets game in which each team singled at least nine times without an extra-base hit since Sept. 7, 1986, when the Mets (14) and Padres (10) combined for 24 singles and no extra-base hits in a 6-5 Mets win.

The Mets had three other games in which that has happened -- in 1971 against the Cardinals (each team had nine), the Dodgers in 1974, and the Padres in 1978.

All in the Familia
Our obscure note of the week: Jeurys Familia is the fifth relief pitcher in Mets history to get a strikeout and a ground-ball double play in his major league debut. Josh Stinson was the previous one, doing so last season.

Around the minors 5.25.12

May, 26, 2012
SCRANTON 8, BUFFALO 7: Jack Cust cranked a solo homer off Bisons reliever Edgar Ramirez to give Scranton the 8-7 victory. Cust has had some major-league success in the past, and his game-winning effort came as no surprise to the Herd. Facing a 3-0 count, Cust saw a pitch he liked and took advantage. The Herd needed to support its pitching staff with offensive production to stay competitive in the game. Making his 10th start of the year, Jeurys Familia found early trouble, hitting Scranton leadoff hitter Kevin Russo on his second pitch. Things would not improve for Familia, as he allowed 4 runs over just 2 innings of work. The outing added to a series of shaky performances for Familia, who is playing his first season of Triple-A ball. Wally Backman saw inconsistency in Familia's throwing motion, contributing in the decision to relieve the right-hander after two innings. Despite Familia's struggles, offensive production kept the Herd from ever trailing in regulation. The Bisons got off to a very quick start, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Leadoff man Corey Wimberly was hit by a pitch, and Fred Lewis followed by singling on a looping fly ball to left-center field that fell between the Yankees defenders. Yankees starter Dellin Betances then sent the Bisons baserunners to second and third on a balk. Josh Satin came to the plate next, and his sharp grounder toward second base scored Wimberly to give the Herd the early lead. Betances then walked three consecutive Bisons batters, allowing two more runners to score. But the Bisons would ultimately go only 1-for-16 on the game with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 men on base. The Bisons failed to make the most of their chances throughout the game, and it proved costly in the end. With the Bisons leading 6-5 after six innings, a Fred Lewis solo homer in the 7th gave the Herd a little breathing room heading into the 7th-inning stretch. But in accordance with the trend of the night, Scranton quickly responded. With two outs and a runner on second, Pedro Beato -- on rehabilitation assignment from the Mets -- came in to finish the inning for the Herd. But Scranton's Ronnier Mustelier had other plans, blasting a two-run shot to deep left field that tied the game. Mustelier's shot served as the set-up, and Cust came through in the 10th to finish the job. Box

NEW HAMPSHIRE 9, BINGHAMTON 3: The New Hampshire Fisher Cats pounded out 14 hits, including seven extra-base hits, to defeat the Binghamton Mets 9-3 Friday night at NYSEG Stadium. Brad Glenn and Brian Van Kirk provided home runs to power the Fisher Cats offense. For the third time this season, the Fisher Cats bats were alive against B-Mets starter Darin Gorski. They grabbed the lead against the lefty in the second with an RBI single from Brad McElroy. The B-Mets briefly tied the game in the third against New Hampshire starter Joel Carreno. Kai Gronauer ripped a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence for his first home run of the season. It was the only blemish for Carreno (1-1) in his third start with the Fisher Cats since being optioned from the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the month. The righty struck out seven and allowed just two hits over five innings in the win. Brad Glenn countered for the Fisher Cats with a solo home run of his own in the fourth. Brian Van Kirk added a two-run shot against Gorski in the fifth. It was the second time in as many games that Gorski has allowed two home runs. A double by Brian Bocock chased the southpaw from the game. Gorski (2-3) was tagged for four runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings in the losing effort. After the Fisher Cats extended their lead to 5-1 with a run against Kevin Mulvey in the sixth, Jefry Marte supplied an RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning against reliever Scott Gracey. Yet again, New Hampshire responded with a run as Glenn provided a sacrifice fly against Armando Rodriguez in the top of the seventh. Josh Rodriguez singled home Matt den Dekker in the eighth to cut the deficit to three, but it was as close as the B-Mets would get. The Fisher Cats scored three runs on four hits in the ninth against Brad Holt to put the game out of reach. Aaron Loup worked around a lead-off single to post a scoreless ninth to cap the win. Box

AUGUSTA 2, SAVANNAH 1: Savannah plated the winning run in the sixth to down Savannah. Savannah took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by T.J. Rivera that scored Gilbert Gomez. That would be the extent of Savannah's production. Augusta scored one in the fourth against starter Michael Fulmer, and then plated the winning run against Marcos Camarena. Fulmer threw four innings of five-hit ball, giving up one run. Camarena gave up one run over four. Savannah had nine hits in the loss. Box

