With players such as Trent Oeltjen(notes) hitting so well, the Arizona Diamondbacks can afford to give Chris Young some work in the minors. The New York Mets’ options, meanwhile, continue to be limited.
The Diamondbacks, who have decided to move on without Young for a while, look to continue their success against the injury-depleted Mets on Tuesday night.
After optioning Young to Triple-A Reno, Arizona (51-62) got yet another homer from Oeltjen to beat New York 7-4 in the opener of a three-game set Monday night. Oeltjen hit his third homer in four major league games.
“The last couple of days, I have to wake up and pinch myself,” Oeltjen said. “They are getting to see highlights back home. I’m getting a lot of phone calls and messages. Everyone here has made me feel comfortable. I’m glad I can go out and help the team win a few games.”
Oeltjen helped give the Diamondbacks their fourth win in five games against the Mets (52-60) this season. Arizona’s latest victory came on the day it chose to give Young a chance to work out his problems at the plate elsewhere.
Two years ago, Young was the first rookie in major league history to reach 30 homers (32) and 25 stolen bases (27) in a season.
New York has had to give Angel Pagan(notes) most of the playing time in center field with Carlos Beltran(notes) (knee) out since June 22. Beltran is on the disabled list, along with first baseman Carlos Delgado(notes) (hip) and shortstop Jose Reyes (calf), among others, giving the Mets little leeway to tinker with their personnel.
Gary Sheffield(notes), who has been nursing a right hamstring he injured July 17, did not start Monday after New York manager Jerry Manuel said he would likely be in the lineup. Sheffield, batting .284 with a team-high 10 homers, flied out in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter.
“If there ever was a time I thought I couldn’t play, that would be a time I would walk away,” the 40-year-old Sheffield said. “But I still can hit 30 home runs. I can still hit in the middle of the order for a contending ball club.”
New York has lost nine of 12, with its starters posting a 5.57 ERA. The Mets will now send Livan Hernandez(notes) (7-6, 5.08) to the mound, hoping he can bounce back from one of his shakiest starts of the year.
Hernandez gave up seven runs in five innings to lose for the first time in four starts Thursday night, 8-3 at San Diego. The right-hander has surrendered seven runs or more in three of his last six outings.
Hernandez pitched for the Diamondbacks in 2007 and part of the ’06 season. He’s 10-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 19 starts against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will counter with Max Scherzer(notes) (6-6, 4.01), who has an 8.68 ERA in his last two starts, including an outing against New York on Aug. 1. Scherzer didn’t receive a decision in his first career start against the Mets after surrendering four runs and six hits in four innings of a 9-6 loss.
The right-hander then faced the Pirates on Thursday night, giving up five runs and seven hits while walking four in 5 2-3 innings of an 11-6, 12-inning win.