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Mets call up OF Kaczmarski, RHP Smith

MLB.com

DENVER -- Shaking up their roster following a 6-4 loss to the Rockies on Thursday, the Mets called up outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski and reliever Drew Smith from Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday. Both players join a big league roster for the first time.

The Mets optioned relievers Paul Sewald and Chris Flexen to Las Vegas on Thursday. They designated right-hander Hansel Robles for assignment and transferred right-hander AJ Ramos to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Kaczmarski and Smith.

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DENVER -- Shaking up their roster following a 6-4 loss to the Rockies on Thursday, the Mets called up outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski and reliever Drew Smith from Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday. Both players join a big league roster for the first time.

The Mets optioned relievers Paul Sewald and Chris Flexen to Las Vegas on Thursday. They designated right-hander Hansel Robles for assignment and transferred right-hander AJ Ramos to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Kaczmarski and Smith.

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Smith, a right-hander whom the Mets acquired from the Rays for Lucas Duda last July, is the Mets' 30th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Capable of reaching into the upper-90s with his fastball, Smith posted a 3.00 ERA in 21 appearances at hitter-friendly Las Vegas, striking out 28 batters in 30 innings. He is one of a group of high-upside relievers the Mets acquired during their veteran sell-off last summer, along with Jacob Rhame, Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista and others.

Although Kaczmarski was never a highly touted prospect, he has done little but hit at every stage of his career. The NCAA Division 1 batting champion his senior season at the University of Evansville, Kaczmarski became the Mets' ninth-round Draft pick in 2015. He owns a .299 career batting average over four professional seasons, including a .363 mark with an .863 OPS this year at Las Vegas. Kaczmarski has, however, just 11 home runs in 336 career Minor League games.

The moves will even out New York's bench, giving it five reserve hitters and seven relievers. Sewald produced a 7.71 ERA over his last 10 appearances with the Mets, while Flexen faced just one batter in his latest big league stint.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Mets sign their top Draft pick OF Kelenic

MLB.com

PHOENIX -- The Mets struck a deal on Friday with first-round Draft pick Jarred Kelenic, their highest selection in 14 years, signing the outfielder to an under-slot contract of $4.5 million. Kelenic, who was selected sixth overall, will report to the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and will participate in batting practice at Citi Field later this month.

Later Friday, the Mets also finalized a $1.85 million deal with second-rounder Simeon Woods-Richardson, a pitcher. The Mets have now signed more than half of their 40 Draft picks.

PHOENIX -- The Mets struck a deal on Friday with first-round Draft pick Jarred Kelenic, their highest selection in 14 years, signing the outfielder to an under-slot contract of $4.5 million. Kelenic, who was selected sixth overall, will report to the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and will participate in batting practice at Citi Field later this month.

Later Friday, the Mets also finalized a $1.85 million deal with second-rounder Simeon Woods-Richardson, a pitcher. The Mets have now signed more than half of their 40 Draft picks.

None came as highly touted as Kelenic, 18, a Wisconsin native who eschewed high school baseball in favor of the elite travel circuit. Kelenic graduated high school early so he could focus on training in advance of the Draft. Hitting daily at a batting cage owned by his father, Kelenic also worked out at the same facility as NFL Pro Bowler J.J. Watt.

"We felt very comfortable selecting a player this high in the Draft who has tremendous makeup, passion for the game, intensity for the game," Mets director of amateur scouting Marc Tramuta said recently of Kelenic, a center fielder who could wind up at a corner-outfield spot. "That's been his sole goal is to play in the big leagues and get drafted as high as possible."

The $4.5 million signing clocked in more than $1 million below the sixth-overall pick's slot value, meaning the Mets can spend the money they saved on other selections. For example, the team paid more than $360,000 over slot to sign Woods-Richardson, a hard-throwing high school right-hander. The club also went $50,000 over slot to sign its 23rd-round pick, pitcher Saul Gonzalez, who attended the same high school as Francisco Lindor, and $5,000 over slot to sign 31st-round pick Brendan Hardy.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Matz at full strength, ready to start vs. D-backs

Mets lefty pushed to Saturday due to blister on finger
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- The Mets' rotation shuffle, which they announced Wednesday night after landing in Arizona, was due to a blister that tore off of Steven Matz's left middle finger earlier this week. After team athletic trainers treated the blister, they recommended the Mets push Matz's start back from Thursday to Saturday -- a "luxury," as Matz called it, that the team could afford after skipping Jason Vargas' last turn through the rotation.

A relatively fresh Vargas started Thursday in Matz's place, and the team is confident Matz will be at full strength Saturday. The left-hander threw a light side session at Chase Field without issue.

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PHOENIX -- The Mets' rotation shuffle, which they announced Wednesday night after landing in Arizona, was due to a blister that tore off of Steven Matz's left middle finger earlier this week. After team athletic trainers treated the blister, they recommended the Mets push Matz's start back from Thursday to Saturday -- a "luxury," as Matz called it, that the team could afford after skipping Jason Vargas' last turn through the rotation.

A relatively fresh Vargas started Thursday in Matz's place, and the team is confident Matz will be at full strength Saturday. The left-hander threw a light side session at Chase Field without issue.

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The Mets had reason to be cautious with Matz, who has improved markedly in recent weeks. Since May 5, Matz owns a 2.68 ERA in seven starts.

Injury updates
Outfielder Jay Bruce will likely receive multiple days off due to lower back soreness that has radiated into his hip and buttocks. Bruce was unavailable to pinch-hit Thursday, according to manager Mickey Callaway, and is unlikely to be in the starting lineup Friday.

