Mets morning briefing 4.22.11

Jason Bay returned Thursday night, but Angel Pagan was forced to leave the win with a pulled left side muscle. Pagan only figures he will miss as few as two games of the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which opens today with Mike Pelfrey on the mound, although those injuries often linger.

Friday's news reports:

• Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday suggested comparing the Mets' and Dodgers' situations was comparing apples to oranges, and there's no similar MLB takeover plan of the Mets in the works. As for the progress toward a sale of a minority portion of the Mets, Selig is quoted by Newsday saying: "They've been really hard at work. They've really spent an enormous amount of time on this. And I think they're coming to something pretty quickly."

Still, Record columnist Bob Klapisch writes the Dodgers' situation should be a warning sign to Fred Wilpon:

Only the Wilpons know how deep their debt runs, although we have a fairly good barometer of their desperation. The Mets needed an emergency $25 million loan from Selig’s discretionary fund in November, just to cover off-season operating expenses. There’s no reason to believe the Wilpons’ finances are any healthier today, not as Irving Picard’s claw-back lawsuit has grown to $1 billion. And certainly not while the Mets are playing in front of a near-empty ballpark. Tickets sales are down, as are ticket prices. The best seats in the house can be had for 50 percent off at StubHub, and anyone who wants to watch a game, regardless of location, can do so for as little as $3.

Read more on Selig's comments in the Star-Ledger.

Sandy Alderson said there's no quick fix for the Mets via trade or minor league call-up. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

• Pagan said his injury happened on a swing during his final at-bat, not in a collision earlier in the game with Justin Turner in which he took a jolt to the elbow. Read more in the Post.

• Bay had a Little League home run in his return. ESPN Stats & Info's Mark Simon counts the Mets being beneficiaries of four four-base errors in franchise history.

Bay said he's looking for more production than last year, when he hit .259 with six homers in 95 games in the first season of a four-year, $66 million deal. “I feel like I’m better than that guy,” Bay said. “Before the concussion I wasn’t playing all that great. Even for all the shortcomings I had, not hitting any home runs and doing the things I did, I was still able in that limited time to drive in some runs." Read more in the Times and Post.

• Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus officially was returned to Toronto and assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League.

Chris Young threw a simulated game Thursday and should return to the rotation Tuesday in Washington, when he is eligible to come off the DL. Given Chris Capuano's solid performance on Thursday, he really could not be pulled from the rotation. So that means Dillon Gee is back to being the likely casualty, unless he does something remarkable Saturday against the Diamondbacks. Gee, by the way, did recover his luggage -- and his baseball equipment. U.S. Airways got it to Delta, and it was with teammates' luggage once the Mets arrived back in New York on Sunday night following the weekend series in Atlanta.

David Wright broke a career-high 0-for-20 drought with a homer off left-hander J.A. Happ. "Any time you hit a home run in this place it's got to take a pretty good swing," Wright said. Read more in Newsday.

• Read game stories on the Mets' 9-1 win against Houston in Newsday, the Record, Daily News, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Newsday columnist Jim Baumbach said Terry Collins' insistence that he was motivated solely by getting the call correct when he argued in the first inning and got ejected was a white lie. Plate umpire Doug Eddings had ruled Mike Nickeas did not cleanly catch a foul tip, which would have given Capuano a strikeout. Instead, the at-bat was prolonged. Writes Baumbach:

Frustrated, agitated, irritated -- Collins has gone through the gamut of emotions while the Mets have played as if it were 1962 all over again. "I care a lot," he said Thursday afternoon. "I care about how the team plays. I'm sitting here searching every night saying, 'What can I do differently?' " That's easy. On Thursday night, Collins employed the oldest trick in a manager's playbook in an effort to fire up his team: Get yourself ejected.

• Newsday's David Lennon notes that Gee has been pitching with a partially torn labrum for a couple of years that doctors recommended not be repaired surgically because the tear wasn't yet significant enough to justify the career risk of an invasive shoulder repair. Truth be told, plenty of pitchers have some form of labrum tear. And given the perils of coming back from shoulder surgery, not having the procedure if avoidable is advisable. Writes Lennon:

In 2009, at Triple-A Buffalo, Gee tried to pitch with searing pain in his right shoulder, and gritted his teeth through nine starts for the Bisons. Ultimately, Gee didn't need a doctor to tell him he was in bad shape. It was his Buffalo teammate Tim McNab who made the snap diagnosis while the two played catch before a game. "He was like, dude, you look horrible, stop throwing," Gee said. "I couldn't even raise my arm over my shoulder. I was shot-putting everything. I didn't want to tell anyone, but he told me that I had to say something. They sent me to New York the next day."

The previous year, Gee had been vastly overworked by the Mets, who had him pitch a full regular season, then in the Arizona Fall League and in the Puerto Rico winter league without ever giving time for recuperation.

Neil Paine of Baseball-reference.com looks at the history of poor spending by the Mets from an analytical perspective. He writes in the Times:

Mired in a 5-13 start despite having the seventh-highest payroll in baseball, the Mets once again project to be among the least cost-effective teams in the major leagues. Since 2009, the Mets have paid more than $297 million in player salaries -- only the Red Sox, Cubs, Phillies and Yankees have spent more -- but have a measly .450 winning percentage to show for it. But as bad as that is, it’s nothing new for the Mets, whose current run is the latest in a long tradition of poor spending decisions.

• Daily News columnist Filip Bondy notes after Thursday's 9-1 win that even the '62 Mets won 40 times.

• The Post has a Q&A with ESPN's Bobby Valentine. One exchange:

Q: Any hope for the Mets of turning it around?

A: There has to be hope. It's the same old song, it's just different people singing it. The Mets have that (ownership) situation they have to deal with, so it's not only playing the game on the field, but the perception of the team, the leadership qualities and the team across the town. There's a lot of things that you have to deal with in that situation, and right now the Mets have new guys dealing with them, and the world is probably spinning pretty quickly for some of them.

BIRTHDAYS: Though no Mets of consequence were born on this day, it is a very famous date in club history. On this date in 1970, Tom Seaver struck out a then-record 19 Padres, including the last 10 hitters to end the game. No pitcher has ever had that many consecutive strikeouts in a game. -Mark Simon