Mets morning briefing 3.14.12

Dillon Gee was scheduled to pitch in a minor league game to allow Matt Harvey to log Grapefruit League innings against a credible offense in front of team personnel Wednesday. But the plan changed because the Mets did not have the MLB-stipulated minimum number of starting players making the two-and-a-half hour drive to Lakeland. So Gee now is on the bus and the starting pitcher as the Mets play at the Detroit Tigers for the second time in three days. Harvey will pitch in the minor league game.

Before media hit the road, David Wright is expected to speak about the "ultrasound-guided" cortisone shot he received to the left side of his rib cage Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York as well as update his status going forward.

Wednesday's news reports:

Terry Collins got agitated when Ruben Tejada was scratched from Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Hours later, Collins said his frustration upon losing Tejada (groin) and Ronny Cedeno (knee tendinitis) in the same morning is that the absence of players from drills is inhibiting the team's ability to prepare to play fundamentally sound this season. D.J. Carrasco also is out for a limited period after twisting an ankle.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post wonders what's going on here with the Mets' perpetual injuries.

Read more in the Journal, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post, Record and Newsday.

Carlos Beltran faced the Mets for the first time since last July's trade and went 1-for-4 Tuesday. Beltran was in a chipper mood as he reminisced with New York reporters about his six and a half seasons as a Met and the team's rebuilding plan. Beltran also kept the drama going about when he eventually will pay Jon Niese $10,000 -- the cost of Niese's offseason nose job, which Beltran asked the southpaw to get -- and offered to pay for -- shortly before being traded to the San Francisco Giants last summer. Niese playfully professed not to care about the delinquent payment. Watch video of Beltran's interview here. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and Daily News.

The Mets, by the way, play the Marlins on Thursday in Jupiter. So there is a decent chance Jose Reyes finally will play against his old team, too. Reyes did not face the Mets in either of the first two Grapefruit League meetings between his present and former teams. Beltran's Cardinals and Reyes' Marlins train at the same Jupiter, Fla., complex. And Beltran said Reyes looks as chipper as always.

"He's like Jose. He’s always happy, always smiling, always playing the game hard," Beltran said. "He’s going to be fine. It’s going to be a transition for him because of all these years playing for the Mets, all these years playing in New York, now going to a new team, [there are] new expectations. I think he’s going to be able to handle that situation well.”

Mike Pelfrey allowed two homers while tossing 4 1/3 innings in the Mets' 7-1 loss to the Cardinals. Read more in Newsday.

Johan Santana threw a between-starts bullpen session Tuesday and pronounced himself fit for his third Grapefruit League start, Friday against the Tigers in Port St. Lucie.

• A team official said the employment status of bullpen catcher Eric Langill, who was arrested Sunday night and charged with driving under the influence, remains unresolved.

• Left-hander Tim Byrdak underwent surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee Tuesday and is expected to miss six weeks.

• As ESPNNewYork.com reported late Monday, the trustee suing Fred Wilpon and family has asked a judge to bar Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as well as former Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau from testifying. Writes Anthony M. Destefano in Newsday:

Judge Jed Rakoff is expected to decide Monday, when the trial is scheduled to begin, if he will allow the testimony over the trustee's opposition. If he testifies, Morgenthau would describe how he put the PAL money into a Madoff account after Wilpon said it was "safe," according to the court papers. Koufax would testify that he opened an account with Madoff at Wilpon's suggestion, court documents stated.

Read more on the witness list and legal wrangling in the Times, Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

Barry Meier in the Times looks at the $2.4 million in improvements at the Mets' spring-training home, Digital Domain Park. The upgrades are designed to entice a second team to relocate to the complex. Meier quotes officials saying the Mets would hope to lure the Washington Nationals or Houston Astros to join them at the Port St. Lucie facility. Florida's Atlantic coast has lost teams of late, leaving the Mets constantly facing the same opponents -- the Marlins and Cardinals, who are the nearest at 33 miles away in Jupiter, and the Nats in Viera 72 miles away -- or facing long drives. After those three opponents, all the drives are two-hours-plus. The Dodgers used to be closest to Port St. Lucie, but they bolted Vero Beach for Arizona. And the Orioles left Fort Lauderdale for Sarasota.

TRIVIA: At which university is Mets PR man Jay Horwitz inducted into the Hall of Fame?

Tuesday's answer: Pedro Feliciano set the franchise record for relief appearances three straight seasons -- 86 in 2008, 88 in 2009, then 92 in 2010.