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Today’s Game: Mets at Cardinals

The Mets travel to play the Cardinals on Friday in Jupiter, FL, where heavy rain is in the forecast.

You can follow the game online with SNY Gameday.

Matt Harvey is scheduled to start for the Mets. Harvey will have an 80-pitch limit, Terry Collins said Thursday. In five starts this spring, he has a 1.26 ERA. He threw 60 pitches against the Yankees in his last start, while throwing 5.2 scoreless innings.

Harvey will also bat eighth, with Danny Muno batting in the nine hole.

Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Travis d’Arnaud and Curtis Granderson are also scheduled to travel and play in the game.

Coming Soon: ‘Gator Bait’ with Vic Black

Before Monday’s airing, check out SNY.tv’s Rob Brender and Mets reliever Vic Black ride an airboat in Florida to look for some gators…

Check back on Monday for the full video!

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Rockies will keep Tulowitzki informed of trade talks throughout the season

The Rockies told Troy Tulowitzki they discussed him in trades this winter, and they’ll continue to do so throughout the season, though no deal was ever close, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (March 27).

“We had conversations this winter, and Tulowitzki has an understanding what we’re thinking,” Rockies GM Jeff Bridich told Nightengale.

Tulowitzki told Nightengale that, in a perfect world, he stays in Colorado and wins with the Rockies.

However, he added, “If something happens, you have to deal with it.”

Previous Reports

In early January, the Rockies decided to keep Tulowitzki, while planning to re-open trade talks teams after he showed he is fully healthy, people close to the team told MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone (Jan. 7). Tulowitzki had major surgery last August to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, which comes after missing roughly a third of Colorado’s games the previous three seasons.

According to Cerrone, in limited talks with three to five teams this offseason, which included the Mets, no team was willing to give up the talent Colorado wanted without a) seeing Tulowitzki in action, and b) receiving at least a quarter of the $118 million left on his contract. Instead, the Rockies determined it would make more sense to start 2015 with their most popular player and revisit his trade market after the season begins.

Tulowitzki, 30, is batting .375 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in 10 games this spring.

In February, team beat reporter Patrick Saunders said, if the Rockies are struggling, he expects Tulowitzki will ask to be traded.

“Bridich wants to win now, but he isn’t blind to change and he’s smart enough to start preparing for it,” Saunders added.

According to sources, the Mets and Rockies discussed Tulowitzki at the Winter Meetings in December, 2014, but the two sides never came close to a deal (Jan. 7). The Rockies repeatedly expressed interest in acquiring both Noah Syndergaard and other top, young pitchers (Dec. 19), but the Mets were apprehensive about taking on so much risk.

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Jon Niese is changing his delivery, because of stress on his shoulder

Jon Niese threw 76 pitches during an intrasquad game at Tradition Field on Thursday.

Niese told reporters he was mostly focused on adjusting his delivery to reduce stress he’d been putting on his shoulder in previous starts this spring.

In February, Niese said he probably should have started 2014 on the disabled list.

“There was a sharp pain in there,” Niese said about his shoulder pain from a year ago. “I think I got off the mound way too early, before I got my arm in shape and kind of screwed things up in there.”

Niese eventually missed time in 2014 with pain in the AC joint in his shoulder, elbow inflammation and sore triceps, all of which are reportedly connected to the partially torn rotator cuff in his pitching arm. He was also pulled from a late-season start with an elevated heart rate for the second time in three years.

Nevertheless, he told reporters he feels strong going in to 2015.

“I haven’t been this confident with my arm in probably three years,” he concluded.


cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: In the winter, I mentioned how teams were skeptical of Niese’s shoulder (Nov. 2014). I actually had one talent evaluator refer to him as ‘damaged,’ offering to bet that Niese will eventually need rotator cuff surgery.

I’m not a gambler, but I totally understand the source of their skepticism. Niese has been on the disabled list with issues related to the rotator cuff each of the last two seasons. He jetted off to New York in Spring Training last year to get an MRI for a “sore triceps,” which a typical since pain often refers down the back of the arm. Niese was later shut down for three weeks last summer, first saying he had no pain, but eventually admitting that shoulder pain was causing him to unknowingly change his mechanics >> Read more from Feb. 9

Wall Street Journal: Matt Harvey Stays in Command During Comeback

According to a recent paper published by Dr. Christopher Ahmad, on average, pitchers threw significantly less pitches in the strike zone during the first year back from Tommy Johns surgery.

