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Mets option Daisuke Matsuzaka to Triple-A, intend to use Jenrry Mejia as fifth starter

Mar 29, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT

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Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out eight batters and walked none over five scoreless innings this afternoon against the Blue Jays. His reward? A trip to the minors.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said after today’s game that Matsuzaka has been optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. This means that Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Of course, Mejia left last night’s start after he was hit on the right forearm with a comebacker, so he’ll have to prove his health in order to make his scheduled season debut next Friday against the Reds. Matsuzaka would likely get the nod if Mejia is unable to go.

Health situation aside, this was always the ideal scenario for the Mets, as Mejia simply offers more upside. Matsuzaka can’t opt out of his minor league contract until May 30, so it also makes sense from a team control standpoint. He’s nice insurance to have around at the Triple-A level at the very least.

  1. rje49 - Mar 29, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Dice K didn’t walk anybody in 5 innings, then got sent down? Wow. Welcome to the bizarro world!

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 29, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      He gave up 5 hits and was lucky that the Jays did not get a run against him.

      The final score in front of 50,000 happy fans was 2 to 0. Melky hit his first HR of the spring for the win.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. Let us know how it goes.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        When I get home.

  2. straightouttavtown - Mar 29, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    D-Mat got a raw deal here. He pitched well in the spring and in September (especially his last 3 starts) last season. Teams are really hating on veteran pitchers this spring training, which shows the obsession with electric stuff and velocity is out of control. Just wait till the real season starts and these fringe prospects with no major league track record start getting lit up. They’ll be begging for D-Mat to come back. His only fault is his agent’s should’ve negotiated an earlier opt out date for him.

  3. thedudabides - Mar 29, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    This is finally a smart move involving Mejia. All the mismanagement of this kid so far in his career has been terrible. Now get rid of Quintanilla and let Serratelli take his spot.

    • straightouttavtown - Mar 29, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      Love him or hate him, all-gloves no-bat guys like Omar Quintanilla tends to last pretty long in the big leagues. Just look at Ramon Santiago, Wilson Valdez, and Ramon Martinez.

  4. renaado - Mar 29, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    I really thought this “5th Starter” thing would diminish some time in the regular season, but optioning him already at Triple-A where the regular season hasn’t even started yet is certainly what I haven’t expected.

  5. bbell88 - Mar 29, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    It makes sense, there is no guarantee that Dice-k will stay in the minors. They had to make a roster decision today or tomorrow, and if they had optioned Mejia, he would have had to stay in the minors for 10 days. Dice-k, however can be recalled at any time. If Neise cannot go by the end of next week, then Dice-k will probably get a shot, after Mejia takes his turn in the rotation. However if Mejia were optioned, and Neise we’re not able to go, the Mets would either be scrambling to get another starter from AAA, or using Carlos Torres or Lannan. Neither is ideal compared to the combo of Mejia and Dice-k. If Neise is fine, then Dice-k is a nice insurance policy in AAA.

    • arrow43050 - Mar 29, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      There is an injury exception for the 10 day requirement. If a player is transferred from the 25-man roster to the disabled list you can recall any player. If Niese can’t go by the end of next week he’ll be put on the 15-day DL retroactively.

  6. zdravit - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    So they made the decision before he pitched his final game but didn’t tell him. They didn’t want the real Dice-K to come out and embarrass them in front of the greatest fans in baseball.

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