ICYMI: MetsBlog Q&Acast with Mets Insider’s Joe Kraus, pres. by Citi

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: In this week’s MetsBlog Q&Acast, presented by Citi, I talk with SNY producer Joe Kraus about his recent trip to Las Vegas where he embedded himself for a weekend with the organization’s Triple-A team.

The Insider episode from Vegas will air this Sunday, featuring some pretty cool segments, specifically a ride-along interview with Steven Matz and a rare, behind-the-scenes clip of Wally Backman’s closed-door meeting with infielder Matt Reynolds about preparing himself for the big leagues…

Listen in separate window | Subscribe with iTunes | RSS

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 6.26.11 AM

What’s on tap for Sunday

The Mets will try to avoid being swept by the Pirates when Jon Niese (3-4, 3.72 ERA) faces LHP Francisco Liriano (1-4, 4.15) on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh.

Ruben Tejada will start at third base in place of a slumping Eric Campbell, Terry Collins said Saturday.

In case you missed it on Saturday

David Wright has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and has been shut down for another week >> Read more.

Matt Harvey allowed a career-high seven runs, as the New York Mets lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-2, Saturday at PNC Park.

The Mets assigned pitchers Bobby Parnell and Vic Black to Double-A Binghamton, where they will continue rehab stints.


Mets shut down Wright, who has spinal stenosis

David Wright has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which, according to Bergen Record reporter Bob Klapisch, is the same condition that forced Lenny Dykstra to retire at 35 years old (May 23, 12:41 p.m.).

Wright has been shut down from doing baseball activity for another week (May 23, 1:53 p.m.), Assistant GM John Ricco told reporters Saturday.

“He’s still experiencing some lower-back tightness,” Ricco said. “It’s at the point where we’re going to stop the on-field stuff for a week, continue with a program of core strengthening and basically back-stabilization exercises. They hope that will alleviate what he’s feeling.”

Reaction from 3:55 pm

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: The way I understand it, guys can eventually play through this since the compression, pain and numbness can fluctuate from unbearable to tolerable. However, it’s the type of thing that will come and go, get worse, get better, hurt, not hurt, and so on and so on, over and over again, until it becomes such an aggravation the player typically gives up, such as what happened with Dykstra, Don Mattingly and others. I hope this is not the case with David, obviously. There are different degrees of stenosis, so time will tell where he’s starting from. My understanding is it only gets worse; it rarely gets better, so it’s just a matter of how long it takes…

Wright was initially placed on the disabled list on April 15 with a right hamstring strain, but has endured lower back pain over the past few weeks.

Wright took batting practice Friday and GM Sandy Alderson told reporters earlier this week that Wright could return the first week of June (May 22, 4:52 p.m.).

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spine, which adds pressure to the spinal cord and nerves, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

It ended the career of Oregon State cornerback Dashon Hunt. (April 30, 4:59 p.m.) Former New York Giants running back David Wilson also retired due to stenosis. (Oct. 20, 2013, 12:05 p.m.)


Tejada will start at third Sunday

With Eric Campbell in an 0-for-19 slump, Ruben Tejada will start at third Sunday afternoon when the Mets try to avoid a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh.

Tejada hit his first homer of the season Saturday in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the Pirates. Tejada, who replaced Wilmer Flores at shortstop in the sixth, is hitting .214 with four RBI.

The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in eight of their past 12 games. They haven’t gotten much production for their third basemen, who are hitting a combined .256 with two homers and 15 RBI. The Mets learned Saturday that rehabbing David Wright will be out longer after being diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis.

Terry Collins is looking for the Mets to make more contact. They have 177 strikeouts this month.

“If you’ve got home run hitters, strikeouts, you nod your head and say, ‘OK,'” Collins said (May 23). “We’ve got guys who should live and die putting the ball in play, and we’re not making contact.”


Collins agrees more rest could benefit Harvey

Terry Collins agreed when asked if a third start on regular rest played a role in Matt Harvey’s career-worst outing Saturday against the Pirates.

Harvey gave up six hits (including two homers), two walks and seven runs in four innings, but said the issue was location, not health.