ST. LUCIE 8, CHARLOTTE 3: Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores homered and Robbie Shields had three hits and two RBIs as the Mets won their third straight game with an 8-3 victory over the Charlotte Stone Crabs on Friday. The Mets have won the first seven meetings between the two teams this season. Flores ripped a two-run home run to left in the first inning to give the Mets a 2-0 advantage. Juan Torres and Wilfredo Tovar each had RBI singles in a three-run second inning as the Mets opened up a 5-0 lead Shields delivered an RBI single in the fourth inning to extend the Mets lead to 6-2. Alonzo Harris added an RBI triple to center in the eighth inning to plate Tovar to make it 7-3. Shields followed with an RBI infield single to score Harris. Chris Young earned his first win of the season as he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with one strikeout. Taylor Whitenton tossed a scoreless inning in relief, working around two hits and a walk. Adam Kolarek picked up his sixth save as he tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings while walking two batters and recording a pair of strikeouts. Darrell Ceciliani went 1-for-4 in his return from the disabled list. Tovar finished with two hits, a run scored, and an RBI. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 5.14.12

May, 15, 2012
BUFFALO 9, CHARLOTTE 3: Buffalo (22-16) put a close to their 10-game trip with a 9-3 triumph over Charlotte at a rain-soaked Knights Stadium on Monday night. Valentino Pascucci homered and drove in three. The Bisons made quick work of Monday's contest by scoring six runs in the first two innings. While the first two tallies came on hits by Fred Lewis and Pascucci, only one was scored conventionally. Pascucci hit his team-leading eighth home run of the season, but before that, Lewis raced home on a throwing error from Osvaldo Martinez after tripling to right field. Oswaldo Navarro closed out the three-run first by driving in Matt Tuiasosopo for his first RBI with the Bisons. Buffalo broke open the game with three more runs in the second inning on a Lewis RBI-double, a Vinny Rottino single and a run-scoring groundout from Pascucci. That was more than enough for Jeurys Familia to earn his third consecutive winning decision. The righty fanned seven in five innings of work and allowed just one run on five hits. Buffalo added single runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings for insurance. Pascucci's single in fourth gave him three RBI on the night and a team-high 25 for the season. The final two Bisons runs scored on wild pitches. It wasn't all good news for the Bisons on Monday. Before the game, the club learned that infielder Zach Lutz had a broken left hamate. He was placed on the team's disabled list. Box

SAVANNAH 6, CHARLESTON 2: Savannah (23-13) scored four runs in the 10th to defeat Chalreston Monday night. Tied 2-2 with the bases loaded and two outs, an error by Charleston allowed Dustin Lawley to score the go-ahead run. Brandon Brown then drove in two with a single and Camden Maron made it 6-2 with another single. Jeffrey Walters pitched the ninth and the 10th to secure the win, his third of the year. He gave up just one hit and walked one batter. The game was a pitcher's duel between Rafael Montero and William Oliver. Charleston went up 1-0 in the first but Savannah answered with two in the third when Lawley (2-for- 5, two RBIs) drove in two. Charleston tied in the eighth. Montero gave up four hits and one unearned run over 5 2/3 innings while striking out five. Box

ST. LUCIE 4, BRADENTON 1: Jenrry Mejia pitched six effective innings and struck out seven in his second start of the season since returning from Tommy John Surgery and the Mets (29-8) pounded out 11 hits in a 4-1 victory over the Bradenton Marauders on Monday. Mejia allowed one run on three hits and did not walk a batter. He gave up a home run to former Mets farmhand Stefan Welch in the second.Mejia underwent Tommy John Surgery on May 16 of last year. He picked up his first victory and had excellent command. He threw 73 pitches and 53 for strikes.The Mets hit back-to-back home runs in a three-run third fourth inning to take the lead. Cesar Puello ripped a go-ahead solo homer to left with one out to give the Mets a 2-1 advantage. Francisco Pena followed with a solo blast to left-center. Danny Muno delivered a two-out, RBI single into right field to score Rafael Fernandez to make it 4-1. The Mets jumped out to the lead in the first inning. Muno drilled a leadoff double down the right field line and scored on an RBI groundout by Cory Vaughn. Yohan Almonte pitched three scoreless innings and struck out six to record his first save. Almonte struck out the side in the eighth inning and fanned five straight batters at one point. He did not allow a hit and walked just one. Richard Lucas went 3-for-4 and Wilfredo Tovar finished 2-for-3 at the plate for the Mets. Muno recorded two hits with a run scored and an RBI. The Mets host the Bradenton Marauders on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Chris Young is the scheduled starter for the Mets. Box

Compiled from team reports

Around the minors 5.3.12

May, 3, 2012
BUFFALO 6, SYRACUSE 5: Buffalo (16-11) scored two runs in the sixth inning and two more in the eighth for its sixth win in the last seven games. Eleven of the Herd's wins have come in games in which it has trailed. On Thursday, Syracuse took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth before the Herd rallied. Rob Johnson homered to lead off the frame and pinch hitter Michael Fisher scored all the way from first on Dustin Martin's double to tie the score. In the eighth, Bisons manager Wally Backman went to the bench three times to scratch across a pair of runs. A single from Brad Emaus and a double from Johnson had the Herd set up at second and third with no outs. Pinch hitter No. 1 Valentino Pascucci struck out and pinch hitter No. 2 Bobby Scales was intentionally walked. Pinch hitter No. 3 Lucas May then beat out a potential inning-ending double play to allow a run to score. Vinny Rottino added much-needed insurance with an RBI single. It proved to be the game-deciding run. Rottino had two hits, extending his hitting streak to a Bisons season-high 14 games. The win for Buffalo went to reliever Jack Egbert, who got the Herd out of a jam in the seventh. Fernando Cabrera pitched the ninth for his sixth save. Jeurys Familia started for the Bisons and allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings. He also had an RBI double in the second inning -- the sixth RBI by a Bisons pitcher this season, matching last year's total. In two games since being activated from the DL, Johnson is 5-for-7 with double, triple, homer and two RBIs. Mets right-hander D.J. Carrasco joined the Bisons on his rehab assignment and allowed a sixth-inning homer to Carlos Maldonado. He also picked up a strikeout in one inning. Box

