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Mets Morning News: Mets welcome back Lutz and welcome more fans to Citi Field

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Your Friday morning dose of New York Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

There was no Mets baseball played today, but the boys in orange and blue return to take the field in St. Louis tonight. Noah Syndergaard will start for New York while Lance Lynn takes the hill for the Cardinals.

Triple-A outfielder Alex Castellanos is leaving the organization in order to try his luck in Japan. To take his place, old friend Zach Lutz returns to Las Vegas from his own tour of Asia.

Attendance at Citi Field is up nearly eight percent over last year, with an average of 29,284 fans coming out to meet the Mets per game. That figure is good for 17th in the majors.

Keith Law released a new Top 50 prospects list, and it includes both Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith.

Braves legend John Smoltz said that the current Mets rotation is even more talented than the Hall of Fame staff that the Braves rolled out in the 1990s. Now if we could only find our own Chipper Jones.

While the Mets and Yankees may have similar win-loss records at the All-Star break, the stats show the Bronx Bombers to be a more formidable contender.

Marc Carig reports that the Mets are still looking to acquire major league outfield help in advance of the July 31 trade deadline.

Around the National League East

A recent interview with Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa reveals turmoil in the clubhouse leading up to the departure of former manager Ryne Sandberg.

Atlanta head of baseball operations John Hart isn't going to lie to fans about his club's chances to win this year.

The Braves have added veteran right-hander Jason Frasor for bullpen depth.

Jose Fernandez will be the first pitcher out of the gate for the Marlins when they start their second half tonight against Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the way the Nationals set their rotation was a bit more surprising.

Around Major League Baseball

Grant Brisbee checks out what the postseason would look like if the baseball season ended today.

Zach Schonbrun has a long piece on how neuroscience can affect the future of baseball.

The Cubs are calling Futures Game MVP Kyle Schwarber back up to the majors because of a thumb injury to starting catcher Miguel Montero.

Grantland's Ben Lindbergh dives into this new trend of batting the pitcher eighth.

No matter what the commissioner's office decides to do with Pete Rose, he'll always be at home in Cincinnati.

Yesterday at Amazin' Avenue

Chris McShane reviewed the performance of the Mets' lineup so far this season.

Greg Karam kicked off our midseason prospects ranking with No. 10 Matt Reynolds and No. 9 Casey Meisner.

Dan Lewis taught us how to become the Designated Driver of the Game at Citi Field and win free stuff!

Owen Condon checked in with New York's five most memorable games of the first half.

Episode 128 of Amazin' Avenue Audio is now available!

This date in Mets history

Lee Mazzilli came up big in the 1979 All-Star Game.