After an 11-game road trip, then an off-day Monday that included Zack Wheeler's Triple-A debut and several medical diagnoses, the Mets begin a three-game series against Jose Reyes and the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night. The team will also have a press conference to reveal the logo for the 2013 All-Star Game, although images already have leaked.
Tuesday's news reports:
• Reliever Tim Byrdak has an anterior capsule tear in his left shoulder. That's a career-threatening diagnosis since Byrdak is 38 years old. Johan Santana and Chris Young both had anterior capsule tears, and required surgeries that cost significant time. The Mets did not announce a firm surgery decision for the lefty reliever, who is 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA and National League-high 56 appearances. The list of pitchers to be diagnosed with anterior capsule tears and have surgery is a short one: Bret Saberhagen (1996), Mark Prior (2008), Chien-Ming Wang (2009), Santana (2010), Dallas Braden (2011), Young (2011), Rich Harden (2012).
The Mets have promoted Garrett Olson to pair with Josh Edgin as a left-hander in the bullpen, although the team has not announced the corresponding roster move. The most likely casualty is rookie Elvin Ramirez. Olson had split duty between starting and relieving with Buffalo, and is not a true lefty specialist. In fact, lefties are hitting .270 and righties are hitting .272 against him this season in Triple-A. Byrdak already had landed on the disabled list with the shoulder discomfort when Frank Francisco was activated in San Diego.
Also on the injury front, the Mets announced Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot -- not a full tear. He will not undergo surgery. And catcher Rob Johnson is listed as day-to-day with a bruised right hand. The Mets face a southpaw tonight at Citi Field, Miami's Wade LeBlanc, so presumably Johnson would start over lefty-hitting Josh Thole if capable.
• Wheeler made his Triple-A debut Monday at Syracuse and largely had success, despite control issues. He allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings while tossing 101 pitches. Wheeler struck out seven and allowed three hits while walking four batters and hitting another. He has now logged 120 2/3 innings this season in regular-season games. Sandy Alderson has said there will be an innings limit imposed on Wheeler this season at roughly 150 innings or so, meaning it is unlikely he will join the Mets in September. Wheeler had been 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA in Double-A before the promotion.
“I was happy about the outing until that last inning,’’ Wheeler told Mike Waters in The Post-Standard, referring to the fifth inning, when he surrendered two runs and turned a pair of baserunners over to reliever Justin Hampson. “I was rushing out of my stretch. That’s what happens when you rush to the plate. Your arm drags and the ball stays up. That’s basically what happened.’’
• Reyes and current shortstop Ruben Tejada both carry hitting streaks into Tuesday's game. Reyes has hit in a career-high 24 straight games -- the longest streak in the majors this season -- while Tejada's streak is at 11. This is Reyes' second trip to Citi Field since signing with Miami in the offseason. But the complexion of the Marlins is vastly different than during his last trip, with a fire sale meaning the departure of several top players, including Hanley Ramirez in a trade to the Dodgers. Read more in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald chronicles the Marlins going from kings of the offseason on a wild spending spree to their current state. Writes Spencer:
Eight months after stunning the baseball world by storming through the winter meetings in Dallas and spending $190 million on big-ticket free agents, the Marlins smolder like twisted wreckage at the bottom of the standings. “We set ourselves up for it,’’ acknowledged Marlins president David Samson of a grand makeover that failed miserably. “We paraded around Dallas. We signed those guys. We opened a new ballpark. We said we’re ‘all in.’ ’’ Not only have the Marlins been a bust on the field, but attendance at their new ballpark has fallen short of expectations, creating an uncertain future on and off the field.
• Andy Martino in the Daily News asserts the Mets should bring back the struggling Jason Bay for the 2013 season instead of departing ways with him. Writes Martino:
The case for Bay has little to do with his hustle, or attitude, or desire. No athlete wants to be a charity case because he is a nice guy -- or be allowed to hang around because of a large contract. Bay should be invited back for 2013, rather than sent away as the team swallows the $17 million remaining on his contract, because he can platoon with Duda, play excellent defense and provide meaningful leadership.
• Jeremy Hefner has pitched well for the Mets, but he'll be going back to the bullpen with Santana scheduled to come off the disabled list this week.
TRIVIA: Jon Niese starts Tuesday's night. Against which National League team does the lefty has his worst winning percentage?
Monday's answer: The Los Angeles Kings took Tom Glavine in the fourth round, 69th overall, in 1984.