Collins meets with struggling Mets after loss

Manager tells players they can play better, not to feel sorry for themselves

Collins meets with struggling Mets after loss

PITTSBURGH -- Moments after his team trudged off the field for the third straight day, recording fewer hits (20) than the Pirates scored runs (21) during a three-game sweep, Mets manager Terry Collins walked into PNC Park's visiting clubhouse ready to preach. He told the Mets they are "the best of the best." He told them they are capable of playing better than they showed in Sunday's 9-1 undressing, their second consecutive blowout loss and their seventh straight road defeat. He told them not to feel sorry for themselves, nor for the injured multitude unable to help.

In short, Collins told the Mets not to whine but to win.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Niese stumbles in middle innings in loss to Bucs

Lefty's struggles continue while allowing four runs over 4th and 5th frames

Niese stumbles in middle innings in loss to Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- As recently as 15 days ago, Jon Niese led all Mets starting pitchers in ERA. He gave up eight earned runs over his first 37 innings, establishing his place as a trusted veteran in a rotation full of younger, more high-powered arms.

Niese has since given up 16 runs in 16 innings, more than doubling his ERA from 1.95 to 4.08 over his last three starts. He allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings in Sunday's 9-1 loss to the Pirates, walking a season-high four batters and allowing seven hits.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets drop seventh consecutive road game

Mets drop seventh consecutive road game

PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano bounced back from his worst start of the season, completing a trio of dominant starting-pitching performances as the Pirates swept the Mets with a 9-1 win at PNC Park on Sunday.

Picking up where Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett left off, Liriano racked up 12 strikeouts, the most for any Pirates pitcher this season, and held the Mets to one run over six innings. It was a return to form for the Bucs' Opening Day starter, who allowed seven runs in two innings on Tuesday against the Twins.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gee back to Minors to accommodate Harvey

Righty feels he can pitch in Majors right now, but will do what Mets want

Gee back to Minors to accommodate Harvey

PITTSBURGH -- In a continuation of what he called "the weirdest year in baseball I've ever had," Dillon Gee returned to the Mets on Sunday, only to be told that he's about to leave again. The Mets are having Gee make a third rehab start in part to accommodate Matt Harvey, whom they do not want to give too much extra rest between starts -- despite what manager Terry Collins called a possible case of "dead arm."

Gee flew to Pittsburgh from Port St. Lucie, Fla., where he delivered 6 1/3 shutout innings on Thursday in what he thought would be his final rehab outing. Instead the Mets told him he will turn around and throw on Wednesday for Double-A Binghamton before joining the Mets' much-publicized six-man rotation the following week.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets recall Muno, option Monell to Triple-A

Mets recall Muno, option Monell to Triple-A

PITTSBURGH -- With their offense flagging and multiple members of their starting lineup battling injuries, the Mets made a roster move after Sunday's 9-1 loss to the Pirates to increase their versatility. The team recalled infielder Danny Muno from Triple-A Las Vegas, optioning catcher Johnny Monell.

Muno, 26, went 1-for-6 over a brief stretch in New York earlier this season. He will come off the bench for the Mets, giving the team another option at third base beyond Eric Campbell, Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada. Muno is also capable of playing second base and shortstop.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lagares, Duda out of lineup with nagging injuries

Lagares, Duda out of lineup with nagging injuries

PITTSBURGH -- A Mets team struggling to score runs sustained two additional blows before Sunday's series finale at PNC Park, when first baseman Lucas Duda and center fielder Juan Lagares reported soreness due to nagging injuries. The Mets held both players out of their starting lineup.

Duda felt some hamstring tightness after sliding into second base in the fourth inning of Saturday's loss to the Pirates. By far the Mets' most productive hitter this season, batting .293 with five home runs and an .862 OPS (which is more than 120 points higher than any qualified teammate), Duda stressed that his absence from the lineup was precautionary.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wright diagnosed with spinal stenosis

Mets third baseman has been experiencing lower back pain for a few weeks

Wright diagnosed with spinal stenosis

PITTSBURGH -- The Mets have once again put third baseman David Wright's rehab on hiatus after he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.

Wright will cease baseball activities and take medication for the next week, while continuing a program of core strengthening and back stabilization exercises. The Mets believe it will be enough to eliminate the flare-ups of lower back tightness that Wright has recently been experiencing. They do not consider Wright's condition degenerative, according to assistant general manager John Ricco.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

Constructing the perfect Cubs-Mets trade

Constructing the perfect Cubs-Mets trade

Many evaluators -- myself included -- can see a good trade fit between two rising organizations, the Cubs and Mets.

In fact, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer recently acknowledged that the two sides have had ongoing dialogue to see if there is a good fit. The Cubs have stocked their system primarily with high-end position players -- including a number of shortstops -- but lack high-end pitching prospects. Meanwhile, the Mets have a plethora of elite young power arms but a hole at short.

