Morning Briefing: Back to work


FIRST PITCH: After a day off in D.C. to regroup from getting swept against the Miami Marlins, the Mets get back to work.

Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.74 ERA) and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (8-3, 2.37) meet in today’s 7:05 p.m. opener at Nationals Park.

Read the Mets-Nats series preview here.

Tuesday’s news reports:

Courtesy of Wheeler family

Can you name this soon-to-be Met? It's Zack Wheeler, playing high school basketball for East Paulding (Ga.) High.

• ESPNNewYork.com profiles Zack Wheeler, with input from father Barry, brother Jacob and Matt Harvey. (Warning: A young Zack is seen wearing a Braves jersey and hat.)

• After being examined in New York, catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud will remain in a protective boot for another week, but can begin walking while wearing it. D’Arnaud originally fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot on April 17 with Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

David Wright is trying to do too much and is chasing pitches outside the strike zone rather than taking walks, writes Marc Carig in Newsday. Wright’s average has dipped to .277. He is hitting .174 (8-for-46) with one homer, two RBIs and 11 strikeouts in his past 12 starts.

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen believes Bobby Parnell should be an All-Star. “Because [Parnell] should have a below 1.00 ERA, because he’s striking out a guy an inning, because he’s done the job each and every time he’s walked out to the mound,” Warthen told Mike Puma in the Post. “I don’t see anybody who has done any better than him, including [Braves closer Craig] Kimbrel.” Read more in the Record.

• Dr. James Andrews agreed that Scott Atchison does not need surgery now to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests Mets fans were deceived by the Subway Series. Writes Sherman:

And there is no one quite as human as you, Met fans. Five straight wins, particularly those four against the Yankees, had you sweeping two months of dreadful baseball aside. Here came the Marlins for six of the next nine and soon after Zack Wheeler would arrive, and maybe Travis d’Arnaud before long and maybe -- just maybe -- Sandy Alderson could make a trade for an actual major league outfielder in July.

Amazin’ what five good days could do for the soul of even a despondent fan. “Honey, where did I put my Mets cap?”

Except no fan base should know the devilish realities of small sample sizes better than those who root for the Mets. They should recognize just how deceptive even a dreadful team could be for a week, a month or even a couple of months.

Adam Rubin

SNY field reporter Kevin Burkhardt has a new NFL gig to keep his fall active.

• SNY field reporter Kevin Burkhardt will be the newest NFL play-by-play man on Fox, according to SI.com.

• Hefner says he is unconcerned about his rotation spot being affected by Wheeler’s looming arrival. “I don’t worry about it anymore,” Hefner told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News.

• Brian Costa in the Journal reviews how the Mets got to Las Vegas as their Triple-A affiliate. The short summary: Norfolk kicked the Mets out. So the Mets temporarily went to New Orleans. Buffalo then became available and the Mets went there. Then Buffalo booted the Mets, too. "They're undesirable," Dave Rosenfield, the longtime Norfolk Tides GM, told Costa. "Nobody wants them."

• ESPN’s Keith Law continues to project the Mets will select Gardena, Calif., high school first baseman Dominic Smith with the 11th overall pick in the draft on Thursday.

"There are some guys obviously that we like more than others, but there are definitely 11 guys that we like a lot," Paul DePodesta told Anthony DiComo at MLB.com. "In fact, there are more than 11. So going into this year, I think we're very comfortable with what the outcome is likely to be on June 6. We don't know the name of the player or the position or anything like that, but we're going to have a good choice, and we're going to get someone we like an awful lot."

The Mets will have a $6.99 million bonus pool to spread over their first 10 rounds’ selections.

Scott Rice tells Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger that the development of a split-finger fastball last year finally helped him reach the majors in his 15th professional season.

• Kevin J. Ryan in ESPN The Magazine profiles The 7 Line merchandise founder Darren Meenan.

• Noah Syndergaard surrendered a two-run double in the fifth inning and no other damage, but was tagged with the loss as Lakeland beat St. Lucie, 2-1. Carlos Torres tossed a three-hit shutout for Las Vegas. Read the full minor league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Catcher Rick Wilkins, who appeared in five games for the Mets in 1998, is 46.


YOU’RE UP: When do you predict Zack Wheeler will make his major league debut?