FIRST PITCH: After winning a rubber game in Atlanta, the Mets now can clinch their second straight series win, with a victory at Citizens Bank Park today.
The Mets (29-41) have not won consecutive series against different opponents since opening the season with a 4-2 record by beating the Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres. The four-game sweep against the Yankees technically was two series wins since there were two games apiece in Queens and the Bronx.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Jonathon Niese has a partially torn rotator cuff, an exam in New York on Friday revealed. Niese will rest and do physical therapy for two weeks before being reexamined by team doctor David Altchek. The hope is the injury will begin to heal and Niese can avoid surgery.
Niese’s absence resolves who gets bounced from the rotation, and means Wheeler’s first home start now lines up for June 30. Wheeler’s final first-half start should come at the San Francisco Giants, who traded the prospect to the Mets on July 28, 2011 for Carlos Beltran.
Carlos Torres, who has tossed 5 1/3 scoreless relief innings since a promotion from Las Vegas, now becomes the primary rotation insurance.
• Juan Lagares drifted backward in center field to corral Carlos Ruiz’s bases-loaded shot for the final out of the fifth, then delivered the go-ahead RBI double the following half-inning as the Mets beat Philadelphia, 4-3 Friday night. Cole Hamels suffered his 11th loss, matching the most in a season in his career. He is the first Phillies pitcher since Wayne LeMaster and Claude Passeau in 1937 to have 11 losses before July 1, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
• Michael Salfino in the Journal charts All-Star Games in which the host team did not have a starter voted into the game, which is a fate that could befall the Mets if David Wright does not top Pablo Sandoval:
2012 Kansas City, reserve: Billy Butler
2010 Los Angeles (AL), reserve: Torii Hunter
2005 Detroit, reserve: Ivan Rodriguez
1996 Philadelphia, reserve: Ricky Bottalico
1994 Pittsburgh, reserve: Carlos Garcia
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests the timing of Wheeler’s arrival is perfect.
• Jayce Boyd went 3-for-4 and Dustin Lawley homered as a ninth-inning rally lifted St. Lucie past Palm Beach, 5-3. LJ Mazzilli went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in Brooklyn’s 4-2 win against Aberdeen. Hansel Robles made his first minor league appearance since dealing with a shoulder strain as the Gulf Coast League season opened. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Mike Kerwick in the Record talks with Torres about his chaotic return to the Mets.
• Travis d’Arnaud’s running is limited to in a pool for a couple of more days as he returns from a broken left foot.
• Lenny Dykstra has been released from prison.
• “Mad Men” mocked the Mets. Writes Neil Best in Newsday:
On a recent “Mad Men,’’ the character Arnold Rosen tells his “friend’’ (long story) Don Draper that he has been meaning to invite him to a game and often has access to Mets tickets. “Well, I’m glad you didn’t,’’ Draper says.
Jon Hamm, who plays Draper, is a Cardinals fan. He told the Sporting News he was pleased by the dig at the Mets, who finished 24 games behind the pennant-winning Cards in '68. One year later Draper might have felt differently about Mets tickets, but Rosen might not have been offering.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing hopes Friday night's fling with Lagares isn't just a Juan-night stand. … John Delcos at Mets Report wonders if Niese’s injury had roots in the cold April weather in Minneapolis and Denver.
BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Ron Hodges turns 64. … Willie Harris, whose last major league season came last year, is 35.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
#MetsWin when I grow up I want my beard to look like Parnell's! This is Justin Turner from Port St Lucie signing off! Night folks
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) June 22, 2013
YOU’RE UP: Do you feel sorry for Cole Hamels having a career-high-matching 11 losses before the end of June?