6/14/2014 2:29 A.M. ET
Mets sign four more Draft picks
By Tim Healey / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- With three lower-level Minor League affiliates -- Brooklyn, Kingsport and the Gulf Coast League Mets -- getting set to start their seasons, the front office is giving them the personnel to do so.
The club announced Friday the signings of four more players from last week's First-Year Player Draft, meaning 20 of the Mets' 39 selections have inked their first professional deals.
Those made official Friday were all collegians this spring. Ninth-round outfielder Michael Katz joined a trio of right-handers: James Duff (20th round), Tyler Badamo (24th round) and Matt Blackham (29th round).
Katz manned left field for the College of William and Mary this season after being a first baseman his whole life, but his top attribute is his bat. He hit .363/.445/.646 while hitting 14 homers and 24 doubles.
Duff and Badamo are both Long Island products. Duff is from Garden City, but played his college ball at Stonehill College in Eastern Massachusetts, while Badamo grew up in Mount Sinai and suited up for Dowling College in Oakdale. As a senior this season, Badamo posted a 5.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.83 ERA en route to collecting Division II All-American honors.
The 5-foot-11, 150-pound Blackham limited opposing batters to a .239 average in 25 games (four starts) at Middle Tennessee State this spring.
Mejia reports improvement in stiff back
NEW YORK -- The Mets seem to have avoided another injury scare -- but the picture is not entirely sunny. Closer Jenrry Mejia, who left Thursday's game in the 11th inning due to back stiffness, said he felt better, but not quite 100 percent Friday afternoon.
He reported tightness -- but not pain -- in his lower-left back. That's an improvement from the pain that was present about 18 hours prior.
Mejia was unable to get clearance from doctors to throw, however, and was unavailable during Friday night's 6-2 win over the Padres. Manager Terry Collins expects him to miss Saturday as well.
"Jenrry's back is fine," Collins said Friday afternoon. "Feels a lot better today. He is trying to see how he feels throwing-wise."
The situation wasn't as sunny after the game.
"He's got some stiffness in there, and they gave him some medication to relax the area a little bit," Collins said. "But he's got some swelling. He said it'll probably be a day or so before he's going to be available.
For as long as Mejia is unavailable, the likely option to close is right-hander Jeurys Familia, who pitched a scoreless ninth on Friday. Familia has two saves in three career opportunities, two of which came last month.
He recorded the final five outs in a 5-0 Mets win over the Phillies May 28, then blew a ninth-inning lead May 31 against Philly in a game New York went on to win, 5-4, in 14 innings.
Much is made of a so-called closer's mentality -- i.e., pitching the ninth inning of a close game requires a certain psychological makeup that not every hurler possesses -- but Familia doesn't think there is much to it.
"Every time I go to pitch, it doesn't matter what inning I'm throwing," Familia said. "For me, first inning, second inning, seventh inning, eighth inning, ninth inning -- it's all the same. You just have to go out there to throw strikes to get the hitter out.
"Just go out there and try to get three outs."
Best-case scenario for the Mets, though, is having Mejia healthy enough to get those three outs.
"Everything's going to be [OK]," Mejia said Friday afternoon before walking away with a big smile.
Mets willing to protect Wright at the plate
NEW YORK -- When it comes to the slumping David Wright -- whose .128 (5-for-39) average this month entering Friday has brought his season mark down to .270 from .294 -- Terry Collins is aware that yes, teams are pitching him inside.
But if opposing hurlers start to throw too inside, too regularly, Collins isn't afraid to give it back a little.
"Are we retaliating? Ask Ryan Braun how many times he got backed off," Collins said. "We did hit two guys [Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez] yesterday, if I'm not mistaken. We aren't going to get in a war. They're not throwing things under David's hat. If I start seeing David going on his butt, there will be some answers to it."
Collins' comments came in response to Mets' injured ace Matt Harvey saying he wished he could protect Wright when the Mets' captain gets pitched up and in.
"It's hard for me to watch David keep getting pushed back," Harvey told the New York Daily News. "I'm not happy about it. It's not right how guys are being able to manipulate his entire at-bat by pitching him up and in.
"It's tough for him. He's had to adapt to a different style. And it's frustrating to watch from the sidelines and not be able to do something about it."
Brushing a hitter back is a common technique to make him more wary or hesitant, and in turn make it more difficult to get to pitches on the outer edge of the plate. Sometimes, though, tempers flare if a team's star hitter gets hit by a pitch. That's what Collins wants to avoid.
"But we protect David as best we can," Collins said. "Once in a while, we do it to all the big guys. We've done it to Jayson Werth for I don't know how long. You have to be careful of starting a war, because the one thing is if you start a war, there's going to be one guy who pays the price for it all."
• Outfielder Eric Young Jr., who is working his way back from a right hamstring strain, will spend the weekend with Double-A Binghamton. Collins said the hope is Young will be ready to join the Mets at the end of the weekend.
• Collins still doesn't consider Curtis Granderson's calf issue a big deal, but the outfielder was "probably not available" Friday.
"I'm not sure it's the wisest thing when you gave him a complete night off almost -- ran a pitcher for him -- to run him in there the next day and think he's going to be 100 percent," Collins said.
• The Daniel Murphy Leadoff Experiment is over after one game. Ruben Tejada, who had Thursday off except for a pinch-hit appearance, was back at shortstop and batting first Friday night. "Ruben's back in there today, Ruben's leading off today," Collins said. "That's all it was."
• Taylor Teagarden's start behind the plate Friday had nothing to do with Anthony Recker's extra-inning ejection the day before, according to Collins. The manager had a chat with Recker -- whose ejection against the Brewers left the Mets with no more bench players -- but said Friday was simply Teagarden's day to catch.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.