The Mets’ biggest power threat was out of the lineup on Saturday.
Jerry Manuel kept Rod Barajas on the bench against the Giants as a precautionary move after Barajas injured his left hand on Friday night. Barajas’ glove hand was hit by an Eli Whiteside swing Friday night in the seventh inning on a pitchout attempt that was too close to the plate. Two innings later, Barajas hit a game-winning homer.
“The pounding that he would take in his glove hand as well as hitting, could make something linger more than one day,” the Met manager said.
“As well as he’s swinging, we definitely don’t want that to be the case.”
The injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise on Saturday as backup catcher Henry Blanco hit a game-winning homer in the 11th.
Manuel said he considered playing Barajas, who leads the team with nine homers, but decided to take him out of the lineup a few hours before the first pitch.
Barajas said he could endure the consistent pounding his glove hand would take behind the plate, but he was concerned that the injury would change his swing.
"Just sore, just swollen," Barajas said of his left hand, which was visibly bruised this morning. "[I] can't really flex it without some pain. If I needed to I absolutely could play today, but it was probably smart to hold me out."
X-Rays on Barajas’ hand came back negative Friday night. Manuel said he’d be available in an “emergency” situation Saturday and added after the game that he considered using the catcher as a pinch-hitter. Barajas, who has nine homers, including two game-winners, in just 82 at-bats, hopes the day off doesn’t cool off his hot bat.
“When you feel like you’re seeing the ball well, you’re taking good swings because you don’t want to take days off…. Because one day you could lose it.”
The catcher was confident that he’d be back in the lineup Sunday to catch Oliver Perez.
“Tomorrow, I’ll definitely be able to get out there.”
PELF'S TIGHTNESS NO CONCERN: Jerry Manuel said the shoulder stiffness Mike Pelfrey spoke about after his start Friday night was something the team would monitor.
“There was a little [stiffness],” Pelfrey told reporters after giving up three runs in 7 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Giants.
Pelfrey had an MRI in New York on Monday after experiencing tightness in his throwing shoulder after during last Saturday’s start in Philadelphia.
“I would think that that would be probably somewhat normal, soreness that probably still gets his attention,” Manuel said, noting that he hadn’t heard anything about Pelfrey from the Mets’ medical staff. “If it has his attention, we have to monitor it and make sure everything’s OK.”
WALK IT OUT: According to ESPN Stats and Information, Saturday’s win was the Mets 11th walk-off victory over the Giants, including Benny Agbayani’s walkoff blast against San Francisco in the 2000 NLDS. Here’s the list of total walk-off homers by opponent in team history:
Giants 11 (regular season & postseason)
GARBAGE TIME: It looked like Garbage Give-Away Day at Citi Field on Saturday. There was a steady stream of garbage blowing from the seats onto the field all afternoon, keeping the grounds crew here pretty busy.
“It’s been every game, obviously not at that level but it’s kind of our upper hand,” said Jason Bay, who had two RBI Saturday and has three in the last two games. “It’s just one of those things that we’ve gotten used to.”
‘HIS’ TIME: Reliever Hisanori Takahashi (3-1) pitched a perfect 11th for the victory and lift the Mets to 2-4 in extras this season. “(He’s been) a tremendous surprise,” Manuel said.