Video: NYM@ATL: Bruce plates 2 with a double to left-center

The break comes at a notable time for Bruce, who has gone 109 consecutive plate appearances without a home run, and is batting just .216 with a .624 OPS. Bruce has also committed multiple defensive gaffes in recent days, including a misplay during Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Braves.

"I think he'll get a breather, mentally," Callaway said. "What we're trying to do is get him healthy so he can go out there and do his job."

Callaway also called infielder Wilmer Flores' return from the disabled list "imminent," indicating he will meet the team this weekend in Arizona. Sidelined since May 28 with a sore back, Flores homered Thursday in his third rehab game for Class A Advanced St. Lucie, and has collected six hits over those three games.

When Flores returns, the Mets must decide whether to option utility infielder Luis Guillorme back to Triple-A Las Vegas, or perhaps cut ties with struggling veteran Jose Reyes.

Movin' on up
The Mets made two notable Minor League promotions Thursday, bumping first baseman Peter Alonso and infielder Jeff McNeil from Double-A Binghamton to Las Vegas. McNeil and Alonso ranked second and third in the Eastern League in OPS, respectively, trailing only Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Mets' fourth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, Alonso hit .314 with 15 home runs over 65 games with Binghamton, and profiles as an offensive-minded right-handed first baseman. He takes the Las Vegas roster spot of Dominic Smith, whom the Mets recently promoted to the Majors.

McNeil, 26, is enjoying a breakout season in his sixth Minor League campaign, batting .327 with 14 homers in 56 games at Binghamton. He could join the Mets' bench at some point this season.

Bullpen patch
A new face met the Mets Thursday in Arizona, where right-handed reliever Chris Beck joined the bullpen. The Mets claimed Beck, 27, off waivers from the White Sox, after he posted a 4.18 ERA in 14 appearances.

"Really good arm, got really good stuff, from what I remember," said Callaway, who, as Cleveland's pitching coach, faced Beck throughout his White Sox career the past three seasons. "Not scared to challenge guys. So we're excited to have him in the organization, and see what he can do."

To make room for Beck, the Mets optioned right-hander Tim Peterson to Las Vegas.

"It's one of those situations where you kind of just hope somebody does take a flyer on you," Beck said. "They're really not sure what they're getting into. Luckily, I've interacted with Mickey before in Cleveland. I've seen him the past couple of years. So it's kind of refreshing -- a new start. I'm excited about it. There's a lot of history here with the Mets. I'm really just here to get the ball rolling."

Draft signings
The Mets announced a spate of six more Draft signings, including eighth-round pitcher Tylor Megill. The team has signed 18 of its 40 Draft picks -- though the top six picks, including first-round outfielder Jarred Kelenic, remain unsigned.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Steven Matz

Alderson: 'I take responsibility' for Mets' woes

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson took full responsibility Tuesday for the Mets' two-month slide down the standings, which has seen them fall from the National League's best record to one of its three worst.

Addressing a wide range of topics over 37 minutes, Alderson pinned much of the club's problems on an offense ranking last in runs per game since the start of May.

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NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson took full responsibility Tuesday for the Mets' two-month slide down the standings, which has seen them fall from the National League's best record to one of its three worst.

Addressing a wide range of topics over 37 minutes, Alderson pinned much of the club's problems on an offense ranking last in runs per game since the start of May.

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"When you're scoring runs at the anemic rate that we have, something hasn't worked," Alderson said. "From that standpoint, I take total responsibility for where we are. I'm not happy about it. But at the same time, the job now is to figure out how to fix it and improve it.

"We are focused on getting the team back to where it was many weeks ago."

The Mets made the first move toward that end late Sunday night, releasing struggling first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and calling up Dominic Smith from Triple-A Las Vegas. Alderson explained that move as a function both of Gonzalez's issues and Smith's potential, though he cautioned that the Mets aren't likely to improve unless other slumping players -- such as Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto -- break out of their funks.

In that vein, while Alderson did not dismiss the possibility of demoting Conforto to the Minors, he called the Mets' lone 2017 All-Star a critical part of what the team is trying to accomplish at the big league level.

Alderson also dampened speculation that Jose Reyes could soon be released, opining that the Mets have no worthwhile candidates to replace him on the bench. Reyes is batting .149 with a .415 OPS.

"We are committed to putting the best team that we can on the field, and these personnel decisions will be made on the merits," Alderson said. "To some extent, this is an indictment of other personnel. We have to have somebody that we want to replace him, that we think meets that threshold."

• Reliever AJ Ramos is considering surgery to repair the right shoulder injury that forced him to the disabled list in late May. Ramos, who can become a free agent after the season, will make that decision in the coming days.

"We certainly don't expect him back anytime soon," Alderson said.

Noah Syndergaard sought a second opinion Tuesday afternoon on the strained ligament in his right index finger, which has sidelined him since May 25. The Mets have no timetable for Syndergaard's return.

"Nothing else has happened," Alderson said. "We want to make sure that the next step he takes and we take is the right one."

• The right quad soreness that knocked Yoenis Cespedes out of his Minor League rehab assignment last weekend continues to linger, according to Alderson, who could not provide an updated prognosis or timetable for Cespedes' return. The outfielder has not played since May 13.

• Among those injured Mets who are making progress is Wilmer Flores, who was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday for Class A Advanced St. Lucie. Flores was in the lineup at third base, batting third.

