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Wilpon and players visit firehouse for lunch

When the Nationals and Mets continue their series at Citi Field on Wednesday night, their thoughts will also likely drift 11 miles west of the stadium's walls to Ground Zero, where thousands of people died in the September 11 terrorist attacks 12 years ago.

The Mets will again honor New York City's first responders Wednesday by wearing hats from the NYPD, FDNY and other New York City service departments during batting practice. Seeds from a tree that survived the attacks will be donated to three communities that have overcome tragedy in a pregame ceremony. And players of both teams will host a meet-and-greet with families from Tuesday's Children, a nonprofit that helps families impacted by the attacks.

David Wright, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon also visited a New York City firehouse, which lost all 16 of its members on Sept. 11, 2001, on Tuesday.

"Talking to the chief over there, nobody's going to forget," Harvey said. "It's something we're very honored to be here for and support. What they've done, it's tremendous."

On the field, the Nationals and Dan Haren will look to take another step toward their improbable goal of securing the a playoff spot in the National League. With their win and Cincinnati's loss Tuesday, the Nationals pulled to within six games of the second Wild Card spot.

"We put ourselves in this position and it's not an ideal situation to be in," Ryan Zimmerman said Monday when asked about the Reds. "Nothing matters unless we win. So we have to go out every night and win. Hopefully, we can get some help. Hopefully, that will happen."

Haren allowed five runs on six hits in his last start against the Marlins. Over his past two outings, he has given up 12 runs in just 5 2/3 innings.

Wheeler will start for New York after surrendering three runs (two earned) and walking five batters over five innings in his last start Friday. Despite the rough outing, he has shown improved command in the past two months. The Mets have won nine of his past 12 starts dating to July 5.

Mets: Tejada gets the call
• Once considered the Mets' shortstop of the future, Ruben Tejada was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Tejada hit .209 and struggled defensively with the Mets before being placed on the disabled list with a right quad strain May 30. After he was activated on July 7, Tejada was optioned to Triple-A, where he hit .288 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 60 games.

"Everybody's allowed to have a bad year. Everybody," manager Terry Collins said. "He might look at this, 2013, as Ruben Tejada's worst year. He may bounce back next year and resume where he was two years ago, and that, to me, was an up and coming player that brings a lot to the table."

• All-Star Matt Harvey will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday to get a second opinion on his right elbow. While he will not decide that day whether he will have Tommy John surgery, Harvey said that Andrews' opinion will influence his decision.

Nationals: Harper on the verge of return
• Bryce Harper has missed five of the Nationals' past seven games with hip inflammation, but he plans to return to the lineup Wednesday.

Harper rejoined the team in New York on Tuesday and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz said that the MRI on the 20-year-old's hip was negative. Harper was seen taking batting practice before Tuesday's game. The team also wants to make sure he can run without problems before reinserting him into the lineup.

"Running has not been that much of a problem," Kuntz said. "Most of the time, it would be when he was swinging when it became really bothersome for him. Right now, he looks good."

• Rafael Soriano recorded his 40th save Tuesday night, joining Chad Cordero (2005) and Drew Storen (2011) as the only closers in club history to reach the 40-save mark.

Worth noting
This is the final series of the season between the Mets and Nationals, but they'll see one another on Opening Day next year. The Nationals will begin the 2014 season in New York on Monday, March 31. Comments