BINGHAMTON 7, AKRON 3: Collin McHugh tossed 7 1/3 strong innings and Raul Reyes ripped a three-run homer as the B-Mets avoided getting swept in the four-game series. Facing spot starter Mason Radeke, the B-Mets took advantage of a rare Akron error in the first. A two-out walk to Reese Havens started the rally and shortstop Juan Diaz’s fielding error on Jefry Marte’s groundball set the table for Reyes. It was Akron’s 14th error as team, fewest in the Eastern League. Reyes cashed in by ripping his first long ball of the season. Binghamton doubled its lead in the fourth against former B-Met Jose De La Torre. Juan Lagares greeted the reliever by doubling. Travis Ozga brought him home by banging a double. Juan Centeno pushed Ozga to third my dribbling a single to the pitcher’s mound. Matt den Dekker plated Ozga with a sac fly. Josh Rodriguez gave Binghamton a six-run edge my lacing a double. Pedro Zapata and den Dekker laced back-to-back doubles to tack on another run in the sixth. It was all McHugh needed to rack up his team-leading fourth win. After side-stepping trouble in the first two innings, the righty cruised from the third onward. He retired 18 of 19 Aeros before Michel Hernandez doubled in the eighth. McHugh’s night was done after allowing run-scoring hits to Tim Fedroff and Juan Diaz. McHugh’s 7 1/3 innings were the most by any B-Met starter this year. He allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five while walking one. Erik Turgeon took over and allowed an RBI single to Jared Goedert before getting two outs to end the frame. Robert Carson tossed a perfect ninth to cap the victory. Box

JUPITER 6, ST. LUCIE 1: St. Lucie's seven-game winning streak was snapped despite Cory Vaughn delivering his team-leading seventh homer in the fourth inning. Vaughn drilled Matt Neil's offering over the left-center fence to cut the deficit to 3-1. Mets left-hander Angel Cuan (2-1) was dealt the loss, despite tossing six innings and allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Ryan Fraser allowed one run on three hits in two relief innings. John Church pitched the ninth and gave up two runs on one hit. Jupiter took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on home runs by Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto. The Hammerheads picked up a run in the fifth after a balk was issued to Cuan to allow Yeison Hernandez to score from third. Hernandez delivered an RBI single in the seventh off Fraser to extend the lead to 4-1. Jupiter loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Third baseman Wilmer Flores' throw toward second base on a potential double-play chance sailed into right field. The error allowed two runs to score. Box

SAVANNAH 3, DELMARVA 1: Domingo Tapia was dominant over 7 1/3 innings, in the longest start this season by a Gnats pitcher. The Gnats (16-11) won their fourth straight. Tapia gave up a pair of singles in the first inning, but escaped trouble with the help of third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez, who threw out a runner at the plate for the inning’s second out. That began a stretch during which Tapia (2-1) set down 14 batters in a row through the end of the fifth. The Gnats opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Brandon Brown led off with a double and scored on DH Travis Taijeron’s single. Albert Cordero gave the Gnats a 2-0 advantage with a solo homer in the second. It was his first longball this season. Savannah made it 3-0 in the sixth. Taijeron reached on an infield single and scored on Charley Thurber’s triple. The Shorebirds (13-13) scored their only run in the eighth. After Tapia recorded the first out of the frame, a single and walk chased him. Reliever Estarlin Morel walked No. 9 hitter Mychal Givens to load the bases. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to Glynn Davis. With the tying run at first base, Gnats left fielder Gregory Pron made a diving catch to take a base hit away from the subsequent batter, Sammie Starr, to end the frame and preserve a two-run lead. Morel worked an uneventful ninth to wrap up his second save. The Gnats look for the sweep Friday when right-hander Tyler Pill (2-1, 2.11) opposes right-hander Tyler Wilson (3-1, 2.45). Box

Compiled from team reports

Mets morning briefing 3.16.12

March, 16, 2012
Johan Santana, who threw 44 pitches over 2 2/3 innings Sunday, is scheduled to make his third Grapefruit League start today, against the Detroit Tigers in Port St. Lucie. Santana now will get into more serious pitch counts -- potentially four innings and roughly 60-65 pitches this time -- as he tries to continue to demonstrate he can handle an every-five-days pitching assignment.

Also scheduled to work Friday: Bobby Parnell (who has logged four scoreless Grapefruit League innings and will be pitching on a second straight day), Jeremy Hefner, Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch. Rick Porcello starts for the Tigers.

