Mike Piazza’s punishment for his attempted assault of cowardly Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota has created the potential for third-string backstop Jason Phillips cracking the roster in the early going. Should Phillips see action, it would be while wearing his third “official” different uniform number as a Met and his 4th overall: Quite an accomplishment for a guy with only 26 Major-League at-bats!
To explain: Phillips was called up to Mets in May of 2001 and issued a jersey — No. 3 — but did not appear in a game before being sent back to AA Binghamton. Later that year Phillips made his “official” Met debut in No. 26 — his No. 3 had in the meantime been issued to Vance Wilson. Twenty-six was issued to Marco Scutaro prior to Phillips’ September call-up of 2002 so Phillips instead wore No. 7. This spring, the Mets dressed superstar-in-waiting Jose Reyes in No. 7 and told Phillips to take No. 23, which would be his likely number the next time he appears as a Met. The Goggled One still has two more uni-switches ahead of him if he wants to catch all-time uni-number leader Jeff McKnight but he’s off to a great start!