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Monday, February 4, 2013
Hicks only 'bubble' player out of options

By Adam Rubin

The Mets may have a 40-man roster crunch late in spring training -- especially if Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins, Pedro Feliciano, plus Marlon Byrd or Andrew Brown make the team and all need to be added. After all, once a deal with Brandon Lyon is finalized, the Mets' 40-man roster will be full.

Yet nearly every bubble player for a major league roster spot can be optioned to the minors without being exposed to waivers if the Mets choose that route.

The lone exception: infielder Brandon Hicks, acquired from the Oakland Athletics early in the offseason, is out of options and would have to be exposed to waivers if he did not make the major league squad. Yet Hicks enters camp as the favorite over Omar Quintanilla to earn the backup shortstop role behind Ruben Tejada anyway.

Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jeremy Hefner, Anthony Recker, Greg Burke, Elvin Ramirez, Jordany Valdespin, Zach Lutz and Reese Havens are among the Mets in camp who have options remaining and can be sent to Triple-A Las Vegas without passing through waivers if they don't make the major league team and the Mets choose to keep them on the 40-man roster.

Players optioned to the minors remain on the 40-man roster.

Sandy Alderson noted it is easier to remove players from the 40-man roster and successfully pass them through waivers late in spring training than at other points during the offseason.

"Sometimes what happens is you have a player on the major league roster at that position, and that player is a placeholder for that position," Alderson said. "There's a substitution that takes place. In other cases, you have to move somebody off the roster. But it tends to be easier to make those roster changes toward the end of spring training than it is in December, January. You see some of these players have been claimed three or four times. It gets a lot more difficult to do that at the end of spring training when everybody has the same roster issues."