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Recker has birthday bash

8/29/2013

NEW YORK -- Backup catcher Anthony Recker went 3-for-3 with a walk in his final start before getting demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this month.

And although the Mets promised to bring him back to the majors once rosters expanded in September, it looked like his playing time might be nonexistent, considering prospect Travis d'Arnaud is now the priority and John Buck looked to still be around as the mentor/backup.

BIRTHDAY BASHES

Here are the Mets who have homered on their birthday:

Then the Mets traded Buck along with Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday and brought Recker back to the majors.

Recker again took advantage of his opportunities Thursday. He went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer, two walks and three runs scored as the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 11-3, at Citi Field.

Although Recker still is on the wrong side of the Mendoza Line -- he’s batting .198 -- he does have six homers in 111 at-bats. He also has drawn continuous praise from Terry Collins for his ability to call games and to follow pitching coach Dan Warthen’s game plan.

Not bad for a waiver claim from the Chicago Cubs last Oct. 25.

Recker, who turned 30 on Thursday, became the 14th Met to homer on his own birthday, and the first since Carlos Beltran in 2008. Mike Piazza (three), Jim Hickman (two) and Edgardo Alfonzo (two) have multiple homers on their birthdays while with the Mets.

“He’s exactly what they told me he was going to do,” Collins said about Recker. “They told me he’s got some power when we signed him. They said this guy has a chance to hit some home runs. He calls a nice game. He handles the pitching staff. He’s done a great job. I told him when we sent him down when we brought Travis up that I hope he stays around, because he fills a very good role for us.”

Because Recker will have only one year, 128 days of service time after this season, he could be under the Mets’ control for at least five more seasons. He also has an option remaining, so the Mets can send him to Triple-A Las Vegas as a capable third catching option out of spring training next year if they end up signing a veteran this offseason to back up d’Arnaud.

Sandy Alderson has been noncommittal so far about whether the Mets will bring in a veteran-type backup catcher.

“I like it here. I feel good here,” Recker said. “I’d love to stay here for as long as I can, so we’ll see.”

Asked if he thought he would get much of an opportunity to state his case the rest of this season after getting sent down Aug. 20, Recker said: “I don’t know. I didn’t really think about that. I was just hoping I would get a shot, wherever it was, whenever it was. And if I did, I was going to try to take advantage of it. I had no idea what was going to go on. I was trying not to think about anything like that. Fortunately I was able to get an opportunity. And fortunately I was able to contribute.”