LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brett Baty knew his next call-up to the big leagues would be out of his control. Throughout spring training, the Mets third base prospect tried to remind himself that all he could do was go out there and try to make the club’s decision as difficult as possible.
when the Mets called him up from Triple-A Syracuse. He controlled what he could control and excelled in Triple-A so much that the Mets had to give him a chance.
“As I said throughout spring training, it wasn’t my decision and I had to accept it,” Baty said Monday at Dodger Stadium. “I was thankful for the opportunity to go there and play with those guys and then thankful for this opportunity to come here.”
Baty forced the club’s hand by crushing the ball and playing excellent defense in Triple-A.
“I’ve always gone in every day trying to be the most consistent player that I can be,” he said. “When I went down there, I just focused on hitting the ball hard and playing good defense, and it worked there. I’m here now.”
The Mets said they brought Baty to Los Angeles before their series against the Dodgers to take the place of outfielder Tim Locasto, who went on the disabled list with back spasms on Monday. It’s a convenient narrative and protects Eduardo Escobar, but the explanation doesn’t quite add up since Locastro didn’t experience back problems until after Sunday’s game in Oakland. By then, Baty was headed for California.
The Mets are trying to support their struggling veteran third baseman. They’ve been careful about how they’ve presented him, and for good reason: Escobar is a much-loved and respected figure in the clubhouse.
The 34-year-old has acted as something of a mentor to Baty, praising his performance in spring training and at Triple-A. Baty earned this call by slashing .400/.500/.886 with a 1.386 OPS with two doubles and five home runs.
Meanwhile, Escobar is hitting just .125 going into Monday’s game. The Mets have struggled to get production from the back of the order with Escobar, Daniel Vogelbach and Francisco Alvarez all struggling at the plate.
“Brett was a very good fit for us,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I don’t know how you can do much more than what he has done for us there to present yourself as such.”
Showalter still plans to use Escobar as a bench bat and will likely see time at third base against left-handed pitching. Baty will also have some games against left-handed pitching. The club doesn’t think it needs to protect the 23-year-old Austin, Texas native, but they’d like to make sure they put him in a position to succeed and use Escobar in a way that’s beneficial to everyone involved.
Showalter said he still sees Escobar as “a bat.”
“He will continue to get a few starts, but we’ll see how Baty does,” Showalter said.
Baty is much more comfortable this time. After playing 11 games in the majors last season, the wow factor is gone.
“I think this time it’s going to be very different because I know exactly what to expect now,” Baty said. “I had a little taste last year. I’m comfortable with now. The guys, I’ve been around them for a couple of years. So there’s a little more comfort and I feel good right now.”
will pitch another bullpen Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Florida. If he comes out without any pain, he’ll pitch a live batting practice before starting rehab, which would be the final step in his rehab.
Max Scherzer pitched Sunday and Monday and is still expected to make his start on Wednesday.
Tommy Hunter (back spasms) is expected to come off the disabled list Wednesday and rejoin the Mets’ bullpen.
In addition to calling up Baty, the Mets also selected right-hander Edwin Uceta from Triple-A Syracuse and opted for Jose Butto, who had a starting job Sunday in Oakland.