Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Roster Moves: Delgado Out Indefintiely

The Mets are dealing with their first major injury of the 2009 season, as Carlos Delgado is undergoing hip surgery because of a torn labrum and a bone spur. There's no definitive time-table for his return, but there is some concern that Delgado may be out for the rest of the season.

Losing your cleanup hitter is never a good thing, but the timing is actually advantageous for the Mets. Daniel Murphy's future in New York may be at first base, so the Mets have a golden opportunity to give him a month or so of relatively low-pressure exposure to the position to see how well he takes to it. With Gary Sheffield and Jeremy Reed both hitting well and Angel Pagan now looking for at-bats (he was recalled to replace Delgado on the active roster), there would be no shortage of candidates to play left field while Murphy works out at first.

Of course, Fernando Tatis has been tearing the cover off the ball lately and Murphy has been slumping, so there's no reason to hand the job over just yet. What has bothered me the last few days has been how Jerry Manuel has been spelling Tatis when he's not playing first base. The Mets have an excellent defensive outfielder in Reed, who has virtually no experience at first base. The Mets have a comically bad defensive outfielder in Murphy, with no experience at first base. Guess who has been seeing more time there?

Alex Cora is also going to be out for awhile, but unlike Delgado he has no one to blame but himself for his injury. An unnecessary head-first slide into second base on Sunday resulted in a torn ligament in Cora's thumb, which will lead to an extended stay on the shelf. It also led to the frightening specter of Fernando Tatis playing shortstop for a few innings as Cora's replacement on Sunday.

Ramon Martinez will take over the utility infielder's role for the Mets while Cora is on the disables list. Too bad, because Cora had been hitting well in Jose Reyes's temporary absence and was building a case for replacing Luis Castillo at second base when Reyes returns.

(By the way, Castillo is hitting .205/.302/.250 since being moved back up the top of the order on May 7. Hey Jerry, some of us still think that Castillo should be batting eighth!)

As for Cora's injury: too many baseball players today insist on the head-first slide, which does not get you to the base any quicker and does not make you any more difficult to to tag. Did anyone happen to catch Pagan's foot-first slide into home last night to tie the game at 2-2? He might be the only player on the Mets with enough baseball acumen not to slide head-first in that situation.

Finally, some housekeeping. Tim Redding is back and in the starting rotation, pitching out of the slot that initially belonged to Oliver Perez and was being filled by Jon Niese. He's better than Livan Hernandez, but that's not saying much. Nelson Figueroa came and went again, and to be honest I can't even figure out what part on the pitching staff he was on.

Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
John Maine
Livan Hernandez
Tim Redding

Francisco Rodriguez (closer)
JJ Putz
Brian Stokes
Bobby Parnell
Sean Green
Pedro Feliciano
Ken Takahashi

Ramon Castro
Omir Santos
Brian Schneider - DL

Fernando Tatis
Luis Castillo
David Wright
Jose Reyes
Ramon Martinez
Carlos Delgado - DL
Alex Cora - DL

Daniel Murphy
Carlos Beltran
Ryan Church
Jeremy Reed
Gary Sheffield
Angel Pagan

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