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Jim Duquette is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harvey pays the price on tough day for Mets

Righty allows career-high seven runs in career-low four innings vs. Bucs

Harvey pays the price on tough day for Mets

PITTSBURGH -- The final indignity of the Mets' rotten Saturday occurred in the seventh inning of their 8-2 loss to the Pirates, some time after the worst outing of Matt Harvey's career had come to an end. Eric Campbell, the replacement for injured third baseman David Wright, fielded a routine grounder and fired it into the stands, resulting in an error and an eighth Pirates run.

So it went for the Mets, on a day in which they learned that Wright's lower back injury may be more serious than they thought. A day in which Harvey threw the fewest innings of his career and allowed the most runs. A day in which the Mets lost for the fourth time in five games. A day that marked the one-month anniversary of their 11th consecutive win, which now seems so incredibly far in the past.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harvey endures worst start of career as Mets fall

Harvey endures worst start of career as Mets fall

PITTSBURGH -- Saturday's game at PNC Park was billed as a pitchers' duel, a showdown between Mets ace Matt Harvey and veteran A.J. Burnett. But the Pirates quickly turned it into the worst start of Harvey's young career, running away with an 8-2 win over the Mets.

Burnett, meanwhile, continued to show no signs of slowing down in what he's said will be the final season of his career. The 38-year-old right-hander struck out 10 and improved to 4-1 with a Major League-best 1.37 ERA with his ninth straight start allowing two runs or fewer.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collins does some convincing on 6-man rotation

Collins does some convincing on 6-man rotation

PITTSBURGH -- Mets manager Terry Collins gathered five-sixths of his starting rotation together on Saturday to discuss specifics of the team's new six-man rotation, which should take effect next week. Dillon Gee is set to arrive in Pittsburgh late Saturday, at which point Collins will relay the plan to him as well.

It was essentially "a sell job," in Collins' words, an effort to convince his starting pitchers that the strategy is in all of their best interests.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets trying to find trade partner for Nieuwenhuis

Outfielder was designated for assignment earlier this week

Mets trying to find trade partner for Nieuwenhuis

PITTSBURGH -- The Mets are poking around to find potential trade partners for outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, whom they designated for assignment earlier this week.

Assistant general manager John Ricco said the Mets are looking to see if a match exists for Nieuwenhuis, a left-handed hitter who batted .259 with an .828 OPS last season -- but was 3-for-38 in April and May. Because Nieuwenhuis is out of Minor League options, the Mets had to designate him for assignment. If the team cannot complete a trade, Nieuwenhuis will need to pass unclaimed through waivers before the Mets can send him to Triple-A Las Vegas.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets unable to back Syndergaard vs. Cole

Mets unable to back Syndergaard vs. Cole

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole emerged victorious in a battle of electric young right arms Friday night, outdueling Noah Syndergaard and looking like one of the National League's top pitchers as the Pirates beat the Mets, 4-1, at PNC Park.

"It's the best performance I've seen him throw so far," Pirates catcher Chris Stewart said. "He just keeps getting better and better. The sky's the limit for him right now."

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Gee returning, Mets go with 6-man rotation

With Gee returning, Mets go with 6-man rotation

PITTSBURGH -- Ever since Dillon Gee's readiness to come off the disabled list became apparent, most around the Mets have presumed that the team must choose between Gee and Noah Syndergaard.

In reality, the club is unlikely to choose. Manager Terry Collins indicated Friday that the Mets plan to proceed with a six-man starting staff indefinitely, fitting both pitchers into their rotation while offering strategic rest to Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon and others.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Secure Thor takes positives from uneven start

With spot in six-man rotation for now, Syndergaard comfortable learning from third MLB outing

Secure Thor takes positives from uneven start

PITTSBURGH -- Noah Syndergaard's third Major League start was far from perfect. Syndergaard was somewhat inefficient. He gave up four runs, three earned, through it's debatable how many of those were his fault. He was on the mound for two stolen bases, taking the second loss of his career.

But for much of his 4-1 defeat to the Pirates on Friday night, Syndergaard flashed plenty more of what the Mets know he can to be. For that reason, and because the Mets feel he has little left to prove in the Minors, manager Terry Collins confirmed afterward what most around the team already knew.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Why Syndergaard can be top-of-rotation guy

Huge upside as righty combines size, power and wide repertoire

Why Syndergaard can be top-of-rotation guy

SCOUTING REPORT: NOAH SYNDERGAARD P -- NEW YORK METS

BACKGROUND:

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

deGrominance by Mets righty on full display

Reigning NL Rookie of the Year retires 23 in a row, K's 11 over 8 shutout innings

deGrominance by Mets righty on full display

NEW YORK -- At some point during his stretch of 23 consecutive outs, the Mets' longest by any pitcher in 22 years, Jacob deGrom noticed that it had been a while since he had pitched out of the stretch. deGrom swears he did not realize the Cardinals were hitless against him since the first inning -- only that it had been longer than he could apparently remember.

"I was just thinking, 'Go right after guys,'" deGrom said.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duda's turnaround vs. lefties continues with 2 homers

Mets slugger consulted with former first baseman, current broadcaster Hernandez

Duda's turnaround vs. lefties continues with 2 homers

NEW YORK -- Sometime this winter, Lucas Duda reached out to the best first baseman in Mets history looking for advice.

