Infielder Jordany Valdespin and pitcher Jeremy Hefner joined the Mets from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday afternoon, literally traveling by taxi from their game at Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pa. The Mets placed Cedeno on the disabled list with a left intercostal strain and activated Hefner in time for Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Giants, then replaced him with Valdespin later in the day.
Cedeno, 29, amassed three hits in 12 at-bats this season, subbing at second base, third base and shortstop. He had derived most of his value as the club's go-to defensive replacement for second baseman Daniel Murphy.
"He said he hasn't been sleeping well the last few days," manager Terry Collins said. "He thought it was because he just got himself in a bad position, and this morning, he woke up with a lot more pain than he's had yet. So he came in early and we waited until the doctor came in to get him examined, and we decided to disable him."
The new Basic Agreement allowed the Mets to bring in both of Cedeno's replacements, with a 24-hour leeway to activate them. Though the CBA also allows teams to use 26-man rosters for some doubleheaders, the Mets and Giants could not do so this week because they did not schedule Monday's doubleheader with at least 48 hours' notice.
Hefner, 26, gave the Mets pitching depth for the doubleheader, which was especially important given that 41-year-old spot starter Miguel Batista took the ball for Game 1. An Oklahoma native, Hefner had never been to New York before sharing a car service with Valdespin from Lehigh Valley, then pitching three scoreless innings in the Mets' 6-1 loss to the Giants at Citi Field.
"It was a dream come true," Hefner said between games, fighting back tears. "It was my first time pitching in the big leagues, and I had a good outing. Everything went well. I just wish we would've won the game."
The man who ultimately replaced Cedeno was Valdespin, 24, one of the last players cut from big league camp this spring. Splitting time between center field and the middle-infield positions at Buffalo, Valdespin was batting .276 with two home runs in 17 games prior to his promotion, going 6-for-13 over his past three games. The organization began exposing him to center field this spring as a hedge against multiple outfield injuries, though Valdespin will most likely play exclusively infield during his time with the Mets.
"It's not difficult," Valdespin said of playing multiple positions. "It's good. I'm a young guy, so if I play three positions in the field, I can help the team much better. I just work hard. If they need me in the outfield, I'll play outfield. If they need me at second, I'll play second. I'm ready for the chance to play in the big leagues."