Just great to see former Met Edgardo Alfonzo rescued from the indignities of independent league ball and given another shot by the Mets at AAA Norfolk, isn’t it? While a minor league contract for the (alleged) 32-year-old infielder, released by two other organizations already this year, may not amount to much, we can’t help but get ahead of ourselves and recall the warm fuzzies of Lee Mazzilli’sheartwarming return to the organization he gave the best years of his life to, and just in time for the postseason he might have deserved but never smelled. While Fonzie knows from playoffs, his departure from New York after the 2002 season never sat well with good fans like us, even if we’ll admit under torture that it might have come at the right moment considering the direction his career — and the Met fortunes — would go since then. But as a right-handed bat on the bench? We’ll sign up for that, if and when the need arises.
And let’s suppose it does. Would Billy Wagner surrender No. 13? Or is he the jerk his former teammates say he is? Ironically, the Mets faced a similar quandary when Mazzilli returned 20 years ago: His familiar No. 16 at that point of course belonged to Dwight Gooden, so he foretold the future glories of Edgardo Alfonzo and suited up in 13. Wagner of course is no Doc.
Saturday’s disaster in Chicago resulted in a quick demotion for hard-throwing reliever Henry Owens 36. Taking his place in the bullpen is Heath Bell 19, recalled from Norfolk for the third time this season.
The Mets’ slavish devotion to market forces and their utter disregard of the wishes of their fans and their own sense of history this week results in the heartbreaking news that the club’s all-time No. 13, Edgardo Alfonzo, will suit up in some other team’s uniform in 2003. This is the saddest player personnel move in years for the Mets and represents the willful shedding of a homegrown player so rare as to be on pace to set all-time team marks in a half-dozen or more offensive categories and who still ranks among the best at his position in either league. It plain sucks, and we at MBTN can only hope the team manages enough dignity not to issue this number to the next fly-by-night piece of patchwork that stumbles into town on a salary swap.
Totally without coincidence, the Mets managed to break their embarrassing 12-game losing streak with the return of Edgardo Alfonzo 13 to the active roster. Ty Wigginton 9 was returned to Norfolk where he’ll presumably work on his fielding. Alfonzo missed 20 games overall — the Mets won only three of them.
The Mets retroactively disabled Edgardo Alfonzo 13 and his sore oblique. Taking is his place is the exciting Marco Scutaro who provided a few fun thrills earlier this year wearing No. 26.
MBTN is back from a two-week break, during which we missed some moves, but not much fun. Here’s a quick chronological rundown.
June 24: Optioned Dicky Gonzalez 39 to Norfolk; recalled Jerrod Riggan 38.
June 25: Optioned Riggan; recalled Grant Roberts 36.
June 26: Optioned Alex Escobar 25 to Norfolk; activated Jay Payton 44 from the DL.
June 30: Designated Darryl Hamilton 18 for assignment (See ya!); recalled Vance Wilson 3 from Norfolk.
July 3: Activated Edgardo Alfonzo 13 from the DL; placed Jorge Velandia 11 on the DL.
July 4: Activated Donne Wall 33 from the DL; optioned Roberts to Norfolk.
It’s not looking good in Metville, where Edgardo Alfonzo 13 and his achin’ back are off to the Disabled List. The Mets called up infield backup Jorge Velandia 11 to take his place. Velandia wore No. 11 in a brief appearance last season.