Lutz Is The Only Logical Choice To Replace Wright If Necessary
I know the news has been relatively good about the injury to DWright’s pinkie. The prognosis is favorable, like the weather forecast for this weekend. But somehow I feel more sure about the weather being warm and sunny, than I do about Wright being able to play against the Phillies this weekend.
Sure, it’s early in the year and we’ve got some guys who can fill in, like Turner and Cedeno….temporarily. But what if this injury is worse than is now being reported? What if when David tries to swing a bat, or grip a ball, he has trouble because of the little pinkie. The little, insignificant, “don’t worry it’s only a pinkie,” pinkie.
I mean that would be a worst case scenario right? That he couldn’t grip a bat. Or couldn’t swing without pain. Or couldn’t stop a swing once he started it. Or couldn’t grip and throw a baseball. Well, we know it won’t go down like that don’t we? Who ever heard of a little insignificant injury like a fractured pinkie, or getting kicked in the ankle by a teammate for that matter, amounting to anything serious? I mean this is the Mets crackerjack medical staff we’re talking about here.
But what if Wright ends up having to go on the D.L. to give this fracture enough time to heal properly? When I read T.C.’s musings about possibly moving Murphy to third in such a scenario, and bringing Valdespin up from Buffalo to play 2B, I thought he must be crazy. There are so many things wrong with doing that it isn’t even funny.
First, give Murph a break! I mean he’s having enough trouble with second base, let him keep working there rather than moving back and forth like a yo-yo. Besides, he’s not exactly Brooks Robinson over there in the hot corner, he’s probably just as good at second at this point. Plus, he’s been playing only second all season including spring training, he didn’t get any work in at third.
Then there’s the problems with plugging Valdespin in at second base at Citi. He hasn’t played any second base this year at Buffalo, he’s been learning centerfield while Bobby Scales has been the second baseman. And Valdespin still has a lot of work to do on his second base defense anyway.
There is another option, the one that makes sense. And that would be to promote third-baseman Zach Lutz from Buffalo. Zach is a 25-year-old right-handed slugger, who was chosen by the Mets in the 5th round of the 2007 MLB player draft, out of Alvernia College in Reading, PA.
His minor league playing career has been marred every season by various injuries. Last year for example, he only managed to get 228 AB’s, but still was able to hit 11 HR’s and slugged .482. This year he is 100% healthy and looking forward to seeing what kind of numbers he can put up over a full season.
So far this year he is pretty much on fire. Playing everyday for Wally Backman, Lutz has started the season going 8 for 24, good for a .333 batting average. He also has 5 runs scored, 1 2B, 2 HR’s, and 5 RBI’s so far in the young season. His exposure to AAA these last two years have indicated that he can hit at the highest level of the minors, all he needs is to be healthy and to get a chance to play in the bigs. If Wright goes on the disabled list, that opportunity will have arrived.
The other factor to consider that plays into Lutz’ favor? He is already on the 40-man roster, there would be no reason to have to pass anyone through waivers or anything like that. All you’d have to do is pay for his bus ticket. Like you and Terry Collins, I am hoping DWright makes a speedy return to action. He is literally the “straw that stirs the Mets drink” these days, and love him or hate him you have to admit, it would be nice to have him back.
But if a temporary replacement were needed, Zach Lutz is the obvious choice.
Let’s go pinkie! Let’s go pinkie! Let’s Go Mets!
About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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