NEW YORK -- When Queens native Mike Baxter returned to his locker following Monday evening's victory over the Padres, he already had more than two dozen unread text messages on his phone. More buzzed across his display as the night progressed. Still more greeted him upon waking Tuesday morning.
"I don't know what the final number was, but it was a lot," Baxter said. "It was great to hear from everyone. It was really cool to see how many people just said hi and good luck."
A critical RBI double on the day of his callup helped old friends take notice of Baxter, who grew up in nearby Whitestone, Queens, and played his high school baseball at Archbishop Molloy. And it may have even earned him a reward -- Mets manager Terry Collins plans to give him his first start in the outfield on Wednesday.
Certainly, Baxter's friends and family will be watching. Rather than stay in a nearby hotel, as most Mets callups do, Baxter has moved back in with his parents and sister in Whitestone. His commute to Citi Field takes less than 10 minutes.
He is still trying to grasp the gravity of that good fortune.
"[Monday] was a whirlwind," Baxter said. "I think as time goes on, I'll kind of settle into what my job is and what my role is. That will be defined going forward. I just want to take advantage of the opportunities I'm given to help the team."