Mets Add Left-handed Bullpen Arm

Justin Hampson

In the 8th inning of last night’s game, two left-handed hitters were due to bat for the Yankees.  Terry Collins elected not to bring in LHP Tim Byrdak, but kept Miguel Batista in for a second inning of work.  Batista threw a tailing fastball to Robinson Cano, who drove it over the home run apple in center field for the eventual game-winning run.

It’s possible, with a shorthanded bullpen in a tie game, Collins wanted to get multiple innings out of Batista.  It’s also possible he wanted to save Byrdak for another situation in the 9th or 10th.  On Saturday, he said he was saving Byrdak and Parnell for the 9th inning in lieu of Frank Francisco, who had injured his oblique during warmups.

Francisco would go on the DL on Sunday, at which point Collins said Parnell would be his interim closer.  Still, he chose not to use Byrdak in the 8th.

To give Collins another left-handed option, the Mets recalled LHP Justin Hampson today from Buffalo.  Hampson was killing it at Triple-A to the tune of a 2.13 ERA and a .218 opposing batting average against left handers.  He has also held right handers to a .233 average.

Having 2 lefties in the bullpen is something this team has needed all year.  Robert Carson was recalled from Double-A earlier this season, but Collins used him sparingly, and usually in a mop-up role.

To make room for Hampson on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated OF-1B Vinny Rottino for assignment.  Rottino has been a useful right-handed bat off the bench, and was in the middle of the Mets’ 4-run, game-tying rally.  Rottino will have to clear waivers before being sent back to Buffalo.

Hampson last pitched in the majors for the San Diego Padres.  He has a career 3.38 ERA over three seasons.  He was a member of the independent Long Island Ducks in 2010.

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. Tom Loebig June 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm
    Interesting. I could think of a few other players to send down or release on the major league roster before Vinny. He’s similar to those role players we’ve had during our championship seasons, Weis, Garrett, Martin.
    • Izzy June 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm
      Rotino isn’t similar to any of the guys you mentioned. He’s a lousy hitter with no place to play more than sub-par defense. Garrett was the primary third baseman being the lefty in a platoon with Ed Charles. He was also young and theoretically had upside. JC Martin was a back up catcher. You may not comprehend but teams had 3 catchers then. Riottino serves no role like Martin did as he can’t field any position well enough to be a back up there. And Weis was the back up middle infielder, something again that Rottino coulsdn’t do, and Weis was an excellent glove man. Rottino is a guy lucky enough to get a few cups of coffee in Queens. Nothing more and nothing to compare him to anyone other than Pascucci.
  2. jerseymet June 26, 2012 at 9:29 am
    Hampson played for Bud Harelson’s L I Ducks. Do the Ducks get compensated when players get picked up by Major league Organizations?