Source: Quintanilla returning to Mets

January, 3, 2013
1/03/13
4:06
PM ET
Infielder Omar Quintanilla, who performed well with the Mets during the first half of last season, is returning to the organization on a minor league deal with a spring-training invite, a baseball source told ESPNNewYork.com.

The Mets had traded Quintanilla to the Baltimore Orioles for cash last July 20. They regretted losing him, but needed to clear a roster spot for the return of Jason Bay from the disabled list. Mets officials traded Quintanilla at that point figuring they would lose him off waivers if they tried to pass him through waivers to send him to Triple-A.

Quintanilla, 31, hit a combined .243 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 169 at-bats for the Mets and Orioles in 2012.

Because he is on a minor league deal, Quintanilla may be an underdog against Brandon Hicks for a backup middle infield role out of spring training. Hicks was acquired from the Oakland Athletics on Nov. 26 for cash and is on the 40-man roster.

The Mets remain the lone team yet to sign a free agent to a major league deal this offseason.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .298
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180