Reality came in a private car that whisked him off to New York, where Herrera batted seventh and played second base in Friday's 4-1 win over the Phillies. Herrera went 0-for-3 with an error. With Daniel Murphy on the disabled list for at least the next two weeks with a strained right calf, and possibly longer than that, the Mets saw this as an ideal opportunity to see their No. 8 prospect in action.
"We'll see how he looks," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "He's going to get some extended playing time."
Because the Mets needed to shift Herrera onto their 40-man roster anyway this winter to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, they decided to promote him straight to the big leagues instead of No. 20 prospect Matt Reynolds, a 23-year-old having a monster season at Triple-A Las Vegas. The move made Herrera the reigning youngest player in the Majors.
Herrera played both second base and shortstop this year at Binghamton and Class A Advanced St. Lucie, after coming to the Mets in a trade with the Pirates last August. For now, the Mets plan to use him exclusively as a second baseman; Alderson referred to Herrera's defensive chops as "average or better," though it is clear most of his intrigue revolves around his line-drive swing, which produced one home run every 27.8 plate appearances at Binghamton.
"The biggest challenge is to think he's got to do more than he's ever done," manager Terry Collins said of Herrera, who will wear uniform No. 2. "You get to this level and ... the game doesn't change. You've still got to catch it, throw it, hit it and be smart about how you go about things. He's come with really, really outstanding reports on how he plays, the way he plays, intelligent kid, all the things you want to hear. But I think he's got to keep back the excitement that this is something bigger and larger than it really is."
Still, as the 14th Colombian-born player to appear in the Majors, and the first in Mets history, Herrera does carry some weight on his shoulders.
"It's a real sense of pride to be here representing my country," he said. "My family's very proud as well. There's not very many of us, but I'm proud to come here and represent."
As for Murphy, an MRI on the regular second baseman's right calf revealed a "significant issue," according to Alderson, forcing the Mets to believe they may be without him for much of September.
"Murph's down," Collins said. "He had some pretty big goals set, and rightly so, that he was chasing. Big goals. And now we're looking at quite a lengthy DL stint."