Daniel Murphy had first-base difficulty in the top of the ninth, then grounded into a game-ending double play a half-inning later as the Mets lost to the Phillies, 7-4, on Friday night at Citi Field. Francisco Rodriguez's scoreless streak ended at 19 2/3 innings. "You don't get it done they're going to boo you," K-Rod said about receiving jeers from the fans despite his success. "It's as simple as that."
Saturday's news reports:
• David Einhorn has a path to majority ownership of the Mets in three years, a source tells ESPNNewYork.com. The source indicated Einhorn has an option at that point to up his share from 33 percent to 60 percent, but that Fred Wilpon and family can block that transaction by returning Einhorn's $200 million yet letting him keep one-third of the team.
• Sandy Alderson met with Einhorn two months ago, as he did with other ownership candidates. The GM described the hedge-fund guru as "enthusiastic" and "knowledgeable," according to Newsday. A source told ESPNNewYork.com that all things being equal bid-wise, Alderson's recommendation was for the McCann brothers of 1-800-FLOWERS.com to be the minority owner.
• David Wright's parents think he's a superstar, the third baseman said with a laugh. As for Wilpon's apology, Wright said: "He called to say that he misspoke, and that he appreciated the response and that he loves the team and the organization and he'd never do anything to try to embarrass us." Read more from Ian Begley at ESPNNewYork.com as well as in the Star-Ledger, Journal, Post, Daily News and Newsday.
• ESPNNewYork.com columnist Ian O'Connor says it's telling that Wright never referred to Wilpon by name during a lengthy interview Friday. Writes O'Connor:
Wright appeared more likely to play a $200-million game of poker with David Einhorn, minority owner-to-be, than to acknowledge that the Mets' majority owner was actually given a name at birth. It reminded of the time a war-weary President Johnson conceded, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."
Post columnist Joel Sherman agrees with O'Connor's assessment, writing:
As of late yesterday afternoon -- the fifth day after the story was published -- Fred had left an apology on Wright's voice mail and Wright had volleyed back a message to Fred. Thus, in an age of 24-hour communications, Fred and Wright had managed to go at least 100 hours without speaking to each other, when supposedly that was an important issue for both men. It felt like purposeful dodge ball and, again, what was spoken between the lines was Wright's belief it was now incumbent upon the owner to make this connection.
• Post columnist Kevin Kernan writes Wright ought to go to the Phillies when his contract expires in two years (including the team option for 2013):
Consider this dooms day Mets scenario: David Wright leaves the Mets, becomes the Phillies third baseman after next season and he again finds his power stroke in Citizens Bank Park. He'll be 30 and in the prime of his career. Wright's contract is up after 2012. He gets $15 million next year. In 2013, the Mets own a $16 million option, not the kind of money you really want to spend on a "very good player. Not a superstar," as Fred Wilpon noted of Wright. Maybe the Phillies see Wright in a different light.
• Record columnist Tara Sullivan writes about Wright:
If you think Wright is tortured because his owner thinks he’s merely, a “very good player” but “not a superstar,” you’re wrong. The real torture is not being on the field for games like Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Phillies, which featured a long-dormant stadium turning alive with buzz. “No question, being on the DL is much worse,” said Wright, similarly pained by missing last weekend’s Subway Series. “I’m bored as hell and driving myself crazy. It stinks that I wake up in the morning and I know I won’t have an effect on the outcome of the game. But just to watch the team gets the adrenaline flowing.”
• Sadly, doctors at Duke believe Gary Carter's four tumors on his brain likely are malignant. ESPN's Mark Simon writes about what makes Carter special. Read more about Carter's medical situation in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record (via AP).
Teammate Keith Hernandez tells Newsday about Carter: "I was hoping it was going to be benign. It's my worst fears. What can you say? My prayers go out to him." Said Mookie Wilson: "We know that he's a competitor. I think that gives him an edge. I think the doctors are going to detail what kind of treatment. Knowing him, he's going to go in intent on beating it.''
• R.A. Dickey has a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot, the Mets announced Friday. Dickey will try to throw a bullpen session Sunday, and is hopeful he can make his regular start two days later. The Mets made a flurry of roster moves before Friday's game, activating Angel Pagan from the disabled list and adding ex-Rays reliever reliever Dale Thayer from Triple-A Buffalo, while demoting Fernando Martinez and designating Pat Misch for assignment. Pagan actually had a stress fracture in a rib. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.
• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey tossed seven scoreless innings in what might be his final Florida State League outing before rising to Double-A Binghamton, while top second-base prospect Reese Havens has moved to the B-Mets after overcoming oblique/rib issues.
• Star-Ledger columnist Jeff Bradley said the Mets are out-armed in the rotation against the Phillies, especially minus Johan Santana. Writes Bradley:
But battling without Santana, especially against the Phillies and their Four Aces, the Mets are fighting out of their weight class. The Mets current rotation — Chris Capuano, R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee — entered Friday night’s game with 150 career wins. That’s 25 fewer than Phillies ace Roy Halladay. To think of how hard Terry Collins’ call-ups and fill-ins have battled to hang near .500, it’s hard not to look at Santana’s empty locker and think about how much that one injury is hurting this club.
• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff says Mets fans still feel compelled to show up, despite all the adversity.
• Newsday's Mark Herrmann profiles Rich Donnelly, the first-year Brooklyn Cyclones manager. Specifically, Herrmann discusses with Donnelly the death of the manager's daughter Amy at age 18 in January 1993 from a brain tumor, the season after Donnelly was third base coach on the 1992 Pittsburgh Pirates. Writes Hermann:
Donnelly always had been considered a good baseball man, but since Amy's death, he has focused on being a good man, period. He rekindled his Catholic faith. He began giving motivational speeches. He became involved in charitable causes such as a buddy's road race in Haddonfield, N.J., for young cancer patients. It is held under the stars and is called "The Chicken Run at Midnight." "She has touched so many lives since then. I've made so many connections with people," Donnelly said on the phone from Port St. Lucie, where he is running the Mets' extended spring training team and preparing for the Cyclones' opener in June.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets catcher Mike DiFelice turns 42. He hit .171 in 42 games as a Met (82 at-bats) from 2005 to 2007. DiFelice managed Kingsport for the Mets last season, but departed when the new front office arrived. There are actually six Mets position players with at least 75 plate appearances whose Mets batting average is worse than DiFelice's. Norm Sherry’s .136 rates worst. ... Reliever Ryota Igarashi, who is with Triple-A Buffalo, turns 32. -Mark Simon