Houston Astros against St. Louis Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa during Game 1 of the NLCS National League Championship Series in St. Louis, Mo on Oct. 12, 2005. St Louis won the game 5-3. MANDATORY CREDIT:  (Michael McNamara / Sporting News)  DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH

Tony La Russa is impressed by Mets fans

Hall of Fame manager and current D-Backs executive Tony La Russa has a new-found appreciation for Mets fans, he told Marc Carig of Newsday during a recent phone interview (Oct. 6).

“Working for MLB and being in New York more than I ever was, I really came to appreciate the loyalty of the Mets fans,” La Russa said. “There’s a real hard core of support there. They were not happy. But the great, great majority I was around, they never deserted them. … The fans are getting their due, individuals in the organization like Sandy (Alderson), the manager and coaches. It’s a great, great, story, man. We’ll see what happens in October.”

La Russa managed in the majors from 1979 to 2011, including a stint with the Cardinals from 1996 to 2011.

The La Russa-led Cardinals lost to the Mets in five games in the 2000 NLCS, but defeated the Mets during seven games in the NLCS in 2006.

Sep 11, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

If Matz can’t pitch, Gilmartin will make roster

If LHP Steven Matz cannot pitch and is left off the NLDS roster, LHP Sean Gilmartin will take his place, Sandy Alderson said.

Gilmartin will travel with the team to Los Angeles on Wednesday in case he is added to the roster later this week.

This means that LHP Jon Niese and RHP Eric Goeddel will make the NLDS roster.

RHP Carlos Torres will travel to Florida to stay in shape as the playoffs continue in case he is needed.


TC says Tejada, Duda, Murphy and Granderson will start against Kershaw

Wilmer Flores lost 10 pounds last week after dealing with strep throat, Terry Collins told reporters Wednesday at Citi Field.

Regardless, Collins said he planned to start Ruben Tejada at shortstop against Clayton Kershaw.

In 15 at bats against Kershaw, Tejada has five hits and three walks.

Collins also said he is planning to start Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson against Kershaw, despite their career numbers against left-handed pitching.

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Oct. 6, 2015: I expect to see Granderson batting leadoff, followed by David Wright, Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes, Duda, Michael Cuddyer, Travis d’Arnaud and Tejada. … I also like knowing Michael Conforto and Flores will be on the bench to face a right-handed reliever later in the game. It’s not the greatest postseason lineup ever created, but it should be good enough to scratch out a run against Kershaw, while making him throw a ton of pitches, so that most of their damage can be done against the bullpen.


Tweet from Mike Puma…

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis points his bat

Nieuwenhuis on roster, Uribe out for NL Division Series,

Kirk Nieuwenhuis will replace on Juan Uribe on the NL Division Series roster, Terry Collins told reporters Wednesday at Citi Field.

Sandy Alderson told reporters Tuesday that Uribe has still not recovered from his chest injury.

Instead, Uribe will stay in New York to see doctors as the team travels to Los Angeles.

He initially hurt his chest diving for a groundball in the Mets-Yankees game on Sept. 20. He aggravated it in the middle of a pinch-hit at-bat on Sept. 25.

Uribe, 36, is batting .219 with six home runs and 20 RBIs since joining the Mets in July.

Lucas Duda 1ddcdd

Mets will have 11 players eligible for arbitration this offseason

The Mets will have 11 players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, including Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda and Jeurys Familia.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Harvey, who is earning $614,625 this season and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2019, to earn $4.7 million through arbitration (Oct. 6). Duda is projected to earn $6.8 million and Familia is projected to earn $3.3 million. The trio combined to earn just $5.5 million in 2015.

Eric Young Jr., Buddy Carlyle, Ruben Tejada, Addison Reed, Carlos Torres, Anthony ReckerJenrry Mejia and Josh Edgin are all also eligible for arbitration.


Michael Conforto talked with reporters today at Citi Field and said…

1) He has spent time talking with veterans, specifically Michael Cuddyer, who has been helping him with what to expect, how to prepare and how to handle nerves during his first big-league postseason.

2) Cuddyer has been a terrific mentor, Conforto said. “He knows so much about the game,” “He’s always there to help,” “He’s someone I look up to, he’s a great role model and I want to play the game the way he does,” and, “I can’t say enough about what he’s done to help me feel comfortable here.”

3) It’s a blessing to wake up everyday and be on this team, “It gives you motivation to come to the field, get your work in and help this team, because it’s how everyone goes about their business here.”

4) He is thankful for how close he and all of his teammates are off field, “It’s completely genuine,” and, “It’s where a lot of the success comes from.”

5) He is ready for the postseason, he’s excited, and, though he doesn’t know what his role will be, “I’m prepared and ready to help the team however I can.”

May 3, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee (35) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Gee elects to become free agent

RHP Dillon Gee became a free agent on Wednesday when he opted out of his contract with the Mets.

Gee, who had a 5.90 ERA in eight games (seven starts) in the majors this season, was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas in June. The Mets designated him for assignment and he accepted a minor league assignment.

He went 8-4 with a 4.11 ERA in 17 starts in the minors this year, but did not return to the majors after his demotion.

Gee, 29, would have likely been non-tendered in December had he not elected free agency. He went 40-37 with a 4.03 ERA in his six-year Mets career.


Do Matt Harvey’s excuses check out?

Mets RHP Matt Harvey missed Tuesday’s mandatory workouts and initially told pitching coach Dan Warthen he was stuck in traffic. Warthen relayed the message to manager Terry Collins, who said Harvey’s absence was “not necessarily” excused.

According to the Daily News, there was only a 15 percent spike in car traffic in the Queens Midtown Tunnel, heading east, at 11 a.m., compared to the past two Tuesday mornings (Oct. 6, 2015). They also report that Harvey was out with friends drinking and watching Monday Night Football in New York City on Monday night.

“He had a couple of cocktails and a couple of glasses of wine,” an employee of the bar told the Daily News. “He wasn’t drunk or anything. He was out of there by 11 p.m.”

Harvey is scheduled to pitch Game 3 of the NLDS next Monday at Citi Field. He apologized to his teammates and repeatedly told reporters, “I screwed up.”

“I can’t say I am happy about it,” an anonymous player player told the Daily News. “I guess we have to wait to see what happened.”

Collins said the Mets will handle Harvey’s discipline internally.

“He messed up,” Collins said. “Do I wish he could take it back? Yeah, but you can’t.”