I really, really thought that the Mets were going to promote Jeremy Hefner and give him an opportunity to start a big league game, but that apparently is not going to happen… yet.
Today the Mets made a roster move by sending the combustible Chris Schwinden back to Buffalo and calling up utility man Vinny Rottino, who was playing left field in AAA while batting .317/.360/.442 with one home run, eight walks and 15 strikeouts.
Rottino is 32 years and has been in the minor leagues forever, although he has had brief stints in the bigs over the years. The most recent was with the Marlins last season, but he also had 25 plate appearances with Milwaukee from 2006 to 2008. He seems to be a classic Crash Davis-type quadruple-A player. He even played catcher for two innings in 2006 with the Brewers, although Rottino will probably play some first base and corner outfield if he gets in a game with New York.
It’s not known for sure why the Mets called upon Rottino and not Lutz again, who was just with the team last week before Andres Torres came off the DL. I’m guessing they found Rottino’s ability to be a right-handed outfielder useful, since Nieuwenhuis might never hit lefties and maybe Scott Hairston is planning a vacation or something. Also, I think there is some kind of waiting period that prohibits the team from calling up Lutz again after just demoting him.
Realistically, I don’t see Rottino starting a game unless it’s to spell Duda against a lefty. I could see him pinch hitting for Duda or Ike Davis late in a game, but Rottino’s stay with the Mets is not expected to be long, so we might not see him at all.
Anyway, the Mets also announced that Miguel Batista would be making the start in place of Schwinden/Pelfrey on Tuesday in Philadelphia. This is terrifying because in his last start, Batista allowed six runs in 3.2 innings versus San Francisco, but it also makes sense, because there isn’t an obvious superior option. The Mets just have to hope that Batista shows up like he did at the end of last year, when he magically pitched a complete game shutout in the season finale.
The insertion of Batista into the rotation does not mean that he won’t be appearing out of the bullpen, however. I’m sure he won’t be available for long outings, but the Mets will still consider him ready to go for an inning or two.
“I’m too old for limitations,” the 41-year-old Batista said. “What are you going to save me for? Making the Hall of Fame at the age of 50?”
As Craig Carton would say, come get some.