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 persistance 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 recieved 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.