• Mets prospects Peter Alonso (ranked No. 4) and Jeff McNeil are on the team's radar for promotions from Double-A Binghamton to Las Vegas, Alderson said, but not for immediate callups to the Majors. While Smith is currently blocking Alonso, a first baseman, at the big league level, there is less in the way of McNeil, an infielder. The latter is batting .333 with a 1.053 OPS at Binghamton, attempting to position himself as a viable alternative to Reyes on the Mets' bench.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Mets get coveted HS OF Kelenic with No. 6 pick

Club had scouted 18-year-old for 3 years; HS righty Woods-Richardson taken with 48th selection
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The idea of graduating high school early first germinated in Jarred Kelenic's brain when he was a sophomore, and one of his sister's friends accomplished the feat. Curious, Kelenic approached his guidance counselor, who pulled up his file. All Kelenic needed to do to graduate a semester ahead of schedule, he realized, was double up on English classes his senior year.

• Draft Tracker: Follow every Mets Draft pick

NEW YORK -- The idea of graduating high school early first germinated in Jarred Kelenic's brain when he was a sophomore, and one of his sister's friends accomplished the feat. Curious, Kelenic approached his guidance counselor, who pulled up his file. All Kelenic needed to do to graduate a semester ahead of schedule, he realized, was double up on English classes his senior year.

• Draft Tracker: Follow every Mets Draft pick

So Kelenic did. While his buddies spent the spring locked in classrooms, Kelenic began preparing for life as a professional baseball player. He awoke at a more reasonable hour each morning, giving himself time to eat a hearty breakfast. He commuted daily to a batting cage on property his parents own in Waukesha, Wis. He returned home for lunch before heading back out for his afternoon workout.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

In that fashion, Kelenic, who never played high school baseball, molded himself into a top 10 Draft pick. The Mets on Monday selected Kelenic sixth overall, lauding him as a potential "two-way" player capable of impacting games with both his left-handed bat and his outfield glove.

"We felt very comfortable selecting a player this high in the Draft who has tremendous makeup, passion for the game, intensity for the game," Mets director of amateur scouting Marc Tramuta said of Kelenic, a center fielder with enough power potential to play corner outfield. "That's been his sole goal is to play in the big leagues and get drafted as high as possible."

It is not a goal that many in snowy Waukesha share, though for the Mets, who in 2011 made Brandon Nimmo the first first-rounder ever from Wyoming, such unorthodox geography isn't an issue. Partially because long winters shorten the baseball season in Wisconsin, Kelenic, like Nimmo, never played for his high school team. Instead, he was a staple of the Rawlings Hitters travel program, part of his presence on the elite travel circuit.

In 2016, Kelenic made Team USA's under-18 squad as a 16-year-old, batting third for a club that won the Pan American Games gold medal. He didn't need high school ball to log significant at-bats; last year alone, Kelenic guided Team USA to the 2017 U-18 World Cup championship, scored the winning run in the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game, and participated in the High School Home Run Derby at Marlins Park during All-Star weekend.

The Mets, who have scouted Kelenic since he was 15 years old, took note of all of it.

They also grew fond of Kelenic's work ethic, which he learned at least in part from elite athletes. Along with the batting cage that Kelenic visits daily, his father, a general contractor, built a complex that houses a nearby sports training facility. In the summers, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt -- another Waukesha native -- is one of many professional athletes who works out there.

"He's in the NFL and one of the best," Kelenic said. "And to see how hard that guy still works on a day-to-day basis, it's motivation for kids like me that want to be where he is. Even though it's a different sport, you want to be at the top."

The selection of Kelenic was the Mets' highest since 2004, when they took pitcher Philip Humber fourth overall. With their second-round pick, the Mets took a 17-year-old prep star, 6-foot-3 pitcher Simeon Woods-Richardson from Kempner (Texas) High School. Ranked 160th in MLB Pipeline's Draft board, Woods-Richardson features a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s. But it was the right-hander's curveball that most enticed the Mets.

Video: Draft 2018: Mets draft RHP Woods-Richardson No. 48

"He was one of the few high school pitchers -- and believe it or not, there were quite a few that throw 95-plus -- that had a now or present breaking pitch," Mets vice president of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The Mets will spend the day looking for more players like Kelenic, whom they had targeted for months.

"Today was special," Kelenic said. "To hear your name called by such a great organization like New York, it's a blessing. I was definitely very emotional. I got to sit and think about all the hard work that's paid off."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

In '18 Draft, Mets have highest pick since 2004

Club has No. 6 overall selection after faring well with top-10 choices in recent years
MLB.com

For a team built extensively through the trade and free-agent markets, the Mets, like all clubs, remain dependent on the Draft. Jacob deGrom came from the Draft. Michael Conforto came from the Draft. Brandon Nimmo came from the Draft. The Mets' chances to compete this year, and in future years, hinge largely upon players they've taken in the Draft.

It is with that in mind that the Mets will tackle this year's event, keen to choose wisely with their highest selection -- sixth overall -- since 2004.

For a team built extensively through the trade and free-agent markets, the Mets, like all clubs, remain dependent on the Draft. Jacob deGrom came from the Draft. Michael Conforto came from the Draft. Brandon Nimmo came from the Draft. The Mets' chances to compete this year, and in future years, hinge largely upon players they've taken in the Draft.

It is with that in mind that the Mets will tackle this year's event, keen to choose wisely with their highest selection -- sixth overall -- since 2004.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with today's Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Mets:

In about 50 words
The event provides a critical opportunity for Draft boss Tommy Tanous, who will have the Mets' highest selection in 14 years. They did well with their other Top 10 picks this decade, taking Matt Harvey seventh overall in 2010 and Conforto with the 10th pick in 2014.

The scoop
Over the past four years, the Mets have graduated high-ranking prospects such as Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Conforto, Nimmo and Amed Rosario to the big leagues, traded away others such as Michael Fulmer, and seen still others fizzle out in the Minors. The result is what currently rates as one of baseball's weaker farm systems. The Mets have tried to counteract that by dipping frequently into the college ranks in recent years, drafting older players who can advance through their system quickly. The 2018 Draft could see them follow a similar strategy.

