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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mets News and Notes: Torres, Byrdak, Minor League Releases

Outfielder Andres Torres played center field in a Minor League game Saturday for the first time since straining his left calf 12 days ago. Torres is scheduled to make another Minor League appearance Sunday, with the Mets still hopeful that he will avoid a disabled list stint to start the season.

Left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak walked a batter and allowed two runs in a Minor League game Saturday, his first live action since undergoing left knee surgery earlier this month. Byrdak is still hoping to be ready for Opening Day, though the Mets are preparing to carry Daniel Herrera on the roster if he is not.

The Mets on Saturday released Minor League infielder Justin Schafer and right-handed pitcher Michael Weldon.

Mets might share Digital Domain Park with Astros

Astros owner Jim Crane toured the Mets' Port St. Lucie Spring Training complex on Saturday morning, arriving via private helicopter. The Mets hope to convince the Astros to share their Digital Domain Park complex, potentially replacing one of the teams that have moved away from Florida's Atlantic coast in recent years. The Astros' current lease at Osceola County Stadium expires in 2015.

In particular, the Mets can no longer play the Dodgers or Orioles, two teams that used to train within a two-hour drive from their complex. Currently, only three clubs are situated within a 90-minute drive of the Mets: the Marlins, Cardinals and Nationals (who are also rumored to be considering a move). Two others, the Astros and Braves, train approximately two hours away.

Three of those five teams, which combined to constitute 81 percent of the Mets' spring schedule this year, are members of the National League East. That has been an issue for the Mets, who have kept their starting pitchers out of games on multiple occasions so as not to overexpose them to division opponents.

Mets Closer Frank Francisco not having much success this spring

New Mets Closer Frank Francisco has not have much success this spring.

Francisco allowed two runs in two innings against the Marlins on Saturday, the seventh time in 11 spring games he has allowed at least one run. Francisco, who joined the Mets on a two-year, $12 million contract this winter, holds a 5.54 Grapefruit League ERA, with seven strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings.

All spring, manager Terry Collins has attributed the closer's troubles to the lack of adrenaline in Spring Training games. That much, he said, was not an excuse during the third inning Saturday, in a game that saw Francisco attempt to keep the Mets within one run.

"Pitching where he did today, there should have been a little adrenaline," Collins said.

Mets will make decision Sunday if Johan Santana will start opener

Saturday morning Mets Pitching Coach Dan Warthen was doing his best impressions of Atlanta's batters and Santana was delivering the pitches. Though Santana was still not ready to christen himself ready for Opening Day after his penultimate tuneup of the spring, an up-and-down bullpen session at Port St. Lucie, the Mets plan to make a final decision on Sunday.

If Santana does not pitch Opening Day against the Braves, he will almost certainly take the mound for the fifth game of the season against the Nationals.

"I'm not going to sacrifice six months, I'm not going to sacrifice the last two years of him working his butt off for one start, to have him pitch Opening Day," manager Terry Collins said. "We're going to sit down with a number of people involved and make the correct decision."

Recap: Spring Training Game 27 - Marlins beat Mets 6-5

Final Score: Miami 6, NY Mets 5

Clint Sammons drove in the winning run in the ninth inning to lift the Miami Marlins to a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets in spring training action.

Sammons went 2-for-2 with two RBI while Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run in the second inning for the Marlins. Mark Buehrle gave up four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in the start.

Mike Nickeas hit a two-run home run and Josh Thole added an RBI in the loss for the Mets. Miguel Batista gave up one run on two hits over just two innings in the start.

Box Score:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mets News and Notes: Santana, Wright

Mets Left-hander Johan Santana will throw approximately 50 pitches in a side session on Saturday, in his penultimate tuneup before Opening Day. Santana will throw one additional side session before pitching on April 5 against the Braves at Citi Field in his first regular-season game in more than 19 months.

Third baseman David Wright reported no problems after playing for the fourth time in five days on Friday, this time in a day game after a night game. Wright finished 0-for-3 and played five innings at third base.

Mets are uncertain of Andres Torres' Opening Day Status

According to MLB.com, Outfielder Andres Torres looked "awkward" while batting in a Minor League game on Friday, Mets manager Terry Collins said, leading to continued uncertainty over whether Torres will be ready for Opening Day.

Finishing 1-for-5 with a single, Torres did not play the field in his first game action since straining his left calf 11 days ago.

"When you don't play for 10 days, two weeks, you can get like that," Collins said. "He's hit in the cage and he's hit off a machine. He's tracked. He's done all the [preliminary] stuff. Now, he's just got to get in there and start to see live pitching, try to pick up [the ball's] rotation and other things that big league hitters do."

Veteran Miguel Batista Makes Mets Opening Day Roster

The Mets have informed 41-year-old right-hander Miguel Batista that he has made the Opening Day roster, all but finalizing the bullpen. Batista, who is scheduled to start Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, will serve as a long reliever and spot starter.

"He keeps himself in terrific shape," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He knows what he's doing on the mound. He gives us that veteran presence in the bullpen, which helps. We've got some young people on this team and they can turn to him for some leadership, which he can provide."