Friday's news reports:

Jose Reyes faced his former employer for the first time Thursday, although it wasn't much of a reunion. Reyes hit a comebacker to R.A. Dickey on the second pitch he saw, leading off the bottom of the first, and ended up departing following a 54-minute rain delay in the middle of the third. Reyes spoke with New York reporters afterward and suggested there was no real emotion involved in the Grapefruit League matchup. Reyes said he figures the real first matchup will be when the Miami Marlins visit Citi Field for a three-game series beginning April 24. Reyes seemed particularly concerned about David Wright's abdominal issue. He quizzed reporters about Wright's status and separately asked Terry Collins about the shortstop's longtime teammate. Read more in the Journal, Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News, Times and Newsday.

Reyes tells columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post: "I think this year I'm going to play a full season. I've prepared myself to do that. Right now there is nothing to worry about and all my focus is on the field." Said new teammate Logan Morrison: "When I'm tired, I just look at him. He's like a cup of coffee for the eyes."

• Dickey retired all six batters he faced, but the Mets lost to the Marlins, 3-1. Adam Loewen's two-out dropped fly ball in left field allowed two unearned runs to score. Jason Bay went 2-for-2 against Josh Johnson. Ike Davis drove in the Mets' lone run with a ground-rule double. Collins was ejected for arguing a batter interference call against Jordany Valdespin following a bunt by the prospect.

• Top pitching prospects Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia were among 13 players dispatched to minor league camp Thursday, although Collins said Harvey still would be borrowed for Grapefruit League duty. The Mets now have 42 players in camp. The other cuts, which officially came in morning and afternoon waves: center-field prospects Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker, reliever Josh Stinson, as well as Robert Carson, Wilmer Flores, Reese Havens, Juan Lagares, Zach Lutz, Valentino Pascucci and Armando Rodriguez. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and Record.

• The final witness trustee Irving Picard plans to call in the $386 million lawsuit against Fred Wilpon and family that goes to trial next week is Noreen Harrington. She was the person overseeing due diligence for Sterling Stamos, the Wilpon-owned investment company set up to try to match Bernard Madoff's returns. Harrington allegedly raised concerns about Madoff to Wilpon's brother-in-law, Saul Katz. Harrington's skepticism about Madoff allegedly angered Katz and money was invested with Madoff anyway over her objections, leading her to quit. In courtroom filings, the Wilpons' lawyers have said Katz does not recall receiving any stern warning from Harrington, and certainly there was nothing presented to the family by her concretely demonstrating Madoff was a fraud.

Harrington has a track record of being a whistleblower, Richard Sandomir notes in the Times. Sandomir discusses how she alerted then-New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer to irregular trading by a Secaucus, N.J., hedge fund in 2003. Writes Sandomir:

When Harrington first called the New York attorney general's office in 2003, she said that she had heard traders bragging about the practice of “late trading” and that she had tried to alert executives at the firm to the practice. Investigators rely heavily on whistle-blowers, Spitzer said, calling tips like Harrington's the lifeblood of his office. Harrington, he said, was a striking truth-teller. "She not only had a level of credibility in her résumé," Spitzer said. "Everything she said came back with precise corroboration."

Jared Diamond in the Journal visits the Mets' weekly bowling night, which Collins started in his first spring training as manager and continued this year. Wrote Diamond:

One team that included Bay and Dillon Gee came in matching Molson Canadian T-shirts. Bench coach Bob Geren brought two of his own bowling balls, including one decorated to look like a giant baseball. Daniel Herrera, sidelined at the time with a back injury, bought a child-sized Razor scooter at a local Walmart and rode it throughout the evening. The next morning, he cruised into the clubhouse on the scooter, still reveling in his team's success. "Our team is called the Scooters, and I'm the mascot," said Herrera, who stands 5 feet 6. "I have to bring something to the table."

Tony La Russa says Carlos Beltran is getting a raw deal for taking that infamous curveball from Adam Wainwright that ended the Mets' 2006 season in Game 7 of the NLCS.

"The pitch that he took from Wainwright, you talk about the greatest hitters in our game, they all would have," La Russa said, according to the Post. "That ball was way up here and everyone that ever comes to bat would have seen that pitch and taken it. All of a sudden it drops in the strike zone, and this guy's gotten criticized for taking strike three.

"There isn’t anybody who is going to swing at that pitch. Except for Yogi Berra, who swings at everything."

TRIVIA: Which player(s) did the Mets receive in their most-recent trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Thursday's answer: Reyes has the franchise record for homers in a single season by a Mets shortstop. He hit 19 in 2006.

Mets make 11 cuts

March, 15, 2012
Highly regarded pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia headlined the first round of cuts at Mets camp.

Also reassigned to the minors Thursday morning: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker, Josh Stinson, Jenrry Mejia, Juan Lagares, Reese Havens, Wilmer Flores, Armando Rodriguez and Robert Carson.

The Mets now have 44 players in camp. More cuts will follow today's Grapefruit League game.

"It's not my call. I can't make the decision," Harvey said. "No matter how much I wanted to try and prove that I could, it's never going to be my call. So I can only do what I can do. ... You know, I'm not happy about it. But I can't make the decision, so I'm going to go out there wherever I'm throwing and do the best I can and keep working and try to get to the level I want to be at."

Harvey said he feels like he's ready for the majors.

