NEW YORK -- Mike DeJean knows he had some problems earlier this season, but he hardly seemed troubled on Tuesday afternoon in the New York clubhouse.
The Mets' newest right-handed setup man introduced himself to his new teammates and the media, and expressed a desire to put his American League experience behind him while helping his new team as it fights for the NL East crown.
"This is a nice change of scenery for me," said DeJean, a career National Leaguer who was 0-5 with a 6.13 ERA in 37 games this year for Baltimore. "We're in the middle of a pennant chase, and it's something to get focused on. It's a total adjustment. We'll see how long it takes to fit in the clubhouse and [find out] where my niche is. It's an adjustment I've made in the past, though.
"Last year, when I was with Milwaukee, we had a good team, but we were in the middle of the pack. And then I was traded to the Cards, and it wakes you up. You have different goals to strive for."
The Mets are confident that DeJean will regain the form that he displayed with Milwaukee in 2001 and 2002, when he was one of the better setup men/closers in the National League. He's hoping that a return to his roots will also be a panacea of sorts.
"I hope so," said DeJean, who went through a short bullpen session with pitching coach Rick Peterson on Tuesday. "I was in the National League for seven years before this. I'm excited to be back. We have a real neat race."
DeJean attributed some of his early struggles to his new surroundings. When he was in Milwaukee, he relied heavily on bullpen coach Bill Castro to keep his mechanics in check. But when he went to Baltimore, there were new coaches who hadn't seem him pitch and weren't familiar with his routines.
Once he settled in, though, he improved. He had an ERA of 2.00 in nine innings over his last six appearances with Baltimore, lowering his ERA nearly a run a game.
DeJean pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday in his Mets debut.
Multiple Piazzas: The Mets announced the addition of another Piazza on Tuesday, acquiring catcher Tommy Piazza, 22, from the Dodgers for Kingsport catcher Bryan Purkey. Tommy Piazza, the younger brother of Mike, was drafted last season by Los Angeles. But he wasn't playing much in the Dodgers' chain, so his older brother asked Mets general manager Jim Duquette to see if there was a fit.
"I just mentioned it to Jim, and he was interested," said Mike. "I told Jim I would vouch for his work ethic. He was in a tough position with the Dodgers, because they have a lot of minor league catchers. I told [Tommy] that if I hear anything bad about him, he's going to get his [rear end] kicked.
"He's a good kid, and he works really hard. He loves to play, and he does everything that's asked of him. It's going to be nice next year in Spring Training with him around. I don't know what his future holds, but he's a good kid and will be an asset to the organization."
The move brings to three the number of Piazzas in the organization. Tony Piazza, no relation to Mike and Tommy, is catching for Class A Kingsport.
Jose Reyes / 2B
Weight: 175 lbs
Bats: S / Throws: R
Bunting drills: Jose Reyes was out early on Tuesday afternoon, working on bunting drills with coach Gary Pettis. Pettis placed a bucket on its side about 10 feet up the third-base line, and the objective was for Reyes to place the ball in the bucket.
"He was trying to show me that I was being too quick when I try to bunt the ball," said Reyes. "I have to slow down and just bunt the ball and run. Before I wasn't bunting a lot because I didn't feel good running. Now I feel better running. The bucket was in the right spot. If I put the ball there, they can't get me out."
Reyes has also been working with coach Don Baylor, who has been trying to get him to take the outside pitch the other way more.
"For a couple of games, I was trying to pull that ball," said Reyes. "Now I'm going more the other way."
Minor musings: Matt Peterson, one of the club's top pitching prospects at Double-A Binghamton, landed on the disabled list on Monday, the result of a strained left oblique muscle. He'll miss at least one start after going 6-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 19 starts for the B-Mets. He's allowed fewer than three earned runs in 12 of his starts and is the subject of some trade rumors. The Pirates and Rangers have scouted him, with Pittsburgh believed to be eyeing him as a possible return on any deal that would involve Kris Benson. ... Matt Ginter scattered five hits over seven innings for Triple-A Norfolk in a 7-3 victory over Durham on Monday night. ... Third-round pick Gaby Hernandez is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three starts (12 innings) for the Gulf Coast Mets.
This and that: According to one club official, the Mets have no interest in taking on Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall if he's part of any deal for Benson. ... The average game time for the Mets is two hours, 56 minutes, the longest in the Major Leagues for nine innings. The Major League average is two hours, 47 minutes. ... Luis Castillo extended his Shea Stadium hitting streak to 25 games on Tuesday night with a first-inning single. It's the longest hitting streak by any player at Shea, Met or opponent, and it broke the mark set by Tommy Davis, who hit in 23 consecutive games in Queens between 1966 and 1969 while playing for the Dodgers, Mets and Astros. ... British Open champ Todd Hamilton was at Shea on Tuesday, Claret Jug in tow, to throw out the first pitch. ... Scott Kazmir went eight innings for Binghamton on Tuesday night. He struck out 10 and allowed only two hits, but he was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, as the B-Mets were held to one hit. ... The Mets stole a season-high five bases on Tuesday, two by Reyes, two by Ty Wigginton and one by Kaz Matsui. The last time the club stole five bases was on July 16, 1999, when Rickey Henderson had three and Roger Cedeno had two. Reyes has stolen four bases in two games. ... Reyes has also picked up a hit in every game since the All-Star break and is hitting .321 (9-for-28) over that stretch. ... When Reyes fanned in the fourth inning, it snapped a career-high 33 plate appearances without a strikeout.
Kevin T. Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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