Notes: Catching hierarchy sorted out
Castro hot, Lo Duca back soon; team parts ways with DiFelice
MILWAUKEE -- The three-run home run Ramon Castro hit Wednesday night put him back in the starting lineup Thursday afternoon -- that, and the continued limited availability of Paul Lo Duca. But Lo Duca is close to returning to his regular job, close enough that the club designated Mike DiFelice for assignment.
DiFelice was the third catcher for all of three games. He had been summoned only because Lo Duca had strained his left hamstring. Willie Randolph said he expects Lo Duca to play this weekend in Chicago.
A horse with no name: For all his time in the big leagues, Tom Glavine has no real nickname. "Glav" is it. But he arrived at Miller Park on Thursday morning wearing a button-down-the-front shirt with the likenesses of tall grass on it. It was not intended to be tucked into his pants. So for one day at least, he was Tommy "Bahama" Glavine.
Heard in the clubhouse: After an ESPN segment about Barry Bonds and Bud Selig, someone said, "I hope it takes Barry 30 days to get [No. 755]. Bud'll see a lot of games."
Déjà vu: Brian Lawrence made his Mets debut Thursday afternoon. A veteran right-handed pitcher making his Mets debut in a Thursday afternoon game at Miller Park on get-away day ... seems familiar. On Thursday, April 26, 2001, veteran right-handed pitcher Brent Hinchcliffe made his first and only Mets appearance, starting a get-away game in Miller.
He didn't distinguish himself. The Brewers scored before their fourth batter stepped in, and Hinchcliffe allowed nine runs in two-plus innings as the Mets lost, 12-8. Hinchcliffe, who had pitched for the Angels and Mariners, never pitched in the big leagues again. His career record in 14 games -- five starts -- was 0-5.
Player/coach? Lawrence was assigned No. 54, which has been assigned almost exclusively to coaches in Mets history. Rube Walker, Gil Hodges' pitching coach who served through Joe Torre's time as manager, is the primary No. 54 in Mets history. Rick Down, dismissed as batting coach last month, also wore 54.
The only player other than Lawrence to wear 54 was Mark Clark, who won 22 times for the Mets in 1996 and 1997.
Ibid Reyes (with Rickey): Jose Reyes is the first player to have three consecutive 50-steal seasons for a New York team -- Mets, Dodgers, Giants or Yankees -- since the modern stolen base rule was put in effect in 1898. Rickey Henderson was the lone player to have a total of three 50-steal seasons for a New York team. He had at least 80 stolen bases for the Yankees three times (80 in 1985, 87 in 1986 and 93 in 1988). Henderson stole 41 stolen bases in 1987, missing 67 games because of hamstring injuries.
This date in Mets history -- August 3: Jerry Grote led off the 11th inning with a home run against Claude Raymond to provide the decisive run in the Mets' 6-5 victory against the Braves at Shea Stadium on this date in 1969. ... Five years later, Tug McGraw doubled home three runs in the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie against the Expos at Parc Jarry. He also emerged as the winning pitcher in a 10-4 Mets victory. McGraw had seven more extra-base hits, including one home run, and 15 more RBIs, in 213 other big-league at-bats.
A two-out home run by Howard Johnson against George Frazier was the difference in the Mets' 5-4 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 3, 1985. ... Keith Hernandez hit a home run against Kent Tekulve with two out in the 11th inning to beat the Phillies, 3-2, at Shea on this date in 1987. . .The Mets were outscored, 17-7, while losing a doubleheader to the Diamondbacks at Shea on this date in 2002. The Mets were 109 games into their schedule and in second place in the National League East -- 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.
Coming up: A genuine challenge awaits the Mets on Friday afternoon. Not only do they oppose the Cubs, who moved into first place Wednesday night, they face Carlos Zambrano, Chicago's most successful starter this season, in the 2:20 p.m. ET game. Zambrano has won his four most recent starts and seven of his most recent eight. Orlando Hernandez starts for the Mets.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.