Mar 04

Mets Matters: Nieuwenhuis Has Big Day

As far as first impressions go, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a great one going 4-for-4 with a RBI in the Mets’ 8-2 rout of Atlanta.

mets-matters logoNieuwenhuis, who is out of options, is competing Matt den Dekker for a reserve outfield spot. Not having options gives Nieuwenhuis an edge.

“He’s out of options, so it’s nice to see him have a big day,’’ manager Terry Collins told reporters. “He’s had to battle so many injuries in the last couple of years. The one thing we saw both he and Matt do, that’s shorten their swings up a little bit to where they can put the ball in play more consistently.’’

Today’s box score: Mets 8, Atlanta 2

GEE ROCKED: Dillon Gee, whom the Mets are trying to deal, gave up two runs in a two-inning, 35-pitch debut.

Gee is next scheduled to pitch Sunday out of the bullpen.

EXTRA INNINGS: Wilmer Flores left the game in the fifth inning when he was hit by a pitch on his left pinkie finger. … Flores’ replacement, Matt Reynolds had a RBI single. … Leadoff hitter candidate Juan Lagares had two hits, including a double, with a walk and run scored. … Lucas Duda, out with a left intercostal muscle strain, swung the bat. … Former Met Eric Young, stole a base on Travis d’Arnaud. … The Mets play Washington Thursday (5:05 p.m.), with Bartolo Colon getting the start. Gabriel Ynoa, Cory Mazzoni and Josh Edgin will also work for the Mets.

Mar 04

No Worries As Gee Has Rocky Start

The day was for the Mets to showcase Dillon Gee, and the impression wasn’t a good one.

GEE: Rough start.

GEE: Rough start.

Gee got into immediate trouble when the Braves loaded the bases with no outs before giving up two runs in a 28-pitch first inning. Gee settled down to throw a 1-2-3 seven-pitch second inning.

The second is what Gee will take out of his outing, and hopefully he’ll learn from the first.

“I didn’t start the way I wanted to, walking two guys,” Gee told reporters. “Your adrenaline starts pumping a little bit more with a guy in there than it does when you’re throwing a bullpen. So I felt a little off.”

While Gee wishes he pitched better, in the big picture any team interested won’t be swayed by his performance.

Gee, the sixth Mets’ starter, is slated to open the season working in long relief if he isn’t traded. Trades this early in spring training aren’t common as teams want to first evaluate their roster before making any additions.

If Gee is traded, that’s almost four weeks away.

ON DECK: Mets Matters: Today’s notes.

Mar 04

Wright’s Apology Speaks Volumes

David Wright did the right thing when he lectured Noah Syndergaard for eating lunch in the clubhouse when his teammates were playing an intrasquad game.

WRIGHT: Stands up.

WRIGHT: Stands up.

Wright also did the correct thing Wednesday when he apologized to Syndergaard when the easy thing would have been not to have say anything. Wright already had the backing of manager Terry Collins, his teammates – including Syndergaard, who admitted he made a mistake – and most people who know anything about the dynamics of a team sport.

When Wright confronted Syndergaard, he did so unaware of several reporters standing nearby. That was his mistake.

“I didn’t notice the media was within earshot,’’ Wright told reporters. “So that’s what I apologized to Noah for. Now he has to answer questions; I have to answer questions; Terry has to answer questions. That’s not the way that I like to handle things. I wasn’t aware of my surroundings.’’

It’s about accountability, and that includes for the captain, also. Wright can’t justify getting on a teammate for making a mistake if he can’t stand up himself when he does the same.

It’s all part of doing the right thing.

ON DECK:  Dillon Gee rocked.

 

Mar 04

Mets Today: Showcasing Gee

Let the showcasing begin for the Mets and Dillon Gee, whom they have been trying to trade since the end of last season. Gee will start today against Atlanta in the Mets’ exhibition opener, with the parameters being 35 pitches or two innings.

Gee, who threw 199 innings two years ago, regressed last season and was 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA. He’s expendable with the return of Matt Harvey following elbow surgery.

GEE: Being showcased this spring. (AP)

GEE: Being showcased this spring. (AP)

The Mets tried to trade Gee this off-season, but found little interest, probably because of their high asking price. After the winter meetings they indicated a willingness to accept a low-level prospect, but GM Sandy Alderson said the market is currently dry.

“I think most clubs, including ours, are focused on what’s going on in camp and evaluating what they already have,’’ Alderson told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “If there’s going to be any significant trade talk, I think typically it’s going to happen later in spring training, unless there’s an injury of some sort. By and large, I think that comes more in the second half of spring training.’’

Assuming no injuries in the rotation, Gee is the sixth starter, which puts him on the outside, or more to the point, in the bullpen as a long reliever. Because each starter has a significant question next to his name, it makes sense to hold onto Gee, who has been productive. The Mets won’t trade Gee just for the sake of making a deal.

From his point, Gee likes it here and wants to stay.

“I’m happy to be here. I really am,’’ Gee said at the start of camp. “Right now, I’m approaching this like I’m pitching to be a starter. That’s what they’ve told me to do. I love starting, and I’ve been successful as a starter.’’

But, that’s not his choice.

Mar 03

Wright Flashes Captain’s Bars To Syndergaard

David Wright gets it and always has. Now let’s see if the same can be said for Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ captain reprimanded the young pitcher Tuesday for being in the clubhouse eating lunch instead of being on the bench for the intrasquad game.

Without getting in Syndergaard’s face, Wright let it be known Syndergaard’s place was in the dugout, not in an air-conditioned clubhouse. It’s something a team captain should do.

WRIGHT: Shows leadership skills. (AP)

WRIGHT: Shows leadership skills. (AP)

Syndergaard did not immediately move until Bobby Parnell picked up the rookie’s plate and dumped it in the trash.

Call that an exclamation point.

Wright is the captain for a reason, and that is to not only be a good example, but make sure his teammates understand.

“Being a young player, any chance you get to learn, you go out there and learn,’’ Wright told Newsday. “I’m not a big ranter and raver. When I get on somebody, it’s 99-percent private. I’m not going to yell and scream, but when I speak to somebody, when I get on somebody, the point needs to be taken.’’

The Mets have pointed to this year as when they could be competitive and possibly even challenge for the playoffs. Syndergaard is counted on to be a integral piece in the Mets’ development, and if he’s to become what they hope, he must learn how to win.

And, that includes learning the protocols of a clubhouse. If Syndergaard is to eventually be a leader, he can’t be if he’s eating in the clubhouse during a game – even an intrasquad game.

Wright was teaching. He showed Syndergaard there is a right way and a wrong way to being a teammate.

Syndergaard should have known better, but made a mistake. He said he didn’t think it was a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, maybe it wasn’t. But, Syndergaard hasn’t been around long enough to make that decision.

Championship teams are built on little things, and that’s why Wright thought it was a big deal. Lecturing Syndergaard is as much a part of his job description as driving in runs and playing third base.

If he doesn’t step forward, then who will?

“I understand where David was coming from,’’ Syndergaard told Newsday. “We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.’’

Often, there is a mental turning point in a player’s career, as if a light switch was flipped. Maybe Wright turned it on for Syndergaard.