Jack Egbert, that is. He was called up to the Mets this afternoon from AAA Buffalo, while Robert Carson goes the other way. Egbert, 29, was pitching to a 2.09 ERA in Buffalo albeit with underwhelming strikeout ratio for a bullpen guy. He's a Rutgers product whom the Mets acquired on waivers from the White Sox, who had him up briefly in 2009. The Mets roster lists him in No. 61, joining forebears Jesse Orosco (1979), Mario Ramirez (1980), Jeff Duncan (2003), Chan Ho Park (2007) and Livan Hernandez (2009).
Last night's beating has left the relievers in need of relief, so the Mets today recalled Jeremy Hefner and sent down infielder Jordany Valdespin. Hefner appeared earlier this year wearing uniform No. 53 and backing up starter Miguel Batista when Batista was hammered by the San Francisco Giants. The prospect of the Blue Jays bats unloading on Batista -- despite his best start last time out -- suggests the Mets are making a prudent move.
It's a shame it had to be in the middle of a humiliating double-figure deficit but Robert Carson finally made his Major League debut tonight. Carson was recalled after Terry Collins' heavy-handed bullpen management put DJ Carrasco in a position where a bad outing would not only cost us a game but him a career. Carson debuted wearing a crooked, straight-bimmed cap and the same No. 73 jersey he'd worn in Spring Training and in his brief appearance on the big-league roster a few weeks back. He becomes the third Met to wear No. 73: Kenny Rogers who ought to be remembered more for the strong work that got the '99 Mets into the poostseason than the bases-loaded walk that lost them; and forgettable veteran Ricardo Rincon, an actor in the 2008 collapse, were the others.
Carrasco was designated for assignment. He was the first signee of the new front-office regime.
Here are links to the paper and the powerpoint presentation I gave as a part of the Mets 50th Anniversary conference last month at Hofstra University. My topic was examining each of the transactions involving Tom Seaver, beginning with Bing Devine's role in "making your own luck" and convincing the Mets to enter the Seaver drawing in 1966, the tension with Don Grant leading to the Seaver trade in 1977, and the story behind his reacquisition in 1983 and loss as free agent compensation in 1984. In retrospect I could have pitched a paper on any one of these deals, rather than all four, as the original paper was something like 19 pages long and I was supposed to have limited it to 12. And even then...
I've said this before, but this conference was a great event, and I'm sorry I got to see so little of it. I welcome your feedback!
Catcher Rob Johnson is in uniform in Philly tonight and wearing the same No. 16 he had during Spring Training. As we'll all remember for a long time, Jordany Valdespin was suddenly recalled to the Mets Monday when Ruben Tejada hit the disabled list, his home run capped a wild and memorable game during which Josh Thole was knocked silly in a collision with the Phillies' Ty Wigginton -- Wiggy was out -- necessitating the Mets to invoke the new 7-day disabled list for concussion symptoms and recall Johnson.
A few Met changes to get caught up on that I missed over the weekend: First, there was the return of punching-bag starter Chris Schwinden to AAA after two miserable starts as Mike Pelfrey's replacement. What makes the Mets think Miguel Batista represents much of an upgrade remains a bit of a mystery, as Batista hasn't had much more than a good inning or two since spring training and is 41 years old, but that's the price the Mets are paying for cutting every corner on depth as a means to service the Wilpon's debt.
In Schwinden's place the Mets recalled versatile reserve Vinny Rottino, who retains the No. 33 he rocked during spring training. The last Met to wear No. 33 was reliever Taylor Buchholz, who left the club last year battling depression (we know) but the 33 I can see Rottino resembling is Valentine era reserve Mike Kinkade, who like Rottino was a right-handed bench bat who could catch in an emergency.
Also this weekend, the Mets demoted Jordany Valdespin as reliever D.J. Carrasco returned from the disabled list. Valdespin struggled in limited plate appearances but his versatility could be an asset down the road. I'd consider Carrasco a possibility to take a starting role if this Batista thing doesn't work out, and who really does.
The way Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been playing it's barely a relief today to see that Andres Torres has returned, but the team has adapted well so far so I'm hopeful they can keep it up (and continue to encounter the opposition on their bad days). To make room for the returning Torres, Nieuwenhuis has been shifted over to left field where someone named Jason Bay used to play and double-ear-flapped reserve Zach Lutz was returned to AAA Buffalo.
Just call him Tom Snyder... because he's on after Carson. That's Chris Schwinden, returning to the Mets tonight in Colorado and perhaps for a lengthy stay now that Mike Pelfrey's sore elbom will be Tommy Johnned and Matt Harvey has been deemed not ready for prime time. Schwinden was activated and should be wearing the same he wore in four forgettable appearances late last year. He replaces reliever Robert Carson who was recalled from Class AA earlier this week, issued No. 73, but never made an appearance. Schwinden is still the only 63 ever to appear for the Mets.
If you're planning to head out to the 50th Anniversary Mets Conference beginning this week at Hofstra University (and I hope you are) come see me! I intend on blowing minds with a brilliant and devastating analysis of the four Tom Seaver Transactions in a speech scheduled for Opening Night, a 6:45-8 p.m. session which also will include a presentation I'm dying to see about Dave Kingman and an analysis of sports business trends in the wake of the Midnight Massacre. Following my presentation there will be a screening of the film "Mathematically Alive." I also intend to return to see some presentations on Saturday. Full details of the conference are available here. Hope to see you there!
What was looking like a happy and uneventful Mets season has suddently become anything but. A few poor starts and a little better competition has begun to expose big cracks in the Mets' health and holes in their game. I don't think I've seen a Met look as lost at the plate as Ike Davis does these days since Jeromy Burnitz in 2002. We're really piling up the whiffs.
As noted below, a few disabled-list assignments have brought some new players to the team. Monday's doubleheader featured the Mets debut of Jeremy Heffner, who took the roster slot of disabled infielder Ronny Cedeno. Heffner, who wore No. 53 -- the first since manager Jerry Manuel in 2010 -- was farmed out again after the game when Jordanny Valdespin was activated. Valdespin, a hard-hitting prospect whom the Mets hope to use in a utility role, was assigned No. 1 (I'd have gusessed 22, wrongly again). Today we got news that both Jason Bay and Mike Pelfrey were added to the disabled list. Bay's spot on the roster will be taken over by Zach Lutz, a third baseman who can hit.
The Mets have assigned Lutz No. 19, which if you're Danny Herrera can't be encouraging. The little lefty we received for Francisco Rodriguez last season is already off the 40 and out for the year with arm trouble. It's unlikey we see him again. Pelfrey's spot -- for the moment -- will be occupied by lefty reliever Robert Carson, who's been assigned No. 73, at least according to the Mets roster.