NEW YORK METS (16-10, first place/NL East) vs. BALTIMORE ORIOLES (12-11, second place/AL East)
ORIOLES SHORT HOPS
After consulting with the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore Orioles postponed two games early last week because of tensions in the city stemming from the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. The Wednesday game against the Chicago White Sox was moved to the daytime at Camden Yards and became the first game in major league history to be played without spectators. A weekend home series against the Tampa Bay Rays then was shifted to St. Petersburg, although the Orioles remained the home team for batting purposes. Baltimore next plays at home in a week, although they flew into Baltimore after Sunday's game and trained to New York the following day. They remain in New York after facing the Mets for a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Center fielder/cleanup hitter Adam Jones leads the American League with a .402 average. Jones, 29, also has five homers and 21 RBIs in 87 at-bats. He had a career-high-matching four hits Sunday.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy (left shoulder strain) and second baseman Ryan Flaherty (groin) began rehab assignments Monday with Double-A Bowie. Both may be back during the weekend series against the Yankees. Flaherty may be activated first, when he is eligible Friday. Everth Cabrera is hitting .221 with no homers and four RBIs in 21 games at shortstop in Hardy's absence. He signed Feb. 25. Steve Pearce started all three weekend games at second base at Tampa Bay. Those marked his first professional baseball games at the position. Rookie Rey Navarro started the previous four games at second base. Pearce did depart midway through Sunday's game with a stomach ailment.
Catcher Matt Wieters has not yet started a rehab assignment as he returns from Tommy John surgery, which was performed last June. He has been playing in extended spring training games. Caleb Joseph is hitting .305 with a .414 on-base percentage in 18 games at catcher.
The Orioles' rotation has produced a 1.91 ERA in its past six games. Ubaldo Jimenez -- who had a 4.81 ERA and 1.516 WHIP in 2014, in his first season with the Orioles -- is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts. Bud Norris has a 12.18 ERA in four starts but tossed a season-high 6 2/3 innings and limited the Boston Red Sox to three runs last Sunday, in his most recent outing.
Buck Showalter is the reigning AL Manager of the Year. He also won the award in 1994 with the Yankees and in 2004 with the Texas Rangers.
Ex-Met Darren O'Day has a 0.90 ERA through 10 relief innings. O'Day was a Rule 5 selection by the Mets from the Los Angeles Angels on Dec. 11, 2008. However, he was placed on waivers a few weeks into the season because the Mets wanted to call up a starting pitcher to replace Mike Pelfrey without placing Pelfrey on the disabled list.
DH Jimmy Paredes (.353, 3 HR, 10 RBIs) likely will find a seat on the bench with the club playing in a National League ballpark. He has started one game at second base this season. He started a combined 14 games at third base last season between the Kansas City Royals and Orioles.