NEW YORK -- An injury to Ronny Cedeno had the Mets tinkering with their roster throughout the day Monday, bringing in two players as part of Major League Baseball's taxi-squad provision.
Infielder Jordany Valdespin and pitcher Jeremy Hefner joined the Mets from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday afternoon, literally traveling by taxi from their game at Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pa. The Mets placed Cedeno on the disabled list with a left intercostal strain and activated Hefner in time for Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Giants, then replaced him with Valdespin later in the day.
Cedeno, 29, amassed three hits in 12 at-bats this season, subbing at second base, third base and shortstop. He had derived most of his value as the club's go-to defensive replacement for second baseman Daniel Murphy.
"He said he hasn't been sleeping well the last few days," manager Terry Collins said. "He thought it was because he just got himself in a bad position, and this morning, he woke up with a lot more pain than he's had yet. So he came in early and we waited until the doctor came in to get him examined, and we decided to disable him."
The new Basic Agreement allowed the Mets to bring in both of Cedeno's replacements, with a 24-hour leeway to activate them. Though the CBA also allows teams to use 26-man rosters for some doubleheaders, the Mets and Giants could not do so this week because they did not schedule Monday's doubleheader with at least 48 hours' notice.
Hefner, 26, gave the Mets pitching depth for the doubleheader, which was especially important given that 41-year-old spot starter Miguel Batista took the ball for Game 1. An Oklahoma native, Hefner had never been to New York before sharing a car service with Valdespin from Lehigh Valley, then pitching three scoreless innings in the Mets' 6-1 loss to the Giants at Citi Field.
"It was a dream come true," Hefner said between games, fighting back tears. "It was my first time pitching in the big leagues, and I had a good outing. Everything went well. I just wish we would've won the game."
The man who ultimately replaced Cedeno was Valdespin, 24, one of the last players cut from big league camp this spring. Splitting time between center field and the middle-infield positions at Buffalo, Valdespin was batting .276 with two home runs in 17 games prior to his promotion, going 6-for-13 over his past three games. The organization began exposing him to center field this spring as a hedge against multiple outfield injuries, though Valdespin will most likely play exclusively infield during his time with the Mets.
"It's not difficult," Valdespin said of playing multiple positions. "It's good. I'm a young guy, so if I play three positions in the field, I can help the team much better. I just work hard. If they need me in the outfield, I'll play outfield. If they need me at second, I'll play second. I'm ready for the chance to play in the big leagues."
Bay bruises rib cage; X-rays negative
NEW YORK -- This was not similar to what Jason Bay felt in 2010, when he crashed into a wall at Dodger Stadium and suffered a concussion. Nor was it similar to what Bay suffered last spring, when he strained an intercostal muscle and landed on the disabled list.
But Bay was somewhat shaken after bruising the left side of his ribcage in Game 2 of Monday's doubleheader against the Giants, landing awkwardly and appearing to slam his face into the turf. X-rays taken on Bay's ribcage were negative, though the outfielder may receive a precautionary MRI exam on Tuesday, and it sounded doubtful that he would be in the lineup.
"I can't tell you how I'm going to feel tomorrow," Bay said after Monday's game. "Given the nature of it, I'll probably be pretty sore. But I may be all right."
Sprinting back to chase Gregor Blanco's double in the fourth inning, Bay dove backward but only managed to touch the ball with the tip of his glove. As the ball bounced away, Bay landed on the grass and needed a moment to collect himself, before walking back to his position in left field.
"I fully feel like I absolutely laid out for that ball," Bay said. "I wasn't really running. I thought it was a full-extended, backwards dive for me."
Singling in his at-bat in the bottom of the inning, Bay felt some additional ribcage discomfort when he swung. Yet he remained in the game until the eighth, leaving at that point to receive his X-ray.
"It's sore," Bay said. "I'm kind of hoping it was just a bruise."
Any injury comes complete with caution flags for Bay, who missed the final two months of 2010 with a concussion, then spent the first three weeks of 2011 on the DL with a left intercostal strain. When healthy, Bay has struggled through his first two-plus years as a Met, though he did extend his current hitting streak to eight games with his fourth-inning single.
In 15 games overall, Bay is batting .240 with three home runs and 17 strikeouts in 50 at-bats.
Reunion on tap when Reyes' Marlins arrive
NEW YORK -- Shortly after Jose Reyes agreed to sign with the Marlins, the longtime Mets shortstop called David Wright to inform him of his decision.
"He just was very, very classy," Wright said, "and wanted to let me know how much it meant to him playing together for so long."
That tandem is no longer, with Reyes in Miami and Wright still holding down third base in New York. But the two communicated often over the winter, and they will have a chance to see each other Tuesday for the first time since their split, when the Marlins come to Citi Field for the first of three games.
"I consider him one of my closest friends in baseball, and that's no different now," Wright said. "Obviously, we're going to try to go out there and try to beat him as badly as possible, and hopefully he doesn't get any hits against us. But as soon as he leaves here, you always kind of check the box scores and hope he does well."
Before Reyes inked a six-year, $106 million contract with the Marlins, he and Wright played nine seasons as teammates with the Mets, spending more than a decade together in the organization. The Mets plan to salute their former shortstop with a video tribute on Tuesday, and Reyes -- who still owns a home on Long Island -- will have a chance to reunite with old friends.
But the pleasantries will not last long. Reyes is a Marlin now, and the Mets have moved on with Ruben Tejada, who has supplemented some strong defense this season with a .345 on-base percentage in 13 games entering Monday's doubleheader against the Giants.
"It's always a concern when you're a young player and you're replacing a star player, to try to do similar things that he did," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It's human nature to say, 'Well, I've got to live up to this guy.' But the more you try that, the bigger problems you're going to face."
In his final act as a Met during last September, Reyes bunted for a single then removed himself from the season finale at Citi Field, putting himself in prime position to win the first batting title in franchise history. Though Reyes should rack up plenty of additional bunt singles before his career is complete, Wright does not expect him to employ the same strategy on Tuesday.
"Not if he knows better," Wright said, laughing. "Not unless he wants an 0-fer. I think he's smarter than that, because the last thing I'm going to let him do is get a hit that way."
Outfielder Andres Torres and right-handed pitcher D.J. Carrasco began rehabilitation assignments on Monday with Class A St. Lucie. Torres has been on the disabled list since Opening Day with a strained left calf, while Carrasco has been sidelined since mid-March with a sprained right ankle. Carrasco needed just eight pitches to breeze through a perfect inning of relief, striking out one. Torres finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases.
Local sanitation workers Joseph Maneggio and Semi Nkozi will throw out Tuesday's ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field. Maneggio, of Long Island, and Nkozi, of Queens, rescued five children and their mother from a burning building in Far Rockaway, Queens, on Dec. 13, 2011.
The sanitation workers were driving their truck around 6:15 a.m. ET, when they saw the fire and the family on the roof of their home. Maneggio and Nkozi caught the children -- one boy and four girls between 10 and 18 years old -- and their mother as they lept from the roof into their arms.