The Mets had to inform Batista by Friday morning if he was going to make the team. Had they cut him after that deadline, they would have owed Batista a $100,000 retention bonus.

Recap: Spring Training Game 26 - Dillon Gee has shaky start, Mets Lose to Cards

Final Score: St. Louis 4, NY Mets 3

Kyle Lohse tossed six strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets, 4-3, in Grapefruit League play on Friday.

Lohse gave up an unearned run on three hits, walked one and struck out seven New York batters.

Matt Carpenter clubbed a solo home run and stroked a double for St. Louis.

Dillon Gee surrendered four runs and 10 hits in a six-inning start for the Mets.

Box Score:

Mike Pelfrey almost ready to be released?

According to Andy Martino of the NY Daily News, In a recent meeting that included the Mets’ executives and coaches, members of the front office suggested releasing Mike Pelfrey before Opening Day, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. None of the uniformed staff was in favor of the idea, and it was downplayed.

Pelfrey further solidified his place in the rotation Thursday night, when he allowed one run in 6.1 innings Thursday night against Houston. His strongest outing of the Grapefruit League season left his ERA at 8.59.

“I saw all the things today that I have heard about,” Terry Collins said. “I saw a power sinker (with) that great movement, beating it in the dirt. He threw his curveball for strikes. Josh (Thole)said his split was outstanding tonight.”

Said Pelfrey: “The command was by far the best it has been all spring training. I did a good job of keeping the ball down.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recap: Spring Training Game 25 - Pelfrey Redeems Himself, Wright Slams the Astros

Final Score: NY Mets 9, Houston 1

David Wright crushed a grand slam during a seven-run fourth inning as the New York Mets took care of the Houston Astros, 9-1, in Grapefruit League action on Thursday.

Josh Thole finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Ruben Tejada, Mike Pelfrey and Ronny Cedeno all knocked in runs for the Mets. Pelfrey picked up the win after giving up just one run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Jason Castro drove in the lone run for the Astros, while starter Livan Hernandez was tagged for eight runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over 3 2/3 frames.

Box Score:

Get Sick, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez Dye Their Hair Marlins Red-Orange Color

Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez show off their new hair, how gay!
Since the Marlins have red-orange as a prominent color, Reyes and Ramirez each has decided to go with red-orange hair.

Mets resolve position battles, optioned six players

According to the NY Times, Infielder Jordany Valdespin was optioned to the minor leagues with five other players - LHP Garrett Olson, outfielders Adam Loewen and Matt den Dekker, and catchers Lucas May and Rob Johnson — were reassigned to minor league camp.

The moves helped resolve a number of positional battles as well.

Manager Terry Collins said outfielder Mike Baxter would be the Mets’ left-handed bat off the bench, assuming no one is added from outside their current camp. Collins also said Mike Nickeas would be the backup catcher.

Finally, the Mets are watching reliever Tim Byrdak closely to see whether he can recover from surgery on his right knee to be ready for opening day. If not, of the two left-handed relievers remaining in camp, Daniel Herrera would be the likely candidate to fill in over Josh Edgin.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Johan Santana will pitch simulated game on Saturday instead of real game

Johan Santana's exhibition season is over.

It is not a setback, nor a concern. The Mets simply see no reason for Santana to risk injury in a Grapefruit League or even a Minor League game, given how healthy he has been all spring.

Rather than appear in a game, Santana will throw approximately 40 pitches Saturday in a simulated setting. Miguel Batista will start against the Marlins in Santana's place.

Though manager Terry Collins was unaware of the plan on Wednesday afternoon, he is in favor of any action that will limit Santana's injury risk.

Mets Top 20 Prospects, Where they will start the season in 2012

Where to watch the New York Mets Top 20 Prospects
A look at where the Mets' Top 20 prospects are likely to start the 2012 season:
No. Player Club Level
1 Zack Wheeler Binghamton AA
2 Matt Harvey Buffalo AAA
3 Jeurys Familia Buffalo AAA
4 Brandon Nimmo Savannah A
5 Cesar Puello Binghamton AA
6 Wilmer Flores St. Lucie A+
7 Reese Havens Buffalo AAA
8 Michael Fulmer Brooklyn SS
9 Jordany Valdespin Buffalo AAA
10 Rafael Montero Savannah A
11 Kirk Nieuwenhuis Buffalo AAA
12 Domingo Tapia Savannah A
13 Juan Lagares Binghamton AA
14 Juan Urbina Savannah A
15 Cory Vaughn St. Lucie A+
16 Matt Den Dekker Binghamton AA
17 Danny Muno Savannah A
18 Darrell Ceciliani St. Lucie A+
19 Darin Gorski Binghamton AA
20 Cory Mazzoni St. Lucie A+
Click here for the complete Top 20 list on Prospect Watch.

Dickey reveals sexual abuse, attempted suicide, drug use in the Rangers locker room in new book

New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey reveals being sexually abused as a child in his memoir, as well as being confronted with drug use while a member of the Texas Rangers.