"I'd like to think so," Harvey said. "Whenever they feel like I'm ready is when I'm ready."

Familia said he appreciated the experience, and especially the tutelage from 41-year-old Miguel Batista.

"I threw with him every day and did my stuff with him," Familia said. "He taught me how to finish my changeup, my slider, my fastball."

Mets morning briefing 3.8.12

March, 8, 2012
Today, Johan Santana is expected to throw a between-starts bullpen session, although there is no guarantee. Then Mike Pelfrey is due to take the mound for an afternoon Grapefruit League game against the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie. The Players Association also makes its annual visit to converse with Mets players today, so we may find out what union chief Michael Weiner thinks about the Mets' payroll level.

Also, please join me for a 12:30 p.m. online Mets chat. Click this link.

Meanwhile, live near Bellmore JFK High School on Long Island? You can hear alums Steve Levy and Adam Schefter of ESPN speak tonight at 7. I'm an alum of Mepham, one of the other two high schools in the district. Details on tonight's event here.

Thursday's news report:

• Not exactly a shocker, even though it was treated as such: Jose Reyes was looking for the most money as a free agent, just $1 more, Marlins team president David Samson reportedly told Miami businessmen. Reyes is not expected at today's Mets-Marlins game. He played the past two nights in exhibition games at the Marlins' new stadium in Miami against college teams -- the University of Miami and Florida International.

Andy Martino in the Daily News doesn't believe Samson. Writes Martino:

According to sources, Reyes would have strongly considered a somewhat smaller deal from the Mets, both in years and dollars, and was shocked when his longtime team did not make an offer.

My analysis: Reyes would not have defected from the Mets to Miami if the disparity in offers were $1, or probably even $1 million. But my information from reliable sources is that the Mets were willing to go to as much as five years guaranteed, with a vesting option for a sixth year that would have raised the value to $100 million if Reyes stayed healthy.

Don't get caught up in whether the Mets made a formal offer to Reyes. Sandy Alderson conveyed to agent Peter Greenberg the parameters the Mets could reach. And Reyes' side decided that would not be enough and went with the superior Marlins offer.

And, by the way, that's no crime. Players almost always go where the salary is highest. The union obviously encourages that, too. Tom Glavine never wanted to leave Atlanta for New York, for example. But the disparity in money offered was too much.

Furthermore, and I know this because I ended up on a plane with a Mets official after the winter meetings, who was candid: The Mets' strong suspicion is that the Marlins would not have been done bidding until they got Reyes. I don't want to minimize the Mets' economic woes as a factor in their tepid pursuit of Reyes, but the fact of the matter is the Mets likely would have just been increasing what Reyes would ultimately have received from Miami had they actively bid. At some point the Mets would have had to stop anyway because the contract would have reached what is beyond a prudent salary versus injury risk and expected decline in performance as Reyes ages.

Richard Sandomir in the Times notes that Fred Wilpon and family may be at a disadvantage in front of a jury because a group of average folk is probably not inclined to be sympathetic to multimillionaires. The Wilpons' attorneys unsuccessfully had tried to have the $386 million lawsuit heard by Judge Jed S. Rakoff alone. Writes Sandomir:

Rakoff, regarded as a brilliant but unpredictable jurist, alone will question the jury pool. He is a Yankees fan and a partial season-ticket holder. So his neutrality is assured and seems unlikely to be affected by his rooting interests. Anyway, the role of the opposing lawyers in shaping the makeup of the jury will be somewhat limited. Experts suggest that both sides probably already know the sort of jury makeup they want, and that mock trials have likely yielded juror profiles. But neither side will get all it wants. "The real challenge is to ferret out latent prejudices, so it's extremely important for lawyers to suggest questions to the judge beyond those the judge would use to elicit obvious biases," said Mark Zauderer, a partner at Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer in Manhattan. Rakoff need not use their questions. According to several lawyers and a jury consultant, the trustee will want jurors who resent millionaires. But Wilpon and [brother-in-law Saul] Katz’s team, they said, probably want less class-conscious people who might be more inclined to feel the trustee's pursuit of the Mets’ owners was overzealous and unfair.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger updates the progress of Jenrry Mejia, who is throwing off a mound -- albeit fastballs only. Pitching coach Dan Warthen estimated Mejia is already throwing in the low-90s mph. The Mets are targeting a May return to game action for Mejia, at the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery, which is the standard rehab time. Warthen told McCullough that Mejia's delivery looks somewhat calmer now than pre-elbow injury, which should reduce his susceptibility to future injury. It was Warthen a year ago, going against the prevalent organization philosophy, who said Mejia projected to him as a reliever because of the violence of his delivery. Meanwhile, Mejia sought advice from Edinson Volquez while rehabbing, and has been consoled by friend/fellow prospect Jeurys Familia when dejected because of the long rehab process.

Jon Niese tossed two scoreless innings and Justin Turner went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs Wednesday as the Mets beat the Marlins, 7-0, in Jupiter.

• Niese is trying to improve his changeup, notes Mike Puma in the Post.

Bobby Parnell -- who dined with his family at a Port St. Lucie pizza joint last night, according to an eyewitness -- had a perfect inning in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game, bouncing back from a woeful intrasquad appearance Sunday. He is the subject of a feature in the Daily News.

