Morning Briefing: Mets standing pat?


FIRST PITCH: For the second straight series, the Mets are in the position of trying to salvage a split of a four-game set on the final day.

They were successful in doing so on Thursday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. This time, the Mets send Carlos Torres (1-1, 0.94 ERA) to the mound at Nationals Park to oppose rookie right-hander Taylor Jordan (0-3, 3.68). First pitch is 1:35 p.m.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes there has been only one team in major league history with as poor a record as this year’s Mets after 100 games to have made the postseason -- the 1973 Mets, which had an identical 46-54 record. So why aren’t the Mets more aggressive sellers? Writes Sherman:

Over the past few days, in some form, I have received the following sentiment from three high-ranking front office men independent of one another:

“What is up with the Mets? Why aren’t they doing more to make some trades before the deadline?”

Translation: Though they are playing better, they still are in a rebuilding phase and should be much more aggressive in this trade market.

So I spoke with a few Mets officials who essentially said, what are these guys talking about? Members of the Mets front office say their phones have been mainly quiet, that there has been a nibble here and there but nothing special, zero traction. The Mets officials said it is not their job to push their players or else you look desperate and lower the value of your commodities.

• The Mets have set a six-man rotation. Jenrry Mejia stays in the rotation for at least one more start and pitches on standard rest Wednesday. Matt Harvey will get an extra day of rest and go Thursday, in the finale to a four-game series in Miami. Read more in the Daily News, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

Marlon Byrd tells Marc Carig in Newsday he understands questioning of whether his performance this season is chemically enhanced. Writes Carig:

The condition gynecomastia is defined as the enlargement of breast tissues in males. It can be caused by various factors, such as natural shifts in body chemistry. It also can be caused by man-made shifts through the use of anabolic steroids.

Marlon Byrd understands the assumptions -- that his gynecomastia is the result of steroids, that steroids are the reason he has revived his career and that he intentionally used a substance that has been banned because it masks this conspicuous side effect.

But in the 13 months that have passed since he received his 50-game suspension, the Mets outfielder has dealt with the constant suspicion by embracing it, especially now that he's in the middle of perhaps the best season of his career.

"I expected it," Byrd said. "The big thing is, why wouldn't anybody question it? I'm 35 going on 36. Last year, I hit .210 with a home run and [nine] RBIs, in conjunction with testing positive."

Jonathon Niese logged two innings in a rehab start Saturday morning as he returns from a partially torn rotator cuff. He will need multiple additional minor league appearances to build up his stamina before reentering the major league rotation. Read more in the Post.

Dillon Gee surrendered three homers and the Mets lost to the Nationals, 4-1, Saturday. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.

• Travis d’Arnaud went 3-for-5 and again caught a full game in the Gulf Coast League. Lucas Duda is hitless in 13 at-bats with that club since returning from a left intercostal strain.

Jordany Valdespin continued to rake in Triple-A as Las Vegas beat Sacramento, 9-4. Cole Frenzel had a walk-off RBI single in Game 1 and Matt Koch came within three outs of a seven-inning perfect game in the nightcap as Savannah swept a doubleheader from Augusta. Read the full minor league recap here.

Jeurys Familia, who underwent an elbow cleanout last month, may pitch again this season. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Cody Derespina in Newsday dissects reasons for the Mets’ improved play.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing discovers it still retains pennant race muscle memory.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to appear in a game for the Mets was born on July 28, but Sally Struthers and Elizabeth Berkley celebrate birthdays today.


YOU’RE UP: Would you be surprised if the Mets stand pat at the trade deadline?