Ruben Tejada Returns, Frank Francisco Hits DL
While the Mets were able to activate both Ruben Tejada and Ramon Ramirez last night, there had to be corresponding moves to make room for these two players on the New York roster. That meant that Jordany Valdespin got demoted to Triple-A Buffalo, and with a strained left oblique, Frank Francisco was sent to the 15-day DL, not eligible to return to the roster until July 8th, the day before the All-Star break.
Although Tejada’s statistics throughout his rehab assignment weren’t flashy (4-for-21 in Buffalo, 1-for-9 in St. Lucie), Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson talked to Bisons manager Wally Backman to see how the young shortstop looked on the field. Backman said that he felt Tejada was ready; he was running extremely well and his at-bats were improving with each turn to the plate. So, the Mets made the decision to activate him, and he proved his health last night, playing a very good shortstop while going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. To make room, the organization decided to send down Valdespin, despite the fact that the 24-year-old has hit .300 with 6 RBI in his last 10 games. Collins said that Jordany needs to play consistently, and while it was tough to send him down, there are plenty other middle infielders that will need regular at-bats (mainly talking about Daniel Murphy).
Frank Francisco first felt his oblique injury Friday night during his 18th save of the season. After resting Saturday and not being available to Collins out of the bullpen, the Mets decided to place their closer on the disabled list after results of an MRI showed the
strain. This type of injury is tough to come back from quickly because it’s hard to know exactly when a player is healthy enough to start playing again. For the time being, Bobby Parnell will assume the closer role, which he has done a few times in recent years. Unlike the past, he has been the most consistent reliever for New York, throwing 30 innings, posting a 3.30 ERA, striking out 30 hitters, and inducing ground balls more than half the time he’s on the mound.
To take Francisco’s place on the roster, Ramon Ramirez was also activated off the disabled list. Collins was working all weekend with a shorthanded bullpen, which he didn’t think would be a problem, but the issue grew worse when Francisco became unavailable. After their loss last night, Vinny Rottino was designated for assignment and New York purchased the contract of Justin Hampson from Triple-A Buffalo. Hampson is 4-2 in 28 relief appearances for the Bisons, throwing 42.1 innings and posting a 2.13 ERA. He will join Tim Byrdak as the only two lefties in the bullpen.
As for Jason Bay, he said he feels “a thousand times better” than he thought he would at this point after he suffered his second concussion in three seasons. He can use his last head injury in 2010 as a reference point, since he missed the last two months of the season trying to recover. Unlike that injury, where Bay not only played in a couple games after he slammed into the wall at Dodger stadium, but also went on a couple plane rides, he went straight home to rest. This news has lifted the spirits of Bay, who was at Citi Field this weekend, and could start to increase his physical activity as soon as this week. How he responds to that will dictate a possible timetable for a return to the lineup. For now, Bay is happy to be symptom-free.