There are five bullpen locks -- Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Tim Byrdak and Manny Acosta -- and Parnell is not one of them. He does have a minor league option remaining, but continued outings like Wednesday's should get him onto the major league staff, even if it's not the late-inning role he struggled with last season.

The Mets have not written off Parnell. They were credibly approached at the winter meetings by a team interested in acquiring him and were rebuffed. The Mets were leery of trading a pitcher who throws 100 mph and is under their control for four more seasons and not even eligible for arbitration until next winter in all likelihood. Parnell has only two years, 132 days of major league service time and would essentially need to spend the year in the minors not to qualify for arbitration next offseason for the first of three times.

If Parnell is on the Opening Day roster -- again, no given as of now -- that leaves one more spot. D.J. Carrasco has an existing $1.2 million deal, giving him a leg up, but one team insider said to watch Miguel Batista for one of those final two spots. Relievers facing a more uphill battle to sneak onto the Opening Day roster include younger pitchers Pedro Beato and Josh Stinson as well as left-handers Chuck James, Garrett Olson and Daniel Herrera.

David Wright (left rib-cage discomfort) does not sound like he will be back for at least a week. Terry Collins said Thursday that Wright should start taking grounders this weekend, but not throw. And Wright may or may not start swinging a bat this weekend. Meanwhile, Beato was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday afternoon, a day after being pulled from a Grapefruit League appearance with right shoulder difficulty.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post uses ESPN's fantasy baseball rankings to note the declining state of third-base play in New York. Writes Sherman:

ESPN was displaying its top 12 fantasy third basemen, and I noticed Alex Rodriguez was ranked ninth and David Wright was not even among the 12 names shown. Now I do not want to confuse ESPN’s fantasy rankings with, say, The Dead Sea Scrolls for relevance. But it does provide a snapshot of third base right now in New York, which is to say the most uncertain since 2004. That was Rodriguez’s first season at his new position and Wright’s debut as a Met. Both are coming off injuries and their worst full years, so suddenly 2012 has a mandate-like feeling for the duo.

Wright told Sherman: "As far as I'm concerned it is a big motivator, not the doubt, but the fear of failure. I just don't like failing. But there is no doubt in me. I am very, very confident in what I am doing and what I need to do."

As for Wright's future with the club, Alderson said: "He is not trade bait. Is he part of the future? I hope the answer is yes. Let's see how he bounces back this season."

• Does Alderson have the autonomy -- there's that word again -- to guide the Mets properly? Columnist Bob Klaspich in the Record wonders if the GM will stand up to the Wilpons. Writes Klapisch:

Alderson has a track record to back up his promises. Then again, he’s never worked in an environment as toxic as this or for owners who are this unpopular. Fans are angry, they want the Wilpons out, many are vowing to stay away from Citi Field until regime change is complete. Alderson knows he’s about two years away from turning into a marked man, himself. It didn’t help matters last week when Fred Wilpon threw Alderson under the bus in explaining why Reyes signed with the Marlins. The owner had the audacity to say it was a "baseball decision" hatched entirely by Alderson. Don't blame me, blame him, is what Fred was saying. It was an outright lie and Alderson knows it. So does every discerning Mets fan who figured out long ago the Wilpons didn't have the resources to write a $100 million check.

David Lennon in Newsday profiles Ruben Tejada. Writes Lennon:

Just as Reyes did in his early years with the Mets, Tejada is still getting a better feel for English, which makes him come across as a bit shy on camera. "He's a different person from what you see on TV as opposed to what you get behind closed doors," Wright said. "During interviews and stuff, he's very introverted, but he's very outgoing when he's around us. He's got a dry sense of humor."

Read more on Tejada succeeding Reyes at shortstop with the Mets from Andrew Keh in the Times.

Santana is on track to start Sunday against the Marlins in Port St. Lucie, according to Collins. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Times, Daily News and Post.

TRIVIA: Who played shortstop for the Mets the game before Reyes' major league debut?

(Wednesday's answer: The game before Wright made his major league debut with the Mets on July 21, 2004, Ty Wigginton started at third base for the Mets. Wigginton moved to first base for Wright's debut and was traded eight days after that to the Pittsburgh Pirates with now-slugger Jose Bautista and Matt Peterson for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger.)

Mets prospects still need polish

March, 7, 2012

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Neither Jeurys Familia (left) nor Matt Harvey (right) will be on the Opening Day roster because both need more development.
Fans are rightfully excited about the potential of right-handed pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia (as well as Zack Wheeler, who is not in major league camp).

However, there is a reason why they are not being considered for the major league roster from Opening Day. (The Post's Joel Sherman said Harvey and Familia already have been told they're not making the club.)

That reason was on display the past two days -- consistency of execution.

Harvey and Familia likely have the stuff right now to pitch at the major league level. They have the maturity too. But they're still prone to make mistakes in hitting spots more often than will be the case with more development.

Harvey walked three and hit a batter in Monday's Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals. Familia walked a pair the following afternoon before surrendering a grand slam to the St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Adams.

"The command of their pitches is the biggest difference right now," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "Their age is not working against them now. Their maturity level, I think they can handle the anxiousness of New York. They just have to command their pitches better. That changeup that they threw when there was no pressure, they have to be able to throw it when there is pressure."