Dickey's personal story goes on sale this week. Excepts were published by Sports Illustrated.

The right-hander discusses how he was abused at the hands of a teenage babysitter as an 8-year-old.

"The babysitter chucks the pillows and stuffed animals out of the way," Dickey writes, in his autobiography. "Wherever I Wind Up." "She looks at me and says, Get in the bed. I am confused and afraid. I am trembling. The babysitter has her way with me four or five more times that summer, and into the fall, and each time feels more wicked than the time before. Every time that I know I'm going back over there, the sweat starts to come back. I sit in the front seat of the car, next to my mother, anxiety surging. I never tell her why I am so afraid. I never tell anyone until I am 31 years old."

Recap: Spring Training Game 24 - Nationals Skim Past Mets, Niese Pitches Well Inspite of Loss

Final Score: Washington 3, NY Mets 2

Jordan Zimmermann tossed six scoreless innings and Jayson Werth homered to lift the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 win over the New York Mets.

Zimmermann scattered two hits and struck out two batters while walking none.

Washington's Ian Desmond went 4-for-4 and scored a run. Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda both knocked in a run for the Mets. New York starter Jon Niese gave up two runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts over six full frames.

Box Score:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baxter, Nickeas, and Herrera are clear cut front-runners for roster spots

Herrera Smells Roster Spot
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN NY,  Lefty-hitting backup outfielder Mike Baxter, catcher Mike Nickeas and left-hander Daniel Herrera are clear-cut front-runners for Opening Day roster spots.

Terry Collins offered insight into prospect Josh Edgin not being selected to serve as Tim Byrdak's replacement when the manager indicated Tuesday it would be a stretch to ask Edgin to make the jump from Class A to the majors, especially since Byrdak's absence may only be the first four games of the season.

Left-hander Garrett Olson appeared the primary option in place of Byrdak, but it now appears Herrera is the likely person to claim the spot -- primarily because Byrdak's absence should be so short. Whomever is selected is likely only on the roster for four games and then would need to be exposed to waivers and outrighted, where the organization would risk losing the player. Olson instead is expected to open the season in Triple-A Buffalo's rotation.

David Wright plays back to back days, despite Collins plan to rest him

The Mets plan had been for David Wright to rest today, one day after making his Grapefruit League debut. Instead, Wright felt so strong on Tuesday that he asked manager Terry Collins to let him play a second straight game.

"I felt good considering I've had five at-bats," Wright said after finishing 0-for-2 against the Braves with a sacrifice fly. "I didn't know what to expect with the type of injury that I had. I've never had it before."

Though Wright remains cautious in his return from a strained left abdominal muscle, he is forcing himself to do things "that used to hurt when I tried to do them a couple weeks ago."

"I need to realize that I don't need to have that apprehension that I had before," Wright said. "I feel like I'm getting there, so that's a good thing."

The immediate plan is for Wright to rest Wednesday, before playing Thursday's night game and Friday's day game in succession. If he feels the need, Wright will head to Minor League camp after that for extra at-bats. If not, he will stay with the big club for the rest of Spring Training.

Either way, the third baseman is on pace to be ready well before Opening Day.

"He looks good swinging," manager Terry Collins said. "It's a really good sign."

Outfielders Hairston and Torres both could be ready for Opening Day

Scott Hairston should be ready for Opening Day and Andres Torres may be as well, clearing a previously murky center-field situation for the Mets.

Hairston is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, putting him on track for Opening Day availability. The backup outfielder reached base three times in four appearances during a Minor League intrasquad game Tuesday, his first game action since straining a left oblique muscle early in camp.

"That's a bright spot," manager Terry Collins said.

Torres, the starting center fielder, played catch and swung in the batting cage Tuesday, lining him up also for an impending return. Sidelined the past eight days with a strained left calf, Torres appeared in nine Grapefruit League games earlier this spring, meaning he should not need quite as many at-bats as Hairston to be ready.

Even if Torres cannot go on Opening Day, Hairston boasts more than enough center-field experience to hold down the position until his return. The Mets had previously contemplated carrying Minor Leaguer Matt den Dekker on their Opening Day roster, had both Torres and Hairston still been hurt.

Recap: Spring Training Game 23 - Braves Beat Mets 7-5

Final Score: Atlanta 7, NY Mets 5

Freddie Freeman belted two solo home runs, knocked in three runs and scored three times to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 7-5 decision over the New York Mets in spring training action on Tuesday.

Michael Bourn added three RBI and two runs scored and Eric Hinske doubled in the other run for the Braves, who saw starter Buddy Carlyle allow two runs on three hits over four innings of work to earn the victory.

Lucas Duda smacked a solo shot, while Jordany Valdespin finished with two hits and an RBI. Chris Schwinden made the start for the Mets, but lasted just 2 1/3 innings after yielding four runs on five hits and two walks.

Box Score:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Carlos Beltran pays for Jon Niese's Nose

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN NY,  Ex-Mets Outfielder Carlos Beltran, who offered last summer to pay for a nose job for Niese, has in fact paid the $10,000 bill, the New York Mets left-hander said.