Duda sought out Keith Hernandez, he of 11 Gold Gloves, for pointers about playing the position. Later on a backfield in Port St. Lucie, Fla., the pair worked on fielding before drifting naturally to the batting cage. That's where a conversation took place that helped transform Duda from the lumbering slugger of past years into the more complete hitter he is today.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

deGrom's 11 K's, Duda's 2 HRs lead Mets to win

deGrom's 11 K's, Duda's 2 HRs lead Mets to win

NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom's early-season rough patch has officially come to an end.

deGrom's eight shutout innings led the Mets to a 5-0 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon, giving the clubs a four-game series split and boosting the Mets to their fourth win in six games. Though St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia was also sharp in his first outing in 11 months, deGrom was better, striking out 11 Cardinals and holding them to one hit.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Marty Noble

Offense must pitch in for Mets to compete

Amazins' rotation has been impressive, but club is too one-dimensional

Offense must pitch in for Mets to compete

NEW YORK -- Sometimes necessity fathers tradition. It did in the 1960s and into the '70s in the Mets' Shea Stadium clubhouse. A kitchen table was positioned in the middle of the room so that players might have a pregame place to play cards and eventually cribbage, open their fan mail, accommodate the many requests for autographs and/or drop their heads to the tabletop to nap.

Eventually the table served a postgame purpose as well. The player who was unofficially recognized by reporters as the determining factor, the difference-maker in the game, would take a seat at the table, and there he would answer questions about his performance, the double play in the seventh, his son's birthday, his choice of deodorant and anything else the assembled horde deemed relevant.

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Marty Noble is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets shifting Class A from Savannah to Columbia, SC

Mets shifting Class A from Savannah to Columbia, SC

NEW YORK -- The Mets plan to shift their Class A South Atlantic League affiliate from Savannah, Ga., to Columbia, S.C., effective next season, the team announced Thursday. The organization previously had a Minor League affiliate in Columbia from 1983-2004.

"We are excited about returning to Columbia, where we had a presence for over two decades," said general manager Sandy Alderson, who traveled to Columbia to help make the announcement. "So many of the top Mets stars, like current team captain David Wright, got their start in Columbia. The plans for Spirit Communications Park look spectacular, and we can't wait to develop the next generation of Mets Major Leaguers here."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets shut out, drop to second in NL East

Mets shut out, drop to second in NL East

NEW YORK -- The Cardinals' offense continued to sizzle for a second straight night, smacking 14 hits to back starter Carlos Martinez in a 9-0 thumping of the Mets on Wednesday.

Martinez was stellar, tossing 6 1/3 shutout innings while striking out five to earn his fourth win. St. Louis was catapulted by a six-run fourth inning, during which Jason Heyward and Matt Adams hit long home runs off Mets starter Bartolo Colon.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bartolo can't convert historic feat into win

Veteran sets Mets record for most innings pitched without issuing walk

Bartolo can't convert historic feat into win

NEW YORK -- Early in Bartolo Colon's third straight rough outing, he squeezed in a little bit of history.

By recording the first eight outs of Wednesday's 9-0 loss to the Cardinals, Colon set a franchise record for control by passing Bret Saberhagen's mark of 47 2/3 consecutive innings pitched without issuing a free pass. Colon's streak ended at 48 1/3 innings when he walked Matt Carpenter with one out in the fourth inning.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collins: 'No panic' after two tough losses

Collins: 'No panic' after two tough losses

NEW YORK -- The Mets began the season with lofty expectations that were only heightened after an 11-game winning streak in early April. That streak rocketed them into first place in the National League East, and they had at least a share of the division lead since April 15.

But on Wednesday night at Citi Field, moments before they fell, 9-0, to the Cardinals -- their seventh loss in their last 10 games -- the Nationals wrapped up a 3-2 victory over the Yankees. Washington took sole possession of first place, and New York's 4 1/2-game lead at the start of the month was gone.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets share 1st after Niese's tough night

Mets share 1st after Niese's tough night

NEW YORK -- Strategizing against a lefty starting pitcher on Tuesday at Citi Field, the Cardinals opted to bench three of their best hitters -- all-left-handed -- on the same night.

They didn't seem to miss them.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Niese struggles with execution vs. Cards

Niese struggles with execution vs. Cards

NEW YORK -- Approximately two hours after Jon Niese threw his final pitch on Tuesday evening, walking off the mound with his eyes fixed on the ground, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer against the Yankees a couple hundred miles to the south. That, combined with Niese's continued struggles in a 10-2 loss to the Cardinals, bumped the Mets out of sole possession of first place for the first time since April 15.

That may not be overly significant for a Mets team with bigger goals than standing alone in first on May 19, but it is nonetheless troubling, given how it happened. Niese, the Mets' longest-tenured starter and lone left-hander, looked nothing like the pitcher who led his rotation in ERA just 10 days ago. And the Mets looked nothing like the team that hit with consistency throughout April.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.