PHI@NYM: Rice picks off Utley on attempted steal

NEW YORK -- Last year Scott Rice, 32, was one of the Mets' most reliable lefties out of the bullpen. His sinker helped him post a 3.71 ERA over 51 innings on the season.

This year his sinker wasn't the same, and the Mets demoted Rice to Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday night to refine what had made him so reliable in 2013. Over 13 2/3 innings, Rice posted a 5.93 ERA, allowing nine earned runs and walking (12) nearly as many hitters as he struck out (13).

"The results, period, [just weren't there]," said manager Terry Collins. "Scott lived and died with his sinker and it [isn't] real effective right now."

Rice had allowed at least one run in three of his last eight appearances, increasing his ERA from 5.06 to 5.93.

"I just told him he needs to go find that pitch, because I know if it's working he got outs, he gets big outs," said Collins. "He made a big difference in our club last year with the way he pitched to lefties. He's got to find that pitch again."

Gonzalez Germen was activated from the disabled list and joins a Mets bullpen that still has two lefties in Josh Edgin and Dana Eveland. Before landing on the DL with a virus on May 6, Germen had been a strong righty option for Collins. He boasted a 3.57 ERA in 13 appearances.

Germen adds another jolt of youth to a bullpen that the Mets have completely revamped over the past month, calling up youngsters Edgin and Vic Black from the Minors while converting Jenrry Mejia back to relief.

Teagarden getting to know 'mates, pitchers

MIL@NYM: Teagarden launches a grand slam to right

NEW YORK -- Catcher Taylor Teagarden made a spectacular Mets debut on Tuesday when he lined a fastball over the right-field wall for a grand slam against the Brewers during New York's 6-2 win. The splash of offense made for a nice first impression after joining the team for the first time since Spring Training. But Teagarden knows getting used to his teammates will take at least two to three weeks.

"Just getting to know your coaching staff, your players, getting a feel for the identity of the team, that can take a few weeks for sure," Teagarden said. "Coming up here yesterday I felt pretty good. I've played in the big leagues before. I understand the intensity of the game, but it was fine."

Teagarden was in the starting lineup again Wednesday because of his familiarity with starter Jacob deGrom. According to Mets manager Terry Collins, he will continue to split time with Anthony Recker for a while.

As for making some adjustments, Teagarden now must get comfortable with a new rotation and set of relievers, some of whom he has only briefly worked with before.

"I knew just a few guys from either college or a fall league team or something, but it's just getting to know personalities and getting to know guys," he said. "Then I'll talk to the pitcher, get on the same page as him, what pitches he likes to throw during a situation."

After catching six innings form Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Mets used relievers Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, and Jenrry Mejia. Teagarden had to draw on all his faculties to remember his hurlers' arsenal.

"I already know most of the pitchers' strengths," he said. "When it comes to relievers, you normally pitch their strengths because they've got either one or two really good out pitches or a really good fastball. So at that point we're really going to play off their strengths and make the hitters adjust to us."

Teagarden's best year offensively came with the Rangers in 2009, when he stroked six home runs and added 24 RBIs in 60 games. His big blast Tuesday was his only hit of the night, but his steady play in Triple-A allowed him to remain consistent with his swings.

"I got to play a little more regularly in Vegas, which was nice and a little more comfortable," he said. "You come up here, so you've already got some at-bats under your belt, and the adjustments should be a little shortened some."

Mets sign 16 of their 39 Draft picks

2014 Draft: MLB.com looks at the Mets' picks

NEW YORK -- An initial wave of Draft picks has signed with the Mets.

The team announced Wednesday that it has inked 16 of its 39 draftees, including third-round shortstop Milton Ramos out of American Heritage (Fla.) School, who signed for $750,000, about $100,000 more than the recommended bonus for his Draft slot.

The Mets also signed fourth-round third baseman Eudor Garcia, fifth-round right-hander Josh Prevost, sixth-round catcher Tyler Moore, seventh-round left-hander Brad Wieck, eighth-round first baseman Dash Winningham, 10th-round left-hander Kelly Secrest, 11th-round right-hander Connor Buchmann, 12th-round right-hander Alex Durham, 13th-round right-hander Erik Manoah, 14th-round catcher Darryl Knight, 17th-round left-hander David Roseboom, 19th-round right-hander Bryce Beeler, 22nd-round second baseman William Fulmer, 25th-round right-hander Nicco Blank and 27th-round right-hander Alex Palsha.

As for top pick Michael Conforto of Oregon State, general manager Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday that he does not anticipate any issues signing the outfielder.

"I don't expect it will take very long," Alderson said. "Days rather than weeks."

Collins likes Mets' lineup with Tejada at top

NYM@CHC: Tejada singles to right to put Mets on board

NEW YORK -- After going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk on Tuesday, Ruben Tejada was penciled back into the leadoff spot on Wednesday for just the second time all season.

The majority of his at-bats this season have come in the seventh (eight starts) and eighth (31 starts) spots in the order, but manager Terry Collins likes what he's seen out of his hot-hitting shortstop.

"I just like the way the lineup looks with him there," said Collins. "I just thought I really don't have a spot for Ruben to hit. Without leading off, he's got to go back to hitting eighth. He hit three hard balls last night, a base on balls, maybe he's taking to it."

Since starting against the Phillies at the beginning of the Mets' road trip on May 30, Tejada is hitting .314 with five RBIs and six walks. He also likes playing at Citi Field. In 26 home games, Tejada is hitting .270 with a .418 on-base percentage.

"I always believe when you have guys behind you that are as good of hitters as [Daniel Murphy] and David [Wright] are, you're going to get some balls to hit," said Collins. "But I think his swing's changed. His swing path through the ball is better than it was."

"The only big difference is that [I] use more of my legs," said Tejada, now adjusting to leading off again. "When you're sometimes behind [with] strikes [you] stay in and you protect the strike zone and put the ball in play."

It's a different mentality, especially as Tejada has shown power recently, hitting two home runs in the last nine games. But Collins wants a different approach from the top.

"You can chop up that home run into four singles and that'll make you a more effective player leading off," said Collins. "We've got guys coming up behind that will hit the ball out of the ballpark."

Worth noting

• Triple-A Las Vegas transferred right-hander Noah Syndergaard to the Pacific Coast League's seven-day disabled list with a left shoulder sprain that he suffered covering home plate in a game last Thursday. The move was made to clear roster space and is retroactive to June 9, meaning Syndergaard will be eligible to return on June 16.