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.