At 5-12, the Mets officially are the worst team in baseball, assuming you are what your record says you are.
Losers of 11 of their last 13, and just 1-7 at Citi Field, R.A. Dickey returns from his relief cameo to start opposite Houston right-hander Bud Norris on Wednesday night, trying to stop the Mets' bleeding. Jason Bay, it appears, may be back at Citi Field a day early, too.
"Late in the game, we continue to give up big numbers and it's killing us," Terry Collins said.
Wednesday's news reports:
• Bobby Parnell is experiencing numbness in his right middle finger and may land on the DL on Wednesday, replaced by Bay, which would bring the Mets back to five bench players and seven relievers. Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger said the issue arose about 10 days ago, when Parnell tried to experiment with a split-finger fastball, which he does not throw. Writes McCullough:
He soon lost the feeling in his middle finger. Thus he lost a touch of command and a touch of velocity, which were apparent during a disastrous series against Colorado. One memorable sequence comes to mind: On April 11, Parnell fielded a groundball and attempted to throw a force play at home. The ball sailed toward the backstop. The next batter was Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The Mets' scouting report indicated that Tulowitzki’s cold zone was up by his hands. Aiming for that area, Parnell instead fed a waist-high fastball. Two days later, he made the same mistake. Tulowitzki homered each time.
Brian Lewis in the Post quotes Parnell saying: "The doctors looked at it, preliminary stuff. They'll look at it a little bit more [Wednesday]. They threw out some stuff. Possible nerve [desensitization] is what they said. If you rub a nerve wrong, it desensitizes for a couple days, possibly weeks. They [eliminated] carpal tunnel, so that's good news. We'll just see."
• Post columnist Joel Sherman makes the point that being this bad has its advantages. If Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez are out after the season anyway, the clarity of not being in the postseason race affords the Mets the opportunity to trade them without hesistance. The alternative -- being on the periphery of the wild-card race -- could prompt the Mets to hold on and get nothing in return at season's end, or hold until closer to the July 31 deadline and get less. Sherman says even David Wright should not be off limits in discussions. Adds Sherman:
[Sandy] Alderson insisted before the game that he is not ready to orchestrate a fire sale. But what can he say? No use waving a white flag when the true trading season does not begin until -- at the earliest -- shortly after Memorial Day. Right now, for example, teams such as the Cardinals and White Sox, with division-title aspirations, are struggling with their closer. Yet there are no indications they are ready to budge -- or budget -- for K-Rod.
• Justin Turner replaced Brad Emaus on the roster. The Rule 5 pick Emaus is in the process of being offered back to the Toronto Blue Jays and is "unlikely" to find his way back to the Mets organization in the minors via trade, Sandy Alderson told reporters Tuesday. Daniel Murphy should get the bulk of the starts in the short term. Alderson said the Mets' overall struggles did not afford the opportunity to give Emaus more rope.
Collins had said on Friday that Emaus, who finished his Mets career 7-for-37 (.162), had only a set number of additional at-bats to prove he was worthy. Writes Newsday's David Lennon:
Now we know what that number was: seven. After Collins put Emaus on the clock, he started two games in Atlanta and went 0-for-7 with a walk and two strikeouts. Just like that, his 14-game Mets career was history. Upon the team's return to New York, general manager Sandy Alderson met with Collins and his coaching staff. Roughly 24 hours later, the Mets officially designated Emaus for assignment, jettisoning their Opening Day second baseman after an 18-day trial period. The Mets had high hopes for Emaus. They fantasized about finding the next Dan Uggla -- another Rule 5 pick -- and proclaimed Emaus the winner of a lackluster second-base competition at the end of spring training.
• Perhaps it is goodwill for sitting through crummy baseball and bad weather. Or maybe because it's because no one will be in the seats otherwise. But tickets from Tuesday night's game against the Astros may be redeemed for a game during a May 30-June 2 series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, when Citi Field is sure to be a ghost town.
• Collins plans to put Bay in the No. 5 hole, which would return struggling Angel Pagan to second in the order, at least once Pagan shows some signs of getting on track, Newsday's Kimberley A. Martin writes. "That's where I'd ultimately like him to be, no question about it," Collins tells Martin about Pagan. "But I'm going to talk to Angel when the time comes to make sure he's comfortable with it. ... He's trying way too hard. He's trying to do all the things he did all last season in the first two weeks. I've been trying to just get him to play, do the little things, slap the ball around, use that God-given speed he's got, create havoc like he can."
• Record columnist Bob Klapisch looks at how Collins is handling the losing. Klapisch gives more detail on the animated tunnel conversation off the dugout at Turner Field after Murphy was thrown out trying to steal third base. Writes Klapisch:
Terry Collins watched in quiet rage as Murphy was thrown out -- waiting while his player collected himself and returned to the dugout -- before exploding.
“What the [bleep] are you doing?” Collins shouted, according to a person who’d been made aware of the exchange.
“Mike [Nickeas] was up, [Mike] Pelf[rey] was on deck; I was trying to get something started,” Murphy responded.
“So now you’re the manager? I was going to pinch-hit [for Pelfrey],” Collins shot back. “I’m the manager, not you. Get your head out of your [bleep].”
BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets pitcher Masato Yoshii turns 46. Yoshii started the openers in the 1999 NLDS and NLCS and was the Mets' starter in Game 5 of the NLCS, which Robin Ventura won with his "Grand Slam Single." ... Former Mets pitcher Jason Roach turns 35. Roach appeared in two major league games in 2003 and posted a 12.00 ERA. Stump your friends with this nugget: Roach has the highest Mets batting average of anyone who had more than one at-bat with the team. He was 2-for-2 at the plate in his Mets career. -Mark Simon