“You’ve got to look at everything. He’ll say no, I’m sure. But there’s no reason to think it’s not a factor,” Collins told reporters (May 23). “You still have to realize he’s first back from the (Tommy John) operation. And he’s looked so good. And we just get so carried away that he’s never going to have a bad day, that when he does, it’s shocking for us all.”

Collins told the team’s other four starting pitchers before Saturday’s game that they will go to a six-man rotation when Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list (May 23). Harvey has been clear he is not in favor of extra rest.

Gee is on track to pitch Friday against Miami at Citi Field, with Harvey following on Saturday against the Marlins.

“Everything was kind of all over the place. I wasn’t locating, obviously. Arm feels fine, body feels fine,” Harvey told reporters. “One of those days that if I tried to spin it, it was over the middle, if I tried to throw fastball in it was away and vice-versa. Pretty terrible outing.”


Saturday’s minor league recaps…

Mets SS prospect Gavin Cecchini had a big game at the plate Saturday for the B-Mets, going 3-for-5, with his fourth homer of the season, ninth double and a pair of runs batted in. He has a hit in five straight games.

Mets reliever Vic Black made his first rehab appearance in Double-A and it was successful. The right-hander tossed a scoreless 7th inning, surrendering one hit with two strikeouts >>Read more at SNY’s Mets Minors

May 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA;  New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Harvey allows career-high seven runs in 8-2 loss to Pirates

Matt Harvey allowed a career-high seven runs, as the New York Mets lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-2, Saturday at PNC Park.

Harvey pitched his worst start in his shortest-career outing. He gave up multiple home runs for just the third time. He allowed six hits and two walks in four innings of work.

Harvey (5-2) entered the game having pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings with a 1.98 ERA. He threw 65 pitches and two wild pitches, and his ERA rose to 2.91.

In his previous five starts combined, Harvey gave up five runs in 36 2/3 innings.

His scoreless inning stretch ended in the first when he gave up a two-run home run to Andrew McCutchen, who recorded three hits.

Pedro Alvarez went 2 for 4. He hit a towering home run to right in the second to make it and hit an RBI double in the fourth.

Harvey loaded the bases in the fourth on walks to Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli. Pirates SP A.J. Burnett hit a sac fly and Josh Harrison followed with a two-run double to make it 7-1.

Burnett (4-1) was effective. He struck out 10 in seven innings, giving up five hits and one run for Pittsburgh (20-22).

The Mets (24-20) were held to two or fewer runs for the 11th time in the past 20 games.

Campbell’s slump continued at the plate and in the field. He went 0 for 4, including a rally-killing double play in the fourth, and is hitless in his last 19 at-bats. His throwing error in the seventh led to the Pirates’ eighth run.

Daniel Murphy drove in the first Mets run on a fielder’s choice in the fourth. Ruben Tejada hit a solo home run to left in the eighth.

Jon Niese (3-4) will pitch in the final game of the three-game set Sunday (1:35 p.m., SNY). Francisco Liriano (1-4) will pitch for Pittsburgh.


Video highlights from Saturday’s loss to the Pirates

Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada hits a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss to cut the Pirates’ lead to 8-2. >> Watch here

Tejada makes a smooth defensive play to rob Pedro Alvarez of a base hit in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday. >> Watch here

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy hits an RBI groundout in the top of the fourth to cut the Pirates’ lead to 3-1 in Saturday’s loss. >> Watch here

To read post-game reports from the team’s beat writers, check out MLB.com, Daily News, New York Post, New York Times, Bergen Record, ESPN, Newsday and NJ.com.


Parnell, Black assigned to Double-A Binghamton

The Mets assigned pitchers Bobby Parnell and Vic Black to Double-A Binghamton, where they will continue rehab stints.

Parnell underwent Tommy John surgery last April, while Black is recovering from a shoulder injury and a herniated disc injury.

Parnell allowed three runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings during an extended spring training appearance on Tuesday. (May 19, 4:30 p.m.)

He gave up three runs and two hits in one inning during a rehab outing with Single-A St. Lucie on May 11. (May 11, 9:29 p.m.)

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, on the disabled list with a broken finger since April 19, is also nearing a rehab stint in the middle of next week. (May 23, 3:44 p.m.)