Mets morning briefing 7.14.12

ATLANTA -- Chris Young surrendered five runs in three innings and the Mets lost their second-half opener, 7-5 to the Braves on Friday night. The game -- played on the 35th anniversary of the New York City blackout, which halted a game at Shea Stadium -- included the lights going out at Turner Field, forcing a 16-minute delay in the second inning.

After posting a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game, R.A. Dickey bids for his 13th win Saturday when he opposes right-hander Tommy Hanson at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Braves handed Dickey his lone 2012 loss, albeit in the rain, which made the knuckleball difficult to grip.

Saturday's news reports:

Dillon Gee underwent surgery Friday in St. Louis to replace a portion of a damaged artery in his right shoulder. He is due to be discharged from Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday. The likelihood is Gee is done for the season, although there is an outside chance he could return in late September, or in October if the Mets are still playing. Read more in the Record and Post.

Frank Francisco's return is on hold after the closer was shut down with continued oblique discomfort. Jason Bay, meanwhile, went 0-for-3 with a walk for the second straight day with Class A St. Lucie, this time as the DH. Terry Collins indicated Bay quickly would move to Triple-A Buffalo, paving the way for him to potentially be activated for next week's series in Washington. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

Josh Edgin described his major league debut as mixed. He inherited the bases loaded from Miguel Batista and recorded a pair of strikeouts to strand three in his first frame. Then, after recording a pair of outs in the sixth, Edgin surrendered a homer to Chipper Jones on a hanging slider and a double to Freddie Freeman on a fastball over the plate before being removed. Collins had pledged that Edgin would be tested. Read more in the Post, Times, Record, Journal and Newsday.

• Read game recaps in the Times, Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Record.

• Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

In the first half of the season, the Mets’ rotation was akin to a good offensive line camouflaging a bad quarterback. Just in their case the bad quarterback was the majors’ worst bullpen. The Mets were the only team that had four starters top 100 innings while pitching to an ERA of 4.10 or lower. The relief damage was overt. But imagine how much worse it would have been without consistent length and excellence from the rotation. Right now, though, the first half feels like the good old days. Day 1 of the second half had that Waterloo-ish feel for the Mets.

• Young threw only 71 pitches, which means he should be able to return without issue on standard rest Wednesday in D.C. That would delay the need for a fifth starter in Gee's slot until next Saturday against the Dodgers at Citi Field. Batista had the inside track, but he did himself no favors by walking four and surrendering a hit while recording four outs. Matt Harvey next pitches Monday for Buffalo, at least putting him on the proper rest for consideration to face the Dodgers, even if Collins has called the chance he gets that start "remote."

• Dickey could be seeing regular action on short rest if the Mets remain in the race after Aug. 1, Collins indicated. Read more in Newsday.

Johan Santana, whose cranky right ankle prompted the Mets to delay his start, is fine to face the Braves on Sunday, he indicated. Santana threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon at Turner Field.

• The Mets will sign 39-year-old left-hander C.J. Nitkowski to a minor league deal and assign him to Double-A Binghamton. Read more in Newsday.

• The draft deadline passed at 5 p.m. Friday and the Mets did not sign one top pick. Second-round selection Teddy Stankiewicz (75th overall) apparently is headed to the University of Arkansas. The Mets will pick up an extra pick at 76th overall in 2013.

• The Brooklyn Cyclones' bus had a misadventure en route from Connecticut to State College on Friday night.

Jeurys Familia tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings and Josh Satin and Matt Tuiasosopo had two-run homers in Buffalo's 6-2 win against Pawtucket. Read Friday's full minor league recap here.

Dave Cameron in the Journal examines how many wins it may take to reach the postseason now that there is an extra wild-card team in each league. Writes Cameron:

The two wild-card system lowers the barrier to entry to around 89 wins on average, giving additional hope to teams sitting on the bubble. Under the new postseason system, the 1997 Angels would have earned the second wild card with an 84-78 record. Three other teams in other years would have gotten the wild card with just 85 wins.

Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty Friday in Los Angeles to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. He faces up 20 years in prison at a Dec. 3 sentencing.

• Braves catcher Brian McCann should be back Saturday. He missed Friday's game for the birth of his first child. Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves may imminently be acquiring a shortstop, according to the newspaper. That was the case even before Jack Wilson dislocated the middle joint of his right pinkie during Friday's game.

Cody Derespina in Newsday looks at more players who may be available at the trade deadline who could help the Mets.

Brian Costa in the Journal examines the issues facing the Mets in the second half.

TRIVIA: Name the six players who finished ahead of Ike Davis in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2010.

Friday's answer: Entering the weekend, only Willie Stargell (60) and Mike Schmidt (49) had more homers against the Mets than Jones. But Jones then went deep in the series opener against Edgin, pulling even with Schmidt for second all time on that list.