If Batista lands on DL, Hefner start looms

May, 19, 2012
TORONTO -- Miguel Batista suffered a lower-back strain delivering a full-count cutter to Eric Thames in the second inning of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays and could be headed to the disabled list.

Terry Collins said Jeremy Hefner, who tossed five quality innings in relief of Batista, definitely would take the rotation turn in five days against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field if Batista is unable.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Associated Press/Canadian Press
Miguel Batista departed Saturday's game with a lower-back strain.

Chris Schwinden will join the Mets as part of the taxi squad on Sunday. He will be activated to serve as a safety net backing up starter Dillon Gee if Batista lands on the DL, or if the Mets otherwise make a bullpen maneuver.

Batista saw a Toronto doctor and said he was informed he suffered a “minor pull.” He felt the injury on every ensuing pitch. He initially took the mound for the bottom of the third, but did not face a batter that inning.

“It felt funny,” Batista said about the pitch to Thames. “And after that, I felt it every pitch.”

Batista added that this injury was unrelated to his recent groin troubles. His lower back remained “a little sore” after the game.

Hefner left Buffalo, home of the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday with Port St. Lucie, Fla.-based, minor league equipment coordinator Jack Brenner, who was visiting Bisons manager Wally Backman on Friday night and already planning to see the major league club on Saturday. Hefner arrived in Toronto two hours later with a couple of days’ worth of clothes; he left his remaining belongings in his truck back in Buffalo.

“I’m disappointed in that one inning. I got out of my mechanics a little bit and left a few balls up and they got a couple of runs,” said Hefner, who surrendered two runs in five innings. “I got a few strikeouts and just tried to keep the ball down and make them hit it into the ground. It’s a quick field, so [if] they get it in the gaps, it’s extra bases for sure.”

The Mets planned to remove a pitcher from the active roster after the weekend to restore the bench to five position players for a National League game Monday in Pittsburgh. If Batista lands on the DL and Hefner slides into the rotation, that frees the roster spot potentially without a difficult decision (with Schwinden returning to the Bisons after the cameo).

David Wright was unavailable Saturday, Collins said. The third baseman has asked to start Sunday, but Collins said he will reserve a decision until the morning.

Jenrry Mejia allowed one run on six hits while striking out three and walking none in three innings for Double-A Binghamton. It was his first minor league start at that level, and third overall, since Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011. Mejia threw only 48 pitches, but GM Sandy Alderson said the right-hander was due to be capped at 50 to 60 pitches and there was nothing wrong.

Chris Young, who had his comeback interrupted with his wife due to give birth, will next pitch for Class A St. Lucie on Friday -- 10 days after his last appearance.

Adam Rubin

ESPN Staff Writer
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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