There has been no shortage of injuries to New York Mets infielders this season. David Wright has been out since a week into the season with stenosis in his lower back. Daniel Murphy is on the DL, at least until Saturday, with a left quadriceps strain. Dilson Herrera missed time, too, with a fractured tip of his right middle finger.
But while Danny Muno has been on a back-and-forth shuttle between Triple-A Las Vegas and the majors, and Eric Campbell also has received fill-in chances, 24-year-old Matt Reynolds has remained with the Pacific Coast League club for the full season without getting a chance. That is the case despite having the most upside of that group.
“They haven’t really told me anything, and they really don’t owe me an explanation,” said Reynolds, a second-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas. “I’m here until they decide I should be in New York. I’m just trying to focus on getting better here and focusing my attention to the Triple-A games.”
Manager Terry Collins, while noting he is not the decision-maker, suggested one reason for the snub thus far is that Reynolds slumped in May when the Mets most seriously looked for a call-up. Reynolds also is not yet on the 40-man roster. Mets officials add that they want Reynolds to play consistently. Plus, the need was at second and third base, not the shortstop position Reynolds primarily has played this season.
Reynolds hit .317 in April, .239 in May and is now hitting .351 in June.
After going 2 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs on Tuesday night against Salt Lake, Reynolds is hitting .290 with four homers and 41 RBIs and has a .344 on-base percentage for the season with Las Vegas.
“May was a tough month for me,” Reynolds said. “And then the past week and a half I’ve been swinging it a lot better. Things are starting to pick back up. There was a period where I was feeling great. I just wasn’t getting any hits. I would line out a couple of times a game. The next thing you know I was 0 for 10 with like five lineouts. It’s just baseball. You just go through those periods.”
Reynolds primarily played third base in college. Like with Wilmer Flores, there have been questions about whether Reynolds could handle shortstop as a professional. Those concerns have subsided though, with Reynolds developing a reputation as someone who can make the routine plays without issue.
“I feel like ever since I’ve been in pro ball I’ve been able to handle shortstop. It’s just getting more exposure and people seeing me play,” Reynolds said. “I think now that I’m kind of on the cusp of being in the big leagues, people are paying more attention to me and seeing that I can actually play the position.”
Las Vegas manager Wally Backman gives Reynolds a start at second base once every week or so. He has appeared there 10 times this season.
“I feel very comfortable at second,” Reynolds said. “Whenever I play there, I don’t feel like I have to think. It’s just reaction. That’s a good sign that I feel comfortable there. I definitely can play that position.”
As for third base, he has never appeared there as a professional. Still, he has plenty of familiarity.
“I played third for two full years in college, and I feel very comfortable over there,” he said. “Obviously if I got moved there, I’d have to take some groundballs just to get reacquainted with it. But I’m comfortable there, too.”
Asked if he had impatience watching the rash of call-ups from Las Vegas without being one of them, Reynolds said: “Honestly, I was a little bit. I kind of let it affect me at one part of the season. Now I’m comfortable with where I’m at. I just need to go out and perform. If I perform then either I’ll be up with the Mets or something will happen. So we’ll see. I’ve just got to focus on what’s going on right now.”
Average: Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .333; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, .323; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .310; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, .306; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .306; T.J. Rivera, Vegas, .298; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, .297; Jayce Boyd, Vegas, .294; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .290; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, .288.
Homers: Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 12; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 11; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 11; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 9; Wuilmer Becerra, Savannah, 8.
RBIs: Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 43; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 41; Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 39; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 39; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 37.
Steals: Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 19; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 15; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 13; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 11.
ERA: Casey Meisner, Savannah, 2.15; Steven Matz, Vegas, 2.30; Luis Cessa, Binghamton, 2.51; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.55; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 3.21; Rob Whalen, St. Lucie, 3.25; Martires Arias, Savannah, 3.29; Scarlyn Reyes, Savannah, 3.51; Miller Diaz, St. Lucie, 3.58; Seth Lugo, Binghamton, 3.72.
Wins: Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 7; Steven Matz, Vegas, 6; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 6; Scarlyn Reyes, Savannah, 6.
Saves: Akeel Morris, St. Lucie, 13; Jon Velasquez, Vegas, 12; Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 10; Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 6; David Roseboom, Savannah, 6.
Strikeouts: Steven Matz, Vegas, 81; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 74; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 60; John Gant, St. Lucie, 57.
Brooklyn’s season begins Friday at the Staten Island Yankees. The team features right-hander Matt Blackham, a 29th-round pick in 2014 out of Middle Tennessee State, as well as 21-year-old Dominican shortstop Alfredo Reyes. A team official described Blackham as having a Matt Bowman-type twist during his delivery (more commonly associated with Tim Lincecum). Blackham is known as a strike-thrower with a fastball in the low 90s as well as a changeup and curveball. Reyes, signed in November 2010, is known for a solid glove.
Tom Signore had been slated to be the Cyclones’ pitching coach, but he still is experiencing concussion symptoms after getting struck with a baseball during the first half of last season with Las Vegas. Dave LaRoche, the father of Adam and Andy LaRoche, instead is handling the pitching-coach duties with Brooklyn. Signore was struck by a line drive in the dugout while filling in for Frank Viola with Vegas last year. Viola was recuperating from open-heart surgery at the time.
After missing a month with a sprained ACL in his left knee, outfielder Brandon Nimmo returned to action with St. Lucie on Sunday in what is the equivalent of a rehab assignment. Nimmo is 1-for-12 with three walks through three games with the Florida State League club. He has started two games in center field and one at DH. Once Nimmo gets readjusted to game speed, he will return to Binghamton, where he opened the season hitting .297 with two homers and nine RBIs in 138 at-bats.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, claimed off waivers by the Mets from the Los Angeles Angels, made his season debut with Las Vegas in center field on Tuesday night. Nieuwenhuis went 2 for 4 with a double and a strikeout. After the Mets claimed Nieuwenhuis, they successfully passed him through waivers and outrighted him to the Pacific Coast League club. As a result, Nieuwenhuis is no longer on the 40-man roster.
Vic Black, off a rehab assignment and considered a minor-leaguer, has been sidelined with Las Vegas for a week with a groin injury.
The Mets’ final season in Savannah may include a postseason berth. With five games remaining in the first half, the Gnats are tied with Greenville at 35-30 for first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division. The Gnats have won 11 of their past 14 games to surge into contention.
Savannah left-hander Brad Wieck was shipped to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade for Alex Torres. Right-hander Cory Mazzoni went to the NL West club at the time of the deal on the eve of the regular season.