NEW YORK -- Emphasizing that they signed Miguel Batista for this very purpose, the Mets on Friday announced that Batista will take Chris Schwinden's place in the rotation. Batista will be available out of the bullpen throughout this weekend, before starting Tuesday's game in Philadelphia.
That could last for any number of starts, with manager Terry Collins indicating he would like for Batista to stay in that role at least until Chris Young is ready to join the team.
"One of the things that we brought Miguel Batista in for was not just to be a bullpen guy, but if we needed a spot starter at any time, he was the guy to do it," Collins said. "We saw last year how effective he can be in that role."
The Mets optioned the struggling Schwinden to Triple-A Buffalo prior to Friday's game, activating utility man Vinny Rottino to take his place on the roster. Rottino's stay in New York will be temporary; once Batista moves out of the bullpen, the Mets will replace him with another reliever -- most likely D.J. Carrasco, who has moved up to Buffalo in his rehab from a sprained right ankle.
In the interim, the Mets will not be shy in using Batista out of the bullpen this weekend, if necessary.
"I'm too old for limitations," the 41-year-old Batista said. "What are you going to save me for? Making the Hall of Fame at the age of 50?"
The Mets had quite a few alternative options for their rotation, including giving Schwinden another chance or replacing him with Jeremy Hefner. But one option they did not consider was calling up Matt Harvey from Buffalo, where the top prospect has held his own at the top tier of the Minors.
Such a move certainly would have offered more upside than using Batista, who has posted a 6.92 ERA over one start and nine relief appearances this season. But the Mets have been adamant about keeping Harvey in the Minors until he is absolutely ready to join the big leagues for good.
"There's a fine line that you walk about certain players being ready," Collins said of Harvey in particular. "It's good for him, even the couple starts he's down there where he's gotten roughed up a little bit, to learn how to get out of it, learn how to deal with it, learn how to move past it. Because it's a bad feeling for the manager when you're up here, when one of your players already has doubt to whether he can play at this level."