Carlos Beltran said he would pay for Jon Niese's new nose, and he made good on his promise.

Beltran and Niese were teammates when the offer was made last July. Niese went through with the rhinoplasty procedure in October.

Beltran carried through with the promise despite having been traded away from the Mets. He spent the second half of last season with the San Francisco Giants, and now is with the Cardinals.

Mets and RHP Chris Young agree to terms on a minor league deal

The New York Mets and pitcher Chris Young agreed to terms on a minor-league contract,

the team announced on Monday.

Young spent the 2011 campaign with the Mets and held a 1-0 record with a 1.88 earned run average in four starts before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a tear in his right anterior shoulder capsule -- the same injury the sidelined teammate Johan Santana for the 2011 season.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander has been hampered by injuries of late, appearing in just eight games over the past two seasons.

A third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000, Young has appeared in 139 games -- all starts -- with the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres and Mets over his eight-year career and holds a 49-34 record with a 3.74 ERA.

Mets to Honor Gary Carter on Opening Day

Gary Carter, who died last month from brain cancer, will be honored during a pre-game ceremony at Citi Field on opening day.

The Mets are scheduled to begin the regular season against the Atlanta Braves on April 5. After a moment of silence, Carter’s family will be on the field for the ceremonial first pitch. The Mets have been wearing a patch on their uniforms bearing the No. 8 in Carter’s memory.

“Mets fans will have the chance to pay their respects and remember all of his accomplishments,” Jeff Wilpon, the team’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Carter won the World Series with the Mets in 1986 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Recap: Spring Training Game 22 - 5 Run 7th Rallies Mets Past Cardinals, David Wright 1-2 in Return

Final Score: NY Mets 6, St. Louis 3

Ruben Tejada's two-run double highlighted a five-run seventh inning for the Mets, and New York earned a 6-3 decision over the St. Louis Cardinals in spring training action on Monday.

Justin Turner belted an RBI double while Vinny Rottino and Josh Thole each knocked in a run apiece in the seventh. Johan Santana went five innings in the start, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks.

Matt Holliday smacked an RBI single in the first inning and Carlos Beltran finished with two hits and also scored a run for the Cardinals. Jake Westbrook took the loss, yielding three runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings of work.

Good News for Mets : David Wright made his grapefruit debut and he went 1 for 2 ..

Box Score:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mets 3B David Wright says he is "50-50" to play Monday against Cards

In a report by David Lennon of NY Newsday, David Wright described himself as "50-50" to play Monday against the Cardinals in Jupiter after taking live batting practice against two Mets minor-leaguers Sunday.

Wright has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game after suffering a small abdominal muscle tear earlier this month. Since then, the Mets have been extremely careful with him, and Sunday's session was one of the last hurdles for him to clear before finally getting the green light.

Wright said he must wait until Monday morningto know for sure if he'll make the 45-minute bus trip to Roger Dean Stadium. The plan is for Wright to discuss how he feels with Terry Collins, and then a decision will be made. Collins said Sunday it is "possible" Wright will play in Jupiter.

Injury Updates: Scott Hairston getting better, Andres Torres is not

According to Andy Martino of the NY Daily News, Outfielder Scott Hairston, whose oblique strain once made an April stint on the disabled list seem inevitable, continues to improve, increasing the team’s hopes that he will be ready for Opening Day — but center fielder Andres Torres (calf) is not progressing.

The morning after testing his sore side by hitting off a tee, Hairston said he “felt good” on Saturday, and did the same. He hopes to take live batting practice on Sunday and Monday, and appear in a Grapefruit League game midweek.

If he proceeds without a setback, Hairston would help to settle the Mets’ center field situation. The team has been forced to recall Matt den Dekker from minor-league camp and audition infielder Jordany Valdespin at the position.

The organization is high on the 24-year-old den Dekker (one team official predicted “he’s going to be a Gold Glove center fielder, with power”). Still, he has not yet played in Triple-A, and the team would prefer to break camp with Torres and Hairston. Hairston’s status now seems more promising than Torres’.

“He’s not a whole lot better,” Terry Collins said of Torres. “Each day means more time off, as far as him coming back. It’s a pretty big piece of the puzzle. We got him to fill a big void for us, and him being out, out of the gate, and with Scott hurt, we’re going to scramble.”

Recap: Spring Training Game 21 - Mets Get Blown Out 12-0, Bay Hurt in Losing Cause

Sinking Ship?
Final Score: Washington 12, NY Mets 0 

Roger Bernadina went 3-for-3 with a solo home run, four RBI and a run scored as the Washington Nationals thumped the New York Mets, 12-0, in spring training action on Sunday.

Jayson Werth ripped a two-run homer, while Ian Desmond and Chad Tracy added solo shots for the Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Stephen Strasburg scattered five hits over five innings while striking out five and walking one.

