So if you’re going go ahead and DFA Jerad Eickoff anyway, you may as well issue the same No. 43 to the rookie callup to take his place but the Mets are too busy do that kind of stuff anymore. Get a number in spring, it’s yours to keep all summer, which is why long-simmering righty starter prospect Thomas Szapucki is up and wearing 63.
Sixty-three is a number for longshot midseason minor league callups whom you hope to get a few innings out of when the team is banged up or there’s a spate of rain make-ups ahead, and not a real player. Our last 63 was Tim (not David) Peterson, who’s now in the minors with the Angels. Our first was Chris Schwinden, whom I recall getting reliably beaten up every time he went out there. Gabriel Ynoa, who did a have a few years with the Orioles ahead, was the second.
The lucky ones, it seems, are those who come from so far below the surface they didn’t get any attention, like Tylor Megill, who as you know by now wears No. 38, chews gum while he throws, is like, 9 feet tall and might be the best 4-inning starter in club history, if he keeps it up. Megill actually has quietly succeeded his way up the ladder, and is the second member of his family to debut in the bigs this year. His older brother Trevor, who’s also very tall, wears No. 74 for the Cubs.
Megill is the first 38 since Justin Wilson; I still see Tim Leary when I think of 38’s and for whatever reason, Jerrod Riggan.
Another AAA pitcher has appeared on the big-league roster, taking his spring training number with him. Last night it was Gabriel Ynoa, who not only threw a scoreless inning in his big-league debut but earning the win while doing so surpassed his only predecessor in the jersey, Chris Schwinden for most victories by a guy wearing No. 63.
Ynoa (63) follows the recent pattern of AAA callups simply retaining their spring numbers upon initial promotion — Eric Goeddel (62); Akeel Morris (64); Josh Smoker (49); Ty Kelly (55, now 56) and Seth Lugo (67). Along with a concurrent willingness to dress even non-pitchers in high jerseys (T.J. Rivera 54, Kelly Johnson 55), the Mets are likely running their highest average uni count ever, though I haven’t looked that up.
To make room for Ynoa the Mets demoted Logan Verrett, who hung in there for awhile as the fifth starter — it seemed like every outing was a must-win for him — but he didn’t go and lose all by himself until his most recent starts. Jose Reyes also came back, costing Matt Reynolds his role as starting shortstop. Reynolds showed he get into one every once in a while, but those whiffs are a little much to hang in a pennant race with.
I consider myself fortunate to have missed most of the goings-on last night due to another engagement but have no excuse but my own laziness with respect to not keeping the roster updated.
Chris Schwinden: The book is closed on the first No. 63 in team history. He was claimed by the Blue Jays the last time the Mets tried designating him. Manny Acosta and Rob Johnson in the meantime cleared waivers and will try to get their stuff together in Buffalo.
Johnson’s departure meant that Josh Thole was back, it’s a miracle the Mets made even a little progress without him. Boy do we have some awful bats out there.
Josh Satin was recalled from Buffalo and again wearing No. 3 as Mike Baxter hit the disabled list as a result of his heroics in the Santana game.
DJ Carrasco: DFA’ed some time ago, cleared waivers, and now officially dumped by the organization. Another guy guy to debut a number (77) with horrid results.
Also returning to the team was gigantic soft-tosser Chris Young, again wearing No. 55. He gives me a little more confidence at the back end of the rotation that Miguel Batista, who also reappeared this week when Ramon Ramirez hit the disabled list with a hamstring injury suffered while rushing to the mound in celebration of Santana’s no-hitter. This was a small price to pay given that Ramirez didn’t look to me like he was in great shape to begin with.
Jack Egbert, destined to be one of the most obscure Mets ever I can already assure you, was sent down when Young arrived. Egbert was so nondecript I forgot even to create a record for him here but that’s done now.
Omar Quintanilla this evening will become the 39th player to suit up for the Mets in the No. 6 jersey and the first since Nick Evans wrestled it away from Ramon Martinez in 2008 and began four years of bobbing recalls and DFAs typical of classic Met sixers. Quintanilla replaces the roster slot of Justin Turner who went down with an ankle injury yesterday. As noted here often, No. 6 is the official address of the Met scrub, having been issued more times than any other jersey in team history. Back in 2009, I counted down the 10 greatest sixes in Mets history: A revised version would probably have to include Evans for sheer persistence in waiting around for another turn — and getting them — in the face of so many invitations to take a hike.
Also back tonight is Chris Schwinden, rapidly becoming Evans’ pitching equivalent. He’s up for Manny Acosta but likely just holding a spot in line for someone better. That they designated Acosta for assignment is less of a mystery than why Terry Collins chose to use him in a 1-run game the Mets still had a chance to win, but Manny, like so many of those who dared to wear No. 46 before him, is leaving the Mets in disgrace.
A few Met changes to get caught up on that I missed over the weekend: First, there was the return of punching-bag starter Chris Schwinden to AAA after two miserable starts as Mike Pelfrey’s replacement. What makes the Mets think Miguel Batista represents much of an upgrade remains a bit of a mystery, as Batista hasn’t had much more than a good inning or two since spring training and is 41 years old, but that’s the price the Mets are paying for cutting every corner on depth as a means to service the Wilpon’s debt.
In Schwinden’s place the Mets recalled versatile reserve Vinny Rottino, who retains the No. 33 he rocked during spring training. The last Met to wear No. 33 was reliever Taylor Buchholz, who left the club last year battling depression (we know) but the 33 I can see Rottino resembling is Valentine era reserve Mike Kinkade, who like Rottino was a right-handed bench bat who could catch in an emergency.
Also this weekend, the Mets demoted Jordany Valdespin as reliever D.J. Carrasco returned from the disabled list. Valdespin struggled in limited plate appearances but his versatility could be an asset down the road. I’d consider Carrasco a possibility to take a starting role if this Batista thing doesn’t work out, and who really does.
Just call him Tom Snyder… because he’s on after Carson. That’s Chris Schwinden, returning to the Mets tonight in Colorado and perhaps for a lengthy stay now that Mike Pelfrey’s sore elbom will be Tommy Johnned and Matt Harvey has been deemed not ready for prime time. Schwinden was activated and should be wearing the same he wore in four forgettable appearances late last year. He replaces reliever Robert Carson who was recalled from Class AA earlier this week, issued No. 73, but never made an appearance. Schwinden is still the only 63 ever to appear for the Mets.
Congratulations to Chris Schwinden, who not only received his first call to the Major Leagues but could make history in a scheduled start on Thursday when he becomes the first Met ever to wear No. 63 in a big-league game. Schwinden, who will turn 25 later this month, is a right-handed starting pitcher who overcame modest expectations of a 22nd-rounder with a strong season at Class AA and AAA and ought to be comfortable in a just-happy-to-be-here number like 63.
Until this week, 63 was the lowest number not to have been assigned to a player in Mets history. The new most eligible virgin is 65. All numbers higher than 65 have also yet to be issued with the exceptions of 73 (Kenny Rogers, Ricardo Rincon); 75 (Francisco Rodriguez); 77 (D.J. Carrasco) and 99 (Turk Wendell).
Coming along with Schwinden from the minors are Mike Baxter, who will again suit up in No. 23 and Valentino Pascucci, who gets Carlos Beltran’s former No. 15. I guess he should have visited those wounded vets. Seriously, happy for Pascucci who deserved this call from the Mets three years ago, when, just as today, he was slugging it out for a Mets farm team. The author of 234 minor league home runs (and another 13 in Japan) Pascucci last played in the big leagues in 2004 — with the Expos. Welcome aboardick.