Jul 08

Mets’ pitching options: Perez first.

PEREZ: In a happier time.

If you’ve been following the Mets it’s not hard to read the tealeaves as far as which direction they’ll go in adding a starter to their rotation.

I know a lot of you aren’t going to like this, but my guess is their first option will be Oliver Perez.

Perez’s rehab so far has gone well, and with around $20 million still remaining on his contract, I see them spending that money first because finances are a big issue with the team. They aren’t going to eat the contract and Perez’s contract, injury history and erratic performance make him impossible to deal.  Therefore, his real value to the Mets isn’t as a trade commodity but in the hope he’ll find it.

From what I’ve heard, the asking price in terms of prospects is high for Cliff Lee, and regardless of their supposed interest in him over Roy Oswalt, I believe the Mets find it distasteful to offer all that for a rental, and that’s what it will be because they won’t pay what he’ll be asking.

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Jul 07

Mets Chat Room; Niese tries to keep it rolling.

Game #85 vs. Reds

Jonathan Niese will be pitching tonight to push the Mets to 11 games over .500, which would tie their season high and pull them within a game of Atlanta with the Braves coming in this weekend for three games.

Once four games under .500 and floundering early this season, the Mets are relevant again and could be in first place by the All-Star break.

Niese is more than partly attributable to that relevancy, going 5-0 with a 2.43 ERA in six starts since his June 5 return from the disabled list. The Mets are 10-2 in his last 12 starts, including beating Washington last Friday when he struck out a season-high eight and didn’t issue a walk.

What makes him successful?

“I think if I’m able to throw all my pitches for strikes,’’ Niese said. “I think I have a good variety that keeps them off-balance.’’

Off-balance is what tonight’s Reds starter, Bronson Arroyo, has kept the Mets, going 6-2 in ten career starts against them.

Jul 07

Mets Notes: Perez getting closer.

* Oliver Perez, who threw 85 pitches in a Class A rehab game yesterday, will report to Class AAA Buffalo. Before making a deal, the Mets will see where Perez rates.

* Luis Castillo will begin a rehab assignment for Class A St. Lucie this weekend.

* Hisanori Takahashi is available out of the bullpen tonight.

* Jerry Manuel said it is clear Ike Davis is pressing and could use the All-Star break.

Jul 07

Tonight’s lineup vs. Reds

Jeff Francoeur and Ruben Tejada get the night off for the Mets:

Jose Reyes, SS

Angel Pagan, CF

David Wright, 3B

Ike Davis, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jesus Feliciano, RF

Alex Cora, 2B

Jon Niese, LP

Jul 07

Santana shows how to get it done.

SANTANA: Offers encouragement for strong second half.

In watching Johan Santana toy with Cincinnati it was almost as if he were telling Mike Pelfrey, “Mike, this is how you do it.’’

While Santana isn’t as consistently dominant as he used to be, for one night he was as good as ever, throwing a three-hit shutout of the Reds, 3-0, with the game-winning run coming on his first career home run.

And in the ninth inning, after Jason Bay’s dropped pop-up in left, Santana told Jerry Manuel, “I‘ll finish it.’’

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