Ruben Tejada and Vinny Rottino had two hits apiece and starter Matt Harvey was lit up for five runs and seven hits in just one inning. To make matters worse for New York, left fielder Jason Bay left the game with a bruised right forearm after getting hit by a Strasburg pitch.

Box Score:

Today's Spring Training Mets Lineup vs Nationals - Game 21

Mets Sunday Lineup vs Washington:
  1. Tejada-SS
  2. Murphy-2B
  3. Bay-LF
  4. Davis-1B
  5. Rottino-3B
  6. Valdespin-CF
  7. Loewen-RF
  8. May-C
  9. Harvey-RHP

Saturday, March 24, 2012

David Wright could make his Grape Fruit League Debut Tuesday

According to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin , Mets third baseman David Wright is currently on track to make his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday in Port St. Lucie against the Braves.

Wright has been taking batting practice off a pitching machine since Thursday and will face a live pitcher Sunday for the first time this spring. If that goes well, he should have no restrictions going forward.

Wright has been taking it slowly in Mets camp since tearing his rectus abdominis (an abdominal muscle) in early March. But he should be fine for the start of the regular season if he can avoid further setbacks.

David Wright's STATS

2011 Regular Season102389609923114615297132.254.345.427.771

Recap: Spring Training Game 20 - Ike Homers, Pelfrey Gets Rocked as Usual, Mets Tie Cards in 10 innings

Final Score: St. Louis 6, NY Mets 6 (10 innings)

The St. Louis Cardinals and the New Yok Mets played a 6-6 tie on Saturday in Grapefruit League action.

David Descalso and Jon Jay knocked in two runs apiece, while Yadier Molina and Mark Hamilton also drove in runs for the Cardinals. Starter Lance Lynn was tagged for four runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Ike Davis roped a three-run homer and Lucas Duda added a solo shot and Ronny Cedeno also knocked in a run for the Mets. Starter Mike Pelfrey gave up five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over six full frames.

Box Score:

Rumor Mill: Mets looking to Trade Mike Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey has struggled through Spring Training so far, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that the Mets would like to trade the right-hander.

A rival executive told Heyman that the "best thing for him might be to get out of New York."

Pelfrey, 28, has allowed 20 hits and 16 runs in 9 2/3 innings with more walks (six) than strikeouts (four) this spring, though the team doesn't appear to be considering releasing him.

The Boras client will earn $5.675MM this season, though the Mets would only have to pay him a portion of his salary if they release him before Opening Day.

Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, Pelfrey has pitched to a 4.27 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 while throwing at least 180 innings in each season. He is under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2013 before qualifying for free agency.

DD: Right Now he is the only pitcher who has not showed anything positive towards the 2012 Season, if the Mets can get something back in return worth anything, I would have to say goodbye to Mr.Pelf ~

Today's Spring Training Mets Lineup vs Cardinals - Game 20

Today's Spring Training Line-up vs. the Cards:

  1. Valdespin-2B
  2. Cedeno-SS
  3. Bay-LF
  4. Davis-1B
  5. Duda-RF
  6. Turner-3B
  7. den Dekker-CF
  8. Nickeas-C
  9. Pelfrey-P

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Mike Baxter's versatility might land him a roster spot on Mets

Mike Baxter wanted to show his versatility, so he gave the Mets Staff a little scouting report on himself. And center field wasn't at the top of his list.

"I wanted to give them a detailed analysis of what I'd done in the past," Baxter said. "It was right field, then first base, then left field, then center, in order of games played."

Now that injuries to Andres Torres and Scott Hairston have the Mets scrambling to sort out center field options, though, he wants to make sure he wasn't misunderstood.

"I feel good in the outfield. I feel good in center field," he said. "I take reps there. I work hard there. I'm glad I'm having an opportunity to play there, because in the past I've been behind other players. Even if it's just limited time in Spring Training, it's exciting to get a chance to play center, and I think it's important for my style of game to be able to play there."

D.J. Carrasco's gut feeling is the DL might be in order

The days are ticking past,  leaving D.J. Carrasco frustrated and pessimistic that he will break camp with the Mets.

"It's not looking that way," Carrasco said of his chances to be ready by Opening Day.

Though Carrasco threw off a mound on Friday for the third time since twisting his right ankle last week, he felt uncomfortable in defensive drills the previous day. Based upon that, Carrasco is wary of the team's plans to have him pitch in a Minor League game Sunday, though he has yet to discuss the matter with pitching coach Dan Warthen or trainer Ray Ramirez.

"Judging by that, I still can't field my position yet," Carrasco said. "You've got to be able to go 100 percent of everything, not just throwing."

To combat his injury, the right-hander has been using strips of electric blue medical tape, called Kinesio tape, to promote circulation in his ankle and reduce swelling.

If Carrasco is indeed unable to go on Opening Day, it would make Bobby Parnell and Miguel Batista the heavy favorites -- if they aren't already -- to claim the final two spots in New York's bullpen. Four bullpen jobs are already taken, with Garrett Olson leading a separate competition to replace Tim Byrdak as the left-handed specialist.

