Mets morning briefing 4.8.12

Jon Niese will make his first start of the season for the Mets on Easter Sunday as they look to sweep their three-game series from the Braves at Citi Field. Lefty Mike Minor gets the ball for Atlanta.

The last time the Mets swept their first series of the season? 2007, St. Louis. That year, they started 4-0.

Sunday’s news reports:

The Dude went deep twice on Saturday afternoon, propelling the Mets to a 4-2 victory. For Lucas Duda, it was his first-carer multi-homer game. One of his blasts was aided by the fences being moved in.

Read more about Duda’s big day in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

R.A. Dickey battled lousy knuckleball throwing weather conditions to win his first start of the season.

Read more about Dickey in Newsday.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 2-for-4 in his MLB debut on Saturday afternoon. The 24-year-old center fielder will take a seat in favor of Scott Hairston against the southpaw Minor, however.

Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The Mets officially announced they’d come to terms with Niese on a five-year contract extension that could be worth $46 million and keep him in New York through 2018.

Star-Ledger columnist Jeff Bradley provides an optimistic point of view about the deal. Writes Bradley:

This is where it begins.

Not with a newly printed Mets jersey being modeled by a big-name free agent as flashbulbs pop. Not with an interruption in sports programming to announce that the Mets have pulled off a monster trade. Not even with news that the Mets have put together a new deal to retain an All-Star like David Wright beyond the end of his current contract.

But with a new deal for Niese, a pitcher who has given the Mets only glimpses of greatness to this point in his career. A pitcher they would like to grow with, beginning Sunday when he takes the ball at Citi Field for his first start since the new deal was announced.

TRIVIA: David Wright is six RBIs away from tying Darryl Strawberry for the top spot on the franchise's all-time list. Who is third?

Saturday’s answer: Phil Niekro has won 318 games, more than any other knuckleballer in baseball history.