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What to Expect at Shortstop and Catcher

Posted By Howard Megdal On May 8, 2012 @ 10:20 am In On the DL | Comments Disabled

So it is hard to think of a victory more thrilling that Monday night’s 5-2 win over the Phillies, thanks to Jordany Valdespin’s three-run homer in the ninth inning. There were those back-to-back wins at Citi Field in 2010 on walkoff home runs by catchers, first Rod Barajas, then Henry Blanco. There was that Omir Santos home run in Fenway in 2009, of course. And… yes, not a lot of competition.
Meanwhile, reality is here to smack us all around. Miguel Batista pitches tonight, and the Mets will be without their starting shortstop and catcher. Ruben Tejada hit the DL yesterday, and Josh Thole is a good bet to hit the 7-day DL for concussions today, after a nasty collision at home plate Monday night.
So who is around to man both positions?
Shortstop: There’s Valdespin, who won’t win any Gold Gloves at shortstop, but could hit well enough to make him the best non-Tejada alternative. Think Melvin Mora as upside, but he’s only really been that kind of player briefly at Triple-A last year. Justin Turner has neither the range nor the bat to justify playing the position, and Ronny Cedeno’s anemic bat doesn’t allow his glove to play there, either. The Mets, in other words, really need Valdespin to field well enough at shortstop until Tejada returns. They’ll be more patient than they were with Mora, who they shipped out in 2000 for Mike Bordick.
Catcher: Mike Nickeas and his career .526 OPS will be the likely starter, Rob Johnson and his .573 OPS appears ready to come from Buffalo to back him up. Yikes.
Two key contributors to the surprising 16-13 start are out of action. For the Mets to keep it up, some players who no major league team should actually be relying on will need to succeed.

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