Commentary

Jerry Manuel wants Jenrry Mejia

After Pat Misch was beaten up by the Braves, the Mets' manager had Mejia on his mind

Updated: August 31, 2010, 8:50 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

ATLANTA -- New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel did not mask his true feelings after Monday's 9-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

If Jenrry Mejia's performance was as good as the numbers suggested while pitching for Triple-A Buffalo Monday night, Manuel would welcome the 20-year-old right-hander getting his first major league start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

[+] EnlargeChris Carter
AP Photo/John BazemoreChris Carter couldn't bear to watch as the Mets went down to the Braves.

While rotation placeholder Pat Misch was getting knocked out after three innings and Oliver Perez was making his first appearance in 26 days in a major league game, Mejia took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals' International League affiliate.

Mejia ultimately limited Syracuse to one run and five hits in eight innings while striking out nine and walking one in his Triple-A debut as GM Omar Minaya was in attendance in Buffalo.

"I think you have to consider that," Manuel said about having Mejia enter the rotation in the Chicago-native Misch's spot to face the Cubs. "There's no question about that. I could be, as usual, speaking out of turn. But I think that would be something that we'd like to see. I think we'd like to see that. There's no question about it, if he was that good. … I'd be interested to see the report and see the reaction of our people."

Misch surrendered a crushing three-run homer to Braves rookie right fielder Jason Heyward in the second inning as the Braves took a 5-2 lead.

Meanwhile, the Mets went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base. The Mets placed two runners on base with one out in the first and fifth innings with David Wright and Ike Davis, the Nos. 4 and 5 hitters, due to bat. Both times the Mets failed to score. Wright and Davis went a combined 1-for-10 with six strikeouts.

In the sixth, with the Mets having closed to within 5-3, Angel Pagan struck out with runners at second and third for the second out. Chris Carter ultimately stranded the bases loaded against left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty on a groundout to shortstop.

"When we needed to get a hit, we got a strikeout and didn't put the ball in play," Manuel said. "We haven't for the most part been very good offensively all year, to be honest with you."

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon had flown down with assistant GM John Ricco to watch the series opener against the Braves, but Wilpon already had bolted for the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., before the game was over.

With the Mets trailing 8-3 in the seventh, Manuel inserted Oliver Perez for the first time since Aug. 1. Perez had thrown a full-throttle bullpen session in the afternoon, not suspecting he would get into the game. He allowed a solo homer to Brian McCann on the second pitch of his relief appearance.

The 25-game stretch Perez went unused as the Mets essentially played with a 24-man roster was the longest streak of inactivity in the majors this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The second-longest streak belongs to Oakland's Ross Wolf, who went unused 21 straight games from July 30-Aug. 21.

"I think if you ask everybody, everybody wants to play every day -- or have the opportunity for more chances," Perez said. "But sometimes you're not going to have it. You have to be stronger and just keep working -- keep working and one day you're going to have the opportunity. You never know. Maybe after the opportunity things are going to go in a different direction."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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