Backman expected to return to Triple-A, Lamar Johnson to be reassigned

Sandy Alderson said Sunday he will wait a few days before announcing any final decisions about the team’s 2015 coaching staff.

However, a team insider said to expect limited tweaks (Rubin, Sept. 29).

For instance, the team’s current hitting coach, Lamar Johnson, as well as Luis Natera, the assistant hitting coach, are expected to be reassigned within the organization (Martino, Sept. 28).

It had been reported that the team had been considering replacing Johnson with third base coach Tim Teufel, raising speculation that Wally Backman might replace Teufel as third base coach on the big-league staff. However, Alderson told reporters earlier this week that Teufel would not be taking over for Johnson, meaning hitting coach might be the only vacancy on the staff.

It was later reported that Backman is expected to remain the Triple-A Las Vegas manager (Rubin, Sept. 29).

Bob Geren is also expected to return in his current position as bench coach in 2015 (Martino, Sept. 28), as is pitching coach Dan Warthen (Puma, Sept. 22).

Terry Collins goes to get Zack Wheeler

Report: Youngsters’ high pitch counts could doom Collins

Allowing youngsters such as Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler to throw a lot of pitches could be Terry Collins’ undoing as Mets manager, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Saturday (Fox Sports, Sept. 6)

The Daily News reported Thursday that the Mets front office was split on bringing Collins back for a fifth season (Daily News, Sept. 4). Rosenthal reported that one compromise among the divided Mets braintrust could be keeping Collins, but letting some of his assistants go.

Terry Collins media 1dd

Monday’s meltdown was ‘ugly,’ ‘not a big league game.’

Terry Collins didn’t mince words Monday after the Mets committed six errors, including three in a brutal eighth inning, as the Marlins rallied for a 9-6 victory.

“Well, I’m not sure I can say it publicly,” Collins said, when asked what he was thinking when watching the game. “It was not a big-league baseball game. … It was ugly.”

The six errors were one short of the franchise record.

The Mets have made 32 errors since the All-Star break, which is the third most in baseball.

2B Dilson Herrera was charged with two errors, while Jeurys Familia, who took the loss, made two throwing errors leading to three runs in the eighth.

“I think I’m trying to be too quick,” said Familia. “Before I get the ball, I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got to throw perfectly.’”

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: It was a meltdown, plain and simple. Why? The dark side of going with a young team, some guys new to the league, others new to positions…

For instance, I want Eric Campbell in left field. The Mets need to see what he’s capable of. Well, we now know he needs to work on his diving catches, because he overshot a leap Monday that ricocheted off the heel of his glove and kicked off a disastrous eighth inning.

Familia then bounced a throw to Hererra at first, which the kid is almost certainly capable of picking up, but he didn’t. Again, he’s a kid, the big-league game moves fast and he’s still adjusting. Familia then bounced a pitch that got by Travis d’Arnaud, which lead to a run, which was followed by another bunt and another bad throw in the dirt from Familia. Frankly, these throws from Familia are a big concern, because he’s been doing it all season. It’s getting worse of late. It’s not there yet, but he’s getting close to Steve Sax, Mackey Sasser, yips territory, and the sooner the Mets handle this with him the better – especially since teams are going to soon start bunting on him just to make him throw.

Matt Harvey

Collins unhappy with Matt Harvey’s latest mound session

Terry Collins said Wednesday night  he was going to “put my head through the wall,” after learning that Matt Harvey threw off a mound earlier in the day (ESPN, Aug. 13).

Collins is frustrated that Harvey is resisting the team’s guidance to scale back workouts as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Harvey’s bullpen session came a day after Sandy Alderson said the team has talked with Harvey about slowing down his rehab schedule, using Jeremy Hefner’s recent re-injury as a cautionary tale (MetsBlog, Aug. 12),

“I threw a bullpen today and I didn’t miss a spot,” Harvey said Wednesday afternoon on ESPN New York 98.7 of his fourth mound session since the surgery. It consisted of 27 pitches, two fewer than his previous session.

“I felt like I was easily throwing into the low- to mid-90s, with pretty much no effort,” he said. “I know there’s a process, but as a competitor I want to get out there as soon as possible.”

Collins said he and Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen planned to speak with Harvey by phone early Wednesday night, but they couldn’t reach him.

“We tried to get ahold of him, but he was talking on the radio,” Collins said, sarcastically. “One of the reasons we have tried to back Matt off is how he is mentally. This guy is a bulldog. There is no such thing as low speed or low gear. It’s all-out forward. There was a phone call made [Tuesday] where it was, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to back this down,’ and [Wednesday] he throws a 27-pitch bullpen. I’m going to put my head through the wall.”

Alderson also said Tuesday that the Mets may ask Harvey not to pitch in any kind of game before spring training. Harvey is determined to pitch in the majors this season, which  the team strongly rejects. However, the Mets had been open to allowing Harvey to pitch in the Arizona Fall League or the team’s instructional league.

Wilmer Flores 1 (Baron)

Wilmer Flores will get time at SS this spring

Wilmer Flores will play some games at shortstop this spring, Terry Collins announced Friday in St. Lucie.

Collins said last week that he will also use Flores at second and third base (Kernan, Feb. 4).

Team reports indicate Flores improved his agility and quickness at this winter’s strength and fitness camp.

“If that’s the case,” Collins said, “I want to see it.”

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Lucas Duda, Ike Davis

Duda will see time in the OF, Collins impressed with Ike

The majority of Lucas Duda‘s time in the field this spring will be at first base, but he may also get some time in the outfield, Terry Collins said Friday in St. Lucie.

Collins and Sandy Alderson have repeatedly said Duda and Ike Davis will compete for the team’s staring first base job.

In the end, “If Lucas and Ike hit the way we know they can, we’ll figure out a way to get their bats in the lineup,” Collins said.

According to multiple reports, if Duda wins the starting job, Davis will either be demoted or traded. In the event Davis wins the job, Duda could be demoted, but may also stay on the big-league bench as a left-handed power bat and extra outfielder.

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Eric Young 4 (Baron)

Today, Collins wants Eric Young Jr. at the top of the lineup

Terry Collins says the Mets have three guys in camp that can play center field, he told reporters Friday in St. Lucie.

Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr. will all compete for the starting outfield, which will mostly be determined by who hits best in spring training, Sandy Alderson said on WFAN earlier this week.

“As we sit here today, Eric Young is the guy you want to see at the top of the lineup,” Collins said. “We know what happens when he gets on, we score runs.”

In the event Eric Young does not hit leadoff, Collins said last week that Chris Young or Ruben Tejada could end up in the top spot (New York Post, Feb. 10)…

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Terry Collins media 1

Collins: ‘We’re going to be better’

“We have a completely different lineup,” Terry Collins said in his first press conference of the year on Friday.  “We’ve made some good off-season additions and we’re going to be better.”

Collins pointed to Curtis Granderson and Chris Young as players who will replace Marlon Byrd’s 2013 season.

“I think you’re talking about two middle of the lineup guys we can put in there with David Wright,” Collins said.

Not having Matt Harvey for the season obviously won’t help, but a guy like Bartolo Colon could replace some of what the team lost.

“Bartolo is an old pro he knows how to prepare. He’s going to bring that to the table for our young players. They will turn to him,” Collins said.

The free agent additions, plus some steps forward by the younger players, has Collins excited for the upcoming year.

“We think 2014 is going to be a good year for us,” the manager said. “We’ve got some guys that need to step up.”