Omar Quintanilla Gives Shortstop Position Some Stability

By Matt Musico

Mets fans held their collective breath when Justin Turner went down on Monday afternoon when he stepped awkwardly on first base. The first concern was for Turner’s health, but it soon turned to the panic about who was going to play shortstop. With Ruben Tejada still rehabbing his strained quad and Ronny Cedeno out with a strained calf, Turner was the last shortstop New York had. David Wright played the rest of the game at short, then the Mets made room for Omar Quintanilla by putting Turner on the disabled list, making him the sixth Met to play the position this season.

Turner received an MRI while at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan yesterday, and the test revealed a sprain in his foot and partial ligament damage. According to the infielder, the doctor sounded positive about his diagnosis. For now, Turner will have to wear a protective boot on his foot; once he is able to put weight on his foot, he can get rid of it. Calling Quintanilla up to play short until

Cedeno and/or Tejada are healthy enough to take over was an easy call for Terry Collins after he spoke to Triple-A manager Wally Backman. The Buffalo skipper gave his shortstop a glowing recommendation, saying that he’s not only been swinging the bat well, but he’s the best fielding shortstop on the team. For right now, the Mets need solid defense through the middle of the field, so Quintanilla was the easy choice.

Although Quintanilla is a career .300 in the minor leagues, his .217 career average in the Majors in parts of six seasons shows that he’s more known for his defense. However, the light-hitting infielder made his presence felt in his Mets debut last night, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored in the win against Philadelphia. Even though he had a great game last night, Collins is anticipating his playing time at short will be temporary.

Ronny Cedeno took some steps towards coming back from his injury, ramping up his baseball activity yesterday, and is on track to be ready to play by Friday. Once he is ready to take the field, Collins has said he will be in the lineup. As for Tejada, he is getting examined by team doctors in New York this week, and he has told his manager that he’s ready to make his return. However, word hasn’t come from the doctors yet, who will evaluate the 22-year-old again on Friday to see if he’s ready to re-join the Mets.

As for right now, the starting shortstop job will be Quintanilla’s, who is hitting a robust .750 in the Majors this year. It’s only one game, but hey, .750 is .750. Omar said it best himself:

"“I try to go out there and have good at-bats all the time. Baseball, it’s tough. When you have games like this, you’ve got to enjoy them.”"