First-round buzz
MLB.com's Jim Callis has the Mets linked to four players in the first round: Florida third baseman Jonathan India, South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty, Waukesha West (Wis.) High School outfielder Jarred Kelenic and Mountain Ridge (Ari.) High School pitcher Matthew Liberatore. At fourth overall, Liberatore is the highest-ranked of those players on MLB Pipeline's Draft board.

Video: Draft Report: Matt Liberatore, High School pitcher

Money matters
To ensure competitive balance, MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that each team has a bonus pool to spend based upon the number and position of its Draft picks. The more selections a team has and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. Any club that overspends its budget is subject to taxes and, in extreme cases, a loss of picks in future Drafts.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the Mets have a pool of $9,580,900 to spend in the first 10 rounds, more than $3 million more than their allotment last year. That includes $5,525,200 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list
The Mets' most obvious organizational hole is in the outfield. Their top-ranked outfielder, No. 7 prospect Desmond Lindsay, is coming off major elbow surgery. No. 15 prospect Adrian Hernandez, an international signing last summer, is just 17 years old. While the Mets are set in their outfield for the foreseeable future with Nimmo, Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce all under contract for years to come, they could use more impact outfield prospects at the lower rungs of their organization. Swaggerty or Kelenic would fit that bill.

Video: Top Prospects: Desmond Lindsay, OF, Mets

Trend watch
After a run of position players earlier this decade, the Mets have shifted their focus in recent years to pitching. Their three Day 1 picks the past two seasons were all starting pitchers: David Peterson last year and Justin Dunn and Anthony Kay in 2016.

Recent Draft history

Rising fast
There may not be a prospect anywhere in the country with more helium than first baseman Peter Alonso, the Mets' second-round selection in 2016. After missing a chunk of last season due to injury, Alonso has returned with authority, spending part of this season atop the Double-A Eastern League leaderboard in home runs and OPS. Alonso could make an impact in New York as soon as this season.

Cinderella story
A 13th-round pick in 2015, left-hander P.J. Conlon made his big league debut earlier this year in Cincinnati. Seventh-rounder Corey Oswalt also debuted earlier this season for the Mets.

Video: NYM@CIN: Conlon fans Barnhart for his first career K

In the show
Two Mets Draft picks in particular have shined in 2018. deGrom, the Mets' ninth-round selection in 2010, is an early National League Cy Young Award candidate. And Nimmo, the Mets' first-rounder in 2011, has established himself as the team's regular leadoff hitter, enjoying an on-base percentage well above .400 for most of April and May.

The Mets' recent top picks
2017: David Peterson, LHP (Class A Columbia)
2016: Justin Dunn, RHP (Class A St. Lucie)
2015: Lindsay, OF (Class A St. Lucie)
2014: Conforto, OF (Mets)
2013: Dominic Smith, 1B (Triple-A Las Vegas)

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Mets recall Guillorme, option Nido to Triple-A

X-rays negative on Robles' knee; Bruce to go on paternity leave Friday
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Veteran right-hander Vance Worley has a unique arrangement with a barber he met in Philadelphia, back when he pitched for the Phillies earlier this decade. Whenever Worley needs a haircut, he flies his barber to meet him and any teammates who want the service.

Worley's Triple-A Las Vegas teammate Luis Guillorme was taking him up on the offer when manager Tony DeFrancesco came into the barber's quarters Tuesday and began chastising Guillorme for being late to the field before a game. DeFrancesco said he planned to fine Guillorme.

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CINCINNATI -- Veteran right-hander Vance Worley has a unique arrangement with a barber he met in Philadelphia, back when he pitched for the Phillies earlier this decade. Whenever Worley needs a haircut, he flies his barber to meet him and any teammates who want the service.

Worley's Triple-A Las Vegas teammate Luis Guillorme was taking him up on the offer when manager Tony DeFrancesco came into the barber's quarters Tuesday and began chastising Guillorme for being late to the field before a game. DeFrancesco said he planned to fine Guillorme.

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"You'll be able to afford it," DeFrancesco said, finally revealing the joke. "You're leaving tomorrow."

The Mets called Guillorme, their 10th-ranked prospect, up from Las Vegas to make his big league debut this week with Todd Frazier on the disabled list. Guillorme replaces catcher Tomas Nido, whom the Mets optioned to Triple-A.

Video: NYM@HOU: Guillorme jumps, throws, gets out in 4th

"I'm just here to do whatever they need me to do, whether it's play second, short, third," Guillorme said, "and do whatever I need to do when I hit."

Hitting is something that has come easier to the 23-year-old Guillorme in recent seasons. Long known for his defense -- Guillorme garnered national headlines when he snagged a broken bat with his bare hand in the dugout last spring -- he broke out with a .300 average and .828 OPS in Las Vegas this year. That included six consecutive multihit games before coming to the Mets.

Injury updates
• X-rays were negative on the right leg of reliever Hansel Robles, who departed Tuesday's loss to the Reds due to knee discomfort. But Robles traveled back to New York on Wednesday for an MRI. The results of that test will determine if Robles can rejoin the Mets in Philadelphia or if he must go on the disabled list.

Video: NYM@CIN: Robles exits with injury in the 7th

• The grip strength in Kevin Plawecki's left hand has roughly doubled in recent days, manager Mickey Callaway said, giving the Mets hope that Plawecki can advance rapidly following a quiet few weeks of rehab. Plawecki, who fractured a bone in his hand April 11, hopes to begin hitting this week. He could advance to a Minor League rehab assignment shortly thereafter.

