Looks like it’s one-and-done for Chan Ho Park 61, whose messy debut start in place of Orlando Hernandez appears to have been his last as a Met. For now. The Mets designated Park for assignment Thursday, and recalled in his place AAA reliever Lino Urdaneta, whose prior Major League experience consisted of a single nightmare appearance for the 2004 Tigers. He faced 6 batters allowing, in order, a walk and 5 straight singles — all of them scored — in what would be a 26-5 asswhoop by Kansas City.
Urdaneta was injured shortly after his appearance and later released by Detroit, leaving him with an ERA of infinity when the Mets signed him out of the Mexican League last summer.
Urdaneta pitched Spring Training wearing No. 58 and is listed by mets.com today as wearing 19(alert us if you happen to eyewitness). Though a sideways 8 might be appropriate at least until he gets an appearance — no guarantee since he’s expected to be returned to New Orleans when Hernandez’ turn comes up next. Jorge Sosa (No. 29 in Spring Training) is expected to get that start.
Depending on what you read the Mets may have some disabled list moves to make by gametime today. The Daily News seems to be pessimistic regarding the health of Jose Valentin’s knee and suggests the Mets would recall New Orleans middle infielder who’s outperforming Ruben Gotay — Anderson Hernandez, though not by much.
Gotay wore No. 6 in spring training and his recall would make him the 33rd No. 6 in team history, the most ever of any number. That would also qualify the trade that brought Gotay into the organization as a Uni Swap, seeing as he was acquired for another No. 6, Jeff Keppinger.
We hope above all that Valentin’s OK.
Orlando Hernandez 26 is battling shoulder soreness. Should he be unable to go tonight, word is the Mets will call New Orleans for Chan Ho Park, who’s rested. Should Park arrive, he’d be the fourth No. 61 in team history but the first to be happy about it. His three predecessors in the No. 61 jersey — Jesse Orosco in 1979; Mario Ramirez in 1980 and Jeff Duncan in 2003 — all eventually turned to more dignified numbers.
The Mets following a rare spring training victory today said Aaron Sele and ‘Bazooka’ Joe Smithwould be added to the big-league roster, a development that threw the Metly future of Chan Ho Park 61 into question. As things shake out it’s come down to Park, Ambiorix Burgos 40and optionless/hapless acquiree Jon Adkins 39 for the seventh and final bullpen slot; The Mets will go with four starters the first few times around before recalling Mike Pelfrey 34 to become the 5th starter. That may prove to reward precocious prospect Lastings Milledge 44 for a strong showing this spring seeing as outfielder Ben Johnson 4 was cut today (along with lesser hopefuls Mike Carp 64, Lino Urdaneta 68, Anderson Hernandez 1, Ruben Gotay 6, Mike DiFelice 30 and Sandy Alomar Jr. 90).
Spring leaders of the Ring-Bell for Adkins-Johnson trade are the Padres, who’ve gotten a 0.90 ERA out of Heath Bell thus far.
Word from the Daily News is the Mets will commemorate Smith’s promotion by slashing his uniform number in half, from 70 to 35. Ironically, that’s the same number they tried to assign to last year’s righthanded submariner, Chad Bradford, before Bradford fled for the quirkier 53.Troublingly, that’s also the number rosters list Sele as wearing, unless Sele switched while I wasn’t looking (entirely possible). Any help? Thanks.
Unless something really unexpected happens, it appears Moises Alou 18 will become the 800th Met when the season begins a week from today.
Other first-time Mets would appear to be Damion Easley (No. 2), David Newhan (17), Aaron Sele (32), Scott Schoeneweis (60), Chan Ho Park (61) and “Bazooka” Joe Smith, who is, for all we know, still going around in the No. 70 jersey they assign to longshot bullpen wannabees. I made up that “Bazooka” nickname by the way, sort of. Remember Joe Smith, the basketball player? When he was a student at Maryland the school paper held a nickname contest to give him more pizzazz where ‘Bazooka’ was among the choices. I don’t think it ever stuck with that Joe Smith. We can’t let it go this time.
So what number does Bazooka Joe Smith get?
I don’t even have to look it up to tell you this is the first season the Mets began a year with two guys wearing numbers in the 60s.
The Mets reportedly made an incentive-heavy deal with free-agent pitcher Chan Ho Park, who’ll challenge a million other guys for a starting job this spring but figures to encounter little competition for uniform number 61.