Buck Showalter and most of the Mets’ players had a tough time getting to the ballpark on Thursday. With a 4:10 p.m. first pitch, plus the U.S. Open happening next door, traffic was a nightmare.
“I had to stop and do a conference call because I wasn’t going to make it,” Showalter said. “Trying to get the phone and the GPS, it’s pretty comical. I’ve learned to kind of step back and just start laughing at myself. Like, really?”
The manager offered an idea for how the Mets could avoid this problem in the future.
“We should do like the San Antonio Spurs do,” he said, referencing the famous road trip that the Spurs make every year while a rodeo takes over their arena. “I bet the rodeo is bigger there than the U.S. Open is here. They go out of town for two weeks. Very underrated sports town, they could support a lot of things there. Does anyone care?”
Only then did Showalter start talking about baseball-related topics. The Mets have a few new faces in the clubhouse as the rosters expand to 28 players for the month of September. Two of the players they called up, though, have already played for the Mets this season. Infielder Deven Marrero and relief pitcher Adonis Medina came up from Triple-A on Thursday. Marrero played in three games in mid-August while Medina has made 13 relief appearances throughout the year.
Mark Vientos, the third baseman at Triple-A who is both tearing the cover off the ball and is a consensus top-10 prospect in the Mets’ system, did not get the call. Showalter gave a brief explanation for why they went with Marrero over Vientos, who he acknowledged earlier in the week was a “candidate” to join them in September.
“[Marrero] has versatility in the infield that we need until [Luis] Guillorme gets back. [Eduardo] Escobar can play shortstop but it just felt like with [Brett] Baty down and with Guillorme down, we needed that depth in the infield.”
“He’s been impressive here. He’s a baseball player, trustworthy, knows his way around different positions.”
Terrance Gore is also on the active roster now, though that technically happened on Wednesday as the team needed to fill Baty’s spot on the roster. Showalter joked that the reason for calling up Gore — a notorious speedster — didn’t need much explaining.
“You didn’t need an answer about Terrance Gore, right? That one was too obvious. He can really run.”
Gore has two World Series rings, one with the 2015 Royals and one with the 2021 Braves, though he did not play in either of those World Series. His role is perhaps more defined than any player’s in the league: pinch run and try to steal a base, score a run, or both.
“When you have this one skill that you know puts you in the big leagues every year, you gotta figure he hones the heck out of it, which he does,” Showalter laid out. “He’s got a program. He knows if he keeps this foot speed at an elite level, he’ll be in the big leagues every September for somebody. Pretty good gig, man.”
Gore has appeared in a game during seven different MLB seasons, but he’s only registered 77 plate appearances. He has yet to hit a home run and has driven in exactly one run in his career. Showalter was insistent that he can do more than just blaze around the base paths, though.
“It’s not Herb Washington,” said Showalter. Washington was a track star in the 1970s who Oakland Athletics’ owner Charlie Finley signed to be a designated pinch runner. Washington recorded zero official at-bats but stole 31 bases and won the 1974 championship with the A’s.
“This guy can play left field, he can hit a little bit. He can do some other things.”
YOUNGSTERS GETTING MEDICAL TREATMENT
The torn UCL in Brett Baty’s thumb required surgery, which happened on Thursday.
“It went well,” Showalter shared. “Doctors, do they ever come out and go, ‘It didn’t go well. I had a tough morning, it wasn’t very good. I wasn’t into it’? I’ve never had one come out and go, ‘I tell ya, I just wasn’t on my game today.’ I’m sure there is some of that, but they’d never tell us.”
Triple-A catcher Francisco Alvarez, regarded as the best prospect in the game, was recently diagnosed with a loose body in his ankle. Alvarez has not played in a game since Aug. 23. According to the Mets, he received an injection in the ankle on Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgeries. The organization is tentatively planning for Alvarez to start doing baseball activities again in three to four days. The Syracuse Mets’ last game of the season is on Sept. 28.