May 24

Tonight’s Mets lineup: May 24 at Chicago.

After kicking away Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium, the Mets are in Chicago tonight to face the Cubs.

When you look at Mets’ history they’ve have periodic rivals. In 1969 and again in 1973, the Cubs were a big deal on their schedule. There’s also been the Pirates, the Braves and the Phillies.

One of my favorite sports books is “The Year the Mets Lost Last Place,’’ which documented a three-series stretch in 1969. Every now and then I’ll pick up the book and start to read. It always is fresh.

Mets at Cubs used to be in the afternoon, but that’s another lost tradition. Night games at Wrigley Field? I still don’t like it.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Jose Reyes, SS

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Justin Turner, 3B

Willie Harris, CF

Ronny Paulino, C

Ruben Tejada, 2B

Jonathan Niese, LP

 

COMMENTS: The first game after Fred Wilpon threw Reyes and Beltran under the bus. Not inaccurate comments, but it does make you wonder what the agenda is here.

 

May 24

May 24.10: Mejia to stay in pen.

Until they change their minds again, the Mets have made a decision – hopefully definitive for at least the remainder of the season – on Jenrry Mejia.

The prospect with the million-dollar arm will remain in the bullpen.

Manager Jerry Manuel confirmed last night what many surmised after Manny Acosta was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo instead of Mejia to make room for Ryota Igarashi’s return from the disabled list.

“You have a young man who has a tremendous arm, tremendous upside,’’ Manuel said. “If you take what he gives you in small bits, it’s very serviceable, even at the big league level.’’

Several things went into the decision, notably when Mejia started altering his delivery Thursday in Washington. Altered deliveries lead to arm problems and the Mets want to nip possibility early.

During the series with the Nationals, Manuel had suggested Mejia was likely to be the one to go to the minor leagues to make room for Igarashi.

Starting might still be in Mejia’s future, but not for now, and you would be correct if you thought this move had something to do with Manuel’s immediate job future.

“If we wanted to have him start, he could start in the winter somewhere,’’ Manuel said. “But here, if he’s serviceable and if he’s usable, then I’d like to have him. It’s probably selfish on my part, but that’s how I feel.’’

With Igarashi back, the plan is for him and Feliciano to work the eighth and Mejia to work the seventh. Watching Mejia blow away Mark Teixeira Saturday night convinced Manuel.

“Basically, that was the plan all along,’’ Manuel said. “We felt that Igarashi could handle the eighth, and we needed someone to handle the seventh. I wanted to see Mejia pitch in this environment and see how he responded to it, and he did real well.’’

I only hope the Mets stick with this decision and not waver. To bounce him from role to role at 20 could be harmful to his development.