Overhauled Mets begin series at Washington

WASHINGTON -- It has been about seven weeks since the New York Mets last visited Nationals Park, and the team that made the 2015 World Series may not be recognizable when it begins a four-game, three-day series against the Washington Nationals on Friday.

Since leaving the nation's capital on July 5, the Mets (55-71) have traded first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays, acquired reliever AJ Ramos in a deal with the Miami Marlins, traded reliever Addison Reed to the Boston Red Sox, traded first baseman Jay Bruce to the Cleveland Indians, dealt outfielder Curtis Granderson to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and traded infielder Neil Walker to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said dealing Granderson last week was tough.

"That was probably the most difficult transaction here at the deadline, simply because he's been here for almost four years, and more importantly because of the contributions he made on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community," Alderson told Newsday. "He's just a first-rate individual and somebody who represented the Mets so well over the last four years."

The pitching matchup for the opener on Friday is slated to be a pair of right-handers: New York's Jacob deGrom (13-7, 3.49 ERA) against Washington's A.J. Cole (1-3, 5.32), who will be called up from Triple-A Syracuse.

Cole last pitched on Saturday for Syracuse, giving up four runs in four innings. The Florida native is 4-4 with a 5.82 ERA in 17 Triple-A starts this year. He is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.

Cole will fill in for Max Scherzer, who landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a sore neck.

The first-place Nationals are 76-49 after a 5-4, 11-inning win at Houston on Thursday.

DeGrom is 4-3 in his career against Washington with a 2.95 ERA in 10 starts. Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is 0-for-16 against deGrom, and Washington outfielder Michael A. Taylor is 0-for-14 with seven strikeouts.

New York All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto dislocated his left shoulder Thursday in a 3-2 home loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets have had 22 players on the disabled list this year, and Conforto is likely to join them, as the injury probably will end his season.

"It's just tough to see a young guy like that get hurt in any situation, but certainly this guy was putting his name in the big picture. A guy that's going to be a great player here," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

The Nationals have also had their share of player movement, but more so with players going on the disabled list than via trades.

Washington has used 13 outfielders this season, many of them being summoned to Nationals Park from Syracuse.

"You can never forecast injuries," said Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr., sitting in his team's dugout before a game at Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. "The Triple-A experience is about going through a lot of players. The wins and losses (50-81) are not where we want them to be. We are more focused on the development side of things."

Among the outfielders who have gone from Syracuse to Washington this year are Andrew Stevenson, Alejandro de Aza and Brian Goodwin.

Washington's DL includes shortstop Trea Turner (right wrist fracture) and left fielder Jayson Werth (left foot contusion), both of who played their third rehab game with Syracuse on Wednesday.

Turner is 0-for-9 through three rehab games, while Werth is 2-for-7. Neither played Thursday night for Syracuse in a 5-1 loss at Lehigh Valley.

"My body feels good. It is just a matter of getting my timing back at the plate," Turner said in Allentown, Pa. "I did a good job of running a lot and staying in shape."
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