Around the NL East - Johan Santana throws first-ever Mets No-No, Roy Halladay actually injured, Mike Morse returns, Giancarlo owned May

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I'll do everyone a favor and keep the introduction short. Over the last two weeks, I've seen AT&T Park, Oakland Coliseum, a minor league park in Modesto, California, and then a minor league park in Zebulon, North Carolina. I've got literally over 500 pictures to go through and thousands of words to write. And, I haven't had a full night's sleep in two weeks.

So in the meantime, take a gander at this photograph I took in Birmingham this season, of our new shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, starting a double play that Tyler Pastornicky probably wouldn't have been able to make one out with, let alone two. I look forward to seeing Simba's sterling defense, if anything at all. Welcome back to the basement.

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Johan Santana throws first no-hitter in Mets history - MetsBlog
And he did it by blanking the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. It only took 50 years for the Mets to get on the board, but congratulations to a great pitcher who went through a hell of a last few years to get back to where he is now, to making some unforgettable history.

Sandy Alderson claims to be in no rush to consider David Wright extension - NY Daily News
Honestly, this feels a little refreshing to read. A few years ago, panic about extending a guy used to start during a player's final year. Now such discussions are happening a year early, as if the final year, or an option year is something that doesn't exist. Before we know it, people will begin making rosterbatory extension propositions before the first half of any player's contract has even played out, but by then, they'll all probably be like CC Sabathia and have opt-out clauses so that guys can re-hit free agency earlier and earlier. Hm, maybe this doesn't sound like such a bad idea after all.

Fine, apparently David Wright doesn't want to talk about it, either - MetsBlog
I kinda like Wright's candor; it gives off the impression that he's aware of the distraction it will cause, because frankly, he admits that he wants to make what he's worth, which is fine and understandable when they actually admit it.

Ronny Cedeno placed on DL - Amazin' Avenue
Not going to lie, the Mets DL has been a revolving door this year, with most notably the shortstops. Now both Ruben Tejada and his backup Cedeno are both on the shelf, leaving the position for guys most people have never heard of, Jordany Valdespin and Omar Quintanilla.

Hear that Mets fans? - MetsBlog

As the team gets better, and Citi Field attendance climbs, the Mets’ payroll will grow.

Thinly veiled in that statement is that the team will spend more when the fans spend more. But not that the two are directly related, as Matt Cerrone states.

Manny Acosta DFA'd; not surprisingly, clears waivers - Amazin' Avenue
I really do like the guys over at AA, but they had to learn the hard way, as we Braves fans all endured during Acosta's lengthy tenure in Atlanta. No matter how much potential or hopes he festers, he's just not good at baseball.

Carlos Beltran unfazed at returning to New York - NY Post
I'm impressed - the Post waited an entire eight paragraphs before making a reference to the 2006 NLCS where Beltran struck out looking against his now teammate, Adam Wainwright.

Former Mets GM donating kidney to his daughter - Hardball Talk
Ironic is the fact that in spite of this generous charitable story, Craig Calcaterra still can't resist the mention of the Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano trade.

Amazin' Avenue presents the Mets' all-time 25-man roster... of Facial Hair - AA
Absolutely incredible.

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Roy Halladay put on DL with lat strain - TGP
Expected to miss six to eight weeks. Hard to believe the Roybot could even get hurt in the first place.

Rich Dubee was suspicious from day one - High Cheese
From the day reports started talking about reduced velocity in Spring Training, Rich Dubee was among those who were suspicious of what was happening to Halladay. Turns out that there just might have been something wrong all along.

The Latissimus Dorsi explained - TGP
From what it sounds like, it could be similar to what has kept Mike Morse of the Nationals on the DL for the first two months of the season, plus a ton of Spring Training. And he's not even a pitcher.

So much for that potential replacement - Phillies Nation
Roy Oswalt, oft-believed to have been a shoe-in to return to the Phillies once he felt like pitching again, has instead gone to the Texas Rangers. Front-runner much, RoyO?

