Mets morning briefing 4.6.11

The Mets share first place in the NL East. We'll leave it at that.

On to Wednesday's news reports:

• Phillies manager Charlie Manuel paid the Mets a compliment. “I heard people talk about how many games they’re going to lose,” Manuel said, according to the Post's Kevin Kernan.“But they’ve got good players. They’ve got some speed, power. They had 13 hits tonight. They’re more than a second-division team, I’m telling you.” In the column, David Wright tells Kernan that Cole Hamels, who was battered by the Mets on Tuesday, apologized shortly after once labeling the Mets "choke artists" in a radio interview. Hamels is 1-6 against the Mets since that 2008 proclamation. “I remember he came up to me, soon after that, we were at some charity event and apologized to me about it, that was cool,” Wright tells Kernan. “I think he was doing one of those radio blasts, doing a bunch of interviews after the World Series, and it was just one of those things.”

• Newsday's Ken Davidoff, in the nicest way possible, puts a wet blanket on the Mets' 3-1 start. Davidoff writes:

The Mets -- more specifically, their ownership -- are counting on you to believe. And to go from believing to buying: tickets, concessions, Shack burgers -- or perhaps you'd like to purchase a non-controlling interest in the franchise? Our take: It's way too early to believe. It's up to you regarding the expenditure. But there's no reason not to enjoy it, for now, when your 3-1 Mets slap around their tormentors from down the New Jersey Turnpike.

• GM Sandy Alderson watched Chris Young handle the Phillies on the mound, and with his bat. And Alderson, who was the CEO of the Padres when Young worked there, told Newsday's David Lennon after Tuesday's win: "It was a good night for us, and a good night for him."

• Record columnist Bob Klapisch applauds Young's performance as well. Writes Klapisch:

Young is living, breathing proof that smart pitchers -- the ones who understand how to change speeds and change hitters’ eye levels -- usually enjoy long, successful lives in the majors. Young challenged no one, yet beat the Phillies time and again using a long, complicated windup that looks like a beach chair unfolding on a windy day. Hitters hate facing Young, and for good reason: He’s arms and legs in asymmetrical madness -- a Picasso painting that suddenly appears in your face, not from 60 feet, 6 inches, but more like 53 feet. That’s how tall he is and that’s long he strides. By the time the ball arrives, it’s created the illusion of traveling downhill, which is like asking a hitter to cope with vertigo.

• Here are game stories from the Philadelphia Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Post, Daily News and Journal.

• Alderson acknowledged Tuesday Jason Bay is "unlikely" to return from the disabled list Saturday when he's eligible. Terry Collins spoke with Bay by telephone and learned the left fielder, who is on the DL with a strained left rib-cage muscle, only first will start to swing a bat later this week. "The doctors thought he would be ready when his DL expired, but it's hard to predict," Alderson said. Ronny Paulino, who is dealing with an anemia-related stomach issue, also is eligible to be activated Saturday, after completing an eight-game suspension. While Paulino is progressing, according to the GM, Alderson suggested placing the backup catcher on the 15-day DL at that point is more likely. If his blood-count numbers continue to improve during a late-week test, Paulino can resume at least limited physical activity. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger and Times.

• The Times reports Jason Isringhausen threw 23 pitches without complication Tuesday in an extended spring training game. Isringhausen was pulled from a weekend appearance with back stiffness, according to Alderson, but the reliever subsequently minimized the issue. Isringhausen has agreed to remain in Port St. Lucie up to two weeks.

• The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Barbarisi catches up with Mike Marshall, who made a record-setting 106 pitching appearances in 1974 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, to ask if Pedro Feliciano was abused. Writes Barbarisi:

Marshall now has a doctorate in philosophy from Michigan State University, and an expertise in exercise physiology. He consults pitchers and teams on how to alter their pitching motions to put less stress on their pitching arms. In Marshall's opinion, the number of games pitched is hardly relevant. "The Mets did not abuse Mr. Feliciano. Instead, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that Mr. Feliciano uses misused his pitching arm," Marshall said. "Misuse, not over-use, injures pitching arms."

• The Journal's Brian Costa speaks with Wednesday starter Mike Pelfrey about how he's progressing without Harvey Dorfman, the sports pyschologist who passed away during spring training. Pelfrey would call Dorfman after each start last season. Writes Costa:

Eight hours after he stepped off the mound, Mike Pelfrey was still awake. It was 5 a.m. Saturday, just after his disappointing Opening Day start against the Florida Marlins. All Pelfrey could do was lay in bed at the Mets' oceanfront hotel, eyes open, replaying each sequence of the Marlins' four-run fourth inning in his mind. These are the nights when Pelfrey used to call Harvey Dorfman, the noted sports psychologist who played a critical role in his breakthrough 2010 season. But now, after Dorfman's death last month at the age of 75, Pelfrey is on his own.

• The Post's Dan Martin chronicles Wright's 4-for-5 game. “The first thing I noticed about him when I got here was how focused he is,” teammate Scott Hairston tells Martin about Wright. “To take pitches the other way three times and get hits every time like he did, that can be hard to do in batting practice sometimes. But he has the mentality of a great hitter.”

• Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Hagen writes the former World Series MVP Hamels did not deserve to be booed after getting roughed up by the Mets. Writes Hagen:

Hamels had a tough day. It happens to the very best players in baseball. It's one game. No more, no less. These are verities that shouldn't even have to be mentioned anymore. So why in the name of Adam Eaton did a vocal segment of the 127th consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park lustily boo as Hamels trudged from the mound? In the end, that was probably the most disappointing thing of all that happened at Citizens Bank Park last night.

• For Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Penn graduate, talks about growing up a New York Giants fan and hating the Yankees. He then discusses how he became a Chicago White Sox fan (because they played the Yankees 11 times a year, and he hated the Yankees). And how he then adopted the Phillies in addition to the White Sox. Writes Rendell in the Philadelphia Daily News:

I grew up in New York and my father, brother Robert and I were devoted NY baseball Giants fans. From the age of 5 until my teenage years, the Giants' nucleus -- Monte Irvin, Whitey Lockman, Hank Thompson, Willie Mays, Al Dark, Sal Maglie and Larry Jansen -- stayed largely intact. They were my family. But even in today's "rent a player" era, the bond between fan and team, though challenged, has remained solid.

BIRTHDAYS: Third baseman Wayne Graham, who appeared in 20 games with the Mets in 1964, was born on this date in 1936.