A Julio Franco Hip Replacement Away

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.

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