PHILADELPHIA -- Before Jason Bay landed on the disabled list last month, he was enjoying his most productive stretch of the season. Before Mike Pelfrey tore a ligament in his elbow a few days earlier, he was in the midst of his most productive stretch in two years.
Now, white-hot Ruben Tejada is on the DL with a strained right quad. An MRI taken Sunday revealed the strain, which Tejada suffered while sprinting to beat out a bunt attempt during that afternoon's game against the D-backs. The shortstop was batting .421 in nine games prior to the injury.
"The 'woe is me' thing can't last very long," manager Terry Collins said of the team's recent run of injuries. "Your attention can only linger very shortly on what you immediately face."
To replace Tejada, the Mets called up shortstop Jordany Valdespin, who was on the active roster as recently as Saturday. Valdespin, who was initially optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for reliever D.J. Carrasco, was eligible to return only because the team placed Tejada on the DL.
For most of this week, Valdespin will split time at shortstop with Justin Turner, who started at the position Monday. But Ronny Cedeno is due back Friday from the left intercostal strain that has sidelined him since mid-April, meaning Valdespin's stay on the roster could be brief.
So, too, might Tejada's DL stint, despite assistant general manager John Ricco's warning that "these strains can linger." Though Tejada felt markedly better a day after suffering the injury, he was still at least a week away from a potential return. Rather than play shorthanded during that span, the Mets opted to place Tejada on the DL for the first time in his career.
They know they will miss him.
"He's a tremendous defender," Collins said. "He's hitting .300. He's getting on base. He's done more than we were hoping he was going to do. He's showing everybody that he's a tremendous talent, so it's a big loss right now."
After straining his quad in the fourth inning Sunday, Tejada tumbled over the first-base bag, leading Collins to believe he may have also suffered some facial injuries. Though Tejada was sporting a large purplish welt around his left eye Monday, the injury was cosmetic. The shortstop also did not display any sort of concussive symptoms.
"It looks worse than I think it is," Ricco said.
The hope is that Tejada will be able to return as soon as he is eligible on May 22. Though Collins initially compared Tejada's injury to the groin strain that sidelined him for nine days in Spring Training, Tejada said this muscle pull is not nearly so bad.
"Spring Training, I couldn't walk," Tejada said. "Now, I can walk. I can do everything but try to run."
Mets giving Batista opportunity in rotation
PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets may have signed Miguel Batista largely for his ability to serve as a spot starter. But Tuesday's outing will not be a spot start.
With Mike Pelfrey recovering from surgery, Chris Schwinden recently proving ineffective and Chris Young still at least a few weeks away from active duty, Batista is now a bona fide member of the rotation. The 41-year-old right-hander will receive plenty of rope to hold down a rotation spot, manager Terry Collins said, regardless of how he performs in Tuesday's game against the Phillies.
"He's going to get a few chances to show us what he can do," Collins said.
Battered for six runs over 3 2/3 innings of his only other start this season, Batista should be good for up to 85 pitches Tuesday. And if he takes to the role, he could stick around even after Young is ready to return from right shoulder surgery.
That could be sooner rather than later. Young is set to make his first Minor League rehab start Thursday for Class A St. Lucie, though his lengthy history of shoulder problems has the Mets proceeding cautiously.
"I don't know when Chris is going to be ready," Collins said. "You have a situation where if Miguel is pitching his brains out, that's going to be a tough decision to make when the time comes. Hopefully, it does come."
Honorary Bat Girl to be recognized at Citi Field
PHILADELPHIA -- Sara Kouten will serve as the Mets' Honorary Bat Girl later this month, Major League Baseball announced Monday.
For Mother's Day on Sunday, half the league's Honorary Bat Girls will take part in pregame activities and an on-field pregame ceremony, and will receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. Because the Mets will be in Miami on Mother's Day, they will designate another day in May to recognize Kouten at Citi Field.