8/29/2014 11:57 P.M. ET
Herrera makes Major League debut for Mets
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- When the call came to Double-A Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez's office, Dilson Herrera struggled to believe it. Yes, he was enjoying a solid first full season in the organization, but the middle-infield prospect understood his role at 20 years old. He had never played above Double-A. That's not often grounds for a big league promotion.
"I was just in complete shock," Herrera said through an interpreter. "I couldn't believe it."
Reality came in a private car that whisked him off to New York, where Herrera batted seventh and played second base in Friday's 4-1 win over the Phillies. Herrera went 0-for-3 with an error. With Daniel Murphy on the disabled list for at least the next two weeks with a strained right calf, and possibly longer than that, the Mets saw this as an ideal opportunity to see their No. 8 prospect in action.
"We'll see how he looks," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "He's going to get some extended playing time."
Because the Mets needed to shift Herrera onto their 40-man roster anyway this winter to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, they decided to promote him straight to the big leagues instead of No. 20 prospect Matt Reynolds, a 23-year-old having a monster season at Triple-A Las Vegas. The move made Herrera the reigning youngest player in the Majors.
Herrera played both second base and shortstop this year at Binghamton and Class A Advanced St. Lucie, after coming to the Mets in a trade with the Pirates last August. For now, the Mets plan to use him exclusively as a second baseman; Alderson referred to Herrera's defensive chops as "average or better," though it is clear most of his intrigue revolves around his line-drive swing, which produced one home run every 27.8 plate appearances at Binghamton.
"The biggest challenge is to think he's got to do more than he's ever done," manager Terry Collins said of Herrera, who will wear uniform No. 2. "You get to this level and ... the game doesn't change. You've still got to catch it, throw it, hit it and be smart about how you go about things. He's come with really, really outstanding reports on how he plays, the way he plays, intelligent kid, all the things you want to hear. But I think he's got to keep back the excitement that this is something bigger and larger than it really is."
Still, as the 14th Colombian-born player to appear in the Majors, and the first in Mets history, Herrera does carry some weight on his shoulders.
"It's a real sense of pride to be here representing my country," he said. "My family's very proud as well. There's not very many of us, but I'm proud to come here and represent."
As for Murphy, an MRI on the regular second baseman's right calf revealed a "significant issue," according to Alderson, forcing the Mets to believe they may be without him for much of September.
"Murph's down," Collins said. "He had some pretty big goals set, and rightly so, that he was chasing. Big goals. And now we're looking at quite a lengthy DL stint."
Backman named PCL's Manager of the Year
NEW YORK -- Since rejoining the Mets as a Minor League manager in 2010, Wally Backman has won with consistency, posting a combined .534 winning percentage with Class A Brooklyn, Double-A Binghamton, Triple-A Buffalo and, most recently, Triple-A Las Vegas. His efforts with the latter club on Friday earned him honors as the Pacific Coast League's Manager of the Year.
"Well-deserved," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "He's got a nice club there. They score a lot of runs. But he's had to manage additions and subtractions in personnel there. He's obviously had to deal with the pitching challenges that come with Las Vegas. I'm very pleased for him, and I think it reflects the work he's done this year."
In his second season at Las Vegas, Backman has led the 51s to an 80-61 record and a first-place standing. More importantly to the Mets, he has overseen many of the organization's top prospects, including starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero.
"I'm very, very happy for Wally," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He deserves a lot of accolades. Wally does an outstanding job, and certainly I rely a lot on his opinions of players and what goes on. I'm happy for him. With all the player moves we've made, he's kept that club steady moving forward. Congratulations to him."
Over the past few winters, Backman has interviewed for numerous big league managerial and coaching positions, including Collins' own managerial job four years ago. He has said publicly that he would relish another opportunity to manage at the big league level, though the Mets have passed him over for promotions to their staff in the past.