After completing a stretch of 20 games in 20 days with a 10-6 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, the Mets take a day off. They then regroup for a four-game series against Carlos Beltran, Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.
Thursday's news reports:
• Lucas Duda produced a pair of homers -- the first two long balls of his major league career against southpaws -- but the bullpen was charged with eight runs as Bobby Parnell and Ramon Ramirez served up homers. Read game recaps in the Record, Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon echoed Sandy Alderson's comments from the previous day with respect to expressing hope David Wright eventually will be signed long term. Still, Wilpon added, with Wright under the team's control through 2013, "there's no gun to anybody's head" in terms of a rush to act quickly. Read more in Newsday, the Times, Daily News and Record.
• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post offers this opinion on a Wright extension, writing:
Since Wright’s old Virginia pal Ryan Zimmerman signed a six-year, $100-million extension (from 2014-19) with Washington in spring training, what’s the proper price for Wright, who turns 30 in December, once the two sides exchange figures later this season? How about six years and $115 million, with a vesting option for a seventh year? If Wright turns that down, then exercise his 2013 option, and sure, listen to what teams have in mind concerning a trade. If a blockbuster offer comes in -- one that would improve the Mets in 2013 and beyond more than retaining Wright -- pull the trigger.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, it would make sense to try again with a long-term offer to Wright in June or July of 2013, then listen once again to trade offers if he declines. And if he enters free agency, the Mets would have to compete for Wright’s services against other clubs, and they should bow out if the bidding gets too high.
• Top prospect Zack Wheeler, who pitches for Binghamton today at Reading, earned high praise from a scout who watched his most recent outing.
• Ronny Cedeño landed on the disabled list before Wednesday's game with a strained left calf. Jordany Valdespin was promoted from Buffalo. Valdespin struck out as a pinch hitter, dropping his major league average to .095 (2-for-21). Read more in the Post, Newsday and Daily News.
• Miguel Batista allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks in seven innings for Double-A Binghamton against Reading in a rehab start. A team official indicated before that outing that Batista was likely the preference over Jeremy Hefner for Monday's start against St. Louis. But it's possible that outing could cause reconsideration. Read more in Newsday.
• Making his first Triple-A start since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011, Jenrry Mejia limited Columbus to two runs and two hits in six innings. Josh Edgin and Elvin Ramirez then combined for four scoreless relief innings and Josh Satin scored the winning run on a wild pitch as Buffalo prevailed, 3-2, in 10 innings. In Class A action, Wilmer Flores homered for St. Lucie -- his 10th long ball of the season -- and Aderlin Rodriguez went deep twice for Savannah. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.
• Josh Thole (concussion) planned to DH for Buffalo on Wednesday to begin a brief rehab assignment, but a delay in formal approval from the players' union prevented him from starting the game. Thole eventually entered and grounded out in the eighth inning. He is due to catch Chris Young's 10:35 a.m. game today, which will be televised by MLB Network. Alderson has said Thole likely will be activated from the disabled list Friday, potentially setting up the Mets having to decide whether to continue carrying Mike Nickeas or Rob Johnson as the righty complement.
• Former GM Jim Duquette plans to donate a kidney to his 8-year-old daughter Lindsey.
• New York Giants first-round pick David Wilson threw out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday -- a wild one past Wright, a Virginia Tech fan who has befriended the former Hokie. Several Giants signees watched batting practice from the field, including former Rutgers fullback Joe Martinek, who wore an old-school Keith Hernandez jersey. Read more in Newsday.
• Charities sponsored by Johan Santana and the Mets combined to donate $20,000 to the charity Tuesday's Children in order to assist the Spanish-speaking families of victims of 9/11 as well as first responders.
• Brian Costa in the Journal discusses how team officials try to negotiate with fans to gets the milestone homers back as a keepsakes for players. Writes Costa:
The fan who caught the first home run ball at the Miami Marlins' new ballpark last month was offered a bat autographed by star third baseman Hanley Ramirez. He demanded season tickets. The Marlins scoffed and told him to keep the ball. The Mets did the same thing in 2010 when a fan in Baltimore caught the ball Chris Carter hit for his first home run. The fan, evidently a memorabilia collector, asked for about 40 balls signed by various players.
• Jack Curran, who coached Mike Baxter at Archbishop Molloy, tells the Daily News: “Keep an eye on this young man. I believe the more he learns the pitchers, the better he’s going to hit. And the work ethic that I remember is still there. He called me the other day and I said, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I’m on the Long Island Expressway, on my way to the ballpark.’ I looked at the clock. It was 12:30. For a 7 o’clock game.”
• Michael Salfino in the Journal shows that Santana has enjoyed more success coming back from shoulder surgery than peers who also lost a year due to procedures.
TRIVIA: Who batted immediately before Wainwright's curveball to Beltran ended Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS?
Wednesday's answer: Paul Wilson, on Sept. 20, 1996, was the only Mets pitcher until Jeremy Hefner to homer in his first major league season. Jerry Koosman (1968) and Walt Terrell (1983) homered during their rookie years, but had debuted the previous seasons.