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Thursday, June 7, 2012
Mets' shortstop situation in disarray

By Adam Rubin

WASHINGTON -- Omar Quintanilla, the latest fill-in at shortstop for the New York Mets, injured his left index finger trying to make a retreating catch in Wednesday night's game -- sending the Mets' shortstop situation into further chaos.

Terry Collins was waiting to complete his lineup for Thursday's series finale until Quintanilla could test whether he could hit with the injury. The DL is not ruled out, either.

Jordany Valdespin, who committed two errors in the series opener at the position, and whom Collins has said is not a major league shortstop at this point, would start in D.C. Thursday if Quintanilla is unable.

David Wright would only be inserted at shortstop in an in-game emergency, not as a starter. Wright has logged eight innings at shortstop in the majors in two games over the past two seasons, but otherwise had not played the position since he was at Hickory High School in Virginia.

Collins said he would not start Wright there because if he were to underperform, "All of a sudden it's, 'What are you putting an All-Star third baseman at shortstop for?'"

The Mets have started five different players at shortstop this season -- Ruben Tejada, Ronny Cedeno, Justin Turner, Quintanilla and Valdespin.

Tejada withdrew from a rehab game Monday night with Triple-A Buffalo and is due to be examined by team doctors today in New York. Regardless of the outcome of that examination, Collins said, Tejada is ticketed to head back to the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., afterward and cannot be considered close to returning.

Cedeno, meanwhile, will not return from the DL for at least a week -- and that's if his strained left calf continues to progress. Collins said Cedeno is due to jog today and try to run the bases Friday. He could be in a rehab game Sunday or Monday.

Turner is out with a severe right ankle sprain as well as ligament damage in the foot.

What would the Mets do if Quintanilla lands on the DL? Collins said virtually every shortstop's name in the system has been mentioned as a possibility. He particularly cited Sean Kazmar and Wilfredo Tovar.

Kazmar, who might be most logical choice, appeared in 19 games with the San Diego Padres in 2008. He currently is at Triple-A Buffalo after spending much of the season at Double-A Binghamton, where B-Mets pitchers raved about his defense.

Tovar, also considered a slick fielder, is only 20 and has not played above Class A St. Lucie. Collins said Tovar was due to be promoted to Binghamton before this issue arose at the major league level.

Oswaldo Navarro also has major league experience.