Update 6:30 PM
Collins, who by most accounts was in the Dice-K camp, always favoring veterans, reacted emotionally.
“There are some circumstances that are beyond all of our control. As I told [Matsuzaka], it may be one start. There are 33 to go. Someone has got to pitch those 33.” Collins tells ESPN
“My background is such that I know how it is in Japan sometimes, when you can get sent out for no reason. So I know he’s probably been through it before. He shouldn’t be happy. He better not be. I’m sure he feels that it was the wrong decision, and I certainly understand it because of the way he threw the baseball. But, as I told him, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few days. He’s got to stay ready, and I know he will.”
Alderson, however, took a more business-like approach in explaining his decision.
“The situation with Daisuke was very difficult. He pitched very well,” Alderson said. “Jenrry Mejia also pitched very well. Obviously we have health issues pending with respect to Jonathon Niese and Jenrry. Were we to do something somewhat different, it might make it more difficult for us to have a replacement ready on either Jenrry’s day or Jonathon’s day. I’m not suggesting that Jonathon won’t pitch. We just have to provide for those contingencies.”
Matsuzaka also responded to the news of his demotion.
“I always knew there was a possibility that I would be going to the minors, but … I have confidence in what I’ve been doing,” Matsuzaka said through interpreter Jeff Cutler. “I definitely am shocked at this decision. … I’m disappointed. But I just have to move on from this and go out and pitch.”
Sandy went on the update the media on the injury Mejia suffered yesterday against Toronto.
“He responded well to treatment today,” Alderson said. “We’re not sure he can make the [Friday] start, but we’re proceeding now as if he will be able to. So we’ll see how he progresses in the next two or three days.”
Mejia, the assumed winner in this situation, appeared to be the last to find out.
“If that’s true, I feel pretty good about it,” said a surprised Mejia.
The more that comes out about this story, the more fishy it seems to me. From the quotes I’ve read it appears that the Mets made the decision to announce Mejia as the fifth starter in an attempt to placate the fanbase. With Jon Niese‘s health concerns, it appears that both pitchers will end up pitching in the rotation anyway. An Opening Day rainout could also force the Mets to call up another starter, which one can assume would be Dice-K. So in the end, this may be nothing more than a elaborate show put on to make fans feel like they’re being heard.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported via Twitter that Sandy Alderson has decided to demote Daisuke Matsuzaka to Triple-A Las Vegas. That would clear the way for 24-year old Jenrry Mejia to take the fifth spot in the rotation.
It appeared as though Dice-K was the frontrunner to make the rotation after pitching solidly this spring. When Mejia left yesterday’s game after being struck with a line drive, Matsuzaka’s spot seemed like a certainty. However, after x-rays came up negative on Mejia’s arm the Mets made the decision to go with the younger, higher upside arm.
This will certainly be a popular decision amongst the fanbase, who were calling– if not demanding– for Mejia to make the roster.
(Photo credit: USATSI/Brad Barr)