David Wright on Track for Opening Day

David Wright called it his second day of Spring Training. It was another day of defensive and hitting drills for the Mets third baseman on Friday, as complete a workout as he can do without participating in an actual game.

As for that next step, Wright feels he still needs "a few more" complete days of workouts before appearing in games. Conceivably, he could enter the lineup early next week, if not sooner in a Minor League game. No matter the date, it is looking more and more certain that Wright will be ready for Opening Day.

"We haven't put a timetable on it throughout this process, and I'm not going to start now," Wright said. "It still depends on how I feel tomorrow and the next day."

Wright strained a left abdominal muscle early this month and has been battling the injury ever since, recently flying back to New York to receive a cortisone injection in the area. He and the Mets both remain confident the third baseman will be ready to play come April 5.

"But I've got to be able to do this for four or five days before I go out there and get put in a game situation," Wright said of his morning workouts.

The injury news was equally encouraging for outfielder Scott Hairston, who took approximately 30 swings off a tee on Friday and plans to participate in soft-toss drills Saturday. Hairston, who strained his left oblique early in camp, believes he also will be ready for Opening Day -- potentially simplifying what has become a complicated center-field situation.

"[Saturday] I'm going to ramp up the hitting a little bit," Hairston said. "It's good to be on a steady progression."

Matt Den Dekker has a chance to make club with injuries to Torres and Hairston

Matt Den Dekker can see how quickly things can change in Mets camp. As he was transferred to Minor League camp eight days ago and then transferred back Friday, when injuries to center fielders Andres Torres (left calf strain) and Scott Hairston (strained oblique) left the position up in the air. He now has at least a chance to make the team out of Spring Training.

Mets manager Terry Collins is impressed by the fact that den Dekker hit 17 homers between Class A Port St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last year. The organization believes he's capable of playing defense at the big league level right now, and will be watching closely to see how he progresses offensively. He didn't play against the Braves, but is slated to start Saturday against the Cardinals at Digital Domain Stadium.

If Torres and Hairston are unavailable for Opening Day, Collins said den Dekker is one of several options under consideration.

"He's in the mix," the manager said. "He's a legitimate consideration."

The 24-year-old is just happy to be back in big league camp.

"You want to make the most of your opportunities," den Dekker said. "Try to play the defense I know I can play and get my offensive game going. I've got a little bit of pop, and when I get to a ball, I can hit it out. But more of my game is getting on base. Last year I struck out a bunch [156 times in 539 at-bats], and I'd like to cut down on that a little bit this year. Try to get on base and let the other guys drive me in. Try to cut down my swing a little bit with two strikes. Put the ball in play and use my legs."

Recap: Spring Training Game 19 - Braves Hammer Mets 9-4

Final Score: Atlanta 9, NY Mets 4

Dan Uggla smacked three hits, including a two-run home run, and drove in three runs as the Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Mets in spring training action.

Michael Bourn had two hits with two runs scored and an RBI while Martin Prado added two triples with two runs driven in and a run scored for Atlanta. Starter Mike Minor allowed three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Josh Thole recorded two hits and two runs scored for New York. Starter Jonathon Niese gave up four runs on four hits in four innings pitched.

Box Score:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mets News and Notes: Torres, Hairston, James, Pelfrey

Outfielder Andres Torres reported progress in the condition of his strained left
calf, but he said he still needs a few days to rest before he can return to action. A team doctor saw Torres on Wednesday. He has not undergone an MRI, but says the discomfort in his leg has lessened.

Outfielder Scott Hairston (oblique strain) swung a bat today for the first time since his injury. He plans to swing off a tee today, and hopes to take live batting practice by Saturday. After a few sessions of batting practice, he believes he can start playing games.

The team reassigned Chuck James to minor-league. The competition for the lefty specialist role in the bullpen has been whittle to three: Garrett Olson, Daniel Herrera and Josh Edgin. Tim Byrdak is still rehabbing his injured knee, and not expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Starter Mike Pelfrey’s right ankle was wrapped tightly as he walked through the clubhouse. He’s been nursing a sprained ankle all spring long.

David Wright takes some batting practice and fielding drills, feels good

For the first time in weeks, Mets third baseman David Wright practiced like a regular member of the club, rather than nursed his strained abdominal muscle.

In a significant step forward, Wright took batting practice during the morning. He completed throws across the diamond. The only aspect which separated him from his peers was he didn’t appear in today’s 8-2 victory over Houston.

“This is like the first day for me for spring training of going through everything,” Wright said. “From stretching to the conditioning. So I feel good. I’m headed in the right direction.”

After a few more similar days, manager Terry Collins said Wright could make his Grapefruit League debut early next week.

Recap: Spring Training Game 18 - Mets whack-around Astros 8-2

Final Score: NY Mets 8, Houston 2

Omar Quintanilla smacked a three-run double and Ruben Tejada added a solo home run to go with two runs scored as the New York Mets defeated the Houston Astros, 8-2, in spring training action.

Rob Johnson had two hits, an RBI and a run scored for New York and starter R.A. Dickey allowed a run on one hit and three walks in 6 1/3 innings.

