NEW YORK -- A few days before starting the first game in franchise history in 1962, former Mets pitcher Roger Craig recalled spraining his ankle during spring fielding drills. Craig approached the team's trainer, told him about the injury, then politely asked him to forget it.
"I'm going to pitch Opening Day one way or the other, so don't tell nobody," Craig recalled beseeching the trainer.
Craig lost that game to the Cardinals, allowing five runs over three innings -- though five decades later, Craig wouldn't blame it on the ankle. Fifty years to the day after that game, Craig threw out Wednesday's first pitch at Citi Field as part of the Mets' anniversary celebration.
"It was just an honor to be able to start that first game," Craig said. "It was just an honor to be here."
Craig, who also pitched the last game in Brooklyn Dodgers history, only spent two years with the Mets, leading the league with 46 losses over that span. But his place in franchise history is permanent.
"I really don't remember that much about it," Craig said of his first game, laughing. "I wonder why? It was only 50 years ago."
Collins ejected for arguing strike zone in finale
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected in the seventh inning Wednesday for arguing balls and strikes.
The ejection came a half inning after home-plate umpire Larry Vanover called out Jason Bay on a questionable third strike, which appeared to be several inches off the outside corner. Bay jawed at Vanover while walking back to the dugout, but was not ejected.
A half inning later, while the Mets were making a pitching change, Collins emerged from the dugout to argue with Vanover. The result was his first ejection of the season.
"Once in a while, you've got to go protect somebody," said Collins after the game, referring to Bay. "When we're walking 10 guys a game, I've got a lot of guts to go and argue balls and strikes when we're not throwing it over.
"Jason Bay never says a word, so when he's arguing something, there's an issue," Collins continued. "That was a point in the game when a guy gets something to handle, and maybe changes the whole dynamics of the rest of the game."
Collins optimistic Wright will return soon
NEW YORK -- David Wright's fractured right pinkie finger was in a splint Wednesday morning. Ronny Cedeno started his second straight game at third base. And yet none of that stopped Mets manager Terry Collins from mustering hope for Wright's quick return.
"I just think David's going to be fine," Collins said. "I will not be at all surprised one bit to write his name in the lineup Friday. Not one bit."
That much was based more upon optimism than hard information. Wright saw a hand specialist Wednesday for a second opinion on his finger, which he fractured during Monday night's game against the Nationals. The Mets had no update on his condition Wednesday, other than a team spokesman calling the situation "status quo." Wright plans to return to the hand specialist on Thursday's off-day.
All Collins knows is that a fracture will not necessarily land Wright on the disabled list. The Mets will not make a decision to that end until Friday morning, prior to their next game in Philadelphia.
If Wright does land on the DL, it will represent just the latest in a long string of injuries for the Mets dating back to 2009. Wright, Johan Santana, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy and Jose Reyes all missed significant portions of last season due to injuries, with Wright and several other key Mets also sidelined this spring.
"In the year and few days I've been here, injuries have obviously been a major part," Collins said. "And obviously the year before, when I was the field coordinator, they were a huge part of what went on here. I hope to think it's part of the way the game's played by these guys, that it's maxed out.
"The thing that's killed us is the severity of the injuries. It's not two weeks. It's a three- or four-month process, which is really a tough thing."
Collins classified most of them as freak, unavoidable injuries, though that hardly makes them any more appealing. Still, with Wright hurt, there is nothing he can do but simply insert Cedeno's name in the lineup card and play the games as scheduled.
"I don't ever go the 'Woe is me' attitude," Collins said. "I don't play that. I don't ever want to go there. Certainly when you're riding home at night, you're thinking to yourself, 'How the heck can we keep these guys on the field?' But it's nothing we're doing wrong."
If Wright hits DL, Murphy likely to third base
NEW YORK -- Shortly after Tuesday's game ended, Daniel Murphy met with third-base coach Tim Teufel for an extra half hour of defensive work. Consider it penance for Murphy's performance in the game, which saw the second baseman botch three consecutive double-play attempts.
Yet Murphy's early struggles at second base may soon become moot if David Wright lands on the disabled list with a fractured right pinkie. If Wright is sidelined for any significant length of time, the Mets are leaning toward plugging Murphy back into his natural position at third.
Though Collins said during Spring Training that he was hesitant to shift Murphy away from second base, he would do so if the timeframe is long enough.
"Absolutely no disrespect intended, but he's a guy who's learning to play second base, and I know he can play third," Collins said. "So if David's out for an extended period of time, I think Dan would be a lot more comfortable playing third than he is playing second."
The Mets won't know for sure until Friday, when they will decide whether to place Wright on the DL. But in theory, a switch to third base for Murphy would allow the Mets to improve their infield defense without changing personnel.
"Hopefully we don't have to decide it," Collins said. "What it comes down to for me is, when David's in the lineup, I like our defense. If he's not in the lineup, how do we improve it?"
Mets, Red Cross team for blood drive Saturday
NEW YORK -- The Mets are teaming with the American Red Cross to host their second annual blood drive this Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET at Citi Field. Donors will receive two complimentary tickets to the Monday, April 23 game against the Giants at Citi Field, and will be entered for the chance to win four tickets to a second game and passes to watch batting practice from the field.
Walk-ins are welcome, though donors are encouraged to sign up in advance by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org. All donors may park for free in Lot D and enter the ballpark through the Seaver VIP entrance on the third-base side.
"We're proud to partner again with the American Red Cross on such an important cause," Mets executive vice president of business operations Dave Howard said in a statement. "Last year's drive was a success, and we know Mets fans will once again support the Red Cross and its humanitarian mission to save lives."