Scott Hairston is back in the lineup Saturday, a day after becoming the 10th Met to hit for the cycle. Terry Collins portrayed it as a reward for recent strong play at the plate.
New York Mets
Still, there was another major factor: Minus Jason Bay and Andres Torres, the outfield alternatives to Hairston for left field were Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin. And Collins does not intend to use Valdespin -- a novice -- in the outfield at spacious Coors Field. As it is, Lucas Duda is dealing with a major learning curve because of the high altitude in Denver, which causes the baseballs to carry more than at other ballparks.
Hairston is a .325 hitter with six homers and 15 RBIs in 83 career at-bats at Coors Field.
His production includes a dramatic hit in Game No. 163 of the 2007 season, in a play-in game between San Diego and Colorado. Hairston delivered a two-run homer in the top of the 13th against Jorge Julio, but Trevor Hoffman blew the save and the Rockies instead reached the postseason as the wild-card entrant. Colorado ultimately represented the NL in the World Series.
Torres is due to return Monday in Houston. He completed a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Buffalo.
As for that list of 10 Mets cyclists, the lone one to require extra innings to achieve the feat was Keith Hernandez, in a 19-inning win on July 4, 1985 at Atlanta.
For the record, though, Hernandez notes he actually had achieved the cycle with a 12th-inning single.
And, Hernandez added, he really deserved to have achieved it in regulation. In his second at-bat, Hernandez recalled, he sent a liner to Dale Murphy in center field that the ump ruled a catch with a diving attempt. But Hernandez said the call was incorrect, and the ball was actually sitting behind Murphy.