Mets staffers have told Harvey he needs to hit his spots with his secondary pitches more frequently.

Speaking generally about the rate a major leaguer hits the catcher's target, Warthen said: "You want to be seven of 10 with your fastball, and your three misses need to be off the plate, not on it. And when you make a mistake with a breaking ball, it has to be out of the zone. That's what separates the great ones -- when they hang a ball it's out of the zone. It's not hittable. So these guys have to be able to get somewhere in the six out of 10 on their off-speed pitches."

Mets split Tuesday pair

March, 6, 2012

Brad Barr/US Presswire
Ronny Cedeno drew praise from manager Terry Collins on Tuesday for the backup infielder's plate discipline.
R.A. Dickey followed Johan Santana with two perfect innings and the Mets ultimately beat the defending-champion-yet-Albert Pujols-and-Tony LaRussa-less St. Louis Cardinals, 8-6, on Tuesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie.

The Mets also dropped a split-squad game to the Houston Astros, 4-1, in Kissimmee.

• Against the Cardinals, Andres Torres continued a favorable introduction to the organization, going 2-for-3 with a three-run triple. Another newcomer, Ronny Cedeno, went 1-for-2 with a walk and RBI while starting at shortstop. Cedeno drew praise from manager Terry Collins.

Collins said staff recently met with Cedeno and preached plate discipline. Cedeno, who has a .286 career on-base percentage in seven seasons, responded with a 10-pitch walk in Monday’s Grapefruit League opener, then Tuesday’s showing.

“He’s done exactly what we’ve asked him to do,” Collins said. “He’s had great at-bats.”

• Dickey retired all six batters he faced, including Skip Schumaker, Matt Holliday and David Freese consecutively in his second frame.

• Borrowed from minor league camp, 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo made his first career Grapefruit League appearance and drew a walk and scored. Fifteenth-round pick Phillip Evans, who was handed an over-slot $650,000 signing bonus to keep him from playing college ball at San Diego State, also debuted. Left-hander Josh Edgin, whom Paul DePodesta has said could fly all the way to the majors this season despite not yet appearing above Class A, recorded the final two outs via strikeout for the save. Darrell Ceciliani had an RBI double to cap the scoring.

With this the only split-squad game of camp and Collins wanting to see backups such as Kevin Baxter, Adam Loewen, Omar Quintanilla, Lucas May and Rob Johnson get plenty of exhibition action, the manager does not foresee many other spring-training opportunities for the kids to come over from minor league camp and appear. That’s despite the Mets’ camp size -- 44 players -- being the lowest Collins can remember in any of his seasons on a major league staff.

Collins got a kick out of the 18-year-old Nimmo’s youthful enthusiasm, particularly when the teenager left the dugout to greet D.J. Carrasco by the foul line after the reliever finished an inning on the mound.

“I need to let him know that we let the players get to the dugout before you shake their hand,” Collins quipped. “You don’t have to go meet them at the foul line. He was al excited. He was very, very excited. I’ll tell you what, he got down that line good, boy.”

Nimmo, who turns 19 in three weeks, was in awe of Holliday’s 6-foot-4 frame.

“He’s the only guy that I think that I’ve seen that’s actually bigger in person than he is on the screen,” the prospect said. “Just being on the field with those guys is a blast.”

Said Collins: “We were sitting there in the ninth inning today. [Coach] Bobby Floyd said, ‘You know, Brandon Nimmo a year ago was playing American Legion baseball, because they don’t have a high school program in Wyoming, or he’s running track. And Phillip Evans was playing high school in San Diego. And today they’re playing in a major league exhibition game.’ That’s pretty impressive for two young kids.”

• Pitching prospect Jeurys Familia, who is in big league camp, did have a rough appearance. Familia surrendered a first-pitch grand slam to Matt Adams in the right-hander’s second inning on the mound and was pulled with two out.

“I thought he actually threw the ball great the first inning,” Collins said. “The second inning, actually the same thing Matt [Harvey] did last night, they start to get a little too fine, try to go to the corners instead of attacking the zone. And he got himself in trouble. Two bases on balls is what killed him.”

• First-year Cardinals manager Mike Matheny echoed the praises of Santana’s performance.

“He had a real effective changeup,” Matheny said. “The ball was looking good out of his hand. It doesn’t look like he was holding anything back. Nasty changeup. You’ve got to have arm speed for that changeup to work. And you can tell really on the swing that Yadi [Molina] took -- the swing and miss -- that thing disappears. He does a good job of hiding the ball. But you’ve got to have some kind of velocity in order to make that changeup work like that.”

Pitching coach Dan Warthen told reporters that the Mets’ radar gun had Santana sitting at 90 mph and topping out at 92 mph. But the stadium gun, which appeared to match scouts’ guns, had Santana sitting at 87-88 mph and topping out at 90 mph.

• At the other split-squad game, against the Astros, starter Chris Schwinden allowed three runs (one earned), including a homer. Second baseman Daniel Murphy had a throwing error on an attempted double play. Fernando Cabrera also allowed a solo homer in two innings. Jeremy Hefner, Armando Rodriguez and Josh Stinson combined for four scoreless relief innings. Josh Satin went 2-for-3 and drove in the Mets’ lone run.

