Shawn Green arrived tonight and is in the lineup wearing No. 20, most recently belonging to Victor Diaz,who was sprung to make room for Green on the 40. Disappointing would-be spare part Ricky Ledee 9 was released to make room for him.
The Mets in the meantime had more injury news to share: Ramon Castro 11, who suffered a setback in his rehab assignment earlier this week, was tranferred to the 60-day disabled list making any chance he’ll rejoin the Mets this year a longshot. Telegraphing doubts both in Castro’s return and Mike DiFelice’s usefulness, the Norfolk Tides signed veteran backstop Kelly Stinnett,who played for the Mets 11 years ago wearing No. 33.Prediction, DiFelice bequeaths the No. 6 jersey to Stinnett in no time, or the Mets go fish for another backup and soon.
Also, they said Orlando Hernandez 26 would skip his next turn, giving Brian Bannister a start for the first time since pulling a hammy in San Francisco in April. You should remember him as No. 40.That means lefty project Oliver Perez will likely get Tom Glavine’s scheduled start on Saturday: Perez is currently wearing No. 47 in Norfolk, and was 48 and 59 in Pittsburgh. The Mets following Thursday’s win sent Lastings Milledge 44 down to Norfolk to make room for Bannister. Wow.
Roberto Hernandez promised writers he’d be wearing his old No. 39 for tonight’s game — and sure enough, he did. The veteran relief pitcher had been assigned 49 when he joined the Mets Tuesday but evidently was successful in prying the digits from Pedro Feliciano, who switched to the vacant25 and summarily ended Chase Utley’s hitting streak. The news here is Feliciano becoming the latest member of the exclusive Three-Number Club — he previously suited up in 55 and 39.
Also this evening, word arrived that backup catcher Mike DiFelice has returned while Ramon Castro 11 hit the disabled list. No word yet on DiFelice’s jersey, but it won’t be the 33 he wore last year: That belongs to John Maine.
Kaz Ishii 23 returned to the active roster today and pitched well in a win over Cincinnati and maybe,Victor Zambrano’s job. To make room, the Mets optioned one-time rookie-off-the-year candidate Victor Diaz 20 to Norfolk, where he’ll work on his defense and await Cliff Floyd’s next injury.
In the meantime catcher Ramon Castro 11 went to the disabled list with a strained quad, and journeyman Mike DiFelice was recalled from Norfolk. DiFelice made his Met debut tonight in No. 33, recalling historical Metly backup catchers Clint Hurdle, Barry Lyons, Tim Spehr, Mike Kincade, Charlie O’Brien and Barry Lyons.
The trade of Jason Phillips vaulted Ramon Castro into a likely role as Met backup catcher and his uni number went flying too. Castro’s status seems solidified by a switch from the non-rosterly 72 to the backup catcherly 11. With a week to go until the bell rings, notable recent cuts include Jae Seo 26, Scott Strickland 28, Jeff Keppinger 6, and Scott Stewart 32.
The Mets yesterday announced that nine players had been signed to minor league contracts and been invited to Spring Training. They include ancient slugger Andres Galarraga, who will turn 44 this summer — younger than The Francos at least (thanks Paul). It’s possible that the Big Cat makes the team, perhaps as the righthanded swinging half of a first base platoon, but he won’t be wearing his familiar No. 14 here. That’s retired.
Rehabbing Met bullpen veterans Grant Roberts 36 (photo at right by David Whitham); Scott Strickland 28 and Orber Moreno 49 were also retained with minor league contracts, as was outfielder Gerald Williams 21. Bringing back Williams would seem more pointless than usual, but for the news that Mike Cameron 44 is having surgery and will likely miss the first month of the year.
Also joining the mix to spell Cameron will be speedy backup Kerry Robinson, notable here for the fact he used to wear No. 0 while with the Cardinals. (Former Expo Ron Calloway,signed to a Major League deal earlier this week, will also be in the outfield mix.Calloway woreNo. 22 in Montreal/San Juan).
Other signees include pitcher Juan Padilla, a minor league vet who’s had coffee with the Yankees and Reds; Luis Garcia, a first baseman-outfielder who hit 32 HRs last year in the rare air of the PCL with the Dodgers’ organization; catchers Andy Dominique, a chunky minor league vet who made his debut last year with the Red Sox while Varitek served a suspension for getting in A-Rod’s girlish grill; and Ramon Castro, the former Marlins backup fighting a rape charge. Along with the news the Mets had re-signed veteran catcher Vance Wilson 3 to a 2005 contract, it appears a deal or two involving Jason Phillips 23 or That Piazza Guy may happen sooner or later.
Finally, there’s Marlon Anderson, No. 8 on your old Cardinal and Phillie rosters, a utility backup in the mold of Desi Relaford.
These guys will all report when Spring Training begins in six long weeks or so. Till then,Happy Holidays!