Paternity leave
Outfielder Jay Bruce planned to travel to Texas following Wednesday's game to be with his wife for the birth of the couple's second child. The Mets will place Bruce on paternity leave on Friday, under the expectation that he will miss all three games of their series in Philadelphia.

Sewn up
Acquiring a player from down the hallway isn't as simple as just having him walk from one clubhouse to another. The Mets' front office tipped their clubhouse crew off to the possibility that they could trade for Devin Mesoraco about an hour and a half before Tuesday's first pitch, setting a storm of activity into motion. Mets staffers traded uniform size information with their Reds counterparts, who dialed up an on-call seamstress to stitch Mesoraco's name onto a new uniform top.

Video: NYM@CIN: Mesoraco gets standing ovation from fans

About five minutes before first pitch, the job was complete, and Mesoraco slipped into his new threads just in time to head out to the dugout with them.

"Definitely one of the crazier things," said Dave Berni, the Mets' assistant clubhouse manager.

Honorary bat girl
Deborah Cavolo of Levittown, N.Y., who has spent the past half-decade helping cancer patients across Long Island and Queens, will serve as the Mets' Honorary Bat Girl this year.

Cavolo, who underwent a lumpectomy in 2006 and a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy in '12, founded the Breast Cancer Comfort Foundation two years later. Realizing the need for patients to receive "comfort and compassion" during their treatment, Cavolo worked with her friend to create and hand deliver baskets to cancer centers throughout the area.

Each year, all 30 clubs select an Honorary Bat Girl to take the field as part of Major League Baseball's "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. Because the Mets are on the road this Mother's Day, Cavolo will serve her duties at a home game later this season.

Tweet from @Mets: Tip your #Mets cap to Mom. The 2018 MLB On-Field Mother���s Day Collection is available now from @NewEraCap: https://t.co/RlVDzpO3BK pic.twitter.com/IcPcbtpgcC

Mets players will also use pink bats (which they will later auction), caps, socks and other gear Sunday in Philadelphia, and their uniforms will feature pink ribbons. The initiative is intended to raise awareness and -- through donations and auction proceeds -- funds to fight breast cancer. MLB will again donate its royalties from Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Luis Guillorme

Ireland native Conlon has debut 'you dream about'

First Irish native to play in MLB since 1945, thrills family, friends in stands
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Patrick Conlon never thought he'd see Cincinnati in his lifetime, but when he learned this weekend that his son, P.J. was going to make his big league debut there, Conlon hopped on a flight across the country from Los Angeles. Other members of his family, nearly two dozen in total, descended on the city, some carrying Irish flags, all toting well wishes.

They came to support and they came to see history: When P.J. Conlon delivered a first-pitch strike to Jesse Winker in the first inning of the Mets' 7-6 win over the Reds on Monday, he became Major League Baseball's first Irish-born player since World War II.

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CINCINNATI -- Patrick Conlon never thought he'd see Cincinnati in his lifetime, but when he learned this weekend that his son, P.J. was going to make his big league debut there, Conlon hopped on a flight across the country from Los Angeles. Other members of his family, nearly two dozen in total, descended on the city, some carrying Irish flags, all toting well wishes.

They came to support and they came to see history: When P.J. Conlon delivered a first-pitch strike to Jesse Winker in the first inning of the Mets' 7-6 win over the Reds on Monday, he became Major League Baseball's first Irish-born player since World War II.

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"I don't even think about it until someone brings it up and then I'm like, 'Wow, that's crazy,'" said Patrick Conlon, who has been receiving congratulatory messages from friends and family back home in Northern Ireland. "It's something special. He's going down in the record books, in the Wikipedia book, which is amazing. A little kid from Belfast done good."

Born in that Northern Irish city, P.J. Conlon emigrated with his family to Southern California when he was 2 years old, shortly after their Falls Road neighborhood became embroiled in "The Troubles" -- a violent conflict between the area's largely Catholic nationalists and Protestants loyal to the British monarchy.

Video: NYM@CIN: Conlon retires Suarez, family celebrates

A byproduct of the move was that Patrick could indulge his growing love of baseball, which his youth spent partially stateside helped forge. He enrolled P.J. in Little League, where the younger Conlon thrived. He went on to attend the University of San Diego and become a 13th-round pick of the Mets. MLB Pipeline ranks the left-hander as New York's No. 24 prospect.

Monday, with his father and Scottish-born mother in attendance, Conlon became the first Irish-born player to reach the Majors since Cork native Joe Cleary recorded a single out for the Washington Senators in 1945. Aside from that, the last Irish-born big leaguers played more than a century ago.

"I've gotten unbelievable support, and all these people reaching out to me yesterday and today," said Conlon, who has an Irish flag stitched onto his glove. "It means a lot. You could see them in the stands, waving the Irish flags. They're proud of it, and I'm proud of it."

Video: NYM@CIN: Conlon's parents on son's big league debut

Leaning on the plus changeup that forged his reputation as a prospect, Conlon retired seven of the first eight batters he faced, allowing nothing more than a walk before Billy Hamilton ripped an 85-mph fastball over the fence in the third inning. Their second time through the lineup, Reds hitters found more success against the left-hander, chasing Conlon with three doubles and a walk in the fourth.

"I thought he threw the ball great," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "He wasn't afraid to pitch in off the plate to set up his offspeed stuff."

All the while, Conlon's cheering section remained enthusiastic -- never more so than when he slashed a single back up the middle in his second career at-bat. Conlon later came around to score on Yoenis Cespedes' sacrifice fly, but the jammed thumb he sustained while swinging the bat played into his early exit.

