Mar 01

Mets Week In Review: Niese, Davis, Trade Rumors

Since injuries to starting pitchers are more important than temper tantrums by struggling first basemen, undoubtedly the most important news item of the week was the MRI on left-hander Jon Niese.

The MRI showed no structural damage, but revealed weakness in the back area of the shoulder, which Niese took responsibility for, saying he didn’t work that enough.

That disclosure raised numerous questions about the Mets’ handling of the injury.

Niese’s first exhibition start, Tuesday against Houston, will be pushed back. He is to resume throwing and will be given a set of exercises designed to strengthen the back area of his shoulder.

Manager Terry Collins named Niese his Opening Day starter, and so far that hasn’t changed.

Also this week:

* Ike Davis verbally sparred with New York Post reporter Mike Puma, saying he didn’t “approve’’ of his story the first baseman concealed an oblique injury last year. Davis said he didn’t want to disclose the injury because it was about the time he was to be sent to Triple-A Las Vegas and didn’t want it to come off as making excuses.

Davis did not refute the accuracy of the story and produced a line-drive quote: “I sucked last year because I sucked.’’

However, Puma did him one better, and when asked what would happen if Davis took a swing at him, said: “He might miss.’’

* In the wake of the Davis story, Collins said he wants players to reveal injuries and indicated last year could have been different for Davis had he done so. Later, Niese said he didn’t want to tell anybody about his shoulder ailment.

* In a meeting with his staff, general manager Sandy Alderson said he thought 90 victories were possible, which would be a 20 percent improvement. Talk about setting the bar high.

* The Mets remain ambivalent about Ruben Tejada being their Opening Day shortstop. Alderson did not close the door on free agent Stephen Drew and talked trade with Seattle about Nick Franklin.

* Prospect Noah Syndergaard struck out five in two innings in Thursday’s intrasquad game. Syndergaard threw a nasty curve and fastball that topped out a 97 mph. His first exhibition start is scheduled for Monday against Atlanta.

* Outfielder Eric Young and pitcher Bartolo Colon missed time with muscle strains.

* Collins announced his tentative starting rotation: Niese, Colon, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler and the fifth starter, which is to come from the group of Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia.

* Collins said he would ease David Wright and Daniel Murphy into games, and indicated Wilmer Flores would get time at shortstop.

Mar 01

Bobby Parnell Throws BP; Line-ups Against Miami

New York Mets closer Bobby Parnell said he cleared a “mental hurdle’’ after throwing a 35-pitch batting practice this morning. Parnell threw to David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Eric Young. He threw a mix of curveballs and fastballs.

Parnell was especially satisfied with his command, and that he experienced no discomfort when he followed batted balls with his head.

“Going early like this, you don’t expect to be perfect,’’ Parnell told reporters. “By no means was I, but everything was down and I feel like I can work off that really well. … I didn’t know how I’d react to balls off the bat. I try not to do a lot of herky-jerky stuff with my neck.’’

Incidentally, Parnell’s session marked the first on-field work for Young, who had been sidelined with a strained muscle in his side.

Young is not expected to play in an exhibition game until early next week.

In another injury-related item, Jonathon Niese (sore shoulder) and Bartolo Colon (tight calf) played catch. There is no word when either will throw off a mound next.

Here’s today’s starting line-up against Miami:

Chris Young, cf: Leading off for the second straight game.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, rf: Seems to have fallen off the map.

Andrew Brown, dh: Likely minor league candidate.

Lucas Duda, 1b: Had a hit Friday. Makes first appearance at first.

Zach Lutz, 3b: Replaces Wright again.

Taylor Teagarden, c: Makes first appearance.

Matt den Dekker, lf: Coming back from stomach virus

Anthony Seratelli, 2b: Long-shot to make team.

Omar Quintanilla, ss: Will stick as infield reserve.

John Lannan, lhp: Fifth-starter candidate.

Mar 01

Mets Today: Parnell To Throw Batting Practice; Mets Host Marlins

Injury updates and position battles in spring training are the two most important items for the New York Mets this year, with both coming into play today.

The composition of the bullpen begins with closer Bobby Parnell, who underwent surgery on his neck to repair a herniated disk.

A strained quadriceps muscle forced Parnell’s first batting practice session to be pushed back until today. Parnell will throw prior to the exhibition game against Miami at Port St. Lucie, with the target being 20 pitches.

In addition:

* Left-hander John Lannan is to start against the Marlins and throw 30 pitches or two innings, which ever comes first. Lannan is competing with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia for the fifth spot in the rotation. At 29, a lefty and with a reasonable contract, Lannan is somebody the Mets should be paying close attention to.

* Vic Black, Scott Rice, Kyle Farnsworth and Ryan Reid will also pitch today.

* Outfielder Eric Young, out with a strained side, could resume working out, but isn’t expected to play. Sunday could be a possibility.

* Manager Terry Collins still wants to ease David Wright and Daniel Murphy into the line-up, so neither is expected to play.

ON DECK: Arguments for John Lannan being fifth starer.

Feb 28

Mets Wrap: Drop Exhibition Opener; Ike Davis homers

The New York Mets (0-1) dropped their exhibition opener Friday, 5-4, to the Washington Nationals in Port St. Lucie.

It’s just the first game, but the Mets have to be encouraged by the performances of pitchers Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, who each threw two perfect innings.

The Mets also got a two-run homer from Ike Davis.

Neither Montero nor deGrom are expected to make the Opening Day roster, but both could be brought up in June. Each is expected to open the season in Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Nationals scored four runs in the final three innings off several pitchers, including Gonzalez German and Jeff Walters. Gonzalez is competing for one of the Mets’ seven bullpen spots, but Walters, who saved 38 games last season for Double-A Binghamton, is expected to open in Triple-A.

We should all temper our enthusiasm for Davis, but that being said, it is better than striking out four times. Manager Terry Collins said he wants to give the struggling and often-times frustrated first baseman at least 90 at-bats in spring training.

Wilfredo Tovar left the game in the seventh inning with a right hamstring injury.

On deck: Left-hander John Lannan will start Saturday against Miami’s Kevin Slowey. The Mets will also pitch Vic Black, Scott Rice, Kyle Farnsworth and Ryan Reid.

Feb 28

Updating Mets’ Injuries: Niese, Parnell, Young And Colon

It’s early, but the New York Mets already have several injury issues that don’t include Jonathon Niese.

PARNELL: To throw BP Saturday (AP)

PARNELL: To throw BP Saturday (AP)

There were reports Niese might throw this weekend, but that’s premature as he said he doesn’t know when he’ll get back on the mound. That could be determined later today.

Obviously, his exhibition start Tuesday against Houston is pushed back. Niese said he doesn’t expect to miss his Opening Day start, March 31, against Washington at Citi Field.

In addition:

* Closer Bobby Parnell is scheduled to throw batting practice Saturday. It will be his first time throwing to hitters since undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. Parnell was supposed to throw earlier in the week, but that was pushed back after sustaining a strained left quadriceps muscle.

Parnell’s status is considered one of the Mets’ most significant issues in spring training. If he isn’t ready to start the season, Vic Black will assume the closer role.

* Outfielder and leadoff hitter Eric Young isn’t expected to play this weekend because of a strained muscle in his side. Manager Terry Collins said the training staff wants to see Young in the field before letting him play. Collins said Sunday at the earliest, but indicated Monday or Tuesday are more likely.

* Bartolo Colon has been out with a strained calf, but is expected to throw today. He has been working out on a stationary bike.

ON DECK: Is Sandy Alderson kidding about 90 wins?