FIRST PITCH: The Mets will have a chance to play spoiler as the Atlanta Braves visit Citi Field for a three-game series.
Atlanta (68-63) trails the first-place Washington Nationals by 7½ games in the division race, but the Braves are right in the thick of the wild-card hunt.
One aspect to watch Tuesday: Will David Wright and Daniel Murphy return to the lineup? Wright departed Sunday’s game at Dodger Stadium in the third inning with muscle spasms in his neck. Murphy departed in the ninth inning with a right-calf issue.
Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• With teams apparently leery about taking on Bartolo Colon's $11 million salary for 2015, the veteran righty went unclaimed and cleared waivers Monday. That makes Colon eligible to be traded to any team through the end of the month, although it clearly means the Mets would have to kick in money. It appears more likely the Mets deal Colon in the offseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels would appear potential destinations if a trade did materialize before Sunday’s deadline.
Still, Mike DiGiovanna in the Los Angeles Times writes:
If the Angels absorbed Colon’s $11 million salary for 2015, it would push them right up against the $189 million luxury-tax threshold, which owner Arte Moreno does not want to pass, and leave them virtually no flexibility to pursue a free-agent pitcher next winter. It is still possible for the Angels to trade for Colon, but they would probably want the Mets to assume a chunk of the pitcher’s 2015 salary to do so.
• The left shoulder issue that has tormented Wright since before the All-Star break has hindered his production, hitting coach Lamar Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Terry Collins has at least considered moving Wright out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup, Marc Carig writes in Newsday.
"There's not a segment of this team that isn't talked about every day. Not a segment. Who to play, and when to play? Where to hit him? Who should be hitting behind him? Who should be hitting in front of him?" Collins told Carig. "Not a segment."
Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record wonders if Wright will still be productive when the Mets finally become a contender.
Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal:
Over the past month, Wright has been arguably the worst regular offensive player in the major leagues. Among players with at least 100 plate appearances since July 26, he ranks last with a .231 slugging percentage and second-to-last with a .492 on-base-plus-slugging-percentage. He has just one extra-base hit during the month of August and hasn't hit a homer since July 11.
The slump has dropped his on-base percentage to a career-low .324, especially troubling considering that Wright had a combined .307 batting average and .391 OBP in 2012 and 2013. But the year before that, in 2011, Wright injured his back early in season and saw his batting average fall to a career-low .254 after he emerged from the disabled list.
As in 2011, it seems easy to attribute his issues this year to an injury -- in this case his shoulder, which he hurt while sliding headfirst into second base at a muddy Citi Field in June.
Mike Puma in the Post caught up with former hitting coach Dave Hudgens about Duda’s surge, which includes five homers in his past six games.
“There were a lot of times where everybody said he took pitches early, which he did, there is no question,” Hudgens told Puma. “But I think a lot of times he was just late on balls as far as timing went.”
Read more on Duda in the Daily News.
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post reviews external shortstop options for the Mets to pursue during the offseason.
• The Mets are a “very strong possibility” to remain affiliated with Las Vegas through 2016, Sandy Alderson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The door was closed on one attractive alternative when Rochester announced it had renewed its agreement with the Minnesota Twins.
• Dustin Lawley had a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth as Binghamton beat New Britain, 4-1. T.J. Chism surrendered a ninth-inning grand slam and St. Lucie lost to Charlotte, 8-5. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear questions Collins' commitment to winning.
BIRTHDAYS: Ricky Bottalico turns 45. ... Alex Trevino was born on this date in 1957.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
did the #Mets win yet for Best Comedy? #Emmys
— Jason Bornstein (@DyHrdMET) August 26, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets give David Wright several days off?