After a rainout against the Florida Marlins and a team off-day, the Mets resume play Friday night at Citi Field against the Atlanta Braves. With the Mets trailing the wild-card leaders by eight games with 52 games remaining, anything short of a sweep is not enough. Read the series preview here.
Friday's news reports:
• Johan Santana was diagnosed with shoulder fatigue during a late-afternoon exam Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, the team announced. Santana is not to resume throwing until the shoulder feels stronger. He will be with the team for the week, during the remainder of the homestand, before returning to Florida. Santana felt discomfort earlier this week, after tossing three scoreless innings in his first minor league rehab start last Thursday with Class A St. Lucie. Given he will not even toss a baseball for a week, the odds of Santana appearing in a major league game this season are getting longer. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Post.
• Ike Davis is due to travel to New York on Friday from his native Arizona. He will be examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery this weekend. Davis has been running at home this week, and the exam will determine whether Davis needs season-ending surgery. When Davis last spoke about the injury, he predicted surgery was the likely route.
• With Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez gone, it's back to Jose Reyes watch at the Daily News, which says it remains unlikely that the Mets offer Carl Crawford money to Reyes (seven years, $142 million). The Mets would get two draft picks if Reyes signs elsewhere. Writes Andy Martino:
One person familiar with the Mets' plans told the Daily News in June that "both" the money and length of a Crawford-type contract were unappealing to the team. With the trade deadline now passed and Reyes still a Met, that same person was asked this week if the thinking had evolved. "Nothing has changed," that person said, adding that the Mets were "still nervous about it."
• Steve Popper in the Record said that while the likelihood is Daniel Murphy occupies second base next year, there's some chatter about Murphy playing left field and Jason Bay shifting to center field. That's not exactly an outfield alignment designed for Citi Field.
• So this weekend is an opportunity to become legitimate wild-card contenders, right? Post columnist Kevin Kernan sees it more as the plug being pulled on life support. Writes Kernan:
Welcome to the Mets' version of October. Although this is really a lot more like Custer's Last Stand. Terry Collins' Last Stand 2011 begins tonight at Citi Field against the Braves. The 55-55 Mets are right where I picked them to be at the start of the season, a .500 team, but for tonight at least, the Mets can believe they can get in the wild-card race if they sweep the Braves. The reality is that the Mets are two games in the loss column removed from last place in the NL East.
• David Lennon in Newsday writes about Davis' situation:
As much as the Mets have worked to improve their medical protocol this season, the Davis conundrum reminded Jose Reyes of his own infuriating hamstring tendon issues in 2009. "I told him when I saw him: 'Bro, don't wait too long,' " Reyes said. " 'If you need surgery, just do it now, and you'll be ready for spring training. If you're going to wait until September, and try to play for a couple of games, why are you going to do that? The longer that you wait, the closer that you get to spring training.' " Davis has shown only marginal improvement since suffering the injury May 10 in a freakish collision with David Wright at Coors Field. The team's medical staff even admitted it might have made a mistake during the early stages of treatment by keeping him in a protective boot too long -- a decision that might have reduced healing blood flow to that area.
• Jorge Castillo in the Times discusses Reyes' music career with the shortstop. Writes Castillo:
The five-minute video, for a reggaeton song titled “No hay amigo” — in English, “There Is No Friend” -- was released on the Internet in July and had nearly 146,000 YouTube views as of Thursday. The song’s message: work hard and be careful about whom you trust. Reyes’s voice on the video is Auto-Tuned, altering how he normally sounds and making it hard to judge how he really sings, or raps.
• Bay is hitting .435 (10-for-23) during his current six-game hitting streak. So has he finally solved his batting issues? Dan Martin in the Post notes there have been false hopes before. Writes Martin:
There have been times when he has had a brief run of success at the plate with the Mets and thought he finally had broken out of a slump -- only to fall back into another one almost immediately. "The tendency that I've had -- and I've talked to [hitting coach Dave Hudgens] about it -- is I get to a point where I'm feeling comfortable and then all of a sudden a week goes by and I'm not satisfied, so I start changing things," Bay said.
BIRTHDAY: Former first baseman John Olerud turns 43.