Justin Turner Heads to the DL; Mets Call up Omar Quintanilla

By Matt Musico

It’s never cool when a reserve player goes down with an injury while he’s already filling in for a couple injured players. That’s what happened early on in the game yesterday when Justin Turner singled to right field and sprained his ankle during a rundown between 1st and 2nd base. Rob Johnson was hustling from second base on the single, but was held up at 3rd by Tim Teufel as the throw from right field went to the plate. Alertly, Turner rounded the bag and was heading for 2nd base, but stopped halfway there for some reason, starting the rundown and leading to his injury.

As he was trying to get back safely to first base, Turner’s foot landed awkwardly on the base, leading to what looked like a twisted ankle, followed by him rolling around on the ground in considerable pain. Trainer Ray Ramirez was instantly on the scene caring for the

shortstop, and after a couple of minutes he was helped off the field, without being able to put any pressure on his injured ankle. Thankfully, x-rays came back negative for Justin, but it goes down as a sprained ankle as he hits the 15-day DL. Manger Terry Collins expects recovery time for Tuner to be between two and three weeks.

Turner’s injury forced a big defensive shuffle because Ronny Cedeno still wasn’t available due to his left calf strain. Collins said that Cedeno was available to pinch hit, but if he reached base, he would have been replaced by a pinch runner. So, after multiple switches that brought Kirk Nieuwenhuis into the game, David Wright was shifted over to shortstop for the remainder of the game. Ruben Tejada continues to rehab his strained quad, and Collins said that if all goes well this week, he doesn’t think his starting shortstop is far from game action, with a possible return coming this weekend.

For now, the Mets have decided to call up Omar Quintanilla to help bolster the shortstop position, and he will most likely be starting there at Citi Field against the Phillies tonight. Some may have thought Jordany Valdespin might have gotten the call, but the organization opted for Quintanilla because he has more experience playing the position than Valdespin. Wally Backman has given his support for 30-year-old shortstop, saying that he is the most valuable player for the Bisons so far this season in Triple-A. In 47 games for Buffalo, Quintanilla owns a triple slash of .281/.345/.497, along with 6 home runs and 27 RBI.

Not bringing up Valdespin again was a good move by the Mets because they need a player that knows all the ins and outs of playing shortstop for the time being before Tejada and/or Cedeno are healthy enough to play. This is an important stretch for the Mets, as their series opener against the Phillies started a stretch of eight consecutive series facing opponents with over a .500 record. It will be a true test to see whether the Amazins will be contenders or were pretenders throughout the first two months of the year.