Veteran longshot pitcher Jose Lima arrived at Met camp boasting that he never wears the same suit twice. Apparently he’s applying the same rules of fashion to his Met jerseys.
Lima on Saturday suited up No. 17, his third different Met jersey this spring. Lima, you will recall, was issued No. 99 and then spent an afternoon in 42 before the Mets thought better of reissuing the mothballed Jackie Robinson uni and gave him 99 back. In the meantime the Mets sold Dae Sung Koo back to Korea, freeing up 17, in which Lima appeared most recently. For a guy the Mets are likely to bid “auf wiedersehen” to in a matter of weeks, he’s kept things interesting on the runway. (Thanks to MBTN reader Jason for the tip).
Jason also reports that coach Jerry Manuel appeared in No. 35, solving the mysery of what number he fled to after Chad Bradford claimed his 53 (below). What number remains for World Baseball Classic-exiled reliever Jose Santiago is still unknown (as is the question of whether he’s actually coming back after the tournament is complete). Santiago earlier this spring lost his assigned number 33 to teammate John Maine.
The Mets today welcomed back Steve Trachsel 29, and slotted him in the rotation on Friday. The drama as to who would be sacrificed to make room for him was satisfactorily resolved when washed-up mop-up man Danny Graves 32 was designated for assignment. On Monday, beefy reliever Heath Bell 19 was recalled from Norfolk while Dae Sung Koo 17 was demoted. On Sunday, reserve catcher Mike DeFelice 33 returned to the active roster when the Mets got around to disabling catcher Mike Piazza 31. Meanwhile, a massive three-run homer in his debut turn at bat Sunday appears to have saved a job for Mike Jacobs 27, who’s now your starting first baseman.
MBTN reader Mike from Tennessee points out that Jacobs became the fourth Met to hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat — and that each of them had ascending uni numbers: Benny Ayala 18; Mike Fitzgerald 20; Kaz Matsui 25; and Jacobs 27. This is the kind of useless history MBTN was designed to capture.
Only hours after Carlos Delgado and his scheming agent left the Mets high and dry came word that Omar had traded promising ex-Cyclone Ian Bladergroen for spare Red Sock first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. Minky brings an excellent glove but an average bat to his new job, but was probably the best among the consolation prizes. Mientkiewicz wore No. 16 for most of his career in Minnesota and No. 13 in Boston, but what might be most interesting is seeing whether the Mets manage to fit that unweildly last name onto the back of a jersey without dropping the leading: His 12-lettered name matches Isringhausen for the longest in Met history. Omar contends the offseason acquisition spree is all but done, but we’ll believe it when 25 men depart from St. Lucie.
Spotted at the Met Caravan this week: New manager Willie Randolph has indeed returned to his Met No. 12, as reported by MBTN reader Keith, and the photo above appears to showDanny Garcia accomodating by taking No. 1. The Met roster lists Miguel Cairo (next to Diaz) in No. 3 and reliever Dae Sung Koo (next to Brazell in the top row) in No. 60; but we haven’t confirmed either by eyewitness. We’re unsure who that guy is in the back row between Looper and Bell (DeJean?), as well as the dude on the farthest right on the top row.
Updates: The guy in No. 52 is is new bullpen coach Guy Conti, not Jerry or Charlie Manuel as we incorrectly guessed here. Thanks to readers Matt and Sean for pointing it out! Also today, we discovered that Victor Diaz has been given the more dignified No. 20 — he was a rookieish 50 last year.
Last week came word the Mets had traded veteran backup catcher Vance Wilson 3 to Detroit for minor league infielder Anderson Hernandez;signed veteran backup infielder Miguel Cairo; and signed lefthanded reliever Dae-Sung Koo. That Wilson was the Met to go was surprising but, in our estimation, the right choice to make seeing as Jason Phillips 23 is younger, a better receiver and possesses more of an upside, notwithstanding his lousy sophomore year. One thing certain about Cairo is that you won’t see him in his customary No. 41: That’s unavailable. Aquiring Koo was a coup in that newspapers hinted he, like Beltran, was simply assumed to be a future Yankee. Heh. Said to have a sneaky arm that will trouble lefthanded hitters, Koo wore No. 15 with Orix of the Japan Pacific League — that will belong to Beltran for awhile.