Struggling Mets call up infielder Mark Vientos from minor leagues
NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Vientos was about to go to sleep in his Norfolk, Virginia, hotel room when he learned he was the spark the sagging New York Mets were seeking.
Vientos got a late-night call from Syracuse Mets manager Dick Scott, who told the 23-year-old to get to New York on Wednesday. Shortly after arriving at Citi Field, Vientos was in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays, batting eighth and playing third base.
“It’s kind of the fallout of not playing as well as we need to,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It adds excitement if they perform well and help you win games."
Vientos hit a tying two-run homer in the seventh inning off Ryan Thompson, and the Mets went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7 on Pete Alonso's three-run homer in the 10th. Francisco Álvarez, like Vientos a rookie, tied the score with a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth.
“All the hard work I've been putting in is showing,” Vientos said.
He went 1 for 4 and wound up hitting back-to-back-to-back with Álvarez and Brett Baty, his minor league teammates last month.
“We give each other confidence,” Vientos said. “Just like we were doing it at Triple-A — we were hitting balls over the fence, scoring runs. We can do that over here."
Despite a major league-record $355 million opening-day payroll, the Mets are 21-23 and began the day 21st among the 30 teams in runs. New York is 7-16 following a 14-7 start.
Álvarez, a catcher, was brought up on April 7. Baty, a third baseman, was summoned on April 17.
“A good reunion. Glad to be back with all of them,” Vientos said. “Went back to chatting like we were down there.”
Part-time infielder Luis Guillorme was optioned to Syracuse to clear a spot for Vientos. Guillorme, who hit .233 with three RBIs in 27 games for the Mets this year, was informed by Showalter when he arrived at Citi Field.
“It’s not fun,” Showalter said.
Vientos hit .333 with 11 doubles, 13 homers and 37 RBIs in 38 games at Syracuse. He had four hits in his last 15 at-bats, including a pair of home runs.
"If he plays well, hits well, we’ll see how that role evolves," Showalter said.
Wearing two diamond studs in each earlobe, Vientos said he felt more prepared than he was last fall. He made his big league debut Sept. 22 and hit .167 (6 for 46) with one homer and three RBIs in 16 games.
“I'm a lot better than I was last year,” he said. '"So I’m confident with that."
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