Kaz Ishii 23 returned to the active roster today and pitched well in a win over Cincinnati and maybe,Victor Zambrano’s job. To make room, the Mets optioned one-time rookie-off-the-year candidate Victor Diaz 20 to Norfolk, where he’ll work on his defense and await Cliff Floyd’s next injury.
In the meantime catcher Ramon Castro 11 went to the disabled list with a strained quad, and journeyman Mike DiFelice was recalled from Norfolk. DiFelice made his Met debut tonight in No. 33, recalling historical Metly backup catchers Clint Hurdle, Barry Lyons, Tim Spehr, Mike Kincade, Charlie O’Brien and Barry Lyons.
Quick corrections to begin the new year: Manny Aybar debuted this afternoon in No. 36; and Felix Heredia wore 49. (Thank you Tom for the update; FU to MSG and Time Warner for not showing it to me). Also, Kris Benson 34 hit the DL, revealing Omar was probably foolish in having traded away Matt Ginter. That means Victor Diaz made the squad, and in a new number this year, 20.Meantime, it appears a move or two is on the near horizon as Benson is expected to miss three weeks and after today’s performance you can bet the pressure will build on Braden Looper. Ugh. We did almost everything else right.
Only hours after Carlos Delgado and his scheming agent left the Mets high and dry came word that Omar had traded promising ex-Cyclone Ian Bladergroen for spare Red Sock first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. Minky brings an excellent glove but an average bat to his new job, but was probably the best among the consolation prizes. Mientkiewicz wore No. 16 for most of his career in Minnesota and No. 13 in Boston, but what might be most interesting is seeing whether the Mets manage to fit that unweildly last name onto the back of a jersey without dropping the leading: His 12-lettered name matches Isringhausen for the longest in Met history. Omar contends the offseason acquisition spree is all but done, but we’ll believe it when 25 men depart from St. Lucie.
Spotted at the Met Caravan this week: New manager Willie Randolph has indeed returned to his Met No. 12, as reported by MBTN reader Keith, and the photo above appears to showDanny Garcia accomodating by taking No. 1. The Met roster lists Miguel Cairo (next to Diaz) in No. 3 and reliever Dae Sung Koo (next to Brazell in the top row) in No. 60; but we haven’t confirmed either by eyewitness. We’re unsure who that guy is in the back row between Looper and Bell (DeJean?), as well as the dude on the farthest right on the top row.
Updates: The guy in No. 52 is is new bullpen coach Guy Conti, not Jerry or Charlie Manuel as we incorrectly guessed here. Thanks to readers Matt and Sean for pointing it out! Also today, we discovered that Victor Diaz has been given the more dignified No. 20 — he was a rookieish 50 last year.
New pitching coach Rick Peterson has been spied wearing No. 51 and Shane Spencer in 43. Among those wearing a different number than their previous appearances in a Met uniform: Pat Strange in 34 and Jeff Duncan in 10. More whacky numbers available only for a limited time: outfielder Kenny Kelly 0; infielder Victor Diaz 13; catchers Danilo Reynoso 85 and Tony Piazza 91; longshot pitchers Shawn Sedlacek 86; James Baldwin 88 and Scott Erickson 89.