Chris Young, who has battled illness that prompted him to be sent home from the ballpark Saturday, returns from the disabled list to start the series opener against budding star Jordan Zimmermann as the Mets put a four-game winning streak on the line in D.C. (There's still some quiet concern about Young's ability to remain healthy.) Meanwhile, Dillon Gee remains on the squad, temporarily assigned to the bullpen. And although Ronny Paulino is scheduled to remain with Triple-A Buffalo for Tuesday's game in Rochester, he very well could be activated from the DL after that.
Tuesday's news reports:
• Newsday's David Lennon notes that Young is returning to a rotation that is now performing far more solidly than when he departed. Writes Lennon:
Young was 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA, and despite coming off last season's shoulder issues, he made it through seven innings and allowed only one hit against the Nationals. Six days later, he wound up on the disabled list with tendinitis, but he has watched the rest of the rotation pick up where he left off. Beginning last Wednesday, when R.A. Dickey pitched eight innings in a loss to the Astros, the Mets' starters are 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA and an average of seven innings per outing. They have 20 strikeouts and nine walks in that stretch. Asked to explain the staff's sudden turnaround, Young had a relatively simple answer. "First and foremost,'' he said, "everybody here is a good pitcher."
Joshua Robinson in The Wall Street Journal also looks at the suddenly producing rotation. Speaking about the bullpen, Mike Pelfrey tells Robinson: "I -- probably more than anybody -- owe the bullpen a lot of innings." ... The Post also looks at Young.
• Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger looks at the plans for David Wright. Wright says he would welcome a longer-term contract, but two insiders told ESPNNewYork.com recently none has been discussed. Wright is signed through 2012, with a team option for 2013. “I’ve made it very clear that I like playing here,” Wright tells McCullough. “I hope we win here. ... I don’t know if they don’t want me. But if that’s something that they’re interested in doing, I don’t think there’s any question we’d listen.” The article compares the haul the Texas Rangers once got trading Mark Teixeira to the Braves to Wright's situation. Teixeira was only under Braves control for 1 1/2 seasons after the deal, where Wright is at the 2 1/2-year point now. It reads:
On the field, their value is similar. In 2006, Teixeira was worth 3.8 wins above replacement, a Baseball Reference metric that measures a player’s overall contribution. Last season, Wright was worth 3.9. So in the summer of 2007, Rangers GM Jon Daniels spotted an asset. That summer, he dealt Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that bolstered the team on its run to the World Series in 2010. Shortstop Elvis Andrus anchored the defense. Nefatli Feliz emerged as an All-Star closer and the Rookie of the Year. This season, Matt Harrison (3-1, 1.88 ERA) earned a spot in the major-league rotation.
• Andy Martino in the Daily News writes it's a make-or-break week.
• Former Mets first-round pick (third overall) Philip Humber carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium on Monday. "I wanted to be a Met for a long time. But I didn't perform as well as I would have liked," Humber said afterward, according to Jim Baumbach in Newsday. "... I'm more mentally and probably emotionally prepared to be a major league player than I was back when I was with the Mets and even the Twins. I felt I turned the corner a little bit last year."
• Lenny Dykstra allegedly exposed himself to a woman seeking a housekeeping job, the Daily News reports.
• Pedro Beato is learning from Francisco Rodriguez and Jason Isringhausen, who have a combined 564 saves. Writes Art Stapleton in the Record:
He learns by listening to Isringhausen and by watching Rodriguez, two varying approaches used to gain what he considers valuable insight into pitching in the majors. "You’ve got two guys back there who have pitched under intense situations throughout their whole career, and doing what they have done, that brings so much confidence," Beato said. "They’ve been in the league for so long you can just sit back, watch them pitch and learn a lot from the success both of them have had."
• The Nationals lost at soggy Pittsburgh on Monday night in a rainout makeup. The Washington Post has the game story.
BIRTHDAY: Former Mets pitcher Mike Scott turns 56. After being traded to the Houston Astros, Scott learned the split-finger fastball from ex-Met Roger Craig and became a star. Scott won the National League Cy Young in 1986, beat the Mets twice in the postseason, and loomed in Game 7 of the NLCS had the Mets not rallied to win Game 6 in 16 innings. Many Mets believe Scott was scurffing the baseball to make his pitches even more unhittable -- he went from averaging 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings in his first seven seasons, to netting 10-per in 1986 -- but he has never admitted doing so. -Mark Simon