Chase Utley... left fielder? - Beerleaguer
Freddy Galvis is absolutely making playing second base look like slow-pitch softball. He has been reported to have been doing some workouts out in left field. As weird as this may sound, if I were a Phillies fan, I'd almost be oddly captivated by the idea. They could sure use some production out of left, and they'd retain the outstanding work of Galvis in the process.

Theoretical Cole Hamels' starting cost - High Cheese
And this isn't just throwing sh*t at the wall, it's pretty well thought out. But for starters, I could believe Hamels to be looking in the neighborhood of six years, $138M.

Mitch Williams doesn't think the Phillies have any chance at re-signing Hamels - Phillies Nation

Stan Kastan and Magic did not pay 2 billion dollars to put a losing team on the field. They are going to overpay Cole Hamels to get him there.

I could see this happen too. Hamels and Kershaw together? Have mercy on the NL West, if they could get some consistent offense from someone not named Matt Kemp.

Ryan Howard is optimistic about his rehab on his official podcast - TGP
My reaction was the same as taco pal's - Ryan Howard has a podcast? It's kind of fluffy, overall. It almost sounds like someone is watching him intently while he's doing it.

Chad Qualls isn't good, sky is blue - Crashburn Alley
It's almost as if Charlie Manuel were the only one to blame over the lack of use of Jonathan Papelbon. In May alone, Qualls has blown three save situations to where Paps wasn't even needed afterward.

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Mike Morse activated from disabled list, promptly rained out - MASN
Just when Mike Morse was all ready to make his regular season debut against the Braves, Mother Nature had to go and ruin things.

Ross Detwiler replaced in rotation by Chien-Ming Wang - Nationals Journal
Now here's a real head-scratcher for us stat-loving nerds. Detwiler hasn't pitched poorly at all. He's a big lefty that pitches 94 mph, and is fairly competent at striking guys out. But Davey Johnson would rather go with a sinkerballer because at one point many, many years ago, he "was a 19-game winner." Whatever, John Lannan scoffs from Syracuse. As for Detwiler, he's taking it in stride.

Nobody is second guessing the Gio Gonzalez trade anymore - The Nats Blog
I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical about it too, and kind of thought the Nats gave up their version of the Mark Teixeira trade. But as of now, Gio Gonzalez is leading the National League in both WAR and strikeouts, and the Braves have to face him this weekend. And, he's locked up for many years to come. People love to play the "who won/loss trade" game, but in this instance, rare as it may be, both sides appeared to have gotten what they wanted.

C'mon Davey, make up a white lie? - Nationals Journal
Henry Rodriguez had to sit out of a game recently. Davey Johnson gets into detail and reveals that he accidentally slammed a bathroom door on his finger. It sure wouldn't have hurt anyone if Davey had said he hurt it rescuing a little girl from a burning building, thwarted a kidnapping, or slammed it while running away from a face-eating zombie. And it wouldn't have hurt Davey to omit the part about how it was the bathroom door, either.

Chad Tracy requires surgery on groin injury - Nats Insider
A surprising force off the bench this year, Chad Tracy will need to miss six to eight weeks for a pretty hefty groin tear.

Despite succeeding, Bryce Harper hates facing guys like Livan Hernandez - Nationals Journal
Typically, the hostile remarks are saved for when you go 0-for against a junkballer, but Bryce Harper took Livo deep, and then proceeded to vent about how much he hates facing junkballers.

Tim McCarver thinks someone should have a talkin' to, to Harper - the Bog
From what this sounds like, McCarver is kind of lambasting Bryce Harper for, well, hustling. Apparently, there's something wrong with running towards second base from first on a foul ball, because he might actually think it could be fair, and putting forth such effort just might put him in optimal position to score a run, which is the goal.