Wandy Rodriguez allowed four runs -- two earned -- on six hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings. Justin Ruggiano had two of Houston's four hits.

R.A. Dickey had a good outing pitching 6.1 innings, only giving up 1 hit, 1 run..

Box Score:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recap: Spring Training Game 17 - Johan Santana pitches 6 innings in Mets loss to Cards

Final Score: St. Louis 2, NY Mets 1

Jon Jay's RBI single in the ninth inning lifted the Cardinals to a 2-1 win over the Mets in spring training action.

Andron Chambers scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning and Lance Berkman batted in the other run for St. Louis. Jake Westbrook pitched six scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out three and walking none in the start.

Johan Santana struck out six batters, but gave up a run on six hits in a six - inning start. Jordany Valdespin hit a solo home run in defeat.

Box Score:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bob Pittman and Kenneth Lerer among the twelve minority investors

According to The Wall Street Journal, Media executive Bob Pittman and venture capitalist Kenneth Lerer are among several investors who combined to purchase one $20 million stake in the Mets, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The Mets completed the sale of 12 minority stakes in the team for $240 million last week. They publicly acknowledged the deals for the first time Tuesday but declined to identify any outside investors. "We will not be providing any further details on the transaction," the team said in a statement.

Pittman is chief executive of Clear Channel Media Holdings. Lerer is manager of Lerer Ventures, a seed stage venture capital fund, and a co-founder of The Huffington Post. His investment was made with personal funds, the person said.

With Andres Torres Injury, Mets scurrying for center field help

Jason Bay could see some CF Action
A new injury to Andres Torres has the Mets reanalyzing their options in center field, with Opening Day nearly two weeks away.

Torres left Tuesday's game against the Nationals in the second inning with a left calf strain, leaving the Mets uncertain of his status going forward. But they do know they have options. Minutes after the game ended, regular left fielder Jason Bay approached manager Terry Collins to offer his services in center field. Collins accepted, with plans to play Bay there later this week.

In addition to Bay, Collins also plans to use Mike Baxter, Adam Loewen and infield prospect Jordany Valdespin in center in the coming days, all to deduce who might be a realistic option at the position come April. None of the four are natural center fielders.

"I'm just trying to figure out what my best fits are," Collins said.

All of that, of course, will become moot if Torres recovers quickly. To that end, the Mets will watch their starting center fielder closely over the next few days, knowing how much time Torres missed last season due to various injuries with the Giants. Torres felt a pull in his left calf while fielding Brett Carroll's line drive in the second inning Tuesday, leading to his early departure.

Mets News and Notes: Santana, Nitkowski, Byrdak, Hairston

Johan set to throw 80 Pitches Wednesday:

Johan Santana makes his fourth start of the spring Wednesday, and is expected to throw 80 pitches. Santana has recovered from his 65-pitch outing on Saturday, and spent the time in between on improving his fastball command.

He opted for a shortened bullpen session and a lengthened long-toss session this week to focus on achieving full extension on his pitches.

Because the pitch count will approximate what Santana might throw in a regular-season game, today figures to be a solid test. The team is eager to see how Santana’s surgically repaired left shoulder responds to the stress.

“He feels good,” Collins said. “We’ll just see how he gets through it.”

NO NO Nitty:

David Wright to be back this weekend??

David Wright who has a strained abdominal muscle was cleared to swing a bat. His manager has set a tentative date for Wright to make his Grapefruit League debut.

“Hopefully he can get a couple of at-bats this weekend,” Terry Collins said before tonight's game against Washington. “If not, it’ll be early next week. We’re talking about 10 games to get him tuned up. And that’s about the least amount of time as you’d want to get somebody ready.”

Wright graduated to soft toss and light swings off a tee over the weekend. He remains committed to starting on April 5, when the season begins at Citi Field against Atlanta. But his progress has been so cautious that Wright refuses to rush.

“The last thing I want now,” Wright said, “after being as patient as I have, is to go out there and see the finish line and try to really sprint to get there, instead of just taking your time and letting it heal the way it should.”

Recap: Spring Training Game 16 - Mets win one for the Gipper, Gee outlasts Strasburg - Mets shut out Nationals

Final Score: NY Mets 2, Washington 0

One Day after the Mets Owners get good news on their off the field activities...  Dillon Gee out-dueled Stephen Strasburg, striking out four batters in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday to lead the New York Mets over the Washington Nationals, 2-0.

Gee gave up just three hits and a walk for his first win of spring training while Strasburg suffered his third loss after allowing a run on two hits and a walk in five innings.

Lucas Duda had a solo homer and two of New York's four hits. The Nationals scratched out five hits and didn't have a base-runner in each of the last three innings.

Box Score:

Mets announce the sale of 12 Minority Shares

The Mets have finalized the sales of 12 minority ownership shares and paid back $65 million in outstanding loans to Major League Baseball and Bank of America, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The team has not commented on the deals.

