After enjoying a day off in D.C. that included a large contingent of Mets players, along with President Barack Obama, watching USA basketball rally to beat Brazil 80-69 at the Verizon Center, it is back to work for the Amazin's as they attempt to bounce back from getting swept in Atlanta. Jon Niese (7-4, 3.73 ERA) makes his first start of the second half, facing left-hander Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.43). The Mets are 12-20 in games in which the opposing team starts a southpaw.
Also on tap: Dillon Gee plans to address reporters this afternoon as he is poised to be discharged from his hospital in St. Louis following surgery Friday to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder. And we likely find out the extent of Lucas Duda's left-hamstring strain after he underwent an exam Monday in New York.
Tuesday's news reports:
• With J.P. Ricciardi on hand in Buffalo, 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey stated his case for Saturday's start at Citi Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harvey did not allow a hit through five innings. He ultimately was charged with two runs on three hits, four walks and a hit batter and expressed disappointment with his command afterward. The bottom line: If the Mets are purely interested in Harvey's development, they would give him a little extra time in Triple-A. He may be the best option to start against the Dodgers, but it does not mean it's the proper option.
“He’s a good one,” Ricciardi told reporters in Buffalo afterward. “But he didn’t have his best stuff tonight. He showed me a lot by competing.”
Writes columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger:
The time is coming for Matt Harvey to pitch for the Mets. But probably not this Saturday at Citi Field, against the Dodgers, as many had hoped. Harvey made his 19th start for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons last night. He threw 100 pitches in a span of 6 2/3 innings, allowing three singles and two runs. He was throwing his fastball consistently around 95 mph, mixing in a sharp breaking ball and a decent change. But four walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch -- which could be blamed on rust since he had not made a start in 12 days -- will likely be factors that delay his major league debut.
• Jason Bay played what sounded like his final rehab game with Buffalo on Monday night. He went 0-for-2 with two walks and lost a ball in the Triple-A lights in left field. With the Mets facing a southpaw in D.C. today, Bay sounded like he expected to be manning left field at Nationals Park for the series opener. Read more in the Post and Daily News.
• Chris Schwinden, who was claimed four times off waivers in a five-week span, and who ultimately returned to the Mets in the final of those claims from the Yankees, discussed that tumultuous period with Hunter Atkins in the Times. Writes Atkins:
In general, he said he was grateful to be back with the organization that drafted him in the 22nd round in 2008. But the swift, almost cruel manner in which he was passed around in recent weeks had left him uncertain whether teams, including the Mets, think he is a commodity or a waste of time. “There’s always the thought of, ‘Am I wanted out there?’ ” he said. "... Going from one organization to another and lasting three days -- I shouldn’t say lasting -- and being waived again, it was pretty crazy. It’s not something I would want anybody to do.” ...
At first, when Schwinden was asked on Saturday to go over the experience of the past few weeks, he looked wounded. He was inside the visitors clubhouse, sitting on top of a cooler, slouched, with his arms crossed and his head tilted. But as he talked about finally returning to the Mets, he flashed a brief smile. If he was going to be stuck in Class AAA, it might as well be in the place that seemed like home.
• CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman lists the Mets along with the Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Braves as showing interest in Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano.
• Ruben Tejada has embraced the Mets' organization-wide approach that centers on plate discipline. He told Brian Costa in the Journal that was no easy feat, since the strike zone is larger in his native Panama, which conditioned him while growing up to swing at more pitches. Tejada indicated he exchanges text messages with predecessor Jose Reyes, with whom he shares an agent, at least twice a week. Writes Costa about Tejada's success:
Tejada's .379 on-base percentage ranks second on the team and first among major-league shortstops with at least 175 plate appearances. And while the sample size is reduced because of a thigh injury that kept Tejada out more than a month, the statistic is significant primarily because of Tejada's age. Since 1900, only nine shortstops have finished with an on-base percentage higher than .370 in their age-22 season (minimum 300 plate appearances). Even if Tejada regresses somewhat, he could still finish in some rare company. Only 18 shortstops have ever finished with an on-base percentage higher than .360 at his age. Of those, 16 went on to become All-Stars and six went on to become Hall of Famers. Derek Jeter, whom Tejada idolized while growing up in Panama, will one day become the seventh Hall of Famer in that group.
TRIVIA: Who was the last Met to homer against Detwiler?
Monday's answer: Before relocating to Washington, the Montreal Expos split their home schedule with San Juan in Puerto Rico.