Mets' Carlos Mendoza: Mark Vientos 'made it easy for us to call his name up'

It came as a surprise to many at Citi Field on Saturday to see Mark Vientos have a locker before the Mets' matchup against the Cardinals.

Vientos was called up from Triple-A Syracuse after outfielder Starling Marte was placed on the bereavement list on Saturday. Vientos will look to give the Mets another power right-handed bat off the bench.

With so many optional bats to call up, Mets skipper Carlos Mendoza was asked why they chose Vientos to return to Queens.

"The way he’s playing," Mendoza explained. "After having a tough end of spring training, when he gets the news he’s going down, he put his head down, go down there, continue to work. All the credit to him. He’s earned it and he’s here."

The 24-year-old Vientos was mashing in Syracuse. In 23 games, Vientos is slashing .302/.388/.535 with five home runs and 22 RBI, including a three-run shot on Friday.

"I’m confident in my ability," Vientos said of his hot start at Syracuse. "I was just going there doing my job for the team I was playing for. Learning, and absorbing."

Vientos told the media Saturday morning that he's taking this call-up day by day. He, like many, knows that this stint with the Mets is temporary since Marte is expected to return to the team in three days time.

The slugging right-hander said it's easier said than done to have that "day by day" mindset, but that it's helped him grow.

"It’s making me a better player and a better person every day," he said. "I can only appreciate it."

"He’s a professional. For a young player that comes into camp with high expectations…it’s not easy," Mendoza said of Vientos. "He was disappointed, obviously. The one thing he can control is to go out there and continue to get better, continue to work on the things you need to be working on and play hard, and he’s done that."

It's unclear whether Vientos will get a start or if he'll play the field or simply hit, but the Mets and Vientos will be ready. Unlike his comments in spring training where he said he felt he had to "prove himself times two" he isn't using this time to prove anything but just wants to be himself.

"He put himself in a position where there was a need and here we are," Mendoza said of his young slugger. "He made it easy for us to call his name up."