PITTSBURGH -- Needing to restore their bench to full strength, the Mets recalled utility player Vinny Rottino from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, one day after placing starting pitcher Miguel Batista on the disabled list. Right-hander Chris Schwinden, who was called up Sunday in case the club needed an extra pitcher, was optioned back to Buffalo to make room for Rottino.
After playing mostly the outfield earlier this season, Rottino had started at catcher the past two days at Buffalo. That came on direct request from manager Terry Collins, who is still concerned about backup catcher Rob Johnson's jammed left thumb.
"His thumb is still pretty sore," Collins said, referencing Johnson's start behind the plate Sunday in Toronto. "You could see there were certain balls yesterday he really had a tough time catching because of the thumb."
This will be Rottino's second stint in the big leagues this season, after the utility player went 0-for-4 in three games earlier this month. Rottino -- who played catcher, first base, third base and all three outfield positions for the Mets in Spring Training -- gives Collins a fifth bench player. The Mets played two games this weekend with a shortened bench in an American League park.
The 32-year-old was hitting .307 (43-for-140) with four home runs in 36 games for the Bisons, hitting three of those homers on Saturday. Along with his three big league appearances this season, Rottino played in eight games with the Marlins last season and 18 with the Brewers from 2006-08.
Schwinden is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in two big league starts this season. He allowed five earned runs in four innings of in each of his two outings, the last of which came on May 2.