Video: NYM@CIN: Conlon fans Barnhart for his first career K

That, combined with the fact that the Mets sent Conlon back down to the Minors on Tuesday to clear space for a fresh bullpen arm in right-hander Corey Oswalt, cast the thinnest shadow over Conlon's debut. Conlon, for his part, was simply happy to make it. Sleeping in a Salt Lake City, Utah, hotel room on Sunday morning, Conlon missed a call from Triple-A Las Vegas manager Tony DeFrancesco, who tried again on the pitcher's hotel room phone. Keen to keep sleeping, Conlon picked up the receiver and slammed it back down.

Only when his phone rang a second time did Conlon consider it serious enough to answer. It turned out to be his call to the big leagues and to a slice of Irish history.

"It's just something you dream about," Conlon said. "It was cool. It was just so fun. It was a heck of an experience."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, P.J. Conlon

Inbox: Return to rotation in Harvey's future?

Beat reporter Anthony DiComo answers questions from Mets fans
MLB.com

Winning two out of three in San Diego didn't completely quiet the skeptics of the first-place Mets, but it certainly didn't hurt. The Mets return at Citi Field on Tuesday for a six-game homestand, during which they'll look to establish a bit of pitching consistency. While we wait, it's time to dig back into the Inbox:

What would Matt Harvey have to show, and for how long, for manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland to consider moving him back into the starting rotation?
-- @realmrmac via Twitter

Winning two out of three in San Diego didn't completely quiet the skeptics of the first-place Mets, but it certainly didn't hurt. The Mets return at Citi Field on Tuesday for a six-game homestand, during which they'll look to establish a bit of pitching consistency. While we wait, it's time to dig back into the Inbox:

What would Matt Harvey have to show, and for how long, for manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland to consider moving him back into the starting rotation?
-- @realmrmac via Twitter

In a way, this is less about Harvey and more about the context. If Harvey pitches well out of the bullpen while all five other starters are healthy and productive, he's not going to budge. If Harvey pitches decently while others struggle, he could return sooner rather than later.

:: Submit a question to the Mets Inbox ::

Time and again, Callaway has said that he mostly wants Harvey to throw strikes -- something he hasn't done yet out of the bullpen, with two walks in four innings. Ideally, a spell in relief will also result in increased velocity for Harvey, which hasn't happened.

What the Mets don't want to do is jerk Harvey back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation. They aren't likely to promote him back until they're reasonably certain there's an extended opportunity awaiting him, which may require an injury to one of the Mets' other starters. For now, the team will try not to overreact to a bullpen sample size of just three outings.

Corey Oswalt looked great in his relief outing, and Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo have been studs in relief. Do you think Oswalt is now the next man up for the rotation? Or will we see Vance Worley start before Oswalt?
-- @GRPrudents via Twitter

That depends at least in part on Harvey and on other factors (including some as simple as who's on turn when the Mets next need a starter). But you've touched on something important here. As recently as early March, Gsellman and Lugo were competing for rotation spots, effectively sitting sixth and seventh on the Mets' depth chart. Management has since grown so smitten with their bullpen success that it appears unlikely, at least in the short term, that either will be moved.

If a rotation hole opens over the summer, Gsellman or Lugo could still shift at that time. But for now, the Mets want them in the bullpen, which could result in increased opportunities for folks such as Oswalt.

What kind of timetable do we have on Kevin Plawecki? I'm curious if we'll have him rehab before being back fully, or if he would go straight to the lineup in hopes of getting higher production in that position immediately.
-- @Matt_D_Howell via Twitter

It's been over two weeks since Plawecki fractured a bone in his left hand and he's still walking around with a cast on it, so the initial estimate of around three weeks was probably a bit optimistic. The bad news is it seems unlikely Plawecki will return until mid-May at the earliest, and he will need a Minor League rehab assignment before he's back in the Mets' lineup. The good news is he's used this as an opportunity to work on his throwing, footwork and other catching essentials that don't involve the use of his left hand.

At its core, this is a pain- and grip-tolerance injury. Once Plawecki is able to grip a bat and catch pitches without issue, he'll be back. In the interim -- despite this being the most popular topic in this week's Inbox, by far -- the Mets will continue to roll with Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido behind the plate.

Do you think Wilmer Flores' true potential is not being tapped, a la Justin Turner, because of his super-sub role?
-- @weiner_beth via Twitter

Flores certainly thinks so, as he believes he possesses the chops to be an everyday player. The Mets' front office has long disagreed, believing he's most productive as the right-handed half of an infield platoon, a bench bat on other days and a sometimes-starter against right-handed pitchers. In that fashion, Flores has received over 330 plate appearances each of the past two seasons. I suspect he'll fall into a similar range when all is said and done this year.

Peter Alonso has homered in four straight games for Double-A Binghamton. What are the odds he hurdles Dominic Smith and ends up the starting first baseman by the end of the season?
-- @sethuels via Twitter

Alonso, the Mets' No. 4 prospect, has certainly played himself into a situation where it's possible. The Eastern League's Player of the Week, Alonso hit .545 and slugged 1.136 to win the award.

Smith, of course, has had stretches like that in the Minors as well, and he's heating back up with seven hits in his past three games at Triple-A Las Vegas. This is still Smith's long-term job if he proves he can handle it. But Alonso is rapidly turning into a very intriguing prospect in his own right, which could give the Mets potential trade options down the line.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Matt Harvey

d'Arnaud to DL with elbow injury; TJ possible

11th-ranked prospect Nido recalled from Double-A
MLB.com

MIAMI -- Unable to keep Travis d'Arnaud healthy for the first five years of his big league career, the Mets had hoped they discovered the solution last August, when they began using d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki in a timeshare. Both catchers stayed healthy and productive down the stretch and into Spring Training. But another potentially serious injury for d'Arnaud has changed the equation.

