Mets win, 2-0, against Nationals

Jon Niese tossed six scoreless innings and John Mayberry Jr. hit a home run as the Mets beat the Nationals, 2-0, on Tuesday in Viera, FL.

Game Notes

Niese faced 20 batters, went six innings, let up four hits and struck out three. He told reporters after his last start that he planned to adjust his delivery to reduce stress on his throwing shoulder.

Mayberry had three hits, including a home run to left field. He has four home runs this spring, during which he’s batting .426.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out twice, giving him 12 during his last 10 games, during which he’s batting just .185 after a hot start to the spring.

Ruben Tejada had an RBI single, giving him 12 RBI in 19 games.

The Mets (18-11) have won 12 of their last 15 Grapefruit League games.

Lucas Duda hit a single against Gio Gonzalez, marking his fourth hit in consecutive at bats against a left-handed pitching.

The Mets finish 5-1 against the Nationals in Grapefruit League games this spring.

What’s Next

The Mets host the Cardinals at Tradition Field on Wednesday at 1:10 pm ET. Bartolo Colon (0-2, 7.71 ERA) will start for the Mets against Carlos Martinez (1-0, 3.94 ERA).

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Mets sort of announce their rotation for the first week of the season

The Mets have told reporters that either Dillon Gee or Rafael Montero will start the game on Friday, April 10, in Atlanta, while Jon Niese will start the next day, Saturday, April 11.

Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey will start earlier in the week against the Nationals in DC.

The team also recently said deGrom will start their home opener Monday, April 13, with Harvey pitching the next day.

Gee has yet to be informed if he’ll start the season in the rotation or bullpen, he recently told Newsday reporter David Lennon (March 29). It was later reported by ESPN’s Adam Rubin that Gee could still be traded (March 30).

In 35 starts the last three seasons, Gee is 25-26 with a 3.85 ERA. He hasn’t pitched in relief since 2011.

Montero threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits in his last start. He struck out six batters and did not walk anyone.

“We’re going to wait a while,” Terry Collins said after Sunday’s game, speaking about when the team will make a final decision about their rotation.

Matt Reynolds

Daniel Muno or Matt Reynolds?

In the event Daniel Murphy will be on the disabled list for an extended time, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone has said the team will start Triple-A infield prospect Matt Reynolds at second base. However, if Murphy can be back the first week of April, the starting job could go to Daniel Muno.

maggieMaggie Wiggin,

Neither of these young men are the next MVP, but I expect one or both to prove useful as the season wears on and injuries or trades thin out the infield. In the long term, I see more potential for Reynolds to stick with the big-league team, but Muno has earned the opportunity to prove himself as well…

To read more of this story, click here

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New LH reliever Jerry Blevins says Mets can shock NL East

The Mets acquired LH reliever Jerry Blevins from the Nationals for OF Matt den Dekker on Monday.

Blevins was informed of the trade by his manager during the middle of Monday’s game, he told reporters in Viera before his first game with the Mets on Tuesday (March 31).

“I was like, ‘What the heck, I’m supposed to pitch,'” he said.

Blevins is wearing No. 13, the same number he wore with the Nationals.

“I see a huge opportunity with this organization,” said Blevins, who will make $2.4 million this year, after which he’s eligible to be a free agent. “We have a chance to shock some people in the NL East.”

Sandy Alderson said Monday he acquired Blevins, as well as LH reliever Alex Torres, to have them in the Opening Day bullpen when the season starts next Monday.

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Today’s Game: Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm ET

The Mets (17-11) head to Viera to face the Nationals (10-13) on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

The game will not air on local TV or radio.

Jon Niese (2-0, 2.61 ERA) starts for the Mets. Niese has allowed just three runs in 10.1 innings this spring. He recently told reporters he made changes to his delivery to avoid stress being put on his throwing shoulder, which has given him issues in the past. This is his first start against the Nationals this spring.

Newly-acquired left-handed reliever Jeremy Blevins will be in uniform and is expected to pitch in the game. He was traded to the Mets from the Nationals on Monday for OF Matt den Dekker.

The Nationals will start LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-1, 2.63 ERA). In his last start, Gonzalez tossed five shutout innings against the Mets, during which Lucas Duda was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.


