Mets took one regular -- three under minimum -- to play Tigers

Updated: February 28, 2008, 6:51 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

The Mets could be in hot water with the commissioner's office over the traveling squad they took to Lakeland for their spring-training opener Wednesday.

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Just the day before, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, Jimmie Lee Solomon, sent a memo to all 30 teams reminding them they need to bring a "representative team" to all spring road games. And the definition of "representative" was a "minimum" of four players who were regulars the previous year or had a "reasonable chance" of being regulars this season.

Unless the Mets literally didn't get that memo, they didn't exactly comply. How many regulars did they bring to Lakeland to play the Tigers? Exactly one -- outfielder Ryan Church. He hit cleanup, with utility man Marlon Anderson batting third and backup catcher Ramon Castro hitting fifth.

It's possible the only other position player who got off the bus who will make the Opening Day roster, let alone the lineup, is backup infielder Ruben Gotay. And even he is no lock.

"Right now, we have a situation where some of our players are not physically ready to go right now," Minaya told ESPN.com. "We have Luis Castillo coming off surgery and Carlos Beltran coming off surgery, and some other guys. And this early in camp, if players aren't ready to go, we just aren't able to bring a full complement of players. We communicated this to Major League Baseball, and they understand."

Solomon's memo -- his second of the spring on this subject, by the way -- informed teams that MLB will be "closely monitoring and vigorously enforcing this policy" because ignoring it would represent "a disservice to our fans."

Indications are that the commissioner's office is already looking into this one. The Mets could be fined, reprimanded or both.

Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com