It's only April, but one gets the feeling the slumping Mets feel time already is running short to turn around their season.
Four days after manager Terry Collins said the Mets would give Brad Emaus a "legitimate chance" to be their everyday second baseman, the Mets designated Emaus for assignment Tuesday. Emaus was selected in the Rule 5 draft in December from Toronto's minor league system. If he clears waivers, the Mets must offer him back to the Blue Jays for $25,000.
General manager Sandy Alderson indicated it was unlikely the Mets would try to keep Emaus in the organization. The Mets recalled Justin Turner from Class AAA Buffalo to replace Emaus before a 6-1 loss to Houston.
Emaus hit .298 in 309 at-bats last season for Class AAA Las Vegas, but he struggled with the Mets. He was batting .162 (6-for-37) with one RBI and four walks.
Collins said Turner and lefty-hitting Daniel Murphy would platoon at second base. Alderson referred to second base as an "evolving situation."
Or is it a devolving situation? Only time will tell. But in any event, Emaus, who hadn't been up to the majors before this season, seemed overmatched against big-league pitching.
"The thing we saw from Brad in spring training," Collins said, "was his ability to work the count, make the pitcher work. And what we've seen of him thus far in the season is they've gotten on top of him (in the count) and he's had a tough time coming back.
"I saw some frustration in him a little bit. That scares me a little bit because the one thing you want to be careful of at this level is putting a young player in a situation where he fails, because when doubt starts to get in his mind, it could be a long road back. ... I did not want him to be a bench player. I didn't think that was fair to him or fair to us."
Emaus walked 50 times for Las Vegas last season, and he seemed to fit into the so-called "Moneyball" philosophy that Alderson and special assistant J.P. Ricciardi have imported. But both Collins and Alderson acknowledged that had the Mets not gotten off to such a struggling start, they might have had more patience with Emaus.
Emaus certainly wasn't the only problem with the offense, which has managed only six runs over the last four games.
Consider that because the Mets are carrying 13 pitchers on their roster, manager Collins sent up Chin-lung Hu, batting .100, as a pinch hitter against Wandy Rodriguez with two on and two out in the seventh inning. Hu struck out, ending the Mets' last chance to climb back into the game. The Mets have only four hitters on their bench, severely limiting Collins' pinch-hitting options late in games.
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