Mets morning briefing 4.25.11

With their winning streak at four games after a series sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Mets take a day off before opening a series in Washington on Tuesday. Read the series preview here.

Monday's news reports:

• Post columnist Joel Sherman writes the Mets were contemplating putting Jon Niese in the bullpen if he did not have a credible outing Sunday. Writes Sherman:

The Mets were concerned Niese was dismissing his changeup (he had thrown just nine in four starts), which reduced him to more of a reliever-like repertoire of fastball and curve. That the Mets were even pondering such a move shows just how dedicated they are early this season to win rather than play for the future. They further demonstrated that by announcing after yesterday's 8-4 win over Arizona that they were keeping Gee to pitch out of the pen and demoting D.J. Carrasco, the only free agent they gave a multi-year contract to in the offseason. Niese halted talk of moving him to the pen by ending what was an eight-start winless streak dating to last year. And he hardly needed his changeup to do so.

Jim Baumbach of Newsday catches up with Double-A manager Wally Backman, whose team is back on track after opening the season 2-6. (The B-Mets are still tied for the Eastern League's poorest record at 5-8.) Writes Baumbach:

Losing was tough enough, but what really bothered the gritty, fiery former Mets second baseman was when players didn't take the game seriously. In a telephone interview, Backman said a few players on his team were simply "going through the motions" during the losing streak. Stuff like not hustling during games or not taking batting practice seriously, Backman said, that's what ate at the competitor inside him. Backman knew he had to stop that type of behavior right away or face the prospects of a long season of uninspired play. "You got to do it as quick as you can," Backman said, "or else players will fall into a pattern."

• The Post's Josh Kosman and Lenn Robbins report the sale of a minority share of the Mets could be weeks away. The article includes:

Sources close to some suitors suspect that the Mets' auction may not be going as well as advertised, although the Mets maintain it is. Suitors who made it past the first round include: former Glencore commodity trader Ray Bartoszek; hedge fund honcho Steve Cohen; a group led by Steve Starker, co-founder of trading firm BTIG; and hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci.

David Wright had the 16th multi-homer game of his career Sunday, further distancing himself from last week's 0-for-20 drought. Wright tied Dave Kingman and Carlos Beltran for third on the franchise's multi-homer game list. Darryl Strawberry is the leader at 22, followed by Mike Piazza with 17. Read more in Newsday and the Journal.

D.J. Carrasco, not Dillon Gee, was dispatched to Buffalo after Sunday's game to make room for the activation of Chris Young (biceps tendinitis) for Tuesday's start in Washington. Carrasco received the lone multi-year deal for a free agent from Sandy Alderson during his first offseason as GM -- two years, $2.4 million. Alderson said Gee in the bullpen may last only seven to 10 days. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and Newsday.

Jason Pridie delivered his first major league homer. He received the souvenir from the three-run shot off Armando Galarraga because it landed in the bullpen. "I've been waiting for a couple of years to get to the big leagues and be on a team where it matters, not just a September courtesy call-up," Pridie said.

• Read game stories from Sunday's 8-4 win in the Star-Ledger, Times, Record, Daily News, Post and Newsday.

BIRTHDAY: Former Mets reliever Brad Clontz turns 40. Clontz pitched in three games for the 1998 Mets. He is better known for throwing the wild pitch that scored the winning run for the Mets in a 2-1 win over the Pirates on the final Sunday of the 1999 season. Wins by the Mets and Reds forced a one-game playoff in Cincinnati, which the Mets won to clinch the wild card. -Mark Simon