Back from a vacation and better late than never — Anderson Hernandez recalled from Norfolk Sept. 17; Danny Graves 32 recalled on Sept. 5; and Mike Piazza 31 back from the DL on Sept. 10. MBTN was surprised to return from our vacation to see Hernandez dressed in No. 1 — which we thought that number might have been in semi-retirement awaiting the 1986 anniversary next season and Mookie Wilson’s continuing service to the organization. As argued here before, MBTN is generally not in favor of retiring numbers — we’d prefer to see them strategically re-issued — but hard to say from his play or lack of it thus far whether Hernandez is truly Mookworthy yet.
Hernandez, by the way, appears to be the 42nd and final player to wear a Met jersey this year — the fewest Met uni wearers since only 40 suited up in 1996. We had 52 last year.
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.
Just as Carlos Beltran 15 returned to the lineup, looking remarkably healthy despite a broken face bone, we learned that catcher Mike Piazza 31 will take at least a few days off with a hairline fracture of his own (he fractured his hand, not his hairline). To be certain we’re in catchers, the Mets did a cool thing and recalled slugging, lefthanded-hitting AAer Mike Jacobs, who arrived at the park tonight wearing No. 27. To make room for him, the Mets designated reliever Jose Santiago 33, who failed to distinguish himself over a few weeks as the team’s 6th or 7th reliever.
The Mets got some of their missing offense back today when Mike Piazza returned from the disabled list. To make room for him the Mets designated recent pickup Brian Buchanan 10 for assignment. In the meantime the Mets placed reliever Mike DeJean 35 on the disabled list and recalled Heath Bell 19.
Struggling one-time superstar Mike Piazza 31 hit the disabled list last night to rest a bad knee. In his place the Mets recalled Danny Garcia 12, who’d been refining his game at Norfolk as multi-position player.
Three months after being carried off, Mike Piazza returned to the field last night under — and with — his own power. The Mets changed radically during the 76 games Piazza missed but still cried out for a righthanded power hitter: He obliged with 3 hits, a home run and 5 RBI. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…
Mike’s return to the No. 31 jersey meant a demotion for young outfielder Jeff Duncan, who never did manage to shake the rookie-ish hold of the No. 61 jersey on his back.
Mike Piazza has a new position — reclined. He was carried off the field along with what little remained of realistic hopes for a good summer last night in San Francisco, leaving the Mets with little recourse but to re-call Jason Phillips 23 for a fourth time this year, and crossing their fingers. This isn’t good. Another, albeit less important, starting player went on the disabled list two days before when Rey Sanchez 10 was disabled and Marco Scutaro 26 called up for the first time this year.
With Mike Piazza having paid his debt to baseball society, the Mets today demoted backup catcher Jason Phillips 23 and welcomed Tony Clark to the active roster for the first time. Clark becomes the first Met ever to wear Number 00.
Mike Piazza’s punishment for his attempted assault of cowardly Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota has created the potential for third-string backstop Jason Phillips cracking the roster in the early going. Should Phillips see action, it would be while wearing his third “official” different uniform number as a Met and his 4th overall: Quite an accomplishment for a guy with only 26 Major-League at-bats!
To explain: Phillips was called up to Mets in May of 2001 and issued a jersey — No. 3 — but did not appear in a game before being sent back to AA Binghamton. Later that year Phillips made his “official” Met debut in No. 26 — his No. 3 had in the meantime been issued to Vance Wilson. Twenty-six was issued to Marco Scutaro prior to Phillips’ September call-up of 2002 so Phillips instead wore No. 7. This spring, the Mets dressed superstar-in-waiting Jose Reyes in No. 7 and told Phillips to take No. 23, which would be his likely number the next time he appears as a Met. The Goggled One still has two more uni-switches ahead of him if he wants to catch all-time uni-number leader Jeff McKnight but he’s off to a great start!