Morning briefing: No cup for 'Spin?


FIRST PITCH: After enjoying an off-day, the Mets can sleep in today before returning to work. The Amazin’s travel to Kissimmee to face the Houston Astros at 6:05 p.m.

Dillon Gee is scheduled to start for the Mets. Left-hander Aaron Laffey should see significant work as well as he gets stretched out as a fallback starter. Laffey is due to start a split-squad game Sunday.

Also scheduled to pitch today: Greg Burke, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Pedro Feliciano.

Justin Turner is listed for trip, which would mark his first game action since spraining his right ankle Saturday, assuming he proceeds.

Right-hander Alex White starts for Houston.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Bobby Valentine is completing a deal with SNY to work 10-15 games as a Mets studio analyst, Neil Best reports in Newsday.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger profiles Jordany Valdespin, who has talent, but also the ability to irk teammates.

Valdespin, incidentally, may be backing off his pledge to wear a cup -- apparently having not learned a lesson from getting drilled in the groin by a 94 mph fastball from Justin Verlander. "We’ll see. I don’t feel good wearing it," Valdespin told Castillo. "We’ll see what happens. I’m not telling you yes or no, but we’ll see."

• Cody Derespina in Newsday writes the Mets had a mixed bag as far as baserunning in 2012. They scored from second on a single 66.8 percent of the time, the second-best rate in MLB. But they were fifth-worst in the majors at going first to third on a single (26.2 percent).

• Mike Puma in the Post seems to think the Mets’ revamped bullpen will be better. We’ll see. There aren’t many hard throwers aside from closer Bobby Parnell, especially if the Mets decide to put Familia in Triple-A. That could be the case if Feliciano (or Robert Carson or Scott Rice) is on and the Mets opt for the submariner Burke, too. If relievers aren’t striking guys out, you better have players behind them who can field.

Scott Atchison signed a minor league deal with the Mets, but should be in the bullpen. He has a 2.35 ERA in seven Grapefruit League appearances, writes Mike Kerwick in the Record.

Read more on Parnell in the Daily News.

• Marc Carig in Newsday looks at Travis d’Arnaud, who is slated for Triple-A but remains in major league camp.

• Kristie Ackert in the Daily News notes Marlon Byrd should be the team’s regular right fielder.

From the bloggers Rising Apple determines the turning point in Johan Santana ’s season was July 6, when his ankle was stepped on by Reed Johnson while he was covering first base, not the no-hitter more than a month earlier. … Shannon at Mets Police is having trouble identifying things to look forward to. … Metsmerized Online examines Byrd's journey from suspension to starting right fielder. … John Delcos at New York Mets Report suggests changes that could improve baseball.

BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Blas Minor, who appeared in relief in 52 games for the Mets, turns 47.


YOU’RE UP: Do you think the Mets’ bullpen will be improved this season?