David Wright gave Phil Hughes plenty of credit after the righthander shut down the Mets – and the third baseman, in particular – on Saturday afternoon.
New York Mets
Wright went 0-for-4 in the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Yankees, striking out three times. Two of those Ks came against Hughes (10-1, 3.17 ERA). The third strikeout came against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning with one on and the Mets down two runs.
“He was good against us at our place,” Wright said of Hughes, who took the loss in a May 22 showdown with Pelfrey at Citi Field. “But today he really had everything working. His fastball seemed to really explode on you (and) his fastball had a lot of life. He was throwing his cutter for strikes and dropping that big curveball in there to keep you off balance. There’s a reason he’s (10-1) and he’s been as dominant as he has.”
Wright is hitting .333 (12-for-36) with two homers, 12 RBI and nine strikeouts during the Mets’ current road trip, which wraps up Sunday against the Yanks. He has 31 RBI in his last 31 games. Wright has had success recently on sliders and curves late in the count, but went down swinging at Chamberlain’s 87-mph slider to end the eighth. Through May 21, Wright was 3-for-35 in at-bats that ended in curves or sliders but he entered play today 10-for-31 in at-bats that ended in curves or sliders over the past 23 games.
CARLOS ‘CLOSER’: Injured center fielder Carlos Beltran had three plate appearances Saturday in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie. He played one inning in center field before the game was halted due to poor weather conditions.
Mets GM Omar Minaya didn’t rule out the possibility of Beltran starting a minor-league rehab assignment, though he said he didn’t want to set any specific time table for the Mets’ $119 million man. Beltran is playing in Florida as part of a rehabilitation of his surgically-repaired and arthritic right knee. The 33-year-old had offseason surgery in January to repair his knee. Minaya expressed optimism that Beltran is “closer” to starting a minor league rehab assignment. At that point, Beltran would be on a 20-day timetable to be activated.
“The leg hopefully continues to keep getting stronger and hopefully he’s getting closer to being able to be sent on a full rehab assignment,” Minaya said.
The Mets will be forced to find at-bats for Angel Pagan, one of the most consistent Mets, once Beltran returns to his role as starting center fielder. Beltran would likely split time with Pagan (.296 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI) in center field initially before taking over full-time when he’s ready.
CASTILLO NOT GOING TO PUSH IT: Minaya said the Mets wouldn’t rush injured second baseman Luis Castillo back to Queens.
Castillo is on the DL with bruised feet. He is now eligible to be activated. Ruben Tejada would have to be sent back to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Castillo. The team placed Castillo on the disabled list June 4.
“We want to make sure when he’s coming back, he’s playing,” Minaya said of Castillo. “Sometimes when you push it too much (the injury is re-aggravated).”
Minaya said Castillo continues to work out, hit and take ground balls in Port St. Lucie.
PEREZ WON’T GET CALL: Oliver Perez was eligible to be activated from the 15-day DL on Saturday, but the Mets say the lefthander isn’t close to being activated.
The Mets avoided an ugly standoff with Perez when they put him on the disabled list on June 4. He’d been refusing a minor-league assignment for weeks and the Mets put him on the disabled list when they needed to make room on the roster for Jonathon Niese. Sending Perez to the DL was the easiest way to open a roster spot for Niese.
Minaya said Perez threw 70 pitches in a simulated outing and the tendinitis in his right knee is “coming along.”
“Yesterday, he had a good outing,” Minaya said on Saturday. “We’ll see how he bounces back sometime next week.”
Jerry Manuel said the team hasn’t made a decision regarding Perez’s return.
METS TRADE FOR MINOR LEAGUER PADILLA: The team announced after Saturday’s game that they had acquired OF Jorge Padilla in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Padilla has been assigned to the Bisons and activated by Buffalo immediately.
Padilla, 30, hit .330 (61-185) with four home runs and 27 RBI in 50 games with Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League this season and led all full-season minor-leaguers with a .367 BA in 95 games with Triple-A Syracuse in 2009.