08/22/10 1:13 PM ET
Offense catches spark after strong words
By George Von Benko / Special to MLB.com
Hitting coach Howard Johnson had stern words for his players before the series opener on Friday, although it may also help that the Pirates are 29th in the Majors with a 5.08 ERA.
"I don't like to meet with guys like that," Johnson said after the Mets' 5-1 victory over the Pirates on Saturday night in a game called by rain in the top of the sixth. "But we've got  games left, and that's our focus."
The Mets went into Saturday's game ranked 14th in the 16-team National League with a .248 batting average and 13th in runs scored, ahead of only the Pirates, the Nationals and the Astros. They were averaging 4.06 runs per game going into Friday's contest.
"Too much gets made out of meetings," said David Wright, who hit a three-run homer Saturday night. "A lot of times, I think meetings get overrated. I would love to say that HoJo gave us some sort of wisdom, and that's why we won the last two games, but the fact is we're starting to get some hits."
Barajas claimed on waivers by Dodgers
PITTSBURGH -- The Los Angeles Dodgers claimed New York Mets catcher Rod Barajas on waivers on Sunday.
The Mets promoted Jesus Feliciano from Triple-A Buffalo to take Barajas' place on the roster.
Barajas, who turns 35 on Sept. 1, had a .263 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage in 267 plate appearances with New York this season.
"It's tough to leave," Barajas said. "But at the same time, I wasn't sure how much playing time was going to come my way, and if I could get in a situation where I can get behind the plate and play a little bit more, I was all for it."
The Dodgers, who lost starting catcher Russell Martin for the season Aug. 3 with injuries to his right hip, have been trying to get by with Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis behind the plate.
"It's a good spot for me," Barajas opined. "That's my team, that's who I grew up with and that was a childhood dream. To get that opportunity to put the uniform on is definitely going to be one of the high points of my career. I love L.A., I'm an L.A. guy. If I could pick a team, that would probably be it."
The emergence of young catcher Josh Thole for the Mets made Barajas expendable.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel was asked if Thole is ready to be a No. 1 catcher.
"We feel that way," he replied. "We feel that Josh has evolved and matured into becoming a guy that can handle the pitching staff, so we feel pretty good about that."
For his part, Thole is ready for the challenge.
"I'm ready," Thole stated. "I've been working with all the starters and the bullpen and developing good relationships with all the guys."
Tejada weathering struggles at plate
PITTSBURGH -- Ruben Tejada began his third stint with the Mets on Aug. 7, and the young second baseman has struggled mightily at the plate.
Tejada is hitting .077 (5-for-65) over his last 24 games with the Mets. He is 1-for-28 (.036) since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel, however, sees some positive signs.
"Well, I guess I see him not going out of the strike zone as much, which is a good thing," Manuel offered. "I thought on Friday night, when he drew a walk, that was big for him with two outs to get the pitcher up, so we can flip the lineup."
Despite the 20-year-old Tejada's struggles, Manuel hasn't detected any frustration boiling over in the second baseman.
"I think what you would see is the throwing of equipment, that type of frustration, but we haven't seen that," Manuel explained. "I think he still feels pretty confident that he can hit and that he can play at this level.
"He's in a pretty big hole as far as his offense goes, but he's still a guy that if you do what we did on Friday, get 15 hits, he is definitely serviceable, especially when you score, and he stopped a couple of runs from scoring by playing defense."
Saturday night's rain-shortened game was New York's sixth complete game of the year, ranking second in the National League behind the Phillies, who have 12. ... New York's bullpen has hurled 15 2/3 scoreless innings dating back to Aug. 14. ... With Saturday night's win, the Mets have ensured their second winning road trip of the year.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.