However, so far this spring, Matt Harvey has shown razor-sharp precision, much like he did before his surgery, explains reporter Jared Diamond >> Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

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Wilmer Flores looked strong in his first game back from a bruised foot

Wilmer Flores returned from a bruised left foot Thursday to go 1-for-3 with a walk in a win against the Nationals.

He also fielded two ground balls at shortstop with no issue.

“I feel it a little bit, but I’ve just got to go through it,” Flores said after the game (MLB.com, March 27). “It’s going to be sore, but I feel great.”

Flores will continue to wear a protective guard over his foot while batting, and is again expected to be ready for Opening Day.

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Jeurys Familia having a rough spring, Collins and Warthen aren’t worried

In eight appearances this spring, Mets reliever Jeurys Familia has allowed seven runs in seven innings, while facing 36 batters and giving up 12 hits and three walks.

Familia, 25, faced seven Nationals on Thursday and gave up four hits, three runs and a walk.

Terry Collins said after the game he is not concerned with Familia’s spring-training performance because he is working on pitch selection with pitching coach Dan Warthen.

“Familia is trying to incorporate more upper-zone fastballs to complement his sinker, so everything is not down in the zone,” according to ESPN reporter Adam Rubin (March 26).

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Bobby Parnell pitched against the Marlins, not concerned with lack of velocity

Bobby Parnell tossed 17 pitches against the Marlins Triple-A team on Wednesday. However, according to reporter Adam Rubin, Parnell’s fastball hit only the upper 90s, which he attributed to trying not to overthrow (March 26).

According to a talent evaluator who watched Parnell and talked to the Daily News, there should be no concern about the closer’s velocity since he is still building arm strength and otherwise looked and easy with his delivery (March 27).

It was Parnell’s first time in a game situation against opposing players since having Tommy John surgery roughly one year ago.

“I knew the gun wasn’t going to be anything outstanding,” Parnell said, noting he still expects to return from the disabled list in May. “It was more a ‘go out there and knock the rust off’ kind of thing.”

Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said Parnell is likely to return from the disabled list during late April, early May.

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What’s on Tap for Friday, March 27

The Mets travel to Jupiter to face the Cardinals on Friday at 1:05 p.m.

The game will not air on live TV in New York, but can be heard on WOR 710 AM radio.

Matt Harvey, who is slated to throw roughly 80 pitches and bat eighth, gets the start for the Mets.

In case you missed it

The Mets had a late offensive explosion and beat the Nationals, 8-3, on Thursday >> Read more

The Mets have been scouting three left-handed relievers from the Dodgers >> Read more

Daniel Murphy (hamstring) hopes to play this weekend and be ready for Opening Day >> Read more

Vic Black is planning to throw a bullpen session this weekend and also expects to be ready for Opening Day >> Read more

The Mets outfield left to right will be Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, and Curtis Granderson >> Read more

The Mets are utilizing the science of defensive positioning >> Read more

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Lagares, Reynolds and den Dekker lead Mets to 8-3 win over Nationals

Matt Bowman threw five scoreless innings and Matt Reynolds, Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker hit home runs as the Mets defeated the Nationals, 8-3, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday night.

Need to Know

The Mets were unable to score through five innings against Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez. However, Reynolds and Lagares hit back-to-back home runs against LH reliever Jerry Blevins in the seventh to tie the game at three. Anthony Recker them gave the Mets the lead with a sacrifice fly the following inning.

Den Dekker later hit a two-run home run to seal the win.

Eric Campbell had another RBI double in the sixth inning.against Tanner Roark.

Jeurys Familia struggled in relief, but Buddy Carlyle entered with two outs and stranded two baserunners.

Bowman was borrowed from minor-league camp to fill in for Jon Niese, who the team held back to pitch in an intrasquad game instead of risking a rain out. Bowman threw 46 pitches and did not allow a run in his five innings of work.

What’s Next

The Mets (14-10) travel to Jupiter, FL, on Friday to face the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. Matt Harvey will start for the Mets against Cardinals RHP John Lackey.