The Mets had been working to finalize the ownership sales for weeks, with two of the shares going to the team's parent company, Sterling Equities, and another four to the partially team-owned cable network SNY. The sales are worth $20 million each for a total of $240 million.

The influx of cash has allowed the Mets to repay a $25 million loan to MLB, which had been outstanding for more than a year, and a $40 million loan they took out with Bank of America in December. The rest of the money is expected to help the team cover operating expenses and potential losses in 2012.

Earlier Monday, before the trial could begin, Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz settled for $162 million with the trustee seeking to recover funds from Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

The Mets originally intended to sell one larger minority ownership sale, but they broke off talks to do so with hedge-fund manager David Einhorn last September. At that time, the team revealed an alternative plan to sell multiple, smaller ownership stakes, which has now come to fruition.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mets Owners agree to pay $162 Million to settle lawsuit

The owners of the New York Mets agreed to pay $162 million to settle a lawsuit by the trustee seeking money for the victims of Bernard Madoff's fraud, a deal that eases pressure on the owners of the cash-strapped baseball team.

The settlement calls for payments over a five-year period and Wilpon and Katz will not have to pay any cash until the fourth year. The $162 million could end up being mostly paid with money returning to the owners' Sterling Equities firm as a result of being a victim of the fraud.

Mike Francesa Talks Law Expert Steve Kallis on WFAN

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mets Chronicle Fan Poll: Who are you routing for in court?

Tomorrow is a big day in court for the Wilpon Family and all Mets fans will be watching for the result.

Judge Rakoff earlier this month determined that Picard may recover up to $83 million in fraudulent profits that Wilpon, Katz and their associates gained from dealings with Madoff. The plaintiff is seeking as much as $303 million more, which will be decided upon by the jury.

Last week, Rakoff ordered that the defendants and not the plaintiff will have the burden of proof, meaning lawyers for the defendants will be charged with proving Wilpon and Katz knew nothing of Madoff's illegal investments and that there were no warning signs they ignored.

Many Mets Fans have expressed that they would like to see the Wilpon Family fall on their face and be forced to sell the team by MLB. Many like myself just hope this suit goes away like a bad wort and the Mets can continue with their plan that is in place and just be back to playing baseball.

Here is your chance to vote in our Mets Fan Poll Below:

Who are you routing for in court?

pollcode.com free polls 

As in all our polls, they will be in right side bar for your voting pleasure, Enjoy!

Mets send two more prospects to minor league camp

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN NY, the Mets optioned prospect Cesar Puello and right-hander Jeremy Hefner to minor league camp. Hefner had just tossed two scoreless innings against the Houston Astros.

The Mets now have 40 players in major league camp.

Recap: Spring Training Game 15 - Pelfrey Rocked Again, Mets Lose Again in Astros Romp

Final Score: Houston 9, NY Mets 5

Carlos Lee hit a three-run home run to lift the Houston Astros to a 9-5 win over the New York Mets in Grapefruit League play.

Lee finished the game 2-for-3 with five RBI while Jed Lowrie went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and three RBI in the win for the Astros. Livan Hernandez lasted three innings in the start and was tagged for four runs on five hits with three walks over three innings.

Ronny Cedeno and Ron Johnson each hit a solo home run in the loss for the Mets. Mike Pelfrey saw his earned run average balloon to 14.90 as he gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Box Score:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Recap: Spring Training Game 14 - Mets Fall again, despite Niese's good outing

Final Score: Atlanta 3, NY Mets 2

David Ross stroked a two-run double in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Atlanta Braves to a 3-2 win over the New York Mets in Grapefruit League play.

One batter earlier, Matt Diaz put the Braves on the board with an RBI single.

Ross, Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Luis Durango each had two hits for Atlanta.

Kris Medlen limited the Mets to one hit over four scoreless innings.

Daniel Murphy singled home both New York runs in the sixth, while Jon Niese gave up six hits over 5 1/3 scoreless frames.

Box Score:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Recap: Spring Training Game 13 - Johan and the Mets Fall to the Tigers 9-0

Final Score: Detroit 9, NY Mets 0

Delmon Young had two hits, knocked in two runs and scored twice as the Detroit Tigers downed the New York Mets, 9-0, on Friday.

Omir Santos also had two RBI for the Tigers, while Rick Porcello allowed four hits while striking out three batters through a four-inning start.

Johan Santana gave up five runs -- four earned -- on four hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings for the Mets.

Box Score:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Glen Falls Radio (Upstate NY) Station will carry all 162 Games

Glens Falls radio station WMML (1230 AM), which had been off the air since Feb. 1 to reconstruct its tower, returned to the air at noon today and immediately announced that it will carry the entire New York Mets schedule.

"It's a nice clear signal that's strong at least in the three counties up here — Warren, Washington and Saratoga," general manager Mike Thompson said.

Thompson said the station will carry all 162 games. WMML also carries races from the IndyCar series, and is exploring the possibility of adding Buffalo Bills and high school broadcasts in the fall.

The Capital Region has been without a Mets affiliate since WOFX (980 AM) dropped the team's broadcasts in order to pick up the Red Sox.
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