PHILADELPHIA -- Fourteen innings took their toll not only on New York's bullpen Friday night, but also on their active roster. Needing a fresh arm for Saturday's game, the Mets officially selected the contract of right-hander Buddy Carlyle from Triple-A Las Vegas, optioning starting pitcher Rafael Montero and moving Daisuke Matsuzaka into the rotation.
The Mets repeated the trick after playing another 14 innings Saturday, flying left-hander Dana Eveland to New York in advance of Sunday's game. The team has not announced a corresponding move.
"It's really a move made out of necessity," assistant general manager John Ricco said of the initial pitching swap. "This wasn't something we had talked about. But when you play a long game like that and you're in the middle of a long stretch with no off days, you have to make adjustments."
Montero's performance did play into the move; manager Terry Collins noted that the rookie must learn to use all his pitches even when one or more of them might not be working. The deep counts that dogged Montero in Friday's a loss to the Phillies affected his performance, as did the 11 walks he distributed over his first 20 big league innings.
The Mets, in other words, would have been unlikely to option him back to the Minors if he were pitching well. Other alternatives included optioning one of their taxed relievers, or simply playing short on their bench for a day or two to make room for Carlyle.
"Obviously he has some things he can work on, and I know that was part of the message that Terry gave to him this morning," Ricco said of Montero.
Matsuzaka started his first game of the season for the Mets in last Sunday's doubleheader against the D-backs, delivering six innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts. The Mets nearly put him in the rotation to start the season, so they have no qualms about using him there now. They were forced to use Matsuzaka for an inning of relief in Saturday's game, but that should not affect his ability to enter the rotation this week.
That is good news, because Matsuzaka may be there for a while. Right-hander Dillon Gee still has not begun throwing in Florida, and could be a month or more away from returning from a strained right lat muscle.
Saturday, the Mets were more concerned with the short-term circumstances of a bullpen lacking two of its best arms. Jenrry Mejia and Vic Black were both unavailable against the Phillies, with several other relievers severely limited.
Carlyle, a veteran of parts of seven big league seasons with the Padres, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees, landed in Philadelphia shortly prior to first pitch, calling the opportunity "gratifying" after battling back from Type 1 diabetes to return to the Majors.
"It's the first time I've been back since," Carlyle said. "Being a Type 1 diabetic doesn't really hinder me from anything."
Eveland, 30, is an eight-year veteran of seven big league teams. He was 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA at Las Vegas, starting eight games and appearing four times in relief.