Davey Johnson wants Danny Espinosa to change his approach a little bit - Nationals Journal
In short, focus more on contact and not the home run swings.

Talk about sweet deal for the Solano parents - Nats Insider
The two Solano brothers, Donovan and Jhonatan took the field at the same time; on opposite ends. Donovan was recently called up by the Marlins, and Jhonatan recently by the Nationals. Their parents flew in from Colombia to watch both their sons play, against each other. Reminds me of when Sandy Alomar, Sr. was visiting the ALCS in 1997, and said he's happy with whomever won game 7, because he was going to the World Series regardless (Sandy with CLE, Roberto with BAL).

I'm convinced Mike Gonzalez was at Kings Dominion - Nats NQ
Second picture down. Dead ringer. May as well, considering he's mired in the Nats minor league system currently. Okay, it's a stretch, but it's the first thing I thought when I saw him.

Man, have one good season, and now you're a brand? - Nats Enquirer
Mike Morse now has some publicly known vanity plates for whatever he drives down in Florida.

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Giancarlo's ridiculous May - Fish Stripes
In the MVP/LVP post, I touched on how Martin Prado would have been an easy shoe-in for NL Player of the Month; if not for Giancarlo. In short, Giancarlo hit .343 with 10 HR and 25 RBI. His 2.2 WAR rating for May was the only player higher than Martin Prado's 2.1 WAR. And he broke a scoreboard.

He's happier with the batting average over everything - Palm Beach Post
He attributes advice from Mr. Marlin, Edgar Renteria Hanley Ramirez Jeff Conine, to get better at going the other way to help keep the defenses honest and end up getting more suitable pitches to hit. /hojo'd

Josh Johnson's kid likes Giancarlo more than his dad - Palm Beach Post
The best part about it is that Cash Johnson still keeps calling him "Mike Stanton," but only by both names.

The ever-consistent Mark Buehrle - Fish Stripes
I think Michael Jong nailed it on the head with this:

I have had nothing to say about Mark Buehrle, and the reason for that is actually not negative at all. The reason why I have had nothing to say about Mark Buehrle is because all he has done thus far in 2012 is be the typical Mark Buehrle.

But in order to be a little snarky to our divisional foes, it should be said that Derek Lowe was also pretty consistent in his first year of a four-year, (almost) $60M contract.

So consistent, that Ozzie would want Buehrle starting a sudden death playoff game over anyone else he has - Fish Bytes
I understand he's giving a vote of confidence, but I find it hard to ignore two guys who have been on the Marlins forever, and probably have better overall stuff, in Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez.

Same old story - Marlins Diehards
There are lots of empty seats in new Marlins Park, and tons of tickets for sale on the second hand market. And TGP will still take attendance potshots at them, along with any other team that doesn't draw like the Phillies do.

Maybe it's because it's still subject to rain - Fish Bytes
Claimed to be a "surprise" storm, Marlins BP was impromptu canceled when rain came pouring on into the park that has a retractable roof that wasn't retracted in spite of the weather. Now I know Miami is home to the sudden rains, but there comes a time when you simply consider closing the roof all the time because, well, Miami is always hot as balls, so why subject everyone to it all the time?

Bat-Tussi spreading to Giants players - Palm Beach Post
Having seen and been to AT&T Park and San Francisco, it all kind of makes sense to me now. But regardless, Angel Pagan and that sad sack Melky Cabrera have started doing the Lo Viste salute that the Marlins do to piss everyone off.

And because I realize that some readers really are too young to understand what I mean by "Bat-Tussi" (sigh):

(Skip to 1:05 to get to the point, or enjoy the whole nostalgic classic)

Marlins still not favored in Florida over the Rays or Yankees - Marlins Diehards
Honestly, it doesn't come as that much of a surprise that the Yankees still have more favor over both the Florida teams. St. Petersburg is pretty much the home to New York's retired community, not to mention the Yankees are pretty much the default team known by anyone with half a brain as a baseball team.

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