07/16/11 1:23 AM ET
Hernandez, Darling help Habitat for Humanity
By Aaron Taube and Matt Fortuna / MLB.com
The $13 million project -- which included a $7.3 million loan from Citi -- was the largest project in the history of Habitat for Humanity.
"It generated a ton of positive press and attention for our work," said Josh Lockwood, executive director of Habitat-NYC. "And so we've now started doing this every year, where Mets alums will come out and build with us and have a press conference. And it just helps let folks know about the good work that we're doing and encourages people to apply for our program if they might be a good fit, and encourages donors to support us as well."
On Friday, in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Lockwood was again aided by Mets. As part of the club's and Citi's "Teammates in the Community" initiative, former players and current broadcasters Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling helped build affordable four-story condominiums that are expected to be finished by the end of the year.
Twelve families will likely be able to move in during the first quarter of 2012.
Dozens of workers wearing hard hats and T-shirts sporting the Mets logo took part in the project, which started this past winter.
The St. John's Residences Condominiums, located between Saratoga Avenue and East New York Avenue, will have such energy-efficient features as high-efficiency boilers, low-emissivity windows, and water-saving toilets, faucets and showerheads.
"They don't have to do this, clearly, and to come to a community like Brownsville, Brooklyn, that's neglected by a lot of us and to put in the time and to put in the blood and sweat to making these homes happen, it means a tremendous amount to us to have them make selfless gestures and devote this day to us," Lockwood said of the Mets. "And it speaks to the philanthropic leadership from the top down in that organization, that they would make philanthropy front and center in terms of their priorities."
Two volunteers, Martin Friedman and Tom Pace, were honored with the "Teammates in the Community" award on Friday night at Citi Field before the game against the Phillies. They were recognized for their devotion to Habitat-NYC, having worked on different construction sites nearly every Friday since 2008.
Wright plays first rehab game in St. Lucie
NEW YORK -- David Wright manned third base for five innings and went 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a strikeout and a run scored in his first rehab game on Friday night for Class A Advanced St. Lucie.
It was Wright's first game action since the middle of May, when he went on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his lower back.
In the past, manager Terry Collins has said that he wants to see Wright get 30 to 40 at-bats before he returns, and general manager Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday that he expects Wright to play for the Mets on July 22, against the Marlins.
Igarashi wild in return to action for Mets
NEW YORK -- On Friday, in his first appearance since being recalled, right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi faced two batters and gave up a bases-clearing double to Philadelphia's John Mayberry Jr., before striking out Ross Gload to end the eighth inning.
Though manager Terry Collins said before the game that he wanted to see Igarashi do a better job of getting ahead in counts, Igarashi was behind 2-0 to Mayberry and began the Gload at-bat with a wild pitch.
In 11 2/3 innings with the Mets earlier this season, Igarashi went 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA. He walked 11 and struck out 15.
"For Igarashi, it all starts with the command of his fastball," Collins said before the game. "When he was here before, he fell behind in the count, and when he does that, it eliminates his secondary pitches."
In his 31 relief innings with Buffalo, Igarashi posted a 0.87 ERA and an impressive 34-to-9 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
In addition to his control, Igarashi has been working on his curveball, since his bread-and-butter breaking ball, the splitter, has been ineffective since he came to America in 2010.
Collins believes that his lack of effectiveness stems from the size of the baseballs, which are larger in the U.S. than they are in Japan.
"The fingers aren't going to grow, and the balls aren't going to get smaller," Collins said. "He's gotten better command, he's gotten a better feel for his breaking ball, he's got much better rotation on it -- that's what they're telling me."
Isringhausen will get a chance to close
NEW YORK -- If the Mets had a lead in the ninth inning on Friday night in the series opener with the Phillies, they would have turned to right-handed veteran Jason Isringhausen to close it out, manager Terry Collins said before the game.
The 37-year-old will be the first of New York's three closer candidates to get a shot after the trade of Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee late Tuesday night.
"Tonight it'll be Izzy if we get in that situation, but I think it will be night to night," Collins said. "I want to get Bobby [Parnell] in there, I want to get Pedro [Beato] in there."
With the third-place Mets 12 games behind the first-place Phils and 8 1/2 back in the National League Wild Card race, the team needs to make a strong push before the July 31 Trade Deadline in order to convince general manager Sandy Alderson not to trade off assets in exchange for rebuilding pieces.
"Just the way everything sets up tonight with the days off we've had, I thought Izzy pitched very well at the end of [our last road trip]," Collins said. "Tonight, with the whole situation with the Phillies and the crowd and all the other paraphernalia that's going on tonight, I thought Izzy should be the guy."
Collins said that the Mets will likely settle on one closer in the near future because he believes it's important for players to know their roles.
Isringhausen doesn't think he'll have any trouble adjusting his mind-set when shifting from setup man to closer.
"I try to take the same role in the eighth inning as I did before," Isringhausen said. "If I don't get my job done, then [Rodriguez] doesn't get the ball with the lead. That's the mentality I had in the eighth, so I just have to carry it on to the ninth. There's just nobody I'm getting the ball to.
"There's no pressure. I put enough pressure on myself; nobody else needs to."
Reyes feels great after another day of running
NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes made some progress on Friday, saying that he felt great after running for the second straight day.
Manager Terry Collins said that Reyes will take Saturday off before running the bases at full speed on Sunday. Depending on how he feels afteward, the Mets will decide how to proceed. Collins doesn't know whether Reyes will have to play in a rehab game before returning.
Reyes has been out since July 2 with a Grade 1 strain in his left hamstring and is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Monday.
"Tomorrow's going to be a key," Reyes said. "If everything goes good tomorrow, probably on Sunday I'm going to run the bases."
Beltran not thinking about trade possibilities
NEW YORK -- On Friday, Carlos Beltran reiterated that he would love to finish his career as a Met and that he had not spoken with either general manager Sandy Alderson or manager Terry Collins about the prospect of being traded by the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"Right now I'm just controlling what I can control, and that's playing the game," Beltran said. "I went through this before once [in Kansas City], so I'm just coming to the ballpark, preparing myself and doing things that I normally do to make myself ready for the game."
When asked if the trade of Francisco Rodriguez signaled that he could be next, Beltran repeated Alderson's earlier statement that the two players are separate cases.
Beltran entered Friday batting .285 with a .377 on-base percentage and a .503 slugging percentage in the final year of his contract. Though he has played extremely well, he is not doing so to convince the Mets to keep him or to show other teams he would be a valuable asset.
"I don't play the game just to prove to the organization anything," he said. "I play the game just because I know that I can play the game. It's their decision if they want to keep me or they want to trade me. Whatever decision they make, I will understand it."
Aaron Taube and Matt Fortuna are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.