The Mets placed d'Arnaud on the disabled list on Wednesday with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The team will determine in the next several days if d'Arnaud, 29, needs Tommy John surgery, which would end his season.

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MIAMI -- Unable to keep Travis d'Arnaud healthy for the first five years of his big league career, the Mets had hoped they discovered the solution last August, when they began using d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki in a timeshare. Both catchers stayed healthy and productive down the stretch and into Spring Training. But another potentially serious injury for d'Arnaud has changed the equation.

The Mets placed d'Arnaud on the disabled list on Wednesday with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The team will determine in the next several days if d'Arnaud, 29, needs Tommy John surgery, which would end his season.

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To replace d'Arnaud on the active roster, the Mets recalled 11th-ranked prospect Tomas Nido from Double-A Binghamton.

"That's a long road if he goes the surgery route," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "Anytime anybody has to go through that, that's tough."

Video: HOU@NYM: Nido starts off frame with a home run

Starting four of the Mets' first 10 games behind the plate, d'Arnaud went 3-for-15 (.200) with a home run and three RBIs, but he allowed seven stolen bases without catching a single runner. (The only caught stealing on his ledger came as a result of a pitcher pickoff throw to first base). d'Arnaud first alerted the Mets to his elbow discomfort on Tuesday, according to Callaway, then traveled to New York for an examination at the Hospital for Special Surgery. An MRI taken there on Wednesday morning revealed the UCL tear.

"Just getting the ball [to second base] seemed to be an issue early in the season," Callaway said. "So there was some concern there. I hate that it wound up being this."

Since debuting in 2013, d'Arnaud has sustained a lengthy string of injuries, spending time on the DL with a bone bruise in his right wrist, a strain in his right rotator cuff, a hyperextended left elbow, a broken finger and a concussion. Once considered the Mets' catcher of the future (and the key prospect in the R.A. Dickey trade that also netted the Mets Noah Syndergaard), d'Arnaud averaged just 91 games per year in his first four full big league seasons.

Video: STL@NYM: d'Arnaud belts a solo homer in the 4th

Yet d'Arnaud also played a key role at times, batting .268 with 12 home runs and an .825 OPS in 2015, with three additional homers in 14 postseason games that year.

In d'Arnaud's absence, the Mets will place more responsibility on Plawecki, 27, who is batting .158/.393/.200 in seven games. Given ample opportunities in the past due to d'Arnaud's injury history, Plawecki did not make much of them until he hit .303/.411/.474 in his final 27 games last year, splitting time with d'Arnaud. That was enough to earn him additional playing time heading into this season.

Plawecki departed Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Marlins in the eighth inning after taking a 98-mph Tayron Guerrero fastball off his left hand, but X-rays were negative, and he doesn't expect to miss any time.

"Nothing's going to change for me mentally," said Plawecki, who was a groomsman at d'Arnaud's wedding this winter. "Preparation-wise, it will be the same. Obviously, a tough loss for all of us, losing a brother like that, Travis and I being pretty close and everything. I feel bad for him. But at the same time, you've got to keep moving and keep working and keep this thing going."

Video: NYM@MIA: Plawecki shaken up on hit by pitch

Plawecki will receive support from Nido, a strong defender who was batting .278/.350/.389 with two doubles and five RBIs in five games for Binghamton. Mostly due to logistics, the Mets opted to recall Nido instead of veteran Jose Lobaton, whom the team signed in December to provide organizational depth. Assistant general manager John Ricco said Lobaton could also factor into New York's short-term plans.

Mets officials will huddle in New York this week to determine longer-term options, Ricco said, in the event that d'Arnaud opts for surgery. Ricco did not reject the possibility of a trade, though a sampling of evaluators around baseball offered skepticism that the Mets will pursue a prominent bat, such as Miami's J.T. Realmuto or Oakland's Jonathan Lucroy. More likely, one said, the Mets may acquire an inexpensive backup.

"We'll discuss short-term, long-term [possibilities]," Ricco said. "We have a lot of faith in Kevin, and two guys in Tomas and Jose that we got just for this reason. … Kevin is more than ready for this challenge. It's unfortunate the way it happened, but it's certainly an opportunity for him."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets, Travis d'Arnaud, Tomas Nido

Oswalt recalled, then optioned; Nimmo sent down

MLB.com

MIAMI -- Telling Brandon Nimmo he must go to the Minors, Mickey Callaway said, was one of the most difficult conversations he has had with a player in all his years as a coach and manager. The fact that Nimmo took it as well as he did could not have helped Callaway's emotions.

But with Nimmo confined to the bench for now and the Mets leaning heavily on their relievers in recent games, they wanted to shift to an eight-man bullpen. That meant a demotion for Nimmo and a promotion for 16th-ranked prospect Corey Oswalt, whom the Mets recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas before Tuesday's 8-6 victory over the Marlins. Following the game, the Mets optioned him as the corresponding roster move for Zack Wheeler, Wednesday's starter.

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MIAMI -- Telling Brandon Nimmo he must go to the Minors, Mickey Callaway said, was one of the most difficult conversations he has had with a player in all his years as a coach and manager. The fact that Nimmo took it as well as he did could not have helped Callaway's emotions.

But with Nimmo confined to the bench for now and the Mets leaning heavily on their relievers in recent games, they wanted to shift to an eight-man bullpen. That meant a demotion for Nimmo and a promotion for 16th-ranked prospect Corey Oswalt, whom the Mets recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas before Tuesday's 8-6 victory over the Marlins. Following the game, the Mets optioned him as the corresponding roster move for Zack Wheeler, Wednesday's starter.

