NEW YORK -- Carlos Torres tried to play the big league card when he showed up minutes late for his Saturday night flight to New York, pleading with an airline attendant to let him on the plane. Apparently, she was not impressed, forcing Torres to change his direct flight from Las Vegas to a one-stop itinerary through Atlanta -- "an adventure," as Torres called it.
Regardless, Torres is in the big leagues now. He arrived at Citi Field around 9 a.m. ET Sunday and pitched two innings of one-hit ball in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Cubs, part of four scoreless innings from New York's bullpen. Torres went 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 12 starts for hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas. His last two appearances with the 51s were complete games, though he had seven days off after his last outing.
"The bullpen is a huge factor in every game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "With what Carlos went through all night long, he said he felt fine. It'd been a while since he pitched."
Torres said his stuff wasn't as sharp as he'd like it to be -- understandable considering his 24 hours -- but he provided a glimpse into what he brings to New York.
He got two quick outs and worked around a two-out single for a quick first inning of work. He struck out third baseman Luis Valbuena to start of the seventh and induced two more groundouts for a smooth 26-pitch day. After the game, he said he would've been fine to keep going.
"To tell you the truth, it was probably a little better," Torres said of the fact that he had a hectic day. "It kept me a little down."
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated starting pitcher Collin McHugh for assignment, risking losing him to another team. And to clear space for Torres in New York, the Mets optioned Greg Burke, who had allowed just one earned run over the past five-plus weeks. Torres had an "out" clause in his contract and he would've been able to sign elsewhere had the Mets not promoted him.
"We had to find a spot, and a lot of times it comes down to options," Collins said. "I hate to admit it, but there are guys you can move and there are guys you can't."
Believe it or not, Torres had a similar day last season with the Rockies. In late May, he was sent down and called back up in the same day.
He didn't have to pitch that time, though. In New York, he wasted no time.
"You got to get in there sooner or later," Torres said, "so you might as well make it Day 1."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.