• Ex-Met Fernando Martinez, who was claimed off waivers by the Astros during the offseason, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Mets morning briefing 3.5.12

March, 5, 2012
Video from Sunday's bowling night, including Jason Bay and R.A. Dickey in action on the lanes.

Fitting of a Met, Tim Byrdak took a perfect game into the ninth (frame) before the feat eluded him. Still, Byrdak missed only one pin and finished with a 279 in his third and final game during the team's camaraderie-building bowling event Sunday night.

Today, the Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule with Dillon Gee getting the start at 6 p.m. opposite John Lannan of the Washington Nationals at Digital Domain Park. Matt Harvey, Miguel Batista, Daniel Herrera, Byrdak and Frank Francisco also are scheduled to appear for the Mets. (See upcoming pitching probables here.)

Shortly beforehand, all eyes will be on Judge Jed S. Rakoff's expected ruling. Rakoff is due to announce his decision whether to grant Fred Wilpon and family's request to toss the $386 million lawsuit brought by the trustee trying to recover money for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Alternatively, Rakoff could allow the March 19 trial to proceed. He also could award $83 million to trustee Irving Picard, which is the alleged profits withdrawn by the Wilpons from the Ponzi scheme in the two years before Madoff's arrest.

It will be an eventful week. Tuesday, Johan Santana is scheduled to appear in his first Grapefruit League game. Wednesday afternoon, the Mets visit the new-look Marlins in Jupiter, although Jose Reyes is not scheduled to play. The Marlins also have a game that night in their new stadium in Miami against Florida International University, and Reyes is expected to man shortstop in that exhibition game.

Monday's news reports:

Ike Davis discussed on Sunday morning his apparent case of valley fever. He does not currently have any symptoms and blood tests did not reveal the presence of valley fever, but doctors still suspect he contracted it while in his native Arizona. (Watch video of Davis discussing his situation here.) Read more in Newsday, the Daily News, Post, Record and Star-Ledger.

David Wright will not play at least in the first couple of Grapefruit League games due to a left rib-cage issue. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, Daily News, Record, Times and Newsday.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News notes the Mets have to be conservative with injuries to their starters in order to safeguard against them missing significant time. The reason is the Mets' glaring lack of depth beyond the regular lineup and rotation arms. Writes Harper:

If ever there is a season when any significant injuries could be deadly, it’s this one. How can it be any other way when the Mets’ best left-handed bat off the bench may well be Adam Loewen, a converted pitcher with 39 major-league plate appearances, and their sixth starting pitcher apparently will be 41-year-old Miguel Batista? In an era when depth is seemingly more crucial to a team’s success than ever, as players pushing their bodies to the limit break down all too often, the Mets have never been so vulnerable. Depth? You want depth? The Mets are practically the Kardashians of baseball, they have such little depth.

One NL scout told Harper: "Their lack of depth might as well be a neon sign telling everyone they don't have any money. Their payroll is down something like $50 million and they still couldn't spend on a few veterans to give themselves a little margin for error? That can’t be going over too well in New York."

• Regarding Judge Rakoff's expected ruling today, Richard Sandomir in the Times reports that only the specific action -- whether a March 19 trial will proceed or not, and whether the trustee will be awarded $83 million without the need for going before a jury-- will be announced by the judge. A written opinion justifying the decision will not come until a later date, according to Sandomir. Read more in the Daily News.

Brian Costa in the Journal profiles pitching prospect Jeurys Familia, who is part of the heralded group that also includes Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jenrry Mejia. Familia did not start playing baseball in his native Dominican Republic until he was 15 years old. Writes Costa:

The conversation that changed the course of Jeurys Familia's life was not a pleasant one. It took place seven years ago, inside his family's cramped, two-bedroom house in Yaguate, Dominican Republic. And it made him abandon the game he loved. For years, his father, Jorge, had watched him shun the island's national pastime in favor of basketball. But now he was 15. It was time to consider his future. It was time, his father told him, to find a more plausible way out of poverty. It was time to try baseball. "I told him no," Familia said. "I said, 'I don't want to play baseball.'" And then, finally, he relented.

• In the final intrasquad tune-up for the Grapefruit League opener, Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese tossed two scoreless innings apiece. Pelfrey worked entirely from the stretch, trying to work to speed up his delivery and cut down on steals against him during the upcoming season. He was happy with the late bite on his sinker, which he primarily threw, and which will be important in reducing the number of homers he surrenders. Read more in Newsday and the Post.

• During spring training, the Mets are a lot more like average folk, Andrew Keh notes in the Times. It's early to bed, early to rise. In fact, many Mets players enter the clubhouse by 7:15 a.m., or earlier. Terry Collins clocks in at 4:30 a.m.

• Single-game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today at or by calling 718-507-TIXX.

TRIVIA: Who started on Opening Day in 2006, the season the Mets came within a game of reaching the World Series?

(Sunday's answer: After being fired by the Mets, Willie Randolph worked as a coach on Ken Macha's staff with the Milwaukee Brewers, then on Buck Showalter's staff with the Baltimore Orioles.)



Bartolo Colon
10 3.88 106 141
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 57
RD. Murphy 60
OPSL. Duda .856
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121