Updates over a busy few weeks — Cuban defectee Alay Soler makes his Major League debut tonight wearing No. 59. Soler was recalled after Omar Minaya designated a merciful end to the Jose Lima Experiment.Soler becomes only the second Met ever to wear No. 59, and the first since Ed Lynch made his Major League debut, in 1980.
Also today, the Mets traded struggling reliever Jorge Julio to Arizona for ancient ex-YankeeOrlando “El Duque” Hernandez. We assume El Duque will dress in his familiar No. 26 — currently available — when he arrives; until then, the team has recalled Norfolk yo-yo Heath Bell 19. This manuever may well serve to patch up the butt-end of a rotation sore with injuries, and Julio’s brief stay in Flushing won’t likely be missed, but it hardly makes the Kris Benson trade any less mysterious.
In between Lima’s whacking May 20 and Soler’s recall, the Mets enjoyed a phantom appearance from reliever Anderson Garcia, who wasn’t used and summarily returned to Norfolk. Rosters list Garcia as being assigned No. 58 but that hasn’t been eyewitnessed by us at least. Happy to hear from those who might confirm it.
On May 9, Heath Bell 19 was recalled as Fortunato was sent down. Days later, May 12, Bell was sent down as journeyman auditonee Jeremi Gonzalez was recalled. Gonzalez suited up in No. 32.
So the Mets yesterday interestingly if somewhat cruelly relegated Aaron Heilman to the bullpen and hope to make a 5th starter out of rookie Brian Bannister. The debate this raises, of course, is whether Bannister ought to also be afforded a dignified uniform number signifying his ascension. Bannister is wearing No. 61 currently. There are historical precedents for any outcome: When Dwight Gooden earned a roster spot in 1984, he went from 64 to 16; but when Eric Valent unexpectedly made the 2004 Mets, he kept his St. Lucified 57.
Should Bannister wish to pay tribute to his dad Floyd, a cursory check through the baseball cards reveals he wore Nos. 19 and 38 in his career: Neither is available except in the case Heath Bell fails to make the roster or is traded — both possibilities we’ve read in the last week. Perhaps too, numbers don’t matter particularly to Bannister: It appears he wore 25 in Binghamton and 43 at Norfolk; 17 with Team USA and oddly, 3 at USC.
In other news it appears that Anderson Hernandez 1 will get the starting job at second base: Whether he won a competition, or is there to stay, are matters of debate.
Turns out our efforts to confirm Jose Santiago’s uni number were worthless — it appears the Mets either never invited him back and/or actually did then quietly released him before the spring.
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.
The Mets arrived in Denver tonight with journeyman righthander Jose Santiago wearing No. 33.Santiago was recalled from Norfolk Sunday when Heath Bell 19 was demoted and informed he needs to develop a change-up. No. 33 was issued earlier this year to backup catcher Mike DiFelice.
The Mets announced Friday that first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz 16 has returned from a rehab stint and that cobwebby pinch-hitter Brian Daubach 13 was returned to Norfolk. They also promoted Norfolk closer Juan Padilla and returned lefty Royce Ring 22 to the farm. Padilla comes to the Mets having had an excellent half-season at Norfolk and Ring’s demotion seems to suggest that infuriating starter Kaz Ishii 23 will get a look in the pen. Padilla was assigned No. 28, which for two years sat patiently awaiting the return of Scott Strickland.
After a comically tragic performance Monday in Philly the Mets disabled Felix Heredia 49 and recalled Heath Bell 19. Bell appeared tonight to wrap up a record-setting Met win. This team might be better than we thought.
Within 24 hours on Monday, Aaron Heilman 48 was recalled, rocked and summarily banished to Norfolk. In his place the Mets recalled Tides closer Heath Bell,who throws hard and fashioned attractive numbers in AAA (67 K’s in 53.2 IP). He wears No. 19. Here’s hoping this Bell tolls clearer than his Met predecessors Gus 3, Derek 16 and Jay 44.
To make room for Bell on the 40-man roster, the Mets moved Orber Moreno 49 to the 60-day disabled list. Heilman’s recall sent Matt Ginter 13 back to Norfolk, where he remains.