Should Fred Wilpon break his silence and talk Mets with media?

Mets owner Fred Wilpon again chose to not speak with reporters in the Tradition Field clubhouse, after giving a closed-door pep-talk to his team for 30 minutes.

In a column for the Bergen Record, veteran reporter Bob Klapisch declares it time for Wilpon to answer questions, despite his public silence about the organization during the last two years (March 31).

“What’s he afraid of?” Klapisch asks. “What better chance would Wilpon have than a week before opening day, when so much has gone right for the Mets. … It’s time for him to come out of hiding.”

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone,

This reeks of a reporter wanting answers, which is fine. That’s Bob’s job. But, from a public relations point of view, Klapisch pinpoints the exact reason it would be foolish for Fred to speak in public right now, because, as Bob says, so much has been going right for the Mets. In that sense, why rock the boat?

The team is playing well, they’re hitting, the pitching looks good, they just made two useful trades, player and fan confidence is up and the season starts in less than a week. Aside from Klapisch and his colleagues getting a nice story to write, what possible good (for the Mets) can come from Fred answering questions, considering ticket sales will soon be 100 percent determined by how the team actually performs on field as opposed to just pre-season hype?

As a fan, I’d love to hear what he thinks. As a blogger, it would certainly give me something to write about (not that there is ever a shortage of things to write about with the Mets). However, for the Mets, I don’t see the benefit today, right now, at this time.

For what it’s worth, I asked Mets fans with professional background in public relations if they agree, and most did, with one saying he should talk, but keep it short and simple (Twitter, Mar. 31).


Dario Alvarez optioned to minor league camp

Left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez has been optioned to minor league camp.

The Mets acquired two lefty relievers on Monday, Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres, who are both expected to make the Opening Day roster.

Alvarez and LHP Sean Gilmartin were the only lefties left in camp competing for the final bullpen spot.


Mets and Duda likely to table contract talks until after season

The Mets and Lucas Duda will cut off contract negotiations by Opening Day so he can concentrate on the season, according to CBS Sports reporter Jon Heyman (March 30).

Duda will earn $4.2 million in 2016 and arbitration eligible in 2017, after which he can become a free agent.

Earlier this week, Duda told NY Post reporter Joel Sherman that negotiations for a contract extension were on going and very preliminary (March 28).

Sandy Alderson scrum

What’s on tap for Tuesday, March 31

The Mets head to Viera to face the Nationals on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

The game will not air on local TV or radio.

Jon Niese gets the start for the Mets, opposed by Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals.

In case you missed it on Monday, March 30

The Mets traded OF Matt den Dekker to the Nationals for left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins, and sent RHP prospect Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later to the Padres for left-handed reliever Alex Torres, both of whom Sandy Alderson said will be on the Opening Day roster.

The Mets could still trade Dillon Gee, according to ESPN reporter Adam Rubin

Vic Black threw a bullpen session at Tradition Field on Monday, but Alderson later told reporters it is unlikely Black is ready for Opening Day.

Daniel Murphy believes he’ll be ready for Opening Day, “but it’s touch and go,” and something that has yet to be determined, Alderson told reporters. In the event Murphy is out long term, Matt Reynolds will start in his place., according to MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone. However, if it’s a short-term injury, Cerrone believes Reynolds will go to Triple-A, Daniel Muno will be on the bench and Ruben Tejada will start at second base.

Fred Wilpon addressed the Mets in a closed-door meeting Friday morning at Tradition Field, the manager told reporters

Lucas Duda knocked in five runs as the Mets beat the Marlins, 7-1, on Monday afternoon at Tradition Field.

Vic Black 2

Alderson says Black unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

Vic Black threw a bullpen session at Tradition Field on Monday, but Sandy Alderson later told reporters it is unlikely Black is ready for Opening Day.

Instead, he’ll likely begin the season on the disabled list.

Black hasn’t pitched in a game since March 9 because of weakness in his throwing shoulder. However, pitching coach Dan Warthen said Black could return to game action Wednesday (March 28).

Speaking of Black, earlier today, SNY.TV uploaded video from last month, when Black and host Rob Brender took a boat across the Florida everglades in search of alligators >> Watch here.