Notes: Sosa shifted to bullpen

Notes: Sosa shifted to bullpen

MILWAUKEE -- With their need for a late-inning, swing-and-miss pitcher unaddressed and the trade deadline passed Tuesday, the Mets have turned to the next logical source -- their own rotation. They have implemented a plan they had discussed at the All-Star break and reassigned Jorge Sosa.

The pitcher who won six of his first seven starts this season now is an all-purpose man, the pitcher equivalent of Jose Oquendo. Sosa made his first appearance in the nebulous role Tuesday night, handling the ninth and 10th innings in what became the Mets' unsettling, 13-inning loss to the Brewers. And his next appearance is scheduled for ... well, August.

Sosa may start again, might pitch in long relief or help bridge the gap between the Mets starting pitcher and Billy Wagner. Or, if the sequence is right, he might do each in a week's time.

The club sprang the change in Sosa on Sunday, two days after he had pitched poorly in the Mets' 6-2 loss to the Nationals. He lost for the fifth time in six starts that night. Now, he is likely to have a hand in more games, but it may be a steadier hand.

Sosa, 30 years old and not even a year removed from most of the 19 relief appearances he made with the Cardinals in 2006, said he was comfortable with the change and willing to serve in any role.

"Right now, I don't know what's going to happen," Sosa said through an interpreter. "I'll do whatever they want me to do to help us get to the World Series."

And the Mets believe Sosa pitching in relief may enhance their chance of achieving that objective. Even if he had been performing at a marginally higher level, he wasn't likely to retain his place in the rotation when Pedro Martinez returned -- date still undetermined. And between now and that floating date, the Mets will have three, perhaps four off-days; so the sequence of the rotation may be revised a few times.

Sosa's appearance on Tuesday created the need for a revision. He had been scheduled to start against the Brewers on Thursday afternoon. That assignment has fallen to Brian Lawrence, the 31-year-old, veteran right-handed pitcher the Mets signed to a Minor League contract May 9 after he had been designated for assignment by the Rockies three weeks earlier.

Lawrence, the former Padre, produced an 8-2 record and 3.87 ERA in 12 starts (79 innings) with the Mets' Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs affiliate, seemingly completing his physical comeback from shoulder surgery he underwent in March 2006. He didn't pitch again until Spring Training this year.

"We signed him just for this kind of situation," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Wednesday. "He's a guy with Major League experience. He's earned this."

Lawrence won 41 games and lost 61 and had a 4.10 ERA in 162 games -- 146 starts -- with the Padres from 2001 through 2005.

"He knows how to pitch, you could see that," understudy catcher Mike Di Felice said. He had caught Lawrence with the Zephyrs. "He's a sinker-slider guy who has to make his pitches and move the ball around to be successful. But you can tell he has an idea."

Maneuvers: The Mets will make one of two moves Wednesday to accommodate Lawrence on the 25-player roster. If Paul Lo Duca has fully recovered from his hamstring strain, Di Felice probably would be removed from the roster. If Lo Duca can't play, David Newhan probably would be optioned for the third time this season.

Lo Duca said he can't tell whether he'll be ready.

"I could have played [Tuesday] night, so how will I be able to tell?"

Pitcher Jon Adkins and catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. cleared waivers and accepted assignment to New Orleans.

Eight-ing and abetting: Given his druthers, Marlon Anderson would wear uniform No. 8, as he did early in his career with the Phillies. But that isn't likely, because the Mets' No. 8 is essentially out of circulation -- for Gary Carter -- as was the Mets' 24, for Willie Mays until Rickey Henderson.

Anderson had an "8" next to his name Wednesday night. A second baseman by trade, he started in center field, the No. 8 position. Anderson was assigned for the first time in his career last season with the Nationals. He started five games in center and played center in two others.

"I don't think anyone's going to sign in the offseason to play center field next year," Anderson said. "But I can play the position. It's easier than the corners."

Unprecedented: When Jose Reyes stole second base in the ninth inning on Tuesday, he became the first New York player -- Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Yankees -- to steal at least 50 bases in three consecutive seasons.

This date in Mets history -- August 2: Unable to run, Cleon Jones provided a pinch-hit single to drive in the run in the seventh inning of what became the Mets' 1-0 victory against the Astros on this date in 1969. Jones was replaced at first base by pinch-runner Tom Seaver. The shutout, the work of Jim McAndrew and Tug McGraw, was the first of 17 the Mets pitched in their final 62 games that season. They won eight 1-0 games in 1969. ... Jon Matlack pitched a five-hitter and walked none in a shutout of the Pirates in Three Rivers Stadium in this date in 1975. The Mets won, 6-0. Pirates rookie second baseman Willie Randolph was hitless in four at-bats.

The Mets and Phillies split a doubleheader at Shea on Aug. 2, 1979. Between games, the Mets purchased the contract of Jose Cardenal from the Phillies. The veteran outfielder played in neither game. ... On this date in 1988, Darryl Strawberry hit a leadoff home run and Barry Lyons hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning against Cubs starter Jamie Moyer, and the Mets won, 8-0. David Cone ran his record to 11-2 with the fourth of his eight complete games that year. ... A 7-2 road victory against the Brewers, fueled by home runs against Hideo Nomo by Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza and Darryl Hamilton, put the Mets in a tie with the Braves for first place in the National League East on this date in 1999. ... Pinch-hitter Piazza walked with the bases loaded in the 11th inning to force in the decisive run in the Mets' 9-8 victory against the Brewers at Shea on this date in 2005.

Coming up: Lawrence starts opposite Milwaukee left-hander Chris Capuano on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. ET in the final game of the three-game series.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.