Citi Field is quiet; there is not a soul in the stands, say for an usher catching some shut-eye before the gates open up.
Nearly four hours prior to first-pitch Friday, a handful of personnel remain on the field, finishing their first round of batting practice.
Among those taking there cuts, wearing a grey “Mets Baseball” tee, is the organization’s longest tenured player, David Wright. Looking on, already in uniform, is the newest–and youngest–addition to the big leagues, Dilson Herrera.
Now more than a decade since his own debut, Wright said he looks forward to getting a look at what Herrera can do.
“It’s exciting seeing these players you read about and hear about come up and see what they’re all about,” Wright said.
Herrera collected his first major-league hit Saturday, going 1-for-3 in his second game in Flushing. Terry Collins said that although Herrera faces a level of competition he has never seen before, the Mets skipper is confident in his new second baseman’s abilities.
“He’s coming with really, really outstanding reports on how he plays, the way he plays, intelligent kid; all the things you want to hear,” Collins said.
The 20-year-old Colombia-native was called up from Double-A Binghamton late Thursday night after Daniel Murphy was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf injury. Once upon in time in baseball, the young-bloods coming up were not always greeted positively. Nowadays, rookies are treated as part of the team, something Wright said he feels is important.
“One of the biggest things to feel comfortable and confident on the field is being welcomed and feeling comfortable in the clubhouse,” he said. “I think that is part of my responsibility and part of everyone’s responsibility.”
Collins admits that skipping Triple-A and going straight to MLB is a difficult transition, but cites past players he sees as similar to Herrera, namely Steve Sax, as examples that it can be done. Collins went on to say that he believes in the minor league coaching staff who have recommended he make the jump.
“I trust them,” he said Friday. “And like everyone else, I am anxious to see him play.”
Photos By Clayton Collier, MMO