Mets lose LHP Williams to surgery, sign OF Sierra

Updated: January 31, 2007, 8:40 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Mets pitcher Dave Williams had surgery Wednesday to repair a herniated disk in his neck and it's unclear how long he could be sidelined.

Dave Williams

The team also announced that it agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Ruben Sierra and invited him to spring training, and right-hander Jason Standridge chose to become a free agent after he was designated for assignment last week.

Williams started feeling pain when he began his offseason throwing program in January. He'll have X-rays next week. After they are evaluated, it will be determined when he can resume baseball activities.

The 27-year-old left-hander was acquired from Cincinnati in a trade on May 25. He went 3-1 with a 5.59 ERA in six games, including five starts, for the Mets, and finished last season 5-4 with a 6.52 ERA overall.

With Pedro Martinez injured, Williams probably would have had a chance to compete for a spot at the back end of New York's unsettled rotation during spring training. Now, his status is up in the air.

The operation was performed by Dr. Patrick O'Leary at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

The 41-year-old Sierra batted .179 with four RBIs in 14 games with for the Minnesota Twins last year. He's a .268 career hitter with 306 home runs and 1,322 RBIs in 20 major league seasons. He has also played for Texas, Oakland, the New York Yankees, Detroit, Cincinnati, Toronto, the Chicago White Sox and Seattle.

Standridge was claimed off waivers in November. He was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in 21 games with the Reds last year.

Mets pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Feb. 15.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press