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"A tough break for Nimmo," Callaway said. "He deserves to be here. He handled the news unbelievably -- what a guy. He's a winning player and he's going to help us for a long, long time. So that's tough. But we felt like it was necessary."

Video: WSH@NYM: Nimmo smacks an RBI double to left field

The Mets' Opening Day center fielder, Nimmo saw his role reduce drastically when Michael Conforto came off the disabled list last Thursday. He made just three plate appearances in four games, with Conforto starting all but one game in center.

The Mets considered it more valuable to fortify their bullpen with Oswalt, 24, who allowed three runs in four innings last Thursday in his first career start at the Triple-A level. The Mets' organizational pitcher of the year in 2017, Oswalt went 12-5 with a 2.28 ERA at Double-A Binghamton to earn a spot on the Mets' 40-man roster after the season. He did not appear on Tuesday to make his Major League debut.

Video: Corey Oswalt named Mets' Pipeline pitcher of the year

Barring an injury on the Mets' 25-man roster, Nimmo must stay in the Minors for at least 10 days. He was batting .333 with a 1.044 OPS in 15 plate appearances, which came on the heels of a strong September and big league Spring Training.

"He wasn't getting to play as much as he probably needs to play," Callaway said. "This kid's going to be an everyday player. Anytime we can get him as many at-bats as possible is probably to his benefit."

For Nimmo, Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce all to start, Bruce would need to move to first base -- something the Mets were unwilling to explore during Spring Training. But Bruce began taking reps at the position for the first time on Tuesday, keeping himself versatile in case the Mets do ask him to do that later this summer.

Video: NYM@MIA: Bruce snags grounders at first before game

Wheels up
Joining the Mets in Miami in advance of his Wednesday assignment, Wheeler said his successful debut at Triple-A -- six strikeouts in five innings of one-run ball -- was due in part to his increased comfort with a new delivery. Wheeler has been working since spring on keeping his arm higher while throwing to decrease the stress on it.

"It's hard because you've been doing something for so long," Wheeler said. "It's muscle memory to sort of just drop back down."

Video: Zack Wheeler talks returning to the Mets' rotation

With Jason Vargas recovering slowly from surgery to remove a broken bone from his glove hand, Wheeler should have a chance to make at least two starts in the big leagues -- and possibly more, if he thrives. A favorite to make the rotation when Vargas broke his hand, Wheeler lost that opportunity when he went 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in five Grapefruit League outings. He has made just 17 starts, with a 5.21 ERA, since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015.

"Stuff happens," Wheeler said. "I'm grateful to be up here and hopefully I can make a little statement."

Tuning in 
The Mets are as hot on the airwaves as they are on the field. Their win Monday over the Marlins drew a 4.50 household rating, SNY's second-highest-rated broadcast since the 2015 postseason chase.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo, Corey Oswalt, Zack Wheeler

L.J. Mazzilli to Yanks in rare swap with Mets

Father Lee played for both New York teams, also coached for Yankees
MLB.com

In a rare trade between New York's teams, the Yankees and Mets agreed Tuesday on a deal that sent infielder/outfielder L.J. Mazzilli to the Yanks in exchange for outfielder Kendall Coleman.

Mazzilli batted .254/.340/.362 with five home runs and 40 RBIs in 110 games split between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2017. He had two hits in his first six at-bats of 2018.

In a rare trade between New York's teams, the Yankees and Mets agreed Tuesday on a deal that sent infielder/outfielder L.J. Mazzilli to the Yanks in exchange for outfielder Kendall Coleman.

Mazzilli batted .254/.340/.362 with five home runs and 40 RBIs in 110 games split between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2017. He had two hits in his first six at-bats of 2018.

The 27-year-old is the son of former Major Leaguer Lee Mazzilli, who was a National League All-Star with the Mets in 1979 and played for the Yankees in '82. The elder Mazzilli was a two-time World Series champion, winning a title as a player with the Mets in 1986 and as a coach with the Yanks in 2000. He also was the manager of the Orioles from 2004-05.

Coleman, 22, is a career .207/.309/.301 hitter throughout five seasons in the Minor Leagues. He has 10 homers and 86 RBIs in 231 games over that span.

History of Yankees-Mets trades
Dec. 19, 2014: Yankees purchase Gonzalez Germen from Mets
Dec. 3, 2004: Mets trade Mike Stanton to Yankees for Felix Heredia
July 16, 2003: Yankees trade Ryan Bicondoa, Jason Anderson and Anderson Garcia to Mets for Armando Benitez
Dec. 7, 2001: Yankees trade David Justice to Mets for Robin Ventura
Sept. 17, 1993: Yankees trade Kenny Greer to Mets for Frank Tanana
June 9, 1992: Mets trade Tim Burke to Yankees for Lee Guetterman
July 10, 1989: Mets trade Marcus Lawton to Yankees for Scott Nielsen
Dec. 11, 1987: Yankees trade Steve Frey, Phil Lombardi and Darren Reed to Mets for Victor Garcia and Rafael Santana
April 18, 1983: Yankees trade Tucker Ashford to Mets for a player to be named later and Steve Ray. Mets sent Felix Perdomo to Yankees to complete trade
April 1, 1980: Yankees purchase Marshall Brant from Mets
Dec. 9, 1977: Yankees trade Sergio Ferrer to Mets for Roy Staiger
July, 1972: As part of a 3-team trade, Yankees send Tommie Sheppard to Expos. Expos send Dave McDonald to Mets
June 28, 1967: Mets purchase Hal Reniff from Yankees
June 15, 1966: Mets purchase Bob Friend from Yankees

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

New York Mets, New York Yankees