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Friday, May 4, 2012
Batista to take Pelfrey's rotation spot

By Matt Ehalt

Miguel Batista will take the rotation spot originally belonging to Mike Pelfrey, after two failed attempts by Chris Schwinden. Terry Collins said Batista's first start in that role will be Tuesday in Philadelphia. The veteran will be available in the bullpen Friday and Saturday.

"One of the things we brought Miguel Batista in for was not just to be a bullpen guy, but if we needed a spot starter at any time, he was the one to do it," Collins said. "We saw last year how effective he can be in that role. As we wait to see how Chris Young comes along, this guy, we brought him here so if we needed a starter he was here. We've got to give him a look in that spot."

Batista, 41, has made one start this season. He allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings on April 23 in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants. Being notified two days ahead of time his schedule for the upcoming week is something Batista isn't used to.

"Couple days notice is actually a little bit luxury for me," Batista said. "Last year, they actually tell me five minutes before the game or in batting practice. Right now, I feel a little awkward when they tell me two days ahead. But it's part of this game and I know, naturally, I'm the guy they're going to pick for that so I just have to be ready for it."

Before Friday's game against Arizona, the Mets demoted Schwinden to Triple-A Buffalo and called up utility player Vinny Rotino, who can play corner infield and outfield spots as well catch. Collins said the team is probably going to need to make a move on Sunday to bring up an extra pitcher with Batista moving to the rotation.

One candidate could be D.J. Carrasco, who is pitching with Triple-A Buffalo as part of his rehab assignment. He pitched Thursday night and will pitch Friday. When asked if he's looking for a specific type of reliever, such as a long reliever, Collins said the team is just looking for someone to get outs. He said a second lefty is in consideration.

"(Carrasco)'s certainly in the mix," Collins said.

By moving Batista into the rotation, the Mets decided against promoting one of their top prospects, such as Matt Harvey. The team wants to ensure their top young guns are ready before they make their debut.

"There’s a fine line that you walk about certain players being ready. One of the things I truly, truly believe in, to play at the Major League level, you’ve got to understand what it’s like to play when you're struggling," Collins said. "You’ve got to learn how to deal with it. I truly believe you challenge guys in the minor leagues, so they learn in the minor leagues how to get through some tough times. Not when they get up here.”

Collins mentioned how if a young player had a tough outing, it can be deflating for them, and then take time to get back to where that player was. Speaking specifically about Harvey, he believes it helps him to learn from the starts when he's struggled this year.

“To learn how to get out of it, how to get past it," Collins said. "It’s a bad feeling as a manager when you're up here and one of your players has doubt whether he can play at this level.”