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Mets Morning News: Walker goes yard, Syndergaard strikes out nine

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

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Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Meet the Mets

Neil Walker hit a two-run home run and Noah Syndergaard struck out nine over six innings in a 2-0 victory over the Royals. David Wright, who went 0-for-4 in his season debut Sunday, walked twice and stole a pair of bases in the winning effort.

Walker's "timely blast" will help Mets fans forget about Daniel Murphywrites Mike Vaccaro of the Post. In addition to hitting the team's first long ball of the season, Walker was the first "Champion of the Game" belt recipient.

In a move that will prompt speculation of Kevin Plawecki's role with the team, the Mets inked veteran backstop Rene Rivera to a minor league deal. Known as a defense-first catcher, Rivera posted a .178/.213/.275 slash line with the Rays last season.

Jim Henderson impressed in his return to big league action. The Brewers' former closer reached the upper 90's in a scoreless seventh inning.

Jacob deGrom's wife Stacey may give birth before the right-hander's scheduled start in Queens on Friday. If deGrom is unable to make the start, Steven Matz or Bartolo Colon would likely take the mound in his place.

Mike Piazza expressed displeasure with Jeff Wilpon and the Mets for selling his Sept. 21, 2001, game jersey to be auctioned.

Around the NL East

Nationals manager Dusty Baker and GM Mike Rizzo think Stephen Strasburg is poised for an "outstanding" season. Strasburg pitched to a 3.46 ERA through an injury-shortened 2015 campaign. Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Jayson Werth insists retirement isn't on his horizon despite a string of injuries over the past few years.

Eric Cole of Talking Chop previewed the Gwinnett Braves, Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate.

The Marlins took an 8-7 loss to the Tigers in their first game of the season. Giancarlo Stanton announced his presence in Miami's lineup by hitting his first home run since June of last season.

After Philadelphia's first game of the season, a 6-3 loss to the Reds on Monday, Justin Klugh of The Good Phight drew several conclusions about the team's performance.

Around the Majors

Jon Niese made his Bucs debut, surrendering four earned runs through five innings in Pittsburgh's 6-5 victory over the Cardinals. While Kyle Lobstein would end up as the game's pitcher of record, Niese claimed the box score wasn't an accurate portrayal of his outing.

Major League Baseball's new slide rule was featured prominently in Tuesday's match-up between the Rays and Blue Jays. In an attempt to break up a double play, Jose Bautista appeared to grab second baseman Logan Forsythe's leg, resulting in a game-ending "runner interference" call. David Schoenfield of ESPN examined the new rule, lauding the umpires for getting the call right.

Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post called on Rockies manager Walt Weiss to turn around the organization's losing ways. Young shortstop Trevor Story has been a bright spot for Colorado, having now hit three home runs in his first two major league games.

After giving up back-to-back-to-back home runs in his season debut, Ariel Pena was DFA'd by the Brewers.

Two guys in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes received front row seats to yesterday's Yankees game thanks to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Yesterday at AA

Matt Varvaro listed five possible milestones for the Mets to reach in 2016.

This Date in Mets History

On this date in 1972, the Mets acquired Rusty "Le Grand Orange" Staub from the Montreal Expos.

Happy birthday to Andy Phillips and Wayne Graham!