NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy estimated that the moment Chris Johnson's game-winning homer left his bat in the 10th inning Wednesday, Murphy began expressing his "difference of opinion" with first-base umpire Jerry Layne. Moments earlier, Layne had given the Braves late life on a close play at first that could have ended the inning.
"He gave me about 90 feet," Murphy said of Layne, referencing the ball's flight to the left-field stands.
Murphy's first ejection of the season brought Terry Collins out of the dugout, earning the Mets manager his third early exit.
The argument for both men stemmed from Freddie Freeman's infield single with two outs in the 10th; Layne called Freeman safe at first, while replays appeared to show the ball settling in first baseman Josh Satin's glove before Freeman's foot hit the bag.
Had the call been reversed, the Mets would have gone to the bottom of the 10th in a 1-1 tie. Instead, Johnson homered on the next pitch and they lost, 4-1.
"Jerry just said he thought he got it right," Collins said. "I didn't have very much to say that was very nice."
Tommy John surgery a near certainty for Hefner
NEW YORK -- The news did not necessarily come as a shock to Mets right-hander Jeremy Hefner, because, in his words, "I was hurting a lot more than I was leading on." But it was still difficult for Hefner to hear that he will almost certainly undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery to replace a torn MCL in his right elbow.
"I think I expected it a lot more than I was leading on," Hefner said. "I was trying to pitch through it. I was trying to make it to the end of the year."
Instead, Hefner will receive a second opinion Monday from orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, with the understanding that he will almost certainly undergo Tommy John surgery in the coming weeks. Hefner will also have a sizeable bone spur and several loose bodies removed from the same elbow.
"I threw through some stuff that maybe I shouldn't have thrown through, but I was trying to establish myself," he said.
For a long while, Hefner did exactly that, going 4-4 with a 2.78 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 20 walks from April 25 through the All-Star break. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball over that span.
But Hefner was not the same after the break, going 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts, before the Mets revealed that he had been pitching through pain. A subsequent evaluation revealed the partially torn MCL in his elbow, though Hefner initially held out hope that he might avoid surgery.
But Hefner came away from a follow-up examination Tuesday understanding that "it's definitely looking like Tommy John."
Buck in lineup for first time since d'Arnaud's arrival
NEW YORK -- For the first time since Travis d'Arnaud's arrival, catcher John Buck was back in the starting lineup Wednesday afternoon against the Braves. It was an obvious spot for Mets manager Terry Collins to give Buck an opportunity -- a day game following a night game at Citi Field, with d'Arnaud having caught four consecutive games in three cities.
Going forward, Collins said "there is no ratio" for how often Buck will play -- only an expectation that he will see more regular time than former backup catcher Anthony Recker. Still, Collins has made it clear that d'Arnaud is the starter and will play most days.
"I've put some ideas down for me to kind of see a guideline of when we need to get John in there, and [I plan to] make sure Travis gets in there enough," Collins said. "We'll stick with this schedule and see how it works for a while."
Before d'Arnaud's arrival, Buck had started 94 of the Mets' 124 games, batting .219 with 15 homers and 60 RBIs overall.