PHOENIX -- When he was an Olympic athlete in 1996, R.A. Dickey attended every event that he could. He was "front and center" when injured gymnast Kerri Strug stuck the landing on her final vault, helping the American women win gold in Atlanta. He was there when sprinter Michael Johnson set an Olympic record in the 400 meters. He attended the Opening Ceremonies alongside the men's basketball Dream Team."I went to water-polo events, track-and-field events," Dickey said Friday, with the 2012 Opening Ceremonies in London airing on a clubhouse television behind him, "I just really tried to experience that part of it, and it was awesome." Dickey is one of four Mets with Olympic ties, joining pitcher Jon Rauch (Sydney, 2000), first-base coach Tom Goodwin (Seoul, 1988) and general manager Sandy Alderson, who helped assemble the roster for the 2000 United States baseball team. The knuckleballer's bronze medal sits at home in Nashville, in what he considers one of the top three highlights of his baseball career. The Olympics meant just as much to Rauch, whose gold medal from the 2000 Games spends most of its days locked away in a safe. Rauch said he continues to keep in touch with as many of his Olympic teammates as he can, though most are long retired from their playing days. "Being around the whole environment of the Opening Ceremonies, winning a gold medal -- pick something," said Rauch, who has an image of the Olympic rings tattooed on his left arm. "When you're involved in something like that, especially when it's your first time, your only time, you just remember all of it." The Mets have one other tie to the Olympic Games this year; Brittany Viola, the daughter of former Mets pitcher and current Class A Brooklyn pitching coach Frank Viola, will compete for the U.S. diving team in London.
Edgin earning more prominent role in bullpen
PHOENIX -- At some point last week, rookie left-hander Josh Edgin was playing catch at Citi Field when he began fooling around with his two-seam fastball -- a pitch he had thrown regularly in the past but never fully trusted. It had more sink than he was used to. It ran more aggressively from right to left.So Edgin began throwing the two-seamer in games, with significant success. Using it almost exclusively as a weapon against right-handed hitters, Edgin has reeled off six consecutive scoreless outings, gaining more and more of manager Terry Collins' trust in the process. With Tim Byrdak -- the bullpen's only other lefty -- scuffling, Collins said he and his staff have discussed using Edgin in more high-leverage situations. "It's like when you're a little kid jumping off the diving board," Edgin said. "The first time, you're uncomfortable as anything. The next time, you're all right. The third time, you're all right. Then you just kind of go with it." The Mets' 30th-round pick in the 2010 Player Draft, Edgin recorded two outs to escape a critical jam in the sixth inning Thursday, keeping Matt Harvey's scoreless debut intact. Then he buzzed through three more Arizona hitters in the seventh, allowing Collins to avoid turning to the scuffling underbelly of his bullpen. Since giving up three runs over the first 2 2/3 innings of his career, Edgin has struck out eight batters in six scoreless innings, walking one and allowing four hits. "It wasn't good for my confidence, but at the same time, I'm glad it happened," Edgin said of his early struggles. "It got me ready right off the bat."
Closer Frank Francisco pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save in Double-A Binghamton's 2-1 victory Friday in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Francisco allowed one hit with no walks and no strikeouts. On the disabled list since June 23 with a strained left oblique, he threw 16 of his 21 pitches for strikes. Rauch was unavailable out of the bullpen Friday after appearing in four of the Mets' previous five games. Collins said that Rauch's unavailability had nothing to do with his knees, which Rauch had drained last week in Washington. Josh Thole will continue to start most days behind the plate, Collins said, despite the Mets' desire for more offense from the position. Though backup catcher Rob Johnson caught prospect Matt Harvey's debut on Thursday, Thole should be behind the plate for Harvey's second start Tuesday in San Francisco. The Mets are rumored to be searching for catching help prior to Tuesday's Trade Deadline.