FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets are back at Citi Field on Friday night, after going 6-3 on their opening road trip of the season and enjoying an off day on Thursday.
They are above .500 for the first time since last April 24 (8-7), but must improve their play at home in order to remain relevant. The Mets were 41-40 on the road last season, but just 33-48 in Queens.
Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46) will make his third start of the season for New York. Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) is the scheduled starter for Atlanta. Harang had a brief stint with the Mets last September, going 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four starts.
The first-place Braves (10-5) have only lost one series this season -- to the Mets, who took two of three in Atlanta to begin that impressive road trip.
Friday's news reports:
• Chris Young is expected to be activated and return to the Mets lineup on Friday. Young has played just one inning for the Mets this year, in the second game of the season, before landing on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury.
Curtis Granderson could also return to the lineup after suffering forearm, ribcage and knee bruises in a collision with the outfield wall in Arizona. And the Mets will have to make a corresponding roster move in order to activate Young, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Andrew Brown the two most likely candidates to be demoted.
Read more about Young's expected return in the Daily News.
• Granderson is batting just .167 this season, with one home run and four RBIs. But he is not worried about his slow start -- read more in the Record.
• Eric Young Jr., on the other hand, is off to a rather good start. He is batting .255 overall, and went 6-for-12 with two walks in the series against the Diamondbacks. Better yet, he is second in the National League in both runs scored (12) and stolen bases (nine). Read more about Young Jr. in the Post and Newsday.
• Josh Satin has gotten just 12 at-bats in the first 15 games of the season. He has just two hits (.167 average) and six strikeouts. Satin is one of the Mets' most confounding hitters, says the Star-Ledger.
From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear takes its time machine to the day Shea Stadium opened. ... Rising Apple suggests if the Mets want to contend, they have to make upgrades at shortstop and closer. ... Mark Berman at Blogging Mets uses baseball cards to chart the evolution of Mets uniforms.
BIRTHDAYS: Rico Brogna turns 44 today. ... Brady Clark is 41. ... Infielder Doug Flynn was born on this date in 1951.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Gladly spent my night back in NYC, watching #NYRPlayoffs!!!! 1-0 @NYRangers
YOU'RE UP: Who do you think the Mets should send down to Triple-A, in order to activate Chris Young?