Mets morning briefing 4.18.12

Johan Santana had the shortest start of his major league career, recording only four outs, and the Mets lost to the Braves for the first time in five meetings this season, 9-3 Tuesday night at Turner Field.

Wednesday's news reports:

• Santana said he did reflect on the shoulder injury occurring in Atlanta on Sept. 2, 2010 before delivering his first pitch Tuesday night. He failed to record a strikeout for the first time as a starter as a Met. His previous shortest outing had been three innings -- done three times, including as a Met at Yankee Stadium on June 14, 2009. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday and Record.

• Watch Jon Niese discuss his new contract in the first installment of a regular video series here.

Ike Davis joined Ruocco & Lundberg on ESPN New York 1050 on Tuesday. Listen here.

• Despite some fan objections, Jose Reyes will be recognized Tuesday in the same manner as other former Mets in their first trips back to New York in another uniform. David Wright quipped to Mike Kerwick in the Record: "I hope he loses focus in the game and starts thinking about that," referring to the video tribute. Wrote Kerwick:

Wright said he doesn’t talk to Reyes quite as often as he had in the past. Out of habit, he has taken to picking up a copy of USA Today every morning and combing the box scores until he finds his former teammate’s name. He said he still roots tirelessly for Reyes "as long as he’s not playing us."

"Everyone knows what Jose has meant to this organization," Wright said. "It’ll be a little strange seeing him in a different uniform."

Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post says retiring Chipper Jones, but not Reyes, should be saluted. Writes Vaccaro:

Chipper? Look, there’s no escaping this: He killed the Mets his whole career. He named his kid Shea. He broke more hearts and spirits than any other opponent. You know who else did that to a New York team generations ago? Stan Musial. You know who gave Musial his nickname, “The Man?” Dodgers fans who saw him pound the Bums day after day and grew to admire him even as he destroyed them. And late in the 1962 season, the Mets, New York’s National League heirs, gave Musial a full-blown “day” at the Polo Grounds. The Mets did the same thing for Hank Aaron in 1974. The thing that nearly made Lou Gehrig break down during his famous speech was a gift that the Giants -- the Yankees’ bitter rivals -- gave him. There was always a place for saluting a rival in the game, in a kinder, gentler time.

Andres Torres, who has been on the disabled list since straining his left calf again on Opening Day, will not be asked to start sprinting in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for another week. He is then expected to play in minor league games before being activated, so his return is not imminent. He will miss the four-game weekend series against his former team, the San Francisco Giants, this weekend at Citi Field. Read more in Newsday and the Post.

Scott Hairston, a third-generation major leaguer, appreciated Sunday's annual Jackie Robinson Day tribute across baseball during which each player wore No. 42. Still, he too wonders why more African-Americans are not in baseball. Wrote Andy Martino in the Daily News:

It has became a regular component of Jackie Robinson Day every April to note the decline of African-American ballplayers; the most recent study, conducted this month by USA Today, put the number at 8.05% of all major leaguers, down from 27% in 1975 and 19% in 1995. No one, Hairston included, can fully explain this trend. He instead spent Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday thinking of his own family’s history (Sam’s son, Jerry, also played in the major leagues, as does Scott’s brother, Jerry Jr.) and his late grandfather. “We have been very proud of that,” Scott Hairston said. “My dad always talked about the significance of that in our family’s history, especially around Jackie Robinson Day. ”

Gonzalez Germen and relievers John Church, Adam Kolarek and Adrian Rosario allowed a combined three hits as St. Lucie improved to 10-2 Tuesday. Read the minor league recap here.

TRIVIA: Santana is 0-2, despite a pair of solid starts before Tuesday's rough one. Which pitcher had the most losses to open a season for the Mets as a starting pitcher before finally being credited with a victory?

Tuesday's answer: John Smoltz's No. 29 will be retired by the Braves on June 8. The last player's number retired by by the organization was Tom Glavine's 47.

Manager Bobby Cox's No. 6 was retired more recently, last year. Also retired by the Braves: Hank Aaron's No. 44, Eddie Mathews' No. 41, Dale Murphy's No. 3, Phil Niekro's No. 35, Warren Spahn's No. 21 and Greg Maddux's 31 as well as the universally retired No. 42 for Robinson.